Origins of Albanian language and ethnos

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  • Carlin
    Senior Member
    • Dec 2011
    • 3332



    Mardaite soldiers were a significant factor in Byzantine-Arab relations in the border areas in the east of the Empire during the 7th century. Centuries later - in the late ninth and first half of the tenth century - they represented an important part of the Roman naval forces in Asia Minor and the Balkans; sources mention them as sailors in the theme of Kivireot and in the western themes of the Peloponnese, Nicopolis and Kefalonia.

    Their relocation from the eastern border is a consequence of the treaty of Emperor Justinian II with the Arabs; historians, however, did not provide an answer to the question of when colonization was carried out in the three mentioned topics in the west. It is unlikely that the Mardaites moved to the west at the end of the 7th century - when an agreement was made between Caliph Abimelech and Emperor Justinian II - because Constantinople did not have firm rule in the Peloponnese and Epirus at that time. It is hard to believe, then, that at that time, in parallel with the colonization of Mardait into the Kivireot theme, some of them were moved to the Balkans. The rule of Byzantium in the Peloponnese was established a whole century after the conclusion of the mentioned agreement, more precisely after Stavraki's campaign in 783. Therefore, the time of the settlement of the Mardait garrison in the southern Balkans should be sought in the interval between 783 and 877/878. year, when the Peloponnesian Mardaites first appear. Consequently, it can be concluded that the Mardait colonists came to the Balkans, not from Syria and Lebanon, but from Ataleia in the Kivireot theme, where they lived from the end of the 7th century, forming part of a special military-administrative unit headed by Katepan. Although there are no original data that explicitly speak about the colonization of Mardaites in the Peloponnese, some sources, such as the Monemvasia Chronicle, provide information on colonization measures that could be indirectly linked to the Mardaite migration.

    The author of the mentioned chronicle talks about the immigration of, among others, Thracians, Armenians and certain Kafirs to the area of ​​the Peloponnesian theme in the time of Emperor Nichifor I. Peter Charanis believes that the mysterious Kafirs were, in fact, inhabitants of the Kivireot theme, assuming that writing about these events, he had before him information about the settlers, whereby those from the subject of Kivireot in the template are listed in abbreviated form as Kiviri (Κιβυρρ / Κοιβαιρ), which the chronicler mistranslated as Kafiri. Bearing in mind that in the quoted section of the Monemvasia Chronicle, the infidels are listed on a par with the Thracians, who were inhabitants of the Thracian theme, as well as the Armenians, probably members of the Armenian theme, Haranis's interpretation seems to be correct. In that case, it is about the topic of Kivireot. Among the Kivireots who were relocated at that time, there could certainly have been Atalean Mardaites. Therefore, it can be assumed that it was Emperor Nichifor I who was responsible for the relocation of the Mardaites of Asia Minor to the Balkans. Their settlement could have aimed at strengthening Byzantine rule and overpowering the Slavic ethnic element, at a time when a new theme was being formed in the Peloponnese. The mentioned emperor, by the way, undertook extensive colonizing measures throughout the Empire. On the other hand, the settlement in the remaining two topics in the west - Nikopol and Kefalonia - was carried out somewhat later than in the Peloponnese, since the first mention of Nikopol and Kefalonian Mardaites is related to events in the first half of the 10th century. Their relocation was realized as part of the strengthening of the Byzantine positions in the Ionian Sea after the battles with the Arabs in that area around 880. The Mardaite migration in Epirus probably took place in parallel with the formation of the Nikopol theme, in order to strengthen its recruiting potential. Western-themed Mardaites functioned in units under the leadership of the Turmarch. In each of the three mentioned themes in the Balkans, there was one Mardaite prison, similar to the model of Persian ethnic prisons that were distributed in themes throughout the Empire during the 9th century. Similar to their military-administrative structure, other ethnic prisons stationed in various Roman themes functioned, such as the prisons of the Goths, Bulgarians or Evidits.
    Last edited by Carlin; 07-31-2020, 05:42 PM.


