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This study examines the question of what is really meant by the term “Thracian”
in so-called “Thracian art”. If one divides the various ancient works
found on modern Bulgarian territory—chiefly works of miniature art—into
groups, the first group may be seen to comprise Iranian art, the second Ural-
Altaic art, and the third ancient Greek art (this is the largest group in all
branches of art, including miniature art, metalwork, sculpture, and architecture);
the fourth group consists of works by untutored artists—one might almost
call them crude—and it is these which are the genuinely Thracian works.
Ancient Greek art gradually acquired its Graeco-Roman character in
Thrace too and was thus the most obvious factor in the Thracians’ Hellénisation.
When it came to an end, the ancient Graeco-Roman world left a host
of early Christian and Byzantine monuments on modern Bulgarian territory.
But the presence is attested not of ancient Greek and mediaeval paideia alone,
for modern Greek paideia is also present in Bulgaria. Our neighbours must
not forget this, and rather than misinterpreting the works of Greek paideia
and art of all periods, they should celebrate them, as the composer of the
Acathistus Hymn celebrates the Virgin Mary. Collections of Byzantine icons
of the Virgin and copies of inscriptions in Greek—not Cyrillic—letters, are
to be seen plenty in modern Bulgaria.