Albanology and Political Claims of the Albanians

Hits: 1526

The interest of European scholars, primarily German and Austrian, in research on Albanian ethnical origin, rose gradually during the second half of the 19th century.[1] Their interest in Albanian and Balkan studies came later in comparison with the study of other ethnic groups and regions in Europe. The reason was that Euro-centrism of the late 19th century and the early 20th century defined the Balkans and its nations as the territory and peoples of obscure identity. In contrast to the  “real Europe”, the Balkans was seen as the “Orient”, not part of Europe at all, and above all, it was considered as an “uncivilized” part of the world.[2]

Nonetheless, when the studies of the Albanians began the research was focused on the relationships of the Albanian language to other European languages. However, the first hypothesis with respect to Albanian ethnic origins was quite indistinct and very soon discarded by the majority of scholars. According to a nebulous hypothesis proposed by A. Schleicher, the Albanians originated from the Pelasgians who were supposed to be the most indigenous Balkan population, settled not only on the entire territory of the Balkan Peninsula but also inhabited a major portion of the Mediterranean basin in pre-historic times.[3] Moreover, it was erroneously believed that Indo-European languages such as Greek, Latin and “ancient” Albanian (i.e., the Illyrian language) were derived from the ancient Pelasgian language. However, some of the Albanian scholars at present still believe that this hypothesis has real scientific foundations regardless of the fact that later 19th-century linguists and researchers in comparative philology undermined the “Pelasgian” hypothesis and finally at the beginning of the 20th century overturned it.[4]

The German linguist Franz Bopp was first to claim (in 1854) that the Albanian language had to be considered as a separate branch of the Indo-European family of languages. The scientific foundation of the hypothesis that the Albanians derive their ethnic origin from the Balkan Illyrians based on language criteria was laid out by the late 19th century Austrian philologists Gustav Meyer. He claimed that the contemporary Albanian language was a dialect of the ancient Illyrian language. His claims initially were based on the results of the analysis of a few hundred basic Albanian words, traceable to their Indo-European origin. Later, Albanian national workers transformed Meyer’s hypothesis into the “Illyrian” theory of the Albanian ethnic background. Meyer’s hypothesis was based on the results of his linguistic investigations and comparisons of ancient Illyrian language to contemporary Albanian. Meyer argued that the modern Albanian language had to be considered as the last phase of the evolution of the old Illyrian language. Specifically, according to him, the 19th-century Albanian language was a dialect of the ancient Illyrian language.[5] However, the critical problem with Mayer’s methodology was the fact that we do not have any evidence of the ancient Illyrian language as the Illyrians were illiterate. The reconstruction of this ancient language is a matter of the science of fantasy. Nevertheless, G. Meyer, a professor at Graz University from 1880 to 1896 wrote several works in which he opposed A. Schleicher’s Pelasgian theory of Albanian origin. Mayer claimed in his works (Albanesischen Studien, Albanesische Grammatik, Etymologische Wörterbuch der Albanesischen Schprache) that the Albanian language was nothing more than a dialect of the ancient Illyrian language.[6]

Meyer’s hypothetical claims were taken up by a majority of Albanian authors, primarily from Italy, who made use of them for the propaganda directed to the realization of Albanian territorial claims, especially by the Albanian nationalist movement in the coming decades. The final aim of this propaganda work was to prove, using the evidence derived from scholarly research, that the Albanians were not members of ethnic Turk, Greek or South Slavic populations, but rather members of a totally different ethnic group, which had its own language. In other words, they fought for international recognition of the existence of separate Albanian nationhood which had certain national rights, including the basic right to create their own national independent (Albanian) state. Such a national state of the Albanians would embrace all Albanian populations of the Balkan Peninsula. For instance, on May 30th, 1878 the Albanian Constantinople Committee proclaimed their desire for peaceful coexistence between the Albanians and their Slavonic and Greek neighbors, but only under the condition that the Albanian ethnographic lands would be included into a unified Albanian national state.

