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Ήπειρος / Epiri
Historical region
Map of ancient Epirus by Heinrich Kiepert, 1902
Map of ancient Epirus by Heinrich Kiepert, 1902
Present status Divided between Greece and Albania

Epirus (/ˈpaɪərəs/) is a geographical and historical region in southeastern Europe, now shared between Greece and Albania. It lies between the Pindus Mountains and the Ionian Sea, stretching from the Bay of Vlorë and the Acroceraunian mountains in the north to the Ambracian Gulf and the ruined Roman city of Nicopolis in the south.[1][2] It is currently divided between the region of Epirus in northwestern Greece and the counties of Gjirokastër, Vlorë, and Berat in southern Albania. The largest city in Epirus is Ioannina, seat of the region of Epirus, with Gjirokastër the largest city in the Albanian part of Epirus.[1]

A rugged and mountainous region, Epirus was the north-west area of ancient Greece.[2] It was inhabited by the Greek tribes of the Chaonians, Molossians, and Thesprotians, and home to the sanctuary of Dodona, the oldest ancient Greek oracle, and the most prestigious one after Delphi. Unified into a single state in 370 BC by the Aeacidae dynasty, Epirus achieved fame during the reign of Pyrrhus of Epirus, whose campaigns against Rome are the origin of the term "Pyrrhic victory". Epirus subsequently became part of the Roman Empire along with the rest of Greece in 146 BC, which was followed by the Byzantine Empire.

Following the fall of Constantinople to the Fourth Crusade, Epirus became the center of the Despotate of Epirus, one of the successor states to the Byzantine Empire. Conquered by the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century, Epirus became semi-independent during the rule of Ali Pasha in the early 19th century, but the Ottomans re-asserted their control in 1821. Following the Balkan Wars and World War I, southern Epirus became part of Greece, while northern Epirus became part of the newly created state of Albania.

Name and etymology

Coin of the Epirote League, depicting Zeus (left) and a lightning bolt with the word "ΑΠΕΙΡΩΤΑΝ" - Epirotes (right).

The name Epirus is derived from the Greek: Ἤπειρος, Ḗpeiros (Doric: Ἄπειρος, Ápeiros), meaning "mainland" or terra firma.[3] It is thought to come from an Indo-European root *apero- 'coast',[4] and was originally applied to the mainland opposite Corfu and the Ionian islands.[5] The local name was stamped on the coinage of the unified Epirote commonwealth: ΑΠΕΙΡΩΤΑΝ (Ἀπειρωτᾶν Āpeirōtân, Attic: Ἠπειρωτῶν Ēpeirōtôn, i.e. "of the Epirotes", see image right). The Albanian name for the region is Epiri, deriving from the Greek.

Boundaries and definitions

NASA satellite image of Epirus.

The historical region of Epirus is generally regarded as extending from the northern end of the Ceraunian mountains (modern Llogara in Albania), located just south of the Bay of Aulon (modern Vlorë), to the Ambracian Gulf (or Gulf of Arta) in Greece.[6] The northern boundary of ancient Epirus is alternatively given as the mouth of the Aoös (or Vjosë) river, immediately to the north of the Bay of Vlorë.[7] Epirus's eastern boundary is defined by the Pindus Mountains, that form the spine of mainland Greece and separate Epirus from Macedonia and Thessaly.[1] To the west, Epirus faces the Ionian Sea. The island of Corfu is situated off the Epirote coast but is not regarded as part of Epirus.

The definition of Epirus has changed over time, such that modern administrative boundaries do not correspond to the boundaries of ancient Epirus. The region of Epirus in Greece only comprises a fraction of classical Epirus and does not include its easternmost portions, which lie in Thessaly. In Albania, where the concept of Epirus is never used in an official context, the counties of Gjirokastër, Vlorë, and Berat extend well beyond the northern and northeastern boundaries of classical Epirus.

Geography and ecology

Mount Smolikas (2637m), the highest point in Epirus.

