Origins of Albanian language and ethnos

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  • Carlin
    Senior Member
    • Dec 2011
    • 3332

    3) Albanians, just like the Mardaites, were initially non-Orthodox Christians.


    I've read some of the posts above regarding the Albanian language and I think it's ultimately futile to argue one way or the other in terms of origins, because not much can be inferred in such a way. Most languages, through contact with other cultures, undergo various changes over the centuries so they end up with borrowings, etc... Albanian is and remains a separate language.

    To return to point 3 and my initial post:

    I always found it odd that Albanians appear in the Balkans as non-Orthodox Christians; I will attempt to explain why this poses a problem for those who adhere to the Illyrian hypothesis.

    The regions of Albania and Epirus have traditionally been under the jurisdiction of the Constantinople church, and the Roman/Byzantine authorities regarded the inhabitants of these provinces as Orthodox Christians (regardless of what their ethnic background might be). I'm not aware that Western Christians/Catholics exerted any meaningful influence on these territories prior to the (roughly) 1000s but I might be mistaken. Anyway, it seems that no such influence can be found and it would appear plausible to conclude that Illyrians were Christianized (at some point) by Constantinople/Eastern church.

    This is where the problem arises. If Illyrians became Orthodox Christians, how come the Albanians were not? If anything, a neutral observer would expect them to remain pagans but this is not the case. The Byzantines regarded them as "heretic" Christians and "half-believers", just like the Mardaites!

    If we now trace the history of the settlement of Mardaites in these territories, starting with Epirus, the attitude of the Byzantine authorities starts to make more sense as Mardaites were either Monothelite or Monophysite Christians. These branches of Christianity originated in the Levant.

    At best, the influence of the Roman Catholic church started only after 1082, when the Normans captured Durres. After the Normans, Venetians appear on the scene. It was the Roman Catholics who further popularized the term Albania, establishing Regnum Albanae.



    It was only during these centuries that Latin Christianity was introduced in Albania, and many eventually converted.

    Summary:
    - Settlement of Mardaites in Epirus, Peloponnese, and other Roman/Byzantine territories by the 9th century. The official authorities regard them as "heretics". Note: no mention of "Albanians" in the Balkans as of yet.
    - Expansion of Mardaites into adjacent territories. First appearance of Albanians in the 11th century. They appear as "heretics" or "half-believers" in various documents.
    - Use of terms Mardaites/Albanians/Arber etc. for the same ethnic community. "Albanians" ultimately popularized by the Venetians. Conversion of Albanians and/or Mardaites to Latin Christianity.

    PS: Demographic expansion and ethnic changes were quite common and frequent in the Balkans, even after the Slavic invasions. Re-settlements of entire peoples and tribes was conducted at will by despots and kings. The Byzantines were no different. If Albanians moving to the north and occupying present day Albania and other territories in such a short time period seems implausible, may I use Vojvodina as an example. After the Battle of Mohacs in 1526 the entire territory of Vojvodina was turned into a "desert". It was uninhabited and modern day historians estimate that 10000 people (tops) of various ethnicities lived in Vojvodina after 1526. Serbs, Hungarians, Germans and others started settling: the current population of Vojvodina is roughly 2 mil.

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    • Soldier of Macedon
      Senior Member
      • Sep 2008
      • 13675

      There is also a source (Michael Attaliates?) that apparently wrote of a people called 'Arbanitai' who were transplanted as mercenaries from Sicily to Albania by a rebel military commander called George Maniakos in 1042.
      I posted the above earlier as I have seen reference made to it several times. Here is a wiki link about the author:



      Michael Attaleiates or Attaliates was a Byzantine statesman and historian, probably a native of Attalia in Pamphylia, whence he seems to have come to Constantinople between 1030 and 1040. He acquired in the royal city both wealth and position and was rapidly advanced, under successive emperors, to the highest offices (patrikios, anthypatos, judge of the Hippodrome and the vēlon), among others to that of judge of the supreme court of the empire. He compiled (1072) for the Emperor Michael Parapinakes a compendium of Byzantine law which supplements in a useful way the Libri Basilici. In addition to this he also drew up an Ordinance for the Poor House and Monastery which he founded at Constantinople in 1077. This work is of value for the history of Byzantine life and manners in the eleventh century. It contains a catalogue of the library of his monastery. About 1079 or 1080 he published an account of Byzantine history from 1034 to 1079, a vivid and reliable presentation of the palace revolutions and female domination that characterize this period of transition from the great Macedonian dynasty to the Comneni.

