Origins of Albanian language and ethnos

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  • Carlin
    Senior Member
    • Dec 2011
    • 3332

    The Khurramites were settled in today's Albania.

    Source: "Byzantium and Its Army", By Warren Treadgold.
    Excerpt from page 32:

    "By 839 Theophilus roused himself to lead an army against the Khurramites, who promptly submitted. They agreed to let their company be divided into fifteen parts, which were incorporated into fifteen different themes and other districts. The fifteen units that received Khurramites included two new themes, Dyrrhachium in today's Albania and the Climata in the Crimea..."

    Khurramites


    Dyrrhachium (theme)


    The Theme of Dyrrhachium (Greek: θέμα Δυρραχίου) was a Byzantine military-civilian province (theme) located in modern Albania, covering the Adriatic coast of the country. It was established in the early 9th century and named after its capital, Dyrrhachium (modern Durrës).

    Comment

    • Carlin
      Senior Member
      • Dec 2011
      • 3332

      The Kruja-Komani culture
      Most scholars currently do not see the Kruja-Komani culture as an "indigenous Illyrian" culture and they certainly do not see it as an "early Albanian" culture.

      1) Florin Curta in his book "Southeastern Europe in the Middle Ages,500-1250" (Cambridge University Press,2006)writes:

      page 103:
      [...] with the so-called "Komani culture". Long viewed as the archaeological remains of the "first Albanians," the relatively numerous cemeteries of this group of finds point to a different interpretation. First, most of them are in the hinterland of Dyrrachium (present-day Durrës), a city that certainly remained in Byzantine hands throughout the entire period. Second, finds similar to those from burial assemblages turned up in at least two forts (Kruje and Sarda/Shurdhah) that were undoubtedly occupied at the time and controlled from Dyrrachium by the archontes of the city.

      pages 104-6:
      A number of grave goods found on the sites in Albania and the neighboring countries strongly suggest close contacts with Byzantium, possibly even the presence of speakers of Greek: belt buckles common for the Mediterranean area, both East and West; earrings with perforated pendants showing peacocks on either side of a tree; disc -and cross- brooches; finger-rings with dedicatory inscriptions in Greek. More over, two hoards of Byzantine drinking and washing silver vessels with Greek inscriptions, gold church candlesticks, and silver belt fittings were found in the vicinity of Dyrrachium, at Vrap and Erseke. Like burial assemblages in Istria, those of Albania are often, if not always, associated with stone-lined graves, sometimes with several internment phases and multiple skeletons. This may be, and was indeed interpreted as, an indication that each individual grave may have been used for several members of the same kin group, in itself an indication that the soldiers in the garrisons of forts in northern Albania lived there permanently together with their families. That this was indeed a population of soldiers is shown not only by the relatively large numbers of associated weapons, but also by the relatively large number of cemeteries, especially in Macedonia, located on or close to the main west-east artery across the Balkans, the Via Egnatia. Although this road was long believed to have been completely abandoned during the early Middle Ages, there is evidence that its central segment between Ohrid and Edessa/Vodena was repaired at some point during the eighth century. This is precisely the region with some of the most important cemeteries of the so-called "Komani culture" (Sv. Erazmo, Radolišta, Krušarski Rid, Goren Koyjak, and Viničani). The same is true for the segment of the Via Egnatia running close to the present-day Bulgarian-Greek border in southern Thrace, where a number of cemeteries have been found showing striking parallels with burial assemblages in Macedonia and Albania.

      On the other hand, a significant number of artifacts from both female and male burials -dress accessories, weapons, and belt findings- have good analogies in Late Avar graves, as well as in assemblages from the steppes north of the Black Sea. Much like in contemporary Hungary, the mortuary assemblages in Albania display a sharp gender and status differentiation, often expressed through a great wealth of grave goods. Late Avar belt strap ends and mounts are the direct analogies for the belt fittings founds in Vrap and Erseke, which seem to have been the source of inspiration for a wide variety of belt ornaments in Hungary and the neighboring regions. An eight-century source known as the Life of St. Pancratius may give some substance to the Avar connection revealed by these archaeological parallels.

      The apocryphal Life of the first bishop of Taormina was written around 700, shortly after the introduction of the thematic organization to Sicily (709/10). [...] Pancratius' mission of conversion is thus set against the background of the first Arab attacks on Sicily, in the late seventh or early eighth centuries. One of Pancratius' converts was a local warlord named Bonifatius. Portrayed as the commander of the Sicilian troops, Bonifatius is said to have led several campaigns against barbarians abroad. At one time, he is described as organizing a seaborne expedition into the regions of Dyrrachium and Athens. Upon returning to Sicily, he was confronted by St. Pancratius, who claimed that his prisoners looked like Christians. Bonifatius assured him they were Avars [...] Through the intermediary of a translator, the prisoners declared that they worshipped fire, water, and their own swords. [...] It is therefore possible to see "Avars" in the population burying their dead in the cemeteries of the so-called "Komani culture" of Albania.

