‘Illyrians’ in ancient ethnographic discourse

Danijel Dzino
http://www.easypedia.gr/el

The label ‚Illyrians‘ was used in different contexts, probably developing as an ethnographic generalisation of foreigners related to similar indigenous language(s). In all certainty it developed in the sixth century BC but the evidence we have appears only in the fifth century. Later perceptions of Illyrians arc related to political and territorial contexts, first to the political alliance of the Hellenistic-era Illyrian kingdom, and after that to the Roman use of this term in the context of early imperial expansion.

My best thanks for this excellent work on the Illyrians to the Author, Danijel Dzino, and the Academy https://www.academia.edu/
Dr. Emmanuel Sarides

Illyrians’ in ancient ethnographic discourse
Danijel Dzino*

  1. ‘Real Illyrians’
  2. The earliest perceptions
  3. Illyrians or Liburni
  4. The periploi
  5. Defining Illyrians and Illyria
  6. The making of Illyrians
  7. Less known abbreviations

Knowledge of foreign lands and peoples was important for ancient Greeks and Romans not only to develop perceptions about the world around them, but also as a way to better understand and define their own culture. Ancient ethnography was not a separate literary genre but rather, a discursive accumulation of knowledge, which was used by other ancient discourses such as, for example, historical and geographical. The creation of ancient ethnographic knowledge was a long and complex process of gathering information and transferring it into written discourse. Written discourse then accumulated in ancient archives, which developed in cultural (frequently also political and imperial) centres such as Athens, Alexandria or Rome1, functioning as depositories of ethnographic knowledge. Successive generations of writers would use these depositories of knowledge combining them with new information in accordance with contemporary ideological needs and concerns. In the continuous transfer of information from one context to another, the original information would ultimately lose its original meaning. It would become a reusable and adjustable block of knowledge, ready to be used in different literary genres and ideological contexts.2

The most significant concerns of ancient ethnographers were to describe ‘other peoples’, show their customs and pasts, and position them in space. The positioning of different groups was especially important in the development of ancient cognitive maps of certain regions. These cognitive maps would significantly change, as certain ethnic labels would acquire diverse meanings in changing chronological and political contexts, thus creating difficulties in later attempts to understand what did happen. The terms: ‘Illyrians’, ‘Illyria’ and Illyricum, are probably one of the best examples o such

* Associate Lecturer, Department of Ancient History, Macquarie University, Sydney, danijel.dzino@mq.edu.au
The research for this paper was financially supported by a postdoctoral grant given by the Australian Research Council.
1 See the analysis of the development of ancient Greek literary memory distinguishing the historical phases of ‘Inventing the archives’ , ‘ Building the archives’ and ‘Reading from the archives’ in Whitmarsh (2004), p. 106-158.
2 There is a large corpus of literature, see most recently Woolf (2011); Skinner (2012); Almagor and Skinner (2014).
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re-contextualised geographical and ethnic terms in antiquity. They confused ancient3 as much as modern authors, so it is not surprising that significant scholarly efforts have been devoted to attempts to analyse and explain these changes.4 The majority of authorities assume that this term expanded roughly from the region of the south-eastern Adriatic (modern Albania and Montenegro) with the hinterland, to the whole Roman Illyricum, between the eastern Adriatic and the Danube.5 While understanding the changes, earlier scholarship still lef plenty of space for their interpretations, so this paper will survey the earliest development of the term ‘Illyrians’ in Graeco-Roman sources, rethinking its origins and the reasons for its spread.

‘Real Illyrians’

The question whether the term ‘Illyrians’ (Ιλλυριοί) derives from some eponymous people, or whether it has been applied to the indigenous population as a general term for some other reason, was a cause of some debate in the past. The Roman writers Pliny the Elder and Pomponius Mela mentioned communities on the modern-day Montenegrin and northern Albanian coast, which are “properly called Illyrians” (Illyrii proprie dicti).6 Some scholars tried to locate them, assuming that the sources were referring to the actual people, Illyrii, who provided a name to the wider group, in a similar way as the ethnonyme of the relatively insignificant people of the Graeci was used by the Romans to label all the Hellenes.7 This opinion is today rejected by most scholars for a few reasons. First is the fact that this hypothetical group of ‘original Illyrians’ is never mentioned anywhere else in the sources. The second is a context in which they are mentioned. Pliny says:

… eo namque tractu fuere Labeatae, Senedi, Rudini, Sasaei, Grabaei; proprie dicti Illyri et Taulantii et Pyraei.
(“… this region contained the Labeatae, Senedi, Rudini Sasaei, Grabaei, properly called Illyrians, and Taulantii and Pyraei.”)

Pomponius Mela tells different details, but makes the same point:

3 E.g. Appian, Illyr., 6.
4 The idea that those terms are contextual appears as early as the late 17th century, when pointed out by Ioannes Lucius in his De Regno Dalmatiae et Croatiae, 1.5.149-154; Lučić (1986), p. 222-223. For modern works see Suić (1955), p. 136-149; (1976); Alföldy (1965), p. 33 f; Hammond (1966), p. 241; Wilkes (1969), p. 5 n. 1, p. 161; Šašel Kos (1986), p. 88-95; (2005), p. 219-244. See Dzino (2014) on medieval, early modern and modern perceptions of ‘Illyrians’.
5 Cabanes (1988), p. 17-20 sees the term shrinking through time.
6 Pliny, NH, 3.144; Pomp. Mela, 2.55-56.
7 Alföldy (1965), p. 49-50; Hammond (1966), p. 241, cf. also Šašel Kos (1986) p. 88-92.
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Partheni et Dassaretae prima tenent: sequentia Taulantii, Encheleae, Phaeaces. Dein sunt quos proprie Illyrios vocant
(“Te Parthenes and Dassaretae come first, follow the Taulanti, Enchelei, Phaeaci. From there are these (who are) properly called Illyrians”).

