List of ancient Colchian tribes

The following is a list of ancient Colchian tribes.


Ethnic map of the Caucasus in the 5th and 4th centuries BC.

This is a list of the ancient Colchian tribes. The predominant tribes likely spoke the Kartvelian languages, probably the forerunners of the Zan dialects,[1] a language family indigenous to the Caucasus, which was originally spoken by tribes living in area northeast of Asia minor (Pontus) and Caucasus region.[2] Modern theories suggest that the main Colchian tribes are direct ancestors of the Laz-Mingrelians, and played a significant role in ethnogenesis of the Georgian and Abkhazian peoples. Colchis was inhabited by a number of related, but still pretty different tribes whose settlements lay chiefly along the shore of the Black Sea.

List of ancient Colchian tribesEdit

Southern Colchis. From "Reditus Decem Millium Graecorum", 1815
Map of the voyage of the Argonauts by Abraham Ortelius, 1624
Name Location Sources
Byzeres[3] south of the Coruh River and Pontic Mountains. mentioned in Urartean sources as uiterukhi or uitirukhi.
Drilae southern shores of the Black Sea. attested in Xenophon's book Anabasis
Machelones south of the Rioni river. Pliny (NH 6.4.11), Lucian, Ptolemy, Arrian.
Macrones[4] near Moschici Mountains[5] Herodotus, Xenophon, Strabo (xii.3.18), Stephanus of Byzantium, Pliny, Procopius.
Marres southeast periphery of the Black Sea Herodotus
Mossynoeci west of Trebizond mentioned in Apollonius of Rhodes's Argonautica, Xenophon's Anabasis (5.4.26-34), Herodotus.
Phasians eastern part of Pontus Xenophon, Hippocrates.
Sanni near Trebizond[6] Strabo, Pliny, Arrian, Theodoret of Cyrrus.
Tubal/Tabal/Tibareni Black Sea coast of Anatolia Herodotus, Xenophon, Strabo and other classical authors.
Zydretae southern side of the Coruh river[7] Arrian.
Heniochi northwest shores of Colchis[8] Aristotle, Artemidorus Ephesius, Ovid, Pliny, Arrian, Strabo and others.
Lazi Phasis river basin Scylax, Procopius, Agathias, Pliny.
Moschi Cappadocia Hecataeus of Miletus, Herodotus, Strabo, Stephanus of Byzantium.
Apsilae modern Abkhazia[9][10] Pliny, Arrian.
Abasci western Abkhazia Pliny, Strabo, Arrian.
Coraxi northwest shores of Colchis Strabo.
Sanigs western Abkhazia Pliny, Arrian, Memnon of Heraclea.
Tzanni modern day Rize and Artvin provinces Arrian, Procopius.
Chalybes/Chaldoi Chaldia Homer, Strabo, Xenophon.


  1. ^ COLCHIS, Encyclopædia Iranica
  2. ^ D. M. Lang, The Georgians, London 1966. chap. 6
  3. ^ Georgian Soviet encyclopedia, Vol. 2, pg. 422, Tb., 1977.
  4. ^ Suny, Ronald Grigor (1994), The Making of the Georgian Nation: 2nd edition, p. 8. Indiana University Press, ISBN 0-253-20915-3
  5. ^ Kavtaradze, Giorgi L. (2002), An Attempt to Interpret Some Anatolian and Caucasian Ethnonyms of the Classical Sources, pp. 63-83. Sprache und Kultur #3. Staatliche Ilia Tschawtschawadse Universität Tbilisi für Sprache und Kultur. Institut zur Erforschung des westlichen Denkens, Tbilissi.
  6. ^ Pliny the Elder. Natural History. pp. Book VI, section IV. Archived from the original on 2017-01-01.
  7. ^ Edwards, Robert W. (1988), The Vale of Kola: A Final Preliminary Report on the Marchlands of Northeast Turkey, p. 129-130. Dumbarton Oaks Papers, Vol. 42.
  8. ^ M. Inadze, Institute of History, Georgian Academy of Sciences, PROBLEMS OF ETHNOPOLITICAL HISTORY OF ANCIENT ABKHAZIA
  9. ^ "Апсилы". Retrieved 2013-10-21.
  10. ^ Alexander Mikaberidze (6 February 2015). Historical Dictionary of Georgia. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. pp. 130–1. ISBN 978-1-4422-4146-6.

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