The Illyrian Wars were a set of wars fought in the period 229–168 BC between the Roman Republic and the Ardiaei kingdom. In the First Illyrian War, which lasted from 229 BC to 228 BC, Rome's concern was that the trade across the Adriatic Sea increased after the First Punic War at a time when Ardiaei power increased under queen Teuta. Attacks on trading vessels of Rome's Italic allies by Illyrian pirates and the death of a Roman envoy named Coruncanius on Teuta's orders, prompted the Roman senate to dispatch a Roman army under the command of the consuls Lucius Postumius Albinus and Gnaeus Fulvius Centumalus. Rome expelled Illyrian garrisons from a number of Greek cities including Epidamnus, Corcyra and established a protectorate over these Greek towns; the Romans set up Demetrius of Pharos as a power in Illyria to counterbalance the power of Teuta. The Second Illyrian War lasted from 220 BC to 219 BC. In 219 BC, the Roman Republic was at war with the Celts of Cisalpine Gaul, the Second Punic War with Carthage was beginning.
These distractions gave Demetrius the time. Leading this fleet of 90 ships, Demetrius sailed south of Lissus, violating his earlier treaty and starting the war. Demetrius' fleet first attacked Pylos. From Pylos, the fleet sailed to the Cyclades. Demetrius foolishly sent a fleet across the Adriatic, with the Illyrian forces divided, the fortified city of Dimale was captured by the Roman fleet under Lucius Aemilius Paulus. From Dimale the navy went towards Pharos; the forces of Rome routed the Illyrians and Demetrius fled to Macedon, where he became a trusted councillor at the court of Philip V of Macedon, remained there until his death at Messene in 214 BC. In 171 BC, the Illyrian king Gentius was allied with the Romans against the Macedonians, but in 169 BC he allied himself with Perseus of Macedon. During the Third Illyrian War, in 168 BC, he arrested two Roman legati and destroyed the cities of Apollonia and Dyrrhachium, which were allied to Rome, he was defeated at Scodra by a Roman force under L. Anicius Gallus, in 167 BC he was brought to Rome as a captive to participate in Gallus' triumph, after which he was interned at Iguvium.
In the second half of the third century BC, the Ardiaei kingdom was transformed into a formidable power under the leadership of Agron. During this time, Agron invaded part of Epirus, Corcyra and Pharos in succession, establishing garrisons in them; the new force disposed of'the most powerful which could carry 50 soldiers in addition to the rowersforce, both by land and sea, of any of the kings who had reigned in Illyria before him', according to Polybius. The Illyrians used a small and fast warship with a single bank of oars. Raids by sea from the Adriatic and Ionian were a familiar threat to the north-western Greeks. What was new was the use of a land army to follow up and profit from the victories gained by the navy; the Greek cities on the coast of Illyria were systematically attacked and already conquered by Agron's forces. Rome answered an appeal by sending envoys, they never got there. They were attacked en route by Illyrian vessels, one of them was killed, together with an Issaean ambassador.
That time a number of political events marked the adjacent Greek states. In 234 BC, the royal succession in Epirus came to an end, a federal republic was instituted. In the south, the western part of Acarnania seceded from this arrangement, their independence was soon threatened by the Aetolians, who began to occupy territory around the Gulf of Ambracia, including Pyrrhus' old capital, which forced the Epirotes to establish a new center at Phoenice. Besieged at Medion, the Acarnanians sought assistance from Demetrius II of Macedonia, who for the most of his reign had been at war with the Aetolian and Achaean Leagues. In response, the king requested assistance from Agron to relieve the siege; the Illyrian attack under Agron was mounted in either 232 or 231 BC. One hundred lembi, with 5000 men on board, sailed up to land at Medion, they formed up in the order, usual in their own country, advanced in their several companies against the Aetolian lines. The Aetolians drew up the greater part of their hoplites and cavalry in front of their own lines on the level ground and, with a portion of their cavalry and their light infantry, they hastened to occupy some rising ground in front of their camp, which nature had made defensible.
