PART 5    Ch.XXXII.3

The Pelasgians or proto – Latins (Arimii)

(The southern Pelasgians)





XXXII. 3. Pelasgians in Asia Minor, in Syria, Mesopotamia and Arabia.


The Pelasgian nation had spread far even since the primitive times of history, not only in the continent of Europe, but also in the regions of Asia Minor, on the fertile plains of Tigris and Euphrates and on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean (Diefenbach, Origines europ. p.78).

In regard to Asia Minor, the geographer Strabo, born in Cappadocia, writes the following: “that the Pelasgians had been a great people can be documented also by other sources. Namely, Menecratos Elaita, tells us in his book about the origins of the cities that the entire maritime region which now is called Ionia, starting from Mycale and the neighboring islands, has formed once the dwellings of the Pelasgians” (lib. XIII. c. 3. 3; XIV. 2. 27; Herodotus, lib. VII. c. 94; Bruck, Quae veters de Pelasgis tradiderint, Vratislaviae, 1884, p. 49).

Among the most renowned cities of the Ionian Pelasgians were Ephesus and Miletus.

In Ephesus was the magnificent temple of Diana, one of the wonders of the ancient world, where this deity was represented not as a virgin, but as a nourishing mother of all live beings, as per Pelasgian religious ideas, having her chest covered with a big number of breasts (Pausanias, lib. IV. 31. 6; VII. 5. 2).

Miletus had especially reached a high level of prosperity. During the course of a number of centuries, Miletus figures as the first maritime and commercial city of the ancient world, rivaling the Phoenicians, the Carthaginians and the Etruscans. Even before the Argonautic times the Milesians had become intermediaries between the ports of the Mediterranean and the lands rich in flocks, herds, grains, wine and metals from the north of the Black Sea and the Lower Danube. The Milesians had founded a big number of commercial establishments and permanent market cities especially in the parts towards Dacia. Thales, one of the seven wise men of the ancient world and the historian Hecateus were from Miletus.

Another significant group of Pelasgians settled on the littoral of Asia Minor, above the Ionians, were the Eolii (Herodotus, lib. VII. 95). They were scattered on the entire region of Troy, from Cyzic to near the river Hermus in Lydia (Strabo, lib. XIII. 1. 3; Pausanias, lib. X. 24. 1), and spoke the same language as the Pelasgians from Lesbos and Arcadia. According to traditions, the Eolii originated in Thessaly. The richest and strongest city on the territory of these Eoli was Troy, Pelasgian citadel surrounded with ancient Cyclopean walls, built, according to Greek legends, by Apollo and Poseidon (Jubainville, Les pr. Habit. I. p. 93 seqq; Flor, Ethn. Untersuchung u. d. Pelasger. p. 14).

Other ancient Pelasgian tribes on the territory of Asia Minor were also the Mysii (Strabo, lib. VIII. 3. 2; XIII. 8. 1; Pliny, lib. V. 32), Bithynii (Herodotus, lib. VII. 75; Strabo, lib. XII. 3. 3), Phrygians (Herodotus, lib. VII. 73; V. 49; II. 2) and Cauconii (Strabo, lib. VIII. 3. 17; XII. 3. 5), pastoral populations which had emigrated there even since very obscure times, some from Mesia and the Danube, others from Scythia, from Thrace and from Macedonia.

The Lidyens had the same origin as the Mysiens and Carii (Herodotus, lib. I. 171), being a wealthy population, widespread and brave, settled on the western shore of Asia Minor.

A part of these Lydiens had passed into Italy, as Herodotus tells us (lib. I. 94), under the name of Turseni [1].


[1. The ethnic name Lydos, Lydoi (exactly as Syros, Syroi, etc) corresponds from the point of view of its old pronunciation, to the form Ludos, Ludi. The ancient country of the Lydiens before their settling in Asia Minor seems to have been at north of the Lower Danube. Aristotle mentions that a Scythian with the name Lydus had discovered the art of melting copper (Pliny, VII. 57. 6). In the Country of Fagaras in Romania the family name Lud is widespread even today].


Numerous traces of the ethnic extension of the Pelasgians on the territory of Asia Minor are also found in Lycia (Diodorus Siculus, lib. V.81.2), Paphlagonia (Strabo, lib. VIII. 3.17), Pisidia, Lycaonia, Cilicia and Cappadocia [2].