Epirus is a predominantly rugged and mountainous region. It is largely made up of the Pindus Mountains, a series of parallel limestone ridges that are a continuation of the Dinaric Alps.[1][8] The Pindus mountains form the spine of mainland Greece and separate Epirus from Macedonia and Thessaly to the east. The ridges of the Pindus are parallel to the sea and generally so steep that the valleys between them are mostly suitable for pasture rather than large-scale agriculture.[1] Altitude increases as one moves east, away from the coast, reaching a maximum of 2637m at Mount Smolikas, the highest point in Epirus. Other important ranges include Tymfi (2496 at Mount Gamila), Lygkos (2249m), to the west and east of Smolikas respectively, Gramos (2523m) in the northeast, Tzoumerka (2356m) in the southeast, Tomaros (1976m) in the southwest, Mitsikeli near Ioannina (1810m), Mourgana (1806m) and Nemercke/Aeoropos (2485m) on the border between Greece and Albania, and the Ceraunian Mountains (2000m) near Himara in Albania. Most of Epirus lies on the windward side of the Pindus, and the prevailing winds from the Ionian Sea make the region the rainiest in mainland Greece.[1]

Significant lowlands are to be found only near the coast, in the southwest near Arta and Preveza, in the Acheron plain between Paramythia and Fanari, between Igoumenitsa and Sagiada, and also near Saranda. The Zagori area is a scenic upland plateau surrounded by mountain on all sides.

The main river flowing through Epirus is the Vjosë (Aoös in Greek), which flows in a northwesterly direction from the Pindus mountains in Greece to its mouth north of the Bay of Vlorë in Albania. Other important rivers include the Acheron river, famous for its religious significance in ancient Greece and site of the Necromanteion, the Arachthos river, crossed by the historic Bridge of Arta, the Louros, the Thyamis or Kalamas, and the Voidomatis, a tributary of the Vjosë flowing through the Vikos Gorge. The Vikos Gorge, one of the deepest in the world, forms the centerpiece of the Vikos–Aoös National Park, known for its scenic beauty. The only significant lake in Epirus is Lake Pamvotis, on whose shores lies the city of Ioannina, the region's largest and traditionally most important city.

The climate of Epirus is Mediterranean along the coast and Alpine in the interior. Epirus is heavily forested, mainly by coniferous species. The fauna in Epirus is especially rich and features species such as bears, wolves, foxes, deer and lynxes.


Early History

Epirus was part of the Proto-Greek area according to linguist V. I. Georgiev.

Epirus has been occupied since at least Neolithic times by seafarers along the coast and by hunters and shepherds in the interior who brought with them the Greek language.[1] These people buried their leaders in large tumuli containing shaft graves, similar to the Mycenaean tombs, indicating an ancestral link between Epirus and the Mycenaean civilization.[1] A number of Mycenaean remains have been found in Epirus,[9] especially at the most important ancient religious sites in the region, the Necromanteion (Oracle of the Dead) on the Acheron river, and the Oracle of Zeus at Dodona.[1]

In the Middle Bronze Age, Epirus was inhabited by the same nomadic Hellenic tribes that went on to settle in the rest of Greece.[10] Aristotle considered the region around Dodona to have been part of Hellas and the region where the Hellenes originated.[11][12] According to Bulgarian linguist Vladimir I. Georgiev, Epirus was part of the Proto-Greek linguistic area during the Late Neolithic period.[13] By the early 1st millennium BC, all fourteen Epirote tribes including the Chaonians in northwestern Epirus, the Molossians in the centre and the Thesprotians in the south, were speakers of a strong west Greek dialect.[1][2][14]

Epirus in the Classical period

The theater of Dodona with Mt. Tomarus in the background.
Tribes of Epirus in antiquity.

Unlike most other Greeks of this time, who lived in or around city-states, the inhabitants of Epirus lived in small villages and their way of life was foreign to that of the poleis of southern Greece.[1][15] Their region lay on the periphery of the Greek world[1] and was far from peaceful; for many centuries, it remained a frontier area contested with the Illyrian peoples to the north. However, Epirus had a far greater religious significance than might have been expected given its geographical remoteness, due to the presence of the shrine and oracle at Dodona – regarded as second only to the more famous oracle at Delphi.

