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The Illyrians (Ancient Greek : Ἰλλυριοί, Illyrioi; Latin : Illyrii or Illyri) were a group of Indo-European tribes in antiquity, who inhabited part of the western Balkans. The territory the Illyrians inhabited came to be known as Illyria to Greek and Roman authors, who identified a territory that corresponds to Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Montenegro, Kosovo , part of Serbia and most of central and northern Albania, between the Adriatic Sea in the west, the Drava river in the north, the Morava river in the east and the mouth of the Aoos river in the south. The first account of Illyrian peoples comes from the Periplus of Pseudo-Scylax , an ancient Greek text of the middle of the 4th century BC that describes coastal passages in the Mediterranean.
The Proto-Indo-Europeans were a hypothetical prehistoric people of Eurasia who spoke Proto-Indo-European (PIE), the ancestor of the Indo-European languages according to linguistic reconstruction.
Classical antiquity is the period of cultural history between the 8th century BC and the 6th century AD centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome known as the Greco-Roman world. It is the period in which Greek and Roman society flourished and wielded great influence throughout Europe, North Africa and Western Asia.
The BalkansBAWL-kənz, also known as the Balkan Peninsula, is a geographic area in southeastern Europe with various definitions and meanings, including geopolitical and historical. The region takes its name from the Balkan Mountains that stretch throughout the whole of Bulgaria from the Serbian-Bulgarian border to the Black Sea coast. The Balkan Peninsula is bordered by the Adriatic Sea on the northwest, the Ionian Sea on the southwest, the Aegean Sea in the south and southeast, and the Black Sea on the east and northeast. The northern border of the peninsula is variously defined. The highest point of the Balkans is Mount Musala, 2,925 metres (9,596 ft), in the Rila mountain range, Bulgaria.
The name "Illyrians", as applied by the ancient Greeks to their northern neighbors, may have referred to a broad, ill-defined group of peoples. The Illyrian tribes never collectively regarded themselves as 'Illyrians', and it is unlikely that they used any collective nomenclature for themselves.In fact, Illyrians seems to be the name of a specific Illyrian tribe that was among the first to come in contact with the ancient Greeks during the Bronze Age, with the Greeks later applying pars pro toto the name Illyrians to all people with similar language and customs. At present it is unclear to what extent the Illyrians were linguistically and culturally homogeneous. In fact, Illyric origin was and still is attributed also to a few ancient peoples residing in Italy: the Iapyges, Dauni, and Messapi, who are thought to have most likely followed Adriatic shorelines to the Italian peninsula from the geographic "Illyria".
The Bronze Age is a historical period characterized by the use of bronze, and in some areas proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the three-age Stone-Bronze-Iron system, as proposed in modern times by Christian Jürgensen Thomsen, for classifying and studying ancient societies.
Pars pro toto, Latin for "a part (taken) for the whole", is a figure of speech where the name of a portion of an object, place, or concept represents its entirety. It is distinct from a merism, which is a reference to a whole by an enumeration of parts; metonymy, where an object, place, or concept is called by something or some place associated with the object, place, or concept; or synecdoche, which can refer both to this and its inverse: the whole representing a part.
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.
The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It survived the fragmentation and fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD and continued to exist for an additional thousand years until it fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. During most of its existence, the empire was the most powerful economic, cultural and military force in Europe. "Byzantine Empire" is a term created after the end of the realm; its citizens continued to refer to their empire simply as the Roman Empire, or Romania (Ῥωμανία), and to themselves as "Romans".
Illyricum was a Roman province that existed from 27 BC to sometime during the reign of Vespasian. The province comprised Illyria/Dalmatia and Pannonia. Illyria included the area along the east coast of the Adriatic Sea and its inland mountains. With the creation of this province it came to be called Dalmatia. It was in the south, while Pannonia was in the north. Illyria/Dalmatia stretched from the River Drin to Istria (Croatia) and the River Sava in the north. The area roughly corresponded to modern northern Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina and coastal Croatia. Pannonia was the plain which lies to its north, from the mountains of Illyria/Dalmatia to the westward bend of the River Danube, and included modern Vojvodina, northern Croatia and western Hungary. As the province developed, Salona became its capital.
