According to Herodotus, they were independent in his time, and had never been conquered within the memory of man. They dwelt on lofty mountains covered with forests and snow, and on the highest of these was an oracle of Dionysus (in Perperikon), whose utterances were delivered by a priestess.
They were the chief workers of the gold and silver mines in the district. Herodotus is the only ancient writer who mentions the Satrae, and Tomaschek regards the name not as that of a people but of the warlike nobility among the Thracian Dii and Bessi.
J. E. Harrison and others identify them with the Satyri (Satyrs), the attendants and companions of Dionysus in his revels, and also with the Centaurs. The name Satrokentae, a Thracian tribe according to Hecataeus (quoted in Stephanus of Byzantium), seems to support the second identification.