      Attaliates writes as an eyewitness and contemporary. Because of this, his history is burdened with the usual Byzantine affectations. In one passage, when he talks about the emperor Romanos IV Diogenes, he makes it seem as though Botaniates– a potential candidate for the empress Eudokia Makrembolitissa's hand in marriage after the death of Constantine X Doukas, who was emperor while he was writing– should have succeeded to the throne. His judgment is also affected towards the emperor Romanos, who he regarded as a wronged soul. His writing style is in imitation of earlier Roman historians rather than Greek historians. An example of this is his reference to the senators, though like Nikephoros Gregoras he simply means the imperial officials.
      If anybody is able to get their hands on this author's 'Historia', post the relevant citations if they are present.
      Here the citation I found in wikipedia, sources listed at the bottom. This suggests that Albanians originated from some Italian region.
      Laonikos Chalkokondyles (c. 1423–1490), the Byzantine historian, thought that the Albanians hailed from Italy.[97] The theory has its origin in the first mention of Albanians, made by Attaliates (11th century): "...For when subsequent commanders made base and shameful plans and decisions, not only was the island lost to Byzantium, but also the greater part of the army. Unfortunately, the people who had once been our allies and who possessed the same rights as citizens and the same religion, i.e. the Albanians and the Latins, who live in the Italian regions of our Empire beyond Western Rome, quite suddenly became enemies when Michael Dokenianos insanely directed his command against their leaders..."[98]

      97.^ The Albanians, Henry Skene, Journal of the Ethnological Society of London (1848-1856)
      98.^ Michaelis Attaliotae: Historia, Bonn 1853, p. 8, 18, 297. Translated by Robert Elsie. First published in R. Elsie: Early Albania, a Reader of Historical Texts, 11th - 17th Centuries, Wiesbaden 2003, p. 4-5. http://books.google.com.au/books?id=...0Elsie&f=false
      In the name of the blood and the sun, the dagger and the gun, Christ protect this soldier, a lion and a Macedonian.

      Comment

      • Soldier of Macedon
        Senior Member
        • Sep 2008
        • 13675

        Here is some interesting information regarding the use of the 'plis' (the Greco-Latin name for the hat later used by Albanians and known by them as a 'qeleshe') from wikipedia:
        The pileus (from Greek πῖλος - pilos, also pilleus or pilleum in Latin) was a brimless, felt cap worn by sailors in Ancient Greece[1] and later copied by Ancient Rome. The Greek πιλίδιον (pilidion) and Latin pilleolus were smaller versions, similar to a skullcap.

        The pileus was especially associated with the manumission of slaves who wore it upon their liberation.[citation needed] It became emblematic of liberty and freedom from bondage.[citation needed] During the classic revival of the 18th and 19th centuries it was widely confused with the Phrygian cap which, in turn, appeared frequently on statuary and heraldic devices as a "liberty cap."[citation needed].

        GreeceThe pilos (Greek: πῖλος, felt[2]) was a common conical travelling hat in Ancient Greece. The pilos is the brimless version of the petasos. It could be made of felt or leather. Their pilos cap identifies the Dioscuri, Castor and Pollux, in sculptures, bas-reliefs and vase-paintings; their caps were already explained in Antiquity as the remnants of the egg from which they hatched.[3] The pilos appears on votive figurines of boys at the sanctuary of the kabeiri at Thebes, the Kabeirion.[4]

        In warfare, the pilos type helmet was often worn by the peltast light infantry, in conjunction with the exomis, but it was also worn by the heavy infantry .[5] The pilos cap was sometimes worn under the helmet by hoplites, but usually they preferred to not use a helmet along with the cap before the 5th century for reasons of mobility.

