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List of ancient Greek tribes

The Greek/Illyrian/Thracian contact zone (Paleo-Balkan languages)

The ancient Greek tribes (Ancient Greek: Ἑλλήνων ἔθνη) were groups of Greek-speaking populations living in Greece, Cyprus, and the various Greek colonies. They were primarily divided by geographic, dialectal, political, and cultural criteria, as well as distinct traditions in mythology and religion. Some groups were of mixed origin, forming a syncretic culture through absorption and assimilation of previous and neighboring populations into the Greek language and customs. Greek word for tribe was Phylē (sing.) and Phylai (pl.), the tribe was further subdivided in Demes (sing. Demos, pl. Demoi) roughly matching to a clan.

With the dominion of land passing on from one tribe to the other, cultural exchange through art and trade, and frequent alliances toward common goals, the ethnic character of the different tribes had become primarily political by the dawn of the Hellenistic period. The Roman conquest of Greece, the subsequent division of the Roman Empire into Greek East and Latin West, as well as the advent of Christianity, molded the common ethnic and political Greek identity once and for all to the subjects of the Greek world by the 3rd century AD.

Greek tribes

Late Bronze Age: Homeric Age of the Iliad (circa 1200 BC)

Homeric Greece
Greek Language Prehistory (2000-1000 BC), showing the complex pattern of peoples migrations and their languages and dialects

Iron Age: Archaic and Classical Greece (from circa 800 BC)

Distribution of Greek dialects in Greece in the classical period.[1]
Distribution of Greek dialects in Magna Graecia (Southern Italy and Sicily) in the classical period.
Magna Graecia (Μεγάλη Ἑλλάς - Megálē Hellás) ancient colonies and dialects in the Classical Age (before Roman conquest).
Archaic Greece
Major regions of mainland ancient Greece, and adjacent "barbarian" lands.
Ancient Regions of Epirus and Macedon.
Ancient Regions of West Central, North and West Greece.
Ancient regions of Central Greece.
Ancient Regions of Peloponnese (southern mainland Greece).
Ancient Crete
Ancient Macedonia

See also


  1. ^ Roger D. Woodard (2008), "Greek dialects", in: The Ancient Languages of Europe, ed. R. D. Woodard, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p. 51.
  2. ^ Wilkes, John. The Illyrians (The Peoples of Europe). Wiley-Blackwell, 1995, p. 97.
  3. ^ The Illyrian Atintani, the Epirotic Atintanes and the Roman Protectorate N. G. L. Hammond, The Journal of Roman Studies Vol. 79 (1989), pp. 11-25 "There were Illyrian Amantini in Pannonia and Greek Amantes in North Epirus"
  4. ^ Mogens Herman Hansen and Thomas Heine Nielsen. An Inventory of Archaic and Classical Poleis. Oxford University Press, 2004, p. 345.
  5. ^ Mogens Herman Hansen and Thomas Heine Nielsen. An Inventory of Archaic and Classical Poleis. Oxford University Press, 2004, p. 338.
  6. ^ a b c John Boardman and Nicholas Geoffrey Lemprière Hammond. The Cambridge Ancient History Volume 3, Part 3: The Expansion of the Greek World, Eighth to Sixth Centuries B.C. Cambridge University Press, 1992, p. 284.
  7. ^ Woodhouse, William John. Aetolia: Its Geography, Topography, and Antiquities. Clarendon Press, 1897, p. 70. "Ptolemy, however, makes them neighbours of the Epirot tribe of the Kassopaioi, who lived on the coast of the Ionian sea."

External links