Hellenic Tribes
Greek civilization grew out of a welter of various Hellenic tribal nations which had occupied the region from time immemorial or had entered from elsewhere at an early date. Not much is known of this complex group of interrelated peoples, and so the best I can do for the moment is set down preliminary notes regarding them.

includes the Æthikes, the Agraeoi, the Akarnanes, the Almopia, the Aones, the Aperandoi, the Athamanes, the Atindanes, the Avandes, the Boeotoi, the Chaones, the Dolopes, the Dorians, the Dryopes, the Ektines, the Eordaea, the Epeioi, the Eurytanes, the Gephyraeoi, the Idonoi, the Ionians, the Kikones, the Krestones, the Lapithes, the Leleges, the Lyngistes, the Magnites, the Malieis, the Molossoi, the Mygdones, the Oetaeoi, the Orestes, the Paetoi, the Pelasgoi, the Perraivoi, the Sea Peoples, the Temmikes, the Thesprotians, the Visaltes, the Vistones, the Yandes.

ÆTHIKESThey lived in northern and northwestern Thessaly, on Pindos and Karvounia mountains, near the Peneios river. They were neighbours of the Athamanes and the Tymphaioi and were first mentioned by Homer. They were regarded by other Hellenic peoples as barbarians and thieves. Their towns were Metsovo and Malakasio (nowadays within the administrative division of Ioannina). They disappeared after the Roman annexation of Greece in the 2nd century BCE.

AGRÆOIThey lived in the Agrapha Mountains, between the rivers Achelous and Agraphiotes. They called their land Agraea or Agrais. Important cities were Agrinio (capital city of the administrative division of Aetoloakarnania) and Ephyra.
They created their own kingdom.

AKARNANES They lived in Akarnania, having arrived there from Argos. Their cities were Amphilochia, Amphilochikon Argos, Limnaea, Stratos, Oiniades, Anaktorio, Echinos, Aktio, Solion, Alyzea, Astakos, Phoitia, Medeon, Thourion, and Metropolis.

ALMOPES They were located northwestern Macedonia, nowadays adm.div. of Pella, between the rivers Loudias and Axios and between the regions of Eordaea and Pelagonia. The region was inhabited by few people, who were isolated - therefore it was one of the first regions occupied by Macedonia. The primary cities were Orma, Apsalos, Europos, and Notia.

AONES Ancient inhabitants of Boeotia after the Ektines, regarded by other Hellenes as barbarians. They lived near Thebes, and came from Sounion (Attica) to Boeotia, together with Temmikes, Leleges, and Yandes.

APERANDOI They lived between the rivers Agraphiotes and Megdovas, to the Agrapha mountains, neighbours of the Agraeoi. They were an Ætolian sub-tribe.

ATHAMANES They lived in northeastern Epirus, on Tzoumerka mountains and in part of the administrative division of Trikala. They were regarded by other Hellenes as a semi-barbarian tribe. Important cities of this tribe: Argothea (capital city) and Theodoria.

ATINDANES They lived in the region between Chaonia and Dodoni, in northwest Epirus.

AVANDES They lived in Euboea. They were a protohellenic tribe that came into Greece appr. 2100-1900 BCE. They had lived initially in Phocis (Avai) and some of them in Argolis, Sicyon, Epirus, and Asia Minor.

BOEOTOI The region of Boeotia is northwest of Attica, nowadays one of the 52 administrative divisions of modern Greece. Three generations after the Trojan War the region was inhabited by the Boeotian tribe. They lived initially on the Boios mountain of Pindos, between Epirus and Macedonia. From there they moved to Arne between Thessaly and the Pagasitikos bay (till the end of the late Hellenic era). They claimed to be an Ætolian sub-tribe.