Taking all of this into account, a broad consensus emerged in more recent scholarship viewing the ‘properly called Illyrians’ from Pliny and Mela as a memory of the Illyrian kingdom known in the sources from ca.
fourth century until 167 BC, in particular its core-region around the gulf of Boka Kotorska and the lake of Scodra, dominated in the conquest period by groups known from the sources as the Ardiaei and Labeatae.8 Most earlier cited scholars are of the opinion that Pliny and Mela used later sources, but there is also the opinion that those Roman writers were following a literary tradition stretching as early as Hecataeus of Miletus.9

The earliest perceptions

Perceptions of the indigenous population of the central and western parts of the Balkan Peninsula in the Greek written and epigraphic sources are familiar with the ethnonyme ‘Illyrian’ from the fifth century BC. We cannot say with certainty what criteria were initially used to define this group, or how and why the term Illyrians started to be used to describe the indigenous population. The origin of the term ‘Illyrians’ also remains unknown, and open to different linguistic speculations, none of which are truly convincing. Mayer thought that the term ‘Illyrians’ came from the obscure Greek words ἰλλίς and ἰλλός (twisted, crooked) preserved only in a fifth century AD lexicon of rare words by Hesychius of Alexandria. According to him these words were related to the symbols for serpents and the cult of the serpent amongst ‘Illyrian’ communities. Other scholars, such as Oštir, thought that the word Illyrians derived from the pre-Indo-European word for snake ilur-, or that the terms Ἰλλυριοί/Hilurii are etymologically linked with Ὑλλεῖς i.e. Hylloi, as von Hahn argued.10
The earliest descriptions mentioning ‘Illyrians’ appear in two overlapping contexts: the descriptions of the eastern Adriatic coast and coastal communities, and the descriptions of the Macedonian and Greek western/north-western neighbours.

The earliest perceptions of the indigenous population are preserved in the fragments of Hecataeus who was writing in the late sixth/early fifth century BC. Stephanus

8 Katičić (1964); (1965); Papazoglou (1965), p. 177; Suić (1976); Pająkowski (1980); Šašel Kos (2005), p. 231-233.
9 Matijašić (2011), p. 291-293, 298-299, 309, before him Suić (1955), p. 137-138, 146; (1976), p. 184.
10 Mayer (1958), p. 54; Oštir (1921), p. 67; von Hahn (1853), p. 231. Von Hahn relied on Farlati (1751), p. 2-3.
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of Byzantium cited Hecataeus in his lexicon Ethnica mentioning Iapygia, the city in Italy and Illyria.11 Iapygia in Illyria has never been located, and most scholars assumed that Hecataeus and/or Stephanus mixed up Iapygia and the indigenous Iapodes from the Adriatic hinterland (modern Lika and the valley of Una). So, we cannot say with absolute certainty from this fragment whether the notion of Illyria existed in Hecataeus’ mind as a territorially defined space, or might rather be the result of Stephanus’ later explanation.12 The confusion about these terms is understandable as the ethnonymes ‘Iapodes/Iapydes/Iapudes’ might have been used to describe different groups in the North Adriatic region, such as the Iapudes mentioned on the Iguvine tablets in Umbria.13

The fragments of Hecataeus also mention Oidantes as an ‘ Illyrian’ city, the Chelidones as an ‘Illyrian’ ethnos and the Orgomenae, ‘situated in Illyria’.14 Similar to the earlier mentioned ‘Iapygia in Illyria’ , these references do not show decisively that the term ‘Illyrian’ was used in the original: Οἰδάντιον, πόλις Ἰλλυριῶν. Θεόπομπος Φιλιππικῶν τριακοστῷ ὀγδόῷ. τὸ ὲθνικὸν Οἰδάντες, ὥς φησιν Ἑκαταῖος (“Oidantion, Illyrian city. Teopompus in (the) thirty-eighth (book) oφ Philipica. The ethnic name Oidantes, as Hecateus says”), Χελιδόνιοι, ἔθνος Ἰλλυρικῶν. Ἑκαταῖος Εὐρώπῃ. Σεσαρηθίων πρὸς βορέω οἰκέουσι Χελιδόνιοι (“Chelidonians. An Illyrian people. Hecataeus in “Europe”. Chelidonians live to the north of (the) Sesarethians”) and Ὀργάμη, πόλις ἐπὶ τῷ Ἴστρῳ. Ἑκαταῖος Εὐρώπῃ. εἰσὶ καὶ Ὀργομεναὶ, πόλις Ἰλλυρίας (“Orgame, city on the Istros. Hecateus in ‘Europe’ . There is also the Orgomenae, city in Illyria”).

Stephanus does draw information from Hecataeus, there is no doubt about it, but situating these places ‘in Illyria’ and defining the groups as ‘Illyrian’ was not necessarily what Stephanus saw in Hecataeus. Stephanus’ entry on Aeginium in Epirus provides a useful comparative example. Aeginium in Ethnica is described as an ‘Illyrian city’ and Strabo is quoted as an authority. Strabo, however, does not place Aeginium in Illyria, nor does he explicitly say that it is an Illyrian city, but includes it in the lists of cities in

11 Steph. Byz., 322.11-13 s.v. Ἰαπυγία (FGrHist 1 F86, 97): Ἰαπυγία. δύο πόλεις, μία ἐν τῇ Ίταλίᾳ καὶ ἑτέρα ἐν τῇ Ἰλλυρίδι. ὡς Ἑκαταῖος. τὸ ὲθνικὸν Ἰάπυξ, καὶ Ἰαπύγιος καὶ Ἰαπυγία (Iapygia. Τwo cities: one in Italy and the other in Illyria. As Hecataeus (writes). Te ethnic is Iapyx, Iapigios and Iapygia).
12 See the debates in Čače (1987/88), p. 79; Suić (1975a), p. 110; Benac (1988); Kozličić (1990), p. 44; Olujić (2007), p. 65-67; Matijašić (2011), p. 296-297.
13 Tabulae Iguvinae, 1b 17, 6b 54, 58-9, 7a 12, 47-8; Devoto (1940), p. 64, 96, 275; Poultney (1959), p. 165, 275. Different Iapodes: Vedaldi Iasbez (1994), p. 267; Olujić (2007), p. 67-69, cf. Čače (1987/88), p. 79-80.
14 Steph. Byz., 485.1-2 s.v. Οἰδάντιον (=FGrHist 1 F98); 690.11-12 s.v. Χελιδόνιοι (=FGrHist 1 F100); 494.16-17 s.v. Ὀργάμη FGrHist 1 F 172, see Matijašić (2011), p. 297-298.
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Epirus15. Furthermore, if Hecataeus defined Illyrians and Illyria more closely, Stephanus would probably state that in his entry on Illyrians, which curiously says that Illyria is a country neighbouring the Pangaean hills.16 Although Stephanus does not mention his source in this, it is not impossible to speculate that this definition of Illyria as a land behind the Pangaean hills might have been one of the earliest Greek perceptions of Illyrians and Illyria. While Hecataeus is the earliest known author to provide information about the eastern Adriatic coast, the assumption that Pliny and Pomponius Mela used Hecataeus as their source for the term
Illyrii proprie dicti seems a bit far-fetched in light of the evidence.

