The Épire (in Greek Ήπειρος Ípiros ) is the name of a mountainous region of the Balkans, shared between the Greece and the Albania. Epire results in " Continent" in French. Its inhabitants is the Épirotes (or the Continental ones). It constitutes one of the 13 peripheries of Greece. It is bordered in the west by the Ionian Mer, and it is bordering in south-west on the Albania, in the north of the area of Macedonia of the West, in the east of the area of Thessalie. The periphery is divided into 4 prefectures: Thesprotie, Ioannina, Arta and Preveza.
Its surface is of 9.300 km ² and its population of approximately 365.000 inhabitants in 2002
Mountainous (2646 m with the mount Smólikas) and not very fertile, Épire contains lakes without emissary (one speaks about endoreism), like that of Ioannina, one of the principal cities. The littoral plain is more fertile. The direction of the name Epire is unintermitting and Epirotes are the continental ones with the eyes of the inhabitants of the Islands opposite the coasts.
Still sometimes the snow-covered relief and climate in winter cut this area of the rest of the world the winter.
The originality of Épire strikes initially by the beauty of its landscapes: high cliffs limestones of Tymphée, deep throats of Vikos, vast forests of oaks, then conifers, while following the road of Ioannina to Metsovo, wet valley where niche the sanctuary of Zeus dodonéen. In Antiquity, already, it passes for populated Barbarians according to Thucydide, even if one of the candidates to the hand of Agaristè, girl of Clisthène de Sicyone, who were selected among the best of the Greeks, carries for name Molosse.
It is in Épire that the Odyssey places the oracle of deaths, beyond the world of alive, in the valley of Achéron, whose name corresponds to that of the river of the Hells.
On its coasts, the Corinthians come to found colonies in Corfou, ancient Corcyre, and in Ambracie, current the Arta.
Later, Corfou and Épire are the first Greek grounds approached by the Romans: Corcyre is placed under the protection of Rome as of 229 to escape the Illyriens; Ambracie is the port of disembarkation of the armies of Paul Emile in war against the king Macedonian Persée (172-168). This opening towards the Occident particularly marked all the history of Corfou, which is very turned towards Italy, towards Venice, and which thus escapes the Turkish invader while passing under protection from Napoleon, then of England before joining the kingdom of Greece in 1864. On the other hand, Épire, which knew an Othoman presence prolonged to the first Balkan war, is attached to Greece only at the end of 1912.
This area particularly suffered from the civil war which was prolonged until 1949 and which opposed royalist and communist.
The capital of Épire is Ioannina (57 000 inhabitants).
Although regarded as barbarian by the Greek , its coasts accommodated many colonies, and oracle celebrates it Zeus in Dodone was located there.
The dynasty of the kings éacide S of the people of the Molosses founded there a powerful kingdom at fifth century BC, with the other people Chaones, and Thesprôtes. Pyrrhus is one of the members of this dynasty, like Olympias, the mother of Alexandre Large the. King Pyrrhus is famous for his expensive victories against the Romans. One would be wrong to retain only the victories in Pyrrhus of them, according to the inaccurate expression of Tite-Live. Shortly after Alexandre the Large one, it tries to save the Western hellenism in Large Greece and Sicily, while intervening in Italy of the South and Sicily (280-274), and fights victoriously against Rome whose inhabitants tremble to see with far smoke from the camp of Pyrrhos. In parallel, it seizes Macedonia and carries the war until Sparte front. Its death marks the end of the independence of the Greek cities in Italy of the South: Tarente is delivered to the Romans as of 272. It is during this time (second half of IVe century and first half of IIIe century) that the urbanization accelerates in Épire: the sites of Gitana, Kastritsa, Ammotopos and Cassopé are particularly interesting to visit, because of conservation of their ramparts, of the public edifices - let us think in particular of the theater of Gitana and Cassopé -, of the houses remarkably preserved at Ammotopos on a great height and town planning with Cassopé.
An independent league is formed in 234 av. J. - C.. However, the area gradually passes in the Roman orbit : alliance of Corcyre only in 229 av. J. - C., then all the area in 197 av. J. - C. That does not prevent plundering in 189 av. J. - C. of the capital, Ambracie, by the Romans. That does not prevent either the Roman consul Paul Emile, of return of the Bataille of Pydna gained over the Macedonians without spoils, to plunder and of razzier most of the population, sold on the markets to the slaves in Rome. Their number was so large (the ancient sources advance the figure of 150 000 people) who it made fall the price of the durable slave of manner. The area was the first Roman Province overseas in 148 av. J. - C.
In 31 av. J. - C., the emperor Auguste founds there the town of Nicopolis d' Épire, to celebrate its victory of '' Actium ''. This Cité had an exceptional statute, as much by its very vast territory that by its statute of free city.
List kings d' Épire
See the article Éacides
The Middle Ages
Integrated into the Roman Empire of the East, it constitutes an independent kingdom after the Fourth crusade, the Despotat d' Épire, controlled by the Comnène of 1205 with 1318. It was conquered by the Othomans in 1430.
Many orthodoxe monasteries are established on the town of Ioànnina, in an island in the middle of a lake. Their frescos in particular make appear the wise ones of Antiquity Plato, Aristote, Solon or Thucydide among the precursors of Christ.
On the peaks of the Pinde were built the monasteries of the Météores, as of the 11th century, at the top of narrow and escarpées mountains. Most of these 24 monasteries date from the 14th century. The Great Meteor has in particular splendid frescos, that of Hagios Stéphanos (Saint Stephan) beautiful a Iconostase carved. They are classified with the world heritage of UNESCO since 1988.
ModernThe turcocratie in Épire finishes on February 21st, 1913 with the release of the town of Ioannina and the annexation of the area by Greece.
Épire currentlyFrom Corfou to the Meteors, of Achilles with Ali Pasha, this circuit through Épire reveals greener Greece, with the unforgettable landscapes, agent of an original archaeological inheritance and a great historical richness. As Macedonia in the east, Épire marks the transition between Aegean Greece and the Balkan countries which border it in north, by borrowing from the one its civilization and by developing like its neighbors of North a particular way of life, more founded on the pastoral life, on big spaces.
Bibliography on ancient Épire
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