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The Dardani (//; Ancient Greek: Δαρδάνιοι, Δάρδανοι, Δαρδανίωνες; Latin: Dardani) (or Dardanians) was a tribe that occupied the region of Dardania. Located 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 for other tribes 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 Dardanii prior to Roman conquest, especially on its southern extent.Albanian historians concluded that the kingdom of Dardani sweeps in the territory of today's Kosovo and southern Serbia and later on in north-west Macedonia during the wars with Macedonia.
Name and mythic origins
According to Johann Georg von Hahn in 1854, 19th century historical linguistics concluded that Dardanoi and Dardania may be related to a word of a supposed proto-Albanian language meaning pear tree (dardha in modern Albanian the definite form, dardhë indefinite form). Opinions differ whether the ultimate etymon of this word in Proto-Indo-European was *g'hord-, or *dheregh-.
In Greek mythology, Dardanus (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 Dardanians are first mentioned in 4th century BC. when their king Bardyllis succeeded into bringing various tribes in a single organization. Under his leadership Dardanians defeated several times Macedonians and Molossians. At this time they were strong enough to rule Macedonia through a puppet king in 392-391 BC and their continuous invasions forced a later Macedonian king to pay them a tribute in 372 BC In 385-384 they allied with Dionysius I of Syracuse and defeated the Molossians in a battle killing up to 15,000 Molossian soldiers and ruling their territory for a short period. They returned raiding the Molossians in 360. In 359 BC Dardanians under Bardyllis won a decisive battle against a Macedonian king Perdiccas III by killing the Macedonian king himself and 4,000 of his soldiers, and occupied the cities of upper Macedonia.
Following the disastrous defeat of Macedonians by Dardanians, when king Philip II took control of the Macedonian throne in 358, he reaffirmed the treaty with Dardanians marrying the Illyrian princess Audata, probably the daughter or the niece of Bardyllis. This gave Philip valuable time to gather his forces and to defeat Dardanians still under Bardyllis in the decisive Erigon Valley battle by killing about 7,000 of them, eliminating the Dardanian menace for some time.
In 334 BC under the lead of Cleitus the son of Bardyllis, the Dardanians, in alliance with other Illyrian tribes of the Taulanti under Glaukias and Autariate, attacked Macedonia which was this time under Alexander the Great. The Dardanians managed to capture some cities but were eventually defeated later by Alexander's forces 
In winter 280-279 BC when Celts invaded Macedonia, the Dardanian king offered to help Macedonians with 20,000 soldiers, but they were refused by Macedonian king Ptolemy Keraunos, eventually contributing to his defeat and consequent death. Unlike Macedonia, Dardanians suffered little under the Celtic invasion and Dardanian forces attacked them while they were returning north.
Dardanians were a constant threat to the Macedonian kingdom. In 230 under Longarus they captured Bylazora from Paionians  and in 229 they attacked again Macedonia defeating in an important battle Macedonian forces under Demetrius II. In this period their influence on the region grow and some other Illyrian tribes defected Teuta joining Dardanians under Longarus, forcing Teuta to call off her expedition forces in Epirus. When Philip V rose to the Macedonian throne skirmishing with Dardanians 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 Dardanians 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 Dardanians, but eventually they returned home and the plan of Philip V failed. In 177 BC the Dardanians sent a report to the Roman Senate, accusing Perseus for being again in alliance with the Bastarnae, but the Roman investigating commission failed to find support for such accusations.
- When the Rhodian envoys arrived in Rome the Senate, after listening to their address, deferred its answer. Meanwhile the Dardanian envoys came with reports as to the number of the Bastarnae, the size of their men, and their courage in the field.They gave information also of the treacherous practices of Perseus and the Gauls, and said that they were more afraid of him than of the Bastarnae, and therefore begged the help of the Romans. The report of the Dardani being supported by that of the Thessalian envoys who arrived at that time, and who also begged for help, the Senators determined to send some commissioners to see with their own eyes the truth of these reports; and they accordingly at once appointed and despatched Aulus Postumius[disambiguation needed], accompanied by some young men.