A single charge, however, by the Illyrians, whose numbers and close order gave them irresistible weight, served to dislodge the light-armed troops, forced the cavalry who were on the ground with them to retire to the hoplites. The Medionians joined the action by sallying out of the town and charging the Aetolians, after killing a great number, taking a still greater number prisoners, becoming masters of their arms and baggage, the Illyrians, having carried out the orders of Agron, conveyed their baggage and the rest of their booty to their boats and set sail for their own country; this defeat of the Aetolians, who were famed for their victory over the invading Gauls a generation before, caused a sensation in Greece. Illyrian success continued when command passed to Agron's widow Teuta, who granted individual ships a license to universal plunder. In 231 BC, the fleet and army attacked Messenia in the Peloponnese. On the way home, Teuta sent her general Scerdilaidas to capture the city of Phoenice in Epirus.
The city was captured and the ensuing battle was won. A truce was agreed and Phoenice was returned for a price, along with the rel
Illyrian weaponry played an important role in the makeup of Illyrian armies and in conflicts involving the Illyrians. Of all the ancients sources the most important and abundant writings are those of Ennius, a Roman poet of Messapian origin. Weapons of all sorts were placed intact in the graves of Illyrian warriors and provide a detailed picture for archaeologists on the distribution and development of Illyrian weaponry. Shields were used among the Illyrians from the end of the Bronze Age, but little is known about the early shields until the Iron Age. In this period, Illyrian shields were made of wood and leather and as a result no such example has survived. During the Iron Age a metal plate-cover was attached to the shields; the most common Illyrian shield was the circular shield, although northern Illyrians and the Japodes used an oval or rectangular type. The circular shield was small, was decorated with embedded circles and semicircles on the sides, it resembled the Macedonian shield of the time, but differed in the number of circles, which were a symbolic decoration.
One of the best examples of the Illyrian circular shield, coated in bronze, was found in a Liburnian necropolis in Nin and dates from the 4th century BC. The circular shield was used from Glasinac in Bosnia to Albania, they are depicted on Illyrian city coins of Shkodër. Similar to the Illyrian oval shield in northern Illyria was the shield that the Celts brought with them during the Gallic invasion of the Balkans in the 4th-3rd centuries BC; the Celtic shield was oblong, with an iron boss. Breast armour was a rare and interesting part of Illyrian armor. A type of breast-armor made of bronze plate was only used by northern Illyrians. Up to now only three of these have been discovered in Novo Sticna-Verpole and St. Vid. All date before 500 BC. Other Illyrian did not use breast armor. Only the Glasinac Illyrians used a type of breast armor if breast armor can be considered a jacket made of cloth or leather with parts of bronze. Another form of body armor was a bronze pectoral, it was more like a disc "breastplate" of 10 cm in diameter.
In the 7th century BC, bronze greaves were used by Illyrian warriors. It is possible that Illyrians used leather greaves in an earlier time, the same as those used by the Mycenaeans, but nothing is known about them. Bronze greaves first appear among the Illyrians in southern Illyria where examples have been found dating to the 7th century BC, from Glasinac from the same period; the bronze greaves discovered in a prince's grave in Gllasinac are interesting for the decorations depicted on them. Warships and triangular motives are carved on the outer surfaces; the two last-mentioned decorations were believed to protect the warrior while in combat. Up to the Roman era bronze greaves were used and only by wealthy warriors. Helmets are found more abundantly in Illyrian graves because of their higher status. Bronze helmets were made by the northern Illyrian from the 7th century BC. At that time and earlier the conical helmet was used. In these areas the Shmarjet helmet, named after Shmarjet of Novo Mesto, was used by the Japodes.
This interesting type of helmet was similar to the Japodian round caps. They were painted with clay. Round bronze discs and studs were embedded around the helmet. There were one with a wicker base and one sewn together with chain mail. Up to now thirty Shmarjet helmets have been found. Among the northern Illyrians the bronze helmet developed into the pot helmet; the conical helmet was used in the 6th century BC and sometimes had a plume. From the 5th-4th century BC under the influence of the Etruscans and other Italik peoples, the Negau helmet was used by the northern Illyrians; the Agrianes who were in close contact with the Macedons and Thracians used the Phrygian type helmet. The most important and widespread helmet was the Illyrian helmet. Helmets of this type have been discovered in many sites in Albania, Croatia, Macedonia and Serbia. Many scientists date the oldest Illyrian helmets from the 7th century BC Greece and according to them helmets found in southern Illyria from the 7th century BC are imports from Greece.
