Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Pelasgians, the oldest known inhabitants of Greece, who are supposed to take their name from Pelasgus, youngest son of Niobe, and who are traditionally represented as a wandering people who left traces of their presence in every part of Hellas (Pelasgiotis, a district of Thessaly; the Pelasgicum or oldest parts of the Acropolis of Athens, built by them, etc.). Regarding their origin and ethnical relations to the Greeks proper much diversity of opinion prevails; but although Herodotus distinguishes between them and the true Hellenes, and speaks of Pelasgian dialects still surviving in his time at Creston, in Thrace, and at Placia, in the Hellespont (I. 57), Dionysius is probably right in regarding the Pelasgians as essentially Greeks (to ton Pelasgon genos Hellenikon). It may, in fact, be inferred from Thucydides (I. introduction) that they represent the first waves of Hellenic migration into Greece and the islands, where they continued to lead wandering lives as pirates and rovers on the sea and marauders on the mainland before forming settled communities. According to this view, which seems most in accord with the national traditions, the Pelasgian dialects mentioned by Herodotus would represent an archaic form of Greek before it became differentiated into the later AEolic, Doric, and Ionic dialects.