      [...] Just how "Avars" could reach the central or western regions of the Balkans is shown in an episode of the second book of the Miracles of St. Demetrius. In c. 680/1, a conflict broke between the qagan of the Avars and a group of rebels led by a Bulgar named Kouber. The rebels were descendants of a group of captives brought to the Avar heartland from the Balkan raids of the early seventh century and settled in the environs of the former city of Sirmium. As a consequence, those following Kouber in rebellion called themselves Sermesianoi.

      Curta then continues with the story of the arrival of the Bulgars and Sermesiani in Pelagonia, led by Kouber and Mauros.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kouber http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mauros

      To them we must add the name of the village Vlasi Sremljane ("Vlachs from Sirmium/Srem") near Đakovica that appears in a 14th century Serbian document.



      So Florin Curta's assessment of the so-called "Kruje-Komani" culture is this:
      1) It was populated by soldiers who were ultimately controlled by Byzantine Dyrrachium.
      2) They belonged to a larger system of soldiers that were settled along Via Egnatia.
      3) The archaeological evidence of the "Kruje-Komani" culture shows an archaeological connection with the Avar world (and there are philological testimonies of the arrival in Albania and Pelagonia of migrants from the Avar world), whose upper echelons enjoyed Byzantine artefacts and possibly had even mastered the Greek language.


      Alexandru Madgearu gives his own assessment of the "Kruje-Komani" culture along with those of the Serbian Archaeologist Vladislav Popović Albanian archaeologist Etleva Nallbani and the British archaeologist William Bowden in pages 148-149 of his book "the Wars of the Balkan Peninsula: their medieval origins" (Scarecrow,2008):

      As concerns the Komani-Kruje culture, the situation is more complicated than Albanian historians believe. Serbian archaeologist Vladislav Popović supposed that this culture was created by a Roman and urban population, which cannot be identified with the Proto-Albanians. According to him, this culture belonged to the Roman population living along the Via Egnatia. This area remained until the seventh century-eighth centuries under a strong Byzantine influence. The area of this culture is nearly the same as that where Latin was spoken in antiquity (defined on the basis of inscriptions). The region was Romanized. On the other hand, in the same area many present place-names of Latin origin of known. It is therefore possible that the Komani-Kruje culture was the archaeological expression of a Roman, not Proto-Albanian, population.

      This theory was of course rejected by the official Albanian archaeologists, but their arguments are not convincing. They cannot explain the large amount of Byzantine and Christian objects in the environment of this culture. A pastoral population like the Albanians was not able to create a culture of Byzantine urban fashion. The assertion that Albanians developed an urban civilization in the early Middle Ages and that they peopled the late Roman fortified settlements is fanciful.
      In 2002, the young Albanian archaeologist Etleva Nallbani received from the Sorbonne her PhD for a dissertation entitled "La civilization de Komani de l'antiquitè tardive au haut Moyen Age: etude du mobilier mètallique" (not yet published). The main ideas were summarized in two short studies (one of them published in a Croatian scientific journal). She has abandoned the traditional theory put forward by Albanian archaeology, that the Komani-Kruje culture is Proto-Albanian. Instead, she emphasizes the integration in the Byzantine civilization and the urban roots of this civilization. This new approach is shared by British archaeologist William Bowden, who concludes that the archaeological evidence does not support a single ethnic identification.

      So the above scholars have all rejected the connection of the Kruja-Komani culture with the "Proto-Albanians", because of the urban characteristics that the culture displays which cannot have been produced by the pastoralist early Albanians.

      William Bowden's assessment of the Kruja-Komani culture and his critique of the Albanian nationalist interpretation is a whole chapter in this book, where he concludes that the "Kruja-Komani" culture is not "indigenous", but has all the trademarks of immigration from further north, and that of course, it cannot be connected with the early Albanians:

      Can ideas and approaches current in mainstream archaeology be made to work in the conservative world of classical archaeology? This volume seeks to explore theoretical frameworks, methodology and field practice suited to the late antique Mediterranean. Broad themes such as long-term change, topography, the economy and social life are covered, but in terms of specific issues and evidential problems currently being tackled by scholars of late antiquity. This book will be useful to students and researchers seeking to enrich their approaches to Mediterranean historical archaeology and to anyone wishing to possess an overview of the current state of late antique archaeology.


      I am simply providing note 10 in page 60, where he speaks of possible archaeological malpractice by the Albanian nationalists during the communist period.

      "There is some suggestion, that material recovered from the cemeteries that was perceived as "Slavic" was deliberately suppressed during the communist period, although the extent to which this occurred is impossible to quantify (E. Nallbani pers. comm.)"

      Link:
      Last edited by Carlin; 03-29-2016, 08:55 AM.

      Comment

      • Carlin
        Senior Member
        • Dec 2011
        • 3332

        The name "Arberesh" -



        Comment

        • tchaiku
          Member
          • Nov 2016
          • 786

          Originally posted by Carlin View Post
          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.

