History of the Project

The Beginnings

First Studies

In 1977, the two Bulgarian scholars Velizar Velkov and Alexander Fol published a study written in French under the title ``Les Thraces en Égypte gréco-romaine`` (The Thracians in Greco-Roman Egypt). The study examines earlier research on the issue and raises questions about the presence of first-generation Thracians or those of ``origin`` in the onomastics coming from Egypt. The two scholars have compiled a catalog of 525 entries with Thracians whose presence in Egypt could be traced more or less with certainty. The methodology of the monograph is synthesized by the same authors in a separate article (V. Velkov, A. Fol, “Les Thraces en Égypte gréco-romaine: la literature et la méthode”, Pulpudeva 2, 1978, p. 46-52) and a comprehensive review of the book is given by G. Mihailov (Philologia 5, 1979, p. 65-70).

Following Studies

In 1982 Margarita Tacheva-Hitova published her monography “History of the Eastern Cults in Lower Moesia and Thrace in the 5th century BC. – 4th century AD ``, in which she dedicates an entire chapter on the Egyptian cults. Her catalogue contains a total of 58 monuments from the territory of Ancient Thrace. The author examines them together with other sources and draws her conclusions on them. She examines the history of the spread of Egyptian cults in the Thracian lands, as well as various aspects of the cult practice. Her research is supplemented by another, dedicated to numismatics related to the Egyptian cults in Thrace (M. Tacheva-Hitova, ``On the coins of the cities of Lower Moesia and Thrace with images of Egyptian deities (historical interpretation)``, Numismatics 1, 1981, 3-14).

New Project

In 2017 Assistant Professor Dr. Vessela Atanasova began her project ``Thrace and Egypt in the Greco-Roman World`` at the Institute for Balkan Studies with Center for Thracology at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. The project aims to examine the relations between Thrace and Egypt in the Greco-Roman period. It should combine the previous two studies and give a comprehensive understanding of the subject. The main goal of the project is to collect and systematize the available material, as well as to establish partnerships with international scientists and institutions. In 2018, with the support of the French Institute in Sofia, two French scientists were invited - Prof. Laurent Bricaul and Prof. Thomas Faucher, respectively, in May and October. Two events were organized: a public lecture with an exhibition ``Isis and Sarapis in Serdica`` at the Museum of History of Sofia (on 29th May 2018) and a round table on ``Thracian onomastics in Egypt: new findings and research`` at the New Bulgarian University (on 29th October 2018). In 2020, with the support of the French Institute in Sofia, the collection ``Egyptian Cults in Serdica`` was published under the editorship of Assistant Professor Dr. Vessela Atanasova and Prof. Laurent Bricault. The same year the team Dr. Vessela Atanasova won funding from the National Research Fund and began the collection and interpretation of source material related to the subject as well as the creation of the website www.thraceandegypt.com.


In the future the project team aims to collect, systematize and interpret all of the monuments related to the relations between Thrace and Egypt in the Greco-Roman period and present them to both the scientific community and the general public. Forthcoming is the international scientific conference ``Egyptian cults on the Black Sea coast``, which will be held in Varna in 2022. Shortly afterwards, the publication of a monograph on ``The Egyptian Cults in Ancient Thrace`` is planned. The last three years of the period will be dedicated to the research of the Thracian monuments in Egypt and the realization of the second part of our project. In addition, a number of exhibitions, round tables and participation in events to promote the results of our research will be organized.

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