CHAONES Ancient protohellenic tribe with a Pelasgian root. They lived in Epirus, between the Keraunia mountains and Kalamas river, therefore the first name of Epirus was Chaonia. They were related the the Chaones of southern.Italy. Important cities: Vouthroton, Ilion, Foenice, Panormos, Ogchismos, Amandia, Antigonea

DOLOPES An ancient Aetolian tribe, related to the Magnites. They lived in Acarnania, southern Thessaly, and Phthia. Their borders were Phthia and Aenianes (East), Eurytanes-Agraeoi (South), Amphilochia (West), Athamanes-Thessaliotis (North). Their capital city was Ktimeni; other important cities were Dolopeis, Ageiai, Menelais, and Ellopia.

DORIANS A major Hellenic group of closely related tribes or septs, the Dorians are regarded both in archeology and in legend as the conquerors of the Peloponessus. Initially they lived in the area near Mount Olympus, in the land of Doris. In the 12th century BCE they began migrating southward, and three separate Doric tribes (Hylleis, Pamphyloi, and the Dymanes) settled in eastern and southern Peloponnesus, displacing the native Achaeans. The mythological account of this has it that these three groups were the descendents of three Herakleides (children of Herakles), Temenus, Aristodemus, and Cresphontes, who successfully recovered an inheritence lost to a cousin, Eurysthenes of Mycenae. They were a rather dour, plain-spoken, and harshly disciplined people - as their best-known branch, the Classic Age Spartans, personified greatly. The tension between themselves and the other great Hellenic people, the Ionians - who regarded Dorics as barely-literate, ill-mannered martinets - is at the heart of a great deal of Greek historical development. Afterwards the Dorians colonized Megara, Argolis, Laconia, Messinia, Aegina, Milos, Thera, Crete, Rhodes and Corinth.

DRYOPES Related to the tribe of Leleges, they were a barbarian tribe. They lived in the area between the mountains Oiti and Parnassus. They called their land Dryopis. Owing to Dorian pressure they evacuated their land and colonized Euboea,  Karystos, Styra, Cyprus, Kythnos, Argolis (Asine, Nemea), Messinia, and Epirus. Main city: Drys.

EKTINES The first inhabitants of Boeotea.

EORDAEA Ancient region (and tribe) in western Macedonia near the lake Vegoritis. Eordaea’s borders were Almopia-Lyngistis (North), Elimea (South), Imathia (East), Orestis (West). The district occupied during the late Bronze Age, the Eordoi were a proto-Hellenic, Indo-European group that came to Eordaea appr. 2200 BCE. Nowadays there is the administrative division of Kozane. Main cities were Eordaea, Arnissa, Vegora and Kellas. Eordaea was the birthplace Ptolemy Lagos, the Macedonian general who gained the throne of Egypt.

EPEIOI A Pelasgian tribe in the western Peloponnesus, they lived in Elea, Pisatis, western Achaea, and the Echinades islands. Their cities: Vouprasion, Elida, Yrmine, Myrsinos, Olene, Dyme, Ephyra, Kyllene, Pylos, Aleisio.

EURYTANESAn Ætolian sub-tribe, they lived in the district of Karpenissi (today:capital city of Evritania), between the mountains Panaitolikon and Tymphristos. Their borders were Aenianes (East), Dolopes (North), Aperandoi-Akarnanes (West), Aetolians (South), Thestians (Southwest), Ofionians (Southeast). During the prehistoric era they had probably lived in Thessaly. Their capital city was Oichalia.

GEPHYRAEOI A non-Hellenic tribe (Phoenicians) They lived in Boeotia in the town Gephyra. Afterwards they moved into Attica. It is claimed that they brought the alphabet into Greece. This was the homeland of Armodios and Aristogeiton, murderers of the Athenian tyrants Hippias and Hipparchus

IDONOI They lived in western Thrace, between the rivers Strymon and Nestos  (nowadays there are the cities Drama and Zichne). Their land was called Idonis or Andandros. Important cities were Myrkinos (capital-city), Draviskos and Amphipolis.

