Epirote League (Northwest Greek: Κοινὸν
Ἀπειρωτᾶν, Koinòn Āpeirōtân; Attic: Κοινὸν
Ἠπειρωτῶν, Koinòn Ēpeirōtôn) was an ancient Greek
coalition, or koinon, of Epirote tribes.
2 Decrees of the League
3 See also
Depicting Dioni and Zeus (left) and a bull (right).
The coalition was established between 370 and 320 BC (firstly as the
Molossian League in 370 BC), which helped unify the three main tribes
Epirus (i.e. Molossians, Thesprotians, and Chaonians). The
political, economic, and cultural center of the
Epirote League was
Dodona. Dodone was the religious, political and cultural centre of
Molossian League and later of the Epirote League. Pyrrhus of
Epirus became leader of the League in 297 BC. When King Agathocles
of Syracuse conquered Corcyra, he offered the island as dowry to his
daughter Lanassa on her marriage to Pyrrhus of
Epirus in 295 BC.
The island then became a member of the Epirote League. It was then
perhaps that the settlement of
Cassiope was founded to serve as a base
for the king of Epirus' expeditions. The island remained in the
Epirote League until 255 BC when it became independent after the death
of Alexander II of Epirus. The league was defeated by the Illyrians
during the Invasion of
Epirus and the Battle of Phoenice, forcing them
to enter into an alliance with Teuta to prevent further attacks. This
alliance made the Epirotes hostile to the Achaeans and Aetolians, but
presumably ended following Illyrian defeat in the First Illyrian War.
Epirote League remained neutral in the first two
Macedonian Wars, it was ultimately dismantled in the Third Macedonian
War (171–168 BC), with the
Molossians siding with the Macedonians
Thesprotians supporting the Roman Republic.
Decrees of the League
Copies of the decrees (proxeny and citizenship decrees, manumission
records) of the
Epirote League were set up in Dodona.
All members had common citizenship. Regarding the dialect of the
Epirote League, it was not Corinthian Doric and even the alphabet was
not Corinthian; it was probably Northwest Doric, as some recorded
Dodona appear to indicate. The first epigraphical
evidence of the
Molossian League goes back to 370 BC under the king
(or basileus) Neoptolemus.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Epirote League.
Epirus (ancient state)
^ The full range of meanings can be found under κοινός in
Liddell & Scott 1940.
^ Boatwright, Gargola & Talbert 2004, p. 92: "Pyrrhus matched this
model. His power base was his kingship over the Molossians, a
traditional office with customary limitations. To this he added the
post of hegemon, or commander, of the Epirote League, an alliance of
Epirote communities to which each contributed forces and funds toward
^ Walbank 1989, Chapter 10: P. R. Franke, "Pyrrhus", p. 459: "As king
Molossians - he never styled himself king of the Epirotes and
certainly never king of Epirus, a title found especially in the Roman
tradition - Pyrrhus was at the same time the hegemon of the Epirote
League which was founded around 325/20 and describes itself as the
ΣΥΜΜΑΧΟΙ ΤΩΝ ΑΠΕΙΡΩΤΑΝ ('the Epirote allies') on
inscriptions. The League united the three main peoples of
9) - the Molossians, the Thesprotians, and the Chaonians, who were
evidently the last to join; each of these in turn consisted of
^ Hansen & Nielsen 2004, p. 343: "Usually Dodone is mentioned as
an oracle (Hdt. 2.52) or a sanctuary (Eur. Phoen. 983)."
^ Koester 1995, p. 33: "After a variety of experiences Pyrrhos had
become king of the
Molossians and leader of the Epirote league in
northwestern Greece (297 BCE)."
^ Chamoux 2002, p. 59; Walbank 1989, Chapter 10: P. R. Franke,
"Pyrrhus", p. 458.
^ "Epirus". Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.
Retrieved 16 November 2013.
^ Eidinow 2007, p. 59: "...to the gradual weakening of the Molossian
monarchy and the formation of the Epirote League, in which the members
had common citizenship (233/2-168 BCE)."
^ Lewis & Boardman 1994, Chapter 9: N. G. L. Hammond, "Illyrians
and North-West Greeks", p. 434.
^ Cabanes, L'Épire 534,1
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