Illyria
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In
classical antiquity Classical antiquity (also the classical era, classical period or classical age) is the period of cultural history between the 8th century BC and the 5th century AD centred on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ...
, Illyria (; grc, Ἰλλυρία, ''Illyría'' or , ''Illyrís''; la, Illyria, ''Illyricum'') was a region in the western part of the
Balkan Peninsula The Balkans ( ), also known as the Balkan Peninsula, is a geographical area in southeastern Europe Europe is a large peninsula conventionally considered a continent in its own right because of its great physical size and the weig ...
inhabited by numerous tribes of people collectively known as the
Illyrians The Illyrians ( grc, Ἰλλυριοί, ''Illyrioi''; la, Illyrii) were a group of Indo-European-speaking peoples who inhabited the western Balkan Peninsula in ancient times. They constituted one of the three main Paleo-Balkan populations, a ...
. Illyrians spoke the Illyrian language, an
Indo-European language The Indo-European languages are a language family native to the languages of Europe, overwhelming majority of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and the northern Indian subcontinent. Some European languages of this family, English language, Englis ...
, which in ancient times perhaps also had speakers in some parts of
Southern Italy Southern Italy ( it, Sud Italia or ) also known as ''Meridione'' or ''Mezzogiorno'' (), is a macroregion of the Italian Republic consisting of its southern half. The term ''Mezzogiorno'' today refers to regions that are associated with the pe ...
. The geographical term Illyris (distinct from ''Illyria'') was sometimes used to define approximately the area of northern and central
Albania Albania ( ; sq, Shqipëri or ), or , also or . officially the Republic of Albania ( sq, Republika e Shqipërisë), is a country in Southeast Europe, Southeastern Europe. It is located on the Adriatic Sea, Adriatic and Ionian Seas within the ...
down to the Aoös valley (modern Vjosa), including in most periods much of the lakeland area. In Roman times the terms Illyria / Illyris / Illyricum were extended from the territory that was roughly located in the area of the south-eastern
Adriatic The Adriatic Sea () is a body of water separating the Italian Peninsula from the Balkan Peninsula. The Adriatic is the northernmost arm of the Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by ...
coast (modern Albania and
Montenegro ) , image_map = Europe-Montenegro.svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = , capital = Podgorica , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , official_languages = Mo ...
) and its hinterland, to a broader region stretching between the Adriatic Sea and the
Danube The Danube ( ; ) is a river that was once a long-standing frontier of the Roman Empire and today connects 10 European countries, running through their territories or being a border. Originating in Germany, the Danube flows southeast for , pa ...
, and from the upper reaches of the Adriatic down to the Ardiaei. From about mid-1st century BC the term Illyricum was used by the Romans for the
province A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or sovereign state, state. The term derives from the ancient Roman ''Roman province, provincia'', which was the major territorial and administrative unit of the Roman Empire ...
of the
Empire An empire is a "political unit" made up of several territories and peoples, "usually created by conquest, and divided between a dominant center and subordinate peripheries". The center of the empire (sometimes referred to as the metropole) ex ...
that stretched along the eastern Adriatic coast north of the Drin river, south of which the Roman province of Macedonia began.


