The Albanian Origin: The Main Challenges of Research

We must be clear on the meaning of Albanian autochthony, anthroponymy and ethnogenesis. Actually, the question is: have the Albanians lived without interruption in the  present-day “ethnic” territories of the Albanians (Albania, the Eastern Montenegro, Kosovo and Metohija, the Southern Central Serbia, the Western Macedonia and the Northern Epirus in Greece) since the ancient Greek and Roman times? In the other words, are the Albanians really the indigenous people of the Balkans as they claim or just newcomers to their present-day ethnic territories?  It is true, however, that the question of the Illyrian ethnic and cultural background of present-day Albanians (i.e., the ethnogenesis of the Albanians) has been politicized subsequent to the Second World War. The question is related both to the ancient history of the Albanians and to the pre-history of their language.

For some German and Austrian 19th century linguists and historians it was evident that the Albanians had been an autochthonous population in Albania since pre-Greco-Roman times. These scholars accepted the theory that the 19th century Albanian nation represented a direct ethnic continuity of the autochthonous Balkan people – the ancient Illyrians. For Albanian scientists it is incontestable that not only cultural, but also, ethnic continuity extends from the ancient Illyrians to present-day Albanians. Many of the 20th century scholars, especially after the Second World War, however, held an opposite opinion, i.e., that the theory of the Illyrian origin of the Albanians is not supported by any single historical source! They claimed that the Albanians are not a native Balkan population but newcomers to present-day Albania from more or less distant regions.

The main two arguments for the second “anti-Illyrian” hypothesis or theory are: 1) the Dacian-Albanian-Romanian linguistic connections (but not the Illyrian-Albanian one); and 2) the place-names in Albania, which indicate a lack of Illyrian-Albanian continuity. Nevertheless, the second approach to the question of Albanian ethnogenesis, i.e. that the Albanians are the newcomers to the Balkan Peninsula who came later compared to all Albanian neighbors, is backed by several historical sources.

The Albanians believe themselves to be the last pure and direct descendants of the ancient Illyrians, the Balkan people who lived on the peninsula in Antiquity. Many scholars consider the Albanians the offspring population of the ancient inhabitants of the Balkan Peninsula, either the Pelasgians or the Illyrians, i.e. the population residing in this part of Europe before the Middle Ages. During the mid-19th century and especially after the establishment of the Albanian national-political organisation – the First League of Prizren in 1878 the romanticist understanding of nationhood based on the linguistic principle prevailed among the Albanian intellectuals, particularly among those living as the emigrants in Italy (the Arabëresh, as the Italo-Albanians called themselves).[1]

The Albanian national movement Rilindja assumed an anti-South Slavic (mostly anti-Serbian) and anti-Greek political-ideological orientation, which in any case cannot be considered as anti-Christian. The Albanian national identity is derived from confrontation with, and from, differences relative to their neighbours. The majority of Albanian political activists from the time of the Rilindja accepted the German-Romanticist principle of “linguistic” nationhood and they created the notion of the designation of the Albanians as an ethnic group as their mother tongue was the Albanian language.[2] However, referring to the linguistic evidences some scholars defend the thesis that the Albanians are descendants of the ancient Dacians who inhabited the lands south of the Danube river (the Roman provinces of Moesia Superior and Moesia Inferior) and migrated south-west to the territory of present-day Albania. There are some serious indications that point to the Albanian ethnic origin in Dacian-Moesian roots. This is supported by the fact that Albanian name for themselves–Shqiptars, is a word of Dacian-Moesian origin, which means the “highlanders” in the Bulgarian language.  

However, the proponents of the Illyrian theory of Albanian ethnogenesis connected the modern international name for the Albanians with Albanoi which was the name of the Illyrian tribe living in present-day North Albania, mentioned for the first time in the works of the Greek geographer Ptolemy in the 2nd century A.D.

