- Probably the descendents of the ancient Illyrians who settled along the Adriatic coast from Epiros to Pannonia (qq.v.). They may have become pastoralists when the Slavs (q.v.) invaded the Balkan Peninsula (q.v.) in the late sixth century. First mentioned in Byzantine sources in the late 11th century, they were subjugated thereafter by the despotate of Epiros, the Second Bulgarian Empire, the Empire of Nicaea, and by Charles of Anjou (qq.v.). In the 14th century they migrated southward in great numbers into Thessaly, subsequently settling in the Peloponnesos (qq.v.) as well. After the death of Skanderbeg (q.v.) in 1468, they were subjugated by the Ottomans (q.v.).
Historical Dictionary of Byzantium . John H. Rosser .
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