History Files

Please help the History Files

Contributed: 175

Target: 400

Totals slider

The History Files still needs your help. As a non-profit site, it is only able to support such a vast and ever-growing collection of information with your help, and this year your help is needed more than ever. Please make a donation so that we can continue to provide highly detailed historical research on a fully secure site. Your help really is appreciated.

European Kingdoms

Eastern Mediterranean


Epirus (Molossians) (South-West Indo-Europeans)
Incorporating the Amantes, Chaonians, Eordaei, Lyncestae, Molossians, Orestae, & Thesprotians

North-western Greece has been occupied since before the Neolithic Farmer culture period by hunters and shepherds in the mountainous inland regions, and by fishermen along the coast. Then came the Yamnaya horizon and the arrival of a vast influx of Indo-European peoples from the Pontic steppe.

Initially they were limited to the banks of the Danube but then they quickly expanded across what is now Romania and the northern Balkans region. A climate-induced drought around 1200 BC saw these Balkans tribes forced into a further migration southwards across the rest of the Balkans. It was a group which became identified as the Epirotes which claimed the western coast below the Illyrians and above the Mycenaeans.

The arrivals in Epirus were of the same general South-West Indo-European stock as the Mycenaeans and their own eastern neighbours, the Macedonians. The state they formed in Epirus spanned the modern border between Greece and Albania. It was separated from the Macedonians by the Pindus Mountains and, as may be guessed, the region is mountainous and rugged.

The ancient Epirotes probably resembled their Macedonian neighbours in their rough-and-ready style of living - and seem to have been similarly regarded as barbarians by their counterparts in southern Greece. Modern Greek Epirus is divided between the administrative divisions of the Periphery of Epirus and Thessaly (the easternmost section).

Epirus was dominated by three primary tribes. The Molossians were said to be descended from Molossos (tentatively dated to the twelfth century BC), and were classed by Strabo as the most famous of a total of fourteen tribes of Epirus. To their north were the Chaonians, who appear to have been dominant prior to the arrival of Neoptolemus of Phthia. To the south-west was the state of the Thesprotians, on the coast.

All three tribes formed the most powerful elements of previous smaller tribes in the region. However, what is sometimes referred to as the 'kingdom' of Epirus seems to have predated the arrival of the Epirotes themselves: Mycenaean-era rulers are ascribed to it. If the name 'Epirus' predated the climate-induced migration of Indo-Europeans from the Danubian region then those arrivals must have adopted that name when they arrived.

That (semi-legendary) early kingdom of Epirus which was formed by Mycenaeans (or even Trojans!) probably equated only to the central regions of the later Epirote state, in other words the region which was held by the Molossians themselves. Others of the fourteen tribes - the more minor units in the region - included the Amantes of the most northern area of Epirus, on the coast at the Gulf of Oricos into which empties the River Chaonia (not to be confused with the Illyrian Amantini), the Eordaei and Orestae immediately to the north-west of Mount Olympus, and the Lyncestae of Upper Macedonia.

John Wilkes also considered the Dassaretii to have been a tribe of the Chaonians. Could the Molossians have formed the Mycenaean core population even after the arrival of the Indo-European 'barbarians' from the north? That is entirely possible, although they would have gained a layer of Epirote nobility and control over the top of their own social structure.

The Lyncestae of the region of Lynkestis (Lyncestis) are especially interesting in this context. Crossland and Birchall Duckworth state: 'Proto-Greek... Lynkos, Lynkai, from "lunx" (gen. "lunkos"), "lynx"... in the region defined just above, roughly northern and north-western Greece... Since Greek place-names are very dense in that region and they have a very archaic appearance, one may suppose that the proto-Greeks were settled in it during many centuries and even millennia".

That seems to suggest an early settlement of proto-Greeks here, but does not offer an opinion on whether they may be Mycenaeans, Dorians, or any other form of South-West Indo-European group.

Intriguingly, the Chaonian name is remarkably similar to that of the Chaones, or Chones, of Iron Age Italy. The dominant Chaonians seem to have been usurped in the lower Balkans by the arrival of Greeks (Mycenaeans) in the twelfth century BC.

This makes an already confusing situation even more so, as the Mycenaeans were hardly in a state in the 1100s BC to expand northwards along the Adriatic coast. Could it instead have been Dorians, diverted in part from their entry into Mycenaean Greece and virtually the same in terms of language and customs? Or the Epirotes themselves, chasing out a tribe which refused to cooperate?

