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Who were Illyrians and whats their place in history?

So where to start. Area of Balkan has huge and rich culture and history. It was
crossroad for many civilizations, empires, states. It isnt surprising that Illyrians didnt
survive til this day as separate people. Many todays people such as Albanians,
Serbs, Bosniaks, Croats, Slovenians, Montenegroians etc. claim that Illyrians were
there ancestors. Many people connect them with Bosniaks because of Steak
mounuments and Bogumils which is realy hilarious and obvious that those people
dont understand term time line. Todays people on Balkan are mostly South Slavic
people which came in 6 and 7 century. But spirit of Illyrians live. After Slavs came on
Balkan they took many Illyrians customs. Like breaking ceramics on grave of loved
ones. Strabo wrote that Illyrians (Dalmatians) every eight years divide their land
which is common good and own by everyone. Those dividng of landscape continue
till 17 centuries on Island Pag in Croatia. Illyrians mosty melt with Slavic people and
with Avars ( which came before Slavic people or about same time as one theory
goes that Croats are Avars.). St.Jerome wrote about Huns who came in area. So
when you look history of area, Illyrians were between Rome and Greece, Etruscan,
Italic tribes,Thracians,Celts, then came Huns, Avars, Slavs, Ottomans, Venetian
republic, Republic of Ragussa, Byzant, Franks, Mongols, Hitler and Napoleon. So it
isnt surprising that Illyrians kind of lost battle for they own state. But as I would
show later they werent weak. They were well organized, its just they didnt have luck
to built their civilization on crossroads. Illyrians survive till this day in people which I
mention before. Their name was used in propaganda for nationalism, to name
provience like Romans and Napoleon, to name cultutal movement like Illyrian
movement in Croatia and so on. Illyrians influenced Rome. Illyrians wounded one
Roman emperor and save one Roman Emperor. Illyrics Witch doctors from Panonia
healed Hadrian from fever. Liburnia or Liburnica is Roman ship which Romans steel
from Liburnians (Illyric tribe on Adriatic sea) because it was faster then their ship.
White liturgic dress called Dalmatica was originated from Dalmatians (Illyric tribe on
Adriatic sea). Many herbs as cure Roman accepted such as Gentiana or Iris
Illyrica. Since thread about Illyrians are wide I will try to mention many things but I
will focus on Croatian tribes since Im from Croatia and I studied them a lot. I will call
Illyrians tribes- tribes although I dont agree with that term. For me they were
civilization even they didnt have written word, as far as we know. I will not try to
connect Illyrians with Vina culture or Pelasgians. I will be objective in this for me
very interesting thread. Personally I like japodes, Daorsi, Dardanians,Histri,
Dalmatians and their strugle with Rome, Liburnians since they were last one who
become Illyrizated and mantain original, who worshiped mother, have had
Matriarch society, who burried they people in fetus position, who had female
godesses, who were called pirates by Greeks and Romans, who had fast ships, who
had colonies in Italy and have wars with Umbrians and maybe Etruscan there (For
example Port Truentum.) Liburnians were driven off from todays Italy by Umbrians.
They have had their music instrument called Siringa. They have had their own
weapon called Sica.
Illyrians were lost to history mostly because they didnt have written word and

