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The Paeonian tribes

Paeonia (Hindi:पेओनिया, Greek: Παιονία) is a municipality in the Kilkis regional unit of Central Macedonia, Greece. The municipality is named after the ancient region of Paeonia. Paionia was the ancient land and kingdom of the Paeonians (Παίονες).

Variants of name

Jat clans


In the Iliad the Paeonians are said to have been allies of the Trojans. During the Persian invasion of Greece the conquered Paeonians as far as the Lake Prasias, including the Paeoplae and Siropaiones, were deported from Paeonia to Asia.[3] In 355–354 BC, Philip II of Macedon took advantage of the death of King Agi of Paeonia and campaigned against them in order to conquer them. So the southern part of ancient Paeonia was annexed by the ancient kingdom of Macedon and was named "Macedonian Paeonia"; this section included the cities Astraion (later Stromnitsa) Stenae (near modern Demir Kapija), Antigoneia (near modern Negotino) etc.

The exact original boundaries of Paeonia, like the early history of its inhabitants, are obscure, but it is known that it was located immediately north of ancientMacedonia (which corresponded roughly to the modern Greek region of Macedonia), and to the south-east of Dardania (which was similar to modern-day Kosovo); in the east were the Thracian mountains, and in the west, the Illyrians.[4] It was separated from Dardania by the mountains through which the Vardar river passes from the field of Scupi (modern Skopje) to the valley of Bylazora (modern Veles).

Paeonia roughly corresponds to the present-day Republic of Macedonia and to a narrow strip of northern Greek Macedonia, on the borders with the Republic of Macedonia, and a small part of south-western Bulgaria.[5]

Some modern scholars consider the Paionians to have been of either Thracian[6], or of mixed Thraco-Illyrian origins.[7] Some of the names of the Paionians are also definitely Hellenic (Lycceius, Ariston, Audoleon), although relatively little is known about them.[8] Linguistically, the very small number of surviving words in the Paeonian language have been variously connected to its neighboring languages – Illyrian and Thracian; (and every possible Thraco-Illyrian mix in between).[9] Several eastern Paeonian tribes, including the Agrianes, clearly fell within the Thracian sphere of influence. Yet, according to the national legend,[10] they were Teucrian colonists from Troy. Homer[11] speaks of Paeonians from the Axios fighting on the side of the Trojans, but the Iliad does not mention whether the Paeonians were kin to the Trojans. Homer calls the Paeonian leader Pyraechmes (parentage unknown); later on in the Iliad (Book 21), Homer mentions a second leader, Asteropaeus, son of Pelagon.

Before the reign of Darius Hystaspes, they had made their way as far east as Perinthus in Thrace on the Propontis. At one time all Mygdonia, together with Crestonia, was subject to them. When Xerxes crossed Chalcidice on his way to Therma (later renamed Thessalonica), he is said to have marched through Paeonian territory. They occupied the entire valley of the Axios (Vardar) as far inland as Stobi, the valleys to the east of it as far as the Strymon and the country round Astibus and the river of the same name, with the water of which they anointed their kings. Emathia, roughly the district between the Haliacmon and Axios, was once called Paeonia; and Pieria and Pelagonia were inhabited by Paeonians. As a consequence of the growth of Macedonian power, and under pressure from their Thracian neighbors, their territory was considerably diminished, and in historical times was limited to the north of Macedonia from Illyria to the Strymon.

In Greek mythology, the Paeonians were said to have derived their name from Paeon the son of Endymion.[12]

Paeonian Tribes

The Paeonian tribes were:

Paeonian kingdom

In early times, the chief town and seat of the Paionian kings was Bylazora (now Veles in Republic of Macedonia) on the Vardar; later, the seat of the kings was moved to Stobi (near modern Gradsko).[21]

Subjugation of the Paeonians happened as a part of Persian military operations initiated by Darius the Great (521-486) in 513 - after immense preparations - a huge Achaemenid army invaded the Balkans and tried to defeat the European Scythians roaming to the north of the Danube river.[22] Darius' army subjugated several Thracian peoples, and virtually all other regions that touch the European part of the Black Sea, such as parts of nowadays Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, and Russia, before it returned to Asia Minor.[23][24] Darius left in Europe one of his commanders named Megabazus whose task was to accomplish conquests in the Balkans.[25] The Persian troops subjugated gold-rich Thrace, the coastal Greek cities, as well as defeating and conquering the powerful Paeonians.[26][27][28]