The so-called Italo-Albanians, or Arbereshi, whose predecessors emigrated from Albania after the death of Scanderbeg in 1468 to the southern Italian provinces of Puglia, Calabria, and Sicily, formulated this political program for the unification of  Albanians into a united or Greater Albania. The program underlined that the achievement of national unity and the liberation of the Albanians required their territorial unification, joint economy, joint standardized language and a pervasive spirit of patriotism and mutual solidarity. The Albanian national leader from the end of the 19th century, Naïm Frashëri (1846–1900), described what it meant to be Albanian: “All of us are an only single tribe, a single family; we are of one blood and one language”.[7] It is obvious that on the question of national unification at the turn of the 20th-century Albanian workers would seek an Albanian ethnic and cultural identity primarily in common language since in Albanian case religion was a divisive rather than unifying factor. Additionally, and for the same purpose of national unification, they demanded that the Albanian language is written in the Latin alphabet in order to distinguish themselves from the neighboring Greeks, Serbs, Montenegrins, and Ottoman lords. This was totally irrelevant to the overwhelming majority of Albanians who could read neither the script.[8] However, the national unification of Albanian people on the basis of language was not completely successful, and even today it is still difficult for the Gheg Albanians to fully understand the Tosk Albanian dialect.[9]

Endnotes:

[1] The question of Albanian ethnogenesis was first examined by Johan Thunmann (1746−1778) in 1774 (Research on the history of the East European peoples, Leipzig) and Johan Georg von Hahn (1811−1869) in 1854 (Albanian studies, Jena). Both were of the opinion, but not based on any source, that the Albanians lived in the territories of the ancient Illyrians and they were natives and Illyrian in essence. Hahn thought that ancient names like Dalmatia, Ulcinium, Dardania, etc. were of Illyrian-Albanian origin. This hypothesis is fully accepted by modern Albanian linguists. For example, “The name of Ragusium (present-day Dubrovnik), which in the mouth of the Albanians was Rush Rush, shows that the Adriatic coast was part of the territory inhabited by the ancestors of the Albanians beyond the present ethnic borders. The adoption of this name by the Albanians belongs to the time since 614 B.C… I conclude that there is a continuity of the Albanians in their present territories since ancient times. The old place-names in their present form indicate that this population has continuously inhabited the coasts of the Adriatic from that time until today” [Çabej E., “The problem of the autochthony of Albanians in the light of place-names”,Buletini i Universitetit Shteteror te Tiranes, № 2, 1958, pp. 54–62]. This standpoint is usually unquestionably recognized as truth by Albanian and German researchers like Peter Bartl in his book: Albanian. Vom Mittelalter bis zur Gegenwart, Regensburg, Verlag Friedrich Pustet, 1995 [Serb language edition: Бартл П., Албанци од средњег века до данас, Београд: CLIO, 2001, p. 15]. However, the Illyrian theory of  Albanian origin (the Albanians were considered even as the oldest European people) was created by German and Austrian scholars for the very political purpose: to unite all ethnic Albanians around the central political ideology and national consciousness [Батаковић Т. Б., Косово и Метохија. Историја и идеологија, Друго допуњено издање, Београд: Чигоја штампа, 2007, pp. 66−67; Екмечић Е., Стварање Југославије 1790−1918, II, Београд, 1989, pp. 450−455]. At that time, like today, the ethnic Albanians were divided into three antagonistic confessions (Islam, Roman-Catholicism, and Orthodoxy) and many hostile clans based on the tribal origin. In fact, the German scholars invented for the Albanians both artificial tradition and artificial “imagined community” in order to be more scientifically stronger in their territorial claims against the Serbs, Montenegrins, and Greeks. In this context, we cannot forget that the first Albanian state was created and supported exactly by Austria-Hungary and Germany in 1912−1913. In other words, the Albanians have been the Balkan clients of German political expansionism in the region.   

[2] Mishkova D., “Symbolic Geographies and Visions of Identity: A Balkan Perspective”, European Journal of Social Theory, Vol. 11, No. 2, 2008, pp. 237−256.

