Κυριακή, 11 Μαρτίου 2018

Nova Epirus or Illyria Greca : The history of SW Balkans from the Antiquity to the Ottoman conquest

Bryges or Briges is the historical name given to a people of the ancient Balkans. They are generally considered to have been related to the Phrygians, who during classical antiquity lived in western Anatolia. Both names, Bryges and Phrygians, are assumed to be variants of the same root. The earliest mentions of the Bryges are contained in the historical writings of Herodotus, who relates them to Phrygians, stating that according to the Macedonians, the Bryges "changed their name" to Phryges after migrating into Anatolia, a movement which is thought to have happened between 1200 BC and 800 BC. In the Balkans, the Bryges occupied central Albania and northern Epirus, as well as Macedonia, mainly west of the Axios river, but also Mygdonia, which was conquered by the kingdom of Macedon in the early 5th century BC. They seem to have lived peacefully next to the inhabitants of Macedonia. Small groups of Bryges, after the migration to Anatolia and the expansion of the kingdom of Macedon, were still left in northern Pelagonia and around Epidamnus. Herodotus also mentions that in 492 BC, some Thracian Brygoi or Brygians fell upon the Persian camp by night, wounding Mardonius himself, though he went on with the campaign until he subdued them.
The Illyrians were a group of Indo-European tribes in antiquity, who inhabited part of the western Balkans. The name "Illyrians", as applied by the ancient Greeks to their northern neighbors, may have referred to a broad, ill-defined group of peoples, and it is today unclear to what extent they were linguistically and culturally homogeneous. The term "Illyrians" last appears in the historical record in the 7th century, referring to a Byzantine garrison operating within the former Roman province of Illyricum. In later Greek mythology, Illyrius was the son of Cadmus (king of Thebes) and Harmonia who eventually ruled Illyria and became the eponymous ancestor of the whole Illyrian people. Illyrius had multiple sons (Encheleus, Autarieus, Dardanus, Maedus, Taulas and Perrhaebus) and daughters (Partho, Daortho, Dassaro and others). From these, sprang the Taulantii, Parthini, Dardani, Encheleae, Autariates, Dassaretae and the Daors. The 'proto-Illyrians' had arrived during the Bronze Age as nomadic Indo-Europeans from the Roso-Ukranian steppe. From that point, there was a gradual Illyrianization of the western Balkans leading to historic Illyrians. The Second Greek colonisation was an organized colonial expansion by the Archaic Greeks into the Mediterranean Sea and Pontus in the period of the 8th–6th centuries B.C. The region of the Ionian Sea and that of Illyria were colonized strictly by Corinth. The Corinthians founded important overseas colonies on the sea lanes to Southern Italy and the west which succeeded in making them the foremost emporia of the western side of the Mediterranean. Important colonies of Corinth included Leucada, Astacus, Anactoreum, Actium, Ambracia, and Corcyra. The Corinthians also founded important colonies in Illyria, which evolved into important cities, Apollonia and Epidamnus. Nymphaeum, was also a Greek colony in Illyria. The Roman Republic subdued the Illyrians during the 2nd century BC. An Illyrian revolt was crushed under Augustus, resulting in the division of Illyria in the provinces of Pannonia in the north and Dalmatia in the south.
