Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Ethnic Engineering

By Mac Congail

Philip V silver tetradrachm
The strategy of Ethnic Engineering – the mass deportation of certain ethnic groups as part of a wider political or military plan – was common in the Ancient World, reaching its peak in the Roman Imperial period.

The first major example in southeastern Europe is recorded at the end of the 4th c. BC, when it was implemented by the Macedonian leader Kassander in an attempt to halt the southwards advance of the Celtic tribes in the Balkans. As part of this strategy, 20,000 of the Illyrian Autariatae tribe, who had fled into Macedonia in the face of the Celtic advance, were resettled in the Orbelos area (on the modern Greek/Bulgarian border) as military settlers in order to establish a buffer zone protecting Macedonia's northern border from Celtic expansion (Diodorus Siculus Bibliotheca historica XX. 19.1; see also 'Flight of the Ravens' and 'The Thunderbolt' articles).

A variation of the same policy was implemented by the Macedonian King Philip V in 179 BC. In order to neutralize the Dardanii tribes, traditional Macedonian enemies, Philip struck a deal with the Celtic Scordisci and the Bastarnae, whereby the latter would be resettled in Dardania, thus eliminating the Dardanii threat, and ensuring Bastarnae help for Macedonia's planned war with Rome (Livy 40:57, 41:19).

  Most examples of this strategy, however, date from the Roman Imperial period. For example, in 26 AD a plan was formulated by Rome for the mass deportation of the troublesome Celtic Artacoi tribe in the Haemus (Balkan) mountains (see 'Artacoi' article), and in the 2nd / 3rd c. AD mass transfers of the aforementioned Bastarnae to the south of the Danube were carried out by the Roman emperors Probus and Diocletian (Historia Augusta Probus 18; Eutropius IX.25; see below).

More to read and original article: