Thracians:  Ancestors of the Swedes

The origins of the Thracians, and thus the Swedes, can be traced back to secular and biblical history.  Chapters 9 and 10 of Genesis describe how the nations developed from Noah's three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.  Recorded history continually verifies the biblical account of the spread of nations.

The Genesis account, as a historical document, is fully corroborated by an overwhelming richness of documentary and other historical evidence so vast that it is unique in recorded history.  No other manuscript enjoys such a wealth of detailed corroboration from such a wide-ranging variety of sources.  The Indo-European peoples were all too aware of their historic and ethnic descent from the line of Japheth, Noah's 3rd son.  These peoples, through carefully preserved records, could trace their lineage and race back to the time of Babel and the dispersal of the nations from the plain of Shinar.  Noah's flood is generally agreed to have occurred about 2350 BC, and from here we find the beginnings of nations and empires (Egypt, Persia, Greek, etc).  The evidence is striking from those early post-Flood nations of the Mesopotamian valley, who had direct contact with one another, and who preserved in written records those names that are explicitly mentioned in the Genesis record.

The records that have come down to us lend their weight to the already vast body of documentary evidence that can only convince us that the Genesis record is a true and faithful historical account of the early history of mankind.  What is remarkable about these records is that they mostly come from ancient historians and writers of various nationalities who had not the least intention, either consciously or otherwise, of lending support to the Genesis record.  Most of them were nurtured within pagan systems that were openly antagonistic to the knowledge of God, and who had labored over many centuries to darken, if not totally erase that knowledge altogether.  Their verification is therefore all the more valuable.

Thracian & Viking WarriorsJapheth is considered the father of Indo-European people groups (several royal European genealogies confirm this).  Japheth's 7th son, Tiras, was the progenitor of the Tiracians.  Historians note they probably first settled in the area of Asia Minor (present day Turkey) about 1900 BC.  The transfer of words through nations and languages is prevalent in every people group.  Merenptah of Egypt, who reigned during the 13th century BC, provides us with what is so far our earliest reference to the people of Tiras, recording their name as the Tursha (or Tarusha), and referring to them as invaders from the north.  Herodotus (425 BC Greek historian) wrote:  "The Thracian people are the most numerous of the world; the Thracians have several names, according to their specific regions, but their habits are more or less the same...and only their chronic disunity prevented them from being the most powerful of all nations."

History attests that they were indeed a most savage race, given over to a perpetual state of "tipsy excess", more likely to be in battle than laying in their beds.  They are also described as a "ruddy and blue-eyed, people", fighting with their own tribal factions.  In the 3rd century BC, the Thracians were noted as having numerous tribes that rarely united, most having their own kings.  Thracian dress was well known.  Several descriptions were given, including illustrations on Greek vase paintings.  Basic dress was tunic, cloak, cap and boots.  Thracian warriors carried a shield and spears, plus a small sword (dagger) as a secondary weapon.  Their mode of dress and armaments continued with their descendents, the Vikings, though modified.  Thracians are mentioned by many rulers in the region they lived.  After the Greek victory over the Persians (449 BC), the Persian king Xerxes (486-465 BC) established for himself a large army among whose soldiers Herodotus mentions Thracians from northwest Asia Minor, who are described as follows:

"The Thracians joined the expedition wearing fox caps, wearing long coats under their vivid colored capes. Their calf-high footwear was made of deerskin. They were equipped with spears, light shields and small daggers."
Josephus (1st century AD Jewish & Roman historian) identifies them as the tribes who were known to the Romans as Thirasians, and to the Greeks as Thracians, whom they feared as marauding pirates.  Dio Cassius, Roman historian in the 2nd century AD, wrote "let us not forget that a Trajan was a true-born Thracian."

Tiras himself was worshipped by his descendants as Thuras (Thor), the god of war.  The river Athyras was also named after him, and the ancient city of Troas (Troi, Troy - the Trajans or Trojans) perpetuates his name, as also does the Taunrus mountain range.  Thracian lands stretched from southwestern Europe to Asia Minor, a vast area historically known as Thracia.  The historical Thracian genealogical tree counts over 200 tribes which had several names, according to their specific regions.  Some of their tribal names were Trajans, Etruscans, Dacians, Luwians, Ramantes, Pelasgians, Besins, Odrisi, Serdoi, Maidoi and Dentheletoi.  The Trajans (Trojans) founded the city of Troy which existed approximately 2400 years (about 1900 BC to 500 AD), which was destroyed and rebuilt several times.  Thousands of Trojan warriors left the city of Troy during the 11th century BC.  They came north and captured land along the banks of the river Don (southwestern Russia), a major trade route.  The locals named the Trojan conquerors the "Aes," meaning "Iron People," for their superior weaponry.  The tribes of Trojan Aes would eventually move north, settling in present-day Scandinavia.  The Aes or Aesar (plural), subsequently became known as the Svear, and then Swedes.  Historians refer to the Aes people as "Thraco-Cimmerians" due to their Trojan ancestry.  Other tribes of Thracians remained a culture in Asia Minor and southern Europe until the 5th century AD.  Many present-day Bulgarians claim to be direct descendants of ancient Thracians (different from the Slavs who arrived that region in the 6th century AD).

The name Tiras perpetuated through different languages, as in this list of names from Noah to the present-day Swedes.

1. Noah
   2. Japheth
      3. Tiras
         4. Tarusha
            5. Thirasian
               6. Thracian
                  7. Troi
                     8. Trojan
                        9. Aes
                           10. Aesar
                               11. Svear
                                   12. Svenonian
                                       13. Sverige
                                           14. Swede
<---------------------4,000+ years--------------------->

Japheth's first born son was Gomer.  Gomer is perpetuated through the names of Gamir, Gimmer, Gomeria, Gotarna and Goth.  The tribes of Gomer are mentioned by the Jews in the 7th century BC as the tribes that dwelt in the "uppermost parts of the north".   The Assyrians in the 7th century referred to them as the Gimirraya.  Other names used throughout history include Gimmerai, Crimea, Chomari, Cimmer, Cimmerian.  Cimmerians populated areas of the north of the Caucasus & Black Sea in southern Russia.  Linguistically they are usually regarded as Thracian, which suggests a close relationship.  "Thraco-Cimmerian" remains of the 8th-7th century BC found in the southwestern Ukraine and in central Europe are associated with the Aes people.

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