Last updated

The Thunatae (Ancient Greek: Θουνᾶται) were a Romanized Thraco-Illyrian [1] tribe of Dardania alongside the Galabri. [2] The Thracian Maedi tribe bordered the Thunatae eastwards. [3]

In AD 6, the Dardani were conquered by Rome and became part of the province of Moesia Superior (corresponding to present-day Kosovo, northern fringes of North Macedonia and northern Bulgaria). According to Strabo, the Dardani were not part of Illyria, [4] and they were divided into two sub-groups, the Galabri and the Thunaki. [5] Strabo in his geographica mentions them as one of the three strongest Illyrian people alongside Ardiaei and Autariatae. [6]

Related Research Articles

Bastarnae Ethnic group, 200 BCE - 300 CE, east of the Carpathians

The Bastarnae and Peucini were two ancient peoples who between 200 BC and 300 AD inhabited areas north of the Roman frontier on the Lower Danube. The Bastarnae lived in the region between the Carpathian Mountains and the river Dnieper, to the north and east of ancient Dacia. The Peucini occupied the region north of the Danube Delta.

Illyria Historical region in Western Balkan, Southeast Europe

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. Illyrians spoke the Illyrian language, an Indo-European language, which in ancient times perhaps also had speakers in some parts of Southern Italy. The geographical term Illyris was sometimes used to define approximately the area of northern and central Albania down to the Aoös valley, including in most periods much of the lakeland area. In Roman times the terms Illyria / Illyris / Illyricum were extended from the territory that was roughly located in the area of the south-eastern Adriatic coast and its hinterland, to a broader region stretching between the Adriatic Sea and the Danube, and from the upper reaches of the Adriatic down to the Ardiaei. From about mid 1st century BC the term Illyricum was used by the Romans for the province of the Empire that stretched along the eastern Adriatic coast north of the Drin river, south of which the Roman province of Macedonia began.

The Scordisci were a Celtic Iron Age cultural group 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, and 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 Illyrians were a group of Indo-European speaking tribes, who inhabited the western Balkan Peninsula in ancient times. They constituted one of the three main Paleo-Balkan populations, along with the Thracians and Greeks.

Dardani Ancient tribe in the Balkans

The Dardani were a Paleo-Balkan tribe, which lived in a region which was named Dardania after their settlement there. The eastern parts of the region were at the Thraco-Illyrian contact zone. In archaeological research, Illyrian names are predominant in western Dardania, and occasionally appear in eastern Dardania, while Thracian names are found in the eastern parts, but are absent from the western parts. Thus, their identification as either an Illyrian or Thracian tribe has been a subject of debate; the ethnolinguistic relationship between the two groups being largely uncertain and debated itself as well. The correspondence of Illyrian names, including those of the ruling elite, in Dardania with those of the southern Illyrians suggests a "thracianization" of parts of Dardania. Strabo in his geographica mentions them as one of the three strongest Illyrian peoples, the other two being the Ardiaei and Autariatae.


The Maedi were a Thracian tribe in antiquity. In historic times, they occupied the area between Paionia and Thrace, on the southwestern fringes of Thrace, along the middle course of the Strymon, between the Kresna Gorge and the Rupel Pass. Strabo says that the Maedi bordered eastward on the Thunatae of Dardania, and that the Axius flowed through their territory.

Autariatae Illyrian people

The Autariatae or Autariatai were an Illyrian people that lived between the valleys of the Lim and the Tara, beyond the Accursed Mountains, and the valley of West Morava. Their territory was located inland from the Ardiaei and the Lake Skodra, extending east to the Dardani and north or northeast to the Triballi.

Kingdom of Dardania Ancient state in the Balkans

The Kingdom of Dardania was a polity formed in the central Balkans in the region of Dardania during classical antiquity. It is named after the Dardani, a Paleo-Balkan tribe which formed its population and formed the core of the Dardanian polity. Dardania included present-day Kosovo, northwestern North Macedonia, parts of the Sandžak region and area of Naissus in Serbia and the Kukës County in Albania. The eastern parts of Dardania were at the Thraco-Illyrian contact zone.

Dardania (Roman province)

Dardania was a Roman province in the Central Balkans, initially an unofficial region in Moesia (87–284), then a province administratively part of the Diocese of Moesia (293–337). It was named after the tribe of the Dardani who inhabited the region in classical antiquity prior to the Roman conquest.

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.

The Galabrii were a Romanized Thraco-Illyrian tribe of Dardania alongside the Thunatae. They held a region in what is now eastern Kosovo, southern Serbia and northern Macedonia, the towns of "Vendenae", between Ad Fines (Kuršumlija) and Viminacium (Kostolac), "Vicinianum" between Vendenae and Theranda, "Tranupara" between Astibus (Štip) and Scupi (Skopje)

The Trallians, Tralles or Tralli were a Thracian tribe that served Hellenistic kings. They were barbarians, employed as mercenaries, executioners and torturers in Asia. Livy called them Illyrians. Strabo in Geographica attributed the foundation of the ancient city of Tralles, in the valley of the Maeander River in Asia Minor to Trallians and Argives. This tradition has been deemed fictitious and coincidental. W. M. Ramsay (1851–1939) believed that the Trallians, a warrior tribe, had crossed the Hellespont and settled Mysia, Lydia, Phrygia, Caria and Lycia, in what is today western Turkey. A part of the tribe seems to have migrated to Illyria.

The Tricornenses of Tricornum were a Romanized Thraco-Celtic artificially created community by the Romans that replaced the Celtic Celegeri. The inhabitants of Tricornum were Celtic and Thracian, attested by epigraphic sources. After 6 AD, the Tricornenses were one of the four units of Upper Moesia alongside the Dardani, Moesi and Picenses. The ceremonial parade armour found at Ritopek belonged to a Tricornian soldier of Legio VII Claudia, dating to AD 258.


The Peresadyes were a tribe that lived in the ancient region of Illyria and ruled over, or with the Enchelii, or the Sesarethi, and were part of the Taulantii group of tribes. About their classification they had been identified as Illyrian tribe, however, recent research has strengthened the possibility that they were Thracians.

The Enchelii, the inhabitants of Enchele, were an ancient people that lived around the region of Lake Shkodra, Lake Ohrid and Lynkestis, in modern-day Albania, North Macedonia and Greece. They are one of the oldest known peoples of the eastern shore of the Adriatic. In ancient sources they sometimes appear as an ethnic group distinct from the Illyrians, but are mostly mentioned as one of the Illyrian tribes.


Paeonians were an ancient Indo-European people that dwelt in Paeonia. Paeonia was an old country whose location was to the north of ancient Macedonia, to the south of Dardania, to the west of Thrace and to the east of Illyria, most of their land was in the Axios river basin, roughly in what is today North Macedonia.


  1. Wilkes, J. J. The Illyrians, 1992, ISBN   0-631-19807-5, page 85, "Whether the Dardanians were an Illyrian or a Thracian people has been much debated and one view suggests that the area was originally populated with Thracians who then exposed to direct contact with illyrians over a long period."
  2. "To the Dardaniatae belong also the Galabrii, among whom is an ancient city, and the Thunatae"
  3. James Cowles Prichard, Researches into the physical history of mankind, Vol 3, 1841
  4. The central Balkan tribes in pre-Roman times by Fanula Papazoglu, 1978, page 217
  5. Strabo: Books 1–7, 15–17 in English translation, ed. H. L. Jones (1924), at LacusCurtius
  6. Strabo's Geographica - Illyria