At some point after the Greco-Persian Wars, the Paeonian princedoms coalesced into a kingdom centred in the central and upper reaches of the Axios and Strymon rivers, corresponding with today's northern Republic of Macedonia and western Bulgaria. They joined with the Illyrians to attack the northern areas of the kingdom of Macedonia. The Illyrians, who had a culture of piracy, would have been cut off from some trade routes if movement through this land had been blocked. They unsuccessfully attacked the northern defences of Macedonian territory in an attempt to occupy the region. In 360-359 BC, southern Paeonian tribes were launching raids into Macedon, (Diodorus XVI. 2.5) in support of an Illyrian invasion.

The Macedonian Royal House was thrown into a state of uncertainty by the death of Perdiccas III, but his brother Philip II assumed the throne, reformed the army (providing phalanxes), and proceeded to stop both the Illyrian invasion and the Paeonian raids through the boundary of the "Macedonian Frontier", which was the northern perimeter which he intended to defend as an area of his domain. He followed Perdiccas's success in 358 BC with a campaign deep into the north, into Paeonia itself.[29][30] This reduced the Paeonian kingdom (then ruled by Agis) to a semi-autonomous, subordinate status, which led to a process of gradual and formal Hellenization of the Paeonians, who, during the reign of Philip II, began to issue coins with Greek legends like the Macedonian ones. A Paeonian contingent was attached to Alexander the Great's army.[31]

At the time of the Persian invasion, the Paeonians on the lower Strymon had lost, while those in the north maintained, their territorial determination. The daughter of Audoleon, one of these kings, was the wife of Pyrrhus, king of Epirus, and Alexander the Great wished to bestow the hand of his sister Cynane upon Langarus, who had shown himself loyal to Philip II. Olympias, Alexander the Great's mother, was a princess of the Molossians, an Epirot tribe. A genial dynasty also continued through the reigns of Paeonian kings.

Herodotus on Paionoi

H. W. Bellew[32] writes.... Herodotus gives some other instances of the transplanting of nations and tribes by king Darius after his return from the Skythian expedition. He says (Bk. v.) that, " Darius commanded Magabazus, whom he had left as his general in Thrakia, to remove the Paionoi from their abodes, and to bring to him themselves, their children, and their wives. "Magabazus accordingly

[Page-54]: invaded Paionia, and took- possession of their towns, and the Paionoi immediately gave themselves up to the Persians. Thus the Siropaionoi and Paioplai, and the tribes of the Paionoi as far as the Lake Prasias were removed from their abodes, and transported into Asia. But those about Mount Pangaius and near the Doberoi, the Agrianai, Odomantoi, and those who inhabit Lake Prasias itself, were not at all subdued by Megabazus. . . . Those of the Paionoi then who were subdued were taken to Asia. . . . Megabazus, leading with him the Paionoi, arrived at the Hellespont, and having crossed over from thence, came to Sardis, bringing the Paionoi with him. . . . The Paionoi, who had been carried away captive by Megabazus from the river Strymon, occupied a tract in Phrygia, and a village by themselves." The tribes named as thus transported into Phrygia are the Paioni, the Paioplai, and the Doberi.

The Paioni on the river Strymon, not far from the Hellespont, were a branch of the Panni, or Pannoni, who gave their name to the country called Pannonia ; and the Paioplai and Doberi appear to have been clans of the same tribe. Anyhow, we find in Afghanistan at the present day tribes bearing the same names, viz. : the Panni, the Popali, or Popalzi, and the Dawari; and all settled together in the Kandahar country, where, curiously enough, they have a ridge of hill and a district, with its village, called Panjwai, which may stand for the Pangains of Herodotus. Formerly the Panni was a numerous and important tribe in Afghanistan, but in the time of the Lodi kings of Delhi, they, along with several other important tribes of Afghanistan, emigrated bodily to Hindustan, where they established small colonies in various parts of the country, as in Hydrabad of the Dakhan, in Barar, Karaoli, Shekhawati, and other parts of Central India, Rajwarra, etc., leaving but few of the tribe in Afghanistan.