    • Carlin
      Senior Member
      • Dec 2011
      • 3332

      viii.11.2. Albanians

      The lack of close linguistic relationship of Albanian with Illyrian, the lack of Proto-Albanian toponymy in Illyria, and the absence of indigenous sea-faring terminology in the reconstructed language (borrowing corresponding words from Romance or Greek) make it likely that Albanians were unrelated to the ancient Illyrians. It has been proposed that they came from further north, with the settling of Proto-Albanians believed to be in Dacia Ripensis and farther north, in the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains and the Beskidy/Bieszczady (possibly a toponym of Albanian origin), with the migration to Illyria via the eastern slopes of the Balkans taking place before (but not much earlier than) their contact with Romance speakers and the end of the Proto-Albanian period (Orel 1998).

      The diversity of haplogroups among modern Albanians reflect their complex ethnogenesis (Peričić et al. 2005; Battaglia et al. 2008): An origin of the Albanoid homeland close to the north-west Pontic region during the Iron Age, before their expansion and subsequent Y-DNA bottlenecks, is supported by the prevalent E1b1b1a1b1-L618 lineages (ca. 24–44%)—mainly V13+ (formed ca. 6100 BC, TMRCA ca. 2800 BC)—a haplogroup found previously in Neolithic Hungary and among Scythians of the north-west Pontic area, with a likely origin in early European farmers; and by hg. R1b1a1b2-M269 (ca. 18–20%), mainly R1b1a1b1b3a1a1c-Y10789 with Z2705+ (formed ca. 700 BC, TMRCA ca. AD 550), a subclade of R1b1a1b1b-Z2103. Their close contact with other Palaeo-Balkan groups, probably through mixture with local peoples of the Balkan and Adriatic regions after their migration from the Carpathians, possibly as early as the 7th century BC (Witczak 2016), is to be inferred from the presence (ca. 15–17%) of J2b2a1-L283 lineages (formed ca. 7700 BC, TMRCA ca. 3400 BC), proper of Balkan populations; but also possibly from hg. R1b1a1b2-PF7562 (ca. 5%)[31], an early offshoot of R1b1a1b2-M269, associated directly or indirectly to the Yamna expansion to the west (see vi.1. Disintegrating Indo-Europeans).

      A lot of speculation in the second paragraph, especially around the following (i.e. 'probably', 'possibly'):

      "Their close contact with other Palaeo-Balkan groups, probably through mixture with local peoples of the Balkan and Adriatic regions after their migration from the Carpathians, possibly as early as the 7th century BC (Witczak 2016)"

      PS: Beskidy/Bieszczady toponym

      "Hypothesized to be derived from Latin *pastica, from pastus,[1] but unlikely because of unsolved phonetic difficulties. More likely from *bjershk, a derivative of bie (“to fall”) (see pjeshk < *pjershk < Latin persica). The term could be the source or related to the oronym Beskidy mountains.[2] Orel also claims it to be from Proto-Albanian *beškā, contradicting his derivation from Latin pastus.[3]"
      Last edited by Carlin; 08-04-2020, 08:35 PM.


      • Carlin
        Senior Member
        • Dec 2011
        • 3332

        Fascinating - Albanians of Montenegrin origin


        • Risto the Great
          Senior Member
          • Sep 2008
          • 15660

          Interesting indeed.
          And the last image is quite significant in my opinion. At footnote 19, the desire to keep the daughters as Christians is a clear message about keeping the true identity alive. Becoming Muslim was purely business for the men, but the real identity was preserved in the women. Fascinating.
          Risto the Great
          "Holding my breath for the revolution."

          Hey, I wrote a bestseller. Check it out:


          • Carlin
            Senior Member
            • Dec 2011
            • 3332

            From the 10th century - Suidae Lexicon testifies:

            Αλβανοι: ονομα εθνους Γαλατων. τουτων φασι την γην ευδαιμονα και καρπους ενενκειν ουσαν αγαθην, οινον ἡδυν και πολυν εχουσαν.

            Albanians: the name of Gallic people. They say that the land of this people is rich and good for agriculture, as well as that it brings sweet wine in large quantities.


            Wikipedia article:

            PS - The existence of Celtic words, isoglosses, in the Albanian language was first stated by the scholar Vincenc Dorsa, who relied on Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716), who literally said: "That the Illyrians (= Slavs) and Celts borrowed their linguistic elements to the (modern) Albanian language..."
            Last edited by Carlin; 10-13-2020, 02:32 PM.


