Infobox Former Country
conventional_long_name = Illyria
common_name = Illyria
continent = Europe
region = Balkans
government_type = Monarchy
leader1 = Hyllius, first
leader2 = Gentius, last
year_start = 1200s BC
event_end = Conquered by the Roman conquest
year_end = 168 BC
p1 = Prehistoric Balkans
s1 = Illyricum (Roman province)
image_map_caption = Illyrian tribes in the 3rd century BC
religion = Polytheism
AlbanianIliria, ( Ancient Greekpolytonic|Ἰλλυρία; LatinIllyria [Charlton T. Lewis, Charles Short, "A Latin Dictionary" at Perseus, [http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0059%3Aentry%3D%2321597 "Illyria"] ] ; see also "Illyricum)" was in Classical antiquitya region in the western part of today's Balkan Peninsula, founded by the tribes and clans of Illyrians, an ancient people who spoke the Illyrian languages. In Greek mythology, Illyriuswas the son of Cadmusand Harmoniawho eventually ruled Illyria and become the eponymousancestor of the whole Illyrian people. [ Apollodorus, III, 61] The delineation [Wilkes, J. J. The Illyrians, 1992,ISBN 0631198075,page 183,"... We may begin with the Venetic peoples, Veneti, Carni, Histri and Liburni, whose language set them apart from the rest of the Illyrians. ..."] [Wilkes, J. J. The Illyrians, 1992,ISBN 0631198075,page 81,"... " In Roman Pannonia the Latobici and Varciani who dwelt east of the Venetic Catari in the upper Sava valley were Celtic but the Colapiani of the Colapis (Kulpa) valley were Illyrians ( ..."] of ancient Illyria can pose a problem to historians, since before the Roman conquest the Illyrians were not unified into an Illyrian kingdom, and Illyria's borders before Rome are not always clear. For example, the Dalmatae, though classed as an Illyrian tribe by language, were only subject to the kingdom of Illyria for a short time and soon defected during the reign of King Gentius. In the first decades under Byzantine rule (until 461), Illyria suffered the devastation of raids by Visigoths, Huns, and Ostrogoths. Not long after these barbarian invaders swept through the Balkans, the Slavs appeared. Between the 6th and 8th centuries they settled in Illyrian territories and proceeded to assimilate Illyrian tribes in much of what is now Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia.
"For the subsequent Roman period of Illyrian history, see
Illyricum (Roman province)."
The Illyrian king,
Bardyllis[Borza, Eugene N. In the Shadow of Olympus: The Emergence of Macedon, 1990, p. 180, ISBN 0691008809. Amyntas had barely seized the throne in 394/3 when he found his kingdom under attack by a powerful Illyrian force, probably led by Bardylis, king of the Dardanii.] turned Illyria into a formidable local power in the 4th century BC. The main cities of the Illyrian kingdom were Scodra(present-day Shkodra, Albania) and Rhizon(present-day Risan, Montenegro). In 359 BC, King Perdiccas III of Macedonwas killed [Orrieux, Claude. A History Of Ancient Greece, 1999, p. 256, ISBN-10: 0631203095. Perdiccas III (368-359) tried to reconquer upper Macedonia from the Illyrians under Bardylis, but the expedition ended in disaster, with the king killed.] by attacking Illyrians.
358 BC, Philip II of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great, defeated the Illyrians [ Woodward, B. B. Encyclopedia of Great Events, Places and Personalities, 1993, p. 175, ISBN-10: 8185066574. "BARDYLIS, king of, defeated and killed by Philip of Macedonia, 359 - CLEITUS, his son, revolts from Alexander and is subdued.] and assumed control of their territory north and west of Lake Ohrid. Alexander himself routed the forces of the Illyrian chieftain Cleitus the Illyrianin 335 BC, and Illyrian tribal leaders and soldiers accompanied Alexander on his conquest of Persia.
After Alexander's death in
323 BC, independent Illyrian kingdoms again arose. In 312 BC, King Glaukiasseized Epidamnus. By the end of the 3rd century BC, an Illyrian kingdom based in Scodra (now a city in Albania) controlled parts of northern Albania, Montenegro, and Herzegovina. Under Queen Teuta[Wilkes, J. J. The Illyrians, 1992,ISBN 0631198075,page 129,"... mainly because no coins are known to have been issued by Illyrian rulers of a later period such as Agron, Teuta, Scerdilaidas, etc. ..."] , Illyrians attacked Roman merchant vessels plying the Adriatic Seaand gave Rome an excuse to invade [Wilkes, J. J. The Illyrians, 1992,ISBN 0631198075.,page,Page 189,"... These were the true causes for the war, but for public consumption it was the insult to Roman ambassadors. This was not to be the only occasion a Roman army was sent across the Adriatic for battle practice. ..."] the Balkans. In the Illyrian Warsof 229 BCand 219 BC, Rome overran the Illyrian settlements in the Neretvariver valley and suppressed the piracy that had made the Adriatic unsafe. In 180 BC, the Dalmatians declared themselves independent of the Illyrian king Gentius, who kept his capital at Scodra. The Romans defeated Gentius, the last king of Illyria, at Scodra in 168 BCand 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, with Scodra as its capital
The Illyrian town of Rhizon (
Risan, Montenegro) had its own protector called Medauras [Wilkes, J. J. The Illyrians, 1992,ISBN 0631198075.,page 247,"... the short cloak streaming out behind. The Illyrian town Rhizon (Risinium) on the Gulf of Kotor had its protective deity Medaurus, ..."] , depicted as carrying a lanceand riding on horseback. Human sacrifice [Wilkes, J. J. The Illyrians, 1992,ISBN 0631198075.,page123,"The Macedonians arrived before Glaucias and the Taulantii but the Illyrians, having sacrificed three boys, three girls and three black rams, made as if to attack"] also played a role in the lives of the Illyrians. The ancient historian Arrianrecords the chieftain Cleitus the Illyrian sacrificing three boys, three girls and three rams just before his battle with Alexander the Great. The most common type of burial among the Iron AgeIllyrians was tumulusor mound burial. The kin of the first tumuli was buried around that, and the higher the status of those in these burials the higher the mound. Archaeologyhas found many artifacts placed within these tumuli such as weapons, ornaments, garments and clay vessels. Illyrians believed these items were necessary for a dead person's journey into the afterlife.
After the province of
Illyricumwas divided into Dalmatiaand Pannoniain 10, the terms "Illyria" and "Illyrian" would generally go out of use, but would still be used in some circles. The name "Illyria" was revived by Napoleonfor the 'Provinces of Illyria' that were incorporated into the French Empire from 1809to 1813, and the Kingdom of Illyriawas part of Austriauntil 1849, after which time it was not used in the reorganised Austro-Hungarian Empire. The adjective "Illyrian" was also used in political and literary circles during the 19th century Balkan nationalist movements to describe Non-Slavic ideas of unification and independence from Slavs and other foreign powers.
In drama and literature Illyria can be a half-fictional country, e.g., in
William Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night", Jean-Paul Sartre's " Les Mains Sales" and in Lloyd Alexander's "The Illyrian Adventure" ISBN 0-14-130313-1.
History of the Balkans
Roman province of Illyricum
Praetorian prefecture of Illyricum
Diocese of Illyricum
Kingdom of Illyria
*cite book|last=Wilkes|first=John|title=The Illyrians|year=1992|publisher=Blackwell Press|location=Oxford|id=ISBN 0-631-14671-7
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