The Pelasgians

Jan 2011
1,190
Balkans
#1
What was their origin and language? Same as the Minoans or the Dorians? I've read conflicting texts from various ancient writers concerning their race.
 
May 2011
1,747
Macedonia, Eastern Roman Empire
#2
Quite "hot" topic.

We don't know exactly if the Pelasgians were a tribe or a name that was created by Greeks to describe the populations who were living around the Aegean before them.

They weren't related to the Dorians, since the Dorians were speaking Greek, and came late in southern Greece.

In the classical era there were still Pelasgians in Thrace and the sea of Marmara if I'm not mistaken.
 
Jan 2011
1,190
Balkans
#3
Quite "hot" topic.

We don't know exactly if the Pelasgians were a tribe or a name that was created by Greeks to describe the populations who were living around the Aegean before them.

They weren't related to the Dorians, since the Dorians were speaking Greek, and came late in southern Greece.

In the classical era there were still Pelasgians in Thrace and the sea of Marmara if I'm not mistaken.
I've read a lot of ancient Greek writers describing them as Greeks though
 
May 2011
1,747
Macedonia, Eastern Roman Empire
#5
I've read a lot of ancient Greek writers describing them as Greeks though
They probably meant that they were the ancestors of the Greeks. Pelasgians didn't know Greek, Herodotus realized that and said that they changed their language to Greek. He also mentions that Pelasgians continued to live in NE Aegean.
 

Midas

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
4,129
Scandinavia, Balkans, Anatolia, Hatay
#6
The term Pelasgian is the most missleading ethnonym of ancient Greek history. Most scholars have abandoned any attempt for specification. I will quote RSP Beekes on this issue.

RSP Beekes: Pre-Greek said:
As to `Pelasgian' and related theories which assume an Indo-European substratum in Greece, these theories have failed, and I no longer mention them (in my etymological dictionary). The theory has been extensively discussed by Furnee (37-68). `Pelasgian' has done much harm, and it is time to definitely reject it. The latest attempt was Heubeck's `Minoisch-Mykenische' (discussed by Furnee 55- 66), where the material was reduced to some ten words; the theory has been tacitly abandoned.
We know for sure there was a tribe in Thessaly, in a subregion of the region of Hellas, called Pelasgia (still called like that). They are recorded in an inscription enumerating a list of Thessalian tribes.

Most probably, they were a pre-Greek speaking population that was assimilated by time. According to Herodotus, Ionians were Pelasgians in origin. If you ask me what language Pelasgians spoke, unlike Herodotus who can't asnwer, I will tell you they spoke a non Indo-European language. From all the theories on pre-Greek, I am more convinced by evidence linking it to a greater group including pre-Greek/Minoan, Hurro-Urartian, Hattic and Caucasian languages. Nor Etruscan, nor Semitic do the job...
 

beorna

Ad Honoris
Jan 2010
17,473
-
#7
The term Pelasgian is the most missleading ethnonym of ancient Greek history. Most scholars have abandoned any attempt for specification. I will quote RSP Beekes on this issue.



We know for sure there was a tribe in Thessaly, in a subregion of the region of Hellas, called Pelasgia (still called like that). They are recorded in an inscription enumerating a list of Thessalian tribes.

Most probably, they were a pre-Greek speaking population that was assimilated by time. According to Herodotus, Ionians were Pelasgians in origin. If you ask me what language Pelasgians spoke, unlike Herodotus who can't asnwer, I will tell you they spoke a non Indo-European language. From all the theories on pre-Greek, I am more convinced by evidence linking it to a greater group including pre-Greek/Minoan, Hurro-Urartian, Hattic and Caucasian languages. Nor Etruscan, nor Semitic do the job...
I am still uncertain, if the Hellenes at the times of Homer or Herodot had knowledge about the pre-mycenian population. I have already written it, for me the Pelasgians are not pre-mycenian, but arrived or evolved during the dark ages, which can even mean - here I completely agree with you, that they are hard to specify - that the Pelasgians includes mycenia (greek) groups.
 

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
26,872
Italy, Lago Maggiore
#8
The doubt I've got is if the term indicated the inhabitants of a region which carried that name in a far past [like today we say "Americans"] or the name of a defined and limited community / population.
 

beorna

Ad Honoris
Jan 2010
17,473
-
#9
The doubt I've got is if the term indicated the inhabitants of a region which carried that name in a far past [like today we say "Americans"] or the name of a defined and limited community / population.
yes, the names is probably take from a single tribe, like those of greeks and hellenes, too, which can even mean, that not all, who were called Pelasgians were pelasgians or saw themselves as pelasgians.
 

Midas

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
4,129
Scandinavia, Balkans, Anatolia, Hatay
#10
I am still uncertain, if the Hellenes at the times of Homer or Herodot had knowledge about the pre-mycenian population.
I agree. Generally, they have no idea about their pre-Epic ancestors. For example, before Kekrops they remember nothing. That is the Greek Bing Bang basically.


I have already written it, for me the Pelasgians are not pre-mycenian, but arrived or evolved during the dark ages, which can even mean - here I completely agree with you, that they are hard to specify - that the Pelasgians includes mycenia (greek) groups.
Yes, not impossible.
 

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