The Dorians at least would become the driving force behind the creation of Classical Greece anyway, so perhaps whatever oral tradition existed which produced this information was amended by later generations to state that it was generalised Greeks who were responsible.

The Illyrians to the near north enjoyed a degree of migration across the Adriatic and into south-eastern Italy, probably in the eleventh and tenth centuries BC. Later Greek authors thought these Illyrians had a Greek origin (echoes of that shared Danubian heritage again), so the possibility is suggested that the Italic Chones may have been Epirote Chaonians who migrated out of the lower Balkans in the eleventh or tenth century BC, after losing their place due to newcomer or rival tribal interference.

Ancient Greek frieze

(Information by Peter Kessler and Edward Dawson, with additional information from Europe Before History, Kristian Kristiansen, from The Iliad, Homer (Translated by E V Rieu, Penguin Books, 1963), from A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, William Smith (Ed), from An Historical Geography of Europe, Norman J G Pounds (Abridged Version), from The Horse, the Wheel, and Language: How Bronze-Age Riders from the Eurasian Steppes Shaped the Modern World, David W Anthony, from Researches into the Physical History of Mankind, Vol 3, Issue 1, James Cowles Prichard, from History of Humanity - Scientific and Cultural Development: From the Third Millennium to the Seventh Century BC (Vol II), Ahmad Hasan Dani, Jean-Pierre Mohen, J L Lorenzo, & V M Masson (Unesco 1996), from Bronze Age Migrations in the Aegean; Archaeological and Linguistic Problems in Greek Prehistory, R A Crossland & Ann Birchall Duckworth (Proceedings of the First International Colloquium on Aegean Prehistory, Sheffield, 1973), from The Illyrians, John Wilkes (Blackwell Publishers Inc, 1995 & 1996), and from External Links: Geography, Strabo (H C Hamilton & W Falconer, London, 1903, Perseus Online Edition), and Massive migration from the steppe was a source for Indo-European languages in Europe (Nature), and Indo-European Etymological Dictionary, J Pokorny, and DNA clue to origins of early Greek civilization (BBC News), and The Greeks really do have near-mythical origins, ancient DNA reveals (Science).)

?- c.1183 BC


Renowned for brutality. Overthrown by Neoptolemus?

c.1183 BC

Following the conclusion of the Trojan War and the sack of Troy, Neoptolemus and his Phthian followers settle in Epirus, seemingly away from the growing chaos caused by the Dorian invasion of Greece and the collapse of Mycenaean civilisation.

Map of Eastern Europe, the Balkans, and Greece 1200 BC
Climate-induced drought in the thirteenth century BC created great instability in the entire eastern Mediterranean region, resulting in mass migration in the Balkans, as well as the fall of city states and kingdoms further east (click or tap on map to view full sized)

There they found the city of Buthrotum and interbreed with the local inhabitants, becoming part of the population. Neoptolemus brings with him Andromache, the widow of Hector of Troy and now his own concubine, and Elenos, a brother of Hector, as a slave.

Archaeologists have found large tumuli containing shaft graves and remains that are almost certainly the bodies of former leaders. These graves are similar to those of the Mycenaeans, clearly indicating a link between the two if only a cultural one.

However, it is unknown whether it is the arrival of Mycenaean refugees at the end of the Trojan War who introduce these practices, or they exist because of a shared pre-existing cultural background.

Artist's impression of Troy
This illustration is another artist's impression of an unspecified version of Troy, although it is believed to be based on the city which existed around the time of the Trojan War, shortly before its defeat and destruction

c.1183 - ? BC

Neoptolemus / Neoptolemos

Son of Achilles of Phthia. Murdered at Delphi.

After the death of Neoptolemus, Elenos marries Andromache and rules the kingdom with her alongside him. His friend or brother from Troy, Chaon, is probably an invention by later Greeks to give the neighbouring Chaonians an air of legitimacy in their claim to be a Greek or even Trojan people. Chaon gives his own life to save his followers so, when Elenos gains the kingdom, he names part of it in honour of Chaon.

fl c.1183 BC


Son of Priam of Troy.

fl c.1183 BC


Friend or brother. Eponymous founder of Chaonians.

Following the death of Elenos, Andromache retires to Pergamum to live with her son, King Pergamus. Her other son, Molossos, the eponymous founder of the Molossians tribe into which the Mycenaean contingent under Neoptolemus has already settled, gains the Epirote throne.

