Ancient literary sources EPIDAMNOS (Ancient city) ALBANIA - GTP - Greek Travel Pages
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Ancient literary sources (4)

Perseus Encyclopedia

Dyrrhachium, Epidamnos (alt. Epidamnus)

Formerly Epidamnus (Paus. 6,10,8).


  The city of Epidamnus stands on the right of the entrance of the Ionic gulf. Its vicinity is inhabited by the Taulantians, an Illyrian people. The place is a colony from Corcyra, founded by Phalius, son of Eratocleides, of the family of the Heraclids, who had according to ancient usage been summoned for the purpose from Corinth, the mother country. The colonists were joined by some Corinthians, and others of the Dorian race. Now, as time went on, the city of Epidamnus became great and populous; but falling a prey to factions arising, it is said, from a war with her neighbors the barbarians, she became much enfeebled, and lost a considerable amount of her power. The last act before the war was the expulsion of the nobles by the people. The exiled party joined the barbarians, and proceeded to plunder those in the city by sea and land; and the Epidamnians finding themselves hard pressed, sent ambassadors to Corcyra beseeching their mother country not to allow them to perish, but to make up matters between them and the exiles, and to rid them of the war with the barbarians. The ambassadors seated themselves in the temple of Hera as suppliants, and made the above requests to the Corcyraeans. But the Corcyraeans refused to accept their supplication, and they were dismissed without having effected anything.
  When the Epidamnians found that no help could be expected from Corcyra, they were in a strait what to do next. So they sent to Delphi and inquired of the god, whether they should deliver their city to the Corinthians, and endeavor to obtain some assistance from their founders. The answer he gave them was to deliver the city, and place themselves under Corinthian protection. So the Epidamnians went to Corinth, and delivered over the colony in obedience to the commands of the oracle. They showed that their founder came from Corinth, and revealed the answer of the god; and they begged them not to allow them to perish, but to assist them. This the Corinthians consented to do. Believing the colony to belong as much to themselves as to the Corcyraeans, they felt it to be a kind of duty to undertake their protection. Besides, they hated the Corcyraeans for their contempt of the mother country. Instead of meeting with the usual honors accorded to the parent city by every other colony at public assemblies, such as precedence at sacrifices, Corinth found herself treated with contempt by a power, which in point of wealth could stand comparison with any even of the richest communities in Hellas, which possessed great military strength, and which sometimes could not repress a pride in the high naval position of an island whose nautical renown dated from the days of its old inhabitants, the Phaeacians. This was one reason of the care that they lavished on their fleet, which became very efficient; indeed they began the war with a force of a hundred and twenty galleys.
  All these grievances made Corinth eager to send the promised aid to Epidamnus. Advertisement was made for volunteer settlers, and a force of Ambraciots, Leucadians, and Corinthians was despatched. They marched by land to Apollonia, a Corinthian colony, the route by sea being avoided from fear of Corcyraean interruption. When the Corcyraeans heard of the arrival of the settlers and troops in Epidamnus, and the surrender of the colony to Corinth, they took fire. Instantly putting to sea with five-and-twenty ships, which were quickly followed by others, they insolently commanded the Epidamnians to receive back the banished nobles--(it must be premised that the Epidamnian exiles had come to Corcyra, and pointing to the sepulchres of their ancestors, had appealed to their kindred to restore them )--and to dismiss the Corinthian garrison and settlers. But to all this the Epidamnians turned a deaf ear. Upon this the Corcyraeans commenced operations against them with a fleet of forty sail. They took with them the exiles, with a view to their restoration, and also secured the services of the Illyrians. Sitting down before the city, they issued a proclamation to the effect that any of the natives that chose, and the foreigners, might depart unharmed, with the alternative of being treated as enemies. On their refusal the Corcyraeans proceeded to besiege the city, which stands on an isthmus; and the Corinthians, receiving intelligence of the investment of Epidamnus, got together an armament and proclaimed a colony to Epidamnus, perfect political equality being guaranteed to all who chose to go. Any who were not prepared to sail at once, might by paying down the sum of fifty Corinthian drachmae have a share in the colony without leaving Corinth. Great numbers took advantage of this proclamation, some being ready to start directly, others paying the requisite forfeit. In case of their passage being disputed by the Corcyraeans, several cities were asked to lend them a convoy. Megara prepared to accompany them with eight ships, Pale in Cephallonia with four; Epidaurus furnished five, Hermione one, Troezen two, Leucas ten, and Ambracia eight. The Thebans and Phliasians were asked for money, the Eleans for hulls as well; while Corinth herself furnished thirty ships and three thousand heavy infantry.
  When the Corcyraeans heard of their preparations they came to Corinth with envoys from Lacedaemon and Sicyon, whom they persuaded to accompany them, and bade her recall the garrison and settlers, as she had nothing to do with Epidamnus. If, however, she had any claims to make, they were willing to submit the matter to the arbitration of such of the cities in Peloponnese as should be chosen by mutual agreement, and that the colony should remain with the city to whom the arbitrators might assign it. They were also willing to refer the matter to the oracle at Delphi. If, in defiance of their protestations, war was appealed to, they should be themselves compelled by this violence to seek friends in quarters where they had no desire to seek them, and to make even old ties give way to the necessity of assistance. The answer they got from Corinth was, that if they would withdraw their fleet and the barbarians from Epidamnus negotiation might be possible; but, while the town was still being besieged, going before arbitrators was out of the question. The Corcyraeans retorted that if Corinth would withdraw her troops from Epidamnus they would withdraw theirs, or they were ready to let both parties remain in status quo, an armistice being concluded till judgment could be given.
  Turning a deaf ear to all these proposals, when their ships were manned and their allies had come in, the Corinthians sent a herald before them to declare war, and getting under weigh with seventy-five ships and two thousand heavy infantry, sailed for Epidamnus to give battle to the Corcyraeans. The fleet was under the command of Aristeus, son of Pellichas Callicrates, son of Callias, and Timanor, son of Timanthes; the troops under that of Archetimus, son of Eurytimus, and Isarchidas, son of Isarchus. When they had reached Actium in the territory of Anactorium, at the mouth of the gulf of Ambracia, where the temple of Apollo stands, the Corcyraeans sent on a herald in a light boat to warn them not to sail against them. Meanwhile they proceeded to man their ships, all of which had been equipped for action, the old vessels being undergirded to make them seaworthy. On the return of the herald without any peaceful answer from the Corinthians, their ships being now manned, they put out to sea to meet the enemy with a fleet of eighty sail (forty were engaged in the siege of Epidamnus ), formed line and went into action, and gained a decisive victory, and destroyed fifteen of the Corinthian vessels. The same day had seen Epidamnus compelled by its besiegers to capitulate; the conditions being that the foreigners should be sold, and the Corinthians kept as prisoners of war, till their fate should be otherwise decided.…

