Early Balkan political history summary to 1AD

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7th BC

The Dacian, Illyrian and Thracian peoples dominated the Balkans. Their Indo-European languages give the names for Beskydy mountains (Slovakia) and Carpathians and indicate the extent of the area covered by these tribes. The first iron objects north of the Alps appear in this period with the Hallstatt C culture in Bohemia, upper Austria and Bavaria.

From the 8th century the Greeks traded beyond the Aegean and began to settle in these areas, initially in Sicily and Italy and the northern shore of the Aegean and a few around the Black Sea. The 7th century marks the start of the Classical Greek civilisations in the southern areas of modern Greece, although the Balkan and lower Danubian regions were unaffected by the emerging Greek culture.

The Scythians crossed the steppes to the Black Sea and reached the northern Balkans. It is not certain if they were Iranian, Turkish or of some other origin, or combination of Indo-European, Turkish, Uralic tribes. They lived in this area until 3rd century AD when the Huns arrived. Many place, river and hill names in modern  Ukraine and Romania have Scythian routes, such as the rivers Don, Dnepr and Dnestr are all Iranian in origin from the stem dn-.

See also: Archaic Greece

See also: Greek colonisation 8th to 6th BC

6th BC

The first references to Dacian peoples are from Greek chroniclers in the 6th century BC. At this time Greek traders were founding ports around the Black Sea coast, but they did not venture further inland. During the Hallstatt D period (6th century BC) the most advanced cultures are found further west, in Burgundy, Switzerland and the Rhinland. 

See also:Romania - Hallstatt archaeology sites 6th-5th BC

5th BC

The Persian Empire (550 - 330) made incursions in to Greece in 490 and 480-79, and later founded some garrisons in Thrace and the Black Sea approaches.

The La Tène site has given its name to the European Iron Age ("Celtic") which followed the Hallstatt period which lasted until the Celts were subdued by the Roman conquest. Celtic people from central Europe start to live in the area between the Alps and the Danube. By the time of the Roman Empire these area would be predominantly Celtic.

See also: Languages around the Aegean ~5th century BC

4th BC

The Macedon was the mainly low lands around modern Thessaloniki. Under Alexander Macedon took firm control of the upper Macedonian regions up to Lake Ochrid which were inhabited by both Greek  tribes and indigenous peoples. This area roughly covers that of modern Greek Macedonia. He further extended control of non-Macedon states of Paeonians and Thracians and continued to create the Macedonian Empire (359 - 336) nominally reaching and crossing the Danube, but failed to subdue the Dacians.

The Dacians were developing their their iron, silver and gold from the Transylvanian mines and soon began trading with the Greeks. Following Dromihetes successes against Alexander the Great, Burebista's reign formed a large Dacian state that probably extended beyond the current Romanian boundaries.

See also: Growth of Macedonia 4th BC

3rd BC

229 BC - Rome declared war on Queen Teuta of Illyria and after two wars took control of a number of coastal Greek cities. the Macedon empire now split giving separate Greek and Aegean states, but in order to contain the power of Macedon the Greek states sided with Rome.

After Alexander's death the Celts expanded to Moravia and Thrace.

279 BC - divisions of Celts invaded the Greek peninsula, defeating Macedonia and Thessaly. Celts remained in the Balkans north settling in Greece, Bulgaria, Albania and Rumania. At the invitation of Nicomedes of Bithynia Celtic tribes moved to Asia Minor establishing a settlement in Turkey's central plains, Galatia. The Tectosages tribe in Ancyra (Ankara), the Tolistoboii tribe renamed Gordium to Vindia, and the Trocmi tribe settled east of the river Halys.

2nd BC

Macedon empire crushed by Rome and Greeks and soon Macedon was invaded by Rome. The Thracian Scordisci battled against Rome in Macedon. The Germanic Cimbri  and Teutones moved close to Italy.

The Romans won the support of most of the states of central and southern Greece by making it known that their aim was to drive Philip out of Greece and to confine him to Macedonia.

See also:Romania - Latene archaeology sites 2nd-1st BC

early 1st BC

late 1st BC

The separate Dacian tribes occupying most of modern Romania were unified under Burebista (60 - 44 BC) during which time Greek artisans were used in the building of the fortifications and hill forts and their rule was expanded south and west threatening Roman lands. Burebista's capital at Sarmizegetusa was high in the Carpathian Mountains of South Transylvania and was protected by a series of fortresses on the surrounding steep valley sides. After Burebista's death the the Dacian tribes fragmented again.

The Romans secured the Adriatic coast in BC 35 to BC 33, but the mountainous regions of Illyria were more difficult to penetrate. With the aim of securing a land route from Europe to the  Middle East along the Danube and Romans took the Pannonian and Moesia. There is a Roman record stating that Gatae (from the modern southern Romania) were allowed to move to Moesia south of the Danube.

Romania - Geto-Dacian archaeology sites 1st BC-1st AD


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