As Pelasgians (Greek Pelasgoi Πελασγοί ) one of the oldest populations in Greece was called in ancient times. Regardless of whether it actually ever a clearly definable people of this name, the contemporary research Pelasgians used sometimes to refer to prehistoric non- Greek-speaking groups on the southern Balkan Peninsula.


Pelasgians are mentioned in Homer. Thus Pelasgians lived in the Thessalian Argos ( " Pelasgian Argos " ), Larisa, which is probably the Thessalian Larisa, but possibly also an eponymous site is meant in the Troad, Dodona ( Epirus ) and Crete.

Dodona is also indicated by Hesiod as the seat of the Pelasgians ( frg. 212). He also describes Pelasgos, the progenitor of the Pelasgians, as autochthonous ( frg. 43). Difficulties are both modern research and already ancient authors remark Hesiod, that was Pelasgos the father of Lycaon ( frg. 44 ), since he lived in Arcadia, which does not match the areas where Homer locates the Pelasgians.

Herodotus writes that the first name of Greece Pelasgia was (Greek Πελασγία ), and calls Palasger as residents of Plakia and Sykale on the Hellespont, Samothrace, Dodona, Arcadia, Argos, Lesvos and Lemnos and Imbros. Moreover, Herodotus mentions ( in the context of Plaka and Sykale - I, 57 so ) Pelasgians, the Tyrsenern adjacent, in Kreston. The location of Kreston is unclear, according to the prevailing opinion, it is likely in the area of ​​Chalkidiki. In addition, Herodotus claims that the inhabitants of Attica were Pelasgian origin. The language of the Pelasgians was, judging by the Pelasgians in his time, been a non-Greek.

The research assumes that it has come already in Herodotus partly to confusion of the Pelasgians with the Tyrsenern (see below). In later sources, it is - as long as they do not repeat statements of older, already Authors services mentioned above - even more difficult to decide whether they think Pelasgians or other ancient population. Increasingly, was used " Pelasgian " as a synonym for very old. From Roman authors Pelasgians are sometimes even equated with the Greek population. As an additional to the above regions to have been BC settled according to sources from the 4th century by Pelasgians are: Boeotia, parts of Argolis, Sicyon, places in Western Asia Minor as well as many regions and cities in Italy, of the Po valley to the south of Italy.

Way of life

The Pelasgians were sedentary and exaggerated crops and livestock, forests cleared, leveled rocks, swamps dried out, put in fertile valleys cities with strong castles, which usually bore the name of Larissa, and built - so the later sources - the oldest structures ( cyclopean walls ). On the western side of the Aegean Sea, it was the root of the Minyae on Pagasitian golf, is said to have first tried things at sea that were glorified in the Argonautica.

They worshiped - again, according to the much later Greek sources - as the Supreme God Zeus, the Aether, the bright sky, without image and stamp on towering mountain peaks. The polytheism and anthropomorphism of the later period were alien to them. Your name has been displaced from that of the Greeks, in which the strains of the Ionians, Achaeans, Aeolians and Dorians are said to have united, and they merged with them.


How much truth is there in these reports has been controversial for a long time. The numerous mentions in ancient authors prove, perhaps, that in the archaic and probably still the classical period, as the early sources emerged, a population was still tangible well with probably non- Greek idiom in some parts of Greece. Since the Pelasgians but otherwise not be detected (for example, archaeological, because the " Cyclopean Walls " do not come from them but by the Mycenaean Greeks of the Bronze Age ), the modern research on the Pelasgians problem has been able to find out little details.

The name referred to in parts of the research are not a homogeneous or particular tribe with a uniform language, but the remains of the people of Greece before the arrival of the Indo-Europeans, who had not yet been fully assimilated at the beginning of classical antiquity of Greece and therefore - for example, linguistic - was still distinguishable from the rest of the population. However, a vorindogermanische origin of the Pelasgians is not without controversy. Greek sources considered by the majority as the Pelasgians own, very old people, but a common ancestry with the Greeks, such as in Attica, Ionia and other landscapes many generations boasted of their alleged Pelasgian origin.


Experiments, the Pelasgians with the in Egyptian texts from the time of Ramses III. mentioned Peleset who belonged to the Sea Peoples, and most likely with the Philistines are the same, to bring in compound are controversial and especially etymologically doubtful. Especially a necessary for equating transformation of the "g" in Pelasgians to a " t" in Egyptian sources - there the Philistines will PLST with the consonants represented - can only be explained difficult


On the question of which language (or languages) used the Pelasgians, see Aegean languages.