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Thread: The Balkans as the Gateway to Europe

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    The Balkans as the Gateway to Europe

    Here's a link to a paper about DNA in the Balkans. The authors think the results verify that the Balkans area has been an important corridor for the flow of genes from the Middle East into Europe. Not exactly a surprising idea, but it's always useful to have more data about such an important area of DNA research.

    www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0105090

    Here's a copy of the abstract.

    "Contemporary inhabitants of the Balkan Peninsula belong to several ethnic groups of diverse cultural background. In this study, three ethnic groups from Bosnia and Herzegovina - Bosniacs, Bosnian Croats and Bosnian Serbs - as well as the populations of Serbians, Croatians, Macedonians from the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegrins and Kosovars have been characterized for the genetic variation of 660 000 genome-wide autosomal single nucleotide polymorphisms and for haploid markers. New autosomal data of the 70 individuals together with previously published data of 20 individuals from the populations of the Western Balkan region in a context of 695 samples of global range have been analysed. Comparison of the variation data of autosomal and haploid lineages of the studied Western Balkan populations reveals a concordance of the data in both sets and the genetic uniformity of the studied populations, especially of Western South-Slavic speakers. The genetic variation of Western Balkan populations reveals the continuity between the Middle East and Europe via the Balkan region and supports the scenario that one of the major routes of ancient gene flows and admixture went through the Balkan Peninsula."

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    What conclusions can one draw from the article?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eldritch View Post
    What conclusions can one draw from the article?
    One can conclude from this article that the Balkans have long acted as a corridor for gene flow between Europe and the Middle East, just as one might have expected.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aberdeen View Post
    One can conclude from this article that the Balkans have long acted as a corridor for gene flow between Europe and the Middle East, just as one might have expected.


    The authors do state that as one of their major conclusions, but it seems to me that in the body of the paper itself they spend their time trying to determine if there was significant gene flow from the Near East into the Balkans during the Ottoman occupation (they determine there was not, although there were conversions) and then do a comparison of the modern national groups.

    In regard to the latter, they find that there is no difference autosomally between the Bosnian Croats, the Bosnian Serbs and the Bosniaks. In terms of the other national groups, they do see a slight difference between the Bulgarians and Romanians on the one side and the western Balkans on the other, but it doesn't look to me as if the difference is very significant. (They claim that the people of Kosovo group a little apart, but I don't see it on the admixture run. There they look just like Macedonians.)

    The non-Balkan populations with which they are the most similar are the North Italians and to a lesser extent the Tuscans. The Greeks seem to group sort of just south of the Tuscans. However, I think this sample is from northern Greece. I don't think there are academic samples from the Peleponesus, for example or from Crete or any of the other islands, not to mention the Pontic Greeks.

    This is the admixture run:
    http://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j...09763538739926

    Admixture Graph Balkans vs South Europe near East, east Europe etc..jpg


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    from article

    It is believed that part of the Illyrians was assimilated and the other part was forced to move south

    What I have been saying for more than 2 years, illyrians are not indigenous to the balkans........unless hungaria slovenia and eastern Austria are noted as balkan


    On Kosovos
    other noted people from other forums note that the Kosovo are similar to the french, conclusion was that this represents the gallic/celtic invasion of the balkans and greece ( pre-roman) ...........not my opinion.
    the scordisci tribe comes to mind
    có che un pòpoło no 'l defende pi ła só łéngua el xe prónto par èser s'ciavo

    when a people no longer dares to defend its language it is ripe for slavery.

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    Funny that Bosnian Serbs cluster with Croats and Bosniacs but not with other Serbs from Serbia and Montenegro.