IONIANS One of the great pan-Hellenic tribal groups. They lived initially in southwestern Thessaly, but at a very early date migrated south. Some of them remained in southwestern Thessaly and others moved to west Locris, Achaea and Pisa. Afterwards they colonized Attica and Asia Minor. They also extensively settled the Cyclades, Euboea, Corinth, Megara, Epidaurus, and by the end of the Mycenean era they were in Attica, Megaris, Epidaurus, Troezin, Kynourua and Achaea. Defeated by the Achaeans, Minyes, Phlegyes and Lapithes, they remained largely in Attica, some of the islands, and most especially in western Asia Minor, which became known as "Ionia". They are to a large extent responsible for Greek literature, philosophy, and much Hellenic art (the Ionian dialect is the foundation upon which standard Classic Greek developed, which in turn gave birth to "Koine" (Common speech - the language of most of the New Testament), Byzantine dialects, and ultimately modern Greek. In acquiescing to Persian hegemony in Asia Minor during the 6th and 5th centuries, they earned the scornful contempt of the Peloponessian Dorians, who regarded Ionians as weak, compliant, mendacious, and very likely treasonous. It is this tension between the two groups which is at the heart of much of Greek historical development.

KIKONES They lived between the Evros river and the Vistonis lake. They came there appr. 1300-1200 BCE. Their cities were Xantheia, Maronea, Ismaros, Zone and Kyzikos.

KRESTONES The Kristones lived in Krestonia a Macedonian district between Chalkidicia and the Strymon river. They were a Pelasgo-Thracian sub-tribe. Important cities: Antigonea, Xylopolis, Terpyllos, Karavia, Kreston.

LAPITHES The main inhabitants of early Thessaly, together with the centaurs (Northern Pelasgia-Perraivia). Their main cities: Argissa, Gyrtone, Orthe, Elone, Olossoi. They colonized Perraivia. In the 10th cent. they built a lot of cities in other regions (Koronos of Koronea, Phaliros of Phalara, Elatos of Elateia in Arcadia, Boeotia and Phocis, Phorvas and Triopas in Rhodes).

LELEGES An early tribe related to the Dryopes, they were nomads.

LYNGISTES They lived in Macedonia, in the Lyngystis Region (nowadays: Florina) and their capital-city was called Herakleia. An Illyrian tribe, they were neighbours of the Dassarites. Main cities were Herakleia, Kella, Vevi.

MAGNITES They lived on Thessaly, in Magnesia, they were a Macedonian sub-tribe. Important tribe during the Neolithic, Bronze, Minoan and Mycenean ages. Their cities were: Mithone, Thaumakine, Melivoia, Olizon and Minyai.

MALIEIS They lived in southern Thessaly, a Dorian sub-tribe. The Malians were partitioned into three sub-tribes: Trachinioi, Paralioi, Iereis. Their capital city was Herakleia and afterwards Lamia.

MOLOSSOI An Epirote tribe dwelling in the north, who succeeded in gaining control over all of Epirus in late Classical times. They were best known for a breed of huge war-mastiffs they used in military operations.

MYGDONES A Thracian tribe living in southern Macedonia between the rivers Axios and Strymon, in northern Chalkidicia, near the Thermaikos Gulf. Their cities were Therme, Sidos, and Chalestri.

OETAEOI They lived on the mountain Oeti in southern Thessaly and in the 5th century in the valley of Aspos river. Important cities: Antikera, Anthile, Herakleia, Trachis.

ORESTES They lived in Epirus in their land called Orestis, which was part of Molossia. They inhabited the northern and northwestern borders of Greece between the rivers Aous and Achelous. They claimed to be successors of Orestes of Mykenaea. Important cities were Orestia and Argos Orestikon.

PAETOI A minor tribe living in the region called Paetike. Their most important city was Zerenia.

PELASGOI An Indo-European tribe, that came into the Hellenic region appr. 3000 BCE. They lived in western Thessaly and Epirus. Afterwards they colonized not only Argolis and Arcadia, but also some of the Aegean islands, Attica, Crete, Ionia, Achaea, Phocis, Phthiotis, Euboea, Kristonia and Sicyon. Most of them disappeared after the end of the Mycenean era, but some Pelasgian communities survived till the beginning of the 5th century BCE in Kristonia and Propontis.

PERRAIVOI They lived in northern Thessaly, initially in the district of Istiaiotis. Their cities were Gonnoi, Olousson, Phalanna, Doliche, and the Perraivean Tripolis (3 cities) consisting of Azoros, Polichna, and Pythion.