Pergamon ruins
Pergamon rose to prominence during the years of division in the Greek empire following the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC when his empire was divided among his generals - now it worked in tandem with Cappadocia

fl c.1170s BC


Son of Neoptolemus and Andromache.

fl c.1150s? BC


Relationship unknown.

fl c.1125 BC


Legendary king who fought Brutus of Latium.

FeatureGeoffrey of Monmouth expands on a story which had previously been recorded by Nennius for his twelfth century AD work, History of the Kings of Britain (see feature link).

He covers the founding of Celtic Britain by reciting the story of Brutus, who is exiled from Latium and finds his way to Greece. There he finds the descendants of fellow Trojans who are slaves under Pandrasus, 'King of the Greeks'.

The two go to war to decide the fate of the slaves and Brutus wins. He marries the king's daughter, Imogen, and takes his new followers to Britain, which they occupy as their own (neatly fitting into the timeline for the replacement of Bell Beaker culture there by the earliest Proto-Celtic arrivals).

Epirote mountains
The mountainous landscape of all but coastal Epirus required a hardy inhabitant, and the region's remoteness may have had a bearing on its poorly recorded history in the ancient world

fl c.1120s? BC


Son of Driantos?

fl c.1110s? BC



11th century BC

Epirus fades from view as far as oral tradition is concerned. Nothing more is known of the kingdom until the fifth century BC, at which point it appears to have continued to survive, possibly continuously since there are no competing foundation legends. Greek Epirus does have some earlier interactions with individual tribes however.

Epirus (Greeks)

The origins of Greek-dominated Epirus are highly uncertain, especially as most of the available evidence comes from Greek myth and legend. It seems likely that it was already occupied by Neolithic descendants of the farmer cultures of 'Old Europe' before being taken over by a warrior-based aristocracy in the early twelfth century BC. A climate-induced drought around 1200 BC saw the South-West Indo-European tribes of the Balkans forced into a southwards migration into Greece.

At the same time, Troy had fallen and a group of Trojans is claimed to have sought refuge in Epirus, founding its own dynasty of rulers there. The truth of the matter is impossible to deduce, but Epirus is Greek, so its people were almost certainly Mycenaeans, or of closely-related South-West Indo-European stock, or perhaps one or both with a thin layer of refugee Trojan nobility added.

(Information by Peter Kessler and Edward Dawson, with additional information from Europe Before History, Kristian Kristiansen, from The Iliad, Homer (Translated by E V Rieu, Penguin Books, 1963), from A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, William Smith (Ed), from An Historical Geography of Europe, Norman J G Pounds (Abridged Version), and from External Links: Geography, Strabo (H C Hamilton & W Falconer, London, 1903, Perseus Online Edition), and Massive migration from the steppe was a source for Indo-European languages in Europe (Nature), and Indo-European Etymological Dictionary, J Pokorny, and DNA clue to origins of early Greek civilization (BBC News), and The Greeks really do have near-mythical origins, ancient DNA reveals (Science).)

c.770 BC

According to the Chronicon by Eusebius, Caranus takes his followers north from Argos to aid the king of the Orestae, who is at war with his neighbours, the Eordaei. The Orestae (a sub-tribe of the Molossians) occupy a location in central-northern Greece, to the north-east of Epirus itself and immediately north-west of Mount Olympus.

The king promises Caranus half his territory in return for his successful aid. The Orestae are indeed successful and the king keeps his promise, probably giving Caranus the eastern half of the territory where he founds the Macedonian kingdom. The Macedonians appear to enjoy close and friendly relations with the Epirotes from the very beginning.

fl c.560 BC


King? A suitor for Agariste of Sicyon.

5th century BC

By this time, the Molossians of Epirus appear to have largely absorbed or merged with the Chaonians to the north and the Thesprotians to the south. This absorption probably serves to form the territory that is ruled as part of Epirus as it is known to the emerging Classical Greeks. It seems to be little more than a political absorption, however, as all three tribes are able to separately dictate their fate at the formation of the Epirote League in 325 or 320 BC.

