The ancient Greek tribes (Ancient Greek: Ἑλλήνων ἔθνη) were groups of Greek-speaking populations living in Greece, Cyprus, and the various Greek colonies. They were primarily divided by geographic, dialectal, political, and cultural criteria, as well as distinct traditions in mythology and religion. Some groups were of mixed origin, forming a syncretic culture through absorption and assimilation of previous and neighboring populations into the Greek language and customs. Greek word for tribe was Phylē (sing.) and Phylai (pl.), the tribe was further subdivided in Demes (sing. Demos, pl. Demoi) roughly matching to a clan.
The name Pelasgians was used exclusively by the ancient Greek writers, who referred to the populations they considered the ancestors of the Greeks or "pre-Hellenic". Some, mainly later ones, use it to describe purely Greek populations.
With the dominion of land passing on from one tribe to the other, cultural exchange through art and trade, and frequent alliances toward common goals, the ethnic character of the different tribes had become primarily political by the dawn of the Hellenistic period. The Roman conquest of Greece, the subsequent division of the Roman Empire into Greek East and Latin West, as well as the advent of Christianity, molded the common ethnic and political Greek identity once and for all to the subjects of the Greek world by the 3rd century AD.
Late Bronze Age: Homeric Age of the Iliad (circa 1200 BC)
Map 4: Greek Language Prehistory (2000-1000 BC), showing the complex pattern of peoples migrations and their languages and dialects
Iron Age: Archaic and Classical Greece (from circa 800 BC)
Archaic and Classical Greece after Late Bronze Age collapse and Dorian Invasion
Map 8: Major regions of mainland ancient Greece, and adjacent "barbarian" lands.
Map 9: Ancient Regions of Epirus and Macedon.
Map 10: Ancient Regions of West Central, North and West Greece.
Map 11: Ancient regions of Central Greece.
Map 12: Ancient Regions of Peloponnese (southern mainland Greece).
Map 14: Ancient Macedonia
Pre-Greek and non-Greek tribes (later Hellenized)
Pre-Greek and non-Greek tribes who became hellenized and whom some of the later Greek tribes claimed descent from
- Eteocypriots ("True Cypriots") - They lived scattered through Cyprus island.
- Minoan Cretans (mentioned in Iliad's Catalogue of Ships)
- Minyans (Minyes) (mentioned in Iliad's Catalogue of Ships)
- Pelasgians (mentioned in Iliad's Catalogue of Ships and in Trojan Battle Order) - They lived scattered through several regions of ancient Greece (like Pelasgiotis) in enclaves.
- Aethices/Aethikes - They lived on Mount Pindus and in the neighborhood of Mount Tomarus.
- Attican Pelasgians - They lived in Attica in scattered communities. Later they were fully assimilated into an Attican Ionian Greek ethnic identity.
- Crestones - They lived in Crestonia (southern slopes of Bertiscus Mount, today's Vertiskos Mount; Vertiskos village is on the slopes), to the north of the Mygdonia, to the northeast of Thessalonika).
- Cretan Pelasgians - They lived in parts of Crete island along with other peoples of the island: Eteocretans ("True Cretans" or Cretans proper), Achaean and Dorian Greeks and the Cydonians (of the city of Cydonia/modern Chania).
- Hellespontus Pelasgians - They lived in the Thracian Chersonesus (today's Gallipoli Peninsula) and some parts on the coast of the other side of the Hellespontus or Dardanelles strait (on the Asian side) before the Thracian expansion and conquest of that peninsula.
- Lemnian Pelasgians - They lived in Lemnos island, in the North Aegean Sea. They were conquered by Athens at the end of the 6th century BC and later assimilated into an Ionian Greek identity. Some of them moved to the peninsula's promontory of Actē (today's Mount Athos).
- Cynurians - They lived in Cynuria (Cynuria had two enclaves, one on the coast of eastern Peloponnese Peninsula, between Laconia and Argolis, and another inland, in the far southwestern Arcadia, also called Parrhasia) but it is not certain if Cynurians of East Peloponnese coast and Cynurians of the inland (Arcadia) were the same people, two branches of an original people or even if they were directly related.
- Hyantes Pelasgians (legendary or partly based on a true people and historical events) - Former Pelasgians inhabitants of Boeotia, from which country they were expelled by the followers of Cadmus (Peck; Pliny's Natural History, iv.12).
- Pelasgiotes - They lived in Pelasgiotis (eastern Thessaly that included Thessaly's own capital Larissa).
- Propontis Pelasgians - They lived in some islands (Marmara, Aphousia) and parts of the southern coast of the Propontis (today's Marmara Sea), mostly in Cyzicus.
- Samothracian Pelasgians - They lived in the island of Samothrace in the North Aegean Sea, south of Thrace. They were conquered by Athens at the beginning of the 5th century BC and later assimilated into an Ionian Greek identity.