The ideology and efforts of the Albanian national movement from 1878 to 1913 to unify the entire Albanian Balkan population who lived in compact masses in a single independent ethnically homogenous state of the Albanians jeopardazied the territorial integrity of Serbian, Montenegrin and Greek national states. Since the Second World War that situation has been replaced through various projects to re-create the 1941−1945 “Greater” Albania.

As would be expected, various historical developments have brought about numerous transformations of the Albanians that produced an alternation of their real (the Caucasus) ethnic entity. There are no “pure” peoples (nations) in the world and the Albanians are not “pure”, either. There is an ethnic substratum that is present in all Balkan peoples (nations). However, it is evident that the Albanians have retained some of the Illyrian elements in their ethnic make-up for this very reason: they were settled in Illyrian territory in 1043. But, on the other hand, all the peoples (nations) who today live in the Western and Central Balkans possess Illyrian  traits.[3] However, in the other regions of the Western and the Central Balkans, the Slavic element is predominant. Among the Albanians the Latinized Illyrian elements are strong, especially with respect to language. Nevertheless, this fact cannot be utilized to claim that Albanian historical and ethnic rights to certain Balkan territories are stronger and older than Slavic or Greek ones. In making this point, the Illyrian-Albanian cultural-ethnic continuation could gain a new political dimension with the inter-ethnical conflicts in the Balkans, which already exist, as a “Greater” Albania is from 1999 in the process of re-creation. The first Balkan province already de facto incorporated into the united national state of the Illyro-Albanians with the capital in Tirana is Kosovo and Metohija.  

Endnotes:

[1] On political ideas in the Romantic Age in Europe, see [Berlin I., Political Ideas in the Romantic Age, Vintage Digital, 2012].

[2] On Albanian renaissance in political thought, see [Ypi L. L., “The Albanian Renaissance in Political Thought: Between the Enlightenment and Romanticism”, East European Politics and Societies, Vol. 21, No. 4, 2007, pp. 661−680].

[3] On ancient Illyrians, see [Stipcevic A., The Illyrians: History and Culture, Noyes Press, 1977; Wilkes J., The Illyrians, Oxford, England−Cambridge, Mass.: Blackwell Publishers, 1995; Evans A., Ancient Illyria: An Archaeological Exploration, London: I. B. Tauris, 2007].