[3] On ancient Balkan Pelasgians as the Greek tribes, see [Zorzos G., Greek Pelasgian Tribes Textbook, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2009 (in Greek)].

[4] However, even today there are many non-Albanian scholars who believe in a theory of Albanian Balkan origin as one of the oldest European nations. See, for instance [Jacques E. E., The Albanians: An Ethnic History from Prehistoric Times to the Present, Jefferson, N. Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc. Publishers, 2009].

[5] Regarding the contemporary scientific results on this question, see [Hamp E. P., “The Position of Albanian”, Proceedings of Conference on Indo-European Linguistics, Los Angeles, 1963].

[6] Батаковић Т. Д., Косово и Метохија. Историја и идеологија, Друго допуњено издање, Београд: Чигоја штампа, 2007, p. 66.

[7] Gut Ch., “Groupe de Travail sur l’Europe Centrale et Orientale”, Bulletin d’Information, № 2, June 1878, Paris, p. 40.

[8] The international political aspect of the Albanian struggle for a pan-Albanian national unification into a Greater Albania is evidenced by the fact that Albanian national workers tried to obtain the support of Western Europeans by claiming that Greater Albania would be the crucial bulwark against Russian penetration to the Balkans via Russian client (Orthodox) nations and states – the Serbs, Montenegrins, and Greeks. For instance, Montenegro was presented by the Albanians as “the Russian outpost at the Adriatic Sea”. The Albanian Sami Frashëri published an article in Istanbul newspapers Tercüman-i şark on September 27th, 1878 in which the borders of Greater Albania were defined by the borders of four “Albanian” provinces (vilayets) of the Ottoman Empire – Scodra, Bitola, Ioannina and Kosovo. These four provinces would be united into the so-called “Albanian Vilayet” (see figure 1). The First Prizren League, as the first organized Albanian political organization, accepted this concept in autumn of 1879 as the programme of the organization [Бартл П., Албанци од средњег века до данас, Београд: CLIO, 2001, pp. 96, 100−101].

[9] Hobsbawm E. J., Nations and Nationalism since 1789. Programme, Myth, Reality, Cambridge, 2000, pp. 52, 115. About the language basis of (non)identification among the Albanians from the beginning of the 20th century see: Durham E., High Albania, London, 1909, p. 17. On Albanian modern history, see [Vickers M., The Albanians: A Modern History, London−New York: I. B. Tauris, 2006].


Prof. Dr Vladislav B. Sotirović

www.global-politics.eu/sotirovic

sotirovic@global-politics.eu

© Vladislav B. Sotirović 2017

Save

Save

Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection & Pinterest.

Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!

Donate to Support Us

We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.

[wpedon id=”4696″ align=”left”]