          The Albanians first appear in the historical record in Byzantine sources of the 11th century. At this point, they are already fully Christianized. All Albanians were Orthodox Christians until the middle of the 13th century when the Ghegs converted to Catholicism as a mean to resist the Slavs.[5][6][7]

          Leften Stavros Stavrianos (January 2000). The Balkans Since 1453. C. Hurst & Co. Publishers. p. 498. ISBN 978-1-85065-551-0. Retrieved 17 July 2013. Religious differences also existed before the coming of the Turks. Originally, all Albanians had belonged to the Eastern Orthodox Church... Then the Ghegs in the North adopted in order to better resist the pressure of Orthodox Serbs.

          Jump up ^ Hugh Chisholm (1910). Encyclopaedia britannica: a dictionary of arts, sciences, literature and general information. Encyclopaedia Britannica. p. 485. Retrieved 18 July 2013. The Roman Catholic Ghegs appear to liave abandoned the Eastern for the Western Church in the middle of the 13th century

          Jump up ^ Ramet, Sabrina P. (1989). Religion and Nationalism in Soviet and East European Politics. Duke University Press. p. 381. ISBN 0-8223-0891-6. Prior to the Turkish conquest, the ghegs (the chief tribal group in northern Albania) had found in Roman Catholicism a means of resisting the Slavs, and though Albanian Orthodoxy remained important among the tosks (the chief tribal group in southern)

          Comment

          • Carlin
            Senior Member
            • Dec 2011
            • 3332

            Originally posted by tchaiku View Post
            The Albanians first appear in the historical record in Byzantine sources of the 11th century. At this point, they are already fully Christianized. All Albanians were Orthodox Christians until the middle of the 13th century when the Ghegs converted to Catholicism as a mean to resist the Slavs.[5][6][7]

            Leften Stavros Stavrianos (January 2000). The Balkans Since 1453. C. Hurst & Co. Publishers. p. 498. ISBN 978-1-85065-551-0. Retrieved 17 July 2013. Religious differences also existed before the coming of the Turks. Originally, all Albanians had belonged to the Eastern Orthodox Church... Then the Ghegs in the North adopted in order to better resist the pressure of Orthodox Serbs.

            Jump up ^ Hugh Chisholm (1910). Encyclopaedia britannica: a dictionary of arts, sciences, literature and general information. Encyclopaedia Britannica. p. 485. Retrieved 18 July 2013. The Roman Catholic Ghegs appear to liave abandoned the Eastern for the Western Church in the middle of the 13th century

            Jump up ^ Ramet, Sabrina P. (1989). Religion and Nationalism in Soviet and East European Politics. Duke University Press. p. 381. ISBN 0-8223-0891-6. Prior to the Turkish conquest, the ghegs (the chief tribal group in northern Albania) had found in Roman Catholicism a means of resisting the Slavs, and though Albanian Orthodoxy remained important among the tosks (the chief tribal group in southern)
            Good day tchkaiku, and thanks for your reply. If all of what you wrote is correct and accurate, then how does one explain the following.

            Copy and paste from Wikipedia:
            What is possibly the earliest written reference to the Albanians is that to be found in an old Bulgarian text compiled around the beginning of the 11th century. It was discovered in a Serbian manuscript dated 1628 and was first published in 1934 by Radoslav Grujic. This fragment of a legend from the time of Tsar Samuel endeavours, in a catechismal 'question and answer' form, to explain the origins of peoples and languages. It divides the world into seventy-two languages and three religious categories: Orthodox, half-believers (i.e. non-Orthodox Christians) and non-believers. The Albanians find their place among the nations of half-believers. If the dating of Grujic is accepted, which is based primarily upon the contents of the text as a whole, this would be the earliest written document referring to the Albanians as a people or language group.

            Quote:

            It can be seen that there are various languages on earth. Of them, there are five Orthodox languages: Bulgarian, Greek, Syrian, Iberian (Georgian) and Russian. Three of these have Orthodox alphabets: Greek, Bulgarian and Iberian. There are twelve languages of half-believers: Alamanians, Franks, Magyars (Hungarians), Indians, Jacobites, Armenians, Saxons, Lechs (Poles), Arbanasi (Albanians), Croatians, Hizi, Germans.




            This is exactly what I meant by my statement that: "I always found it odd that Albanians appear in the Balkans as non-Orthodox Christians".

            It is a rather interesting piece of evidence and there may be a couple of possibilities here - but the curious thing is this:

            1) This document/quote LUMPS TOGETHER all Albanians into One category of half-believers (i.e. non-Orthodox Christians), at a time when - allegedly - there were many (most?) Albanians who were Orthodox Christians.

            2) It is possible that this document was written and composed later than it is assumed - perhaps at a time after significant portions of Albanians became Roman Catholics. As a result, these half-believer Albanians could have been Catholics, just like in the quote we have Magyars, Germans and others who were Catholics. BUT, in the quote itself we have such nations/groups listed such as the Armenians, Indians, and Jacobites who are non-Orthodox non-Catholic Christians. The author of the text clearly put all non-Orthodox Christians into one group of half-believers.