This extract is from: Thucydides. The Peloponnesian War (ed. Richard Crawley, 1910). Cited June 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains comments & interesting hyperlinks.


Illyrian Victories

Perseus Project


Phylarchi (phularchoi, phularchai). In ancient times the tribal system prevailed everywhere in Greece; the Dorians having a threefold, the Ionians a fourfold, division of this kind. This institution remained till the latest period, with certain modifications. The phylarchs seem originally to have been the chiefs of the various tribes (phulai), whether in peace or war. We have direct proofs that they discharged civil functions, from the case of Epidamnus, a colony of Corcyra. The latter as a Dorian city had the three Dorian tribes, and we may infer that its colony retained them likewise. In earlier times Epidamnus was oligarchic in constitution. The strength of the oligarchy lay in the phylarchs of the three Dorian tribes, and accordingly, when the revolution came, the oligarchic phylarchs were supplanted by a democratic boule (Aristot. Pol. 1301 b, 22). They probably were the same as the probouloi, whom Aristotle (Pol. 1299 b, 31) describes performing under an oligarchy the functions discharged by the boule under a democracy. How many of these phylarchs there were, we have no means of deciding. There were probably several from each tribe, possibly the representatives of the gene within each tribe. We know that at Ilion each tribe had several phylarchs (C. I. G. 3599). When the phylarchs in the change from oligarchy to democracy lost their important civil functions, they not unnaturally retained a remnant of their military importance. As they were oligarchs they naturally represented that branch of the military organisation which was especially oligarchic, and thus it is that we find them still appearing as the commanders of the cavalry of the tribes. At Athens we do not know how many there were in early times, but probably each of the four old tribes had originally several phylarchs, but subsequently had only one each under the constitution of Solon. When Cleisthenes made his ten new tribes, he increased the number of the phylarchs from four to ten, according to Herodotus (v. 19). It has been thought that the historian should have said ten phylarchs instead of the old phylobasileis, who were four in number, one for each of the old tribes (Tittmann, Staatsv. 274-5). But as Herodotus probably identified phylobasileis with phylarchi, there is no difficulty in the passage. Under the constitution of Cleisthenes there were ten phylarchi: one tribe (Pollux, viii. 94) commanded the cavalry contingent (100 men) of each tribe. (Cf. hai phulai ton hippeon, Xen. Hipp. 3, 11.) They were under the control of the two hipparchi. According to Pollux (viii. 94), they were chosen from each tribe by the archons collectively. This can hardly be regarded as conclusive even on his great authority. It is more probable that they were elected by Cheirotonia, like the strategi, hipparchi, and taxiarchi. As the cavalry were citizens of the two highest classes (pentacosiomedimni and hippeis), we may infer that the phylarchs always belonged to either of these classes. The office also existed at Cyzicus (cf. Inscription in Rev. Arch. xxx. 93), and is mentioned as next in order after the strategi.

This extract is from: A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890) (eds. William Smith, LLD, William Wayte, G. E. Marindin). Cited June 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

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