From the fifth century BC, we have Illyrians in the written testimonies of Herodotus and Thucydides. Herodotus does not mention Illyria as a defined space, but does mention Illyrians a few times, and is the earliest preserved source to do so. He describes them as the inhabitants of the upper valley of the river Angrus (Ibar), south of the Triballi who inhabited the valley of Morava.17 Illyrians in Herodotus appear a few more times. He also notes certain marriage customs amongst the ‘Illyrian Eneti’ . From the context it is not clear whether Herodotus refers to the Veneti in the northern Adriatic, who are clearly too far from any area associated with the Illyrians, or to the Illyrian Eneti who lived near the Dardani on the Macedonian border, which seems a much more plausible explanation.18
He tells the story of the banishment of the Argive brothers to the Illyrians, from where they went to Macedonia to establish the royal dynasty, which might well be part of a myth of origins of the Macedonian royal house. Herodotus also knew of the prophecy of the Illyrian sack of Delphi.19
Similar to Herodotus, Thucydides mentioned Illyrians, rather than Illyria. The Taulantii, whom he described as Illyrian ethnos, played an important role in inter-Greek conflicts as the allies of the Corcyreans in 436 BC. Illyrians also, as the allies of Arrabeus, the king of Lyncus, won a victory against the Macedonian king Perdiccas and the Spartan leader Brasidas, east of the Lyncestian lakes

15 Steph. Byz., 43.11 s.v. Αἰγίνιον, quoting Strabo, 7.7.9
16 Steph. Byz., 331.6-7 s.v. Ἰλλυρία: Ἰλλυρία χώρα πλησίον Παγαἰου. Tηese are located in Aegean Trace and were known in antiquity by rich gold mines.
17 Hdt., 4.49, see Matijašić (2011), p. 301-303.
18 Hdt., 1.196, cf. Hdt., 5.9.2 where he mentions ‘the Eneti that live on the Adriatic’ . Te Eneti are noted by name in App., Mith., 55 as a people bordering Macedonia, together with the Dardani and Sinti, against whom Sulla marched in 84 BC, cf. Katičić (1991), p. 96. Šašel Kos (2005), p. 235 places Herodotus’ Eneti loosely in the hinterland of the southern Adriatic coast, similarly Matijašić (2011), p. 300-301. On the other hand, Cabanes and Wilkes see Herodotus’ Eneti as the Veneti from the northern Adriatic, Cabanes (1988), p. 17-18; Wilkes (1992), p. 93-94.
19 Hdt., 8.137; 9.43; Matijašić (2011), p. 303.
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(Ohrid and Prespa).20 There are also two mentions of Illyrians in Athenian drama, one in a fragment of Sophocles’ lost tragedy Triptolemus, referring to someone ‘of Illyrian birth’, and the mention of ‘shrieking Illyrians’ in Aristophanes’ comedy Birds.21

The earliest references to ‘Illyrians’ in the epigraphic sources are dated to the fifth century. Two Illyrian slaves of the metic Kephisodoros from Piraeus, condemned in the affair of the mutilation of the Hermae in Athens 415 BC, had been sold in the auction conducted 414/413 BC, amongst his other confiscated personal property.22 An ‘Illyrian’ bronze helmet from Lesbos (κράνος ἐγ Λέσβο Ἰλλυρικὸν χαλκοῦν) has been listed as the property of the Parthenon in the inventories of sacred objects handed over by responsible officials to their successors, which are also known as the traditiones.23 There is also a very damaged Athenian proxenian decree from roughly the same time, mentioning one ΙΛΛΥ[ΡΙ/ON](?).24 A fragmentary inscription of an Athenian proxenian decree from c. 423 BC honoured a non-Greek person and his sons, including one named Grabus, which was probably a name of indigenous origines. Whether this decree mentioned Illyrians by name, as is usually thought, or the Epidamnians as Rendić-Miočević suggested, is very difficult to ascertain from a large lacuna in line 4.25

The fourth century provides more evidence that the term ‘Illyrians’ is already well-established in Greek literary and epigraphic discourse of the time. The contemporary written sources from the later fourth century BC mention Illyrians as a loose description of the Macedonian neighbours. It can be seen in the First Olynthiac oration of Demosthenes, who mentions the campaigns of Philip II of Macedon against the Illyrians and Peonians. In the same period belongs the writing of pseudo-Aristotle who mentioned fighting between Illyrians ‘called Ardiaei’ with the Autariatae for salt springs.26 The epigraphy mentions the

20 Thucydides, 1.24-26 (cf. Diod. Sic., 12.30.2-5); 4.124-125, see Matijašić (2011), p. 305-308.
21 TrGF 4 F 601; Ar., Birds, 1520-22, see Matijašić (2011), p. 304-309 who underlines the motif of the Illyrian battle-cry in Aristophanes and Thucydides 4.127.1 as an important indication of what might have been traces of early Greek perceptions of the indigenous population.
22 Ιλλυριός IG 1 2 329, l. 20, 24; SGHI 1.79, l. 20, 24; SEG 13.12, l. 39, 43. For the mutilation of the Hermae and the trials that followed see Tucydides, 6.27-28, 60.
23 It is probably mentioned for the first time in the 427/26 BC list,
SEG
24.38, l. 22; Hill (1966), p. 333-335. Meritt (1961), p. 240-241, cf. SEG
21.66 corrected original reading from IG 1 2 280, l. 87; 282, l. 123-24; 283, l. 139; 287, l. 194-195; SGHI 1.69, l. 42.
24 IG 1 2 151, l. 3; Rendić-Miočević (1989), p. 36.
25 IG 1 2 72; IG 1 3 162; SEG 10.88; 32.5; Rendić-Miočević (1989), p. 36, 95-101, see also Walbank (1978), p. 231-237 (n°44), and De Simone (1993), p. 56, who dates it to 433/432 BC.
26 Dem., Or., 1.13; Mir. Ausc., 138 (844b).
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treaty the Athenians concluded against Philip II, with Cetriporis the Thracian, Lyppeus the Paeonian, and Grabus the ‘Illyrian’ in 356 BC.27
There is also the inscription from Cyrene in North Africa, which is dated to the second part of the fourth century, c. 330-326 BC. The inscription records a list of the cities and significant persons (Olympias, mother of Alexander, and her daughter Cleopatra) in Greece and Macedonia, and the quantity of grain they received from Cyrene in times of famine in Greece. This inscription records that the Illyrians received 3,000 medimni of corn (Ἰλυριοῖς τρισχηλίος). However, scholars disagree whether ‘Ilyrios’ from the inscription meant ‘Illyrians’, or was a dialect Form vor the Elyrians, the inhabitants of city of Elyrus on Crete.28