However, other experts the Albanian archaeologist Hasan Ceka, present arguments in favor of the indigenous Illyrian helmet. According to Ceka the Illyrian helmet is an original Illyrian type of helmet dating from the 7th century BC and used up to the 2nd century BC, not only up to the 4th century BC, as thought earlier. Proof of such late use is offered by depictions of the helmet on Illyrian coins those of king Gentius. Helmets were a privilege limited to the minority of warriors who could obtain them; the main Illyrian fighting sword was the sica, a short single-edged curved sword used by the Thraex gladiators in the Roman world. The sica was similar to the Greek machaira, it was depicted as a curved sword with a blade about 16–18 inches long. The distinctive shape was designed to get around the sides of an opponent's shield in order to stab or slash him in the back. Although the sica was used by many peoples around the Balkans, the Romans regarded the sica as a distinctive Illyrian weapon, used as well by inhabitants of Dalmatia and present day Croatia, parts of Bosnia and Albania.
Another Illyrian sword type was the fighting-sword, 20–30 cm long. Short curved swords and long swords were used. In addition, Illyrians used various knives; the Illyrians used the sibyna, which resembled a boar spear. The
Illyricum (Roman province)
Illyricum was a Roman province that existed from 27 BC to sometime during the reign of Vespasian. The province comprised Pannonia. Illyria included the area along the east coast of its inland mountains. With the creation of this province it came to be called Dalmatia, it was in the south. Illyria/Dalmatia stretched from the River Drin to the River Sava in the north; the area corresponded to modern northern Albania, Montenegro and Herzegovina and coastal Croatia. Pannonia was the plain which lies to its north, from the mountains of Illyria/Dalmatia to the westward bend of the River Danube, included modern Vojvodina, northern Croatia and western Hungary; as the province developed, Salona became its capital. Illyricum is a Latin term derived from Greek Illyris. A distinction was made between Illyris Barbara or Romana, which comprised the Adriatic coast down to today's northern Albania, Illyris Greaca, the rest of Albania called Epirus Nova; this latter area derived its name from the fact that, being close to Greece, it was influenced by the Greeks.
It was part of the Roman province of Macedonia. Illyria stretched from the River Drilon in modern northern Albania to Istria and the River Savus in the north, it comprised the coastal plain, the mountains of the Dinaric Alps which stretch along the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea for 645 kilometres with a width of about 150 kilometres) and, in the north-west, the Istrian Peninsula. There were numerous islands off the coast; the mountains were cultivated towards the coast. Lack of water and poor or arid soil made much of Illyria poor agricultural area and this gave rise to piracy; the interior of the southern part of Illyricum was more fertile. Illyria was inhabited by dozens of tribal groupings. Most of them were labelled as Illyrians. In the north there were Celtic tribes; the Pannonian plain in the north was more fertile. Its tribes were labelled as Pannonian. Archaeological finds and toponyms show that the Pannonians differed culturally from the Illyrians and the eastern Celts who lived to their west, in what is now Austria.
They were Celticised following a Celtic invasion of the northern part of the region at the beginning of the 4th century BC. Some tribes in the area were Celtic; the Pannonians had cultural similarities with the Illyrians. Iron mining and production was an important part of their economy in the pre-Roman days; the Romans fought three Illyrian wars between 229 BC and 168 BC. The First Illyrian War broke out due to concerns about attacks on the ships of Rome's Italian allies in the Adriatic Sea by Illyrian pirates and the increased power of the Ardiaei. With a powerful fleet The Ardiaei had invaded the Greek cities of Epidamnos Pharos, the island of Corfu and attacked Elis and Messenia in the Peloponnese and Phoenice in Epirus, whose trade with Italy was thriving. Numerous attacks on Italian ships prompted Rome to intervene; the Roman attacked the Ardiaei. Peace terms were agreed. In 220 BC the Ardiaei carried out attacks on the Greek coast in the west and southeast, they attacked Roman allies in southern Illyria.