because many armies went trough area. We know about them from Greek accounts
and Roman accounts. And from archaeology. I will mention that Greeks and Romans
were anti Illyrian. I think that says all. Pseudo Skilak shown us that he dont know
heart of Balkan peninsula. Greeks knowldege about Illyrians was pure. Romans too
but they did wrote more. Pliny wrote that among Ilyrians there some who could
curse you and that they have had two pupil in one eye. Same things mention Aulus
Gellius, Roman writer. Archaeology helped but more research must be done. I hope
that in future Croatia, Serbia and Bosnia will become archaeological hot spot same
as Bulgaria is now with almost everyday new discovery about Thracians.
We now know that Illyrians have had many cities. Sumer, Greece,Etruscans have
had city states but Illyrians have had kingdoms. They were organized. For example:
Ardiaei kingdom, Enchelei kingdom, Taulanti kingdom, Autariatae kingdom, Dardani
So who were Illyrians?
Illyrians inhabit todays Slovenia,Croatia,Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Albania,
Macedonia, Montenegro, part of Greece, part of Italia and part of Bulgaria from 2nd
millennium BC - 9 A.D. They spoke Illyrian language. They were Indo European race
with IE language. Illyrian language is lost but there are some known words on
Illyrian. For example it is suspected that Gentian flower cames from Illyrians, sika
(curved knife) sibina (spear),abaeis (snake),bagaron (heat), deuadai (satyrs), rinos
(fog), sabaia (beer), Bosona (Bosna river), derbanoi (tree). When I mentioned Sica
(curved sword) it was original Illyrian weapon which later Romans adopted. Anyway,
we often hear that Illyrians were not one civilization. That there were different
civilizations, tribes. I mean when we look today definiton of one nation which is:
territory, language, traditions,culture it is obivious that Illyrians have had all. They
shared land. They speak same language and have same traditions and culture. They
have had religion of totemism. There are two major cults. Cult of the sun in the
north and cult of the serpent in the south.Sacrifice and ritual killings were not
something unknown to Illyrians. Historian Arrian wrote that Cleitus, sacrificing three
boys, three girls and three rams before battle against Alexander the great. So are
they Barbarians because of that? We found in many civilizations human sacrifaces
yet we dont call them barbarians such as Rome and Chartage. Also it was only once
that I know that we can found that Illyrians doing sacrifice. To support theory that
they were compact civilization is fact that names Illyrians give in Pannonia we can
also find in Dalmatia. Same thing with Liburnias and Dalmatians. They have cities
such as Aquileia, Nesactium, Pola, Arupium, Aneona, Iader, Asseria, Rider, Scardona,
Delminium, Narona, Rhizon. Butua, Olcinium. Herodian discribe Illyrians as strong
and ready to fight. They often wear tunics and woman wear tunics with cloak. They
keep livestock and they have done farming and mining.Roman historian Appian talk
about Poseidons son Polyphemus who had three sons with Galatia. One of son
Illyrius founded Illyria. Homer tells us in Iliad that Trojans have had allies
Dardanians. Also on battle near Kadesh between Egyptians and Hittites it was
written that Hittites have had allies Drdny. Are they Illyrians- Dardanians?Livy

mention that Illyrians have had a council of male elders who elected their kings. 300
BC, Justinius wrote that Dardanians offered the king of Macedon 20 000 soldiers for
defend his kingdom from a Celtic invasion. Also in Greek mythology Illyrians were
mentioned. Specifically in the legend of Cadmus and Harmonia.Illyrians were
mentioned in Greek history, one of the first was by Anaximander around the 6th
century BC who created a "world map" and included "Illyris" as the territory northwest of Hellenic lands of Epirus and Macedon. Further I hear theory that Illyrians
came on Balkan after Troy was destroyed or another theory after fall of Hittite
Many connect them with snake myth with Hittites. Hittites have had myth snake
Illira as I remember.(?)Of course with Phoenicans becuase Illyrius was son of
What is also interesting is that recently we found Kokino ancient observatory in
todays Macedonia.It dates 2000 BC. It is real mystery.
The U.S. space agency NASA included the site on its list of ancient observatories in
1. Abu Simbel, Egypt,2. Stonehenge, Great Britain,3. Angkor Wat, Cambodia,4.
Kokino, Macedonia,5. Goseck circle, Germany
The United States Space Agency (NASA) recognized the megalithic observatory
"Kokino" as a significant heritage of this type in its "Timeless knowledge" project in
2005. "Kokino" is listed side by side with ancient observatories as Stonehenge
(Great Britain), Abu Simbel (Egypt), Angkor Wat (Cambodia), Machu Picchu (Peru)
No one can say was Kokino Illyrian or not but people under table suggests thats
might be true. If so we have people who have had certain astonomical knowledge,
have medicine, built ships, have towns, have kingdoms, made
coins,swords,spears,axes and so on. Recently Marina Prusac from Oslo University
claimed that they found in Desilo near apljina in Bosnia and Herzegovina 16-30
Illyrian ships with amphoraes , ruins, artifacts that all dates BC. From Roman
accounts we know that Romans had three wars against Illyrians tribes. First Illyrian
war was 229 BC, seceond Illyrian war was 219 BC and third was in 168 BC. From
In 168 BC the Illyrian king Gentius allied himself with the Macedonians. First in 171
BC, he was allied with the Romans against the Macedonians, but in 169 he changed
sides and allied himself with Perseus of Macedon. He arrested two Roman legati and
destroyed the cities of Apollonia and Dyrrhachium, which were allied with Rome. In
168 he was defeated at Scodra by a Roman force under L. Anicius Gallus, and in
167 brought to Rome as a captive to participate in Gallus' triumph, after which he
was interned in Iguvium How is it possible that Illyrian tribes resisted Roman
empire for 61 years and destroyed so many legions if they were not well organized.
If you know who were Romans and to know that some resist 61 years on their
doorstep is quite amazing.
We divide Illyrians into Illyirian-: Venetic tribes, Celtic tribes, Thraco tribes, Hellenic
tribes, Proper tribes.Some of the tribes often allied with Romans, Macedonians and