It seems quite probable that the Dardani actually lost independence in 28 BC thus, the ﬁnal occupation of Dardania by Rome has been connected with the beginnings of Augustus’ rule in 6 AD, when they were finally conquered by Rome. Dardania was conquered by Gaius Scribonius Curio and the Latin language was soon adopted as the main language of the tribe as many other conquered and Romanized. At first, Dardania was not a separate Roman province, but became a region in the province of Moesia Superior in 87 AD. Emperor Diocletian later (284) made Dardania into a separate  province with its capital at Naissus (Niš). During the Byzantine administration (in the 6th century), there was a Byzantine province of Dardania that included cities of Ulpiana, Scupi, Stobi, Justiniana Prima, and others.
As with the rest of the Illyrians, today almost nothing survives except for names. The Illyrians in the antiquity were subject to varying degrees of Celticization, Hellenization, Romanization and later Slavicisation.
Invasion of Epirus
In 385 BC, the Illyrians formed an alliance with the powerful tyrant Dionysius of Syracuse. The purpose of the agreement was the restoration of the throne to the Molossian Alcetas who had remained as a refugee on his throne. Both sides were interested, this alliance would secure Illyrian power and weaken the impact of the Spartans and Macedonians consequently in Epirus. This would also give Dionysius an opportunity to strengthen trade positions on the shores of the Adriatic and Ionian. Dionysius sent a military aid of 2, 000 men and 5,000 weapons to the Illyrians who were prepared to go to war. With these new supplies, Bardyllis and his army burst into Epirus and slaughtered 15,000 Molossians. At this point Bardyllis had extended the borders of the Dardanian State as far south as the Ionian. This military aid was soon wasted after Sparta intervened and expelled the Illyrians who were led by Bardyllis. Despite being aided by 2000 Greek hoplites and five hundred suits of Greek armour, the Illyrians were defeated by the Spartans led by Agesilaus, but not before ravaging the region and killing 15,000 Molossians. Bardyllis' short rule over Epirus of northern Greece was over. In 360 BC, another Illyrian attack forced the Molossian king Arymbas to evacuate his non-combatant population to Aetolia and let the Illyrians loot freely. The stratagem worked and the Molossians fell upon the Illyrians who were encumbered with booty and defeated them. In the same year Arymbas of the Molossians defeated the Illyrians after they raided and looted Epirus. This policy explains the events that followed with Bardyllis's western neighbors. Apparently, the alliance with Dionysius had been a healthy support in the fight against Epirus and creating external allies.
Rulers and nobles
- Bardyllis of the Dardani from 385 BC -358 BC
- Audata probably daughter of Bardyllis and wife of Philip II married to him after the battle of 358.
- Cleitus the Illyrian son of Bardyllis, 4th century BC
- Longarus of the Dardani father of Bato
- Bato of Dardania of the Dardani son of Longarus
The domain of the Dardanian kings was made up of many tribes. The first and most prominent king of the Dardani was Bardyllis who ruled from 385 BC to 358 BC. He was perhaps succeeded by Grabos (358 BC - 356 BC) that may have been Bardyllis's son. Little is known about Bardyllis II (4th century BC) Bardyllis's son. Cleitus the Illyrian (4th century BC) was his son. Tribal chiefs Longarus and his son Bato of Dardania took part in the wars against Romans and Macedonians. The Dardanians, in all their history, always had separate domains from the rest of the Illyrians.
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 ex-Yugoslavia, north of southern Montenegro to the west of Morava, excepting ancient Liburnia in the North-West, but perhaps extending into Pannonia in the north).There are many words in Illyrian that have great similarity to Albanian like:sika-thika(knife),aspetos-i shpejtë(fast),bilia-bijë,bilë(daughter),aran-arë(field).Also names of places and names of Dardanian and Illyrian personalities in general like:Bardhul-i bardhë(white),Dalmatia-delme,dele(sheep),Ulkin-ulk,ujq(wolf).So it can be supposed to be ancient Albanian.
Greek and Roman Historiography
The tribe was for some reason seen as "extremely barbaric" by Greeks and Romans. Claudius Aelianus and other writers[who?] wrote that they bathed only three times in their lives. At birth, when they were wed and after they died. Strabo refers to them as wild and dwelling in dirty caves under dung-hills. This however may have had to do not with cleanliness, as bathing had to do with monetary 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.
