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Posted: Sun Aug 09, 2009 3:30 am
by Arta


Gjergj Kastrioti (1405–January 17, 1468), better known as Skanderbeg, was an Albanian prince who united the Albanian tribes of Epirus , Albania and a Slavic tribe from Montenegro in resisting the expanding Ottoman Empire for 25 years. Today he's considered a national hero of Albania.

Obliged by the Ottomans to pay tribute to the Empire, and to ensure the fidelity of local rulers, Gjon Kastrioti's sons were taken by the Sultan to his court as hostages. In 1423, Gjergj Kastrioti and his three brothers were taken by the Turks. He attended military school and led many battles for the Ottoman Empire. He was awarded for his military victories with the title Iskander Bey (Albanian transliteration: Skënderbeu, English transliteration: Skanderbeg, In Turkish this title means Lord or Prince Alexander, in honor of Alexander the Great). Skanderbeg soon switched sides and came back to his native land to successfully defend Albania against the Ottoman Empire until the time of his death.

Success in the Ottoman army

He earned distinction as an officer in several Ottoman campaigns both in Asia Minor and in Europe, and the Sultan appointed him to the rank of General. He fought against Greeks, Serbs and Hungarians, and some sources claim that he maintained secret links with Ragusa, Venice, Ladislaus V of Hungary, and Alfonso I of Naples. Sultan Murad II gave him the title Vali, making him Governor of some provinces in central Albania. He was respected abroad, but he missed his country. After the death of his father, Skanderbeg sought a way to return to Albania and lead his countrymen against the Ottoman armies. It was Skanderbeg's 25 year defiance of the Ottoman Empire which followed that perserved Christianity in Albania to this day. The Turks were successful in converting almost 90% of Albania to Islam. Those who chose to resist Turkish rule and perserve their Christian culture are today's Albanian Christians.

Fighting for the freedom of Albania

In 1443, Skanderbeg saw his opportunity to rebel during the battle against the Hungarians led by John Hunyadi in Nis. He switched sides along with other Albanians serving in the Ottoman army, leading an Albanian resistance. He eventually captured Kruje, his father's seat in Middle Albania, and he raised the Albanian flag above the castle and reportedly pronounced: "I have not brought you liberty, I found it here, among you."

Following the capture of Kruje, Skanderberg managed to bring together all the Albanian princes in the town of Lezhë (see League of Lezhë, 1444) and unite them under his command against the Ottomans. He fought a guerilla war against the opposing armies, using the mountainous terrain to his advantage.

Skanderberg would continue his resistance against the Ottoman forces, arguably the most powerful army of the time, with a force rarely exceeding 20,000. In June 1450, an Ottoman army numbering approximately 150,000 men led by the Sultan Murad II himself laid siege to Kruje. Leaving a protective garrison of 1,500 men under one of his most trusted lieutenants, Kont Urani (also known as Vranakonti), Skanderbeg harassed the Ottoman camps around Kruje and attacked the supply caravans of the Sultan's army. By September the Ottoman camp was in disarray as morale sank and disease ran rampant. Grudgingly, Sultan Murad acknowledged that the castle of Kruje would not fall by strength of arms, and he decided to lift his siege and make his way to Edirne. Soon thereafter in the winter of 1450-1451, Murad II died in Edirne and was succeeded by his son Mehmed II.

For the next five years Albania was allowed some respite as the new sultan set out to conquer the last vestiges of the Byzantine Empire in Europe and Asia Minor. The first test between the new Ottoman sultan and Skanderbeg came in 1455 during the Siege of Berat, where the former defeated the latter, decimating the Albanian army and leaving five thousand men dead on the battlefield, some 40-50% of the Albanian mobile forces. This was the worst military defeat that Skanderbeg would ever suffer.

In 1457, an Ottoman army numbering approximately 70,000 men invaded Albania with the hope of destroying Albanian resistance once and for all; this army was led by Isa beg Evrenoz, the only commander to have defeated Skanderbeg in battle and Hamza Kastrioti, Skanderbeg’s own nephew. After wreaking much damage to the countryside, the Ottoman army set up camp at the Ujebardha field (literally tranlated as "Whitewater"), halfway between Lezha and Kruje. There, in September, after having evaded the enemy for months, Skanderbeg attacked with a force not exceeding fifteen thousand men, and defeated the Ottomans. In 1461 Skanderbeg launched a successful campaign against the Angevin noblemen and their allies who sought to destabilize King Ferdinand of Naples. After securing the Neapolitan kingdom, a crucial ally in his struggle, he returned home. In 1464 Skanderbeg fought and defeated Ballaban Badera, an Albanian renegade.

Though Ballaban Badera was defeated by Skanderbeg, he was successful in capturing a large number of Albanian army commanders, including Moisi Arianit Golemi, a cavalry commander; Vladan Giurica, the chief army economist; Muzaka of Angelina, a nephew of Skanderberg, and 18 other noblemen and army captains. These men, after they were captured, were sent immediately to Istanbul and tortured for fifteen days. Skanderbeg’s pleas to have these men back, by either ransom or prisoner exchange, failed.