THE SEA PEOPLES Students of European history will be familiar in a general way with the phenomena of the devolution of Classic cultures, the swarming forth of innumerable barbarian tribes, and the subsequent emergence of the so-called "Dark Ages", together with the slow re-emergence of a vibrant civilization in the Mediaeval and Renaissance eras. Such a model is an oversimplification of what occured, but it is valid at least in broad descriptive outline. What is perhaps less well recognized is that such a pattern has happened, albeit on a smaller scale, before. Before the 1200's BCE, the Eastern Mediterranean played host to a variety of sophisticated civilizations. For a variety of reasons, the 17th to 13th centuries BCE saw a general retreat, one which did not begin to reverse itself until the 9th century BCE (leading to the eventual flowering of Classic-Age civilization by the 5th century). One important factor in this process was the sudden emergence of a group of barbarian tribes known collectively as the Sea-Peoples. These raiders critically damaged the ancient civilizations of Greece, Anatolia and Syria, and seriously threatened the southern Levant and Egypt. The origins of these peoples are unknown, though it is believed that they emerged  from the Aegean and may have been Minoan or Greek in origin. They referred to their own homeland as Ahhiyawa, which seems to be related to the word "Achaea". The Hittites described their home as an island near Milawanda (Miletos, on the Ionian coast); which may refer to Rhodes, while the Bible describes their origin-point as Caphtor, which is believed to be Crete. They were technologically and artistically sophisticated, being one of the first groups in the Levant to use iron weapons. The following is a list of the documented Sea Peoples, and what linguists and archeologists believe about their origins and eventual fates...
DANYA / DANNUNA They have been identified with the Danaoi, mentioned in Homer's Iliad; another, far-fetched explanation is that they are related to the early Irish Celts (Tuatha de Danaan) - but perhaps not completely far-fetched: variants on "Danu" (the name of an ancient river Goddess) appear all over Europe [Denmark, Danube River, Don River] - there may early links. Some historians and acheologists have suggested that the Danya invaded Canaan in alliance with the Philistines but then joined the Israelite tribal confederation as the tribe of Dan. The original territory of that tribe bordered Philistia, and the Philistines seemed to bear a particular grudge against the Danites, who eventually relocated to the Galilee.

EKWESH This name is very similar to the Hittite name for Greeks (Acheans). Very little is known about them. Alternatively, some have hypothesized that the Ekwesh were the Minoan-age inhabitants of the Aegean island of Cos.

KARKISA A minor Sea People nation mentioned in passing in several sources and apparently coming from southern Anatolia. They may have been allied with the Lukka.

LUKKA These are believed to have hailed from Lycia, and probably returned there after several unsuccessful invasions of Egypt.

LABU While not Sea Peoples per se, this coalition of Libyan tribes participated in the attacks on Egypt, in conjunction with the Meshwesh and their allies. Libya (a term once used by Greeks to describe all of Africa) derives its name from them. See also Libu, for a later kingdom established by a subsequent incursion by these people into the Nile region. They are depicted in Egyptian artwork as having fair skin, red hair and blue eyes. Unlike their allies the Meshwesh, they wore kilts and were uncircumcised. The Sheshonqid (22nd) dynasty of Egypt is believed to derive from a different tribal group.

MESHWESH This nation arrived on the Libyan coast from the north and invaded Egypt in alliance with Libyan tribes, in particular the Tehenu and Temehu under a King called Merirey (see Libya and, just above, Labu) in the reign of Merneptah (roughly 1230 BCE). They were also part of the Sea People coalition (along with the Tjekker and the Philistines) who invaded Egypt during the reign of Rameses III (early 1100s BCE). Their ultimate fate is unknown. In Classical times, Herodotus described a tribe in Libya called "Maxyes" who claimed a Trojan ancestry, but he goes on to note that his report is based on hearsay. Egyptian artwork, interestingly enough, clearly depicts Meshwesh captives as being circumcised.

