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Appian and Dio on the Illyrian Wars of Octavian

Appian and Dio on the Illyrian Wars of Octavian

Appian devoted twelve out of thirty chapters (16-28) of his Illyrike, i.e. less than half of this narrative, to Octavian’s Illyrian Wars of 35-33 B.C. These wars, which were fought in several campaigns in different regions of Illyricum, were described by him in great detail, his main and possibly only source having been Augustus’ Commentari. Appian himself expressly claimed that […]

The 'great lake' and the Autariatai in Pseudo-Skylax*

The 'great lake' and the Autariatai in Pseudo-Skylax*

Geographical descriptions in the texts of classical writers, notably in those of the early geographers, referring to distant or lesser known regions, often lack precise data and are therefore vague. Such passages require special attention, and it is particularly important to analyze them in their context. The Periplous ascribed to Skylax (often referred to as Pseudo-Skylax) was probably composed in […]

Illyria and Illyrians

Illyria and Illyrians

The history of the Illyrians and Illyria, variously understood in modern scholarship, is divided into different phases, of which the first, lasting until the collapse of the Illyrian kingdom, may be explained in terms of (varying) alliances of tribes and peoples of common or similar ethnic background, speaking similar languages. Some extreme theses, such as that of “panillyrism” (Krahe 1955), which recognized the Illyriansas […]

Epirus

Epirus

Epirus: Geography and Populations Epirus was the name of an ancient region in the lands corresponding to current southern Albania and northwestern Greece. The name of Epirus seems to originate from the ancient Greek word “Epeiros” which means “land” or “continent”. It is clear that this term came from an islanders’ perspective, namely the Greek islanders settling in the many […]

Pyrrhus of Epirus

Pyrrhus of Epirus

Pyrrhus of Epirus: Lineage and Character Pyrrhus of Epirus (also known as Pyrrhus I, Pyrrhus, or Phyrrhus), was born in 319/318 B.C.E. in Epirus. He was the son of Aeacides, king of Epirus (ruled 331-316, 313) part of the ruling Epirot tribe of the Molossians, and Phthia, a noble woman from Thessaly, daughter of Menon. Pyrrhus was also the second-cousin […]

The Istrian War

The Istrian War

Episode I: An Ignored War Classical sources suggest that the Romans fought a brief war during 221-220 B.C.E. against the Istrians. According to these accounts, the war was caused by piratical assaults from the Istri against the Roman ships in northern Adriatic. Also, it is suggested that the Istri may have been collaborating as allies with Demetrius of Pharus against […]

Bardylis

Bardylis

Background Bardylis (Bardhyll in modern Albanian language) was king of the Illyrians during 393-358 B.C.E. He was born around 448 B.C.E. as a member of the Illyrian tribe of the Enchelei. The Enchelei inhabited primarily the area around lake Lychnidus (Ohrid). Although from a humble origin, Bardylis would soon become the ruler of many Illyrian tribes and form one of […]

Dardania under Roman Rule

Dardania under Roman Rule

Episode I: Establishing Roman Rule over Dardania The successful campaign of Sribonus Curio (75-73 B.C.E.) against Dardania was not followed by the immediate annexation of this region from the Roman Republic. The Dardanians continued the resistance against the Romans. It can be stated that, after Curio’s campaign, their territory was turned into a semi-independent state (foedus iniquum). The Dardanians resisted […]

Lissus, the Illyrian city built with stones

Lissus, the Illyrian city built with stones

Episode I: Navigating controversial accounts In his work “Bibliotheca Historica”, Diodorus Siculus, after writing about the alliance of Dionysius I of Syracuse (the Elder) (r. 432-367) with the Illyrian king Bardylis (r. 393-358), suggests that the tyrant of Syracuse sent a group of colons east of the Adriatic to establish a settlement there. Diodorus writes the following: “…the Parians, in […]