        The pilos helmet was made in the same shape as the original cap. It probably originated from Lakonia and was made from bronze. The pilos helmet was extensively adopted by the Spartan army in the fifth century BC and worn by them until the end of the Classical era.

        [edit] RomeIn Ancient Rome, a slave was freed by a master in a ceremony that included placing the pileus on the former slave’s shaved head. This was a form of extra-legal manumission (the manumissio minus justa) considered less legally sound than manumission in a court of law.

        One 19th century dictionary of classical antiquity states:

        Among the Romans the cap of felt was the emblem of liberty. When a slave obtained his freedom he had his head shaved, and wore instead of his hair an undyed pileus (πίλεον λευκόν, Diodorus Siculus Exc. Leg. 22 p. 625, ed. Wess.; Plaut. Amphit. I.1.306; Persius, V.82). Hence the phrase servos ad pileum vocare is a summons to liberty, by which slaves were frequently called upon to take up arms with a promise of liberty (Liv. XXIV.32). The figure of Liberty on some of the coins of Antoninus Pius, struck A.D. 145, holds this cap in the right hand.[6]
        In the name of the blood and the sun, the dagger and the gun, Christ protect this soldier, a lion and a Macedonian.

        Comment

        • Po-drum
          Junior Member
          • Mar 2009
          • 66

          Originally posted by Soldier of Macedon View Post
          Here is something about the Albanian language from wikipedia:

          Given that the language is first recorded in the 15th century, I would like to know how they came to the conclusion that the Tosk and Gheg dialects were already defined as seperate by the 6th century. There are some links to certain historians, but nothing goes into detail.
          My assumption is that this conclusion is done because of the diversity in the slavic loanwords in Gheg and Tosk dialects of albanian. If they weren't separated than we would expect in the biggest part this loanwords to be the same. It would be interesting to see the situation from this point of view with latin loanwords..
          But, however, we are speaking about a thousand years between 5-15 century for which period we don't know nothing about albanian.

          Originally posted by Soldier of Macedon View Post
          Here is some interesting information regarding the use of the 'plis' (the Greco-Latin name for the hat later used by Albanians and known by them as a 'qeleshe') from wikipedia:
          For me, it would be more interesting to find the possible etymology of "qeleshe".
          I doubt albanian "plis" is derived by "pileus". It's more close by form to slavic "plesha" which means bald, place without trees, flat. So we have today "плоча", "сплескан", "плесне', "Плеша" - only as topographic term..
          Last edited by Po-drum; 04-24-2012, 12:17 PM.
          Macedonia - my shoulders from ruins and skies

          Comment

          • Soldier of Macedon
            Senior Member
            • Sep 2008
            • 13675

            Originally posted by Po-drum View Post
            My assumption is that this conclusion is done because of the diversity in the slavic loanwords in Gheg and Tosk dialects of albanian. If they weren't separated than we would expect in the biggest part this loanwords to be the same.
            It's only natural that the northern Gheg dialect underwent more Slavic influences than the southern Tosk dialect. In either case, it does nothing to demonstrate that the dialect split took place prior to the 6th century. When it comes to the differences between Albanian dialects, rhotacism is quite telling. Both Gheg and Tosk dialects share the sound change l > r (similar to a western Indo-Iranian development, where laghu becomes raghu, zald become zar, etc), thus the Latin exonym 'Albania' which became prominent during the Norman invasion of the Balkans (via the eastern Adriatic coast) in the 11th century, became Arbania. This rhotic sound change is also evident in the Neapolitan dialect of Italy, spoken in many of the Italian regions conquered by the Normans prior to their invasion of the Balkans. Another example of rhotacism characterises one of the main differences between Gheg and Tosk, and that is the sound change n > r in the latter, so Arbania becomes Arberia in Tosk, whereas Gheg retained the original /n/. This sound change appears to be foreign to Balkan languages (both ancient and modern), but it does have a parallel in some Semitic languages, for example *bnu > ben > bar (son).
            It would be interesting to see the situation from this point of view with latin loanwords..
            I think both Gheg and Tosk share most of the same Latin loanwords, with the earliest and majority being of eastern Romance origin, supplemented by later western Romance vocabulary that isn't as numerous.
            I doubt albanian "plis" is derived by "pileus". It's more close by form to slavic "plesha" which means bald, place without trees, flat. So we have today "плоча", "сплескан", "плесне', "Плеша" - only as topographic term..
            Are there other examples of Slavic loans into Albanian which show the vowel change e > i (Plesh > Plis)?
            In the name of the blood and the sun, the dagger and the gun, Christ protect this soldier, a lion and a Macedonian.