 
READ MORE!
Donald Trump’s Foreign Policy Adviser: Al-Qaeda Destroyed the Serbian Army in Kosovo
Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, published the list of his foreign policy advisers. One of them, claim the US media, is the worst choice possible. The list of advisers is headed by Senator Jeff Sessions, and includes Keith Kellogg, Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, Walid Phares and Joseph E. Schmitz. Phares is the former adviser to another presidential candidate, Mitt Romney. Phares is described as a neo-conservative and “an academic who is involved in Christian militia wing of the civil war in Lebanon”. US media deemed Phares as an inappropriate analyst of US foreign policy, while one of his statements that is being considered unfitting is regarding NATO’s bombing of Serbia ...
READ MORE
The Balkan Vlachs (2)
The Vlachs in Albania  Albania’s Vlach community is living in the southern part of the country, which has its historical name – North Epirus.[1] They are dispersed from the city of Gjirokastër in the south to the city of Elbasan in Central Albania. However, the largest Vlach concentration is in the areas of the cities of Gjirokastër, Korçë, and Përmet in the southernmost part of Albania where they live together with the Orthodox Greeks, Albanians and Macedonians.[2] The number of Albanian Vlachs is estimated from 35,000 to 100,000, but some researchers raise this figure to almost 200,000 (that is around 1–2,5% ...
READ MORE
A Chess Game in Global Politics
Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection, Public Domain & Pinterest.Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!Donate to Support UsWe would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.[wpedon id="4696" align="left"]Save
READ MORE
Libya: From Africa’s Richest State under Gaddafi, to Failed State after NATO Intervention
This article was first published on October 19, 2014This week marks the three-year anniversary of the Western-backed assassination of Libya’s former president, Muammar Gaddafi, and the fall of one of Africa’s greatest nations.In 1967 Colonel Gaddafi inherited one of the poorest nations in Africa; however, by the time he was assassinated, Gaddafi had turned Libya into Africa’s wealthiest nation. Libya had the highest GDP per capita and life expectancy on the continent. Less people lived below the poverty line than in the Netherlands.After NATO’s intervention in 2011, Libya is now a failed state and its economy is in shambles. As ...
READ MORE
Confession of a CIA Agent: They Gave Us Millions to Dismember Yugoslavia
We bribed parties and politicians who have enticed hate between the nations. Our ultimate goal was to enslave you! WebTribune publishes their interview with former CIA agent Robert Baer during his promotion tour in Quebec for upcoming book “Secrets of the White House” last week. My boss, who was formerly a US Senator, stressed repeatedly that some kind of scam would go down in Bosnia. A month before the alleged genocide in Srebrenica, he told me that the town would be headline news around the world and ordered us to call the media. Robert Baer, a former CIA officer, has authored many books ...
READ MORE
Violation of Human Rights of Serbs in the Province of Kosovo and Metohija
The struggle for peace and the struggle for full respect of universal human rights, as defined by UN Declaration on protection of human rights, are interdependent and non-separable. Violations of sovereignty and territorial integrity, military interventions, aggressions and occupations go hand in hand with massive violations of the basic human rights.It is clear that there are no humanitarian military interventions.NATO military aggression against Yugoslavia ( Serbia ) which started March 24rth, 1999 was launched to allegedly protect human rights of Kosovo Albanians. It was carried out in blatant violation of the basic principals of International Law and without approval of ...
READ MORE
Threats to World Peace and America’s Imperial Wars: Syria, Afghanistan, North Korea
Afghanistan has gained lead story status in the western corporate and government-sponsored media outlets again for the wrong reasons. This Central Asia state has been at war since the late 1970s when the United States under the then President Jimmy Carter developed a counter-insurgency program to remove the socialist-oriented administration ruling from Kabul. Of course today there is largely no mention in these same press agencies about the organization, training, funding and diplomatic cover provided by Washington through the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Pentagon and State Department for al-Qaeda (the core) which facilitated the armed struggle waged against the Soviet-backed system ...
READ MORE
Stepan Bandera's monument in Buchach, Ukraine with the flag (right) of a neo-Nazi Ukrainian political organization
The ongoing crisis in Ukraine and unseemly role of Poland in its instigation and development makes us take another look at the historical context of the Polish-Ukrainian relations. We will focus on dramatic repressions of the Ukrainian minorities in Eastern Poland in 1921-1939 at the territories annexed by Jozef Piłsudski’s government from the Soviet Russia according to Peace of Riga 1921, which eventually triggered ultra-Nationalist Ukrainian terror against the Poles during the WWII (culminating in massacres in Volhynia and Eastern Galicia in 1943-1944).Poland, which used to be a part of the Russian Empire, emerged at the European political map in November ...