This led to the Second Illyrian War. In 168 BC, during the Third Macedonian War between Rome and the Kingdom of Macedon, the Ardiaei joined the fight against the Romans, but they were defeated; the Romans imposed a tribute, half the amount they had been paying in taxes to their king on the cities which had fought them and five neighbouring tribes which had fought them. The cities and a tribe which had sided with the Romans were exempted from this tribute; the territory of the Ardaei and the neighbouring tribes was declared free and was divided into three cantons. Each was headed by its own council. We only have limited and scattered information about the subsequent Roman involvement in Illyria for the next 120 years, it seems. Most of what we know is through the work of Appian. In 156 BC the Dalmatae made an attack of the Illyrian subjects of Rome and refused to see Roman ambassadors; the consul Gaius Marcius Figulus undertook a campaign against them. While he was preparing his camp the Dalmatae drove him out of the camp.
He fled through the plain as far as the river Naro. He hoped to catch the Dalmatae unawares as they went back home for the winter, but they had assembled because they had heard of his arrival. Still, he drove them into the city of Delminium, he could not attack this fortified town. Thus he attacked other towns which were deserted because of the Dalmatae concentrating their forces at Delminium, he returned to Delminium and catapulted flaming projectiles. The greater part of the town was burned. Livy's Periochae recorded the campaign of Gaius Marcius Figulus and noted that in the next year, 155 BC, the consul Cornelius Nasica subdued the Dalmatae. In 135 BC two Illyrian tribes, the Ardiaei and the Palarii, made a raid on Roman Illyria while the Romans were busy with the Numantine War in Hispania
Serbo-Croatian is a South Slavic language and the primary language of Serbia, Croatia and Herzegovina, Montenegro. It is a pluricentric language with four mutually intelligible standard varieties. South Slavic dialects formed a continuum; the turbulent history of the area due to expansion of the Ottoman Empire, resulted in a patchwork of dialectal and religious differences. Due to population migrations, Shtokavian became the most widespread dialect in the western Balkans, intruding westwards into the area occupied by Chakavian and Kajkavian. Bosniaks and Serbs differ in religion and were often part of different cultural circles, although a large part of the nations have lived side by side under foreign overlords. During that period, the language was referred to under a variety of names, such as "Slavic" in general or "Serbian", "Croatian", ”Bosnian”, "Slavonian" or "Dalmatian" in particular. In a classicizing manner, it was referred to as "Illyrian"; the process of linguistic standardization of Serbo-Croatian was initiated in the mid-19th-century Vienna Literary Agreement by Croatian and Serbian writers and philologists, decades before a Yugoslav state was established.
From the beginning, there were different literary Serbian and Croatian standards, although both were based on the same Shtokavian subdialect, Eastern Herzegovinian. In the 20th century, Serbo-Croatian served as the official language of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, as one of the official languages of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia; the breakup of Yugoslavia affected language attitudes, so that social conceptions of the language separated on ethnic and political lines. Since the breakup of Yugoslavia, Bosnian has been established as an official standard in Bosnia and Herzegovina, there is an ongoing movement to codify a separate Montenegrin standard. Serbo-Croatian thus goes by the names Serbian, Croatian and sometimes Montenegrin and Bunjevac. Like other South Slavic languages, Serbo-Croatian has a simple phonology, with the common five-vowel system and twenty-five consonants, its grammar evolved from Common Slavic, with complex inflection, preserving seven grammatical cases in nouns and adjectives.
Verbs exhibit imperfective or perfective aspect, with a moderately complex tense system. Serbo-Croatian is a pro-drop language with flexible word order, subject–verb–object being the default, it can be written in Serbian Cyrillic or Gaj's Latin alphabet, whose thirty letters mutually map one-to-one, the orthography is phonemic in all standards. Throughout the history of the South Slavs, the vernacular and written languages of the various regions and ethnicities developed and diverged independently. Prior to the 19th century, they were collectively called "Illyric", "Slavic", "Slavonian", "Bosnian", "Dalmatian", "Serbian" or "Croatian". Since the XIX century the term Illyric was used quite often. Although the word Illyrian was used on a few occasions before, the widespread usage of the term began after Ljudevit Gaj and several other prominent linguists met at Ljudevit Vukotinović's house to discuss the issue in 1832; the term Serbo-Croatian was first used by Jacob Grimm in 1824, popularized by the Viennese philologist Jernej Kopitar in the following decades, accepted by Croatian Zagreb grammarians in 1854 and 1859.