In later Greek mythology,Illyrius was the son of Cadmus and Harmonia who eventually ruled Illyria and became the eponymous ancestor of the whole Illyrian people.
Greek mythology is the body of myths originally told by the ancient Greeks. These stories concern the origin and the nature of the world, the lives and activities of deities, heroes, and mythological creatures, and the origins and significance of the ancient Greeks' own cult and ritual practices. Modern scholars study the myths in an attempt to shed light on the religious and political institutions of ancient Greece and its civilization, and to gain understanding of the nature of myth-making itself.
Illyrius is a name known in different stories found in ancient Greek mythology.
In Greek mythology, Cadmus, was the founder and first king of Thebes. Cadmus was the first Greek hero and, alongside Perseus and Bellerophon, the greatest hero and slayer of monsters before the days of Heracles. Initially a Phoenician prince, son of king Agenor and queen Telephassa of Tyre and the brother of Phoenix, Cilix and Europa, he was originally sent by his royal parents to seek out and escort his sister Europa back to Tyre after she was abducted from the shores of Phoenicia by Zeus. In early accounts, Cadmus and Europa were instead the children of Phoenix. Cadmus founded the Greek city of Thebes, the acropolis of which was originally named Cadmeia in his honour.
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. Autareius had a son Pannonius or Paeon and these had sons Scordiscus and Triballus. [ citation needed ]A later version of this mythic genealogy gives as parents Polyphemus and Galatea, who gave birth to Celtus, Galas, and Illyrius, three brothers, progenitors respectively of Celts, Galatians and Illyrians expresses perceived similarities to Celts and Gauls on the part of the mythographe.
In Greek mythology, Autarieus was one of the sons of Illyrius and the eponymous founder of the Autariates.
In Greek mythology, Taulas was one of the six sons of Illyrius and the eponymous ancestor of the Taulantii.
In Greek mythology, Perrhaebus was one of the sons of Illyrius and the eponymous founder of the Perrhaebi.
Scholars have long recognized a "difficulty in producing a single theory on the ethnogenesis of the Illyrians" given their heterogeneous nature.Modern scholarship is unable to refer to the Illyrians as a unique and compact people and agrees that they were a sum of ill-defined communities without common origins that never merged to a single ethnic entity.
Older Pan-Illyrian theories are now generally dismissed by scholars, based as they were on racialistic notions of Nordicism and Aryanism.The specific theories have found little archaeological corroboration, as no convincing evidence for significant migratory movements from the Luzatian culture into the west Balkans have ever been found. Rather, archaeologists from the former Yugoslavia highlighted the continuity between the Bronze and succeeding Iron Age (especially in regions such as Donja Dolina, central Bosnia-Glasinac, and northern Albania (Mat river basin)), ultimately developing the so-called "autochthonous theory" of Illyrian genesis. The "autochthonous" model was most elaborated upon by Alojz Benac and B. Čović. They argued (following the "Kurgan hypothesis") that the 'proto-Illyrians' had arrived much earlier, during the Bronze Age as nomadic Indo-Europeans from the steppe. From that point, there was a gradual Illyrianization of the western Balkans leading to historic Illyrians, with no early Iron Age migration from northern Europe. He did not deny a minor cultural impact from the northern Urnfield cultures, however "these movements had neither a profound influence on the stability.. of the Balkans, nor did they affect the ethnogenesis of the Illyrian ethnos".
Aleksandar Stipčević raised concerns regarding Benac's all-encompassing scenario of autochthonous ethnogenesis. He points out "can one negate the participation of the bearers of the field-urn culture in the ethnogenesis of the Illyrian tribes who lived in present-day Slovenia and Croatia" or "Hellenistic and Mediterranean influences on southern Illyrians and Liburnians?".He concludes that Benac's model is only applicable to the Illyrian groups in Bosnia, western Serbia and a part of Dalmatia, where there had indeed been a settlement continuity and 'native' progression of pottery sequences since the Bronze Age. Following prevailing trends in discourse on identity in Iron Age Europe, current anthropological perspectives reject older theories of a longue duree (long term) ethnogenesis of Illyrians, even where 'archaeological continuity' can be demonstrated to Bronze Age times. They rather see the emergence of historic Illyrians tribes as a more recent phenomenon - just prior to their first attestation.