[2. Lelegii, who dwelt in Pisidia, were Pelasgian by nationality, exactly like the Lelegii from the regions of Troy and Caria (Strabo, lib. XIII. 1. 59). In the Iliad (X. 426), Lelegii are mentioned near the Cauconi and the “divine Pelasgians”.

According to the ancient authors, the Cappadocians were only a branch from the same ethnic body shared by the Phrygians (Diefenbach, Orig. 44). One of the cities of Cappadocia towards Armenia was Dacusa Euphratis (Riese, Geogr. lat. min. 92). Another ancient locality of Cappadocia was called Rimnena, or Romnena (Strabo, XII. 1. 4. Ed. Didot). They venerated the Great Mother under the name Ma and Jove under the name Zeus Dakie (Strabo, XII. 2. 3 and 5. 1).


Then there was the tradition that the inhabitants of Lycaonia were closely related with the Romans (Osenbruggen, Corpus iur. civ. P. III. 177. Nov. 25). In the ancient genealogies of peoples, Lycaonii were considered as descendants of Lycaon, the son of Pelasg. The old name Lycaoni must have been in Pelasgian form Lucaoni and Lucani. This results not only from the way in which the Greeks wrote their name with y = u, but is also confirmed by their kinship with the inhabitants of Lucania (the Oenotrii), who also considered themselves as descendants of Lycaon (Pherecydis, fragm. 85)].


We also note here that the historian Ephorus from Eolia (fragm. 80 in Frag. Hist. graec. I. p. 258) mentions as barbarian populations (or migrated there from the northern parts of Hellada) in Asia Minor, the Cilici, Lyci, Pamphyli (who according to Herodotus, VII. 91, were remains of the Trojans), Bithyni, Paphlagoni, Mariandyni, Trojans, Cari, Pisidi, Mysiens, Chalybi, Phrygians and Milyeni (Pliny, V. 25. 1).

The ancient inhabitants of Armenia were, as Herodotus tells us, descendants of the Phrygians (lib. VII. 73; Steph. Byz. see Armenia). But according to Strabo, the origin of the Armenians was in Thessaly.

A certain Armenus, originally from the city Armenium in Thessaly, had taken part in the expedition of the Argonauts. This Armenus and his men had later colonized the upper parts of the Euphrates and Tigris, and from here comes the name Armenia (lib. XI. 4. 8).

In Syria and Mesopotamia also, we are met with a large number of localities which bear ancient Pelasgian names. So are in Syria the cities Balaneae, Deba, Chaonia, Arimara, Larissa, Mamuga, Chalybon, Barbarissus and the mountains Amanus, Casius and Libanus (Ptolemy, lib. V. c. 17), while in Mesopotamia (Ptolemy, lib. V. c. 17) are the cities Deba, Ombrea, Dorbeta and Nisibis [3].


[3. Nisibis, Nasibis with Philo, Nesibis with Uranius, seems to have meant in the language of the Phoenicians “gathered and heaped up stones” (Steph. Byz. see Nisibis).

But it is more credible that in the language of the Pelasgians this word had the same meaning of nasip, nesip, or nisip, which it has in the Romanian language even today, meaning arid, sandy earth].


The primitive inhabitants of Palestine before the invasion of the Hebrews are described in the Old Testament as warlike people of a gigantic stature (Deuteron. Cap. 2. 10-20; Cap. 3. 3-11; Ioshua. 12. 4). A significant number of ancient localities of Palestine bear Pelasgian names, out of which we cite here the following: in Samaria: Scythopolis, Thirza or Tharsae; in Judea: Lydda, Rama or Arimathia; in Perea, or in the land beyond the Jordan river: Raphana and Scythopolis, about which Pliny tells us that it was a Scythian colony (lib. V. 16).

In Arabia, the ancient topographical names still have a character largely Pelasgian. Ptolemy mentions here the cities: Istriana, Satula, Rhadu (village), Lugana, Carna, Sata, Domana, Baeba, Latha, Albana, Amara, Draga, Saraca, Deva, Dela, Lysa, Petra, Medana, Lydia, Suratha, Gavara, Aurana, Sora, etc (lib. VII. 7; V. 16, 18). And Pliny adds the cities Thatice, Sandura, Nasaudum and Rhemnia (lib. VI. 35. 1).

As we see, the Pelasgians, after invading in a remote epoch the entire territory of Asia Minor, with their tribes and their flocks and herds, had made a further expansion.

From Asia Minor they had crossed to Syria, Assyria and Palestine, down to the most fertile regions of Arabia, near the southern ocean, founding everywhere various great centers of their pastoral, agricultural and commercial life.