The city of Amantia in Albania
One of the gates of the city of Amantia show very clearly how the tribe of the Amantes was 'civilised' during the course of Classical Greece's progression towards dominating the ancient world (reproduced with permission by Carole Raddato at External Link: Amantia, Albania - click or tap on image to view full sized)

The Epirotes live a less advanced life than do their Hellenic cousins further south. The city or polis is unknown here, with most people living in small villages instead. The region remains a frontier territory, forever fending off the Illyrians to the north, but the existence of the oracle at Dodona makes Epirus a much more important state that it might otherwise be, as the oracle is second only to Delphi in its importance.


c.469 - 450 BC

Admitos / Admetos

468 - 459 BC

Admitos opposes Themistocles, who is in effective control of Athens, but the two do not come to blows over the issue. Admitos' successor seems to be unknown but, during that period, the reign of Arrhabaeus is especially strong as king of the Lyncestae tribe in Upper Macedonia which is usually seen as a Molossian sub-tribe.

c.450 - 423 BC


Name unknown.

fl 424 - 423 BC


King of the Lyncestae.

424 - 423 BC

The Lyncestae have been increasingly of late drawn into the Macedonian sphere of influence. Claiming descent from Corinthian exiles of the Bacchiades ruling family of the seventh century BC, Arrhabaeus revolts against Perdiccas II of Macedonia. Things come to a head at the Battle of Lyncestis in 423 BC, part of the Peloponnesian Wars. The Macedonians are forced into a humiliating retreat after having seen the strength of the joint Lyncestae and Illyrian army opposing them.

c.423 - 395 BC


fl 423 - 393 BC

Sirras / Sirrhas

Son-in-law of Arrhabaeus. King of the Lyncestae.

c.395 - 370 BC

Alcetas I

First Aeacid king.

c.393 BC

While Bardylis of the Illyrian tribe of the Dardani does not conquer the Lyncestae directly, it does seem to be a fact that he gains control of them from around this date, as part of his growing kingdom which soon abuts the borders of Macedonia.

385 BC

The Molossians are attacked by Illyrians, part of a plot which has been instigated and supported by Dionysius of Syracuse. He wants to place Alcetas on the Epirote throne as part of his plan to control the entire Ionian Sea. Sparta intervenes and expels the Illyrians after defeating them in battle, although the Illyrians are reputed to kill 15,000 Molossians and ravage the region before this happens.

c.370 - 360 BC

Neoptelemus I

Son. Numbering seems to ignore Neoptolemus of c.1183 BC.

370 BC

Neoptelemus begins the consolidation of the Epirote kingdom at the expense of neighbouring tribes, although just how centralised his kingdom becomes is open to debate given the apparently semi-independent nature of the three main Epirote tribes in later years. Some sources claim that Neoptelemus and his brother, Arybbas, agree to divide the kingdom upon the death of their father and the two are able to rule their respective territories in peace. The kingdom is reunited under Arybbas following the death of his brother.

360 - 342 BC

Arybbas / Arymbas

Brother. Deposed by Philip II of Macedonia.

360 BC

A further attack by Illyrians sees Arybbas pull all non-combatants out of the region, evacuating them to Aetolia. The Illyrians, freely looting Epirus, are surprised by the Epirote troops while weighed down with their booty and are easily defeated.

359 BC

Olympias, the niece of Arybbas, marries Philip II of Macedonia. The union is partly to combine resources to ward off the dangerous Illyrian tribes to the north-west, but it also cements an alliance between the two kingdoms that helps to forge an empire, as Olympias gives birth to Alexander the Great in 356 BC.

342 - 331 BC

Alexander I Molossus

Son of Neoptelemus. Killed in battle by Rome on Sicily.

334 - 331 BC

At the request of the embattled Greek colony of Taras, Alexander embarks with a force of Epirotes, Macedonians and Tarantines to Italy. He fights the Italic tribes of the Brutii and Lucani, and in 332 defeats an alliance of Lucani and Samnites near Paestum. In the same year he concludes a treaty with the Romans and continues battling against the other Italic peoples. He captures Heraclea from the Lucani and then Sipontum and Terina from the Brutii but, having been forced to accept battle at Pandosia (in Calabria), he is killed by a Lucani exile. The defeat is a significant one as it marks the end of any new Greek colonisation in Italy and teaches the Italians how to defeat the phalanx, which is completely outmanoeuvred on rocky ground by the fast-moving Italics.

331 - 323 BC

Neoptelemus II


325/320 BC

The Epirote League is formed. All three Epirote tribes, the Chaonians (in north-western Epirus), Molossians (in the centre of Epirus), and Thesprotians (in the south-west of Epirus, along the coast), elect to join the league, suggesting that although they might be united politically within the Epirote kingdom, they are still in charge of their individual fates. The three are now united in a loosely federated state under the control of the Molossian king that subsequently becomes a major regional power, and therefore marks itself as an obstacle to the growing power of republican Rome.

