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Celtic Settlements in Bulgaria – (1) Northern Bulgaria

Celtic (and Bastarnae) settlements in northern Bulgaria

One of the most remarkable contradictions in modern historical research over the last 50 years has been the identification by international and Bulgarian linguists of a large number of Celtic settlements in a region where local ‘Thracologists’ continue to claim that there was never any Celtic presence. As a result of this ‘Thracian Myth’, developed by elements of the Bulgarian archaeological community during the communist period, topographic evidence of Celtic settlement in this region, as is the case with the overwhelming archaeological and numismatic evidence, has hitherto been largely ignored.

In the northwestern part of today’s Bulgaria extensive numismatic and archaeological evidence testifies to a Celtic cultural presence from the end of the 4th c. BC into the Roman period (see Archaeology and Numismatics sections). In this area a number of Celtic settlements from this period have been located:
In the Aquae area of Moesia Superior – around the confluence of the Timok and Danube rivers in northwestern Bulgaria – two Celtic settlements have been identified by academics – Braiola / Βραίολα (Beševliev 1970:25; Duridanov 1997:134; Probably todays Bregovo), and Setlotes / Σετλοτες (Detschew 1957:434 – ‘sicher keltisch’; Duridanov 1997:134; Delamarre 2003: 272-273), the latter possibly at the Kula site where recent excavations have uncovered Celtic material dating from the 1st c. B.C. – 1st c. A.D under the late Roman fortification Castra Martis. (See ‘New Material (1)’ article – archaeology section). Slightly further along the Danube lay the Celtic settlements of Bononia / Βονωνία (modern Vidin) (Holder I, 1904, 481ff; Der Kleine Pauly I, 928; Kazarow, 1919:62; Hubert II, 43; Duridanov, 1980 (2); 1997, 134; Falileyev 2009:281), Ratiaria (modern Archar, Vidin region) (Tomaschek, II, 2, 69; Holder II, 1075; Kazarov, 1919, 62; Hubert II, 43; contra Detschew 1957) and Remetodia (modern Orsojo – between Ratiaria and Almus – Lom district, Montana region) (Tomaschek, II, 2. 1894:69; Detschew 1957:391; Duridanov 1997:134; Falileyev A., Graham R. 2006, Falileyev 2009: 282).
In the Kazetzos area (Dacia Mediterranea), which lies to the north of Sofia (Serdica) in the hills between Vratza and Berkovitza, lay three Celtic settlements – Ardeia (Falileyev 2009: 281), Arkounes (Άρχοϋνες) (Detschew 1957:25; Beševliev 1970:22; Duridanov 1997:134-135; Falileyev 2009: 281; 2010:123-124) and Duriis (Δουρίες) (Beševliev 1968:418 and 1970:22; Duridanov 1997:135; Falileyev 2009: 281). Slightly to the north of these lay the settlements of Tautiomosis (today’s Krivodol, Vratza region) (BIAB 19 (Serta Kazar. 2) 1955, 201 – Detschew 1957: 540; from Celtic – teuto- / touto- = people, tribe, land (Gaulish – toutā. OIr – túath, Welsh and Breton –tud, thus Welsh Tudyr from Celtic nominative Touto-Riχs and Tudur from the Celtic genitive Touto-rīgos; cf. also in Bulgaria the Celtic settlement of Tiutamenus Vicus (Plovdiv region) – Mac Congail 2004); the second element as in the Celtic P.N.’s Mossus, Mossius etc. (Holder AC 2, 644-645); and Vorovum Minor (Kravoder, Krivodol district, Vratza region) (BAT021 F6 – Vorovum Minor = Kravoder, Bulgaria; Velkov 1970; Falileyev 2009: 282).

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Tags: Bulgaria, Celtic Settlements, Northern Bulgaria, ratiaria, viddin, Vidin

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