- "Δαρδάνιοι, Δάρδανοι, Δαρδανίωνες" Dardanioi, Georg Autenrieth, "A Homeric Dictionary", at Perseus
- Latin Dictionary
- Wilkes, J. J. The Illyrians, 1992, ISBN 0-631-19807-5, page 85, "Whether the Dardanians were an Illyrian or a Thracian people has been much debated and one view suggests that the area was originally populated with Thracians who where [sic?] then exposed to direct contact with illyrians over a long period..."
- The central Balkan tribes in pre-Roman times: Triballi, Autariatae, Dardanians, Scordisci and Moesians, Amsterdam 1978, by Fanula Papazoglu, ISBN 90-256-0793-4, page 131, "...the Dardanians ... living in the frontiers of the Illyrian and the Thracian worlds retained their individuality and, alone among the peoples of that region succeeded in maintaining themselves as an ethnic unity even when they were militarily and politically subjected by the Roman arms [...] and when at the end of the ancient world, the Balkans were involved in far-reaching ethnic perturbations, the Dardanians, of all the Central Balkan tribes, played the greatest part in the genesis of the new peoples who took the place of the old"
- The central Balkan tribes in pre-Roman times: Triballi, Autariatae...Fanula Papazoglu, 1978, page 217
- The central Balkan tribes in pre-Roman times: Triballi, Autariatae... Fanula Papazoglu, 1978, page 523
- The central Balkan tribes in pre-Roman times: Triballi, Autariatae... Fanula Papazoglu, 1978, page 187, "We have very little information about the territory of the Dardanians before its inclusion in the Roman state,..."
- The Greek Myths by Robert Graves, ISBN 0-14-017199-1
- Elsie, Robert (1998): "Dendronymica Albanica: A survey of Albanian tree and shrub names". Zeitschrift für Balkanologie 34: 163-200 online paper
- Appian, The Foreign Wars, III, 1.2
- The Illyrians by J. J. Wilkes, 1992, ISBN 0-631-19807-5, page 220, "Leaving aside Strabo's comment on the dirty habits of the Dardanians, there is little on which to judge the general health of the Illyrian population."
- Greeks and Barbarians (Edinburgh Readings on the Ancient World) by T. Harrison, 2001, ISBN 0-415-93959-3, page 140
- The Cambridge ancient history: The fourth century B.C. Volume 6 of The Cambridge ancient history, Iorwerth Eiddon Stephen Edwards, ISBN 0-521-85073-8, ISBN 978-0-521-85073-5, Authors: D. M. Lewis, John Boardman, Editors: D. M. Lewis, John Boardman, Edition 2, Publisher: Cambridge University Press, 1994 ISBN 0-521-23348-8, ISBN 978-0-521-23348-4, pp. 428-429
- The Macedonian Empire: The Era of Warfare Under Philip II and Alexander the Great, 359-323 B.C. Author: James R. Ashley, Publisher: McFarland, 2004, ISBN 0-7864-1918-0, ISBN 978-0-7864-1918-0, pp. 111-112
- The time of this marriage is somewhat disputed while some historians maintain that the marriage happened after the defeat of Bardyllis Women and monarchy in Macedonia Oklahoma Series in Classical Culture, Author: Elizabeth Donnelly Carney, University of Oklahoma Press, 2000, ISBN 0-8061-3212-4, ISBN 978-0-8061-3212-9 p. 274
- The Genius of Alexander the Great, Author: N. G. L. Hammond, Publisher: UNC Press, 1998, ISBN 0-8078-4744-5, ISBN 978-0-8078-4744-2, p. 11
- The Macedonian Empire: The Era of Warfare Under Philip II and Alexander the Great, 359-323 B.C. Author James R. Ashley, Publisher: McFarland, 2004, ISBN 0-7864-1918-0, ISBN 978-0-7864-1918-0, p. 117
- The Cambridge ancient history: The fourth century B.C. Volume 6 of The Cambridge ancient history, Iorwerth Eiddon Stephen Edwards, ISBN 0-521-85073-8, ISBN 978-0-521-85073-5, Authors: D. M. Lewis, John Boardman, Editors: D. M. Lewis, John Boardman, Edition 2, Publisher: Cambridge University Press, 1994, ISBN 0-521-23348-8, ISBN 978-0-521-23348-4, pp. 428-429