The Epirotes, speakers of a Northwest Greek dialect, different from the Dorian of the Greek colonies on the Ionian islands, and bearers of mostly Greek names, as evidenced by epigraphy, seem to have been regarded with some disdain by some classical writers. The 5th-century BC Athenian historian Thucydides describes them as "barbarians" in his History of the Peloponnesian War,[16] as does Strabo in his Geography.[17] Other writers, such as Herodotus,[18] Dionysius of Halicarnassus,[19] Pausanias,[20] and Eutropius,[21] describe them as Greeks. Similarly, Epirote tribes/states are included in the Argive and Epidaurian lists of the Greek Thearodokoi (hosts of sacred envoys).[22] Plutarch mentions an interesting element of Epirote folklore regarding Achilles: In his biography of King Pyrrhus, he claims that Achilles "had a divine status in Epirus and in the local dialect he was called Aspetos" (meaning unspeakable, unspeakably great, in Homeric Greek).[23][24]

Beginning in 370 BC, the Molossian Aeacidae dynasty built a centralized state in Epirus and began expanding their power at the expense of rival tribes.[1] The Aeacids allied themselves with the increasingly powerful kingdom of Macedon, in part against the common threat of Illyrian raids,[25] and in 359 BC the Molossian princess Olympias, niece of Arybbas of Epirus, married King Philip II of Macedon.[1] She was to become the mother of Alexander the Great.

On the death of Arybbas, Alexander of Epirus succeeded to the throne and the title King of Epirus in 334 BC. He invaded Italy, but was killed in battle by the Romans in 331 BC.[1] Aeacides of Epirus, who succeeded Alexander, espoused the cause of Olympias against Cassander, but was dethroned in 313 BC. His son Pyrrhus came to throne in 295 BC, and for six years fought against the Romans and Carthaginians in southern Italy and Sicily. The high cost of his victories against the Romans gave Epirus a new, but brief, importance, as well as a lasting contribution to the Greek language with the concept of a "Pyrrhic victory". Pyrrhus nonetheless brought great prosperity to Epirus, building the great theater of Dodona and a new suburb at Ambracia (now modern Arta), which made his capital.[1]

The Aeacid dynasty ended in 232 BC, but Epirus remained a substantial power, unified under the auspices of the Epirote League as a federal state with its own parliament, or synedrion.[1] However, it was faced with the growing threat of the expansionist Roman Republic, which fought a series of wars against Macedon. The League steered an uneasy neutral course in the first two Macedonian Wars but split in the Third Macedonian War (171–168 BC), with the Molossians siding with the Macedonians and the Chaonians and Thesprotians siding with Rome.[1] The outcome was disastrous for Epirus; Molossia fell to Rome in 167 BC and 150,000 of its inhabitants were enslaved.[1]

Roman and Byzantine rule

The Roman provinces of Epirus vetus and Epirus nova in relation to modern borders.

The Roman conquest marked the end of Epirus' political independence. In 146 BC, Epirus became part of the Roman province of Macedonia, receiving the name Epirus vetus ("Old Epirus"), to distinguish it from Epirus nova ("New Epirus") to the north. Its coastal regions grew wealthy from the Roman coastal trade routes, and the construction of the Via Egnatia provided a further boost to prosperity.[1]

When the Roman Empire was divided in two in 395 AD, Epirus became part of the Eastern Empire (subsequently the Greek-speaking Byzantine Empire), ruled from Constantinople. The city of Ioannina was likely founded in the 6th century AD.[26] Very little is known about the region during the Early Middle Ages (7th–9th centuries), but from the prevalence of Slavic toponyms it is clear that Slavic tribes settled in large numbers throughout the region. On the other hand, the Byzantines retained their control of the Ionian Islands, which, organized in the theme of Cephallenia, were used as a base for the reassertion of imperial control, so that the region was completely re-hellenized by the eve of the 13th century, and possibly much earlier.[27][28] As part of the re-establishment of Byzantine control, the theme of Nicopolis was established on the Epirote mainland sometime in the latter half of the 9th century, most likely after 886.[29][30] Further north, the region around Dyrrhachium existed as the homonymous theme possibly as early as the 9th century.[31]

In c. 930, the province of Nicopolis was raided and temporarily occupied by the First Bulgarian Empire. The Bulgarians returned under Tsar Samuel in 980 and seized much of the region, up to the Ambracian Gulf. Byzantine control in the region was completely re-asserted following the destruction of the First Bulgarian Empire by Basil II. As a legacy of the Bulgarian rule, however, the local bishoprics remained subject to the Archbishopric of Ohrid, the former Bulgarian Patriarchate.[28][32] The region joined the uprising of Petar Delyan in 1040, and suffered in the Byzantine–Norman Wars of the late 11th century: Dyrrhachium was occupied by the Normans in 1081–1084, Arta was unsuccessfully besieged, and Ioannina was captured by Robert Guiscard.[33] An Aromanian presence in Epirus is first mentioned in the late 11th century, while Jewish communities are attested throughout the medieval period in Arta and Ioannina.[34]

When Constantinople fell to the Fourth Crusade in 1204, the partitio Romaniae assigned Epirus to Venice, but the Venetians were largely unable to effectively establish their authority except over Dyrrhachium. The Greek noble Michael Komnenos Doukas, who had married the daughter of a local magnate, took advantage of this, and within a few years consolidated his control, first as a Venetian vassal and eventually as an independent ruler. By the time of his death in 1214/5, Michael had established a strong state, the Despotate of Epirus, with the former theme of Nicopolis at its core and Arta as its capital.[35][36] Epirus, and the city of Ioannina in particular, became a haven for Greek refugees from Constantinople for most of the century.[36] The Despotate of Epirus ruled over Epirus and western Greece as far south as Nafpaktos and the Gulf of Corinth, much of Albania (including Dyrrhachium), Thessaly, and the western portion of Greek Macedonia, extending its rule briefly over central Macedonia and most of Thrace following the aggressive expansionism of Theodore Komnenos Doukas who established the Empire of Thessalonica in 1224.[37][38] During this time, the definition of Epirus came to encompass the entire coastal region from the Ambracian Gulf to Dyrrhachium and the hinterland to the west up to the highest peaks of the Pindus mountain range. Some of the most important cities in Epirus, such as Gjirokastër (Argyrokastron), were founded during this period. In 1337, Epirus was once again brought under Byzantine imperial rule.[38]

The Despotate of Epirus in the 13th century.

In 1348, taking advantage of the civil war between John V Palaiologos and John VI Kantakouzenos, the Serbian King Stefan Uroš IV Dušan conquered Epirus, with a number of Albanian mercenaries assisting him.[39] It is during this time that an Albanian presence in Epirus is first mentioned.[40] The Byzantine authorities in Constantinople soon re-established a measure of control by making the Despotate of Epirus a vassal state, but meanwhile Albanian clans invaded, seized most of the region, and founded two local, short-lived entities, centered in Arta (1358–1416) and Gjirokastër (1386–1411) by the Losha and Zenebishi clans, respectively. Only the city of Ioannina remained under Greek control during this time.[40] Although Albanian clans gained control of most of the region of Epirus by 1366-7, they did not succeed any Greek or Serbian central authority in the region but remained divided in clans.[41] Ioannina became a center of Greek resistance, and the Greeks of Ioannina offered power to three foreign rulers during this time, beginning with Thomas II Preljubović (1367–1384), followed by Esau de' Buondelmonti (1385–1411), and finally Carlo I Tocco (1411–1429). The latter finally succeeded in ending the rule of the Albanian clans and unifying Epirus.[42] But internal dissension eased the Ottoman conquest, which proceeded with the capture of Ioannina in 1430, Arta in 1449, Angelokastro in 1460, and finally Vonitsa in 1479. With the exception of several coastal Venetian possessions, this was the end of Frankish rule in mainland Greece.

Ottoman rule

Linguistic (big) and religious (small) map of the Epirus region, 1878. German maker, H. Kiepert; information provided by Greek scholar, P. Aravandinos.
  Greek speakers
  Greek and Vlach speakers
  Greek and Albanian speakers
  Albanian speakers
  Greek Orthodox entirely
  Greek Orthodox majority
  Greek Orthodox - Muslim equivalence
  Muslim majority
  Muslim entirely

Epirus was ruled by the Ottomans for almost 500 years. Ottoman rule in Epirus proved particularly damaging; the region was subjected to deforestation and excessive cultivation, which damaged the soil and drove many Epirotes to emigrate so as to escape the region's pervasive poverty.[1] Nonetheless, the Ottomans did not enjoy total control of Epirus. The Himara and Zagori regions managed to successfully resist Ottoman rule and maintained a degree of independence throughout this period. From 1443 onwards, George Kastrioti Skenderbeg led a 25-year revolt in Epirus nova against the Ottoman Empire and was in 1444 elected "general of the Turkish war" in what is referred to as the League of Lezhë, but died a fugitive in Venice.[43] The Ottomans expelled the Venetians from almost the whole area in the late 15th century.