            • Dove
              • Aug 2018
              • 170

              Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716), who literally said: "That the Illyrian s (= Slavs) and Celts borrowed their linguistic elements to the (modern) Albanian language..."
              Hi Carlin, I cannot make sense of "borrowed to", will you please clarify this for me? i.e. Who or what is doing the borrowing?


              • Amphipolis
                • Aug 2014
                • 1328

                By the way the Suda refers to these people


                • Carlin
                  Senior Member
                  • Dec 2011
                  • 3332

                  Albanian language parallels with the Balto-Slavic languages

                  Gustav Mayer was the first and, after him, all other scholars, who compared the Albanian language with the Balto-Slavic, came to the conclusion that the Albanian language is the brother of Lithuanian. So, as an example, Norbert Jokl, known as an undoubted friend of the Albanian people. He says that the Albanian language has strong similarities with the Balto-Slavic languages, as well as with the Hungarian-Finnish languages.

                  In the field of vocabulary, Albanian Shaban Demiraj cites many words, to which we attach many words from ALBANIAN ETYMOLOGICAL DICTIONARY, just enough to get an idea of ​​this similarity:

                  Albanian Lithuanian

                  acar arus

                  ajk alkti

                  amull mulve

                  ar ra (Latvian)

                  bal balas, bls (lat.)

                  balt baltas

                  bli blindis

                  boj bgti

                  bot buts

                  bredh brend

                  brez briaun

                  buj bund

                  buz bude

                  cerm sarma (lat.)

                  cit kietas

                  ars skrti

                  jerr sliri

                  dak dvekti

                  dang danga (lat.)

                  dash dausos

                  dell gysla

                  derdh dardeti

                  dik dykas

                  djal dels (lat.)

                  djeg deg

                  dra dradzi (lat.)

                  dranga drangan

                  dre draudiu, druvas (lat.)

                  dreg drginti

                  duaj dona

                  dhemb embi

                  end indas

                  err aur

                  esh eys

                  et alkti

                  fishkem pkas

                  flak leki

                  flakt plokčias

                  flet leki

                  fryj sprugstu

                  galamsh, lamsh lemesis (lat.)

                  gardh gardas

                  gdhij diena

                  ger gauras

                  grdhij grendiu

                  grshas giri

                  gledh glodus

                  gobell gaubti

                  grah giri

                  grave griov, grava (lat.)

                  grer, gremz uruo

                  grell gurklys

                  grih griej

                  grij geri

                  grim geri

                  grun rnis

                  gryk griva

                  guall galv

                  gur giri

                  gjaj labas

                  gjak sakai

                  gjalm i-selpineti

                  gjasht galas

                  gjer josti

                  gjuh galsas

                  gjysm jumis (lat.)

                  hale skal

                  harr skiri

                  hime skiemuo

                  hip kpti

                  humb skumb

                  hurdh verdu

                  hyj ateivis

                  iki eiki

                  imt isas

                  jarg ars

                  jerm erms (lat.)

                  josh jaudinti

                  ju jus

                  kabisht kabeti

                  kalesh laiska

                  karm kerp

                  karp karpa

                  kep kapi

                  ketr kuokas

                  kpurdh kpur

                  krtyl tulas

                  krrab ker

                  ksen kenki

                  kshtall stalas

                  koll kosulys

                  korr kas

                  kreh grebti

                  krimb krmis

                  krip kraups

                  kungull kunkulas

                  kulpr klpa

                  llnjs slienas

                  llurb laure

                  llup lpti, lupt (lat.)

                  la, l last (lat.)

                  lag liuga

                  land lenta

                  lap lapas

                  lat lopeta

                  leh loju

                  lej leisti

                  ler laure

                  lesh laikas

                  lpush lapas

                  lig (i) lig

                  lil leilas

                  lind leisti

                  ling linge

                  lop luops (lat.)

                  loqe liauk

                  lumak lub

                  lus lugoti, lndzu (lat.)

                  lyp liepi

                  maj mala (lat.)

                  mal mal

                  mat matuju

                  meh, mef mat (lat.)

                  mllenj melns (lat.)

