Illyrian mythology

Illyrian god’s and goddesses

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 identified as "Illyrians," and it is unlikely that they used any collective nomenclature at all. Illyric origin was and still is attributed also to a few ancient peoples residing in Italy: the IapygesDauniand Messapiwho are thought to have most likely followed Adriatic shorelines to the Italian peninsula from the geographic "Illyria". 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. The name may then have expanded and come to be applied to ethnically different peoples such as the LiburniDelmataeIapodesor the Pannonii. In any case, most modern scholars are certain the Illyrians were not a homogeneous entity. Pliny the Elder referred, in his Natural Historyto "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 Thracefrom Chaonia and Thesprotia to the Danube River. In later Greek mythology[11] Illyrius was the son of Cadmus and Harmonia who eventually ruled Illyria and became the eponymous ancestor of the whole Illyrian people. Autareius had a son Pannonius or Paeon and these had sons Scordiscus and Triballus. Scholars have long recognized a "difficulty in producing a single theory on the ethnogenesis of the Illyrians" given their heterogeneous nature. Older Pan-Illyrian theories are now generally dismissed by scholars, based as they were on racialistic notions of Nordicism and Aryanism. 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. 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? 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, [20] even where 'archaeological continuity' can be demonstrated to Bronze Age times. The impetus behind the emergence of larger regional groups, such as "Iapodes", "Liburnians", "Pannonians" etc. They were competing fiercely through either alliance or conflict and resistance to Roman expansion. Each was differentially conditioned by specific local cultural, ecological and economic factors; none of which fall into a compact, unitary "Illyrian" narrative. It is generally assumed that the Illyrians originated from an Indo-European group of nomadic tribes some time prior to the second millennium BC. The structure of Illyrian society during classical antiquity was characterised by a conglomeration of numerous tribes and realms ruled by warrior aristocracya situation similar like that in most other societies at that time. Daorson, during the 4th century BC, was surrounded by megalithic5 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. During the second part of the 3rd century BC, a number of Illyrian tribes seem to have united to form a proto-state stretching from the central part of present-day Albania up to Neretva river in Herzegovina. The political entity was financed on piracy and ruled from BC by the king Agron. He was succeeded by his wife Teuta, who assumed the regency for her stepson Pinnes following Agron's death in BC. An Illyrian revolt was crushed under Augustusresulting in the division of Illyria in the provinces of Pannonia in the north and Dalmatia in the south. Prior to the Roman conquest of Illyriathe Roman Republic had started expanding its power and territory across the Adriatic Sea. 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.

Illyrian mythology


Illyrian mythology includes the reconstructed religious beliefs and practices of the Illyrian peoplesa group of tribes who spoke the Illyrian languages and inhabited part of the western Balkans before the 8th century BC until the 7th century AD. It consists largely of personal and place names, and a few glosses from Classical sources. Symbols are depicted in every variety of ornament and reveal that the chief object of the prehistoric cult of the Illyrians was the sun[4] [5] worshipped in a widespread and complex religious system. It is thought that the Illyrians did not develop a uniform cosmology on which to center their religious practices. Some Illyrian gods and beliefs ultimately stem from the Proto-Indo-European mythology. It seems that the Illyrians did not develop a uniform cosmology on which to center their religious practices. During the late 6th and early 5th century BC, the increase in cremation graves in the Glasinac culture has been interpreted as a possible collapse of the tribal structure which led to changes in the prevailing religious beliefs. Archaeological evidence demonstrate the existence of two main cults based upon two roughly defined geographic criteria: the cult of the serpent appears to have occurred principally in the southern regions of Illyriawhile the waterfowl and solar symbols predominated in the north. It may translate the ancient social relationships and religious conceptions held by Illyrians and their predecessors, a set of traditions that was still alive during the Roman period. Many of the symbols found throughout Illyria were associated with the Sunsuggesting that the Sun worship was a cult common to Illyrian tribes. The solar deity was depicted as an animal figure the likes of the birdsserpents and horsesor as a geometrical figure such as the spiralthe concentric circle and the swastika. Several bronze pendants widespread in the region have the shape of solar symbols such as a simple disk without rays, with four rays which form a cross, and with more rays. There are pendants that have more circles placed concentrically from the center to the periphery. The waterfowl are among the most frequent solar symbols of the Illyrians, especially in the north. A great number of pendants with waterfowl shapes have been found in the Glasinac plateauin the regions of the Japodes in Likain Liburnia and in the Illyrian regions of present day Albania and North Macedonia. Remnants of the cult of the sun have been preserved among the Albanians until the 20th century in agricultural and livestock cults, in craftsmanship, in calendar ritualsin the oral folk traditions and in art. The solar deity was worshipped in the family life cycle, in the cult of hearth and fire, of water and the mountains; in oath swearing but also as a source of livelihood, of health and fertility, or simply as a useful protective object. Bonfires took place in Albania on the peaks of mountains, on hills and near homes, on Summer Day beginning of March or on June 24, sometimes in July, August or December The serpent cult was widespread among Illyrians, [13] especially in the south. This mystic animal was connected with the cult of the ancestors and with the magical-religious complex of the fertility of the earth and of the woman. An example is the famous ancient Greek mythological legend of the Phoenician prince and king of Thebes, Cadmusand his wife Harmoniawho, having come to the Illyrians and died in their homeland, continued to live after their death in the form of serpents. Their son Illyriosthe eponymous hero of the Illyrian lineage, also had the form of a serpent, and as such he can be considered as the supreme totem of the Illyrians.