The impetus behind the emergence of larger regional groups, such as "Iapodes", "Liburnians", "Pannonians" etc., is traced to increased contacts with the Mediterranean and La Tène 'global worlds'. [ citation needed ]This catalyzed "the development of more complex political institutions and the increase in differences between individual communities". Emerging local elites selectively adopted either La Tène or Hellenistic and, later, Roman cultural templates "in order to legitimise and strengthen domination within their communities. They were competing fiercely through either alliance or conflict and resistance to Roman expansion. Thus, they established more complex political alliances, which convinced (Greco-Roman) sources to see them as ‘ethnic’ identities." Contemporary perspectives again highlight that the term "Illyrian" was a 'catch-all' exonym used by the Greeks and Romans to denote diverse communities beyond Epirus and Macedonia. Each was differentially conditioned by specific local cultural, ecological and economic factors; none of which fall into a compact, unitary "Illyrian" narrative.
The name of Illyrians as applied by the ancient Greeks to their northern neighbours 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 Illyrian tribes never collectively regarded themselves as 'Illyrians', and it is unlikely that they utilized any collective nomenclature for themselves.
The term Illyrioi may originally have designated only a single people who came to be widely known to the Greeks due to proximity.This occurred during the Bronze Age, when Greek tribes were neighboring the southernmost Illyrian tribe of that time in the Zeta plain of Montenegro. Indeed, such a people known as the Illyrioi have occupied a small and well-defined part of the south Adriatic coast, around Skadar Lake astride the modern frontier between Albania and Montenegro. The name may then have expanded and come to be applied to ethnically different peoples such as the Liburni, Delmatae, Iapodes, or the Pannonii. In any case, most modern scholars are certain the Illyrians were not a homogeneous entity.
Pliny the Elder referred, in his Natural History , to "Illyrians proper" (Illyrii proprie dicti) as natives in the south of Roman Dalmatia. Appian's Illyrian Wars employed the more common broader usage, simply stating that Illyrians lived beyond Macedonia and Thrace, from Chaonia and Thesprotia to the Danube River.
Illyrians were regarded as bloodthirsty, unpredictable, turbulent, and warlike by Greeks and Romans.They were seen as savages on the edge of their world. Polybius (3rd century BC) wrote: "the Romans had freed the Greeks from the enemies of all mankind". According to the Romans, the Illyrians were tall and well-built. Herodianus writes that "Pannonians are tall and strong always ready for a fight and to face danger but slow witted". Livy wrote "...the coasts of Italy destitute of harbours, and, on the right, the Illyrians, Liburnians, and Istrians, nations of savages, and noted in general for piracy, he passed on to the coasts of the Venetians". Illyrian rulers wore bronze torques around their necks.
Illyria appears in Greco-Roman historiography from the 4th century BC. The Illyrians formed several kingdoms in the central Balkans, and the first known Illyrian king was Bardyllis. Illyrian kingdoms were often at war with ancient Macedonia, and the Illyrian pirates were also a significant danger to neighbouring peoples. At the Neretva Delta, there was a strong Hellenistic influence on the Illyrian tribe of Daors. Their capital was Daorson located in Ošanići near Stolac in Herzegovina, which became the main center of classical Illyrian culture. Daorson, during the 4th century BC, was surrounded by megalithic, 5 meter high stonewalls, composed out of large trapeze stones blocks. Daors also made unique bronze coins and sculptures. The Illyrians even conquered Greek colonies on the Dalmatian islands. Queen Teuta was famous for having waged wars against the Romans.
After Philip II of Macedon defeated Bardylis (358 BC), the Grabaei under Grabos became the strongest state in Illyria.Philip II killed 7,000 Illyrians in a great victory and annexed the territory up to Lake Ohrid. Next, Philip II reduced the Grabaei, and then went for the Ardiaei, defeated the Triballi (339 BC), and fought with Pleurias (337 BC).