            Comment

            • Po-drum
              Junior Member
              • Mar 2009
              • 66

              Originally posted by Soldier of Macedon View Post
              Are there other examples of Slavic loans into Albanian which show the vowel change e > i (Plesh > Plis)?
              I can't find many examples with similar development, except maybe
              Debar - Dibra.
              Macedonia - my shoulders from ruins and skies

              Comment

              • Soldier of Macedon
                Senior Member
                • Sep 2008
                • 13675

                Both Gheg and Tosk dialects share the sound change l > r (similar to a western Indo-Iranian development, where laghu becomes raghu, zald become zar, etc), thus the Latin exonym 'Albania' which became prominent during the Norman invasion of the Balkans (via the eastern Adriatic coast) in the 11th century, became Arbania. This rhotic sound change is also evident in the Neapolitan dialect of Italy, spoken in many of the Italian regions conquered by the Normans prior to their invasion of the Balkans.
                Something further to the above which is quite interesting. This is a sign written in the so-called 'Tsakonian' dialect of Greek. Notice that the word 'glossa' is instead written as 'groussa', which has the same rhotic sound change as Albanian. The same may also apply to the Albanian word for 'white', which is Barde < Balto (Blato after metathesis in Slavic languages).

                In the name of the blood and the sun, the dagger and the gun, Christ protect this soldier, a lion and a Macedonian.

                Comment

                • Po-drum
                  Junior Member
                  • Mar 2009
                  • 66

                  Originally posted by Soldier of Macedon View Post
                  The same may also apply to the Albanian word for 'white', which is Barde < Balto (Blato after metathesis in Slavic languages).
                  How do you mean "blato" is connected with "white"??
                  Maybe "bledo"? blato>bledo
                  Macedonia - my shoulders from ruins and skies

                  Comment

                  • Soldier of Macedon
                    Senior Member
                    • Sep 2008
                    • 13675

                    Originally posted by Po-drum View Post
                    How do you mean "blato" is connected with "white"?? Maybe "bledo"? blato>bledo
                    The Macedonian word blato (< balto) is said to have originally derived from PIE *bʰel, which means 'light' or 'bright'. Of course its meaning today (which is basically 'mud') is different due to a semantic shift which came about when aquatic elements began to be associated with colours that are found in swamps, seas, etc. Albanian also has 'balte' for 'mud', but this is a borrowing from Proto Slavic (pre metathesis) after the semantic shift took place. Here is a comparison with other IE languages:

                    - *bʰel (Proto Indo-European)
                    - balta (Illyrian)
                    - balto/bolto (Proto Slavic)
                    - baltas (Lithuanian)
                    - balts (Latvian)
                    - barde (Albanian)
                    - bhrga (Sanskrit)

                    The reason why I have made reference to the rhotic similarity (l > r) between Albanian and Indo-Iranian (which can be seen again with the Sanskrit example above) is because it is not improbable that the latter (via Iranian languages spoken by certain Scythian populations) influenced the former during some earlier stage of development. Furthermore, looking at the g in Sanskrit bhrga, it could have subsequently developed into a d in Albanian, hence barde. Although this is not a specific rule, it is common in Albanian for both voiced/aspirated and palatal/plain velars. See below examples:

                    *dʰǵʰōm (earth) became dh in Albanian.
                    *rsdʰo (barley) became drith in Albanian.
                    *ǵmbʰo (tooth) became dhmb in Albanian.
                    *glag (milk) became dhall in Albanian.
                    In the name of the blood and the sun, the dagger and the gun, Christ protect this soldier, a lion and a Macedonian.