- A history of Macedonia Volume 5 of Hellenistic culture and society, Robert Malcolm Errington, University of California Press, 1990 ISBN 0-520-06319-8, ISBN 978-0-520-06319-8, p. 160
- A History of Macedonia: 336-167 B.C Volume 3 of A History of Macedonia, Authors: N. G. L. Hammond, F. W. Walbank, Publisher: Oxford University Press, 1988 ISBN 0-19-814815-1, ISBN 978-0-19-814815-9, p. 253
- A History of Macedonia: 336-167 B.C By Nicholas Geoffrey Lemprière Hammond, Frank William Walbank page 338
- A history of Macedonia Volume 5 of Hellenistic culture and society, Author: Robert Malcolm Errington, University of California Press, 1990 ISBN 0-520-06319-8, ISBN 978-0-520-06319-8, p. 185
- A history of Macedonia Volume 5 of Hellenistic culture and society, Robert Malcolm Errington, University of California Press, 1990, ISBN 0-520-06319-8, ISBN 978-0-520-06319-8 p. 174
- A History of Macedonia: 336-167 B.C By Nicholas Geoffrey Lemprière Hammond, Frank William Walbank, p. 335
- A History of Macedonia: 336-167 B.C By Nicholas Geoffrey Lemprière Hammond, Frank William Walbank, page 404 p. 404
- A History of Macedonia: 336-167 B.C By Nicholas Geoffrey Lemprière Hammond, Frank William Walbank, p. 420
- A History of Macedonia: 336-167 B.C By Nicholas Geoffrey Lemprière Hammond, Frank William Walbank p.470
- A History of Macedonia: 336-167 B.C By Nicholas Geoffrey Lemprière Hammond, Frank William Walbank p.491
- A history of Macedonia By Robert Malcolm Errington p. 212
- Wilkes, J. J. The Illyrians, 1992, ISBN 0-631-19807-5, page 140, "... Autariatae at the expense of the Triballi until, as Strabo remarks, they in their turn were overcome by the Celtic Scordisci in the early third century Sc. ..."
- Polybius, Histories,25.6
- Strabo: Books 1‑7, 15‑17 in English translation, ed. H. L. Jones (1924), at LacusCurtius
- The Illyrians by J. J. Wilkes, 1992, ISBN 0-631-19807-5, page 210, "Here the old name of Dardania appears as a new province formed out of Moesia, along with Moesia Prima, Dacia (not Trajan's old province but a...)"
- The Illyrians by J. J. Wilkes, 1992, ISBN 0-631-19807-5, page 210, "Though its line is far from certain there seems little doubt that most of the Dardanians were excluded from Illyricum and were to become a part of the province of Moesia..."
- Wilkes (1992): "Though almost nothing of it survives, except for names, the Illyrian language has figured prominently…" (p. 67)
- A dictionary of the Roman Empire Oxford paperback reference, ISBN 0-19-510233-9, 1995, page 202, "...contact with the peoples of the Illyrian kingdom and at the Celticized tribes of the Delmatae"
- Pannonia and Upper Moesia. A History of the Middle Danube Provinces of the Roman Empire. A Mocsy, S Frere
- Stanley M. Burstein, Walter Donlan, Jennifer Tolbert Roberts, and Sarah B. Pomeroy. A Brief History of Ancient Greece: Politics, Society, and Culture. Oxford University Press, p. 255.
- Epirus Vetus: The Archaeology of a Late Antique Province (Duckworth Archaeology) by William Bowden, 2003, page 211: "... in the ninth century. Wilkes suggested that they represented a `Romanized population of Illyrian origin driven out by Slav settlements further north', ..."
- The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium (3-Volume Set) by Alexander P. Kazhdan, 1991, page 248, "...were well fortified. In the 6th and 7th C. the romanized Thraco-Illyrian population was forced to settle in the mountains; they reappear ..."