Between the 16th and 19th centuries, the city of Ioannina attained great prosperity and became a major center of the modern Greek Enlightenment.[44][45][46][47] Numerous schools were founded, such as the Balaneios, Maroutsaia, Kaplaneios, and Zosimaia, teaching subjects such as literature, philosophy, mathematics and physical sciences. In the 18th century, as the power of the Ottoman Empire declined, Epirus became a de facto independent region under the despotic rule of Ali Pasha of Tepelena, a Muslim Albanian brigand who rose to become the provincial governor of Ioannina in 1788.[1] At the height of his power, he controlled all of Epirus, and much of the Peloponnese, central Greece, and parts of western Macedonia[1] Ali Pasha's campaign to subjugate the confederation of the settlements of Souli met with fierce resistance by the Souliot warriors of the mountainous area. After numerous failed attempts to defeat the Souliotes, his troops succeeded in conquering the area in 1803. On the other hand, Ali, who used Greek as official language, witnessed an increase of Greek cultural activity with the establishment of several educational institutions.[48]

When the Greek War of Independence broke out, the inhabitants of Epirus contributed greatly. Two of the founding members of the Filiki Eteria (the secret society of the Greek revolutionaries), Nikolaos Skoufas and Athanasios Tsakalov, came from the Arta area and the city of Ioannina, respectively. Greece's first constitutional prime minister (1844–1847), Ioannis Kolettis, was a native of the village of Syrrako in Epirus and was a former personal physician to Ali Pasha. Ali Pasha tried to use the war as an opportunity to make himself a fully independent ruler, but was assassinated by Ottoman agents in 1822. When Greece became independent in 1830, however, Epirus remained under Ottoman rule. In 1854, during the Crimean War, a major local rebellion broke out. Although the newly found Greek state tried tacitly to support it, the rebellion was suppressed by Ottoman forces after a few months.[49] Another failed rebellion by local Greeks broke out in 1878. During this period, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople managed to shut down the few Albanian schools, considering teaching in Albanian a factor that would diminish its influence and lead to the creation of separate Albanian church, while publications in Albanian were banned by the Ottoman Empire.[50][51] In the late 19th century, the Kingdom of Italy opened various schools in the regions of Ioannina and Preveza in order to influence the local population. These schools began to attract students from the Greek language schools, but were ultimately closed after intervention and harassment by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.[52] Throughout, the late period of Ottoman rule (from the 18th century) Greek and Aromanian population of the region suffered from Albanians raiders, that sporadically continued after Ali Pasha's death, until 1912–1913.[53]

20th-century Epirus

Detachment of armed Epirote women in the Autonomous Republic of Northern Epirus.

While the Treaty of Berlin (1878) awarded large parts of Epirus to Greece, opposition by the Ottomans and the League of Prizren resulted in only the region of Arta being ceded to Greece in 1881.[54] It was only following the First Balkan War of 1912–1913 and the Treaty of London that the rest of southern Epirus, including Ioannina, was incorporated into Greece.[55] Greece had also seized northern Epirus during the Balkan Wars, but the Treaty of Bucharest, which concluded the Second Balkan War, assigned Northern Epirus to Albania.[56]

This outcome was unpopular among local Greeks, as a substantial Greek population existed on the Albanian side of the border.[57] Among Greeks, northern Epirus was henceforth regarded as terra irredenta.[58] Local Greeks in northern Epirus revolted, declared their independence and proclaimed the Autonomous Republic of Northern Epirus in February 1914.[59] After fierce guerrilla fighting, they managed to gain full autonomy under the terms of the Protocol of Corfu, signed by Albanian and Northern Epirote representatives and approved by the Great Powers. The signing of the Protocol ensured that the region would have its own administration, recognized the rights of the local Greeks and provided self-government under nominal Albanian sovereignty.[60] The Republic, however, was short-lived, as when World War I broke out, Albania collapsed, and northern Epirus was alternately controlled by Greece, Italy and France at various intervals.[58][61] Although short-lived, this state managed to leave behind a number of historical records of its existence, including its own postage stamps; see Postage stamps and postal history of Epirus.[60]

Epirus across Greece Albania4.svg
The region of Epirus in the 20th century, divided between Greece and Albania.

