XXXII. 1. Pelasgians in Hem peninsula.
The Pelasgians, the extended people of the ancient world, had ruled in ante-historical times not only over Hellada, but over the entire Hem peninsula.
We shall summarize here the various data regarding this which we find with the Greek authors.
Thessaly, the most fertile and beautiful territory of ancient Greece, situated between Olympus, Ossa, Pelion and Pindus mountains, had once bore the name Pelasgicon Argos (Homer, Iliad, II. v. 681; Strabo, Geogr. VIII. 6. 5), Pelasgicon pedion (Strabo, Geogr. Ix. 5. 22), meaning the plain of the Pelasgians, and Pelasgia (Hecateus, Fragm. 334, in Fragm Hist. graec. I. Ed. Didot, p. 25; Ibid, vol. IV. P. 501; Eustathius, Comm. In Dionysium v. 427).
The Epirus, Pyrrhus’ country, a region with deep valleys, wild and partly fertile, had once been inhabited by the Pelasgians (Strabo, lib. V. 2. 4). Here was Dodona, religious metropolis of the Pelasgians in the Homeric epoch (Strabo, lib. VII. 7. 10), where the supreme divinity who governed the sky and the earth was venerated under the national name of “Jove of the Pelasgians”, Zeus Pelasgikos (Homer, Iliad, XVI. 233).
The entire Peloponessus, a country covered in vast woodlands, crisscrossed by numerous rivers and streams, with very favorable conditions for a pastoral life, had been called in antiquity Pelasgia, as the historians Acusilaus (fragm 11, Frag. Hist. graec. I. p. 101), and Ephorus (fragm. 54, ibid. p. 248; Pliny, lib. IV. 5. 1) tell us.
Arcadia, a region surrounded by mountains and inhabited by a pastoral people with simple and patriarchal mores, had once the name “Pelasgia” (Steph. Byz. ‘Arkadia; Herodotus, lib.I. 146).
Argos, the kingdom of Agamemnon, famous for its cities Mycenae and Tirynth, where have been discovered in our time priceless treasures of a buried Pelasgian civilization, had also been a country of the Pelasgians. Argos is given the name Pelasgia by Eschyl (Prom. v. 860), Euripides (Orestes, v. 675, 849, 1611; Iphig. in Aulida, v. 1494; Erakles mainomenos, v. 462), Eustathius (Comm. In Dionysium, 347), and Strabo (lib. VIII. 6. 9).
Beotia also, a country rich in sheep flocks and herds of cattle and horses, with the famous Parnassus and Helicon mountains, with their fine valleys dedicated to the divinities, had been inhabited in ancient times by Pelasgians (Strabo, lib. IX. 2. 25; Ibid. IX. 2. 3).
The same happened with Attica, a simple agricultural province, which appears at the beginning of its history as a region inhabited by Pelasgians (Herodotus, lib. I. c. 57; Ibid. IX. 2. 3).
Athens, the center of intellectual and political life of ancient Greece, had been founded by Pelasgians. During the time of the rule of the Pelasgians over Greece, writes Herodotus, the Athenians had been Pelasgian (lib. VIII. 24). The strong wall which once surrounded the acropolis of Athens had been built by Pelasgians, Pelasgikon teichos (Herodotus, lib.V.64; Fragm Hist. grace. II. 111. 17; IV. 457. 3). Even in the times of the Roman Empire a part of the city of Athens was called Palasgicon (Strabo, lib. IX. 2. 3; Ibid. V. 2. 3; V. 2. 8).
The entire Macedonia, a country with great political ideals and ruler of the world in the times of Alexander the Great, had had in ancient times a Pelasgian population
(Justinus, lib. VII. 1. 1).
Macedo, the national patriarch of Macedonia, appears in the ancient genealogy of the peoples from the Hem peninsula, as a descendant of Pelasg (Apollodorus, Bibl. lib. III. 8. 1). Herodotus also writes that the Pelasgians who dwelt in the region of Pindus were called Macedoni (lib.I. 56).
The ancient populations of Illyria were of the same nationality as the Macedonians (Appianus, Bell. Mithr. 55). The various tribes of this region, Liburnii, Dalmatii, Iapozii, Dindarii, Brygii, Byllionii, Taulantii, Dasaretii, Ardieii, Dardanii, etc, had Pelasgian names, mores and traditions.
The so-called “barbara” Illyria was called Illyris Romana even since the time of Augustus.
Finally, the entire territory of Thrace, which in a remote antiquity comprised also the populations from the north of the Lower Danube, had also been a Pelasgian country.
The Trojans and Mysians, Herodotus tells us, had undertaken in prehistoric times a great expedition into Europe, and had subjected the entire Thrace to the Ionic Sea (lib. VII. 20). This proves that the Thracians were at one time of the same ethnic nationality as the Pelasgians from Asia Minor .
[1. Some traces of the ancient Pelasgians were mentioned in later times in Athos peninsula (Herodotus, I. 57; Strabo, VII. 35; Thucydides, IV. 109). Scymnus of Chios (Orb. Descr. V. 585) also speaks about the Pelasgiotii emigrated from Thrace to the islands Scyros and Schiathos. Strabo (XIII. 1. 31) states on another hand that the Thracians and Trojans had many names in common. The Mysiens (Mysoi) who had emigrated from Thrace to Asia Minor had the same origin and language with the Moesi or Mysii from between the Danube and the Hem (Strabo, XII. 3. 3; VII. 3. 2; XIII. 1. 8)].
Finally, the poet Eschyl presents the following picture of the expansion of Pelasgian domination in the south-eastern parts of Europe.
King Pelasg of Argos says the following to Danaos: “I am Pelasg …..king of this country. The nation of the Pelasgians, so rightly called after me, their king, occupies this country. I rule over the entire earth, from which the river Algos (Altos?) flows down, and Strymon, which flows from where the sun sets. Inside the borders of my empire there is also the country of the Perrhebi (north of Thessaly) and the lands from beyond Pindus, near the Paeoni and the mountains of Dodona (Epirus). It is true that the sea breaks off the borders of my country, but my rule also extends beyond the sea, and the name of that country is Apia (Suppl. v. 250).
The important river about which Pelasg speaks here, which flew from the end of the world, where the sun sets, which turned to ice during winter (Eschyl, Persaeus, v. 497) and which was in the region from where the cold winds blew (Eschyl, Agamemnon, v. 192), is in no way Strymon of Thrace, but the famous Istru of Europe (Pindar, Olymp. III.18).
The great rivers, especially the holy Istru (to which Alexander the Great also brings sacrifices) served in the official rhetoric of the ancient times, to describe the size, power and durability of an empire. The ancient kings, as Dinonus tells us (fragm. 16 in Fragm Hist. gr. II. 92), ordered to have water brought from Istru or Nile, which they preserved in their treasury, in order to prove the size of their empires, and their power over all. This is what Pelasg wants to express, and this is the true meaning of the tradition transmitted by Eschyl.
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