Pelasgians or proto – Latins (Arimii)
3. Pelasgians in Asia Minor,
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.
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).
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. The ethnic name Lydos,
(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. 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
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).
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. 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].
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