The name Pamphylia comes from Greek Παμφυλία, itself from πάμφυλος (pamphylos), literally "of mingled tribes or races", a compound of πᾶν (pan), neuter of πᾶς (pas) "all" + φυλή (phylē), "race, tribe". Herodotus derived its etymology from a Dorian tribe, the Pamphyloi (Πάμφυλοι), who were said to have colonized the region. The tribe, in turn, was said to be named after Pamphylos (Greek: Πάμφυλος), son of Aigimios.
The Pamphylians were a mixture of aboriginal inhabitants, immigrant Cilicians and Greeks who migrated there from Arcadia and Peloponnese in the 12th century BC. The significance of the Greek contribution to the origin of the Pamphylians can be attested alike by tradition and archaeology and Pamphylia can be considered a Greek country from the early Iron Age until the early Middle Ages. There can be little doubt that the Pamphylians and Pisidians were the same people, though the former had received colonies from Greece and other lands, and from this cause, combined with the greater fertility of their territory, had become more civilized than their neighbours in the interior. But the distinction between the two seems to have been established at an early period. Herodotus, who does not mention the Pisidians, enumerates the Pamphylians among the nations of Asia Minor, while Ephorus mentions them both, correctly including the one among the nations on the coast, the other among those of the interior.
A map showing Pamphylia's location within the Roman Empire
Photo of a 15th Century map showing Pamphylia.
Slinger standing left, triskelion to right. Reverse of a silver stater from Aspendos, Pamphylia.
A number of scholars have distinguished in the Pamphylian dialect important isoglosses with both Arcadian and Cypriot (Arcadocypriot Greek) which allow them to be studied together with the group of dialects sometimes referred to as Achaean since it was settled not only by Achaean tribes but also colonists from other Greek-speaking regions, Dorians and Aeolians. The legend related by Herodotus and Strabo, which ascribed the origin of the Pamphylians to a colony led into their country by Amphilochus and Calchas after the Trojan War, is merely a characteristic myth.
The first historical mention of "Pamphylians" is among the group of nations subdued by the Mermnad kings of Lydia; they afterwards passed in succession under the dominion of the Persian and Hellenistic monarchs. After the defeat of Antiochus III in 190 BC they were included among the provinces annexed by the Romans to the dominions of Eumenes of Pergamum; but somewhat later they joined with the Pisidians and Cilicians in piratical ravages, and Side became the chief centre and slave mart of these freebooters. Pamphylia was for a short time included in the dominions of Amyntas, king of Galatia, but after his death lapsed into a district of a Roman province. The Pamphilians became largely hellenized in Roman times, and have left magnificent memorials of their civilization at Perga, Aspendos and Side.
As of 1911 the district was largely peopled with recent settlers from Greece, Crete and the Balkans, a situation which changed considerably as a result of the disruptions attendant on the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the war between Greece and Turkey in the 1920s.
^Ahmad Hasan Dani, Jean-Pierre Mohen, J. L. Lorenzo, and V. M. Masson , History of Humanity-Scientific and Cultural Development: From the Third Millennium to the Seventh Century B.C (Vol II), UNESCO, 1996, p.425