Grey: approx. extent of Epirus in antiquity;
Orange: Greek region of Epirus;
Green: approximate extent of largest concentration of Greeks in "Northern Epirus", early 20th century[62]
Red dotted line: Territory of Autonomous State of Northern Epirus

Although the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 awarded Northern Epirus to Greece, developments such as the Greek defeat in the Greco-Turkish War and, crucially, Italian lobbying in favor of Albania meant that Greece would not keep Northern Epirus. In 1924, the area was again ceded to Albania.[63]

In 1939, Italy occupied Albania, and in 1940 invaded Greece. The Italians were driven back into Albania, however, and Greek forces again took control of northern Epirus. The conflict marked the first tactical victory of the Allies in World War II. Benito Mussolini himself supervised the massive counter-attack of his divisions in spring 1941, only to be decisively defeated again by the poorly equipped, but determined, Greeks. Nazi Germany then intervened in April 1941 to avert an embarrassing, wholesale Italian defeat. The German military performed rapid military maneuvers through Yugoslavia and forced the encircled Greek forces of the Epirus front to surrender.

The whole of Epirus was then placed under Italian occupation until 1943, when the Germans took over following the Italian surrender to the Allies. Due to the extensive activity of the anti-Nazi Greek resistance (mainly under EDES), the Germans carried out large scaled anti-partisan sweeps, making wide use of Nazi-collaborationist bands of Cham Albanians, who committed numerous atrocities against the civilian population.[64]

To deal with the situation, the Allied Military Mission in the Axis-occupied Greece (under Colonel C. M. Woodhouse), gave EDES partisans direct orders to counter-attack and chase out of their villages those units that used them as bases and local strongholds. Helped by Allied war material transferred from the recently liberated southern Italy, EDES forces succeeded and as a result several thousands of Muslim Cham Albanians fled the area and took refuge in nearby Albania.

With the liberation of Greece and the start of the first round of the Greek Civil War at the end of 1944, the highlands of Epirus became a major theater of guerrilla warfare between the leftist Greek People's Liberation Army (ELAS) and the right-wing National Republican Greek League (EDES). In subsequent years (1945–1949), the mountains of Epirus also became the scene of some of the fiercest fighting of the second and bloodier round of the Greek Civil War. The final episode of the war took place on Mount Grammos in 1949, ending with the defeat of the Communists. Peace returned to the region in 1949, although because of official Albanian active involvement in the civil war on the side of the communists, the formal state of war between Greece and Albania remained in effect until 1987. Another reason for the continuation of the state of war until 1987 was that during the entire period of Communist rule in Albania, the Greek population of Northern Epirus experienced forced Albanisation.[65] Although a Greek minority was recognized by the Hoxha regime, this recognition only applied to an "official minority zone" consisting of 99 villages, leaving out important areas of Greek settlement, such as Himara.[58] People outside the official minority zone received no education in the Greek language, which was prohibited in public.[58] The Hoxha regime also diluted the ethnic demographics of the region by relocating Greeks living there and settling in their stead Albanians from other parts of the country.[58] Relations began to improve in the 1980s with Greece's abandonment of any territorial claims over Northern Epirus and the lifting of the official state of war between the two countries.[58]

The collapse of the communist regime in Albania in 1990–1991 triggered a massive migration of Albanian citizens to Greece, which included many members of the Greek minority. Since the end of the Cold War, many Greeks in Northern Epirus are re-discovering their Greek heritage thanks to the opening of Greek schools in the region, while Cham Albanians have called for compensation for their lost property. In the post-Cold War era, relations have continued to improve though tensions remain over the availability of education in the Greek language outside the official minority zone, the minority's property rights, and occasional violent incidents targeting members of the Greek minority.


Igoumenitsa is the main port in Epirus, and links the region to Italy.