In the Illyrian Wars of 229 BC, 219 BC and 168 BC Rome overran the Illyrian settlements and suppressed the piracy that had made the Adriatic unsafe for Italian commerce.There were three campaigns, the first against Teuta the second against Demetrius of Pharos and the third against Gentius. The initial campaign in 229 BC marks the first time that the Roman Navy crossed the Adriatic Sea to launch an invasion.
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. [ citation needed ]
The Roman province of Illyricum or Illyris Romana or Illyris Barbara or Illyria Barbara replaced most of the region of Illyria. [ citation needed ]It stretched from the Drilon river in modern Albania to Istria (Croatia) in the west and to the Sava river (between Bosnia and Herzegovina and northern Croatia) in the north. Salona (Solin near modern Split in Croatia) functioned as its capital. The regions which it included changed through the centuries though a great part of ancient Illyria remained part of Illyricum as a province while south Illyria became Epirus Nova.
After 9 AD, the remnants of Illyrian tribes moved to new coastal cities and larger and more capable civitates .
The prefecture of Illyricum was established in the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantine Empire), existing between 376 and the 7th century. The northern half of formerly Illyrian-inhabited territory was overrun by the Slavic incursions in the 6th and 7th centuries and was ultimately absorbed into the medieval states of Serbia and Croatia.
The history of Illyrian warfare spanned from around the 10th century BC up to the 1st century AD in the region defined by Ancient Greek and Latin historians as Illyria. It concerns the armed conflicts of the Illyrian tribes and their kingdoms in the Balkans in Italy as well as pirate activity in the Mediterranean and Adriatic seas. Apart from conflicts between Illyrians and neighbouring nations and tribes, numerous wars were recorded among Illyrian tribes also. [ citation needed ]
The mythology and religion of the Illyrians is only known through mention of Illyrian deities on Roman Empire period monuments, some with interpretatio Romana .There appears to be no single most prominent Illyrian god and there would have been much variation between individual Illyrian tribes. According to John Wilkes, the Illyrians did not develop a uniform cosmology on which to center their religious practices. The Illyrian town of Rhizon (present-day Risan, Montenegro) had its own protector called Medauras depicted as carrying a lance and riding on horseback.
Human sacrifice also played a role in the lives of the Illyrians. [ citation needed ] The most common type of burial among the Iron Age Illyrians was tumulus or 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. Archaeology has 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. [ citation needed ]Arrian records the chieftain Cleitus the Illyrian as sacrificing three boys, three girls and three rams just before his battle with Alexander the Great.
The Illyrians were subject to varying degrees of Celticization,Hellenization, Romanization, and later Slavicization.
The languages spoken by the Illyrian tribes were Indo-European. It is not clear whether the Illyrian languages belonged to the centum or the satem group. The vast majority of our knowledge of Illyrian is based on Messapian, if the latter is considered an Illyrian dialect. The non-Messapic testimonies of Illyrian are too fragmentary to allow any conclusions whether Messapian should be considered part of Illyrian proper. It has been widely thought that Messapian was related to Illyrian. Messapian (also known as Messapic) is an extinct Indo-European language of south-eastern Italy, once spoken in Messapia (modern Apulia). It was spoken by the three Iapygian tribes of the region: the Messapians, the Daunii and the Peucetii. The Illyrian languages were once thought to be connected to the Venetic language but this view was abandoned.Other scholars have linked them with the adjacent Thracian language supposing an intermediate convergence area or dialect continuum, but this view is also not generally supported. All these languages were likely extinct by the 5th century although traditionally, the Albanian language is identified as the descendant of Illyrian dialects that survived in remote areas of the Balkans during the Middle Ages, but evidence "is too meager and contradictory for us to know whether the term Illyrian even referred to a single language". The ancestor dialects of Albanian would have survived somewhere along the boundary of Latin and Greek linguistic influence (the Jireček Line). There are various modern historians and linguists believe that modern Albanian language might have descended from a southern Illyrian dialect whereas an alternative hypothesis holds that Albanian was descended from Thracian. Not enough is known of the ancient language to completely prove or disprove either hypothesis (see Origin of the Albanians).
