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Culture Mythology Eastern Macedonia and Thrace

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Kourtidhs, History of Thrace, 1932, Ancient Thracian Kings and Rulers
On-line book on the history and mythology of Thrace
evros.gr - the new portal for the Prefecture of Evros
Portal - Guide to the Prefecture of Evros

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Eastern Macedonia and Thrace
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02/12/2007
Lycurgus

Aikaterinh Balla
Source: C.E.T.I.
© Region of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace
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The ancient tradition, after Homer and on, has it that Ares was from Thrace. Homer places god Ares in Thrace, while Herodotus mentions that the Thracians worshipped three deities, Ares, Dionysus and Artemis, and that the Scythians, who lived further east, considered Ares as the most important god who was worshipped as the form of a sword. The Thracians, who were famous for their barbarian and warlike character, worshipped the fierce god of the battles with special honours as well as his equally strong and barbarian descendants, Tereus, Lycurgus and Diomedes.

Lycurgus, king of the Edonians, near the river of Strymon, fought the worship of god Dionysus when the latter arrived in Thrace from Asia Minor. The Thracian king exterminated the Maenads, who were the godís followers and received a punishment from god Zeus who, according to the myth, blinded him. Another version of the myth mentions that Dionysus drove Lycurgus insane, leading him to kill his child thinking he was pruning a vine. Then, the Edonians tied their king on Mount Pangaion where he was devoured by wild horses. It is also said that a local from the area, Charops, helped Dionysus to beat and kill Lycurgus and that the god entrusted him the power as a reward. According to the same myth, Charops is the person who spread the cult of Dionysus and taught his son Oeagrus the Dionysian rituals. Later, Orpheus, son of Oeagrus, instituted and systematized the Dionysian mysteries and converted the ecstatic Dionysian cult into a complete religion known as Orphism.