The territory of modern Bulgaria was one of the earliest populated areas in Europe. 6 000 years ago it was inhabited by Thracians. There are many mysteries surrounding this ancient civilization that occupied what is now Bulgaria. Not coincidentally it was found in Provadia (Bulgaria) the oldest prehistoric city in Europe, dated between 4,700 BC and 4,200 BC, a fortified settlement of 350 inhabitants. The world's oldest golden treasure was not found in Sumeria, nor in Egypt, nor in pre-Columbian America but in Varna (Bulgaria), and dates from 4,600 BC.
Scientists and archaeologists still harbor serious doubts about who the people were that mixed with the Thracians around 5,000 years ago, from which Thracian civilization itself would emerge. But it is known that there were some who came from the North to the Balkans with their livestock, finding a place with a bright and attractive culture. It was the intermingling between the local population and the new arrivals that allows us to talk today of the Thracians. The Thracians are well-known for their exuberant fighting spirit; but the history of a population is not built only on its wars and the exploits of its soldiers and leaders, as it is usually read in encyclopedias and history books. Spread across Southeast Europe were groups of men and women who were highly skilled in working with refined metals, who were followers of a delicate mystique that worshiped the mother goddess, and who had complex funerary rituals immersed in symbolism.
Thracians had a rare ability for discovering and extracting natural deposits without harming nature. Scientists continue to be surprised by the kinds of advanced technological practices that they were using. What mysteries remain from the first Thracians? We know some Thracian names and words, apparently they lacked their own alphabet and came to use Greek and Latin characters to perform certain inscriptions. This Indo-European language spoken by the Thracians is still a mystery and no one has been able to decipher it... yet.
The Thracian burial rite is one of the most compelling evidence of belief in the afterlife and immortality of the soul. In the region of Kazanlak where is the Valley of the Thracian Kings, we can find several grave-mounds, making this area a real route of the funeral ritual (over 500 burial hills). We are in the realm of the Odrisios (fifth century to the fourth century BC), ruled by the King III Seuthes. The Thracian funeral process had many things in common with the Egyptian one, not least the idea of resurrection and an afterlife. The remains of Seuthes III were buried with his horse and his weapons, and a bronze statue of his own image that had been placed in a special chamber of the tomb, according to the Orphic funeral practices. The texts of the ancient Greek geographer and historian Herodotus shed light on this mystery. He claimed that whatever was destroyed or made unusable during funeral rites would become useful for the afterlife. If the human being whose life was destroyed with the advent of death, was meant to revive in the Hereafter, so the objects had to ‘die’ to revive again. Death was considered to be the beginning of a new life. In this passage, the spirit of the deceased travelled to reach the heavenly abode where they would stay. On this trip, they needed to carry everything they would need.
The most valuable thing for the elite of the Thracians warriors was their horse and their wife.So not only did they sacrifice their horse, but also their favorite wife considered that an honor. In fact, wives are said to have argued over who would have the honour of being the chosen one or as the Greek poet Hesiod said:
“ When a husband dies, his wives, which are many for each one, argue in competition held by the determination of those who are their close friends and relatives, and claim them to be the deceased husband’s dearest one. The wife who comes out victorious and honored with a judgment in her favor, which is full of praise and applause of men and women, will be beheaded by a kin hand over the grave of her husband and is buried beside him, while the ones who lost the case, that is for them the greatest infamy, remain mourning they misfortune”.
Source: Ancient Origins