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Grabaei was a tribe in Illyria, somewhere in what is today Albania.[a] They were mentioned by Pliny the Elder (23–79 AD).[1]

After Philip II of Macedon defeated Bardylis (358 BC), the Grabaei under Grabos became the strongest state in Illyria.[2] Philip II killed 7,000 Illyrians in a great victory and annexed the territory up to Lake Ohrid.[3] Next, Philip II reduced the Grabaei, and then went for the Ardiaei, defeated the Triballi (339 BC), and fought with Pleurias (337 BC).[4]

After 9 AD, the remnants of Illyrian tribes moved to new coastal cities and larger and more capable civitates; the Grabaei (called Kambaioi) were among these, mentioned by Pliny the Elder.[5]

Kretschmer etymologically connected their name to Slavic grabǔ, "hornbeam", with a cognate in Epirote Greek gabros (γάβρος, "oak-wood"), approved by most scholars (1924).[6] Their name has been connected to Umbrian Krapuvi and Grabovie, gods of Iguvium.[6] Gabraeum (Gabraion[7]), a place in Epirus,[8] may be connected to the tribe.[9] The name of Grabus, the Taulantii ruler, suggests a connection with the tribe,[10] and Hammond believes that Grabos was his descendant.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Pliny the Elder (23–79 AD) mentioned them as one of the tribes that had inhabited the area between Epidaurus and Lissus.


  1. ^ Wilkes 1969, p. 166.
  2. ^ a b Hammond 1994, p. 438.
  3. ^ Hammond 1993, p. 106.
  4. ^ Hammond 1993, p. 107.
  5. ^ Wilkes 1969, p. 156.
  6. ^ a b "Balkan languages". Cambridge Ancient History. Cambridge University Press. 1924. p. 871. ISBN 978-0-521-22496-3. 
  7. ^ Procopius : Caesariensis (1729). Procopii Caesariensis Opera: Prokopiou Kaisareos Ton kat'auton historion tetras altera. Procopii Caesariensis historiarum temporis sui tetras altera. p. 443. 
  8. ^ Annales. impensis Ed. Weberi. 1838. p. 548. 
  9. ^ Kos, M. Š. (1993). "Famous Kylikes in Illyris". Historia: Zeitschrift fur Alte Geschichte: 247–251. Gabraeum may certainly be connected with the Dalmatian tribe Grabaei, probably named after the oak tree. 
  10. ^ Wilkes 1992, p. 121.
  11. ^ Wilkes 1992.
  12. ^ Hammond 1994, p. 427.
  13. ^ Zehnacker, Hubert (2004). Pline l'Ancien. Histoire naturelle: Livre III. Belles Lettres. p. 274. ISBN 978-2-251-01407-4. 
  14. ^ Hahn 1854, p. 240.