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    Quote Originally Posted by joeyc View Post
    Funny that Bosnian Serbs cluster with Croats and Bosniacs but not with other Serbs from Serbia and Montenegro.
    Why could that be?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sile View Post
    from article

    It is believed that part of the Illyrians was assimilated and the other part was forced to move south

    What I have been saying for more than 2 years, illyrians are not indigenous to the balkans........unless hungaria slovenia and eastern Austria are noted as balkan


    On Kosovos
    other noted people from other forums note that the Kosovo are similar to the french, conclusion was that this represents the gallic/celtic invasion of the balkans and greece ( pre-roman) ...........not my opinion.
    the scordisci tribe comes to mind
    It depends how far in time one goes to be indigenous. All we know from historical documents is that Illyrians have been in the Balkans since 2000 yrs BC. They are mentioned in the "Iliad" of Homer. Having said that, they did not arrived there the day they are mentioned. It it perfect to speculate that the Illyrians could have been there 2000 other years before they were mentioned.
    We also know from Homer and other Greek historians that Before Hellens arrived there was another people inhabiting the are that called themselves Pellasgus. There is linguistic evidence that Pellasgus inhabited large areas of Illyrian territories. So if you want to call Pellasgus as original inhabitants of Illyria that's fair also.
    Were Illyrians genetically similar? Since Illyria covered large area and other people were living in its vicinity its also possible that genetically differences could have existed

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    Quote Originally Posted by albanopolis View Post
    It depends how far in time one goes to be indigenous. All we know from historical documents is that Illyrians have been in the Balkans since 2000 yrs BC. They are mentioned in the "Iliad" of Homer. Having said that, they did not arrived there the day they are mentioned. It it perfect to speculate that the Illyrians could have been there 2000 other years before they were mentioned.
    We also know from Homer and other Greek historians that Before Hellens arrived there was another people inhabiting the are that called themselves Pellasgus. There is linguistic evidence that Pellasgus inhabited large areas of Illyrian territories. So if you want to call Pellasgus as original inhabitants of Illyria that's fair also.
    Were Illyrians genetically similar? Since Illyria covered large area and other people were living in its vicinity its also possible that genetically differences could have existed
    This is the quote about the Illyrians from the paper:
    "The first barbarian conquerors in the Balkans were West Goths in 410 AD [22]. In the 6th century, the Slavs had occupied the northern parts of the Danube basin and continued their way to the south. It is believed that part of the Illyrians was assimilated and the other part was forced to move south - into the territory of present-day Albania [19"

    As Albianapolis posted, the Illyrians are mentioned as inhabiting the Balkans far earlier than 600 AD, so perhaps the quote might have been referring to the Illyrians being further north in the Balkans at the time of the "Slavic" migrations.

    The source cited in the paper is Stavros L, Stoianovich T (2000) The Balkans since 1453. London: C. Hurst & Co. 5–14 pp. If someone has a copy, perhaps the context for the quote could be provided.

    We won't know the genetic make-up of these ancient tribes or how much of an impact they left on the current inhabitants of their regions until we have ancient genomes from them.

    Just generally, I agree that this talk of "indigenous" populations is not very helpful or informative. No population sprang from the earth of a particular place. The modern inhabitants of the Balkans, as is the case more generally in Europe and elsewhere, are the product of numerous population migrations and subsequent admixture.

    Also, the differences between ethnic groups in large areas of Europe are vanishingly small. Indeed, if you look at PCA's of the global population, the differences between even different areas of Europe are very small. All of that makes the constant internecine warfare even more inexplicable than it would be in just general terms.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eldritch View Post
    Why could that be?
    Lack of Germanic influences in Serbia and Montenegro?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    This is the quote about the Illyrians from the paper:
    "The first barbarian conquerors in the Balkans were West Goths in 410 AD [22]. In the 6th century, the Slavs had occupied the northern parts of the Danube basin and continued their way to the south. It is believed that part of the Illyrians was assimilated and the other part was forced to move south - into the territory of present-day Albania [19"

    As Albianapolis posted, the Illyrians are mentioned as inhabiting the Balkans far earlier than 600 AD, so perhaps the quote might have been referring to the Illyrians being further north in the Balkans at the time of the "Slavic" migrations.

    The source cited in the paper is Stavros L, Stoianovich T (2000) The Balkans since 1453. London: C. Hurst & Co. 5–14 pp. If someone has a copy, perhaps the context for the quote could be provided.

    We won't know the genetic make-up of these ancient tribes or how much of an impact they left on the current inhabitants of their regions until we have ancient genomes from them.

