Epirus, next to Thessaly the largest province of ancient Greece, in the S. part of modern Albania, bounded N. by the territory of the Graeco-Illyrian tribes, E. by Thessaly, S. by AEtolia, Acarnania, and the Ambracian gulf (now gulf of Arta), and W. by the Ionian sea. The Ceraunian mountains separated it from Grecian Illyria; the Pindus, famous in mythology, from Thessaly. Its climate was mild, and its soil less fertile than that of other parts of Greece. The river Acheron received the waters of the Cocytus within its limits, and flowed into the Ionian sea. Epirus was divided into the districts of Chaonia, Molossis, and Thesprotia, named after the most numerous and powerful of its ancient tribes. Its most remarkable places were: Dodona, with the ancient oracle of Jupiter; Canope and Bu-throtum, with harbors, chiefly communicating with the port of Brundusium in southern Italy; Ambracia, the capital of King Pyrrhus and his descendants, on the gulf of the same name; and Nicopolis (city of victory), on the same gulf, founded by Octavianus Augustus, in commemoration of the battle of Actium, near the opposite shore. The Epirotes had their share in Grecian fame and history, though the other Greeks did not consider them as belonging to the Hellenic race.
Pyrrhus or Neop-tolemus, the son of Achilles, is mentioned as king of Epirus after the Trojan war. Olym-pias, the mother of Alexander the Great, was a princess of this country. But their most distingnished man was King Pyrrhus (295-272 B. C), who, in spite of the remonstrances of his chief minister Cineas, destroyed his armies and ruined the state in brilliant campaigns against the Romans and others. Oppressed by Mace-don, the Epirotes were delivered by their ancient enemies the Romans, but proved faithless to their deliverers, supporting against them both Antiochus the Great of Syria and Perseus of Macedon. They were subdued by Paulus AEmilius (168 B. C.), and cruelly chastised, numerous cities being destroyed, and 150,000 of the inhabitants sold into slavery. Epirus was now a province of Rome, and shared the fate of its eastern dependencies. In 1432 it was conquered by the Turks, from whom it was wrested in 1443 by the famous Scanderbeg, prince of Albania. On his death in 1467 it was reconquered by Mohammed II., and has since been ruled by Turkish pashas, among whom, in the early part of the present century, Ali of Janina distinguished himself by his crimes, talents, and revolts against the authority of the sultan.
The insurrection of the Suliotes, in southern Epirus, ended in their own ruin. As volunteers they promoted the independence of Greece without achieving their own. The modern inhabitants are mostly Arnauts,