The Aeolians (Greek: Αἰολεῖς) were one of the four major ancient Greek tribes comprising Ancient Greeks (along with the Achaeans, Dorians and Ionians). Their name derives from Aeolus, the mythical ancestor of the Aeolic branch and son of Hellen, the mythical patriarch of the Greek nation. The dialect of ancient Greek they spoke is referred to as Aeolic.
Originating in Thessaly, a part of which was called Aeolis, the Aeolians often appear as the most numerous amongst the other Hellenic tribes of early times. The Boeotians, a subgroup of the Aeolians, were driven from Thessaly by the Thessalians and moved their location to Boeotia. Aeolian peoples were spread in many other parts of Greece such as Aetolia, Locris, Corinth, Elis and Messenia. During the Dorian invasion, Aeolians from Thessaly fled across the Aegean Sea to the island of Lesbos and the region of Aeolis, called as such after them, in Asia Minor.
According to Herodotus the Aeolians were originally Pelasgians. In book seven (7.95) of "The Histories" Herodotus states: "The Aeolians (also, as the Greeks suppose, originally a Pelasgian people) contributed 60. Their equipment was Greek."
- Smith, William (1854). Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography. Little, Brown and Co. pp. 50–51. http://books.google.gr/books?id=_sYPAAAAYAAJ&dq. Retrieved 2009-08-23.
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