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The Illyrians

The Illyrians

John Wilkes

ISBN: 978-0-631-19807-9 January 1996 Wiley-Blackwell 376 Pages


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For more than a thousand years before the arrival of the Slavs in the sixth century AD, the lands between the Adriatic and the river Danube, now Yugoslavia and Albania, were the home of the peoples known to the ancient world as Illyrians. This book, now available in paperback, draws upon the considerable archaeological evidence that has become available since the Second World War to provide an account of the origins, culture, history and legacy of the Illyrians.

John Wilkes describes the geography of Illyria and surveys the region in the prehistoric, Greek, Roman and medieval periods. He discusses Illyrian art, material, culture, religion and customs. A chapter examines the Illyrian language, of which little trace survives, and its connection with other Indo-European languages. Professor Wilkes also scrutinizes the linguistic evidence for the Illyrians' relatedness to other peoples - Thracian, Italic, Greek and Celtic. He concludes with a discussion of a possible survival of an Illyrian native culture in the Roman and Byzantine periods.

Part I: The Search for Illyrians:.

1. Rediscovery of Illyrians.

2. Prehistoric Illyrians.

3. Naming Illyrians.

Part II: Greek Illyrians:.

4. Neighbours of the Greeks.

5. Enemies of Macedon.

6. Kingdom of Illyrians.

Part III: Roman Illyrians:.

7. Illyricum.

8. Life and Death among Illyrians.

9. Imperial Illyrians.




"This is splendid scholarship from which even mature scholars can learn much." Choice
  • There is no comparable book in terms of comprehensiveness
  • Topical, in terms of current unrest in the old Illyrian lands of Albania and former Yugoslavia