The name Pamphylia comes from the
Greek Παμφυλία, itself from
Ancient Greek: πάμφυλος (pamphylos), literally "of mingled tribes or races", a compound of πᾶν (pan), neuter of πᾶς (pas) "all" + φυλή (phylē), "race, tribe". Herodotus derived its etymology from a
Dorian tribe, the Pamphyloi (Πάμφυλοι), who were said to have colonized the region. The tribe, in turn, was said to be named after
Pamphylos (Greek: Πάμφυλος), son of
There can be little doubt that the Pamphylians and Pisidians were the same people, though the former had received colonies from Greece and other lands, and from this cause, combined with the greater fertility of their territory, had become more civilized than their neighbours in the interior. But the distinction between the two seems to have been established at an early period. Herodotus, who does not mention the Pisidians, enumerates the Pamphylians among the nations of Asia Minor, while
Ephorus mentions them both, correctly including the one among the nations on the coast, the other among those of the interior.
A number of scholars have distinguished in the
Pamphylian dialect important
isoglosses with both Arcadian and Cypriot (
Arcadocypriot Greek) which allow them to be studied together with the group of dialects sometimes referred to as
Achaean since it was settled not only by Achaean tribes but also colonists from other Greek-speaking regions, Dorians and
Aeolians. The legend related by Herodotus and Strabo, which ascribed the origin of the Pamphylians to a colony led into their country by
Calchas after the
Trojan War, is merely a characteristic myth.
In the historical era, the region's population spoke
Pamphylian, an idiosyncratic dialect of
Greek seemingly influenced by
Anatolian languages spoken nearby. On Cyrus's defeat of Croesus, Pamphylia passed to the Persian Empire. Darius included it in his first tax-district alongside Lycia, Magnesia, Ionia, Aeolia, Mysia, and Caria. At some point between 468 and 465 BC, the Athenians under Cimon fought the Persians at the
Eurymedon, and won; thus adding Pamphylia to their "Delian League" empire. Toward the end of the
Peloponnesian War, the Athenians were weakened enough that the Persians were able to retake it.
Alexander the Great's defeat of
Darius III, Pamphylia passed back to Greek rule, now Macedonians. After the defeat of
Antiochus III in 190 BC they were included among the provinces annexed by the Romans to the dominions of
Eumenes of Pergamum; but somewhat later they joined with the Pisidians and Cilicians in piratical ravages, and
Side became the chief centre and slave mart of these freebooters. Pamphylia was for a short time included in the dominions of
Amyntas, king of
Galatia, but after his death lapsed into a district of a Roman province.
As of 1911, the district was largely peopled with recently settled Ottoman Muslims from Greece, Crete, and the Balkans, as a result of the long-term consequences of the
Congress of Berlin and the collapse of the
^Colvin, Stephen (2013).
A Brief History of Ancient Greek. John Wiley & Sons. p. 84.
ISBN978-1-118-61072-5. Herodotus and Strabo record the story that the Pamphylians were the descendants of Greeks who arrived with the seers Calchas and Amphilochos after the Trojan War.
^Ahmad Hasan Dani, Jean-Pierre Mohen, J. L. Lorenzo, and V. M. Masson, History of Humanity-Scientific and Cultural Development: From the Third Millennium to the Seventh Century B.C (Vol II), UNESCO, 1996, p.425