            As a result, we have no way of knowing or assuming that these half-believer Albanians were Catholics. We can't make that leap. But we know that the author lumped them into One category of half-believers, which means that they were not Orthodox Christians.

            As a result of this, I later on (in further comments I already posted on this forum) made the leap and connected these HALF-BELIEVER ARBANASI (ALBANIANS) with the medieval MARDAITES who were settled in large numbers in the Balkans, and who were originally HALF-BELIEVER Christians following either Miaphysitism or Monothelitism.

            Comment

            • tchaiku
              Member
              • Nov 2016
              • 786

              Carlin, here are some points.
              1)
              The DNA - some hundreds of Albanians have been tested. The result tells us that the majority of Albanians belong to EV-13 40-45% (Balkanic) haplogroup. If they were Levanite or Arabic in origin this would not happen. (Especially Ghegs)

              2)
              Orthodoxy - exists among Albanians. The majority of Slavic toponyms are more numerous in south were it was occupied and under control of Greco-Savic territory rather than in North. While the Ghegs are more isolated and thus Catholic. (Tosks came from Ghegs). Considering Orthodoxy and Catholicism being present in Albanians is mostly safe to assume the ''half believer'' refer to Orthodox/Catholic contrast. (?)
              3)
              Mirditor is not very similar as 'Mardaite'' (in spelling). The word is actually of foreign origin like Greek to ''Hellene'; the actually reference to that word is ''al-Jarājimah''. The word Mirditor is less meaningful than Parisian is to a French or Athenian to a Greek. The root of the word 'Mirditor' is from the location called Miredita; Mire meaning good, Dita meaning day while the person living on that zone is called Mirditor. Mirditor is not and never was a primary reference before Arbereshe/Shqiptar/Albanian.
              Last edited by tchaiku; 01-07-2017, 06:43 PM. Reason: Bad Grammar

              Comment

              • Soldier of Macedon
                Senior Member
                • Sep 2008
                • 13675

                Albanians have been know to use the term 'shqa' in a pejorative manner against people in the Balkans who speak 'Slavic' languages, particularly their neighbours. They may have borrowed it from Aromanian (Vlach) 'shcljau' or Romanian 'șchiau', ultimately from Latin 'sclavus'. Albanians in Greece use a similar word, 'shkljira', to refer to Greeks. It's been suggested that this term developed a general meaning of 'foreigner', but I am not aware of Albanians using it to refer to Roma, Vlachs and Turks, who also lived near or among them. Albanians apparently started moving into Attica and Morea from the 13th and 14th centuries. I haven't looked into this much further, just wanted to explore the possibility if, when they arrived, some of their new neighbours were initially speaking 'Slavic' languages, hence the reason why they continued to use the term.
                In the name of the blood and the sun, the dagger and the gun, Christ protect this soldier, a lion and a Macedonian.

                Comment

                • Carlin
                  Senior Member
                  • Dec 2011
                  • 3332

                  Originally posted by Soldier of Macedon View Post
                  Albanians have been know to use the term 'shqa' in a pejorative manner against people in the Balkans who speak 'Slavic' languages, particularly their neighbours. They may have borrowed it from Aromanian (Vlach) 'shcljau' or Romanian 'șchiau', ultimately from Latin 'sclavus'. Albanians in Greece use a similar word, 'shkljira', to refer to Greeks. It's been suggested that this term developed a general meaning of 'foreigner', but I am not aware of Albanians using it to refer to Roma, Vlachs and Turks, who also lived near or among them. Albanians apparently started moving into Attica and Morea from the 13th and 14th centuries. I haven't looked into this much further, just wanted to explore the possibility if, when they arrived, some of their new neighbours were initially speaking 'Slavic' languages, hence the reason why they continued to use the term.
                  It is possible this happened in Epirus. Apparently, at some point in the middle ages, there were still 'Slavic' speakers there.

                  Unrelated, but not sure if I ever shared the following.

                  The position of Albanian by Eric Hamp

                  Comment

                  • Carlin
                    Senior Member
                    • Dec 2011
                    • 3332

                    (Not endorsing the following fully, simply sharing what I found online. Not sure if this is the right place to put it.)

                    Nicholas Hammond

                    In 1204 the Franks of the Fourth Crusade and the Venetians sacked Constantinople and began to divide up the provinces of the Byzantine Empire among themselves. A period of chaos ensued, during which several small principalities were established in the southwest Balkans. The only one which upheld the Greek tradition was that of the Angeli. the rulers of Epirus from 1206 to 1260, and they had to contend with the Albanian principality of Demetrios and Ghin, the Serbian principality of the Nemanja and Uros families, the kingdom of Thessalonica, and the rival Byzantine principality of Nicaea, quite apart from raids delivered from the west on the coast of Epirus. It was in this period that the flow of immigrants from the northwestern area began. It became a flood in the fourteenth century. They went as mercenaries, raiders and migrants. The great majority of them were speakers of Albanian, but others joined the movement. When they wanted to leave Thessaly and go elsewhere, many others appeared with their wives and children ("multicum uxoribus et filiis") and their combined forces proceeded to wreck other parts of Thessaly. John Cantacuzenus 1.495 described their raids on the west side of the peninsula in 1335: "The Albanoi who inhabit the area of Balagrita [Berat] and Kanina [inland of Valona], being adaptable to change and by nature revolutionary, ravaged and plundered … and oppressed the towns there with their brigandage and open raids".