The Popali, or Popalzi, form one of the principal tribes of the modern Durani, and are reckoned at about twelve thousand families, mostly agricultural and partly pastoral. Their Sado clan furnished the king, and the Bami clan the prime minister of the newly-established Durani monarchy. Their chief seats are in the Tiri and Darawat districts north of Kandahar, and along the Tarnak valley to the east of that city as far as Shahri Safa. The Dawari apparently gave their name to the Zamin Dawar district, or " Dawar territory," on the west bank of the Helmand adjoining Darawat, but are not now found as a separate tribe of that name in this district, though its inhabitants are often called Dawari amongst the people of the country. There is another district called Dawar on the Lidus base of the Suleman range, which was probably peopled from the Zamin Dawar above mentioned; but as we shall refer to these tribes again in a later passage, we need not dwell further on them now.

[Page-55]: It must be noted here, in regard to the above-described transportation of the Paioni, that afterwards, Ionia having revolted, these Paioni, at the instigation of the Milesians, attempted to return back to their country, and some of them did thus escape. But only a small body, for, as Herodotus says,

"The Paionoi, having taken with them their children and wives, fled to the coast; but some of them through fear remained where they were. The fugitives were pursued by a large body of Persian cavalry, but they escaped to Khios; the Khians conveyed them to Lesbos, and the Lesbians forwarded them to Doriskus, thence proceeding on foot they reached Paionia."

As these fugitives escaped by ship, their number probably was not great, and the larger portion of the Paioni exiles, we may reasonably conclude, remained in Persian territory. Perhaps, in consequence of this attempt to escape, the remaining Paioni were moved away further from their own country; possibly to the very place, Zarain Dawar, where we now find their modern representatives, as above stated.

Herodotus mentions another transportation of people by Darius, which I may quote as bearing upon our present inquiry. He says (Bk. vi.),

" The Persians having conquered the Ionians at sea, besieged Miletus both by land and sea, and took it completely in the sixth year after the revolt of Aristagoras (the revolt of the Ionians above mentioned), " and reduced the city to slavery. . . . Such of the Milesians as were taken alive, were afterwards conveyed to Susa, and King Darius, without doing them any other harm, settled them on that which is called the Red Sea,, in the city of Ampe, near which the Tigris, flowing by, falls into the sea."

The Milesians were of the Milyi nation of Asia Minor, and, together with the ancient Malli of the Indus valley, may be represented in Afghanistan by the tribes bearing the name of Mali. One of these, the Mali of the Yusufzi, Swat and Bajaur districts, has some small sections upon the Indus, where is a town called Amb now in the possession of the chief of the Tanaoli tribe. These Ionians are traceable by that name in Afghanistan in the form of Yunus (Iwvos) , This Muhammadan name appears among the sections of many of the Afghan' tribes, especially in those inhabiting the Indus Valley about the Peshawar district, which was one of the principal seats of the Greek dominion. But in the Sanskrit writings the name Ionian appears in the form of Yona or Yavana, and Jona or Javana.

Jat History

Sir H. M. Elliot[33] writes ....We read over and over again in Persian history, of the deportations of entire tribes, expressly termed αυασπάστοι by Herodotus.3 Thus we have the removal of Pæo-nians to Phrygia, of Barcæans from Africa to Bactria,of Milesians to Ampe, near the Tigris, of Egyptians to Susa,of Eretrians from Eubœa to Ardericca, and to Gordyene, of Antiochians to Mahúza, and others which it would be tedious to specify.

Bhim Singh Dahiya[34] writes that Herodotus mentions a people, Paeonia, a colony of Teucarians. [35] The paeonians were transferred from Hellespont to Asia, under the orders of Darius the Great (521-486 BC). Here we have the Pauniya and Tokhar Jats in Europe in sixth century BC.

Bhim Singh Dahiya[36] writes that the in the period from ninth century B.C. to the fourth century B.C., roughly the time between the Manda and Van empires and Alexander's invasion, we find numerous tribes of the Jats finding a name in the history of Herodotus and others. Among the tribes of the Medians, we find:

The ruling people are called Arizanti or Arizatoi. The word Ari is a form of Arya and Zanti/Zatoi are of course the Jats, the Djati of ancient Egypt and the Guti of Sumer and China.