There are few remains to connect with the Bronze Age with the later Illyrians in the western Balkans. Moreover, with the notable exception of Pod near Bugojno in the upper valley of the Vrbas River, nothing is known of their settlements. Some hill settlements have been identified in western Serbia, but the main evidence comes from cemeteries, consisting usually of a small number of burial mounds (tumuli). In the cemeteries of Belotić and Bela Crkva, the rites of exhumation and cremation are attested, with skeletons in stone cists and cremations in urns. Metal implements appear here side-by-side with stone implements. Most of the remains belong to the fully developed Middle Bronze Age. [ citation needed ]
During the 7th century BC, the beginning of the Iron Age, the Illyrians emerge as an ethnic group with a distinct culture and art form. Various Illyrian tribes appeared, under the influence of the Halstatt cultures from the north, and they organized their regional centers. [ citation needed ] Small sculptures out of jade in form of archaic Ionian plastic are also characteristically Japodian. Numerous monumental sculptures are preserved, as well as walls of citadel Nezakcij near Pula, one of numerous Istrian cities from Iron Age. Illyrian chiefs wore bronze torques around their necks much like the Celts did. The Illyrians were influenced by the Celts in many cultural and material aspects and some of them were Celticized, especially the tribes in Dalmatia and the Pannonians. In Slovenia, the Vače situla was discovered in 1882 and attributed to Illyrians. Prehistoric remains indicate no more than average height, male 165 cm (5 ft 5 in), female 153 cm (5 ft 0 in).The cult of the dead played an important role in the lives of the Illyrians, which is seen in their carefully made burials and burial ceremonies, as well as the richness of the burial sites. In the northern parts of the Balkans, there existed a long tradition of cremation and burial in shallow graves, while in the southern parts, the dead were buried in large stone, or earth tumuli (natively called gromile) that in Herzegovina were reaching monumental sizes, more than 50 meters wide and 5 meters high. The Japodian tribe (found from Istria in Croatia to Bihać in Bosnia) have had an affinity for decoration with heavy, oversized necklaces out of yellow, blue or white glass paste, and large bronze fibulas, as well as spiral bracelets, diadems and helmets out of bronze.
The Illyrians were mentioned for the last time in the Miracula Sancti Demetrii during the 7th century.With the disintegration of the Roman Empire, Gothic and Hunnic tribes raided the Balkan peninsula, forcing many Illyrians to seek refuge in the highlands.
During the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance, the term "Illyrian" was used to describe Slavs living within the territories of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Italy, Austria, Hungary and Serbia (and in other countries abroad). The term was revived again during the Habsburg Monarchy, but it was designated towards South Slavs.
When Napoleon conquered part of the South Slavic lands in the beginning of the 19th century, these areas were named after ancient Illyrian provinces. Under the influence of Romantic nationalism, a self-identified "Illyrian movement" in the form of a Croatian national revival, opened a literary and journalistic campaign initiated by a group of young Croatian intellectuals during the years of 1835–49. [ citation needed ]This movement, under the banner of Illlyrism, aimed to create a Croatian national establishment under Austro-Hungarian rule but was repressed by the Habsburg authorities after the failed Revolutions of 1848.
The possible continuity between the Illyrian populations of the Western Balkans in antiquity and the Albanians has played a significant role in Albanian nationalism from the 19th century until the present day. For example, Ibrahim Rugova, the first President of Kosovo introduced the "Flag of Dardania" on October 29, 2000, Dardania being the name for a Thraco-Illyrian region including parts of eastern Kosovo, the Republic of North Macedonia and Southern Serbia.
In classical antiquity, Illyria was a region in the western part of the Balkan Peninsula inhabited by numerous tribes of people collectively known as the Illyrians. Besides them, this region was also settled, in various times, by some tribes of Celts, Goths and Thracians. Illyrians spoke Illyrian languages, a group of Indo-European languages, which in ancient times perhaps had speakers in some parts in southern Italy. The Roman term Illyris was sometimes used to define an area north of the Aous valley, most notably Illyris proper.
The Scordisci were a Celtic Iron Age tribe centered in the territory of present-day Serbia, at the confluence of the Savus (Sava), Dravus (Drava) and Danube rivers. They were historically notable from the beginning of the third century BC until the turn of the common era. The Scordisci consolidated into a tribal state. At their zenith, their core territory stretched over regions comprising parts of present-day Serbia, Croatia, Bulgaria and Romania, while their influence spread even further. After the Roman conquest in the 1st century AD, their territories were included into the Roman provinces of Pannonia, Moesia and Dacia.