                    The Byzantine rulers had recourse to two methods of treating these raiders The Emperor Andronicus III gave land to 12,000 Vlach-speaking raiders who submitted to him in Thessaly. ‘The Great Domestic', John Cantacuzenus, carried out a campaign against the Albanian-speaking tribes in 1335. "As the Albanians inhabited great mountain ranges which were difficult of access and had many retreats and hiding-places, they could not easily be injured by the cavalry." For this reason, light armed infantry and archers were recruited in Asia and took part in the campaign (Cantacuzenus 1.495). Even so the Albanians were not destroyed, for they withdrew into the mountains and beat off their attackers from above. However, the Emperor advanced from Thessaly to Dyrrachium and took spoil to the amount of 300,000 cattle, 5,000 horses and 1,200,000 sheep. But the Albanian raids continued and Acarnania was laid waste, in 1341 the Emperor attacked the offending Albanians "around Pogoniane and Libisda" (Lidizda), i.e. in the central part of northern Epirus; (20) and then in 1355 he campaigned from Thessaly as far south as Aetolia and Acarnania and was killed in action (Cantacuzenus 3.319). These campaigns did not stop the flood. Albanians were serving as mercenaries in the Peloponnese c. 1350, and they and their families were given land there to cultivate.

                    In 1358 the Albanians overran Epirus, Acarnania and Aetolia, and established two principalities under their leaders, John Spatas (shpate in Albanian meaning a sword) and Peter Leosas (lios in Albanian meaning a pockmark), Naupactus fell into their control in 1378. The cities which held out against them, especially loannina and Arta, were ravaged by a series of plagues, and Thomas, the Serbian Despot of loannina, saved himself at first by making marriage alliances with the two Albanian leaders. In the Greek account of the Albanian advance under Peter Leosas we learn that he was accompanied by "Mazarakii and Malakasei of his own race" (Epeirotica 2.220; cf. 222 f.), (21) While Mazaraki is in central Epirus by the river Kalamas, Malakasa is the coastal plain of central Albania farther north and the words ‘of his own race' were used to distinguish the Albanian-speaking Malakasaei from the Vlach-speaking Malakasii. It is clear that Thomas feared the Albanians above all. Whereas he mutilated the Bulgars and the Vlachs, he allowed most of his Albanian prisoners to be ransomed. Atrocities were committed no doubt by both sides, and Thomas came to be called Albanitoktonos (Albanian-killer; Epeirotica 2.225). In 1380 Thomas brought in the Turks as allies and passed to the offensive, but he did not advance farther than the basin of the upper Kalamas, where he took Vela (by Vrondismeni), Boursina (Vrousina), and Kretzounista (Dhespotikon) (21). The Albanians and in particular the Mazarakii of the Kalamas valley held firm against him. In 1385 he was assassinated by some of his own bodyguards (Epeirotica 2.230).

                    Other bands of Albanians and Vlachs invaded the Catalan principality of Boeotia and Attica, and a great many Albanians settled there as peasant-farmers in 1368 and later years. Around the end of that century a migrating group of 10,000 Albanians with their families and their animals came from pastures in central Greece to the Isthmus of Corinth and sought entry to the Peloponnese. This was granted by Theodore, who settled them within his own domains, where he used them as tough soldiers and "expert cultivators" (Manuel II, Funeral Speech, p. 40). Albanians and others were invited in 1402 to settle on uncultivated but cultivable lands in Euboea, if they were willing to serve as soldiers in defence of the island and work the soil. The proclamation of the Venetian rulers was extended to "quilibet Albanensis vel alia gens qui non sint no&tri subditi, qui cum equis volent venire et venient ad habitandum’ (23). By the middle of the fifteenth century the Albanians in the Peloponnese were so numerous that they tried to seize control, led first by one Peter the Lame, and then by a Greek, a member of the Cantacuzenus family, but their attempt failed.

                    The penetration of the Greek mainland which we have described occurred during the hundred or more years after 1325. The opportunity arose through the decline and disruption of the Byzantine Empire and the wars which followed between the various small principalities of Greeks, Serbs, Catalans, Venetians and others. One of the pressures which set the Albanians and others in motion came from the expanding power of the Serbs which reached its peak under the rule of Stephen Dusan (1331-1355), who subjugated Epirus and Acarnania. A contributory factor seems to have been overpopulation among the Albanians (24) - always a prolific people and underpopulation in mainland Greece as a result of internal collapse and foreign intervention. The strongest single group of invaders was that of the Vlachs which pressed down into Thessaly and opened the way there for the Albanians. But the most numerous by far were the Albanian-speakers, and their main line of invasion and penetration was down the western side of northern and central Greece.