Greeks. They often had war between states for example Daorsi and Dalmatians,
Liburnians and Dalmatians. You will notice that some tribes were different in their
achivements then others. Such as Dardanians, Teutons, Liburnians, Dalmatians,
1. Thraco Illyrians
Lived near Thracians.
Agrianes-allies of Alexander the Great in 335 BC against Autariatae who wanted to
attack Macedonia.
Tribali-made wars with Philip the Great in 339 BC
Paeones-were melted in Macedonia kingdom.
Dardanians have love for music and dance. They fought with Macedonians. Maybe
Troy allies.
2. Celtic Illyrians
Celts came in area known as Pannonia in fourth century BC. In Pannonia lived tribes:
Japodes, Pannonians, Breuci, Scorisci. Pannonia is valley between Sava and Drava
river. From east Croatia to Serbia.
Japodes- Strabo wrote that they have had celtic armor but that they have tattoos
like Illyrians. Augustus defeat them in 35 BC.
Breuci-Rebels against Rome in 14 BC and 6 AD under Bato.
Scordisci were tribe which is known for practicing and dringink from human skulls.
3.Illyri-Venetic tribes
Veneti - They lived near todays Venice and it is assumed that they migrated from
Asia Minor , possibly Troy.
Elder Pliny (C. Plinius Secundus) .Elder Plinys Naturalis historia is like encyclopedia
of many different Antics knowledge.In his III., IV., V. i VI books we can find
geographic discription of known world. Especially inside Roman borders.In his III.
Book Pliny X. region (=Venetia et Histria) he said:
In mediterraneo regionis decimae coloniae Cremona, Brixia Cenomanorum agro,
Venetorum autem Ateste et oppida Acelum, Patavium, Opitergium, Velunum,
Vicetia. Mantua Tuscorum trans Padum sola reliqua. Venetos Troiana stirpe ortos
auctor est Cato,Cenomanos iuxta Massiliam habitasse in Volcis. Feltrini et Tridentini
et Beruenses Raetica oppida, Raetorum et Euganeorum Verona, Iulienses
Carnorum. Dein quos scrupulosius dicere non attineat, Alutrenses, Asseriates,
Flamonienses Vanienses et alii cognomine Curici, Foroiulienses cognomine
Transpadani, Foretani, Nedinates,Quarqueni, Tarvisani, Togienses, Varvari.
Venetos is Troy origin according to Cato and Cenomans lived before with Volcs near
Massiliam (todays Marseilles.).
Histri-Well known for piracy. Livy in his work Ab Urbe Condita wrote how Histri
have had three cities Nesactium ,Mutilla i Faveria. Livy also wrote that Istrians were
pirating Roman ships. Histri were well known for Roman resistance.They won
several battles against Romans until 177 BC Romans destroyed Nesactium and later
Mutilla and Faveria. How important victory it was it tell us fact that Romans

