Friday, June 12, 2009

A Very Petite History of Durres, Albania

Founded in 627 BC, Durres was known as Epidamnus - a name believed to have been given by local Illyrian tribes. Under Rome, it became the terminus for the Via Egnatia.

When the civil wars broke out in Rome, Pompey evacuated his troops from Rome in 49 BC and established himself at Dyrrachium (as Durres was then known after the Romans conquered the Illyrians). On November 29 of that year, Caesar's army was attacked by Pompey at Pila, and Pompey's troops advanced from Lake Ochrid and reached the line of the Shkumbini river. Shortly afterwards, Mark Antony landed near the modern town of Shengjin and attacked the fortress at Lezha, taking it on 3 February 248 BC.

Caesar made a detour through the Krrabe Pass and placed his forces between Pompey's position and Dyrrachium. On May 5, Caesar's army was attacked by Pompey's forces but the battle proved to be indecisive. All the troops moved south into Greece where, eventually, Pompey was utterly defeated at the battle of Pharsala.

Source: Page 216, Durres, BLUE GUIDE Albania, James Pettifer, A&C Black, London / WW Norton, New York, 2004


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