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The Ardiaei were an Illyrian people residing on territory of present-day Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro, and Bosnia and Herzegovina between Adriatic coast on the south, Konjic on the north, along the Neretva river and its right bank on the west, extending to Lake Shkodra to the southeast.[1][2] From the 3rd century BC to 168 BC the capital cities of the Ardiaean State were Rhizon and Scodra.[3][4]

The Ardiaean kingdom was transformed into a formidable power—both by land and sea—under the leadership of Agron. During this time, Agron invaded part of Epirus, Corcyra, Epidamnos and Pharos in succession, establishing garrisons in them.[5] The Ardiaean realm became one of Rome's major enemies, and the primary threat in the Adriatic Sea. A series of wars were fought between the Roman Republic and the Illyrian (Ardiaean-Labaeatan) kingdom in the 3rd–2nd centuries BC. Polybius (203 BC–120 BC) writes that they were subdued[6] by the Romans at events that occurred at 229 BC. The Epitome of Livy reports that Roman consul Fulvius Flaccus put down an uprising in 135 BC undertaken by Ardiaei and Pleraei in Roman Illyria.[7][8]

In earlier times the Ardiaei were enemies of the Autariatae for a long period over salt source.[9] Appian (95–165) writes that the Ardiaei were destroyed by the Autariatae and that in contrast to the Autariatae they had maritime power.[10]

Name

The Ardiaei are attested since the 3rd century BC. They often appears in ancient accounts describing the Illyrian Wars and Macedonian Wars. Their name was written in Ancient Greek as Ἀρδιαῖοι, Ardiaioi, or Οὐαρδαῖοι, Ouardaioi, and in Latin as Vardiaei or Vardaei.[11] The tribal name Ardiaei may be related to the Latin ardea meaning "heron", a symbol of animal totemism.[12]

Original location

Accounts in ancient sources create much confusion about the location of the Ardiaean original homeland.[13] They were located in the area of southern Illyria, somewhere in present-day Montenegro,[14] most likely around the gulf of Rhizon, although Strabo places them in the right bank of the Neretva.[15] Their initial inland residence was located along the Naro River up to the Konjic region,[1] in present-day Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The name of the town Čapljina is another feature suggesting that the original homeland of Ardiaei might indeed have been the Neretva valley region. Specifically, there is a town in Bosnia and Herzegovina situated in the wider Neretva valley region (the original homeland of

The Ardiaean kingdom was transformed into a formidable power—both by land and sea—under the leadership of Agron. During this time, Agron invaded part of Epirus, Corcyra, Epidamnos and Pharos in succession, establishing garrisons in them.[5] The Ardiaean realm became one of Rome's major enemies, and the primary threat in the Adriatic Sea. A series of wars were fought between the Roman Republic and the Illyrian (Ardiaean-Labaeatan) kingdom in the 3rd–2nd centuries BC. Polybius (203 BC–120 BC) writes that they were subdued[6] by the Romans at events that occurred at 229 BC. The Epitome of Livy reports that Roman consul Fulvius Flaccus put down an uprising in 135 BC undertaken by Ardiaei and Pleraei in Roman Illyria.[7][8]

In earlier times the Ardiaei were enemies of the Autariatae for a long period over salt source.[9] Appian (95–165) writes that the Ardiaei were destroyed by the Autariatae and that in contrast to the Autariatae they had maritime power.[10]

The Ardiaei are attested since the 3rd century BC. They often appears in ancient accounts describing the Illyrian Wars and Macedonian Wars. Their name was written in Ancient Greek as Ἀρδιαῖοι, Ardiaioi, or Οὐαρδαῖοι, Ouardaioi, and in Latin as Vardiaei or Vardaei.[11] The tribal name Ardiaei may be related to the Latin ardea meaning "heron", a symbol of animal totemism.[12]

Original location

Accounts in ancient sources create much confusion about the location of the Ardiaean original homeland.[13] They were located in the area of southern Illyria, somewhere in present-day Montenegro,[14] most likely around the gulf of Rhizon, although Strabo places them in the right bank of the Neretva.[15] Their initial inland residence was located along the Naro River up to the Konjic region,[1] in present-day Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The name of the town Čapljina is another feature suggesting that the original homeland of Ardiaei might indeed have been the Neretva valley region. Specifically, there is a town in Bosnia and Herzegovina situated in the wider Neretva valley region (the original homeland of ancient Illyrian people of Ardiaei), called Čapl