celebrates victory for two days. At Nesactium siege king Epulon (Epulo, Epulone,
Aepulo) commits suicide when he realize that they lost battle. He rather died then
to become slave. Some historians think that they were totaly seperate culture like
Etruscan. Also I wonder could it be that Etruscian themselves were Illyrians? I also
noticed that they have used same symbols like swastika and others.
Liburni History discribe Liburnians as sea people who were lords of the Adriatic
Sea . I said on purpose Sea people because there were theories that they are ones
who came on shores of Egypt. They were masters of east coast and west coast of
Adriatic sea. In iron age Liburnians establish colonies in Apulia and Picenum in Italy.
Pliny the Elder wrote that Liburnians loose thier colonies in 6BC because od invasion
of Gauls Umbri and Celts and because of rising Etruscan civilization. Liburnian war
ship Roman copied and name after Liburnians. Liburnians have great navigation
skills. Quick ships which gave them mobility. Strabo wrote the oldest known battle
between the Greeks and Illyrians when Chersicrates the Corinthian won ovet the
Liburni. Battle happened near island Corcyca todays Corfu. We must understand
that Greeks didnt defeated Illyrians on their own. They have had Taulanti (One of
the biggest Illyrian tribe) on their side. In fact Taulanti asked help from Greece
because of Liburnians.Strabo also told us that Liburnians used Corcyra island for
controlling the enterence in Adriatic sea. It is inteteresting what Scylax wrote about
Illyrians. He wrote that Liburni were dominated by women who were sexually free to
have sex with who ever they want. Also Roman writer Varro wrote about sexual
freedom of unmarried woman. From his notes we can conclude that they were a
matriarchal society . They burried they people in fetus position. Called pirates by
Greeks and Romans. They have had very fast mobile ships and have colinies in
todays Italy. such asPort Truentum. Liburnians were driven off from todays Italy by
Umbri as I said. They have had their music instrument called Siringa. Theopompus
of Chios wrote that Liburni established city Adria in Italy. Some even argue that term
Adriatic sea came from Liburni. Strabo wrote how in year 734 BC Luburni were
driven off from Corcyra todays Corfu by Corinthian ruler Hersikrates. So they were
active from Italy to Greece.
The great astronomer, mathematician and geographer Ptolemy of Alexandria, in his
geography put Asseria (Assesia) along with other cities of the interior of Liburnia.
Tedijast 39 4450 (unknown)
Arukija 39 44 45 (Arupij (Vital near Otoca)
Ardotij 40 44 50 (in Lika)
Stulpi 39 30 44 50 (unknown)
Kurkum 40 30 44 30 (unknown)
Ausankalij 41 30 44 45 (in Lika)
Varvarija 41 10 44 10 (Bribir)
Salvija 41 20 44 40 (near Glamoa)
Adra 42 30 44 40 (near Zrmanja)
Arauzona 42 30 44 40 (Vel. Mrdakovica near Zaton)
Asesija 4215 44 20 (=ASSERIA)

Burnum 42 45 44 20 (near Ivoevaca on Krk river)

Sidrona 43 30 44 30 (Medvia)
Blanona 42 10 44 (Stabanj near Biograda)
Voporum 43 44 (Promona?)
Nedinum 44 30 44 15 (Nadin)

4. Hellenistic Illyrians
Lived in almost on south and very south of Illyria. Todays Albania and Bosnia and
Chaoni-This tribe didnt even cook food sisnt surprising that Greeks though on
Illyrians as Barbarians. Roman Appian said that from there Illria stops and Greece
Molossi-strong tribe
Encheleae - They controlled most of southern Illyria and were at the height of their
power in the eighth and seventh centuries BC. They were the first to have an
organized Illyrian tribal-state (around Lake Ohrid in Albania).
Daorsi-They lived in todays Bosnia and Herzegovina. They built cyclopean walls.
They coined money. City Daorson ( )wall were 65 meters long and 4,5
meters high. They used Greek alphabet. In Daorson we found helmet with Nika,
Dionysius, Pegasus and Aphrodite. Interesting that we found statue of Cadmus and
Harmonia. Dalmatians attacked them often. They ask Rome for help and after
Romans conquer Illyria Daorson had immunity.
5.Pure Illyrians
Ardiaei Strabo wrote that they were one of three most powerfull tibes (Others too
Autariatae and Dardani) which lived in todays Montenegro. They fight with Romans,
Autariataeans, Macedonians and Celts. Theopompus of Chios wrote that they have
had 300 000 slaves. Doubtfull number but it tells us that how people seen them.
Autariatae They planed to attack Maceodnia and made war with Ardiaedians.
Dalmatians Appian said that they were last tribe to be conquered of all Illyrians in
year 9 AD. Dalmatians center was Salona. They made war with Rome. They
attacked Liburnians, Daorsi and others.They lived in city of Narona. In 1st century
BC Cicero wrote to the Illyrians in Narona that they find for him one of his missing
slave. Cicero didnt care about that slave but that slave stole some books from the
library and those books were important. Name of the slave was Dionysius and he
was the chief librarian of Cicero. Story is irrelevant but shows us how important was
city Narona when Romans wrote to Narona city. And that Illyrians have had center.
Cicero wrote to Illyrians in Narona that they stoped the Dionysius. Their white dress
called Dalmatica influence Rome.
Taulanti lived in totays Albania. Allies of Athens during Peloponnesian was.
Thucydides notes this tribe in his history of the Peloponnesian War as allies of
Athens. Greek beutifull city Apollonia was late place where Taulantis settled.