    Just generally, I agree that this talk of "indigenous" populations is not very helpful or informative. No population sprang from the earth of a particular place. The modern inhabitants of the Balkans, as is the case more generally in Europe and elsewhere, are the product of numerous population migrations and subsequent admixture.

    Also, the differences between ethnic groups in large areas of Europe are vanishingly small. Indeed, if you look at PCA's of the global population, the differences between even different areas of Europe are very small. All of that makes the constant internecine warfare even more inexplicable than it would be in just general terms.
    The Albanians and the Greeks have quite a lot of recent Slavic ancestry. Alboz Y-dna is the result of a massive bottle neck and does not reflect in the autosomal dna.

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    Quote Originally Posted by joeyc View Post
    The Albanians and the Greeks have quite a lot of recent Slavic ancestry. Alboz Y-dna is the result of a massive bottle neck and does not reflect in the autosomal dna.
    Kosovo Albanians and Albanians of Macedonia have minimal Slavic gene infusion or unimportant amounts. South Albanians in the other hand appear to have Slavic mixture. So do Greeks. The genetic difference of Crete (an isolated place) and Continental Greece is striking.
    One Albanian historian I heard on Tv was saying that in 11 century ad Greek population had reached minimum historical records. Diseases and wars are mentioned as causes.They were recruiting Southern Albanians to repopulate some areas and as such we have the Arvanites of today.

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    Quote Originally Posted by joeyc View Post
    Lack of Germanic influences in Serbia and Montenegro?
    Not much germanic in the balkans?? According to PCA plot of paper Croats are clearly more Northern than both Serbs or Bosniaks.

    Must be Slavic ancestry.


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    Quote Originally Posted by albanopolis View Post
    Kosovo Albanians and Albanians of Macedonia have minimal Slavic gene infusion or unimportant amounts. South Albanians in the other hand appear to have Slavic mixture. So do Greeks. The genetic difference of Crete (an isolated place) and Continental Greece is striking.
    One Albanian historian I heard on Tv was saying that in 11 century ad Greek population had reached minimum historical records. Diseases and wars are mentioned as causes.They were recruiting Southern Albanians to repopulate some areas and as such we have the Arvanites of today.
    Albania has shit loads of Slavic ancestry. So do some mainland Greeks.

    You are talking about Y-DNA which does not correlate well with autosomal dna in the case of bottlenecked populations like Kosovars.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldritch View Post
    Not much germanic in the balkans?? According to PCA plot of paper Croats are clearly more Northern than both Serbs or Bosniaks.

    Must be Slavic ancestry.
    Croat samples are from Zagreb near the border with Slovenia. Anyway we were talking about Serbs from Serbia and Montenegro and the reason why they don't cluster with Bosnian Serbs, Bosnian Croats and Bosniacs.

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    Does anyone knows when Eurogenes will release the admixture proportions of these new samples?

    They already have them on their PCA plot.

    http://eurogenes.blogspot.it/2014/08...n-balkans.html

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    Quote Originally Posted by joeyc View Post
    Albania has shit loads of Slavic ancestry. So do some mainland Greeks.

    You are talking about Y-DNA which does not correlate well with autosomal dna in the case of bottlenecked populations like Kosovars.



    Croat samples are from Zagreb near the border with Slovenia. Anyway we were talking about Serbs from Serbia and Montenegro and the reason why they don't cluster with Bosnian Serbs, Bosnian Croats and Bosniacs.
    "Lots of" and "loads of" are subjective comments. (I could also do without the profanity, if you please.)

    If, in terms of the Greeks, you are speaking of the percentages mentioned in the Hellenthall et al paper, I would recommend taking the results with a large grain of salt as to precise amounts of admixture, for the reasons enumerated here:
    http://dienekes.blogspot.com/2014/02...n-history.html

    I don't want to take the thread off topic, but I can illustrate what I mean by using the Tuscans as an example. I highly doubt that in the centuries following the fall of Rome, the Tuscan population was still totally Cypriot like, and then masses of "French like" people invaded, so many that their genetic signature forms more than 60% of the total. Rather, the formation of the Tuscans was through multiple population flows into the area both from the southeast and the generally north and northwest regions of Europe, perhaps starting with the Indo-Europeans, and continuing into the first milennium B.C. with the Gallic invasions.