Accounts in ancient sources create much confusion about the location of the Ardiaean original homeland.[13] They were located in the area of southern Illyria, somewhere in present-day Montenegro,[14] most likely around the gulf of Rhizon, although Strabo places them in the right bank of the Neretva.[15] Their initial inland residence was located along the Naro River up to the Konjic region,[1] in present-day Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The name of the town Čapljina is another feature suggesting that the original homeland of Ardiaei might indeed have been the Neretva valley region. Specifically, there is a town in Bosnia and Herzegovina situated in the wider Neretva valley region (the original homelan

The name of the town Čapljina is another feature suggesting that the original homeland of Ardiaei might indeed have been the Neretva valley region. Specifically, there is a town in Bosnia and Herzegovina situated in the wider Neretva valley region (the original homeland of ancient Illyrian people of Ardiaei), called Čapljina, and its name derives from čaplja, which in modern Bosnian language means 'heron'. The Latin word for heron is ardea, a word that bears striking similarity with the name of Ardiaei, and should not be excluded altogether as its potential cognate.

This hypothesis opens up many possibilities for the interpretation of the original homeland of the Ardiaei and the etymology of their name. For example, heron might have had totemic pagan value among the Illyrians inhabiting that region, due to its presence in this area, and it is not implausible to conclude that one of those Illyrian peoples named itself after a heron, the Ardiaei. The Latin word ardea might be a Latin translation of some original Illyrian word for 'heron' that Romans found when they settled in this area, or the 'ardea' itself could have been an Illyrian word taken by Romans, who might have slightly altered it and integrated it into their language, Latin. Indeed, the word Ardiaei is found in ancient Greek sources predating the arrival of Romans and their language to the Illyrian lands. It is also possible that ancient Illyrians or Romans named this place the place of heron(s), and the Slavic settlers, who settled in the former Illyrian lands around 6th century A.D. translated the name of this place into their language(s), which in turn gave Čapljina, "the place of heron(s)".[16]

Due to widespread piracy perpetrated in the Adriatic by the Ardiaei and other Illyrian tribes, the Romans campaigned against them in the events of the Illyrian Wars. They were viewed as heavy drinkers in comparison, by the Greeks.[17]

In earlier times the Ardiaei were enemies of the Autariatae for a long period over salt source.[9]

The Ardiaei had briefly at

In earlier times the Ardiaei were enemies of the Autariatae for a long period over salt source.[9]

The Ardiaei had briefly attained military might, during 230 B.C. under the reign of king Agron (an Ardiaean by tribal origin). His widow, Queen Teuta attempted to gain a foothold in the Adriatic but failed due to Roman intervention. Historic accounts hold that King Agron was hired[18] by king Demetrius of Macedonia repel the invasion of Macedonia by the invading Aetolians. The Ardiaei had 20 decuriae.

The ancient geographer, Strabo, lists the Ardiaei as one of the three strongest Illyrian peoples – the other two being the Autariatae and the Dardani. Strabo writes;[19]

“Because they pestered the sea through their piratical bands, the Romans pushed them back from it into the interior and forced them to till the soil. But the country is rough and poor and not suited to a farming population, and therefore the tribe has been utterly ruined and in fact has almost been obliterated. And this is what befell the rest of the peoples in that part of the world; for those who were most powerful in earlier times were utterly humbled or were obliterated, as, for example, among the Galatae the Boii and the Scordistae, and among the Illyrians the Autariatae, Ardiaei, and Dardanii, and among the Thracians the Triballi; that is, they were reduced in warfare by one another at first and then later by the Macedonians and the Romans.”

King Agron, son of Pleuratus who belonged to the ruling house of the Ardiaei, disposed of the most powerful force, both by land and sea, of any of the kings which had reigned in Illyria before him.[5]

The following is a reconstruction of the Ardiaean dynasty by N. G. L. Hammond (1966):[20]