READ MORE
The Communist Party of Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union in WWII
IntroductionThe aim of this article is to shed new light on the question of how the configuration of post-war Central and South-East Europe was shaped during WWII by the USSR through its relations with the Communist Party of Yugoslavia (the CPY). Relationships between the CPY and the Soviet Union in 1941−1945 depended on the concrete military situation in Europe, and on the diplomatic relationships between the Soviet Union and the other members of the anti-fascist Alliance. For that reason, the Soviet Union and the CPY were cooperating in two directions during WWII. The concrete military situation in the battleground of ...
READ MORE
Congo doesn’t Need an Apology, It Needs Justice and Reparations
Protests against racism sparked by the police killing of George Floyd continue to sweep the globe, including in Belgium, where activists have demanded the removal of statues of King Leopold II, and an acknowledgement of the horrors he inflicted on the Democratic Republic of Congo.Pointing to a statue of King Leopold II, an activist told Reuters,“We won’t accept this until the government understands that this belongs in a museum, not in public space. Because it is a shame.”Leopold’s descendant King Philippe expressed regret in a letter amid the protests, and as Congo celebrated 60 years of independence on June 30.“Our ...
READ MORE
Documentary Movie: “Bosnia: Cradle of Modern Jihadism?” BBC News, 2015
Bosnia 2015 Documentary movie: "Bosnia: Cradle of Modern Jihadism?" BBC News, 2015 20 years ago in the civil war in Bosnia, hundreds of Arab jihadists came to join Bosnian Muslims fighting against their neighbours the Serbs and Croats. Grouped into secret fighting units in Central Bosnia, this was the first time in centuries Jihad had been fought against a Western, Christian enemy. Two decades later Bosnia is still reaping the consequences. In the past month ISIS declared the Balkans the next front of Jihad - and in remote mountain villages extremists are flying the ISIS flag. Mark Urban returns to Bosnia and ...
READ MORE
The 1929 Lateran Treaty: B. Mussolini’s Faith-Based Initiative
This Wednesday, February 11 [2009], will mark the 80th anniversary of the signing of the Lateran Treaty and related agreements, in which Benito Mussolini’s Italy recognized the Vatican as an independent state and showered it with money and other benefits. Mussolini got what he paid for. For well over a thousand years prior to 1929, Popes exercised absolute civil authority over central Italy, a region known as the “Papal States.” Their power was based on a document called the “Donation of Constantine,” in which the 4th century Roman emperor Constantine was supposed to have granted the successors of St. Peter control ...
READ MORE
Aftermath of the US-NATO War on Yugoslavia: The Unspoken Impacts of Radioactive Depleted Uranium Ammunition
More than a decade and a half after the US-NATO- under international law illegal – war aggression against Yugoslavia using highly toxic and radioactive uranium projectiles, the enormity of this war crime becomes clear: In Serbia, aggressive cancer among young and old has reached epidemic proportions. The suffering of the people cries out to heaven. Particularly affected is the south of Serbia and Kosovo. According to the Serbian Ministry of Health, every day a child suffers from cancer. The entire country is contaminated. By harming the genetic material (DNA) generation after generation,  malformed children will be born. Knowingly and willfully, a genocide ...
READ MORE
The NATO’s Violations of the “Just War” Principles in 1999
Current political process of acceptance of the quasi-independent state of Kosovo to the full UN’s UNESCO’s membership opened once again a question of the NATO’s military intervention against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (the FRY) in March−June 1999 as a foundation for Kosovo’s secession from Serbia and its unilateral proclamation of a quasi-independence in February 2008. Kosovo became the first and only European state up today that is ruled by the terrorist warlords as a party’s possession – the (Albanian) Kosovo Liberation Army (the KLA). The aim of this article is to investigate the nature of the NATO’s war on ...
READ MORE
America and the Great Abdication: Don’t Mistake Donald Trump’s Withdrawal from the World for Isolationism
When great powers fade, as they inevitably must, it’s normally for one of two reasons. Some powers exhaust themselves through overreach abroad, underinvestment at home, or a mixture of the two. This was the case for the Soviet Union. Other powers lose their privileged position with the emergence of new, stronger powers. This describes what happened with France and Great Britain in the case of Germany’s emergence after World War I and, more benignly, with the European powers and the rise of the United States during and after World War II.To some extent America is facing a version of this—amid ...