The Roman province of Macedonia (Provincia Macedoniae) was officially established in 146 BC, after the Roman general Quintus Caecilius Metellus defeated Andriscus of Macedon, the last self-styled King of the ancient kingdom of Macedonia in 148 BC, and after the four client republics (the "tetrarchy") established by Rome in the region were dissolved. The province incorporated ancient Macedonia, with the addition of Epirus, Thessaly, and parts of Illyria, Paeonia and Thrace. This created a much larger administrative area, to which the name of 'Macedonia' was still applied. The Dardanians, to the north of the Paeonians, were not included, because they had supported the Romans in their conquest of Macedonia. Epirus, later Epirus Vetus ("Old Epirus") was a province in the Roman Empire that corresponded to the region of Epirus. Between 146 BC and 27 BC, it was part of the province of Macedonia, after which it became part of Achaea, before becoming a separate province under Emperor Trajan. Epirus Nova ("New Epirus") or Illyria Graeca  or Illyris proper was a province of the Roman Empire established by Diocletian during his restructuring of provincial boundaries. Until then, the province belonged to the province of Macedonia. Dyrrachium (or Epidamnus) was established as the capital of Epirus Nova. The region of Epirus Nova corresponded to a portion of Illyria that was then "partly Hellenic and partly Hellenized". Illyricum is a Latin term derived from Greek Illyria and Illyris. A distinction was also made between Illyris Barbara or Romana, which comprised the Adriatic coast down to today's northern Albania, and Illyris Greaca, which was the rest of Albania, later called Epirus Nova. This latter area derived its name from the fact that, being close to Greece, it was influenced by the Greeks. It was part of the Roman province of Macedonia. Illyria stretched from the River Drilon (Drin) in modern northern Albania to Istria (in modern Croatia and Slovenia) and the River Savus (Sava) in the north. It comprised the coastal plain, the mountains of the Dinaric Alps which stretch along the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea for 645 kilometres (401 miles) width a width of about 150 kilometres) and, in the north-west, the Istrian Peninsula. John Bury wrote that "The importance of Illyricum did not lie in its revenues, but in its men." The region's native peoples, renowned for their military prowess, became for important the Roman army. Diocletian (reigned 284-305) was born in Salona (Solin, Croatia). Constantine the Great and Constantius III (421AD ) were born in Naissus. His father, Constantius Chlorus was born in Moesia Superior. The Byzantine emperor Anastasius I (reigned 491-518) was born in greek Dyrrhachium (Durrës, Albania). Justinian I (reigned 527-65) was born in latin Tauresium, in the province of Dardania in the Diocese of Dacia 20 kilometres southeast of Skopje in FYROM). Justinian I was the last Latin emperor of this empire. From then on all the emperors were Greek.
The Theme of Dyrrhachium or Dyrrhachion was a Byzantine military-civilian province (theme) located in modern Albania, covering the Adriatic coast of the country. It was established in the early 9th century and named after its capital, Dyrrhachium (Durrës). A strategos of Dyrrhachium is attested in the Taktikon Uspensky of c. 842, but several seals of strategoi dating from the previous decades survive. The historian Jadran Ferluga putting the date of its establishment in the reign of Emperor Nikephoros I (r. 802–811). During the Byzantine–Bulgarian wars of the late 10th and early 11th centuries, the city seems to have been autonomous or at times under Bulgarian suzerainty. From the mid-11th century on, its governor held the title of doux or katepano. In 1040–1041, the troops of the theme, under their leader Tihomir, rebelled and joined the revolt of Peter Delyan. During the late 11th and the 12th centuries, the city of Dyrrhachium and its province were of great importance to the Byzantine Empire. The city was the "key of Albania" and the main point of entry for trade but also for invaders from Italy, and was ideally placed to control the actions of the Slavic rulers of the western Balkans. Thus the doux of Dyrrhachium became the senior-most Byzantine authority throughout the western Balkan provinces. Two successive governors, Nikephoros Bryennios the Elder and Nikephoros Basilakes, used this post as a launchpad for their imperial ambitions in the late 1070s. The region also played a crucial role in the Byzantine–Norman Wars, being occupied by the Normans in 1081–1084. After its recovery, Emperor Alexios I Komnenos entrusted the command of the theme to some of his closest relatives. Nevertheless, the city magnates (archontes) retained considerable influence and autonomy of action throughout, and it was they who in 1205, after the sack of Constantinople by the Fourth Crusade, surrendered the city to the Venetians.