Illyrians became much more present in the Greek world, due to the conflicts between the Macedonians and Illyrians in the fourth century, especially in the era of Philip II and Alexander. Most of these are reported in second hand sources such as Diodorus Siculus, but there is no reason to dispute the use of the term Illyrians, which was, as we saw earlier, undoubtedly widely present in Greek popular and literary discourse in the fourth century BC.29 Diodorus provides very valuable details of the Greek colonisation of the central Adriatic islands Vis (Issa) and Hvar (Pharos) in the early fourth century BC, corresponding with the expansion of Syracusan ambitions in the Adriatic under Dionysius I. He recorded the Greek conflict at Pharos with the indigenous population from the mainland in 385/4 BC, whom he calls ‘Illyrians’ . These Illyrians might well be the Iadasinoi from the Liburnian city of Iader (modern Zadar), mentioned on the inscription found on the island of Hvar, which celebrates the triumph of the Pharians over the ‘Iadasinoi and their allies’.30 There is also an inscription from the central Adriatic island of Vis dated to the fourth century BC, showing that the

27 IG 2 2 127; SGHI 2.157, cf. Diod. Sic., 16.22.3, and Rhodes and Osborne (2003), p. 254-258 (n°53). Grabus also made an alliance with the Chalcidians in the same year, which is also recorded on the inscription, Robinson (1938), p. 44-47.
28 SEG 9.2, l. 55; SGHI 2.196, l. 55, see Rhodes and Osborne (2003), p. 486-493 (n°96) with literature. Žebelev (non videm) and Oliverio (1933), p. 29-35 read ‘Elyrians’, while Tod (SGHI 2, p. 275) and Rendić-Miočević (1989), p. 29-44, after Willamovitz, both read ‘Illyrians’ . Tod sees them as the Adriatic Greeks, while Rendić-Miočević regards them as indigenous population.
29 Diod. Sic., 14.92.3; 15.19.2; 16.2.2 (the defeat or defeats of Philip’ s Father Amyntas); 15.13.1-3 (Illyrian raid on Epirus in alliance with Dionysius I, 385 BC), 16.1-5; 16.22.3 (Philip’ s wars with Illyrians) etc. Teopompus was certainly one of the most important writers describing Philip’ s wars with Illyrians in the second book of his Philippike (cf. Athen., 10.443a-b, FGrHist 115 F39).
30 Diod. Sic., 15.13-14.1; CIG 2.1837c; BE 1953, p. 147-148 (n°122); Čače (1993/94), p. 44-52; Stylianou (1998), p. 193-196; Jeličić-Radonić (2005); or a wider context. The Iadastinoi are recognised as the inhabitants of Iader by Suić (1975b) but this inscription does not necessarily relate to the events of 385/384, cf. Čače (1993/94), p. 48-52.
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indigenous population from the mainland were seen as ‘Illyrians’ by the Greek colonists. The inscription celebrates one Kalias, who died fighting the indigenous population. The term ‘Illyrians’ is used twice, once as ‘Illyrian ship’ (or land) and the second time as ‘Illyrian land’ (Ἰλλυριον γῆς).31

Illyrians or Liburni

It seems that the Greek perception of the indigenous population of the eastern Adriatic had different narratives, and that the term ‘Illyrians’ was not the only term in existence, but that it became popular over time. Digressing from his narrative of Roman civil wars, Appian mentioned how the ‘piratical’ Liburni expelled the Taulantii to take rule over Epidamnus/Dyrrachium (Durrës in Albania), only to be expelled later by the Corcyreans when they established a colony in 627 BC. The geographer Strabo tells the story how Bacchiad Chersicrates, the Corinthian founder of Corcyra, expelled the Liburni from the island before establishing this colony, an event which is traditionally dated to 733 BC. In addition to these, Apollonius of Rhodes mentioned three Liburnian islands in the central Adriatic, one of which is Vis. Teopompus knew that Ladeste (Lastovo) was a Liburnian island and Pliny reports that the Liburni had controlled Picenum in Italy in the past, and Vergil mentions the “guarded innermost kingdoms of the Liburni” (intima tutus regna liburnorum) in the Adriatic.32 These unconnected sources gave the impression in earlier scholarship that the Liburni from the historically known Liburnia in the north-eastern Adriatic dominated the Adriatic Sea before Greek colonisation in the fourth century. We can see the idea developed clearly first in Lucius’ De Regno, and later significantly expanded in Danielle Farlati’ s Illyricum Sacrum from 1751.33 It became known as the ‘Liburnian thalassocracy’.34

There are a few serious problems with this construction. Archaeological finds do not show the existence of significant social and state institutions in Liburnia, which

31 BE 1953, p. 148 (n°123); SEG 31.604; 55.651, Rendić-Miočević (1987), p. 27-29; (1989), p. 103-109; Jeličić-Radonić (2005), p. 323-325.
32 App., B. civ., 2.39; Strabo, 6.2.4; Apol. Rhodes, Arg., 4.562-66; Teopompus ap. Steph. Byz., s.v. άδεστα ἢ Λάδεστον (FGrHist 115 F131); Pliny,
NH, 3.110; Verg., Aen., 1.243-244.
33 De Regno, 1.5.160-219; Lučić (1986), p. 224-227; Farlati (1751), p. 6-20.
34 Hammond (1967), p. 414-426, cf. Suić (1953); Wilkes (1969), p. 4; (1992), p. 200-201, 60; Stipčević (1989), p. 31-32; Katičić (1995), p. 183-198; Zaninović (1995), p. 292-301, 322-324; Cabanes (2008), p. 163-164. Šašel Kos (2005), p. 183-186 suspects the stories about the Liburni in Epidamnus/Dyrrachium and on Corcyra, but accepts their domination and settlement over the central Adriatic.
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would support a political infrastructure that would enable Adriatic-domination in the early and mid-Iron Ages. Neither is there more abundant material evidence which would show strong connections between Liburnia and the central Adriatic islands, or Corcyra and Epidamnus in the southern Adriatic. It is only established, with a reasonable quantity of material evidence, that Liburnia and Picenum on the Italian coast did have close and important Iron Age connections through the islands of the Kvarner gulf.35 A joint cultural habitus
known as the Eastern Adriatic cultural koine existed in the late Bronze Age, and remains visible in the early Iron Age material record, especially in typologies of objects such as fibulae, pottery or jewellery. This koine even included parts of the Italian coast, such as Picenum. However, the unity of the Adriatic koine was increasingly diversifying into distinctive regional types; although it was still visible in the seventh and sixth century archaeological record as far as the central and southern Dalmatian coast.36

