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The Pelasgians (Greek: Πελασγοί, Pelasgoí; singular: Πελασγός, Pelasgós) was a name applied by Greek writers to the autochthonous aboriginal inhabitants of Greece that either were the ancestors of the Greeks or preceded the Greeks in Greece. It is "a hold-all term for any ancient, primitive and presumably indigenous people in the Greek world."[1] The Pelasgians were also one of the ancient peoples of Asia Minor and Italy, where they were known as the Pæligni or Peligni.[2]

Some writers, such as Perry Edward Powell[3] and Arthur C. Custance[4] associate the Pelasgi or Pelasgians with Peleg; these were Indo-Europeans who claimed Pelasgus as their first king.[5][6] Greek Orthodox tradition also affirms this connection. Strabo says in his Geography, "... the Pelasgi were by the Attic people called 'Pelargi,' the compilers add, because they were wanderers and, like birds, resorted to those places wither chance led them."[7] Gamkrelidze and Ivanov claim that the Pelasgians settled the Peloponnesian peninsula "even before the arrival of the Greeks [Hellenes] proper."[8] Elsewhere Strabo cites Greek writers who claimed that the Pelasgians came from Thessaly,[9] and there a people whom Strabo calls Pelagonians are found,[10] so there may be some merit to this assertion. The Pelasgians are said to have "spread throughout the whole of Greece" in ancient times,[11] and when the Danaans came from Egypt, they were also called by that name.[12] The apparently peaceful reception of the Danaans in Greece may well be explained, if those inhabitants of Greece before the arrival of Dan were also Hebrews. The Pelasgians were a sea-faring people who sailed the Mediterranean and were well known as traders. John Denison Baldwin suggests that acknowledgment of the Pelasgians was recorded in Sanskrit which mentions the Palangshu of Asia Minor (Placia and Mysia).[13] They also occupied a territory north of Greece between two rivers, one of which was called the Hebrus River, bearing a name reminiscent of and most likely named after their ancestor, Eber (Genesis 10:25 ).[14] Eventually they were pushed further south by the Thracians and they merged with the Mycenaean Greeks. They seem to be the only people ascribed to him.

According to Nermin Vlora Falaschi, "the ancient Thracians, Phrygians, Lydians, Carians, Etruscans, Epirotes, Illyrians, and the Italic peoples (Samnites, Oscans, etc.) are considered the principal branches of the Pelasgians.[15] As such, the general term "Pelasgian" can be, in this context, taken to refer to both the descendants of Lud and Arphaxad (via Eber and Peleg) who had settled and colonized "Neolithic" Anatolia and Europe, replacing the previous Japhetic inhabitants who, in turn, were pushed to the northern areas of Europe and migrated farther east into Asia.

See Also


  1. Apollonios Rhodios; Green, Peter (2007). The Argonautika. Berkeley and Los Angeles, California. ISBN 0-520-25393-0.
  2. Strabo, Geography 5:2:1-4
  3. Powell, P.E. (1949). Father Abraham's Children, Christopher Publishing House.
  4. Custance, AC. (1975). Noah's Three Sons: Human History in Three Dimensions, Volume 1: The Doorway Papers, "A Study of the Names in Genesis 10," Chap. 4, p. 3-5. Zondervan.
  5. Lempriere, J (1788). Classical Dictionary. Routledge & Kegan Paul, London: p. 453
  6. Bryant (1775): p. 397
  7. Strabo, Geography 5.2.4
  8. Gamkrelidze, TV; Ivanov, VV (1986). "The Migration of Tribes Speaking Indo-European," Journal of Indo-European Studies, Sring/Summer, Vol. 13. Nos. 1 & 2: 49-91; p. 53)
  9. Strabo, Geography 9.5.22
  10. Strabo, Geography 9.5.11
  11. Strabo, Geography 5.2.4
  12. Strabo, Geography 8.6.9
  13. Baldwin, JD (1869) Pre-Historic Nations. Harper & Brothers, New York: p. 163.
  14. David Skelly. "The Other Descendants of Arphaksad," in Origins of Nations, April-June 1996.
  15. Nermin Vlora Falaschi, (1984) Ancient Linguistic Associations in the Mediterranean, "ESOP," pp. 93-99

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