A rugged topography, poor soils, and fragmented landholdings have kept agricultural production low and have resulted in a low population density.[1] Animal husbandry is the main industry and corn the chief crop.[1] Oranges and olives are grown in the western lowlands, while tobacco is grown around Ioannina.[1] Epirus has few natural resources and industries, and the population has been depleted by migration.[1] The population is centered around Ioannina, which has the largest number of industrial establishments.[1]


Epirus has historically been a remote and isolated region due to its location between the Pindus mountains and the sea. In antiquity, the Roman Via Egnatia passed through Epirus Nova, which linked Byzantium and Thessalonica to Dyrrachium on the Adriatic Sea. The modern Egnatia highway, which links Ioannina to the Greek province of Macedonia and terminating at Igoumenitsa, is the only highway through the Pindus mountains and has served to greatly reduce the region's isolation. The Aktio-Preveza Undersea Tunnel connects the southernmost tip of Epirus, near Preveza, with Aetolia-Acarnania in western Greece. Ferry services from Igoumenitsa to the Ionian islands and Italy exist. The only airport in Epirus is the Ioannina National Airport, while the Aktion National Airport is located just south of Preveza in Aetolia-Acarnania. There are no railroads in Epirus.


See also



  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.23 1.24 1.25 1.26 1.27 Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Hornblower, Spawforth & Eidinow 2012, "Epirus", p. 527.
  3. Liddell & Scott 1940, ἤπειρ-ος.
  4. Babiniotis 1998.
  5. Winnifrith 2002, p. 22.
  6. Strabo. Geography, 7.7.5.
  7. Wilkes 1995, p. 92: "Appian's description of the Illyrian territories records a southern boundary with Chaonia and Thesprotia, where ancient Epirus began south of the river Aous (Vijosë)." (Map)
  8. Bahr, Johnston & Bloomfield 1997, p. 389.
  9. Tandy 2001, p. 4; McHenry 2003, p. 527: "Epirus itself remained culturally backward during this time, but Mycenean remains have been found at two religious shrines of great antiquity in the region: the Oracle of the Dead on the Acheron River, familiar to the heroes of Homer's Odyssey."
  10. Borza 1992, pp. 62, 78, 98; Minahan 2002, p. 578.
  11. Hammond 1986, p. 77: "The original home of the Hellenes was 'Hellas', the area round Dodona in Epirus, according to Aristotle. In the Iliad it was the home of Achilles' Hellenes."
  12. Aristotle. Meteorologica, 1.14: "Rather we must take the cause of all these changes to be that, just as winter occurs in the seasons of the year, so in determined periods there comes a great winter of a great year and with it excess of rain. But this excess does not always occur in the same place. The deluge in the time of Deucalion, for instance, took place chiefly in the Greek world and in it especially about ancient Hellas, the country about Dodona and the Achelous, a river which has often changed its course. Here the Selli dwelt and those who were formerly called Graeci and now Hellenes."
  13. Georgiev 1981, p. 192: "Late Neolithic Period: in northwestern Greece the Proto-Greek language had already been formed: this is the original home of the Greeks."
  14. Hammond 1998; Wilkes 1995, p. 104; Lewis & Boardman 1994, pp. 430, 434; Boardman & Hammond 1982, p. 284.
  15. Hammond 1967.
  16. Thucydides. The History of the Peloponnesian War, 1.8.
  17. Strabo. Geography, 7.7.1.
  18. Herodotus. Histories, 6.127.
  19. Dionysius of Halicarnassus. Roman Antiquities, 20.10 (19.11).
  20. Pausanias. Description of Greece, 1.11.7–1.12.2.
  21. Eutropius. Abridgment of Roman History (Historiae Romanae Breviarium), 2.11.13.
  22. Brock & Hodkinson 2002, J. K. Davies, "A Wholly Non-Aristotelian Universe: The Molossians as Ethnos, State and Monarchy", pp. 234–258.