The study of Čače, however, challenged the assumption of the Liburnian thalassocracy and enabled far-reaching conclusions by approaching the problem from a different perspective. After reconsidering the existing evidence, he postulated that the stories of the Liburni in the southern Adriatic must be anachronistically inserted. Čače assumed that the origin of these stories lays in the conflicts, which probably occurred between the Corcyreans and indigenous population in the northern Adriatic, as the Corcyreans tried to control maritime routes with the valley of the river Po, in the sixth and fifh century BC. Thus, in his opinion, the Liburni received a negative image through those conflicts with the Corcyreans and were discursively constructed as ‘pirates and the enemies of the Greeks’ in the Greek perception. Čače accordingly redefined the notion of ‘Liburnian thalassocracy’ , from political domination of the Liburni, into a more acceptable label as an indigenous system of Adriatic sea-connections.37
Historical memories of such perceptions might have been preserved in some Roman authors. Florus uses the words ‘Illyrians’ and ‘Liburni’ as synonyms: “Illyrians or Liburni” (Illyrii seu Liburni). Pliny shows that the Enchelei from the Lake of Ochrid, one of the oldest-known Illyrian groups, were perceived as the ‘ Liburni’ in the past.38 In other words, it seems that

35 Briquel (1987), cf. also Suić (1953); Blečić (2007).
36 Batović (1976); (1987), p. 347-350; (2004), p. 30-45, 48-51, 59-61 (Batović’ s phases I-II, even III of Liburnian cultural group); Čović (1987), p. 479 (central Dalmatia); Marijan (1999), p. 151 (SE Adriatic south of Neretva). See also Barbarić (2006) for slightly later graves on the island o Brač.
37 Čače (2002), p. 96-97, cf. Beaumont (1936), p. 165: “Tere is indication that the name was once used of natives south of the later Liburnia”.
38 Flor., Ep., 1.21; Pliny, NH, 3.139: “Part of these (Liburni) have been Mentores, Himani, Enchelei, Bulini, and those whom Callimachus called Peucetii, and which is all now commonly called Illyricum.“ (Pars eius fuere Mentores,
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the label ‘Liburni’ was attached to the wider group of indigenous communities in the northern and central Adriatic, which were hostile to the Corcyrean advance, and some of which were led in the early fourth century by the Iadastinoi from the Liburnian city of Iader, mentioned above.

Different Greek perceptions of indigenous populations from the Eastern Adriatic would probably be visible in Teopompus, if his work was preserved. On one hand he used the term ‘Liburnian islands’ , when describing the Adriatic islands, as mentioned in Pseudo-Scymnus. In these ‘Liburnian islands’ he included Lastovo from the central Adriatic, as we can see from the note in Stephanus of Byzantium. This implies that his term ‘Liburnian islands’ was used for central Adriatic islands as well, as Katičić convincingly argued.39 On the other hand, this author in book 21 of his Philippike also told the story about the mythological origins of the term ‘Ionian sea’, used to describe the southern Adriatic. According to this story, the name derived from one Ionius, a semi-mythological person who belonged to the ‘Illyrian people’ (γένος Ἰλλυριοῦ), and who ruled over Issa.40 We can establish from epigraphy (the epitaph of Kalias, mentioned earlier) with reasonable certainty that central Adriatic Greeks perceived the indigenous population as ‘Illyrians’, not as Liburni, so it seems that Katičić was right when he assumed that the term ‘Illyrian’ was applied to Ionius originally by Teopompus, not by later authors. That would support the assumption that the term ‘Illyrian’ was well-established throughout the fourth century as a label for the indigenous population in the central and southern Adriatic, while the term ‘Liburni’ withdrew into historical memory. It was used onwards only to describe the inhabitants of the Ravni Kotari in the hinterland of Zadar and the gulf of Kvarner, who are in the historical period called Liburni. In addition to this, it would be important to note the opinion of Vattuone, who convincingly argued that

Himani, Encheleae, Bulini et quos Callimachus Peucetios appellat, nunc totum uno nomine Illyricum vocatur generatim). It is believable that those of Callimachus’ Peucetii are Peucetii from Apulia in southern Italy, but it is doubtful whether he refers to the Bulini from the neighborhood of Apollonia, or Boulinoi from the later period. On the Enchelei see Katičić (1995), p. 199-210; Šašel Kos (1993).

39 Teopomp. ap. Scymn., Perieg., 370-74; ap. Steph. Byz, 269.3-5 s.v.
Λάδεστα ἢ Λάδεστον (FGrHist 115 F130-31); Katičić (1995), p. 183-189.
40 Teopomp. ap. schol ad Rhod., 4.308; ap. schol. ad Pind. Pyth., 3.120C; ap. schol. ad Lycophr. 631; ap. Strabo, 7.5.9 (FGrHist 115 F128a-c, 129); Katičić (1995), p. 161-181. See also Kozličić (1990), p. 59-71 and Vattuone (2000) on Teopompus’ description of the Adriatic. The historicity of Ionius is disputed, especially taking into account coins with the overprint IONIO(S) minted at Issa between 344 and 330 BC (Visonà 2010, p. 32-33), and the inscription from Vis calling Issa ‘the island of Ionius’ (Brunšmid 1898, p. 30 [n°26]), see Rendić-Miočević (1989), p. 245-259; Nikolanci (1989); Katičić (1995), p. 188-189; Šašel Kos (2005), p. 544-546

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Teopompus presented the Adriatic sea as a mirror of the Black Sea, as a single geo- political region inhabited by ‘barbarians’ who shared a similar culture.41