Prof. Dr Vladislav B. Sotirović

www.global-politics.eu/sotirovic

sotirovic@global-politics.eu

© Vladislav B. Sotirović 2017

Save 

RELATED POSTS
Why Putin Discriminates Kosovo Serbs?
On January 19th, 2016 on the bilateral meeting between Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and the official representatives of the European Jewish Congress the latter applied to Putin to take a necessary steps for the sake to improve the generally bad position of the Jewish community on the Old Continent. Surprisingly, the President, not so much as a joke, invited both all the present-day European Jews and those Jews who left the USSR simply to immigrate to Russia. At the first glance one can say – very gentle and even democratic move by the President. However, lets a little bit to analyze ...
READ MORE
“We have the right to live”: NATO’s war on Yugoslavia and the expulsion of Serbs from Kosovo
In the period before the 1999 NATO attack on Yugoslavia, the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) waged a campaign to secede and establish an independent Kosovo dominated by Albanians and purged of every other ethnic group. In October 1998, KLA spokesman Bardhyl Mahmuti spelled the KLA’s vision: “We will never change our position. The independence of Kosovo is the only solution…We cannot live together [with Serbs]. That is excluded.” Once NATO’s war came to an end, the KLA set about driving out of Kosovo every non-Albanian and every pro-Yugoslav Albanian it could lay its hands on. The KLA left in its wake ...
READ MORE
Kosovo Albanian Jihadists Planned to Attack Venice’s Rialto Bridge
Italian police broke up an alleged jihadist cell in Venice who had celebrated last week’s terrorist attack in London and planned to blow up the city’s famous Rialto Bridge in the hope of killing hundreds of tourists. In a series of overnight raids, anti-terrorism police arrested three suspects, all of them Kosovars who were living in Italy. Fisnik Bekaj, 24, Dake Haziraj, 25, and Arian Babaj, 27, were allegedly admirers of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and were secretly recorded discussing how they were ready to die for the sake of jihad. A fourth person, an unnamed minor ...
READ MORE
Noel Malcolm: “Kosovo – A Short History”, 1999. A History Written with an Attempt to Support Albanian Territorial Claims in the Balkans (First part)
Noel Malcolm – Kosovo – A Short History A history written with an attempt to support Albanian territorial claims in the Balkans   A Short History of Kosovo by Noel Malcolm is usually considered as one of the prime historical sources on the history of the province. In fact, this book is an example of the History with a political attitude because it is not by chance that Malcolm who attacks the “myths” of Serbian history is at the same time a president of the Anglo-Albanian Association and one of the strongest supporters of independence of Kosovo. Being far from an objective scientific ...
READ MORE
Kosovo and Ongoing De-Christianization
The ongoing de-Christianization of Kosovo continues and unlike the past frenzy of the anti-Serbian mass media in the West, we mainly have a deadly silence about the reality of Kosovo and the continuing Albanianization of this land. However, how is it “just” and “moral” to persecute minorities and to alienate them from mainstream society; and then to illegally recognize this land without the full consensus of the international community? How ironic it is that the same United States of America and the United Kingdom, two nations who were in the forefront of covertly manipulating the mass media; remain mainly silent about ...
READ MORE
The 1878 San Stefano Treaty and the Albanians
After the Russian military victory over the Ottoman Empire in the 1877−1878 Russo-Ottoman War it was signed the San Stefano Treaty between these two states on March 3rd, 1878. According to the treaty, a Greater “San Stefano” Bulgaria, under the direct protection by Russia, had to be established within the borders of the Ottoman Empire. However, an idea of “San Stefano Bulgaria” directly affected three Balkan nations: the Serbs, Greeks and Albanians as some of their ethnic and historical territories had to become part of a Greater Bulgaria. The “San Stefano Bulgaria” was projected by the Russian authorities to cover ...
READ MORE
Documentary Film: “Kosovo: Can You Imagine?” (2009, Canada)
“Kosovo: Can You Imagine?” is a documentary film by Canadian film maker Boris Malagurski, about the Serbs that live in Kosovo and the lack of human rights that they have today, in the 21st century. Most of the Kosovo Serbs have been ethnically cleansed by the Albanians who make up the majority of Kosovo. Kosovo has been under UN administration since 1999 when NATO bombed Serbia for 78 days to halt a crackdown on ethnic Albanian separatism in its province of Kosovo. In the years following the war, thousands of Serbs were expelled from their homes, kidnapped and killed. Their houses, cultural and ...