Etymology

In
Greek mythology A major branch of classical mythology, Greek mythology is the body of myths originally told by the Ancient Greece, ancient Greeks, and a genre of Ancient Greek folklore. These stories concern the Cosmogony, origin and Cosmology#Metaphysical co ...
, the name of Illyria is aetiologically traced to Illyrius, the son of Cadmus and Harmonia, who eventually ruled Illyria and became the eponymous ancestor of the Illyrians. A later version of the myth identifies Polyphemus and Galatea as parents of Celtus, Galas, and Illyrius. Ancient Greek writers used the name "Illyrian" to describe peoples between the
Liburnians The Liburnians or Liburni ( grc, Λιβυρνοὶ) were an ancient tribe inhabiting the district called Liburnia, a coastal region of the northeastern Adriatic between the rivers ''Arsia'' (Raša (river), Raša) and ''Titius'' (Krka (Croatia), ...
and Epirus. Fourth-century BC Greek writers clearly separated the people along the
Adriatic The Adriatic Sea () is a body of water separating the Italian Peninsula from the Balkan Peninsula. The Adriatic is the northernmost arm of the Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by ...
coast from the Illyrians, and only in the 1st century AD was "Illyrian" used as a general term for all the peoples across the Adriatic. Writers also spoke of "Illyrians in the strict sense of the word"; Pomponius Mela (43 AD) the ''stricto sensu'' Illyrians lived north of the
Taulantii Taulantii or Taulantians ('swallow-men'; Ancient Greek: , or , ; la, Taulantii) were an Illyrians, Illyrian people that lived on the Adriatic coast of southern Illyria (modern Albania). They dominated at various times much of the plain between t ...
and Enchele, on the Adriatic shore;
Pliny the Elder Gaius Plinius Secundus (AD 23/2479), called Pliny the Elder (), was a Roman Empire, Roman author, Natural history, naturalist and Natural philosophy, natural philosopher, and naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and a friend of t ...
used "properly named Illyrians" (''Illyrii proprii/proprie dicti'') for a small people south of Epidaurum, or between Epidaurum (now Cavtat) and Lissus (now Lezhë). In the Roman period, ''Illyricum'', a term which signified a broader region than Illyria, was used for the area between the Adriatic and
Danube The Danube ( ; ) is a river that was once a long-standing frontier of the Roman Empire and today connects 10 European countries, running through their territories or being a border. Originating in Germany, the Danube flows southeast for , pa ...
.


History

The
prehistory Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history between the use of the first stone tools by hominins 3.3 million years ago and the beginning of recorded history with the invention of writing systems. The use of ...
of Illyria and the
Illyrians The Illyrians ( grc, Ἰλλυριοί, ''Illyrioi''; la, Illyrii) were a group of Indo-European-speaking peoples who inhabited the western Balkan Peninsula in ancient times. They constituted one of the three main Paleo-Balkan populations, a ...
is known from archaeological evidence. The Romans conquered the region in 168 BC in the aftermath of the
Illyrian Wars The Illyro-Roman Wars were a series of wars fought between the Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Res publica Romana ) was a form of government of Rome and the era of the ancient Rome, classical Roman civilization when it was run through ...
.


Kingdoms

The earliest recorded Illyrian kingdom was that of the Enchele in the 8th century BC. The era in which we observe other Illyrian kingdoms begins approximately at 400 BC and ends at 167 BC. The Autariatae under Pleurias (337 BC) were considered to have been a kingdom. The Kingdom of the Ardiaei began at 230 BC and ended at 167 BC. The most notable Illyrian kingdoms and dynasties were those of Bardyllis of the
Dardani The Dardani (; grc, Δαρδάνιοι, Δάρδανοι; la, Dardani) or Dardanians were a Paleo-Balkan languages, Paleo-Balkan people, who lived in a region that was named Kingdom of Dardania, Dardania after their settlement there. They were ...
and of Agron of the Ardiaei who created the last and best-known Illyrian kingdom. Agron ruled over the Ardiaei and had extended his rule to other tribes as well. As for the Dardanians, they always had separate domains from the rest of the
Illyrians The Illyrians ( grc, Ἰλλυριοί, ''Illyrioi''; la, Illyrii) were a group of Indo-European-speaking peoples who inhabited the western Balkan Peninsula in ancient times. They constituted one of the three main Paleo-Balkan populations, a ...
. The Illyrian kingdoms were composed of small areas within the region of Illyria. Only the Romans ruled the entire region. The internal organization of the south Illyrian kingdoms points to imitation of their neighbouring Greek kingdoms and influence from the Greek and
Hellenistic In Classical antiquity, the Hellenistic period covers the time in History of the Mediterranean region, Mediterranean history after Classical Greece, between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the emergence of the Roman Empire, as sig ...
world in the growth of their urban centres.
Polybius Polybius (; grc-gre, Πολύβιος, ; ) was a Greek historian of the Hellenistic period. He is noted for his work , which covered the period of 264–146 BC and the Punic Wars in detail. Polybius is important for his analysis of the mixed ...
gives as an image of society within an Illyrian kingdom as peasant infantry fought under aristocrats which he calls in Greek ''Polydynastae'' (Greek: Πολυδυνάστες) where each one controlled a town within the kingdom. The monarchy was established on hereditary lines and Illyrian rulers used marriages as a means of alliance with other powers. Pliny (23–79 AD) writes that the people that formed the nucleus of the Illyrian kingdom were 'Illyrians proper' or Illyrii proprie dicti. They were the
Taulantii Taulantii or Taulantians ('swallow-men'; Ancient Greek: , or , ; la, Taulantii) were an Illyrians, Illyrian people that lived on the Adriatic coast of southern Illyria (modern Albania). They dominated at various times much of the plain between t ...
, the Pleraei, the Endirudini, Sasaei, Grabaei and the
Labeatae The Labeatae, Labeatai or Labeates ( grc, Λαβεᾶται; la, Labeatae) were an Illyrian people A person (plural, : people) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason, morality, consciousness or self-consciousness ...
. These later joined to form the Docleatae.