    These kinds of analyses are as imprecise as 'admixture' for detecting exact amounts of gene flow to be attributed to certain specific migrations and subsequent admixture. Only actual dna from the populations involved is going to give us that kind of information.

    Ed. As another example of the care that should be taken when trying to interpret these kinds of analyses, the PCA plot provided upthread shows some Tuscans and some northern Greeks plotting in roughly the same place, yet Italy was not at all affected by the Slavic migrations. The placement is merely the result of input generally from more northern into more southern areas of Europe after the Neolithic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by joeyc View Post
    Albania has shit loads of Slavic ancestry. So do some mainland Greeks.

    You are talking about Y-DNA which does not correlate well with autosomal dna in the case of bottlenecked populations like Kosovars.



    Croat samples are from Zagreb near the border with Slovenia. Anyway we were talking about Serbs from Serbia and Montenegro and the reason why they don't cluster with Bosnian Serbs, Bosnian Croats and Bosniacs.
    Northern Albanians and Kosovans are physically different from Slavs.
    You don't need a trained eye to tell without knowing who is who.
    So does not look look like a lot of gene exchanges.
    Slavs in the other hand have loads of Albanian genes since they absorbed Illyrian population of the areas they occupied. High E V13 among Serbs, Bosnians is because of that. So I would say that Ballkan Slavs are a hybrid of a Polish like person with an Albanian.
    Albanians did not intermarry with Slavs because they lived in separate geographic areas.
    In south Albania and Northern Greece I think there were some Bullgarian settlements in 8th and 9th century.

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    Quote Originally Posted by albanopolis View Post
    Northern Albanians and Kosovans are physically different from Slavs.
    You don't need a trained eye to tell without knowing who is who.
    So does not look look like a lot of gene exchanges.
    Slavs in the other hand have loads of Albanian genes since they absorbed Illyrian population of the areas they occupied. High E V13 among Serbs, Bosnians is because of that. So I would say that Ballkan Slavs are a hybrid of a Polish like person with an Albanian.
    Albanians did not intermarry with Slavs because they lived in separate geographic areas.
    In south Albania and Northern Greece I think there were some Bullgarian settlements in 8th and 9th century.
    Macedonians and Bulgarians are much closer to Kosovars than to Serbs or Bosniac. And I am not even including Croats/Slovenes here.


    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    "Lots of" and "loads of" are subjective comments. (I could also do without the profanity, if you please.)

    If, in terms of the Greeks, you are speaking of the percentages mentioned in the Hellenthall et al paper, I would recommend taking the results with a large grain of salt as to precise amounts of admixture, for the reasons enumerated here:
    http://dienekes.blogspot.com/2014/02...n-history.html

    I don't want to take the thread off topic, but I can illustrate what I mean by using the Tuscans as an example. I highly doubt that in the centuries following the fall of Rome, the Tuscan population was still totally Cypriot like, and then masses of "French like" people invaded, so many that their genetic signature forms more than 60% of the total. Rather, the formation of the Tuscans was through multiple population flows into the area both from the southeast and the generally north and northwest regions of Europe, perhaps starting with the Indo-Europeans, and continuing into the first milennium B.C. with the Gallic invasions.

    These kinds of analyses are as imprecise as 'admixture' for detecting exact amounts of gene flow to be attributed to certain specific migrations and subsequent admixture. Only actual dna from the populations involved is going to give us that kind of information.

    Ed. As another example of the care that should be taken when trying to interpret these kinds of analyses, the PCA plot provided upthread shows some Tuscans and some northern Greeks plotting in roughly the same place, yet Italy was not at all affected by the Slavic migrations. The placement is merely the result of input generally from more northern into more southern areas of Europe after the Neolithic.
    Hellenthal et al. is a joke. Do they really pretend to track migration dates with such accuracy?