READ MORE
Serbia and the Balkans Wars: The Future Belongs to Those Who Do Not Surrender
Kosovo Muslim Albanian jihad fighters in the Middle East as ISIS members (2016) How accurate is the theory that there are tragic events of exceptional strength that really shape the identity of a nation? How is this happening and what if we do not learn a lesson out of those experiences? – The prominent French writer Renan wrote in his lecture “What is a Nation?” that people are often connected by memories of shared suffering, and Serbs are no exception. Today, when Yugoslavia is no more, there is no reason why Jasenovac should not be brought back to the center of the ...
READ MORE
Albanian Terrorists As Official NATO Peacekeeping Mission In Kosovo Members – Photo Evidence
Remember watching ancient Orthodox Christian monasteries in flames in Kosovo dozen times. Old, noble constructions, spiritual and historical testimonies of past times. I also remember that majority of Orthodox Christian monasteries, churches and relics has been attacked and destroyed after NATO forces (officially: KFOR) took full control of the Serbian province. It amazed me to see how Western soldiers, under full equipment and heavy armament, often didn’t make a single move to stop Albanian violence; over 200 000 Serbs had to flee, in order to save their bare lives, bearing whole their lives in few suitcases if they were lucky enough. Photo: NATO peacekeepers ...
READ MORE
Linguistic Engineering: New “Boshnjak” Identity and “Bosnian” Language
On November 21st, 2015 it was the 20th anniversary of the 1995 Dayton Peace Accord – a treaty signed by four Presidents (the USA, Croatia, Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina) that led to an end of the civil war in Bosnia-Herzegovina. As a result of the Dayton Peace Accord a new “independent and internationally recognized state” emerged: Bosnia-Herzegovina as a confederation of two political entities (the Republic of Srpska and the Muslim-Croat Federation) but ethnically strictly divided into three segments composed by the Serb, Croat and Muslim (today Boshnjak) controlled territories. In contrast to the Republic of Srpska (49% of the territory ...
READ MORE
Crimes Of Genocide Against The Serbian People
The controversial film director has been reported to authorities by the Antifascist League. A criminal complaint against film director Jakov Sedlar has been filed due to historical counterfeits that he used during the production of his documentary “Jasenovac – The Truth”. The complaint has been filed by the Antifascist League of Croatia due to criminal offense of incitement to violence and hatred, reports tportal.hr on July 15, 2016. In the explanation of the compliant, the Antifascist League states that Sedlar in the film publicly denied and significantly reduced the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, primarily directed against members ...
READ MORE
Kosovo: When the Spoils of War are Human Organs
Former President Bill Clinton continues to be feted around the world as a progressive champion of human rights. However, a European Union task force last week confirmed that the ruthless cabal he empowered by bombing Serbia in 1999 has committed atrocities that include murdering individuals to extract and sell their kidneys, livers and other body parts. Clint Williamson, the chief prosecutor of a special European Union task force, declared that senior members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) had engaged in “unlawful killings, abductions, enforced disappearances, illegal detentions in camps in Kosovo and Albania, sexual violence, forced displacements of individuals from ...
READ MORE
Kosovo History – First Part
In the thousand year long-history of Serbs, Kosovo and Metohia were for many centuries the state center and chief religious stronghold, the heartland of their culture and springwell of its historical traditions. For a people who lived longer under foreign rule than in their own state, Kosovo and Metohia are the foundations on which national and state identity were preserved in times of tribulation and founded in times of freedom. The Serbian national ideology which emerged out of Kosovo’s tribulations and Kosovo’s suffering (wherein the 1389 St. Vitus Day Battle in Kosovo Polje occupies the central place), are the pillars of ...
READ MORE
From The History of Anti-Russian Policy: The First Balkan Alliance (1866−1868)
The creation of the First Balkan Alliance against the Ottoman Empire in 1866–1868 in the light of territorial requirements of the Balkan states and nations at the expense of the decreasing power of the Ottoman authorities and the Ottoman state integration was the first political-military treaty on the mutual cooperation by the Christian Balkan states and nations. The secret paragraphs of bilateral military-political contracts between Greece and Serbia and Serbia and Montenegro in regard to territorial inheritance of the Ottoman Empire in the Balkans are the most important points of the treaty. Serbia became a leader of the Balkan coalition and ...