READ MORE
Is it an Empire? See the Facts
Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection, Public Domain & Pinterest.Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!Donate to Support UsWe would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.[wpedon id="4696" align="left"]SaveSave
READ MORE
Nothing Left to Steal in Montenegro
As Europe’s longest ruler, it is a surprise that Milo Djukanovic is only 58. He has served as prime minister or president of various iterations of Montenegro since 1991 – spanning the collapse of Yugoslavia and across and beyond independence of the nation in 2006.What is the secret to Mr Djukanovic’s success? The answer is depressingly predictable: clientelism and the buying – or, depending on your perspective, stealing – of power.The beauty of Montenegro hides this ugly truth. Most know it as a tourist idyll with pristine beaches, crystal lakes and picturesque mountains. But holidaymakers rarely realize they enter less ...
READ MORE
Al-Qaeda’s Balkan Ties: The Bosnian Connections
Should anyone have had any doubts, the barbaric murder of US photojournalist James Foley fully exposes the true nature of the Islamist terrorists menacing the Middle East. Unfortunately, the savagery exhibited in what happened to James Foley was not unique—beheadings and suicide bombings have become standard tactics in the Islamist terrorists’ way of war. Just weeks before Foley’s murder Kosovo jihadi Lavdrim Muhaxheri posted similar photos of himself “in action” in Iraq. Such Islamist-terrorist ritual beheadings were seen during the Bosnian jihad as well, when extremists would produce “promotional videos” of their efforts showing the decapitation of Serb prisoners, or, in another case, ...
READ MORE
Selective Solidarity with the Victims of Terrorism
Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection, Public Domain & Pinterest.Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!Donate to Support UsWe would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.[wpedon id="4696" align="left"]Save
READ MORE
US, UK, & EU, are Now Dictatorships
How can it be that in virtually all of the Presidential-candidate head-to-head Democratic versus Republican polling that was done of both Democratic and Republican candidates during the primaries, the preferred Democratic candidate against any one of the Republican candidates was Bernie Sanders, but he almost certainly won’t be that Party’s nominee (and there’s more on that here); and the preferred Republican candidate against either one of the Democratic candidates was John Kasich, but he certainly won’t be the Republican nominee?Sanders and Kasich also scored the highest in his respective Party for net favorability rating, but almost certainly neither candidate will ...
READ MORE
Donald Trump’s Foreign Policy Adviser: Al-Qaeda Destroyed the Serbian Army in Kosovo
The Balkan Vlachs (2)
A Chess Game in Global Politics
Libya: From Africa’s Richest State under Gaddafi, to Failed State after NATO Intervention
Confession of a CIA Agent: They Gave Us Millions to Dismember Yugoslavia
Violation of Human Rights of Serbs in the Province of Kosovo and Metohija
Threats to World Peace and America’s Imperial Wars: Syria, Afghanistan, North Korea
Poland and Ukraine: History of Break-Downs
The Communist Party of Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union in WWII
Congo doesn’t Need an Apology, It Needs Justice and Reparations
Documentary Movie: “Bosnia: Cradle of Modern Jihadism?” BBC News, 2015
The 1929 Lateran Treaty: B. Mussolini’s Faith-Based Initiative
Aftermath of the US-NATO War on Yugoslavia: The Unspoken Impacts of Radioactive Depleted Uranium Ammunition
The NATO’s Violations of the “Just War” Principles in 1999
America and the Great Abdication: Don’t Mistake Donald Trump’s Withdrawal from the World for Isolationism
Is it an Empire? See the Facts
Nothing Left to Steal in Montenegro
Al-Qaeda’s Balkan Ties: The Bosnian Connections
Selective Solidarity with the Victims of Terrorism
US, UK, & EU, are Now Dictatorships

Written by Policraticus

SHORT LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The website’s owner & editor-in-chief has no official position on any issue published at this website. The views of the authors presented at this website do not necessarily coincide with the opinion of the owner & editor-in-chief of the website. The contents of all material (articles, books, photos, videos…) are of sole responsibility of the authors. The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not morally, scientifically or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the contents of all material found on this website. The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not responsible for the content of external internet sites. No advertising, government or corporate funding for the functioning of this website. The owner & editor-in-chief and authors are not morally, scientifically or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the text and material found on the website www.global-politics.eu

Website: http://www.global-politics.eu