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Eth. TRERES (Τρῆρες), a people repeatedly mentioned by Strabo, generally as a tribe of, or at least. as closely connected with, the Cimmerii, but in a few passages as Thracians. They are not named by Homer or Herodotus. Strabo was evidently undecided whether to regard them as a distinct race, or as identical with the Cimmerii, in whose company they several times made destructive inroads into Asia Minor. “The Cimmerii, whom they name Treres also, or some tribe of them, often overran the southern shores of the Euxine and the adjoining countries, sometimes throwing themselves upon the Paphlagonians, at other times upon the Phrygians, at the time when they say Midas died from drinking bull's blood. And Lygdamis led his army as far as Lydia and Ionia, and took Sardes, but perished in Cilicia. And the Cimmerii and Treres often made such expeditions. But they say that the Treres and Cobus [their leader] were at last driven out [of Asia] by Madys, the king of the Scythians.” 1 (Strab. i. p.61). “Callisthenes states [p. 2.1226]that Sardes was taken several times; first by the Cimmerians; then by the Treres and Lycians, as Callinus also shows; lastly in the time of Cyrus and Croesus.” (Id. xiii. p. 627). “In olden times, it befel the Magnetes [the people of Magnesia on the Maeander] to be utterly destroyed by the Treres, a Cimmerian tribe.” (Id. xiv. p. 647; see also xi. p. 511, xii. p. 573; CIMMERII Vol. I. p. 623, seq.; Müller, Hist. Lit. Anc. Greece, pp. 108, 109; and cf. Hdt. 1.6, 15, 16, 103.)

Various attempts have been made to fix the dates of these events; but the means of doing so appear to be wanting, and hence scholars have arrived at very different conclusions on the subject. Strabo infers from some expressions of Callinus that the destruction of Sardes preceded that of Magnesia, which latter occurred, he considers, after the time of that poet, and during the age of Archilochus, who alludes to it.

Thucydides (2.96) states that the kingdom of Sitalces was bounded on the side next to the Triballi by the Treres and Tilataei, who dwelt on the northern slope of Mount Scombrus (Scomius), and extended towards the W. as far as the river Oscius (Oescus). Whether this relative clause applies to the Treres as well as to the Tilataei is doubtful; but the collocation of the words seems to confine it to the latter.

Strabo (i. p.59) speaks of the Treres as dwelling with the Thracians; and says that the Treres, who were Thracians, possessed a part of the Troad after the time of Priam (xiii. p. 586).

Pliny does not mention the Treres as a Thracian people; but in the description of Macedonia (4.10. s. 17), says that they, with the Dardani and Pieres, dwelt on its borders; it is not clear, however, which borders are meant. (Cf. Theopom. Frag. 313, where they are called Τρᾶρες and Steph. B. sub voce p. 664, where also a district of Thrace inhabited by them is named Τρῆρος.

It is possible that these Thracian Treres were the descendants of a body of the Cimmerian Treres, left N. of the Haemus when the main body advanced to Asia Minor; for there can be little doubt that Niebuhr's view respecting the course of their inroads is correct. “The general opinion, which is presupposed in Herodotus also, is that the Cimmerians invaded Asia Minor from the E., along the coasts of the Euxine. But it would seem that, on the contrary, they came through Thrace, for they make their first appearance in lonia and Lydia. The former road is almost entirely impassable for a nomadic people, as the Caucasus extends to the very shores of the Euxine.” (Lect. Anc. Hist. i. p. 32, note.)

In confirmation of the conjecture above made, we may refer to the parallel case mentioned by Caesar (Caes. Gal. 2.29), that the Aduatuci, a Belgian tribe, were the descendants of the 6000 men whom the Cimbri and Teutoni, on their march towards Italy, left behind them W. of the Rhine, to guard that part of their property which they were unable to take with them any farther.


1 The reading in the text is ὑπὸ Μάδυος τοῦ τῶν Κιυμερίων βασιλέως; but as just before we find Μάδυος τοῦ Σκυθικοῦ, we can have no hesitation in adopting Kramer's emendation of Σκυθικῶν for Κιμμερίων.

hide References (6 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (6):
    • Herodotus, Histories, 1.103
    • Herodotus, Histories, 1.15
    • Herodotus, Histories, 1.16
    • Herodotus, Histories, 1.6
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.96
    • Caesar, Gallic War, 2.29
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