  23. Cameron 2004, p. 141: "As for Aspestos, Achilles was honored in Epirus under that name, and the patronymic [Ἀ]σπετίδης is found in a fragmentary poem found on papyrus."
  24. cf. Athenian secretary: Aspetos, son of Demostratos from Kytheros c. 340 BC.
  25. Roisman & Worthington 2010, Edward M. Anson, "Why Study Ancient Macedonia and What this Companion is About", p. 5.
  26. Kazhdan 1991, p. 1006.
  27. Soustal & Koder 1981, pp. 50–52.
  28. 28.0 28.1 Osswald 2007, pp. 128–129.
  29. Kazhdan 1991, p. 1485.
  30. Soustal & Koder 1981, p. 53.
  31. Kazhdan 1991, p. 668.
  32. Soustal & Koder 1981, pp. 54–55.
  33. Soustal & Koder 1981, pp. 55–56.
  34. Osswald 2007, p. 129.
  35. Soustal & Koder 1981, pp. 59–61.
  36. 36.0 36.1 Osswald 2007, p. 132.
  37. Nicol 1984, "Introduction", pp. 4–5.
  38. 38.0 38.1 Osswald 2007, p. 133.
  39. Osswald 2007, p. 135.
  40. 40.0 40.1 Osswald 2007, p. 134.
  41. Fine 1994, pp. 348–351.
  42. Osswald 2007, p. 136.
  43. Gibbon 1788, p. 143
  44. Sakellariou 1997, p. 268.
  45. Fleming 1999, pp. 63–66.
  46. The Era of Enlightenment (Late 7th century-1821). Eθνικό Kέντρο Bιβλίου, p. 13.
  47. Υπουργείο Εσωτερικών, Αποκέντρωσης και Ηλεκρονικής Διακυβέρνησης Περιφέρεια Ηπείρου: "Στη δεκαετία του 1790 ο νεοελληνικός διαφωτισμός έφθασε στο κορύφωμά του. Φορέας του πνεύματος στα Ιωάννινα είναι ο Αθανάσιος Ψαλίδας."
  48. Fleming 1999, p. 64.
  49. Reid 2000.
  50. Jelavich & Jelavich 1977, p. 226.
  51. Ramet 1998, p. 205.
  52. Schwandner-Sievers & Fischer 2002, Isa Blumi, "The Role of Education in the Albanian Identity and its Myths", p. 57.
  53. Hammond 1976, p. 41: "Throughout this period bands of Albanians raiders pillaged and destroyed the villages of the Vlachs and the Greeks in Epirus, northern Pindus, the lakeland of Prespa and Ochrid, and parts of western Macedonia. One Albanian leader, 'Ali the Lion', emulated the achievements of 'John the Sword' and 'Peter the Pockmark' when he established himself as Ali Pasha, independent ruler of Ioannina. He and his Albanian soldiers, recruited mainly from his homeland in the Kurvelesh and the Drin valley of North Epirus, controlled the whole of Epirus and carried their raids far into western Macedonia and Thessaly. As we have seen, they destroyed the Vlach settlements in the lakeland and weakened those farther south. After the assassination of Ali Pasha in 1822 sporadic raids by bands of Albanians were a feature of life in northern Greece until the liberation of 1912-13."
  54. Gawrych 2006, pp. 68–69.
  55. Clogg 2002, p. 105: "In February 1913 the Greek Army seized Ioannina, the capital of Epirus. The Turks recognized the gains of the Balkan allies by the Treaty of London, in May 1913."
  56. Clogg 2002, p. 105: "The Second Balkan War had short duration and the Bulgarians were soon dragged to the table of negotiations. By the Treaty of Bucharest (August 1913) Bulgaria was forced to accept a little favourable regulation of the borders, even if she kept a way to the Aegean, in Degeagatch (modern Alexandroupolis). The sovereignty of Greece over Crete was now recognised, but her ambition to annex Northern Epirus with its large Greek population was stopped by the annexation of the area to an independent Albania."
  57. Pettifer 2001, p. 4.
  58. 58.0 58.1 58.2 58.3 58.4 58.5 King, Mai & Schwandner-Sievers 2005, Gerasimos Konidaris, "Examining Policy Responses to Immigration in the Light of Interstate Relations and Foreign Policy Objectives: Greece and Albania", pp. 64–92.
  59. Winnifrith 2002, p. 130.
  60. 60.0 60.1 Stickney 1926.
  61. Tucker & Roberts 2005, p. 77.
  62. Soteriades 1918: Map.
  63. Miller 1966, pp. 543–544.
  64. Ruches 1965, pp. 162–167.
  65. Pettifer 2001, p. 7.


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