                    Once in possession of most of north-western Greece, the Albanians opened the way for other immigrants. Offshoots of Albanians and Vlachs entered Boeotia, Attica and Euboea, having probably come from summer pastures on Mt Parnassus and from southern Aetolia; and other groups of Albanians forced an entry or gained an invitation of entry into the Peloponnese, sometimes crossing over the western part of the Gulf of Corinth and sometimes coming to the Isthmus of Corinth. When 10,000 Albanians came to the Isthmus of Corinth, they brought not only their families but also their flocks of animals. The Albanians in the Peloponnese took their herds in the winter to the coastal plain of Elis, “which was open to the sun, near the sea, had good grazing and was deserted by men (i.e. by the Greeks)"; and these herds consisted of "very many herds of horses, very many of cattle, most of sheep and most of pig"(29). Such Albanians as these—and they were evidently the majority - were described by Laonicus Chalcocondylas (406) as follows: "This race are all nomads, and do not make their stay for long in any one place" they were, then, transhumant pastoralists without fixed abodes or villages. But there were many others who wanted to cultivate the land and were given land by the Venetians and the Greeks, because they were such hard-working and expert cultivators. When Manuel Cantacuzenus, Despot of Mistra in the Peloponnese, took over "all Albania," he deported two groups of Albanians and settled them, one near Constantinople and the other in the Peloponnese, the latter "a great number" (30). The Albanians were acceptable to the Greek, Catalan or Venetian overlords, as the case might be, because they were capable of reviving agriculture in derelict areas.

                    In the eyes of the Greeks/ the Albanians and those associated with them were fine hunters, (31) excellent horsemen and redoubtable warriors. As has been said by Joseph Campbell, "by and large hunting people are warrior people; and not only that, but many are exhilarated by battle and turn warfare into exercises in bravura"(32). These were the ancestors of the Souliote warriors, whom Byron admired so much in the Greek War of Independence. In the fourteenth century they were feared and hated in northern Greece, but they were hired as mercenaries or attracted as settlers by the rulers of the principalities in the Peloponnese and central Greece and Thessaly. The most warlike of the Albanians were those described by the Greeks as living in great mountainous areas, that is those engaged in pastoralism with the transhumance of sheep. They were certainly illiterate, but they were tightly organised in tribal units with a patriarchal system of leadership. The leaders were evidently very capable men, possessing wide powers over their followers, and 'John the Sword', 'Peter the Pockmark' and 'Peter the Lame' led very large armies of Albanian warriors with success. When they were hired as mercenaries, they came not as individuals but as organised bands, sometimes accompanied by their families and animals. The hope of their employers was that the Albanians would "come with their horses" and fulfil their obligations "to maintain their horses, garrison the forts and obey orders (34)". It was these cavalrymen, with their entourage, who were the leaders. The rank and file fought on foot.

                    With the capture of Ioannina by the Turks in 1430. The role of the Albanians changed very little. The Albanians of Kruje, Mati and Dibra, i.e. of the areas north of the Shkumbi river, fought heroically against the Turks until the death of their leader, Skanderbeg, in 1467 and indeed after it, but unavailingly. The Albanians of the Peloponnese participated in a rising against the Turks in 1459. On the other hand the Turks were soon employing the Albanians as mercenaries and encouraging them to settle in the devastated areas not only of the Greek mainland but also in some of the Aegean islands. So the process of infiltration and expansion continued under Turkish rule. By 1687, for instance, almost all the population of Euboea was Albanian, (35) the Greeks having fled in 1471.

                    Piracy had led to impoverishment and depopulation in the islands during the late Byzantine period, and Albanians moved in as occasion arose. Thus they were brought to Andros (sic Salamis?) in the Saronic Gulf c. 1600 to cultivate the land; they went from Troezen to Hydra in 1580, and other settlers arrived from Parga, Souli, Valona, Euboea and Cythnos in the seventeenth century. Other groups went to Samos, Psara and Casos, many of the settlers being from western Epirus, Euboea and Thessaly. Yet other groups entered Andros, Ios, Cythnos and Ceos among the Cyclades and Scopelos in the Northern Sporades. They became excellent seamen, winning distinction in the Greek War of Independence and raising Hydra and Spetsae to a leading position in the carrying trade of the Aegean basin. Groups of soldiers were employed far afield: in Cyprus, for instance, in Byzantine times, and for some 250 years in Crete during the Turkish period.

                    One Albanian leader, 'Ali the Lion', emulated the achievements of 'John the Sword' and 'Peter the Pockmark' when he established himself as Ali Pasha, independent ruler of Ioannina. He and his Albanian soldiers, recruited mainly from his homeland in the Kurvelesh and the Drin valley of North Epirus, controlled the whole of Epirus and carried their raids far into western Macedonia and Thessaly. As we have seen, they destroyed the Vlach settlements in the lakeland and weakened those farther south. After the assassination of Ali Pasha in 1822 sporadic raids by bands of Albanians were a feature of life in northern Greece until the liberation or 1912-13.

