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Agathyrsi

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AGATHYRSI, a people of Thracian origin, who in the earliest historical times occupied the plain of the Maris (Maros), in the region now known as Transylvania. They are described by Herodotus (iv. Io4) as of luxurious habits, wearing gold orna ments (the district is still auriferous) and having wives in com mon. They tattooed their bodies (Virgil, Aeneid, iv . 136), degrees of rank being indicated by the manner in which this was done, and coloured their hair dark blue. Valerius Flaccus (Argonautica, vi. 135) calls them Thyrsagetae, probably in reference to their celebration of orgiastic rites in honour of some divinity akin to the Thracian Dionysus. In later times the Agathyrsi were driven farther north, and their name was unknown to the Romans in their original home.

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