Cultures > Dardani



The Dardani (/ˈdɑːrdənaɪ/; Ancient Greek: Δαρδάνιοι, Δάρδανοι; Latin: Dardani), or Dardanians (Δαρδανίωνες) were a tribe which occupied the region that took its name from them of Dardania, at the Thraco-Illyrian contact zone; their identification as either an Illyrian or Thracian tribe is uncertain. Their territory itself was not considered part of Illyria by Strabo. The term used for their territory was (Ancient Greek: Δαρδανική), while other tribal areas had more unspecified terms, such as (Ancient Greek: Αὐταριατῶν χώρα), for the Autariatae. Other than that, little to no data exists on the territory of the Dardani prior to Roman conquest, especially on its southern extent.

In Greek mythology, Dardanos (Δάρδανος), one of the sons of Illyrius (the others being Enchelus, Autarieus, Maedus, Taulas, and Perrhaebus) was the eponymous ancestor of the Dardanoi (Δάρδανοι). Some Roman ethnographers proposed a connection between Dardani of the Balkans and the Dardans of Troy, having a group of Dardan colonists settle in the Balkans and subsequently degenerate into a state of barbarism, but the Romans considered them to be Greeks as a whole, which contradicts modern scholarship.

The Dardani are first mentioned in the 4th century BC, when their king Bardylis succeeded into bringing various tribes into a single organization. Under his leadership the Dardani defeated the Macedonians and Molossians several times. At this time they were strong enough to rule Macedonia through a puppet king in 392-391 BC. In 385-384 they allied with Dionysius I of Syracuse and defeated the Molossians, killing up to 15,000 of their soldiers and ruling their territory for a short period. Their continuous invasions forced the Macedonian king[who?] to pay them a tribute in 372 BC. They returned raiding the Molossians in 360. In 359 BC Bardylis won a decisive battle against Macedonian king Perdiccas III, whom he killed himself, while 4,000 Macedonian soldiers fell, and the cities of upper Macedonia were occupied. Following this disastrous defeat, king Philip II took control of the Macedonian throne in 358 and reaffirmed the treaty with the Dardani, marrying princess Audata, probably the daughter or niece of Bardylis. The time of this marriage is somewhat disputed while some historians maintain that the marriage happened after the defeat of Bardylis. This gave Philip II valuable time to gather his forces against those Dardani who were still under Bardylis, defeating them at the Erigon Valley by killing about 7,000 of them, eliminating the Dardani menace for some time.

In 334 BC, under the leadership of Cleitus, the son of Bardylis, the Dardani, in alliance with other Illyrian tribes attacked Macedonia held by Alexander the Great. The Dardani managed to capture some cities but were eventually defeated by Alexander's forces. Celts were present in Dardania in 279 BC. The Dardanian king offered to help the Macedonians with 20,000 soldiers against the Celts, but this was refused by Macedonian king Ptolemy Keraunos. Dardani were a constant threat to the Macedonian kingdom. In 230 under Longarus they captured Bylazora from the Paionians and in 229 they again attacked Macedonia, defeating Demetrius II in an important battle. In this period their influence on the region grew and some other Illyrian tribes defected Teuta joining the Dardani under Longarus, forcing Teuta to call off her expedition forces in Epirus. When Philip V rose to the Macedonian throne, skirmishing with Dardani began in 220-219 BC and he managed to capture Bylazora from them in 217 BC. Skirmishes continued in 211 and in 209 when a force of Dardani under Aeropus, probably a pretender to the Macedonian throne, captured Lychnidus and looted Macedonia taking 20.000 prisoners and retreating before Philip's forces could reach them.

In 201 Bato of Dardania along with Pleuratus the Illyrian and Amynander king of Athamania, cooperated with Roman consul Sulpicius in his expedition against Philip V. Being always under the menace of Dardanian attacks on Macedonia, around 183 BC Philip V made an alliance with the Bastarnae and invited them to settle in Polog, the region of Dardania closest to Macedonia. A joint campaign of the Bastarnae and Macedonians against the Dardanians was organized, but Philip V died and his son Perseus of Macedon withdrew his forces from the campaign. The Bastarnae crossed the Danube in huge numbers and although they didn't meet the Macedonians, they continued the campaign. Some 30,000 Bastarnae under the command of Clondicus seem to have defeated the Dardani. In 179 BC, the Bastarnae conquered the Dardani, who later in 174 pushed them out, in a war which proved catastrophic, with a few years later, in 170 BC, the Macedonians defeating the Dardani. Macedonia and Illyria became Roman protectorates in 168 BC. The Scordisci, a tribe of Celtic origin, most likely subdued the Dardani in the mid-2nd century BC, after which there are for long no mention of the Dardani.


According to Ancient Greek and Roman historiography, the tribe was viewed of as "extremely barbaric".[47][page needed][48] Claudius Aelianus and other writers[who?] wrote that they bathed only three[49] times in their lives. At birth, when they were wed and after they died. Strabo refers to them as wild[50] and dwelling in dirty caves under dung-hills.[51] This however may have had to do not with cleanliness, as bathing had to do with monetary[48] status from the viewpoint of the Greeks. At the same time, Strabo writes that they had some interest in music as they owned and used flutes and corded instruments.[51] Dardanian slaves or freedmen at the time of the Roman conquest were clearly of Paleo-Balkan origin, according to their personal names.[52] It has been noted that personal names were mostly of the "Central-Dalmatian type".[53]


An extenstive study based on onomastics has been undertaken by Radoslav Katičić which puts the Dardani language area in the Central Illyrian area ("Central Illyrian" consisting of most of former Yugoslavia, north of southern Montenegro to the west of Morava, excepting ancient Liburnia in the northwest, but perhaps extending into Pannonia in the north).[54][55]

Notable people

Bardylis[43] of the Dardani from 385–358 BCAudata probably daughter of Bardylis and wife of Philip II married to him after the battle of 358.[56]Cleitus, son of Bardylis, 4th century BC[57]Bardylis II, probably Cleitus son, 4th century BC[58]Bircenna granddaughter of Cleitus[59] and daughter of Bardylis II.[58] She was a wife of Pyrrhus of Epirus.Longarus[60]Bato[60]Monunius II


+ Cultures List


Primary Sources

Secondary Sources

Sabalico Logo
Sabalytics Logo
Senty Logo
SEO Guide Logo
World Map Logo
rStatistics Logo
Day Map Logo
Time Zone Logo
Galaxy View Logo
Periodic Table Logo
My Location Logo
Weather Track Logo
Sprite Sheet Logo
Barcode Generator Logo
Test Speed Logo
Website Tools Logo
Image Tools Logo
Color Tools Logo
Text Tools Logo
Finance Tools Logo
File Tools Logo
Data Tools Logo
History of Humanity - History Archive Logo
History of Humanity - History Mysteries Logo
History of Humanity - Ancient Mesopotamia Logo
History of Humanity - Persian Empire Logo
History of Humanity - Alexander the Great Logo
History of Humanity - Roman History Logo
History of Humanity - Punic Wars Logo
History of Humanity - Golden Age of Piracy Logo
History of Humanity - Revolutionary War Logo