                  mrsh mirti

                  mit mietas

                  mjedhr medis

                  mjegull migl

                  mjekr smakras

                  mjel meliu

                  modhull malis

                  mot metas

                  motr mote

                  murg margas

                  nat nakts

                  ndes dkyti

                  ndulkem tekli

                  ndjek tek

                  ngrij gliej

                  ngrydh gruiu

                  ngrys krauju

                  ngul klti

                  ngus kauti

                  ngjis gliej

                  pell pti

                  pelq pelce (lat.)

                  pjalm pelenai

                  pjerdh prdiu

                  plak pilkas

                  plas plats

                  plish pl(i)us

                  plogsht plokčias

                  purth purvas

                  qas keči

                  qek kaceti (lat.)

                  qers krkt (lat.)

                  qet laitas

                  qeth kaisti

                  qipi kaupos

                  qos kliaudyti

                  qyl kula

                  rjep repti

                  rys rauti

                  ryej raund

                  rrag sroga

                  rrek reik

                  rrime varmas

                  rroj roju

                  rryp verpti

                  sam uo

                  sr sausas

                  sqaq kekos

                  sut kos

                  sy ak

                  shkas sksti

                  shosh sijoju

                  shkas skantu

                  shkrab skrebeti

                  shkul keli

                  shkund skut

                  shorr seij

                  shpih peiki

                  shtag stega (lat.)

                  shtalbr stulbas

                  shtang stengiu

                  shteg staiga (lat.)

                  shtoj stoju

                  shtroh straja (lat.)

                  tan, tr tvinti, tvanas

                  tall tyl

                  ter tauras

                  tesh tayti

                  trash tras

                  trys truni

                  thaj sausas

                  thek ak

                  thirr irvas

                  thjerm irmas

                  thnegl angis

                  ujk vilkas

                  vang, vng vngis

                  vdes rek

                  verz varle

                  vesh ausis

                  vilas su-valyti

                  vjehrr uras

                  vjel valyti

                  vjerr veri

                  vjesht su-valyti

                  von vojus

                  zorr arna

                  zot viepats

                  zverk veri

                  zvjerdh veri

                  The cited lexical concordances are apparently not the only ones.

                  At first glance, some Lithuanian words do not seem to have anything to do with Albanian words. As an example, we mention rrag - sroga, fryj - sprugstu and zot - viepats. But, if we compare the Lithuanian equivalent with the proto-Albanian form *srauga - sroga, *sprugnja - sprugstu and *w(i)tpati - viepats, we will see that we are dealing with the same words.


                  • Carlin
                    Senior Member
                    • Dec 2011
                    • 3332

                    Originally posted by Amphipolis View Post
                    By the way the Suda refers to these people
                    Could you please elaborate?

                    In another Suda version it refers to Albanians as an Italian people. I don't know if "this error" was due to a copying error or if it was intentional?


                    • Amphipolis
                      • Aug 2014
                      • 1328

                      These are the "Gallic" (more correctly) Galatian people and where the (Eastern) Galatia was.

                      I had found an essay having ALL references to Albanian in chronological order (including even women with the name Albania), but (I'm sorry) I can't locate it anymore. It was clear that all early references to Albania (starting from classical antiquity and all the way to Suida which is 1100 AD) refered to this "Albania" of Asia.


                      • Carlin
                        Senior Member
                        • Dec 2011
                        • 3332

                        1929, Serbian author Glisha Elezovic on the Islamic Stories on the Arabic origin: Albanians, Lazians, Abazgians and Circassians.


                        • Carlin
                          Senior Member
                          • Dec 2011
                          • 3332

                          Sorin Paliga about the origins of Albanians (2014):