The periploi

Important evidence for the Greek perception of the indigenous population as ‘Illyrians’ is preserved in Hellenistic geographical writings known today under the names of Pseudo-Scylax and Pseudo-Scymnus. The
Periplus of Pseudo-Scylax, initially wrongly attributed to the navigator Scylax of Caryatis from the sixth century BC, was compiled from different works in the 330’ s BC. Chapters 21-27 describing the eastern Adriatic coast mention the Greek settlements of Issa and Pharos, and thus they could not be older than their Foundation, in the early fourth century BC. The Periegesis of Pseudo-Scymnus was ascribed to the otherwise unknown Scymnus of Chios. This work was compiled in the late second century BC, but with a significant quantity of information originating from an earlier period.42 Both of these sources described communities inhabiting the eastern Adriatic coast in some detail, and ofen corresponded with each other. They preserved the names of the indigenous groups which were known to the Greeks in the fifth and fourth century BC, some of which disappeared from the later sources.43 In Müller’ s edition of Pseudo-Scylax from GGM, the inhabitants of the coast between the Liburni and Chaonia are called ‘Illyrians’ : the Hierastamnoi (Iadasinoi),44 Boullinoi, Hyllaei, Nestoi, Manioi, Autariatas Enkheleis, Taulantioi. The term ἔθνος Ἰλλυρικών (or Ἰλλυρίων) is used generally – describing Illyrians as a wider community, while the smaller groups such as Bulinoi, Manioi, Autariatae, Enchelei, Taulantii are labelled as ‘Illyrian’ (or ‘Illyric’, as Shipley translates it) communities.45 The Croatian scholar Suić made an alternative reconstruction of the text, arguing that this wider definition of ‘Illyrians’ was later interpolation, when the term ‘Illyrians’ spread through

41 Vattuone (2000), especially p. 17-27, but also passim.
42 Scylacis Caryandensis Periplus maris ad littora habitata Europae at Asiae et Lybiae, GGM 1, p. 15-96; Peretti (1979); Marcotte (1986); Counillon (2004), p. 24-39, and Shipley (2011). Anonymi (Scymni Chii ut fertur) Orbis Descriptio, GGM 1: p. 296-237; Marcotte (2000), p. 1-102.
43 Ps-Scylax, 21-27; Ps-Scymnus, 369-443; Wilkes (1969), p. 3-6; (1992), p. 94-102; Kozličić (1990), p. 73-128, 144-66; Šašel Kos (2005), p. 237. Detailed analysis of Pseudo-Scylax’ s description of the eastern Adriatic coast can also be found in Suić (1955); Peretti (1979), p. 219-37; Luni (1999), p. 33-39, Counillon (2006); Kaljanac (2009) and Šašel Kos (2013).
44 Corrected into the Iadasinoi: Peretti (1979), p. 224-228, 238; Counillon (2006), p. 23; Shipley (2011), p. 106.
45 Ps-Scylax 22.1 (generally); 22.3 (Bulinoi) 24.1 (Manioi, Autariatae) 25.1 (Enchelei) 26.2 (Taulantii).
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the Adriatic coast onto communities initially perceived as non-Illyrian.46
Suić, however, worked under the assumption that there was once the original text of the periplus of the late archaic period, which was filled with later interpolations and additions and finally revised in the 330s BC. Tis opinion is today untenable, and a strong argument is put forward to believe that Pseudo-Scylax was a single compilation of different sources put together afer 337 and probably before 335 BC. Te author saw the world from a pro-Athenian position, but it does not necessarily mean that he was Athenian.47 So, it seems believable that the description of the eastern Adriatic coast, which the author of Pseudo-Scylax included in his work, indeed perceived the indigenous inhabitants between Liburnia and Chaonia as ‘Illyrians’.48 This corresponds with the earlier discussed evidence that the Greek-speaking settlers in Issa and Pharos perceived the indigenous population from the mainland as ‘Illyrians’, in the fourth century BC.

Pseudo-Scymnus’ description gives a slightly different picture of the indigenous population. The most important difference is the territorial perception of ‘Illyrian land’ (Ἰλλυρὶς γῆ) in line 415. To be sure, pseudo-Scymnus does not explicitly say who these Illyrian peoples might be or what the geographical extension of ‘Illyrian land’ was, except that it includes the Adriatic coast and its hinterland. As this passage (lines 415-25) comes after the description of the Hylloi and Boulinoi, it can be only assumed that the term ‘Illyrian land’ relates to the coast south of the Bay of Kašteli, probably the largest extent of political influence, which the Hellenistic Illyrian kingdom had in the third and second century BC. This corresponds with the perception of Erasthotenes (276-195 BC), who defines ‘Illyrians’ in the third book of his Geography, as a population south of the Nestoi, who inhabited the coast from the Cetina to the Neretva rivers.49 The description of Illyrians in Pseudo-Scymnus (lines 415-25) shows a level of indigenous sophistication and social complexity, corresponding well with this period of the Illyrian kingdom.50

46 Suić (1955), supported generally by Šašel Kos (2005), p. 237. Kaljanac (2009), p. 49-50 argues that the term ‘ Illyrian community’ was a geo-religious term, which is questionable taking into account how little we know about indigenous spiritual life.
47 A similar opinion to Suić is argued later by Peretti (1979) and Garzón Díaz (1998/99). However, the argument that Pseudo-Scylax is an ‘original’ compilation is much more convincing, see Counillon (1998), p. 124; (2004), p. 24-27; Marcotte (1986), p. 170-173; Shipley (2008), p. 282-283; (2011), p. 4-8.
48 Whether this perception was also in some way related to the political alliance of these communities in the southern Adriatic, known as the Illyrian kingdom in the third century is doubted by Counillon (2006), p. 23 n. 25.
49 Schol. ad Apol. Rhod. 4.1215.
50 See Marcotte (2000), p. 203.
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Defining Illyrians and Illyria