                    Comment

                    • Po-drum
                      Junior Member
                      • Mar 2009
                      • 66

                      Originally posted by Soldier of Macedon View Post
                      Something further to the above which is quite interesting. This is a sign written in the so-called 'Tsakonian' dialect of Greek. Notice that the word 'glossa' is instead written as 'groussa', which has the same rhotic sound change as Albanian. The same may also apply to the Albanian word for 'white', which is Barde < Balto (Blato after metathesis in Slavic languages).

                      Is this rhotic sound change also characteristic for church-slavonic when compared with other languages, or this example is just exception..



                      &#8220;&#1053;&#1072;&#1079;&#1072;&#1083;&#1085;&#1080; &#1074;&#1086;&#1082;&#1072;&#1083;&#1085;&#1080; &#1079;&#1074;&#1091;&#1094;&#1080; &#1074;&#1086; &#1076;&#1077;&#1085;&#1077;&#1096;&#1085;&#1080;&#1090;&#1077; &#1084;&#1072;&#1082;&#1077;&#1076;&#1086;&#1085;&#1089;&#1082;&#1086;-&#1089;&#1083;&#1086;&#1074;&#1077;&#1085;&#1089;&#1082;&#1080; &#1080; &#1073;&#1091;&#1075;&#1072;&#1088;&#1089;&#1082;&#1080; &#1076;&#1080;&#1112;&#1072;&#1083;&#1077;&#1082;&#1090;&#1080;&#8220; &#1086;&#1076; &#1055;&#1077;&#1090;&#1072;&#1088; &#1044;&#1072;&#1085;&#1080;&#1083;&#1086;&#1074;&#1080;&#1095; &#1044;&#1088;&#1072;&#1075;&#1072;&#1085;&#1086;&#1074;(1857-1928), &#1088;&#1091;&#1089;&#1082;&#1080; &#1089;&#1083;&#1072;&#1074;&#1080;&#1089;&#1090; &#1086;&#1076; &#1073;&#1091;&#1075;&#1072;&#1088;&#1089;&#1082;&#1086; &#1087;&#1086;&#1090;&#1077;&#1082;&#1083;&#1086;. &#1058;&#1086;&#1112; &#1073;&#1080;&#1083; &#1087;&#1088;&#1086;&#1092;&#1077;&#1089;&#1086;&#1088; &#1074;&#1086; &#1073;&#1091;&#1075;&#1072;&#1088;&#1089;&#1082;&#1072;&#1090;&#1072; &#1077;&#1075;&#1079;&#1072;&#1088;&#1093;&#1080;&#1089;&#1082;&#1072; &#1075;&#1080;&#1084;&#1085;&#1072;&#1079;&#1080;&#1112;&#1072; &#1074;&#1086; &#1057;&#1086;&#1083;&#1091;&#1085;&#1079;&#1072; &#1090;&#1088;&#1080; &#1075;&#1086;&#1076;&#1080;&#1085;&#1080; (1885-1887). &#1053;&#1072;&#1087;&#1080;&#1096;&#1072;&#1083; &#1087;&#1086;&#1074;&#1077;&#1116;&#1077; &#1088;&#1072;&#1073;&#1086;&#1090;&#1080; &#1087;&#1086; &#1084;&#1072;&#1082;&#1077;&#1076;&#1086;&#1085;&#1080;&#1089;&#1090;&#1080;&#1082;&#1072;. "Nasal vowel sounds in present-day macedonian-slavic and bulgarian dialects" from Petar Danilovich Draganov (1857-1928), a Russian Slavist of Bulgarian origin. He was a professor in the Bulgarian Exarchate grammar-school in Salonica for three years (1885-1887). He wrote several works on Macedonistics.
                      Last edited by Po-drum; 06-03-2012, 08:17 AM.
                      Macedonia - my shoulders from ruins and skies