                          One more detail, hopefully relevant: the Albanians are also the heirs of those Sclaveni of the 6th century, as proved by ethnonym shqipe 'Albanian, shqip (adj.), see a more detailed discussion in Paliga and Teodor 2009: 80-84. To add here the brief discussion in the etymological dictionary of Albanian by Vladimir Orel (1998). Other research in the field also proves what we wrote in Paliga and Teodor 2009, but also earlier: Alb. Shqipe, Shqiptar etc. also reflects a late, post-classical form sclavus, a variant *skljab being reconstructable for Albanian. Orel (1998: 434) assumes that shqipe would be a calque after the Slavic parallel slověne ‗Slavs as derived from slovo ‗word, in Albanian shqipoj ‗to speak clearly = to speak in our language Shqipe, Shqiptar. Thus put, the whole issue has no sense. It is not the first and last time when speakers of a given language associate ‗speaking in their own language with the idea ‗to speak clearly, i.e. ‗to speak in a language we can understand. That was the motivation of the parallel slověne slovo, also magyar ‗Hungarian magyarz(ni) ‗to speak clearly (= to speak in our langue), shqipe ‗Albanian shqipoj ‗to speak clearly etc. Therefore, the parallel shqipe shqipoj cannot be based on a calque, this is difficult to reconstruct at a popular level in those times or later; this is an internal, logical derivation based on the obvious and frequently attested reality ‗ours speak a language we can understand versus ‗the others, who speak a language we cannot understand = they are dumb (cf. Slavic něm- ‗dumb used for referring to the němьcь, lit. ‗the dumb ones) or speak with a stutter (cf. Greek barbaros, lit. ‗those who stutter) etc. Such extralinguistic realities make part of a correct interpretation of the facts, too.

                          The Albanians are, therefore, another ‗Sclavenic group, but we cannot be very far from reality of Thracian origin, most probably of Carpian origin, as I. I. Russu brilliantly suggested as early as 1982. Unfortunately, it was difficult to have a serious debate of his hypothesis in those days1 . They moved NEXT TO the Slavs proprie dictu, but not melting into their groups. This proves that the FIRST Slavic move occurred indeed from north to south following the courses of Siret and Prut rivers, then crossing the Danube. Perhaps the Proto-Albanians preceded the Slavic movement, this explaining why they settled in the remotest location, beyond the extremity of the southwest Slavs. They were also Sclaveni, post-classical colloquial form sclavi > Romanian șchiau, șchei, Albanian shqipe. For the Byzantines, they were Sclaveni, Sklavenoi, the new enemies coming from the north. We may be sure that, at the beginning at least, the Byzantines made no linguistic difference between the Proto-Albanians and the rest of the Sclaveni, they were all foreign enemies. disregarding the language they spoke.

                          In the preface of his work, Orel (1998: X) assumes that the Albanian homeland may be located in Dacia Ripensis, specifically the Beskydy, Polish Bieszczady mountains. The Proto‑ Albanians had, beyond any doubt, a more northern origin, and we cannot hesitate to assume a homeland beyond the Danube. It is yet impossible to accept the area suggested by Orel, as there is no archaeological proof or any other reasonable proof, of any kind, allowing to accept the Beskydy as the Proto-Albanian homeland. The obvious similarities between Romanian and Albanian, but also the differences, show that there must have been a vicinity, which must have been, precisely, the Moldavian plain and the East Carpathians, with intrusions in the Transylvanian plateau after the Roman withdrawal in 274. This location does indeed make sense, and is supported by all the documents regarding the ‗Carpian issue after the Roman conquest of Dacia in 105-106.

                          Paliga is a supporter of the northern Balkan (Balkan-Carpathian, Transdanubian) theory of the origin of Albanians. Contrary to Orel's hypotheses about the Beskids, but on the verge of his thoughts, Paliga sees the primordial area of the proto-Albanian language in the Moldavian plain, beyond the eastern Carpathians; they entered Erdely/Transylvania during the Roman withdrawal in 274 AD. Their origin is specifically related to the Carps.


                          • Carlin
                            Senior Member
                            • Dec 2011
                            • 3332


                            "1939 UK Foreign Office report on Albania is a fascinating document. It lists the prominent people, one of whom is Albanianised/assimilated "Kutzo-Vlach" (Aromanian) Dimitri Beratti..."


                            • Carlin
                              Senior Member
                              • Dec 2011
                              • 3332


                              1903 US FRONT PAGE STORY: "Albanian bands descended upon town of Okhrida [Ohrid] situated on east banks of lake of that name, captured it & proceeded to put to the sword all the Christians. There was a terrible slaughter, the people defending themselves as best they could"


                              • Carlin
                                Senior Member
                                • Dec 2011
                                • 3332