Albania - The Ancient Illyrians


Illyrianorthwestern part of the Balkan Peninsula, inhabited from about the 10th century bce onward by the Illyriansan Indo-European people. The Illyrians, bearers of the Hallstatt culturewere divided into tribes, each a self-governing community with a council of elders and a chosen leader. A strong tribal chieftain, however, could unite several tribes into a kingdom. One of its most important rulers was King Agron second half of the 3rd century bcewho, in alliance with Demetrius II of Macedonia, defeated the Aetolians Agron, however, died suddenly, and during the minority of his son, his widow, Teuta, acted as regent. Queen Teuta attacked Sicily and the coastal Greek colonies with part of the Illyrian navy. Simultaneously, she antagonized Romewhich finally sent a large fleet to the eastern shores of the Adriatic. Although Teuta submitted inthe Illyrian kingdom of the interior was not destroyed, and a second naval expedition was sent against Illyria in Philip V of Macedonia aided his Illyrian neighbours and thus started a protracted war that ended with the conquest of the whole Balkan Peninsula by the Romans. The last Illyrian king, Genthius, surrendered in bce. The Roman province of Illyricum stretched from the Drilon River the Drin, in modern Albania in the south to Istria modern Slovenia and Croatia in the north and to the Savus Sava River in the east; its administrative centre was Salonae near present-day Split in Dalmatia. With the extension of the Roman Empire along the Danube River valley, Illyricum was divided between the provinces of Dalmatia and Pannonia. Under the empire, Illyria enjoyed a high degree of prosperity. Copperasphaltand silver were mined in parts of the region, and Illyrian wine, oil, cheese, and fish were exported to Italy. Since the semiautonomous clansmen of the Illyrian highlands were hardy warriors, it was inevitable that the emperors should recruit them to serve with the Roman legions and even the Praetorian Guard. When in the 3rd century bce the empire began to be threatened by the barbarian peoples of eastern and central Europe, Illyricum became a principal military bulwark of Rome and its culture in the ancient world. Several of the most-outstanding emperors of the late Roman Empire were of Illyrian origin, including Claudius II GothicusAurelianDiocletianand Constantine the Greatmost of whom were chosen by their own troops on the battlefield and later acclaimed by the Senate. In ce the empire was finally divided, and Illyria east of the Drinus River the Drinain the central Balkans became part of the Eastern Empire. Between the 3rd and the 5th century it was devastated by the Visigoths and the Hunswho, however, left no lasting mark on Illyria. But the Slavswho started their incursions into the Balkan Peninsula in the 6th century, had by the end of the 7th century settled throughout the Balkans, including the territories of ancient Illyria. Of the Illyrian language there survive only three or four unambiguously identified lexical items and some personal names and place-names. There are no full sentences or even phrases available for analysis. On the basis of the location of Illyria, and the fact that Albanian is descended from one of the ancient pre-Roman languages of the Balkans, there is a presumption among some that Albanian represents the direct linguistic descendant of Illyrian, an assumption that is vigorously defended in Albanian-speaking lands. Historical linguists specializing in the languages of the region are divided among those who accept the presumption that Albanian is descended from Illyrian, those who hold that it is descended from a close relative of Illyrian, and those who insist that the current state of evidence is inadequate for reaching a definitive conclusion. For the later history of the region, see Balkans. Article Media. Info Print Cite. Submit Feedback. Thank you for your feedback. Illyria historical region, Europe. See Article History. Get exclusive access to content from our First Edition with your subscription.


