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Title: 'The Common Enemies of All'?
Subtitle: The Illyrians in the Histories of Polybios between Barbarism and Hellenicity
Author(s): GIESEKE, Julian
Journal: Ancient Society
Volume: 53    Date: 2023   
Pages: 11-54
DOI: 10.2143/AS.53.0.3292436

Abstract :
The Histories of Polybios are the most important source for the first two Roman-Illyrian Wars in the 220s BC and the figure of Queen Teuta. Yet, no dedicated study of Polybios’ representation of the Illyrians as an ethnos exists. The paper will therefore analyse how Polybios treats the Illyrians as an ethnic group, how he portrays more specific tribes, kingdoms, and cities and how he characterises individuals. These passages will be situated within the ethnographic tradition of the Classical and Hellenistic period and compared with his descriptions of other peoples. This approach will serve to demonstrate that the Illyrians were not mere ‘Barbarians’ for Polybios and his Greek contemporaries, but that they occupied a rather fluid category between the ‘proper’ savages in the Barbaricum, like the Celts, and the Greek peoples on the fringes of Hellas (e.g. Macedonians, Epirotes).

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