- Harding, Philip. From the End of the Peloponnesian War to the Battle of Ipsus, 1985, p. 93, ISBN 0-521-29949-7. Grabos became the most powerful Illyrian king after the death of Bardylis in 358.
- Who's who in the age of Alexander the Great: prosopography of Alexander's empire, Author: Waldemar Heckel, Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell, 2006 ISBN 1-4051-1210-7, ISBN 978-1-4051-1210-9, page 64 
- Wilkes 1995 p. 120
- Who's who in the age of Alexander the Great: prosopography of Alexander's empire. Author: Waldemar Heckel, Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell, 2006, ISBN 1-4051-1210-7, ISBN 978-1-4051-1210-9, p. 86
- A History of Macedonia: 336-167 B.C By Nicholas Geoffrey Lemprière Hammond, Frank William Walbank page 47
- The Illyrians by J. J. Wilkes, 1992, ISBN 0-631-19807-5, p. 86, "... including the names of Dardanian rulers, Longarus, Bato, Monunius and Etuta, and those on later epitaphs, Epicadus, Scerviaedus, Tuta, Times and Cinna. Other Dardanian names are linked with..."
- The Illyrians by J. J. Wilkes, 1992, ISBN 0-631-19807-5, p. 85, "The recorded names of Dardanian leader during the Macedonian and the Roman wars, Longarus, Bato..."
- The central Balkan tribes in pre-Roman times: Triballi, Autariatae ... by Fanula Papazoglu, 1978, ISBN 9025607934, page 445, "The assumption that the Dardanian kingdom was composed of a considerable number of tribes and tribal groups, finds confirmation in Strabo's statement about"
- Harding, p. 93. Grabos became the most powerful Illyrian king after the death of Bardylis in 358.
- The Greek world, 479-323 BC by Simon Hornblower, 2002, ISBN 0415163269, page 272
- The Illyrians by J. J. Wilkes, 1992, ISBN 0-631-19807-5, p. 121, "The Illyrians of Grabus are unlikely to have been the subjects of Bardyllis defeated only two years earlier though some have suggested Grabus was his son and successor."
- "The Journal of Hellenic Studies by Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies (London, England)", 1973, p. 79. Cleitus was evidently the son of Bardylis II the grandson of the very old Bardylis who had fallen in battle against Phillip II in 385 BC.
- The central Balkan tribes in pre-Roman times: Triballi, Autariatae, Dardanians, Scordisci and Moesians by Fanula Papazoglu, ISBN 90-256-0793-4, page 216
- Katičić, Radoslav (1964b) "Die neuesten Forschungen über die einhemiche Sprachschist in den Illyrischen Provinzen" in Benac (1964a) 9-58 Katičić, Radoslav (1965b) "Zur frage der keltischen und panonischen Namengebieten im römischen Dalmatien" ANUBiH 3 GCBI 1, 53-76
- Katičić, Radoslav. Ancient languages of the Balkans. The Hague - Paris (1976)
- An English translation of Claudius Aelianus' Varia historia
- The central Balkan tribes in pre-Roman times: Triballi, Autariatae... by Fanula Papazoglu, 1978, page 517, "There must have been some reason why it was said of the Dardanians, and not of any other people, that they only bathed three times in their lives,..."
- Dictionary of Classical Antiquities (1898) "...whence it is said of the Dardanians, an Illyrian people, that they bathe only thrice in their lives—at birth, marriage, and after death."
- History of ancient geography
- Strabo,7.5, "The Dardanians are so utterly wild that they dig caves beneath their dung-hills and live there, but still they care for music, always making use of musical instruments, both flutes and stringed instruments"
- The central Balkan tribes in pre-Roman times: Triballi, Autariatae... by Fanula Papazoglu, 1978, page 517, "...like the Dardanians', which was applied not to dirty folk, as might be expected, but to the miserly (ἐπὶ τῶν φειδωλῶν)! For the Greeks, obviously, to bathe or not was only a question of expense and financial means."
- András Mócsy, Sheppard Frere, Pannonia and Upper Moesia: A History of the Middle Danube Provinces of the Roman Empire, Routledge (1974), ISBN 0-7100-7714-9.
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