The third and second century BC perceptions of the indigenous population show the term ‘Illyrians’ applied to the indigenous political institutions known as the ‘Illyrian kingdom’. In the 1960s scholarly dispute arose between Hammond and Papazoglou, focusing on the nature of the ‘Illyrian kingdom’. Papazoglou argued that it is possible from available sources to establish a dynastic and state continuity of the kingdom between the fourth and second century BC. Hammond challenged this conclusion, pointing out that the sources in fact show shifing centres of power in this period, which would be difficult to imagine in a unified state-formation, as imagined by Papazoglu. The argument of Hammond gained more credibility in later scholarship, being improved by discussions of Carlier and Cabanes.51 The revision of the view on the ‘Illyrian kingdom’ shows us that indigenous communities established loose political alliances which were led by the strongest group of the moment. The Greek sources perceived this leader as the ‘king’ of Illyrians. However, the later third century shows rising political sophistication within this alliance, so we can even talk about an Ardiaean and especially a Labeatan dynasty of Illyrian kings. Apart from the Ardiaei and Labeatae, the sources from the period of the Roman conquest and provincial reorganisation show a significant number of regional political identities within the wider Illyrian group.52 In the same chronological context, we can see the notion of ‘Illyrian land’ from Scymnus and the inscription of Kalias becomes defined as Illyris-Illyria (Ἰλλυρίς). The first mention that we know of is by Theophrastus in De Causis Plantarum 4.5.2, written in the late fourth/early third century BC.

In this period the earliest mentions of the term ‘Illyrians’ in Latin appear. In literary discourse, the comedian Plautus introduces the character of Sycophanta (the Sharper) at the beginning of scene two of act four of his comedy Trinummus. Sycophanta is distinguished by his mushroom-looking hat, which gave him a specific ‘Illyrian look’ (hilurica facies) – obviously a term well-known to Plautus’ audience. Cato the Elder in the fifth book of his Origines, written in the first part of the second century BC, mentioned the phrase ‘in front of Illyrian land’ (pro agro Illyrio), according to Aulus Gellius.53 In the Latin epigraphic record Illyrians are mentioned twice before the first century BC. The Fasti Triumphales, in the context of celebration of Roman triumphs over the Illyrian

51 Papazoglou (1965); (1988); Hammond (1966); Carlier (1987); Cabanes (1988), 87-89, cf. also Šašel Kos (2002), p. 110-14; (2005), p. 238-39 and Dzino (2010), p. 45.
52 For example App., Illyr., 16 drawing on memoirs of Augustus, or Pliny,
NH, 3.142-44.
53 Plaut., Trinummus, l. 851-53; Aul. Gel., 11.3.2.
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kingdom, entitled these triumphs as ex Illyrieis (228 BC), and de rege (Gen)fio et Illurieis (167 BC).54 The later Roman administrative term Illyricum, which appears with the lex Vatinia legislated in 59 BC, most certainly developed from the original phrase regnum Illyricum, referring to the Illyrian kingdom from the third and early second century BC.55

More familiarity of the ancient Mediterraneans with the eastern Adriatic hinterland results in this more complex ethnographic picture. At the beginning of the first century BC, Alexander Polyhistor wrote the now lost treaty on Illyria. Its date of composition, however, shows that it can only represent an Illyria of Hellenistic times, corresponding with the borders of the former Illyrian kingdom.56 Strabo and Appian, Greek-writing authors from the Roman empire, relying on earlier sources show a similarly clear demarcation of the western and northern reaches of ‘Illyrians’ , which are not shown in earlier sources. Te north-western neighbours of the ‘Illyrians’ appear to be defined as the group they both called ‘Pannonians’: the Pannonii (Παννόνιοι) in Strabo, Paiones (Παίονες) in Appian.57
We cannot be absolutely certain whether Appian was thinking in this context of the Pannonii or the Paeones from the north of ancient Macedonia (modern FRY Macedonia, and western Bulgaria).58 There is a curious ongoing mix-up between the Paeones/Paiones and the Pannonii
and Pannonians in the Greek-language literature, which certainly derives from this period, or even earlier. Appian and Cassius Dio both stated that Paiones is the Greek name for Pannonians, whom the Romans call Pannonii. Dio added that the terms Pannonii and Paiones were self-designations of both groups in his time. The use of the term ‘Paiones’ for the Pannonii and Pannonians remained much more entrenched in the Greek-language literature until the late Empire, than was Παννόνιοι,59
although Pannonia, not ‘Paeonia’ , was the name for the province and the region.

54 Insc. It., 13/1: 78-79, 81. The Fasti triumphales Urbisalviensis from the town of Urbisalvia commemorate the triumph of Anicius Gallus from 167 BC as de rege Gentio and Hiluriis, cf. Rendić-Miočević (1989), p. 33-34.
55 Šašel Kos (2000), p. 284; see also Dzino (2010), p. 80-84 on the appearance of Illyricum in Roman political discourse.
56 Alex. Polyh. ap. Val. Max. 8.13.7 and Plin., NH, 7.155 (FGrHist
273 F17), see Sterling (1992), p. 144-52 on Polyhistor.
57 Strabo, 7.5.2-3, 10; App., Illyr., 1.1, 6.15, 14.40, 22.63, see recently Dzino and Domić-Kunić (2012), p. 95-100.
58 App., Illyr., 1; Šašel Kos (2005), p. 108-110. Šašel Kos argues that Appian’ s source was implying the Paeones there, but this matter is inconclusive, taking into account that Appian writes “from Macedonians and Tracians to Paiones, Alps and Adriatic”, placing his Paiones on the opposite side from the Macedonians and Tracians, where we could expect to find the Pannonii.
59 App., Illyr., 1.1, 6.15, 14.40; Dio, 49.36.6 see Grassl (1990); Šašel Kos (2005), p. 379-381.
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The mention of the Pannonians as the northern neighbours of Illyrians probably originated from either Polybius or Posidonius. The fragment of Polybius from the Byzantine lexicon Suda quite clearly mentions the ‘Pannonian war’, which is the earliest attested mention of the Pannonians.60 This might be an indication that the term ‘Pannonians’ was being used in Greek ethnographic terminology of the second century BC to depict indigenous inhabitants of southern Pannonia and what will become the northern parts of the Roman province of Dalmatia. With this new ethnographic label established, Illyrians de facto become clearly territorially defined.

