33 Facts About Epirus


Epirus is a geographical and historical region in southeastern Europe, now shared between Greece and Albania.

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Epirus subsequently became part of the Roman Republic along with the rest of Greece in 146 BC, which was followed by the Roman Empire and Eastern Roman Empire.

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Definition of Epirus has changed over time, such that modern administrative boundaries do not correspond to the boundaries of ancient Epirus.

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Main river flowing through Epirus is the Vjose, which flows in a northwesterly direction from the Pindus mountains in Greece to its mouth north of the Bay of Vlore in Albania.

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The only significant lake in Epirus is Lake Pamvotis, on whose shores lies the city of Ioannina, the region's largest and traditionally most important city.

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Climate of Epirus is Mediterranean along the coast and Alpine in the interior.

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The fauna in Epirus is especially rich and features species such as bears, wolves, foxes, deer and lynxes.

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Epirus itself remained culturally backward during this time, but Mycenaean remains have been found at two religious shrines of great antiquity in the region: the Oracle of the Dead on the Acheron River, familiar to the heroes of Homer's Odyssey, and the Oracle of Zeus at Dodona, to whom Achilles prayed in the Iliad.

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Geographically on the edge of the Greek world, Epirus remained for the most part outside the limelight of Greek history until relatively late, much like the neighbouring Greek regions of Macedonia, Aetolia, and Acarnania, with which Epirus had political, cultural, linguistic and economic connections.

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Unlike most other Greeks of this time, who lived in or around city-states, the inhabitants of Epirus lived in small villages and their way of life was foreign to that of the poleis of southern Greece.

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However, Epirus had a far greater religious significance than might have been expected given its geographical remoteness, due to the presence of the shrine and oracle at Dodona – regarded as second only to the more famous oracle at Delphi.

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Epirus invaded Italy, but was killed in battle by a Lucanian in the Battle of Pandosia against several Italic tribes 331 BC.

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Aeacides of Epirus, who succeeded Alexander, espoused the cause of Olympias against Cassander, but was dethroned in 313 BC.

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Pyrrhus nonetheless brought great prosperity to Epirus, building the great theater of Dodona and a new suburb at Ambracia, which he made his capital.

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Aeacid dynasty ended in 232 BC, but Epirus remained a substantial power, unified under the auspices of the Epirote League as a federal state with its own parliament, or synedrion.

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The outcome was disastrous for Epirus; Molossia fell to Rome in 167 BC and 150, 000 of its inhabitants were enslaved.

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Region of Epirus was placed under the senatorial province of Achaea in 27 BC, with the exception of its northernmost part, which remained part of the province of Macedonia.

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From 467 on, the Ionian Islands and the coasts of Epirus became subject to raids by the Vandals, who had taken over the North African provinces and established their own kingdom centred on Carthage.

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Epirus Nova became a battleground in the rebellions of the Ostrogoths after 479.

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Only the extreme north of Epirus seems to have remained consistently under Bulgarian rule in the period, but under Tsar Samuel, who moved the centre of Bulgarian power south and west to Ohrid, probably all of Epirus down to the Ambracian Gulf came under Bulgarian rule.

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An Aromanian presence in Epirus is first mentioned in the late 11th century, while Jewish communities are attested throughout the medieval period in Arta and Ioannina.

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Despotate of Epirus ruled over Epirus and western Greece as far south as Naupaktos and the Gulf of Corinth, much of Albania, Thessaly, and the western portion of Macedonia, extending its rule briefly over central Macedonia and most of Thrace following the aggressive expansionism of Theodore Komnenos Doukas, who established the Empire of Thessalonica in 1224.

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The oldest reference to Albanians in Epirus is from a Venetian document dating to 1210, which states that "the continent facing the island of Corfu is inhabited by Albanians".

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In 1337, Epirus was brought under the rule of the restored Byzantine Empire.

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Greece's first constitutional prime minister, Ioannis Kolettis, was a native of the village of Syrrako in Epirus and was a former personal physician to Ali Pasha.

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Local Greeks in northern Epirus revolted, declared their independence and proclaimed the Autonomous Republic of Northern Epirus in February 1914.

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The Republic, however, was short-lived, as when World War I broke out, Albania collapsed, and northern Epirus was alternately controlled by Greece, Italy and France at various intervals.

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Whole of Epirus was then placed under Italian occupation until 1943, when the Germans took over following the Italian surrender to the Allies.

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In subsequent years, the mountains of Epirus became the scene of some of the fiercest fighting of the second and bloodier round of the Greek Civil War.

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Since the end of the Cold War, many Greeks in Northern Epirus are re-discovering their Greek heritage thanks to the opening of Greek schools in the region, while Cham Albanians have called for compensation for their lost property.

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Epirus has few natural resources and industries, and the population has been depleted by migration.

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Epirus has historically been a remote and isolated region due to its location between the Pindus mountains and the sea.

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The only airport in Epirus is the Ioannina National Airport, while the Aktion National Airport is located just south of Preveza in Aetolia-Acarnania.

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