    They also give no information regarding the samples they have used in the study. Hahahaha.

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    Quote Originally Posted by joeyc View Post

    Croat samples are from Zagreb near the border with Slovenia. Anyway we were talking about Serbs from Serbia and Montenegro and the reason why they don't cluster with Bosnian Serbs, Bosnian Croats and Bosniacs.
    Zagreb is the capital, it would be logical to take the samples from there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by albanopolis View Post
    It depends how far in time one goes to be indigenous. All we know from historical documents is that Illyrians have been in the Balkans since 2000 yrs BC. They are mentioned in the "Iliad" of Homer. Having said that, they did not arrived there the day they are mentioned. It it perfect to speculate that the Illyrians could have been there 2000 other years before they were mentioned.
    We also know from Homer and other Greek historians that Before Hellens arrived there was another people inhabiting the are that called themselves Pellasgus. There is linguistic evidence that Pellasgus inhabited large areas of Illyrian territories. So if you want to call Pellasgus as original inhabitants of Illyria that's fair also.
    Were Illyrians genetically similar? Since Illyria covered large area and other people were living in its vicinity its also possible that genetically differences could have existed
    first we need to determine what is the border in Europe for the term balkans.

    next, we have ancient historical records that the Illyrians where no further south of the drin river in montenegro circa 400BC..........unless greek and macedonian historians where lying in their makeup of ancient macedonia and epirote people.

    next we know that coastal modern albania and epirote lands was the home of ancient Dorians, archeology of Appolonia has also reveal this ..plus ...historians claim Dorians came from the north to replace the mycenean race in the greek southern balkans, they even replaced them in crete and rhodes who where myceaneans that replaced the minoans in crete beforehand.

    And Finally, yes I do believe in the theory that the term "illyrian" is not for one race or tribe but for many different tribes ,............it was a geographical term for people who lived in an area..........same as being called british for people living in the british isles..................one reason we have never found any language associated with the illyrians

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eldritch View Post
    Zagreb is the capital, it would be logical to take the samples from there.
    This does not change the fact that those samples are representative only of Croats living close to the Slovenian border.

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    an interesting point, which I read in the forum is a post from an old member, (which I missed him)
    his name was Zanipolo,
    he notice the differences among mtDNA and Y-DNA in some parts of Balkans,
    he expressed that are areas that y-Dna is very low as Slavic but mtDNA is very high, giving numbers like 60% of Slavic mtDNA to population that should have about 20%.


    a good question is,

    if some Y-DNA is neolithic in Balkans, then sould also have simmilar mt-DNA at a normal analogy,
    do we see such an analogy?
    where we do, and where we do not see this, why?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sile View Post
    first we need to determine what is the border in Europe for the term balkans.

    next, we have ancient historical records that the Illyrians where no further south of the drin river in montenegro circa 400BC..........unless greek and macedonian historians where lying in their makeup of ancient macedonia and epirote people.

    next we know that coastal modern albania and epirote lands was the home of ancient Dorians, archeology of Appolonia has also reveal this ..plus ...historians claim Dorians came from the north to replace the mycenean race in the greek southern balkans, they even replaced them in crete and rhodes who where myceaneans that replaced the minoans in crete beforehand.

    And Finally, yes I do believe in the theory that the term "illyrian" is not for one race or tribe but for many different tribes ,............it was a geographical term for people who lived in an area..........same as being called british for people living in the british isles..................one reason we have never found any language associated with the illyrians
    The ancient writers unequivocally described Epirotes as barbarians; in all probability, this term is not meant to show Epirotes as backward Greeks as many modern Greeks claim. Judging by their language, customs, traditions and the way of life (which differed completely from that of Greece proper), ancients reckoned them to be 'barbarians':
    Strabo, Geography, 7. 7. 1

    Moreover, the barbarian origin of some is indicated by their names—Cecrops, Godrus, Aïclus, Cothus, Drymas, and Crinacus. And even to the present day the Thracians, Illyrians, and Epeirotes live on the flanks of the Greeks (though this was still more the case formerly than now); indeed most of the country that at the present time is indisputably Greece is held by the barbarians—Macedonia and certain parts of Thessaly by the Thracians, and the parts above Acarnania and Aetolia by the Thesproti, the Cassopaei, the Amphilochi, the Molossi, and the Athamanes—Epeirotic tribes.

