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The Prehistoric Background of Illyrian Albania

  • Anthony Harding
Part of the Warwick Studies in the European Humanities book series

Abstract

The peoples whom the Greeks and Romans called Illyrians occupied an extensive tract of territory bordering on the Adriatic stretching from Epirus in the south and Macedonia in the south-east to Istria in the north. Such a large area naturally contained considerable diversity in its cultural make-up, and the ancients regarded the term ‘Illyrian’ as a wider whole within which smaller tribal groupings were to be discerned — Iapodians, Liburnians, Dalmatians, Taulantii, and others. The earliest references to the Illyrians in the ancient authors emanate from around 500 BC, in the works of Herodotus and Hecataeus, but it is with Thucydides, around 400, that the Illyrians come to occupy a real place on the world stage. One of the causes of the Peloponnesian War was the quarrel between Corcyra and Epidamnus (later Dyrrhachium, modern Durrës). Epidamnus, we are told, lay in territory occupied by the Taulantii, ‘barbarians, an Illyrian people’; the Corcyraeans in their attack ‘took the Illyrians along with them’. The geographers Strabo (c. 54 BC–24 AD) and Pliny the Elder (23–79 AD) give a more detailed account of the disposition of the various tribes, and the latter’s reference to ‘Illyrii proprie dicti’, which seems to separate Illyrians properly so called from a wider grouping of tribes commonly called Illyrian, has caused much discussion.

Keywords

Archaeological Record Burial Form Iron Iron Archaeological Science Dalmatian Coast 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 2.
    A. and S. Sherratt, ‘The archaeology of Indo-European: an alternative view’, Antiquity 62 (1988), pp. 584–95.Google Scholar
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    The most accessible to an English-speaking audience is that by F. Prendi and by N. Hammond in the Cambridge Ancient History revised (2nd) edition, III (1982), pp. 209Google Scholar
  3. S. Islami and H. Ceka, ‘Nouvelles données sur l’antiquité illyrienne en Albanie’, Studia Albanica 1 (1964), pp. 91–137Google Scholar
  4. F. Prendi, ‘Epoka e bronzit në Shqiperi/L’age du bronze en Albanie’, Iliria 7–8 (1977–8), pp. 5–58Google Scholar
  5. 4.
    F. Prendi, ‘La civilisation préhistorique de Maliq’, Studia Albanica 3 (1966), pp. 255–80.Google Scholar
  6. 11.
    M. Korkuti, ‘Die Siedlungen der späten Bronze-und der frühen Eisenzeit in Südwestalbanien’, in B. Hänsel (ed)., Südosteuropa zwischen 1600 und 1000 v. Chr. (Berlin, 1982), pp. 234–53; N. Ceka, ‘Fortifikimet parahistorike ilire’, Monumentet 29 (1985), pp. 27–58.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Tom Winnifrith 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anthony Harding

There are no affiliations available

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