Illyria

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In classical antiquity, Illyria (Ancient Greek: Ἰλλυρία or Ἰλλυρίς;[1] Latin: Illyria;[2] see also Illyricum) was a region in the western part of the Balkan Peninsula inhabited by the Illyrians, a heterogeneous coalition of tribes. Very little is known about the Illyrians, though a number of them are assumed to have been united by a common Illyrian language.[3][4]

Illyria and the Illyrians' prehistory is known from archaeological evidence. The Romans conquered the region in 168 BC in the aftermath of the Illyrian Wars. "Illyria" is thus a designation of a roughly defined region of the western Balkans as seen from a Roman perspective, just as Magna Germania is a rough geographic term not delineated by any linguistic or ethnic unity.

The term Illyris is sometimes used to define an area (now in modern Albania) north of the Aous valley such as Illyris Graeca.[5]

Contents

Mythology

In Greek mythology, the name of Illyria is aitiologically traced to Illyrius, the son of Cadmus and Harmonia, who eventually ruled Illyria and became the eponymous ancestor of the Illyrians.[6] A later version of the myth identifies Polyphemus and Galatea as parents of Celtus, Galas and Illyrius.[7] The second myth could stem perhaps from the similarities to Celts and Gauls.

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