Roman and Byzantine rule

The Romans defeated Gentius, the last king of Illyria, at Scodra (in present-day Albania) in 168 BC and captured him, bringing him to Rome in 165 BC. Four client-republics were set up, which were in fact ruled by Rome. Later, the region was directly governed by Rome and organized as a
province A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or sovereign state, state. The term derives from the ancient Roman ''Roman province, provincia'', which was the major territorial and administrative unit of the Roman Empire ...
, with Scodra as its capital. The Roman province of ''Illyricum'' replaced the formerly independent kingdom of Illyria. It stretched from the Drilon river in modern
Albania Albania ( ; sq, Shqipëri or ), or , also or . officially the Republic of Albania ( sq, Republika e Shqipërisë), is a country in Southeast Europe, Southeastern Europe. It is located on the Adriatic Sea, Adriatic and Ionian Seas within the ...
to
Istria Istria ( ; Croatian language, Croatian and Slovene language, Slovene: ; ist, Eîstria; Istro-Romanian language, Istro-Romanian, Italian language, Italian and Venetian language, Venetian: ; formerly in Latin and in Ancient Greek) is the larges ...
(
Croatia , image_flag = Flag of Croatia.svg , image_coat = Coat of arms of Croatia.svg , anthem = " Lijepa naša domovino"("Our Beautiful Homeland") , image_map = , map_caption = , capi ...
) in the west and to the Sava river (
Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina ( sh, / , ), abbreviated BiH () or B&H, sometimes called Bosnia–Herzegovina and Pars pro toto#Geography, often known informally as Bosnia, is a country at the crossroads of Southern Europe, south and southeast Euro ...
) in the north. Salona (near modern
Split Split(s) or The Split may refer to: Places * Split, Croatia, the largest coastal city in Croatia * Split Island, Canada, an island in the Hudson Bay * Split Island, Falkland Islands * Split Island, Fiji, better known as Hạfliua Arts, entertain ...
in Croatia) functioned as its capital. After subduing a troublesome
revolt Rebellion, uprising, or insurrection is a refusal of obedience or order. It refers to the open resistance against the orders of an established authority. A rebellion originates from a sentiment of indignation and disapproval of a situation and ...
of Pannonians and Daesitiates, Roman administrators dissolved the province of Illyricum and divided its lands between the new provinces of
Pannonia Pannonia (, ) was a Roman province, province of the Roman Empire bounded on the north and east by the Danube, coterminous westward with Noricum and upper Roman Italy, Italy, and southward with Dalmatia (Roman province), Dalmatia and upper Moesia ...
in the north and
Dalmatia Dalmatia (; hr, Dalmacija ; it, Dalmazia; see #Name, names in other languages) is one of the four historical region, historical regions of Croatia, alongside Croatia proper, Slavonia, and Istria. Dalmatia is a narrow belt of the east shore of ...
in the south. Although this division occurred in 10 AD, the term ''Illyria'' remained in use in
Late Latin Late Latin ( la, Latinitas serior) is the scholarly name for the form of Literary Latin of late antiquity.Roberts (1996), p. 537. English dictionary definitions of Late Latin date this period from the , and continuing into the 7th century in the ...
and throughout the medieval period. After the division of the Roman Empire, the bishops of Thessalonica appointed papal vicars for Illyricum. The first of these vicars is said to have been Bishop Acholius or Ascholius (died 383 or 384), the friend of St. Basil. In the 5th century, the bishops of Illyria withdrew from communion with Rome, without attaching themselves to Constantinople, and remained for a time independent, but in 515, forty Illyrian bishops renewed their loyalty to Rome by declaring allegiance to Pope Hormisdas. The patriarchs of Constantinople succeeded in bringing Illyria under their jurisdiction in the 8th century..