External links


  1. v, 12-27
  2. Bhim Singh Dahiya: Jats the Ancient Rulers (A clan study)/Jat Clan in India, p. 267-268
  3. The Persian Empire: A Corpus of Sources from the Achaemenid Period
  4. Strabo, "Geography", 7, Frg.4, 9.5.1
  5. "Paeonia". Encyclopædia Britannica online.
  6. The History of the Ancient World: From the Earliest Accounts to the Fall of Rome by Susan Wise Bauer (2007), ISBN 0-393-05974-X, page 518: "... Italy); to the north, Thracian tribes known collectively as the Paeonians."
  7. See: Encyclopædia Britannica – online edition.
  8. Francesco Villari. Gli Indoeuropei e le origini dell'Europa. Il Mulino, 1997. ISBN 88-15-05708-0
  9. Francesco Villari. Gli Indoeuropei e le origini dell'Europa. Il Mulino, 1997. ISBN 88-15-05708-0
  10. Herodotus v. 13
  11. Iliad, book II, line 848
  12. Pausanias, 5.1.5; Smith "Paeon" 3..
  13. Early symbolic systems for communication in Southeast Europe, Part 2 by Lolita Nikolova, ISBN 1-84171-334-1, 2003, page 529, "eastern Paionians (Agrianians and Laeaeans)"
  14. The Landmark Thucydides: A Comprehensive Guide to the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides, Robert B. Strassler, Richard Crawley, and Victor Davis Hanson, 1998, ISBN 0-684-82790-5, page 153,"... of them still live round Physcasb- and the Almopians from Almopia.
  15. Early symbolic systems for communication in Southeast Europe, Part 2 by Lolita Nikolova, ISBN 1-84171-334-1, 2003, page 529, "eastern Paionians (Agrianians and Laeaeans)"
  16. The Cambridge Ancient History, Martin Percival Charlesworth, ISBN 0-521-85073-8, ISBN 978-0-521-85073-5 Volume 4, Persia, Greece and the Western Mediterranean, C. 525 to 479 B.C, John Boardman, page 252,
  17. An Inventory of Archaic and Classical Poleis: An Investigation Conducted by The Copenhagen Polis Centre for the Danish National Research Foundation by Mogens Herman Hansen and Thomas Heine Nielsen, 2005, ISBN 0-19-814099-1, page 854, .
  18. The Histories (Penguin Classics) by Herodotus, John M. Marincola, and Aubery de Selincourt, ISBN 0-14-044908-6, 2003, page 315, ... "was that a number of Paeonian tribes – the Siriopaeones, Paeoplae, ..."
  19. The Histories (Penguin Classics) by Herodotus, John M. Marincola, and Aubery de Selincourt, ISBN 0-14-044908-6, 2003, page 452, "... Then he passed through the country of the Doberes and Paeoplae (Paeonian tribes living north of Pangaeum), and continued in a ..."
  20. The Histories (Penguin Classics) by Herodotus, John M. Marincola, and Aubery de Selincourt, ISBN 0-14-044908-6, 2003, page 315, "... was that a number of Paeonian tribes – the Siriopaeones, Paeoplae, ..."
  21. "A Companion to Ancient Macedonia".
  22. "A Companion to Ancient Macedonia".
  23. "A Companion to Ancient Macedonia".
  24. The Oxford Classical Dictionary by Simon Hornblower and Antony Spawforth,ISBN 0-19-860641-9,"page 1515,"The Thracians were subdued by the Persians by 516"
  25. "A Companion to Ancient Macedonia".
  26. "A Companion to Ancient Macedonia".
  27. Howe, Timothy; Reames, Jeanne (2008). Macedonian Legacies: Studies in Ancient Macedonian History and Culture in Honor of Eugene N. Borza. Regina Books. ISBN 978-1-930-05356-4.p. 239.
  28. "Persian influence on Greece (2)".
  29. Raphael Sealey, A History of the Greek City States, 700–338 BC, University of California Press, 1976, p. 442, on Google books
  30. Nicholas Geoffrey Lemprière Hammond, Guy Thompson Griffith, A History of Macedonia: 550–336 B.C, Clarendon Press, 1979
  31. Arrian Anabasis Book/3a,fn. 3(8)
  32. An Inquiry Into the Ethnography of Afghanistan,p.53-55
  33. The History of India, as Told by Its Own Historians/Note (C).- Ethnological,pp.526
  34. Bhim Singh Dahiya: Jats the Ancient Rulers (A clan study)/Jat Clan in India, p. 267-268
  35. Herodotus v, 12-27
  36. Jats the Ancient Rulers (A clan study)/The Antiquity of the Jats,p.300-301