                    The Albanian language persisted in Greece with full vigour into the 1930s. When Perachora on the Isthmus of Corinth was being excavated, all the workmen spoke Albanian; and I visited Albanian-speaking villages in Boeotia, Attica, Argolis and Epidaurus in the 1930s. Albanian gave way to Greek when the conditions of life changed through the introduction of universal education, military conscription, organised commerce and more mobility of population. In the islands change came sooner; and there Albanian receded in the nineteenth century. It is likely that Albanian will give way to Greek altogether under the conditions of the present half-century.
                    Last edited by Carlin; 01-21-2017, 10:44 PM.

                    Comment

                    • tchaiku
                      Member
                      • Nov 2016
                      • 786

                      I am objective. My belief is that Albanians are Latinized Dacians that were separated from Vlachs many hundreds years ago.

                      History and description of Haplogroup E1b1b (Y-chromosomal DNA) and its subclades. Haplogroup E1b1b is the main paternal lineage of North Africa. It is linked to the diffusion of Afro-Asiatic languages and of Neolithic farmers from the Near East and the Balkans.


                      Comment

                      • Soldier of Macedon
                        Senior Member
                        • Sep 2008
                        • 13675

                        Originally posted by Carlin View Post
                        It is possible this happened in Epirus. Apparently, at some point in the middle ages, there were still 'Slavic' speakers there.
                        Arvanites moved much further south than just Epirus and it is not unrealistic to suggest that even in those places there were people speaking 'Slavic' languages.
                        Originally posted by tchaiku
                        My belief is that Albanians are Latinized Dacians that were separated from Vlachs many hundreds years ago.
                        The Albanian and Romanian languages share a number of similarities. But on what do you base the belief that Albanians descend from Dacians?
                        In the name of the blood and the sun, the dagger and the gun, Christ protect this soldier, a lion and a Macedonian.

                        Comment

                        • Carlin
                          Senior Member
                          • Dec 2011
                          • 3332

                          Originally Posted by tchaiku -
                          My belief is that Albanians are Latinized Dacians that were separated from Vlachs many hundreds years ago.

                          This must be an error.
                          If not --- how are Albanians Latinized Dacians?

                          (If Albanians are Latinized Dacians, what are Vlachs and/or Romanians?)

                          Comment

                          • tchaiku
                            Member
                            • Nov 2016
                            • 786

                            It is an error. Anyways for your question:

                            A good amount of the non-Latin features present in Romanian language have their correspondence in Albanian, not only concerning lexicon but also structure, phraseology and idioms. These characteristics belong to two linguistic periods: the substratum, that is the language spoken by the Vlach before their Romanization ‒which may be the same of Albanian or a similar language‒, and the subsequent close contact between both peoples throughout a long period, mainly regarding their common life-style as shepherds.
                            Since the controversy about the origin of Albanians is presented by two main theories, one proposing the Illyrian stem and the other the Thracian stem, the advocates of the Daco-Roman myth vehemently support the second possibility, as they cannot deny the strong links between the Vlach and the Albanian peoples in early times. It is not our task to discuss about the origin of Albanians here, and in any case it is irrelevant whether one or the other theory is the right one, because the whole complex of proofs point out in a definitive manner to the area of present-day Albania and surrounding territory as the birthplace of the early Romanians and not the eastern side of the Balkans ‒ even if the Albanians would not be autochthonous but coming from any other place, it is in the area they live today where both peoples met and not elsewhere. A further factor is that there is not any historical record attesting any hypothetic migration of Albanians from Dacia (and there is not any vestige of their presence in that land), while there are many documents proving that the Vlach people lived since the early centuries by the southern Adriatic coastland ‒even before the Roman occupation of Dacia!‒ and as a matter of fact, there are still historic Romanian communities (Aromanians) living there.
                            Linguistic research has determined that most of the words shared by Romanian and Albanian are not loans from one tongue to the other but have a common origin in the substratum, before than these two languages began to be distinguished from each other. Romanian terms that are similar to Albanian mainly regard primary elements like body parts, names of animals and plants, and words specifically related with the pastoral life. It is significant that such vocabulary in Romanian is not found in Slavic or any other language spoken in the Balkans but only in Albanian. Another interesting fact concerns the very name of the capital city of Romania: Bucureşti, a word that is similar to the Albanian term "bukurisht", having the same meaning.
                            While the Vlach people were thoroughly Latinized, Albanian language has also received the influence of Latin since early times. A common territory and life-style shared by both peoples have produced the same semantic changes in both languages: a considerable number of Latin terms have undergone identical changes of meaning without parallel in any other tongue, and they cannot have happened just by chance or by any logical reason except because both peoples were living in a common environment and in the same territory.
                            Among the unusual features present in Romanian that are explainable by a comparison with Albanian we find also the definite article, that in Classic Latin precedes the noun but is enclitic in Romanian and follows the same patterns as in Albanian, and the personal pronoun in accusative case, that contains the suffix ~ne, exactly like in Albanian.