Legacy

The name ''Illyria'' only disappears from the historical record after the Ottoman invasion of the Balkans in the 15th century, and re-emerges in the 17th century, acquiring a new significance in the
Ottoman–Habsburg Wars The Ottoman–Habsburg wars were fought from the 16th through the 18th centuries between the Ottoman Empire and the Habsburg monarchy, which was at times supported by the Kingdom of Hungary, Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, and Habsburg Spai ...
, as Leopold I designated as the "Illyrian nation" the South Slavs in Hungarian territory. The term " Illyrian" was sometimes used for the language they spoke. Several armorials of the Early modern period, popularly called the " Illyrian Armorials", depicted fictional coats of arms of Illyria. The name ''Illyria'' was revived by
Napoleon Napoleon Bonaparte ; it, Napoleone Bonaparte, ; co, Napulione Buonaparte. (born Napoleone Buonaparte; 15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821), later known by his regnal name Napoleon I, was a French military commander and political leader who ...
for the
Illyrian Provinces The Illyrian Provinces sl, Ilirske province hr, Ilirske provincije sr, Илирске провинције it, Province illirichegerman: Illyrische Provinzen, group=note were an Autonomous administrative division, autonomous province of France d ...
that were incorporated into the French Empire from 1809 to 1813, and the Kingdom of Illyria (1816–1849) was part of
Austria The Republic of Austria, commonly just Austria, , bar, Östareich is a country in the southern part of Central Europe, lying in the Eastern Alps. It is a federation of nine States of Austria, states, one of which is the capital, Vienna, ...
until 1849, after which time it was not used in the reorganised
Austro-Hungarian Empire Austria-Hungary, often referred to as the Austro-Hungarian Empire,, the Dual Monarchy, or Austria, was a constitutional monarchy and great power in Central Europe between 1867 and 1918. It was formed with the Austro-Hungarian Compromise ...
. The Illyrian movement was a South Slavic cultural and political campaign by a group of young Croatian and Serbian intellectuals during the first half of the 19th century, that led to Yugoslavism.


In culture

William Shakespeare William Shakespeare ( 26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616) was an English playwright, poet and actor. He is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's nation ...
chose a fictionalized Illyria as the setting for his play '' Twelfth Night''. (In the modernized film spoof '' She's the Man'', this function is served by "Illyria High School" in California.) Shakespeare also mentioned the region in the Part 2 of the play '' Henry VI''. An extensive history of Illyria by Charles du Fresne, sieur du Cange, was published by Joseph Keglevich in 1746. Illyria is the setting for Jean-Paul Sartre's '' Les Mains Sales.''
Lloyd Alexander Lloyd Chudley Alexander (January 30, 1924 – May 17, 2007) was an American author of more than 40 books, primarily fantasy novels for children's literature, children and young adults. Over his seven-decade career, Alexander wrote 48 books, and ...
's ''The Illyrian Adventure'' is set in Illyria in 1872. John Hawkes' 1970 novel '' The Blood Oranges'' is set in a fictionalized Illyria.


See also

* Illyrian Tribes * List of ancient tribes in Illyria * Illyrian language * Proposed Illyrian vocabulary * List of rulers of Illyria *
Illyrian warfare The history of Illyrian warfare of the Illyrians spans from the beginning of the 2nd millennium BC up to the 1st century AD in the region of Illyria and in southern Italy where the Iapygian civilization flourished. It concerns the armed conflicts ...
* Illyricum (Roman province) * Timeline of Illyrian history


References


Citations


Sources

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


External links

* {{Authority control Illyrian Albania Modern history of Slovenia History of Dalmatia History of Serbia Geographic history of Bosnia and Herzegovina Illyrian Montenegro Illyrian Serbia Historical regions