At that time and Croat lands were still part of the Ottoman and Austrian Empires. The language was called variously Serbo-Croat, Croato-Serbian and Croatian, Croatian and Serbian, Serbian or Croatian, Croatian or Serbian. Unofficially and Croats called the language "Serbian" or "Croatian" without implying a distinction between the two, again in independent Bosnia and Herzegovina, "Bosnian", "Croatian", "Serbian" were considered to be three names of a single official language. Croatian linguist Dalibor Brozović advocated the term Serbo-Croatian as late as 1988, claiming that in an analogy with Indo-European, Serbo-Croatian does not only name the two components of the same language, but charts the limits of the region in which it is spoken and includes everything between the limits. Today, use of the term "Serbo-Croatian" is controversial due to the prejudice that nation and language must match, it is still used for lack of a succinct alternative, though alternative names have emerged, such as Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian, seen in political contexts such as the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
Old Church Slavonic was adopted as the language of the liturgy. This language was adapted to non-liturgical purposes and became known as the Croatian version of Old Slavonic; the two variants of the language and non-liturgical, continued to be a part of the Glagolitic service as late as the middle of the 19th century. The earliest known Croatian Church Slavonic Glagolitic manuscripts are the Glagolita Clozianus and the Vienna Folia from the 11th century; the beginning of written Serbo-Croatian can be traced from the 10th century and on when Serbo-Croatian medieval texts were written in five scripts: Latin, Early Cyrillic, Bosnian Cyrillic, Arebica, the last principally by Bosniak nobility. Serbo-Croatian competed with the more established literary languages of Latin
Illyrian coinage which began in the 6th century BC continued up to the 1st century of Roman rule. It was the southern Illyrians who minted the first coins followed by the northern Illyrian during the Roman era. Illyrian coins have been found in other areas apart from Illyria, such ancient Macedonia, Greece, Asia Minor and Egypt; the earliest Illyrian coins were minted by the Tyntenoi north of Lake Ohrid minted coins around 540 BC with the Greek legend Tynteni. Their silver coins reached Italy and many parts of Asia, they belonged to the group of'Thraco-Macedonian' coinages of this period, they bore the same emblems as the coins of Ichnae at the head of the Thermaic Gulf. Production ceased in the early 5th century BC, most in 475 BC when this period was one of comparative poverty, during which contacts were lost with mainland Greece and relations with Ionia via the Danube valley slackened; the Messapians in southern Italy minted coins in the early 5th century BC. They were an early imitation of the Greek coins from Magna Grecia.
The cities which minted these early mints were Valesio, Nardò, Ugento and Samadi. Valesio struck silver coins, Nardò silver and bronze while from the 3rd century BC only bronze coins were issued; the coins feature an ancient Iapygian hero. Other features included Athena and Zeus. At the same time as the Messapians, the Paeonian tribe of the Derrones were producing coins; these coins are traditionally dated to 500 BC – 450 BC. Frequent depictions on the coins attributed to the Derrones are Corinthian helmets, their god, was worshipped by Paionians and Macedonians. The Paeonian kings dealt and with the minting coins; however this activity in terms of quality and appearance did not differ much from Greek coins. The Paeonians themselves at this time were becoming hellenized more and more and lost to a great degree their characteristic as a non-Greek people; the earliest Illyrian coins in Illyria were minted from the start of the 4th century BC in the Illyrian city of Damastion and Daparria by the Illyrian tribe of the Dyestes under Bardylis, influenced by Hellenization to an extent.
For about 200 years, this city minted silver coins with symbols imitating those of the Hellenic cities in the Aegean, as well as original symbols such as tongs of a metal smelter. The circulation of Damastion coins included Kosovo, southern Serbia and the Adriatic coast from Shkodër to Split; the presence of silver mines around the city in ancient sources made it possible for the minting of coins in such a great abundance. The only kings to have minted coins bearing their names were Lycceius, Audoleon, Mytilus and Ballaios; the coinage of Patraus is remarkable. They have on the obverse a head of Apollo, which may be in allusion to the king's name, Apollo being known under the name of Patraus. On the reverse of the coins is a horseman riding over an enemy, in allusion to triumphs over the Macedonians and an inscription of the king; the coins of Audoleon have a head wearing a Corinthian helmet on the obverse and on the reverse a horse stepping boldly executed and the inscription of the king. The first Dardanian king to have minted silver coins was Monunius in the beginning of the 3rd century BC, around 280 BC.