The Dardani, or Dardanians (Δαρδανίωνες) were an Indo-European tribe which settled in the region that took its name from them of Dardania, at the Thraco-Illyrian contact zone. Their identification as either an Illyrian or Thracian tribe is uncertain. They and their territory were by most writers not considered part of Illyria.
The origin of the Albanians has long been a matter of dispute among historians.
The Dalmatae or Delmatae were an ancient people who inhabited the core of what would then become known as Dalmatia after the Roman conquest at the eastern Adriatic coast, in what is present-day Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, between the rivers Krka, on the northwest, the Neretva on the east, and the river Rama on the northeast. The Delmatae are mostly classed as an Illyrian tribe.
Within the boundaries of today’s Bosnia and Herzegovina, there have been many layers of prehistoric cultures whose creation and disappearance are linked to migrations of unidentified ethnic groups.
Illyro-Roman is a term used in historiography and anthropological studies for the Romanized Illyrians within the ancient Roman provinces of Illyricum, Moesia, Pannonia and Dardania. The term 'Illyro-Roman' can also be used to describe the Roman settlers who colonized Illyricum. The remnants of the Illyro-Romans, called Vlachs in literature, were absorbed by the western South Slavs and Albanians.
The Ardiaei or Ardian were an Illyrian tribe, residing on territory of present-day Albania and Montenegro, between Adriatic coast on the south, Konjic on the north, along the Neretva river and its right bank on the west, extending to Lake Skadar to the southeast, with Scodra as their capital. Polybius writes that they were subdued by the Romans at events that occurred at 229 BC. Appian (95–165) writes that they were destroyed by the Autariatae and that in contrast to the Autariatae had maritime power. In the Epitome of Livy they are said to have been subdued by the consul Fulvius Flaccus.
Dalmatia was a Roman province. Its name is derived from the name of an Illyrian tribe called the Dalmatae, which lived in the central area of the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea. It encompassed the northern part of present-day Albania, much of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo and Serbia, thus covering an area significantly larger than the current Croatian region of Dalmatia. Originally this region was called Illyria or Illyricum.
Celticisation, or Celticization, was historically the process of conquering and assimilating by the ancient Celts. Today, as the Celtic inhabited-areas significantly differ, the term still refers to making something Celtic, usually focusing around the Celtic nations and their languages.
Delminium was an Illyrian city and the capital of the Dalmatia which was located some where near today's Tomislavgrad, Bosnia and Herzegovina, in between known as Duvno, under which name it also was the seat of a Latin bishopric.
The history of Illyrian warfare spans from the beginning of the 2nd millennium BC up to the 1st century AD in the region of Illyria and in southern Italy where the Iapygian civilization flourished.
The Illyrian languages were a group of Indo-European languages that were spoken in the western part of the Balkans in former times by groups identified as Illyrians: Ardiaei, Delmatae, Pannonii, Autariates, Taulantii. Some sound changes from Proto-Indo-European to Illyrian and other language features are deduced from what remains of the Illyrian languages, but because there are no examples of ancient Illyrian literature surviving, it is difficult to clarify its place within the Indo-European language family. Because of the uncertainty, most sources provisionally place Illyrian on its own branch of Indo-European, though its relation to other languages, ancient and modern, continues to be studied.
Illyrian coinage which began in the 6th century BC continued up to the 1st century of Roman rule. It was the southern Illyrians who minted the first coins followed by the northern Illyrian during the Roman era. Illyrian coins have also been found in other areas apart from Illyria, such ancient Macedonia, Italy, Greece, Asia Minor and Egypt.
Illyrian weaponry played an important role in the makeup of Illyrian armies and in conflicts involving the Illyrians. Of all the ancients sources the most important and abundant writings are those of Ennius, a Roman poet of Messapian origin. Weapons of all sorts were also placed intact in the graves of Illyrian warriors and provide a detailed picture for archaeologists on the distribution and development of Illyrian weaponry.
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