The final phase of defining and constructing Illyrians in the Greek ethnographic discourse is depicted in Appian. At the beginning of his short appendix to the Macedonian book known as the Illyrian book (Illyrike), Appian defines the space using the Greek perception of the indigenous population as ‘Illyrians’ : “The Greeks define as Illyrians those peoples ….” So he, as the Greek ethnographic tradition before him, arbitrarily ethnicised different indigenous communities, replacing their heterogeneity with the singularity, ‘Illyrians’ . This invented ethnic singularity simplifies the region for his audience as a single unit of historical analysis.61 In the west his ‘Illyrians’ are defined with the limits imposed by physical features (the Adriatic, Danube, Alps) and ethnographic exclusion (non-Paeonians i.e. non-Pannonians), while in the east they are defined only by ethnographic exclusion (non-Tracians, non-Greeks, non-Macedonians). The measures given as the longitude (6,000 stades) and latitude (1,200 stades) of the space which Appian populates with the ‘Illyrians’, are ascribed to the Romans, and probably originate from the period just afer Octavian’ s expedition, which ended in 33 BC.62

60 Suda fr. 122 (= Polybius fr. 64). There might have been other sources from this era. The 33rd book of Pompeius Trogus gave a fuller account on the origins of the Pannonii, as its abbreviated epitome by Justin reports. This probably related to the Roman operations against the Segestani in Future southern Pannonia, second century BC, see Šašel Kos (2005), p. 383-392; Radman-Livaja (2004), p. 15-16; Dzino (2010), p. 72-73, earlier Morgan (1971); (1974).
61 Cf. Marasco (1993), p. 485.
62 Illyr., 1.2; Šašel Kos (2005), p. 97-114. Te latitude given by Appian is awkward, as it accounts for only 222 km, which is roughly the half-way distance between the Adriatic and river Sava. Šašel Kos (2005, p. 111-112), argues that the latitude was measured in pre-Caesarian times. As it is impossible to prove that the Romans established their permanent rule in the region before Caesar (see Dzino 2010, p. 44-79), I would date these measures afer Octav
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The making of Illyrians

The ‘Illyrian landscapes’ were poorly known to the ancient Greeks, in comparison with other neighbouring regions such as the Black Sea, Asia Minor, Thrace, Sicily or southern Italy. The discourse on Illyrians develops in Greek popular perception and literature, probably as early as the sixth century BC, but the earliest firm evidence cannot be attested before the fifth century. The indigenous communities living on the northern borders of Macedonia were perceived as ‘Illyrians’ in Herodotus, while the communities on the Adriatic coast are perceived in the same way as in Tucydides. It seems that the term ‘Illyrians’ replaced the term ‘Liburni’ used earlier for some or even all eastern Adriatic communities. This change might be the result of new perceptions of the indigenous population, which were acquired through the colonisation of the central-Adriatic islands in the early fourth century BC by Syracusans and probably Parians.

All early descriptions, from the fifth/fourth century depict Illyrians as people, usually without defining the region where they lived as ‘Illyria’ i.e. Illyris. An unnamed source from the entry on Illyrians in the Ethnica
of Stephanus of Byzantium, defining Illyria as a country close to the Pangaean hills, might have been a remainder of the earliest Greek perceptions. Te sources from Tucydides and pseudo-Scylax onwards defined the term Illyrians clearly as a superstructure in their ethnographic taxonomy. They were perceived in a similar way to the ‘Thracians’ or ‘Celts’, probably on account of common or mutually comprehensible languages. We do not know if any of the groups initially called themselves Illyrians, or accepted that term as existing outside terminology. It is indicative that the coins minted within the Illyrian kingdom in Hellenistic times mention only the names of individual towns, political entities or rulers. They never mention Illyria or Illyrians, indirectly suggesting that this was a term used by outsiders.

Our sources do not specify the criteria they used to define and describe indigenous groups. Some are specific and others are more encompassing and include a plurality of smaller regional or political identities, such as ‘Illyrians’ or ‘Pannonii’. We can only speculate that the common language (or intelligible languages), or for us unknown shared cultural features were used to define these groups. As said at the beginning, earlier historiography assumed that the term ‘Illyrians’ expanded in the perception of outsiders from the southern Adriatic and its hinterland to encompass all the regions the Romans called Illyricum. It is possible to cautiously agree with this thinking, but only in very general terms. The ‘expansion’ of the term ‘Illyrians’ in outsider perceptions of the indigenous population of the hinterland of the Adriatic and Pannonian plains was not a gradually progressing and clear cut process as usually implied. The labelling of indigenous
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populations by outside sources was not only a matter of how well the author or his informants were informed; it also heavily depended on the historical or political contexts where the label was used. It is indeed very likely that the Greek settlers in the central Adriatic islands in the early fourth century indiscriminately used the term ‘Illyrians’ to describe the indigenous population on the coast and hinterland as early as the fourth century BC. Written sources of the Classical and Hellenistic era relied on contemporary informants, but also on existing ethnographic traditions, so their perceptions of who the Illyrians were do not necessarily reveal the prevailing scholarly ethnographic consensus.

The term ‘Illyrians’ crystallised in Greek and Roman perception with the strengthening of the political alliance between indigenous communities in modern-day central, western and northern Albania and Montenegro in the fourth and third century BC – known as the Illyrian kingdom. At its peak in the early second century BC the leaders of this alliance controlled the region between Neretva, the lake of Ohrid and the river of Aous (Vjosë). The ‘expansion’ of the term ‘Illyrians’ north and north-west of this region is first and foremost a consequence of the expansion of the Roman power towards the Danube in the later first century BC, and the construction of Illyricum in Roman political and intellectual discourse. In some ways we can postulate that the ethnographic construction of the Pannonii as north/western neighbours of Illyrians, as seen in Appian and Strabo, was used as a final delimitation of the space that ancient ethnography populated with ‘Illyrians’ .

The conclusion is rather simple. Indigenous communities, known as Illyrians, were perceived initially very subjectively in Greek ethnographical discourse, and these perceptions changed over time. The label ‘Illyrians’ was used in different contexts, probably developing as an ethnographic generalisation of foreigners related to similar indigenous language(s) or mutually comprehensible languages. It was in all certainty developed in the sixth century BC but the evidence we have appears only in the fifth century. Later perceptions of ‘Illyrians’ are related to political and territorial contexts, first to the political alliance of the Hellenistic-era Illyrian kingdom, and later to the Roman use of this term in the context of early imperial expansion.

Less known abbreviations
GodCBI – Godišnjak Centra za Balkanološka ispitivanja, Sarajevo.
VAHD/VAPD – Vjesnik za arheologiju i historiju/povijest dalmatinsku, Split.
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Source: https://www.academia.edu/10694330/_Illyrians_in_ancient_ethnographic_discourse?auto=download

Danijel Dzino  2. August 2017
Rubrik: Balkan/Osteuropa/Kaukasus

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