From the Balkan Peninsula to the Pacific Coast

By Jonathan Arouh on September 20, 2017
From the Balkan Peninsula to the Pacific Coast
On September 8, 2017, I interviewed Dardan, the Dardanian Warrior. Here is our interview.

In 1987 A.D., Dardan Zenunaj was born in the former Illyrian territory of modern Kosovo and a new Balkan powerhouse was born…

Around 400 B.C., a group of peoples comprised of multiple tribes, identified as the Illyrians, occupied a portion of what is now the Balkan Peninsula in Southeastern Europe. The Illyrians were led by their king, Bardylis of the tribe of Dardania (though there is scholarly debate as to whether the Dardanians originated from the Thracian peoples and then came into contact with the Illyrians) and were often at war with the Macedonians. A charcoal burner and coal miner, Bardylis gained his supremacy within Dardania through force, and earned respect by fairly and impartially dividing up the spoils of war. As king, Bardylis unified the tribes of Illyria, establishing Illyria as a formidable power in the Balkan region. King Bardylis was known for developing not just the military of Illyria, but its economy as well by issuing silver coins in the Illyrian city of Damastion, and by exporting silver in ingot form. In 365 B.C., coins of the same standard and type as the ones issued by Bardylis in Damastini were found in the mining city of Daparria (modern Kosovo). The evidence by the distribution of these coins suggests that Bardylis’ trade grew within the central Balkans and extended as far northward to the Danube River, so much so that Dionysius, the unpopular Greek ruler of Syracuse, Sicily, established colonies in the Adriatic Sea (the body of water that separates the Italian Peninsula from the Balkan peninsula) in order to get involved with Bardylis’ growing trade.

As a military leader, Bardylis led the Dardanians to victory over the Macedonians and Molossians several times. He was able to rule over Macedonia through a puppet king from 392-391 B.C., allied with the elder Dionysius of Syracuse to defeat the Molossians in a battle where 15,000 Molossian soldiers were killed that led to his rule over the Molossian territory for a short period of time, forced King Amyntas III of Macedonia to pay him tribute in 372 B.C. through multiple invasions, and in 359 B.C. occupied the cities of upper Macedonia by leading his soldiers into victory where they killed 4000 Macedonian soldiers and Bardylis himself personally killed Macedon King Perdiccas III.

By 358 B.C. when Bardylis was killed by Macedonian King Philip II after a rejected peace treaty due to Bardylis’ request to retain conquered lands, and then succeeded as ruler of Illyria by Grabos of the Illyrian tribe Grabaei, he left an indelible legacy as one of the most powerful rulers of Illyria.

In 1987 A.D., Dardan Zenunaj was born in the former Illyrian territory of modern Kosovo and a new Balkan powerhouse was born. After fleeing war and oppression in Kosovo to Belgium at the age of three with his mother, he eventually became a commando-parachutist for the Belgian Army. Dardan began his combat sport training in Thai-Boxing due to excessive energy left over from post soccer games and practices. He has been training for boxing for the past 12 years. Albanian by nationality, he is fluent in French and Albanian, and is able to converse in English. Since 2011, Dardan has amassed a record of 13-3 with 10 knockouts and in late 2015, forced former professional boxer and current trainer, Ronnie Shields to stop the fight between Dardan and his 16-0 at the time fighter, Bryant Cruz, due to a left hook to the body, followed by a right uppercut to the chin, and then a final left hook to the head in the 7th round.

On September 8, 2017, I interviewed Dardan, the Dardanian Warrior. Here is our interview.

What are your hobbies?

History, I like to read and make beats. I use to have a Yamaha Motif ES, but mostly now I read books on old history. I’m a really big fan of history. History is my first hobby. I like learning European history, the Pelasgians, Illyrians and Thracians.

If you could box anyone, who would it be?

Arturo Gatti and Orlando Salido.

What is the most fun about boxing for you?

When you go to the war.

What is the most challenging thing about boxing?

Always staying in shape, training hard. Everything is hard…taking punches.

What boxing exercise is the most valuable?

Sparring, sparring is the best. Because it’s the closest to a fight.

What is your greatest attribute of your boxing skill set?

My determination, I’m ready to die in the ring.

What advice for other people interested in participating in boxing do you have for them?

Do something else, go to soccer…baseball, it’s easier.

Where do you draw your motivation from while training and in the ring?

My family, my mother, sisters, dad, and wife.

Dardan’s next match is a super featherweight co-main event on ESPN on September 30th in Boston, MA against fellow southern California resident, Recky Dulay.

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  1. Andy 02:58am, 09/26/2017

    Great boxing blog. Thanks for sharing!

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