    κα π τν νομάτων δ νίων τ βάρβαρον μφαίνεται, Κέκροψ κα Κόδρος κα ικλος κα Κόθος κα Δρύμας κα Κρίνακος. ο δ Θρκες καλλυριο καπειρται κα μέχρι νν ν πλευρας εσιν· τι μέντοι μλλον πρότερον νν, που γε κα τς ν τ παρόντι λλάδος ναντιλέκτως οσης τν πολλν ο βάρβαροι χουσι, Μακεδονίαν μν Θρκες καί τινα μέρη τς Θετταλίας, καρνανίας δ κα Ατωλίας τνω Θεσπρωτο κα Κασσωπαοι καμφίλοχοι κα Μολοττο καθαμνες, πειρωτικθνη.

    Robert Browning's Medieval and Modern Greek, 1983, p. 2, n. 7
    "The language of the Epirotes is repeatedly described in antiquity as non-Greek (Thucydides 1.47, 1.51, 2.80, Strabo, 8.1.3). Yes the Epirotes were connected with the origin of various Greek communities. There may well have been an ethnic and linguistic mixture in Epirus, some tribes speaking Greek, others Illyrian or some other language (cf. Hammond (1967) 423; Katičić (1976) 120-7)"

    Graham Shipley's The Greek World after Alexander, 2000, p. 111
    "The Arrian passage reminds us of an important fact of Macedonia's location: its neighbours - Thracians, Paionians, Epirotes and Illyrians - were primarily non-urban peoples with more or less hellenized elites."

    Michael Grant, Rachel Kitzinger, Civilization of the ancient Mediterranean: Greece and Rome: Volume 1, 1988, p. 203:

    "On the other hand, Thucydides (1.47.3, 5o-3) and Strabo (7.7.1) call the Epirotes barbaroi: only two of Thucydides' (2.80) northern chieftains have Greek names and many Epirote tribes did not speak Greek (Strabo 7.7.1) and even enjoyed...

    Ronald Edward Latham, In quest of civilization, Jarrolds limited, 1946, p. 247, chapter "Trying to be Greeks":

    On the fringe of Hellas, and not yet fully accepted as Greeks even in name, lived the Epirotes and the Macedonians. Though these were being progressively Hellenized by contact with Greek colonies on the coast and their rulers claimed descent from legendary Greek heroes, the Greeks still regarded them, as the more civilized Chinese regarded the Ch'in,
    From a classical Greek point of view, the northwest of Greece was inhabited by a bunch of barbarian tribes, in which the fifth-century sources are nor really interested. They contradict each other about which nations could be classified as western Greeks, Epirotes, or Illyrians. It does not really help us that the tribes did not leave behind written texts. Several sanctuaries, like Dodona, appear to have been hellenized quite early, but the people of the northwest retained some archaic traits. Several tribes were led by kings, something that was very unusual in the Greek world. On the other hand, the nearby Macedonians shared some of these characteristics.

    All these specific characteristics were shared by the Illyrians as well. This gives at least theoretically some room for connecting Epirotes with them in terms of ethnicity.

    'In October 1984, 70 historians and archaeologists from Greece, Albania, Romania, Italy and several other countries of Europe convened in Clermont-Ferrand, France. They held a colloquium with a group of Specialists in ancient history who were working there under the direction of Proffesor Pierre Kaban, the renowned expert on Epirus. They compared studies on the tribal and ethnic groups which gradually organised into urban life, then federated into state organisations. They compared juridical institutions such as family right of ownership, the role of the woman in the family and the procedure in freeing slaves. Similarities of Epirotes centers like Dodona and those of Southern Illyria were evidenced by the layout, architecture, and political organisation, also the circulation of coins, the structure of groves, the burial rites and articles found in the tumuli. But scholars concluded that from early antiquity until the Roman times THAT CULTURE OF SOUTHERN ILLYRIA AND EPIRUS, INCLUDING MOLOSSIA, WAS QUITE DIFFERENT FROM THAT OF CLASSICAL GREECE AS FOUND IN ATHENS AND SPARTA' (Jaques 1995:80/81)