He struck his coins in the Greek colony of Durrës and they differed only in having the jaw of a boar set over the cow, as a symbol of the royal Illyrian house. The coins had the abbreviated inscription'ΔYP' to donate the place where they were minted, as well as showing royal sovereignty over the city; these coins have been found in great numbers in the Illyrian city of Gurëzeza, in the interior of Albania beyond Apollonia. The Illyrian kingdom under Monunius extended as far as the Lyncestian Lakes, from here Monunius could have intervened in the quarrel about the Macedonian throne turning into a claimant for it; this is the meaning of the minting of a second series of silver coins bearing his name and traditional Macedonian symbols, the head of Heracles on the face and on the reverse, Olympian Zeus sitting on his throne. That this, was a short lived dream of the Illyrian king is shown by the fact that so few coins were minted, so much that only one specimen is preserved today. Mytilus, the successor of King Monunius, struck his coins 10 years around 270 BC.
His bronze coinage with the symbols of the city of Durrës in Albania bear his name. The coinage of Apollonia in the same period bore only his monogram, as well as symbols similar to those of the Aetolian League; the most productive conage is of Gentius who ruled from 181 BC. Two of his mints were located in Shkodra, the ancient Illyrian capital at the time of his regn, in Lezha, both located in modern-day north-eastern Albania, his coins were struck in Durrës, where the royal title is absent from any silver coin, the name Gentius, not uncommon to an Illyrian male, may belong not to the king but to a local magistrate. However, around 30 to 40 examples of bronze coins have been recorded with the legend'King Genthios'. Upon his defeat by the Romans in 168 BC his treasury of 120,000 silver pieces were conveyed to Rome. Ballaios reigned after the kingdom of Gentius was dissolved into the Roman Empire from around 167 BC – 135 BC; the abundance of the coinage of Ballaios in the region would suggest that he was a powerful and influential king although no literary of historical evidence of him exists.
The coins of the well-known king Gentius are scarce in comparison to the coins of Ballaios. His silver issues are rare, but bronze coins occur on Hvar in Croatia, both in single finds and in hoards, at Rhizon, the ancient capital of Queen Teuta, in a different series
Illyrian type helmet
The "Illyrian type helmet" is a style of bronze helmet, which in its variations covered the entire head and neck, was open-faced in all of its forms. It originated in Peloponnese, ancient Greece, was developed during the 8th and 7th centuries BC. Accurate representations on Corinthian vases are sufficient to indicate that the "Illyrian" type helmet was developed before 600 BC; the helmet was misleadingly named as an "Illyrian" type due to a large number of early finds coming from Illyria. According to archaeological evidence, the "Illyrian" type helmet evolved from the Kegelhelm of the Archaic Period found in Argos; the earliest "Illyrian" type helmets were developed in a workshop located in the northwestern Peloponnese, although the first Type II "Illyrian" helmets were created in Corinthian workshops. The first Type III helmets were created in workshops situated somewhere on the Illyrian coast of the Adriatic; the "Illyrian" type helmet did not obstruct the wearer's critical senses of vision though the first two varieties hampered hearing.
There were four types of these helmets and all were open faced: Type I left the neck unprotected and hampered hearing. Type II again hampered hearing. Type III allowed better hearing. Type IV was similar to Type III but hearing was not impaired at all; the Illyrian type helmet was used by the ancient Greeks, Etruscans and became popular with the Illyrians who adopted it. A variety of the helm had spread to Italy based on its appearance on ivory reliefs and on a silver bowl at the "Bernardini" tomb at Praeneste; the helmet became obsolete in most parts of Greece in the early 5th century BC. Its use in Illyria had ended by the 4th century BC. Media related to Category:Ancient helmets at Wikimedia Commons
The history of Illyrian warfare spans from the beginning of the 2nd millennium BC up to the 1st century AD in the region of Illyria and in southern Italy where the Iapygian civilization flourished. It concerns the armed conflicts of the Illyrian tribes and their kingdoms in the Balkans in Italy as well as pirate activity in Mediterranean. Apart from conflicts between Illyrians and neighboring nations and tribes, numerous wars were recorded among Illyrian tribes themselves. Illyrians were renowned warriors, according to ancient sources, they were known as skilled craftsmen and shipbuilders in ancient times and controlled much of the Adriatic and Ionian Sea using their numerous warships. Illyrians had effective weapons such as the sica, a curved-tip sword that originated in Illyria and was adopted all over the Balkans and used by the Romans. Instances of Illyrians engaged in armed conflict occurred in Greek mythology and in the legend of Cadmus and Harmonia, where Cadmus led the Illyrian Enchelii in a victorious campaign against the Illyrians after a divine advice from the Oracle.
