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Chaonia, Chaon, (Χαονία, Χαόνων, in Greek), was the name of an ancient nation located in modern-day Albania and Greece. It bordered on the Ionian Sea, and was influenced by Corfu in antiquity. Its capital was called Finiki (Phoeniki, Phoenice, Phoinike), which means "red ground" in Greek. The area was named so because there is lots of red earth, lots of iron, that turns into red-mud easily when it rains.


Strabo in Geogrphy, places Chaonia as part of Epirus, now part of north-western Greece, and reached from the city of Onchesmos (now called Saranda) in the north, to the River Thyamis in the south, and as far as the Ambracian Gulf, it including to the south the ancient city of Cestrine (now called Filiates, at one time also called Ilion), and represented the southernmost border of the wider region of Illyria. The Roman historian, Appian, mentions Chaonia as the southern border in his description and geography of Illyria.

Important cities in Chaonia included Vouthroton (modern Butrint), Ilion(Filiates), Phoenice, Panormos, Ogchismos (modern Saranda), Corcyra, Antigonia and Cassiope (on Corfu). The region was likely named after the Chaonians who settled there.

Virgil, in the Aeneid, (3, 295) called the area Chaonia after Chaon a brother of the Helenus and son of Priam. When Helenus in Epirus became king, he called a part of this country Chaonia in honor of his brother. This attribution is about as credible as Virgil's attribution of Troy being the origin of the Romans.

See also


Ancient Greece

Medieval Greece / Byzantine Empire

Modern Greece

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