Mystery enshrouds the exact origins of today's Albanians. Most historians of the Balkans believe the Albanian people are in large part descendants of the ancient Illyrians, who, like other Balkan peoples, were subdivided into tribes and clans. They inhabited much of the area for at least the next millennium. Archaeologists associate the Illyrians with the Hallstatt culturean Iron Age people noted for production of iron and bronze swords with winged-shaped handles and for domestication of horses. At various times, groups of Illyrians migrated over land and sea into Italy. The Illyrians carried on commerce and warfare with their neighbors. The ancient Macedonians probably had some Illyrian roots, but their ruling class adopted Greek cultural characteristics. The Illyrians also mingled with the Thracians, another ancient people with adjoining lands on the east. In the south and along the Adriatic Sea coast, the Illyrians were heavily influenced by the Greeks, who founded trading colonies there. The Illyrians produced and traded cattle, horses, agricultural goods, and wares fashioned from locally mined copper and iron. Feuds and warfare were constant facts of life for the Illyrian tribes, and Illyrian pirates plagued shipping on the Adriatic Sea. Councils of elders chose the chieftains who headed each of the numerous Illyrian tribes. From time to time, local chieftains extended their rule over other tribes and formed short-lived kingdoms. During the fifth century B. Illyrian friezes discovered near the present-day Slovenian city of Ljubljana depict ritual sacrifices, feasts, battles, sporting events, and other activities. The Illyrian kingdom of Bardhyllus became a formidable local power in the fourth century B. In B. Alexander himself routed the forces of the Illyrian chieftain Clitus in B. After Alexander's death in B. In the Illyrian Wars of and B. The Romans made new gains in B. Rome finally subjugated recalcitrant Illyrian tribes in the western Balkans [during the reign] of Emperor Tiberius in A. The Romans divided the lands that make up present-day Albania among the provinces of Macedonia, Dalmatia, and Epirus. For about four centuries, Roman rule brought the Illyrian-populated lands economic and cultural advancement and ended most of the enervating clashes among local tribes. The Illyrian mountain clansmen retained local authority but pledged allegiance to the emperor and acknowledged the authority of his envoys. During a yearly holiday honoring the Caesars, the Illyrian mountaineers swore loyalty to the emperor and reaffirmed their political rights. A form of this tradition, known as the kuvend, has survived to the present day in northern Albania. The Romans established numerous military camps and colonies and completely latinized the coastal cities. Originally a Greek city, Byzantium, it was made the capital of the Byzantine Empire by Constantine the Great and was soon renamed Constantinople in his honor. The city was captured by the Turks in and became the capital of the Ottoman Empire. The Turks called the city Istanbul, but most of the non-Muslim world knew it as Constantinople until about Copper, asphalt, and silver were extracted from the mountains. The main exports were wine, cheese, oil, and fish from Lake Scutari and Lake Ohrid. Imports included tools, metalware, luxury goods, and other manufactured articles. Apollonia became a cultural center, and Julius Caesar himself sent his nephew, later the Emperor Augustus, to study there. Illyrians distinguished themselves as warriors in the Roman legions and made up a significant portion of the Praetorian Guard. Several of the Roman emperors were of Illyrian origin, including Diocletianwho saved the empire from disintegration by introducing institutional reforms, and Constantine the Great --who accepted Christianity and transferred the empire's capital from Rome to Byzantiumwhich he called Constantinople. Emperor Justinian --who codified Roman law, built the most famous Byzantine church, the Hagia Sofiaand re-extended the empire's control over lost territories- -was probably also an Illyrian. Christianity came to the Illyrian-populated lands in the first century A. When the Roman Empire was divided into eastern and western halves in A.

So, this is just a part of my story which start long, long ago about Bosnia and nowadays surrounding countries through the time line…. But, one of the strategical interests was stimulating nationalism, in order to place this strategically important part of Europe under their sphere of influence, using the primitivism which was traditionally rooted among the Balkan people. Everything that was created in the previous centuries in this area is a result of all other people besides the Balkan ones, starting from the Greeks, Romans, Vizigoths, Ottomans, Austro-Hungarians. History has shown as well as proved that the people which can be manipulated the easiest are primitive ones. Individual deities had several names but an identical function which is the reason why the Illyrians failed to establish a unique religion across the territory of Illyricum and why it was divided into many cults. But, according to all available data, worshiping the snake, the reincarnation of the Grand Mother, Thane and Vidasus were common to all Illyrian tribes mostly because these deities were connected with the cult of agriculture and fertility. The serpent was a powerful symbol among the ancient Illyrians, in particular among those of the southern Balkans. In the Roman period, there were altars in Dardania dedicated to the serpent pair, Dracon and Dracaena. Pedersen Also mention in Moesin Celtic tradition…. Also a Gallic goddess of land. A god of the North Wind in Moesin Celtic tradition. Nebra disc in Celtic Calendar representing what we celebrate today as Halloween. Her name has no connection to the Istria area, instead it can be recognized in the names from Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the form Tritan, Tritanon or Traitano. It is believed that the name of the goddess has an Illyrian-Celtic heritage. Beautiful celestials in Albanian: Bukuri and Qiellit in ancient Illyrian times, three gods which divided the world into the heavens, sea and underground. He was mentioned in a dedication at Lambaesis in Africa by a roman senator and native Risinium. He appears to be identical to the Thracian horseman, riding on horseback and carrying a lance. The Delmatae, famous Illyrian tribe had Armatus as a god of war. God in the form of a boy next to which a dolphin appears. If we take into consideration that the Illyrians, besides the Greeks, are the oldest people in the Balkans then it is easy to conclude that Perendi or Perin is nothing more than an ancient Illyrian deity which is wrongly connected with the forced Slav pantheon. About this God I am preparing separate story! She is followed by three goats with golden horns. In Albanian mountains Zana lives as a fairy adorned by bravery and beauty. Among the Bosnians Zana or Tana is a forest fairy Zlatna which lives in Bosnian forests and helps great warriors, such as Mujo Hrnjica. Deep connection of the goddess Tana is evident through folk songs where the scene of Mujo Hrnjica meeting with the faeries is described, the fairies were disguised as goats, with his shrewdness he manages to unmask them and subject them to his will.

The Illyrian - Viking Connection



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