If the legend is true this war would have occurred around 2000 BC, the time when Cadmus has been claimed to have lived. Illyrian tribes were reluctant to help each other in times of war and fought amongst each other and they sometimes allied with the neighboring Romans and Greeks: These conflicts happened because of land and areas of natural substances such as iron and salt; the Romans, before they conquered Illyria, were involved in tribal conflicts and used them to their advantage. The most known incident is the involvement of the Romans in a war between the Dalmatians and the Liburnians over Promona, which in the end were encouraged to take peace; the Romans were ordered to act as referees in their bloody fights. The tribe of Autariatae fought against the Ardiaei for control of valuable salt mines; the Ardiaei were notorious before being defeated by the Romans. The Daorsi had suffered attacks from the Delmatae to the extent; the earliest recorded Illyrian Kingdom was that of the Enchele in the 8th century BC.
The Enchele held dominance for two centuries until their state crumbled from the start of the 6th century BC. After the Enchelii the Taulanti formed their own state in the 7th century BC; the Autariatae under Pleurias were a kingdom. The Kingdom of the Ardiaei began at 230 BC and ended at 167 BC; the most notable Illyrian kingdoms and dynasties were those of Bardyllis of the Dardani and of Agron of the Ardiaei who created the last and best-known Illyrian kingdom. Agron had extended his rule to other tribes as well; as for the Dardanians, they always had separate domains from the rest of the Illyrians. The Illyrian kingdoms were composed of small areas within region of Illyria; the exact extent of the most prominent ones remains unknown. Only the Romans ruled the entire region; the internal organization of the south Illyrian kingdoms points to imitation of their neighboring Greek kingdoms and influence from the Greek and Hellenistic world in the growth of their urban centers. Polybius gives as an image of society within an Illyrian kingdom as peasant infantry fought under aristocrats which he calls in Greek Polydynastae where each one controlled a town within the kingdom.
The monarchy was established on hereditary lines and Illyrian rulers used marriages as a means of alliance with other powers. Pliny writes that the people that formed the nucleus of the Illyrian kingdom were'Illyrians proper' or Illyrii Proprie Dicti, they were the Taulantii, the Pleraei, the Endirudini, Sasaei and the Labeatae. These joined to form the Docleatae. Navigable skills and mobility of the Liburnians on their swift ships, the Liburna allowed them to be present early, not only along the Eastern Adriatic coast, they reached the opposite, Italic coast; this process started during great Pannonian-Adriatic movements and migrations at the end of the Bronze Age, from the 12th to 10th century BC. In the Iron Age, they were in the Italic coast, establishing colonies in Apulia and in Picenum, where specific Iron Age cultures developed. From the 9th to the 6th century BC there was certain koine – cultural unity in the Adriatic, with the general Liburninan seal, whose naval supremacy meant both political and economical authority through a several centuries.
Some similar toponyms attested not only Liburnian but other Illyrian migrations to the central and south Italy Apulia and Picenum. In the 9th century BC their ruled the inner Adriatic sea and in the first half of the 8th century BC they expanded southwards. According to Strabo, the Liburnians became masters of island of Corcyra, making it their most southern outpost, by which they controlled the passage into the Adriatic Sea. In 735 BC, they abandoned it, under pressure of Corinthian ruler Hersikrates, during the period of Corinthian expansion to South Italy and the Ionian Sea. However, their position in the Adriatic Sea was still strong in the next few centuries. Corinth was the first; the Bacchiade the Eretrians from Corcyra. About 625 BC, the Taulantii asked for the aid of Corcyra against the Liburni; the Greeks were victorious. Liburnian control of the Adriatic Sea coasts started to decrease in the 6th century BC. According to Pliny the Elder, the Liburnians lost supremacy in the Western Adriatic coast due to invasion of the Umbri and the Gauls caused by strengthening and expansion of the Etruscan union in the 6th century BC, whose rich material presence in the basin of Po river, undoubtedly meant weakening of the Liburnian thalassocracy influence in the north-west of