PELESHET These are the Philistines who settled in the southern coast of Canaan and established the pentapolis of Gaza, Gath, Ekron, Ashkelon and Ashdod. They may have invaded Canaan originally in alliance with the Israelites, who settled in the inland areas, but any collegiality quickly disappeared if Biblical records are anything to go by. The name Palestine, given to Judea by the Romans after the Jewish Wars, is believed to be derived from Philistine, although some scholars have suggested that it actually (ironically) comes from a derogatory Greek epithet for Jew.

SHARDANA (Sherden)Formerly, it was thought that this people migrated out of the Hellenic region, crossed the central Mediterranean, and conquered Sardinia, which still bears a variant of their name. Recently though, it has been suggested that the migration was in the opposite direction - that they were aboriginal inhabitants of Sardinia who traveled eastward into the Hellenic littoral. A Sardinian origin is supported further by discoveries on that island of horned helmets similar to those depicted on Egyptian images of Shardana warriors. The Shardana are the first of the Sea Peoples to appear in the historical record, as Egyptian mercenaries mentioned in the Amarna letters. They later fought in both the Egyptian army and the armies of the Sea People coalitions.

SHEKELESH This is believed to be the group that sacked and destroyed Ugarit. They were part of the coalition that fought Merneptah and later Rameses III. The Medinet Habu relief depicts a Shekelesh prince, who is shown bearded, with a thin prominent nose and a swept back turban, which some scholars believe to be hair. Not much else is known about them.

TJEKKER / SHEKELESH The Tjekker are of uncertain origin, but they raided Egypt repeatedly before settling in northern Canaan. They may originally have been the Teucri, a tribe inhabiting northwest Anatolia around Troy. They conquered the city-state of Dor and turned it into a Tjekker kingdom. They are one of the few of the Sea Peoples for whom a ruler's name is recorded - in the papyrus account of Wenamun, an Egyptian priest...

Besides the Dorite Tjekker, some scholars believe that the Tjekker may have been connected in some way with the Israelite tribe of Menasseh. See also the Teucri, in northwest Anatolia.

TYRSENNOI May be related to the Etruscans, but any connection is sheer speculation - Hellenic peoples knew of them; the "Tyrhennian" Sea - derived from a Greek term - still survives as a name for the waters between Tuscany and Corsica. Beyond that, note that the Etruscan word for themselves was "Rasena".

WESHESH Their origins are unknown, though there is some evidence that they may have come from the area of Caria. Some have theorized that they, like the Danya, became part of the Israelite confederacy (as the tribe of Asher).

TEMMIKES A barbarian tribe living in Boeotia before the Cadmians and the Boeotians. They came to Boeotia along with the Aones, Leleges, and Yandes.

THESPROTIANS Their region was called Thesprotia. Nowadays Thesprotia is one of the 52 administrative division (nomoi) of Greece (capital-city: Preveza). They lived in Epirus between the Amvrikikos Bay and the Kalamas river and between Pindos mountains and the Ionian Sea. The Thesprotians were divided into many sub-tribes: Aegestaeoi, Dodonians, Eleaeoi, Elinoi, Ephyroi, Ikadotoi, Kartatoi, Kestrinoi, Klauthrioi, Kropioi, Larissaeoi, Onopernoi, Opatoi, Tiaeoi, Torydaeoi, Fanoteis, Farganaeoi, Fylates, Chimerioi.
Their main cities were Ephyra, Chimerion and Torine.

VISALTES They lived in Macedonia, east of the Mygdonia region, between the Volvi lake and the Strymonas river
Their cities were: Verge, Euporia, Kalliteres, Oreskia, Visaltia (capital-city). Before the 5th cent. Visaltie and Kristonia had a common history

VISTONES They lived in the Rhodopi district to the Aegean sea, near Abdera. Their land was called Vistonea and it was between the Kikones and the Sapes regions.

YANDES Proto-Hellenic tribe inhabiting Boeotia alongside the Aones, Leleges, and Temmikes. They lived near Thebes, and in later times colonized East Phocis (building the city of Yambolis), West Locris, and Aetolia.