323 - 322 BC



322 - 317 BC


Son. Deposed and took refuge with the Illyrians.

319 - 315 BC

Polyperchon, regent of Macedonia, allies himself to Eumenes during the Second War of the Diadochi, but is driven from Macedonia by Cassander, and flees to Epirus with the infant king Alexander IV and his mother Roxana. The new regent, Cassander, captures Alexander IV and Roxana, and Eumenes is defeated in Asia and murdered by his own troops.

317 - 313 BC

Neoptelemus II

Restored, but apparently dominated by Macedonia.

313 BC


Restored by the people after Neoptelemus is deposed.

313 BC

In response to the restoration of Aeacides at the expense of his own compliant king in Epirus, Cassander of Macedonia sends an army into Epirus during the Third War of the Diadochi. Aeacides is defeated twice, and is killed during the second defeat. His infant son, Pyrrhus, is granted asylum in the court of the Illyrian King Glaucias of the Taulantii, despite an invasion by Cassander to try and get the prince back.

313 - 307 BC

Alcetas II

307 BC

At the death of Alcetas, Glaucias of the Taulantii takes the opportunity to invade Epirus and place the now-twelve year-old Pyrrhus on the throne. Initially supported by guardians, one he is of age he proves to be a militarily-proficient ruler.

307 - 302 BC

Pyrrhus I

Son of Aeacides. Aided by the Taulantii.

Deidamia I

Sister. m Demetrius I Poliorcetes of Macedonia.

302 BC

While attending the wedding of a son of Glaucias of the Taulantii, Pyrrhus is dethroned by his enemy, Cassander of Macedonia, and the far more obedient Neoptelemus II is restored to the throne. However, having been the legitimate king since he had been an infant, Pyrrhus seems to have developed a cast iron will not to be defeated. He wins the support of Ptolemy I of Egypt and regains the throne in 297 BC.

302 - 297 BC

Neoptelemus II

Restored for the second time and murdered by Pyrrhus.

297 - 272 BC

Pyrrhus I

Restored. Also co-ruler of Macedonia (288-285 & 274-272 BC).

295 - 286 BC

Pyrrhus moves his capital to Ambrakia (now Arta) in 295 BC, and subsequently goes to war against his former ally and brother-in-law, Demetrius I Poliorcetes of Macedonia. By 286 BC he has conquered Macedonia for himself, although he is expelled by his former ally, Lysimachus, in 285 BC. At some point he also attacks the Illyrians, capturing the then-capital, presumably the capital of the Dardani as they currently seem to hold the Illyrian high kingship.

Pyrrhus I
Pyrrhus I was arguably the greatest king of Epirus, creating a new capital and leading his troops to conquer Macedonia and Syracuse - although he was ultimately defeated by an old woman

282 BC

The growing power of Rome has saved the Greek colony of Thurii from being overwhelmed by the Italics, but the colony of Tarentum intervenes, sinking some of the Roman ships. Rome declares war on Tarentum, and Pyrrhus declares for Tarentum, as do many of the southern Italic peoples, including the Brutii, Lucani, and Samnites. Pyrrhus also has Illyrian allies in the form of the powerful Dardani.

277 - 275 BC

Pyrrhus conquers Syracuse in 277 BC, and holds it for two years, with support being given by the Italian tribe, the Messapii. His hard but costly fighting against Rome on the island brings the kingdom a brief sense of importance. It is also his costly victories which inspire the term 'pyrrhic victory', as a victory with such high loses is no real victory at all. When Pyrrhus leaves Sicily, one of his former generals, Hieron, is appointed commander-in-chief of the Syracusan armed forces and is made king in 270 BC.

272 BC

Pyrrhus goes to war against Antigonus of Macedonia for his lack of support during the war against Rome, but Pyrrhus finds himself trapped inside the walls of Argos with Antigonus surrounding him with superior forces. Trying to extricate himself, his unit of elephants is thrown into confusion and causes further chaos. During this Pyrrhus is struck by a tile thrown by an old woman. Zopyrus, one of Antigonus' soldiers, which kills him. His entire veteran army goes over to the victorious Macedonian king, greatly increasing his power.