Hecataeus of Miletus around 500 BC wrote about Adriatic shores and Legend of
agronauts show us how Greeks know nothing about inland of Illyria.
Pliny wrote that Illyrian tibes were settle in Italy in Poediculi. Historians agrees that
we know very little about Illyrians in Italy such as in area Picenum. Hans Krahe,
German philologist and linguist, specializing over many decades in the Illyrian
languages. He wrote that Messapian language of southeastern Italy, Apulia is Illyrian
language. He wrote that Messapian language is in fact Illyrian in his work Die
sprache der Illyrier. Theopompus of Chios wrote that Liburni established city Adria
in Italy. Some even argue that term Adriatic sea came from Liburni.
Strabo wrote how in year 734 BC Luburni were driven off from Corcyra todays Corfu
by Corinthian ruler Hersikrates. They strech from Italy to Greece. And many times
they won over Greeks. Fore example near Medion under Illrian King Argon. Or as
battle over city Foinike.
Here is short info about Illyrian Roman wars. Rome sent envoys to ask Illyrian Queen
Teuta to not attacking their ships in Adriatic pool and that Illyrians save city of Issa
from constant raiding. On their way home they were killed by Illyrians which cause
Rome Illyrian wars. Illyrians then conquered Corcyra. It shows us that Rome seen
Queen Teuta as ruler of Illyrians. And how Illyrians feel that they possess power to
resist Romans. Fulvius Centumal, Roman consul in reponse sent 200 ships to
Corcyra. Imagine Rome sent 200 ships. After Demetrius of Pharos change side to
Roman and become ruler of Pharos. Second Illyrian Roman war start when
Demetrius change side again this time with Macedons against Rome. He start pirate
campaign in 216 BC. Rome then made was with Illyrians again and after battle of
Pharos, Demetrius ran in Macedonia. Then Genitius Illyrian King didnt want to
becom vassal of Rome and again made alliance with Macedonians. Rome tried to
offer peace with Dalmatians in Delminium but dalmatians refused peace.
In 129 BC Caius Sempronius Tuditanus won Liburni and Japodes. In 78 BC
Dalmatians conquered Salona. In 50 BC Dalmatians attack Liburni for city Promna.
Liburni ask for help Caesar but Dalmatians won Caesar troops. Then again in 4 BC
near town Synodium Dalmatians won. Resistance of Dalmatians was enormous. I
must stressed out that later in same area Mongols leave their pants on sticks.
Octavian himself in 35 BC attacked Illyrians and he was wounded during siege of
Setovia. Two years later Setovia has fallen from Romans under healed Octavian.
Resistance in Dalmatia was lead by Illyrians Verzo Dalmat in Promona and Testimos
as guerilla leader. Later Illyrians rebeled under Bato command with 200 000
soldiers and 9000 mount soldiers. Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus wrote that was
hardest war after Chartage. Germanicus and Tiberius were sent by Rome to silenced
rebeled Illyrians. When Rome eneter in city Ardubi hope was lost for Illyrians.
Interesting we still dont know where is this city. Possibly Vranduk but thats just
speculation. Here is what wiki say about rebelion:

The Breuci were led by their general, Bato and the Daesitaitis were led by their
king baring the same name as the general of the Breuci also called Bato. With the
Romans advancing, King Bato led his troops into Sirmium (Pannonia) with General
Bato taking the Breuci into Salona (Dalmatia). However, both suffered heavy losses
to the Romans and King Bato was seriously injured and retreated to Apollonia in
southern Illyria. General Bato and the Breuci along with the Dalmatae continued the
war but the general had other plans (personal gain, kingship). He disobeyed the
orders from his king, Pinnes, to continue the battle and upon surrendering, he
delivered up Pinnes to the Romans. King Bato received word of the shameless act of
the Breucian and returned to Pannonia and captured the traitor general. Before a
Pannonian tribunal, King Bato had his namesake executed.King Bato once again led
charged but the Roman legions were a military machine and their discipline was
exemplary. Illyrian towns, set ablaze, fell one by one to the Romans. King Bato who
had probably forseen an onslaught surrendered in 9AD and asked that the lives of
his men be spared. King Bato was soon exiled to Ravenna (Italy) until his death.
When asked by the Roman Commander Tiberus as to why he rebelled, King Bato
replied, "You Romans are to blame for this; for you send as guardians of your flocks,
not dogs or shepherds, but wolves."

Their ship Liburna or Liburnica

Uniq Illyrian weapon. Some argued that they must use it as melee and range
weapon as boomerang.