The Despotate of Epirus was one of the successor states of the Byzantine Empire established in the aftermath of the Fourth Crusade in 1204 by a branch of the Angelos dynasty. It claimed to be the legitimate successor of the Byzantine Empire, along with the Empire of Nicaea and the Empire of Trebizond, its rulers briefly proclaiming themselves as Emperors in 1225/1227–1242 (during which it is most often called the Empire of Thessalonica). The Despotate was centred on the region of Epirus, encompassing also Albania and the western portion of Greek Macedonia and also included Thessaly and western Greece as far south as Nafpaktos. After the Battle of Klokotnitsa in 1230 AD in Thrace and the defeat by Bulgarians the Epirote state contracted to its core in Epirus and Thessaly, and was forced into vassalage to other regional powers. It nevertheless managed to retain its autonomy until conquered by the restored Palaiologan Byzantine Empire in ca. 1337. In the 1410s, the Italian Count palatine of Cephalonia and Zakynthos Carlo I Tocco managed to reunite the core of the Epirote state, but his successors gradually lost it to the advancing Ottoman Empire, with the last stronghold, Vonitsa, falling to the Ottomans in 1479. Arbanon was an autonomous Byzantine principality, initially part of the Byzantine Empire and later of the Despotate of Epirus. The state was established by archon Progon in the region of Kruja, in c. 1190. Progon was succeeded by his sons Gjin (John) and then Demetrius, who attained the height of the realm. After the death of Demetrius, the last of the Progon family, the principality came under greek Gregory Kamonas, and later Arvanite Golem, until its dissolution in 1255. North Christians of Albania became Catholics and South Christians remained Orthodox. Arvanites are a Gteek Orthodox bilingual population group in Greece who traditionally speak Arvanitika, along with Greek. They settled in Greece during the late Middle Ages (1300-1400) and were the dominant population element of some regions of the Peloponnese and Attica until the 20th century. Arvanites today self-identify as Greeks and do not consider themselves to belong to Albania or the Albanian nation. They call themselves Arvanites (in Greek) and Arbëror (in their language). It meaning is ar(earth) + ban, van (go to, belong to). Meaning indigenous farmers or refugee farmers. Albanians of Albania call themselves Shqiptar (sons of Eagles). In many instances the Arvanites were invited by the Byzantine and Latin rulers of the time. They were employed to re-settle areas that had been largely depopulated through wars, epidemics, and other reasons, and they were employed as soldiers. Arvanite males on the Greek mainland wore the fustanella, a pleated like skirt garment or kilt, while those who lived on some Aegean islands wore baggy breeches of the seafaring Greeks. During the 20th century, after the creation of the Albanian nation-state, Arvanites in Greece have come to dissociate themselves much more strongly from the Albanians, stressing instead their national self-identification as Greeks.
At the dawn of the establishment of the Ottoman Empire in southeastern Europe, the geopolitical landscape was marked by scattered kingdoms of small principalities. The Ottomans erected their garrisons throughout southern Albania in 1415 and occupied most of the country in 1431 In 1443 a great and longstanding revolt broke out under the lead of the Albanian national hero George Castrioti Skanderbeg, which lasted until 1479, many times defeating major Ottoman armies led by the sultans Murad II and Mehmed II. Skanderbeg united initially the princes of Albania, and later on established a centralized authority over most of the non-conquered territories, becoming the ruling Lord of Albania. He also tried relentlessly but rather unsuccessfully to create a European coalition against the Ottomans. He thwarted every attempt by the Turks to regain Albania, which they envisioned as a springboard for the invasion of Italy and western Europe. His unequal fight against the mightiest power of the time, won the esteem of Europe as well as some support in the form of money and military aid from Naples, Venice, Ragusa and the Papacy. With the arrival of the Ottomans, Islam was introduced in the country as a third religion. This conversion caused a massive emigration of Albanians to other Christian European countries. As Muslims, Albanians attained important political and military positions within the Ottoman Empire and culturally contributed to the wider Muslim world.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macedonia_(Roman_province)
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illyricum_(Roman_province)
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bryges
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Greek_colonisation
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illyrians
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dyrrhachium_(theme)
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Despotate_of_Epirus
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Principality_of_Arbanon
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arvanites
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albania

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