272 - c.260 BC

Alexander II

Son. m his sister, Olympias II.

c.260 - c.240 BC

Olympias II

Wife, and regent for her two sons, Pyrrhus II and Ptolemy.

c.260 - 237? BC

Pyrrhus II

Son. Gained his independence about 255 BC.

c.240s BC

With Epirus now pegged back as a major regional power following the death of Pyrrhus in 272 BC, it is the turn of the Ardiaei, once subjects of Epirus, to expand and dominate. Agron captures part of Epirus and also Corcyra (home of the Corcyreni), the former Corinthian port of Epidamnus, and Pharos in succession. New garrisons are established at each location.

237? - 235 BC



248 - 233 BC

Deidamia II / Deidameia / Laodamia

Daughter of Pyrrhus II. Murdered in the Temple of Artemis.

235 - 234 BC

Pyrrhus III

235 - 165 BC

Determined to rule themselves rather than remain under the rule of kings, the people of Epirus are governed by the republic which is formed about 235 BC, retaining the title of the Epirote League. The Aeacids (descendants of Aeacides) are exterminated between 235 and about 233 BC. Perhaps the only survivor is Nereis, sister of Deidamia, who is married to Gelon II of Syracuse. The reasons for this sudden extermination are unclear, and may involve a possible unpopularity with the Macedonian alliance and pressure by the Aetolians. It certainly serves to gravely weaken Macedonia.

Epirus is somewhat reduced in territory, with the region of Acarnania in south-eastern Epirus declaring its independence, and the Aetolians seize Ambracia, Amphilochia, and the remaining territory to the north of the Ambracian Gulf. A new Epirote capital has to be quickly established, at Phoenice, to the north of Epirus.

232/231 BC

The Acarnanians have found themselves under increasing pressure by the Aetolians. Now besieged at Medion they seek assistance from Demetrius II of Macedonia who, for much of his reign, has been at war with the Aetolians and the Achaean League. In response he brings in Agron and his Ardiaei Illyrians. In what amounts to a lighting raid the Illyrians sail up to Medion, launch their attack with great success, eventually aided by the Medionites as they sally forth from the city, and then pack up their baggage and sail back home. The sudden defeat of the Aetolians sends a shockwave through Greece.

228 BC

The Chaonian city of Bouthroton to the north of Epirus (now in the far south-west of Albania) becomes a Roman protectorate along with the island of Corfu which lays opposite it. Scerdilaidas of the Ardiaei also enjoys considerable success against the Epirotes.

200 - 196 BC

The Epirote League remains uneasily neutral during the Second Macedonian War (as it had during the first war), in which Philip V of Macedonia is defeated at the Battle of Cynoscephalae in 197 BC, while his general, Androsthenes, is defeated near Corinth.

172 - 168 BC

Perseus of Macedonia and Rome renew fighting in the Third Macedonian War. Epirus is split, with the Chaonians and Thesprotians siding with Rome and the Molossians allying themselves to Macedonia. The result is a disaster for Epirus, with the Chaonians being annexed by Rome in 170 BC. The sudden loss of a large portion of territory probably allows Harops to seize control as tyrant.

167 BC

The Roman army of Aemilius Paulus destroys the temple of Zeus at Dodona in Epirus. Presumably the temple is subsequently rebuilt by the Greeks, only for it to be destroyed again by the great Scordisci-led attack on Roman control in 88 BC.

165 - 159 BC



159 BC

The kingdom is conquered by Rome, with thousands of its inhabitants being enslaved and the region being plundered so thoroughly that it takes centuries to recover. Epirus remains within the Roman empire and its subsequent eastern division for the next seven hundred and fifty years or so. In 146 BC it is incorporated into the new province of Macedonia.

3rd century AD

Following reforms by Roman Emperor Diocletian at the end of the third century, Epirus Vetus is removed from the province of Macedonia. This area covers modern north-western Greece and a small part of southern Albania. Epirus Nova (Illyria Graeca) lies to its north (now forming much of the territory of Albania except the northernmost districts).

AD c.600 - 1204

Epirus is taken from the Eastern Roman empire by Slavic migrant settlers. It is retaken by the Romans in 916 and lost again, to Bulgaria, in 988. Once again regained by the Romans in 1014 it is held until the Fourth Crusade's invasion of the empire in 1204. Claimants to the Byzantine throne set up rival powerbases, including one which is centred upon Epirus itself.

Images and text copyright © all contributors mentioned on this page. An original king list page for the History Files.