The distinction which is drawn in this article between Appian's Ίλλυριῶν τοὺς Άτιντανούς (Illyr. 7) and Strabo's Ήπειρῶται δ’ εἰσι… ‘Ατιντᾶνες (326) is of both regional and general importance.
If the Atintani were an Illyrian tribe, they lived north of the Via Egnatia; for they were not one of the Illyrian tribes south of that line which were listed by Strabo (326). If the Atintanes were an Epirotic tribe, they lived inland of the Epirote coast which was defined as extending from the Ceraunian Mountains to the mouth of the Ambraciote Gulf by Strabo (324). The two tribes, then, were very far apart. However, if the two tribes were one and the same, as many scholars have supposed, and if the Illyrian label and the habitat in Epirus are applied to the single (fused) tribe, then one at least of the Epirote tribes was Illyrian. This second alternative appeals particularly strongly to writers in Albania, who regard themselves as descendants of the Illyrians and like to argue that the present border of southern Albania, which runs through the centre of ancient Epirus, was in part at least the border of the ancient Illyrians. Thus the regional issue involves the pattern of Illyrian settlement, the extent to which there was an Illyrian element in the Epirotic tribes, and the Albanian claim that their ancestors lived in North Epirus.