                      Comment

                      • Nexus
                        Junior Member
                        • Oct 2012
                        • 73

                        Personally i think that albanians have the right to search for their origins, like every nation in this world. They search for their "illyrian" origins, i have no problem with this. But look now, what's happen; they label now everything illyrian as albanian, that's why you can see " Oh no Alexander the Great was albanian, he speaks pure albanian ...". They must understand that the ancient illyrians, if they survived, have not become EXCLUSIVELY albanians, there are others nation who can also pretend an illyrian origin : the bosnians, the croats, the montenegrins, and the ... serbs ! "But it is impossible ! They are slavs !" ... They adopted a new mentality very similar to our friends the Greeks, they pretend to have pure genes, pure blood, pure heritage. Maybe i will say something that can shock, but i think if the Ottomans had not conquered the Balkans, the albanians peoples will not exist today. I know it's a extreme statement, but i think it has some truth ... I am not anti-albanian, and i am interested by their culture, history, they are my "neighbors", and if i am wrong, correct me and i will apologize . But i can't ignore the actual events, and the fact that extremists albanians claim macedonians territories, and we can't hide the fact that their ideas are very popular amongst the majority of the albanian people ...
                        Last edited by Nexus; 11-20-2012, 02:05 PM.

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                        • Nexus
                          Junior Member
                          • Oct 2012
                          • 73

                          I do not believe so much at the "bosnisized" or slavisized muslims albanians, or slavisized albanians who became the today's montenegrins. During the Ottoman time, i think that albanization was more common than slavicisation. The turkish empire has stopped the process of slavicisation and hellenization in the region. It was like a benediction for the albanian people because they has certainly faced extinction at the time. With the Ottoman empire, and their conversion to Islam, they have gained power and strengh. It explains also the expansion of the albanians people, and the beginning of an albanization. If theres are solid facts about a "slavisization" of albanians, then show me. (I am little bit disturbed now, i am 25 percent montenegrin and the idea that i can have albanian origins ... does not please me very much ).
                          Last edited by Nexus; 11-23-2012, 03:54 PM.

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                          • George S.
                            Senior Member
                            • Aug 2009
                            • 10116

                            i beleive in the theory that the albanians in albania have no connection with the illyrians in albania & that they originally came from asia minor where there was an albania there.The albanians emigrated from there in about 7century ad.Long time ago the illyrians seemed to cease to exist.Some think that the serbs & croats are the illyrian people.The albanians have got nothing to be proud of they used to be called the most backward people in europe because they shut themselves off europe for centuries.Their language reminds me of italian,they borrowed a lot of words from them.So they got nothing to be proud about there is nothing pure about them.Today's albanian have more slavic then you could poke a stick at.
                            "Ido not want an uprising of people that would leave me at the first failure, I want revolution with citizens able to bear all the temptations to a prolonged struggle, what, because of the fierce political conditions, will be our guide or cattle to the slaughterhouse"
                            GOTSE DELCEV

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                            • Chiche
                              Member
                              • Jul 2012
                              • 193

                              "Today's albanian have more slavic then you could poke a stick at."
                              Who are the 'Slavs', the term is used by many, they are as much a myth as the Albanians and Greeks.

                              Comment

                              • George S.
                                Senior Member
                                • Aug 2009
                                • 10116

                                Slav is a nother label they put on people.Supposedly slavs were from the caspian area towards russia.Different kinds of slavs were around.Originally all people came from mesopatamia.Some were from the sumerians.The point is the greeks,albanians are all slavs & just as much slav influence in macedonia.But the macedonians still exist & they are still macedonian.
                                "Ido not want an uprising of people that would leave me at the first failure, I want revolution with citizens able to bear all the temptations to a prolonged struggle, what, because of the fierce political conditions, will be our guide or cattle to the slaughterhouse"
                                GOTSE DELCEV

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