READ MORE
Sixteenth anniversary of the attack on Yugoslavia: Expulsion of Roma from Kosovo
Once NATO’s 1999 war on Yugoslavia came to an end, units of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) poured across the border. The KLA wasted little time in implementing its dream of an independent Kosovo purged of all other nationalities. Among those bearing the brunt of ethnic hatred were the Roma, commonly known in the West as Gypsies. Under the protective umbrella of NATO’s Kosovo Force (KFOR), the KLA was free to launch a pogrom in which they beat, tortured, murdered and drove out every non-Albanian and every non-secessionist Albanian they could lay their hands on. Not long after the war, I ...
READ MORE
The Albanian Role in the Holocaust
In the Associated Press story “Albanian family honored for helping Jews”, Marcus Franklin rehashed and regurgitated the Albanian propaganda claim that Albanians “rescued” Jews during the Holocaust and played no role in the Holocaust. This is a total falsification, distortion, and manipulation of the Albanian role in the Holocaust. The Holocaust Chronicle, researched by prominent Holocaust historians and scholars, documents that 10 to 12 Jews from Albania proper were sent to the Nazi death camp at Bergen-Belsen. This research disproves the Albanian propaganda claim that 100% of Albanian Jews were “rescued” during the Holocaust. Moreover, Harvey Sarner reported that the Ardel ...
READ MORE
The Memorandum (1804) By The Karlovci Metropolitan Stevan Stratimirovic
The goal of this article is to investigate and describe the text of one very significant, but so far forgotten, document and historical source upon the question on Serbian liberation from the Ottoman sway and national unification. The document was written in 1804 during the first months of the First Serbian Uprising against the Ottoman oppression [about the uprising see in Petrovich 1976; Vucinich 1982; Temperley 1969; Ђорђевић 1956]. Introduction The Serbian nation was divided at the dawn of the 19th century by the borders of Ottoman pashaliks and by the state frontiers that separated the lands under Ottoman from those under ...
READ MORE
Slobodan Milosevic: The Killing Of An Innocent Man
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague quietly acknowledged the innocence of former president of Serbia and Yugoslavia Slobodan Milosevic. Ten years after the very suspicious death of the Serbian leader in a Dutch prison, the 1,300th page of the 2,000-page document on the case of Radovan Karadzic, the Bosnian Serb leader, acknowledged that Milosevic had not committed crimes against humanity, nor had he organized any mass killings or deportations of Croats and Bosnians. In other words, it was an innocent man who died in a UN prison. French journalist Dimitri De Koshko was working in Yugoslavia ...
READ MORE
The Bush Administration’s Foreign Policy in Kosovo
In 2000, when George W. Bush was elected president in a controversial and hotly disputed election, all the experts and pundits predicted that there would be a philosophical sea change in US foreign policy in the Balkans, and in Kosovo in particular. In my 2000 analysis of the election of Bush and US foreign policy in Kosovo, however, I concluded that the George W. Bush Administration represented the same old same old and business as usual. In my viewpoint, absolutely nothing would change in the US foreign policy stance on Kosovo. In fact, I concluded that the new regime was ...
READ MORE
Why Putin Discriminates Kosovo Serbs?
“We have the right to live”: NATO’s war on Yugoslavia and the expulsion of Serbs from Kosovo
Kosovo Albanian Jihadists Planned to Attack Venice’s Rialto Bridge
Noel Malcolm: “Kosovo – A Short History”, 1999. A History Written with an Attempt to Support Albanian Territorial Claims in the Balkans (First part)
Prof. Petar V. Grujic: Twenty Principal Misconceptions About The Kosovo Issue
Kosovo and Ongoing De-Christianization
The 1878 San Stefano Treaty and the Albanians
Documentary Film: “Kosovo: Can You Imagine?” (2009, Canada)
Serbia and the Balkans Wars: The Future Belongs to Those Who Do Not Surrender
Albanian Terrorists As Official NATO Peacekeeping Mission In Kosovo Members – Photo Evidence
Linguistic Engineering: New “Boshnjak” Identity and “Bosnian” Language
Crimes Of Genocide Against The Serbian People
Kosovo: When the Spoils of War are Human Organs
Kosovo History – First Part
From The History of Anti-Russian Policy: The First Balkan Alliance (1866−1868)
Sixteenth anniversary of the attack on Yugoslavia: Expulsion of Roma from Kosovo
The Albanian Role in the Holocaust
The Memorandum (1804) By The Karlovci Metropolitan Stevan Stratimirovic
Slobodan Milosevic: The Killing Of An Innocent Man
The Bush Administration’s Foreign Policy in Kosovo