1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Paeonia

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PAEONIA, in ancient geography, the land of the Paeonians, the boundaries of which, like the early history of its inhabitants, are very obscure. The Paeonians are regarded as descendants of the Phrygians of Asia Minor, large numbers of whom in early times crossed over to Europe. According to the national legend (Herodotus v. 16), they were Teucrian colonists from Troy, and Homer (Iliad, ii. 848) speaks of Paeonians from the Axius fighting on the side of their Trojan kinsmen. Before the reign of Darius Hystaspes, they had made their way as far east as Perinthus in Thrace on the Propontis. At one time all Mygdonia, together with Crestonice, was subject to them. When Xerxes crossed Chalcidice on his way to Therma (Thessalonica) he is said to have marched “through Paeonian territory.” They occupied the entire valley of the Axius (Vardar) as far inland as Stobi, the valleys to the east of it as far as the Strymon (Struma), and the country round Astibus and the river of the same name, with the water of which they anointed their kings. Emathia, the district between the Hahacmon (Bistritza) and Axius, was once called Paeonia; and Pieria and Pelagonia were inhabited by Paeonians. In consequence of the growth of Macedonian power, and under pressure from their Thracian neighbours, their territory was considerably diminished, and in historical times was limited to the N. of Macedonia from lUyria to the Strymon. The chief town and seat of the kings was Bylazora (Veles, Kuprolu on the A.xius); in the Roman period, Stobi (Pusto-Gradsko). The Paeonians included several independent tribes, all later united under the rule of a single king. Little is known of their manners and customs. They adopted the cult of Dionysus, known amongst them as Dyalus or Dryalus, and Herodotus (iv. 33) mentions that the Thracian and Paeonian women offered sacrifice to Queen Artemis (probably Bendis). They worshipped the sun in the form of a small round disk fi.xed on the top of a pole. A passage in Athenaeus (ix. p. 398) seems to indicate the affinity of their language with Mysian. They drank barley beer and various decoctions made from plants and herbs. The country was rich in gold and a bituminous kind of wood (or stone, which burst into a blaze when in contact with water) called σπῖνος (or σπίνος). The women were famous for their industry. In this connexion Herodotus (v. 12) tells the story that Darius, having seen at Sardis a beautiful Paeonian woman carrying a pitcher on her head, leading a horse to drink, and spinning flax, all at the same time, inquired who she was. Haxdng been informed that she was a Paeonian, he sent instructions to Megabyzus, commander in Thrace, to deport two tribes of the nation without delay to Asia. At the time of the Persian invasion, the Paeonians on the lower Strj'mon had lost, while those in the north maintained, their independence. They frequently made inroads into Macedonian territory, until they were finally subdued by PhiUp, who permitted them to retain their government by kings. The daughter of Audoleon, one of these kings, was the wife of Pyrrhus, king of Epirus, and Alexander the Great wished to bestow the hand of his sister Cynane upon Langarus, who had shown himself loyal to Philip. An inscription, discovered in 1877 at Olympia on the base of a statue, states that it was set up by the community of the Paeonians in honour of their king and founder Dropion. Another king, whose name appears as Lyppeius on a fragment of an inscription found at Athens relating to a treaty of alliance is no doubt identical with the Lycceius or Lycpeius of Paeonian coins (see B. V. Head, Historia numorum, 1887, p. 207). In 280 the Gallic invaders under Brennus ravaged the land of the Paeonians, who, being further hard pressed by the Dardani, had no alternative but to join the Macedonians, whose downfall they shared. After the Roman conquest, Paeonia east and west of the Axius formed the second and third districts respectively of Macedonia (Livy xlv. 29). Under Diocletian Paeonia and Pelagonia formed a province called Macedonia secunda or salutaris, belonging to the prefecture of Illyricum.

See W. Tomaschek, “Die alten Thraker” in Sitzungsherichte der k. Akad. der Wissenschaften. xxviii. (Vienna, 1893); H. F. O. Abel, Makedonien vor Konig Philipp (Leipzig, 1847); C. O. Müller, Uber die Wohnsitze, die Abstammung und die altere Geschichte des makedonischen Volkes (Berlin, 1825); T. Desdevises-u-Dezert, Geographie ancienne de la Macedoine (Paris, 1863); see also Macedonia.