    Bibliography:

    Edwin.E.Jaques 1995 'The Albanians: An ethnic history from prehistoric times to the present'

    According to an earlier source (Theopompus) in Epirus lived fourteen tribes. Of course he did not define the ethnicity of them but the later sources does distinguish Epirotes from the Greeks.

    "In later times more than half of Aetolia ceased to be Grecian, and without doubt adopted the manners and language of the Illyrians, from which point the Athamanes, an Epirote and Illyrian nation, pressed into the south of Thessaly. "

    The Historians' History of the World: Greece to the Peloponnesian war
    Henry Smith Williams - 1904 - p. 111
    It has been thought by some scholars that Illyrian presence is to be detected even in Aetolia and Acarnania. They based their opinion on thorough analysis of Thucydides's paragraph which recognizes a large non-Greek element among Aetolians:

    «τ γρ θνος μέγα μν εναι τ τν Ατωλν κα μάχιμον, οκον δ κατ κώμας τειχίστους, κα ταύτας δι πολλο, κα σκευ ψιλ χρώμενον ο χαλεπν πέφαινον, πρν ξυμβοηθσαι, καταστραφναι. πιχειρεν δ᾿ κέλευον πρτον μν ποδωτος, πειτα δ φιονεσι κα μετ τούτους Ερυτσιν, περ μέγιστον μέρος στ τν Ατωλν, γνωστότατοι δ γλσσαν κα μοφάγοι εσίν, ς λέγονται» (ΘΟΥΚΥΔΙΔΗΣ III.94)

    III,94: The Aetolian nation, although numerous and warlike, yet dwelt in un-walled villages scattered far apart, and had nothing but light armor, and might, according to the Messenians, be subdued without much difficulty before succors could arrive. The plan which they recommended was to attack first the Apodotians, next the Ophionians, and after these the Eurytanians, who are the largest tribe in Aetolia, and speak, as is said, a language exceedingly difficult to understand, and eat their flesh raw.
    The 'Barbarians' to which Thucydides is referring are beyond any doubt, Illyrians.

    Aetolia (in the Roman sense of the name) had not been greatly affected by Hellenic civilization when the Romans conquered it. Five Aetolian cities, evidently Hellenic and distinguished, figure in Homer. But Thucydides and the Greeks of the classical age regarded the Aetolians as barbaric. […] They extended their rule over tribes to the north whom the Greeks of the great age looked upon as savages. In the pages of Livy, Philip V of Macedon is made to admit the Hellenic character of some Aetolians, but to deny that the greater part of those who bore the name were Greeks. The Aetolians were natural enemies of the more civilized Greek peoples…


    Sir William Woodthorpe Tarn, of the British Academy, regarded worldwide as having written the definitive work on Alexander the Great, states in the opening paragraph of his book Alexander the Great that “Alexander certainly had from his father (Philip II) and probably from his mother (Olymbia) Illyrian, i.e. Albanian, blood.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Woodthorpe_Tarn

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    A History of Greece from the Earliest Period to the Close of the, volume 3, George Grote, 1882, p. 417: “…the coast of Epirus from the entrance of the Ambrakian gulf northward to the Akrokeraunian promontory, we shall find it discouraging to Grecian colonization. (…) we may understand why the Grecian emigrants omitted this unprofitable tract, and passed on either northward to the maritime plains of Illyria, or westward to Italy. In the time of Herodotus and Thucydides, there seems to have been no Hellenic settlement between Ambrakia and Apollonia.

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    The Illyrians: history and culture, Aleksandar Stipčević, 1977: “Willy Borgeaud, a most persistent and tireless searcher among Illyrian remains in Greece, asserted that Boeotia, Acarnania, Aetolia, Argos and Sparta were full of Illyrian toponymes.”

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