                            The Romanian language shows evidence of having been originated from a substratum that shares in common with Albanian, spoken in Southern Illyria. A branch of the Vlach people still inhabits in that original homeland.



                            The true origin of Romanians, according to historic evidences.

                            Comment

                            • Carlin
                              Senior Member
                              • Dec 2011
                              • 3332

                              E X A C T quotes from Book I of Laonicus Chalcondyles:

                              1)
                              "As far as one may infer, the Serbs may well be an Illyrian people, given where they came from before they acquired dominion over Europe. They thus came to Skopje from the lands to the west, by the Adratic Sea, speak a language similar to that of the Illyrians. The Illyrian people is populous and has spread far and wide along the Adriatic Sea, as far as the Venetians. It would, then, not be difficult to infer that it was from them that the Serbs came to be dispersed across Europe. Even today both of them speak the same language and have the same customs and way of life, so that those who venture an opinion about the Illyrians would be wrong were they to say that they are the present-day Albanians. I do not accept the premise of the argument, that the Albanians are an Illyrian people."

                              2)
                              "But I know that Serbs, Bulgarians, Illyrians (meaning Bosnians), Croatians, Poles, and Russians speak one and the same language. So if we must draw a conclusion from this evidence, it would be that they are all one and the same people, being of the same race."

                              3)
                              "The Illyrian race is ancient and lives by the Adriatic Sea, and they are mentioned as flourishing in many places. Today they are called Bosnians. But the Dalmatians, Bulgarians, Serbs, and Russians speak the same language as they do ............. But I am amazed at those who propose that the Illyrians are the Albanians by arguing that the Illyrians by the inner gulf of the Adriatic Sea moved to Epeiros, Aitolia, and Thessaly."
                              Last edited by Carlin; 02-06-2017, 11:18 PM.

                              Comment

                              • Carlin
                                Senior Member
                                • Dec 2011
                                • 3332

                                Originally posted by tchaiku View Post
                                It is an error. Anyways for your question:

                                A good amount of the non-Latin features present in Romanian language have their correspondence in Albanian, not only concerning lexicon but also structure, phraseology and idioms. These characteristics belong to two linguistic periods: the substratum, that is the language spoken by the Vlach before their Romanization ‒which may be the same of Albanian or a similar language‒, and the subsequent close contact between both peoples throughout a long period, mainly regarding their common life-style as shepherds.
                                Since the controversy about the origin of Albanians is presented by two main theories, one proposing the Illyrian stem and the other the Thracian stem, the advocates of the Daco-Roman myth vehemently support the second possibility, as they cannot deny the strong links between the Vlach and the Albanian peoples in early times. It is not our task to discuss about the origin of Albanians here, and in any case it is irrelevant whether one or the other theory is the right one, because the whole complex of proofs point out in a definitive manner to the area of present-day Albania and surrounding territory as the birthplace of the early Romanians and not the eastern side of the Balkans ‒ even if the Albanians would not be autochthonous but coming from any other place, it is in the area they live today where both peoples met and not elsewhere. A further factor is that there is not any historical record attesting any hypothetic migration of Albanians from Dacia (and there is not any vestige of their presence in that land), while there are many documents proving that the Vlach people lived since the early centuries by the southern Adriatic coastland ‒even before the Roman occupation of Dacia!‒ and as a matter of fact, there are still historic Romanian communities (Aromanians) living there.
                                Linguistic research has determined that most of the words shared by Romanian and Albanian are not loans from one tongue to the other but have a common origin in the substratum, before than these two languages began to be distinguished from each other. Romanian terms that are similar to Albanian mainly regard primary elements like body parts, names of animals and plants, and words specifically related with the pastoral life. It is significant that such vocabulary in Romanian is not found in Slavic or any other language spoken in the Balkans but only in Albanian. Another interesting fact concerns the very name of the capital city of Romania: Bucureşti, a word that is similar to the Albanian term "bukurisht", having the same meaning.
                                While the Vlach people were thoroughly Latinized, Albanian language has also received the influence of Latin since early times. A common territory and life-style shared by both peoples have produced the same semantic changes in both languages: a considerable number of Latin terms have undergone identical changes of meaning without parallel in any other tongue, and they cannot have happened just by chance or by any logical reason except because both peoples were living in a common environment and in the same territory.
                                Among the unusual features present in Romanian that are explainable by a comparison with Albanian we find also the definite article, that in Classic Latin precedes the noun but is enclitic in Romanian and follows the same patterns as in Albanian, and the personal pronoun in accusative case, that contains the suffix ~ne, exactly like in Albanian.


                                The Romanian language shows evidence of having been originated from a substratum that shares in common with Albanian, spoken in Southern Illyria. A branch of the Vlach people still inhabits in that original homeland.



                                http://www.imninalu.net/myths-Vlach.htm
                                Thanks - I don't necessarily share your opinion, but it is a working hypothesis with most pieces and proofs missing or lacking. Most linguists and experts still struggle with it due to scarcity of sources and data.

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