In 1466, Sultan Mehmed II personally led an army into Albania and laid siege to Kruje as his father had also attempted sixteen years earlier. Kruje was defended by a garrison of 4,400 men, led by Prince Tanush Thopia. After several months, Mehmed, like Murad II, saw that seizing Kruja by force of arms would not be easily accomplished, and left the siege to return to Istanbul. However, he left a force of forty thousand men under Ballaban Pasha to maintain the seige, even building a castle in central Albania, which he named El-basan (eventually becoming the modern Elbasan), to support the siege. This second siege was no more successful than the first was eventually broken by Skanderberg, resulting in the death of Ballaban Pasha, who fell victim to the use of firearms.

A few months later, in 1467, Mehmed, frustrated by his inability to subdue Albania, again led an army into Albania, this one the largest of its time. Kruje was besieged for a third time, but on a much grander scale. While a contingent kept the city and its forces pinned down, Ottoman armies came pouring in from Bosnia, Serbia, Macedonia, and Greece with the aim of keeping the whole country surrounded, thereby strangling Skanderbeg’s supply routes and limiting his mobility. During this conflict, Skanderbeg fell ill with malaria in the Venetian controlled city of Lezhe, and died on January 17, 1468, just as the army under the leadership of Leke Dukagjini defeated the Ottoman force in Shkodra.

The Albanian resistance went on after the death of Skanderbeg for an additional ten years under the new leadership of Leke Dukagjini. In 1478, the fourth siege of Kruje finally proved successful for the Ottomans; demoralized and severely weakened by hunger and lack of supplies from the year-long siege, the defenders surrendered to Mehmed, who had promised them to leave unharmed in exchange. As the Albanians were walking away with their families, however,the Ottomans reneged on this promise, killing the men and enslaving the women and children. A year later, the Ottoman forces captured Shkodra, the last free Albanian castle (although it was under Venetian control at the time), but the Albanian resistance continued sporadically until around 1500.

Papal Relations

Skanderbeg's military successes evoked a good deal of interest and admiration from the Papal States, Venice, and Naples, themselves threatened by the growing Ottoman power across the Adriatic Sea. Skanderbeg managed to arrange for support in the form of money, supplies, and occasionally troops from all three states through his diplomatic skill. One of his most powerful and consistent supporters was Alfonso the Magnanimous, the king of Aragon and Naples, who decided to take Skanderbeg under his protection as a vassal in 1451, shortly after the latter had scored his second victory against Murad II. In addition to financial assistance, the King of Naples supplied the Albanian leader with troops, military equipment, and sanctuary for himself and his family if such a need should arise. As an active defender of the Christian cause in the Balkans, Skanderbeg was also closely involved with the politics of four Popes, one of them being Pope Pius II, the Renaissance humanist, writer, and diplomat.

Profoundly shaken by the fall of Constantinople in 1453, Pius II tried to organize a new crusade against the Turks, and to that end he did his best to come to Skanderbeg's aid, as his predecessors Pope Nicholas V and Pope Calixtus III had done before him. This policy was continued by his successor, Pope Paul II. They gave him the title Athleta Christi, or Champion of Christ. Skanderberg's 25-year resistance against the Ottoman Empire succeeded in helping protect the Italian peninsula from invasion by the Turks.

Gjergj Kastriot's Legacy

After his death from natural causes in 1468 in Lezhë, his soldiers resisted the Turks for the next 12 years. In 1480 Albania was finally conquered by the Ottoman Empire. When the Turks found the grave of Skanderbeg in Saint Nicholas church of Lezhe, they opened it and held his bones like talismans for luck. The same year, they invaded Italy and conquered the city of Otranto.
Skanderbeg's posthumous fame was not confined to his own country. Voltaire thought the Byzantine Empire would have survived had it possessed a leader of his quality. A number of poets and composers have also drawn inspiration from his military career. The French sixteenth-century poet Ronsard wrote a poem about him, as did the nineteenth-century American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Antonio Vivaldi composed an opera entitled Scanderbeg.
Skanderbeg today is the National Hero of Albania. Many museums and monuments are raised in his honor around Albania, among them the Skanderbeg Museum next to the castle in Krujë.
Skanderbeg is founder of Castriota Scanderbeg family which is today part of Italian nobility.


Posted: Sun Aug 09, 2009 3:34 am
by Arta
The Castriota Family

The Kastrioti or Castriota family, of Albanian origin, begins with certainty with John Castriota, lord of Mat and Vumenestia, who died in 1443. He resisted Turkish attempts at conquering the Albanian region. At one point, he had to give his four sons as hostage to the Turks. One of them, George Castriota (1403-68), was raised at the Ottoman court and given the name Iskander-Bey (Skanderbeg). He became Christian again, and led Albanian resistance to the Turks to become prince of Albania. He was allied with Venice, which inducted him in its nobility in 1463, but also with the king of Naples, who gave him the lordships of Monte S. Angelo and S. Giovanni Rotundo in the Gargano region of Naples in 1463.

He left a son by Andronica Arianiti Comnena, Giovanni Castriota (ca. 1450-1514), who ceded his rights in Albania to Venice in 1474 and retired in the kingdom of Naples. He exchanged his possessions for the marquisate of Soleto and the county of San Pietro in Galatina (both near Lecce) in 1485. In 1497, he was elevated to the rank of duca di San Pietro. He married Irene Palaiologa, daughter of Lazare despot of Serbia, and left 3 or 4 sons: Costantino, bishop of Isernia (died 1500), Ferrante who succeeded as duke, Giorgio (died 1540, leaving one son without issue), and perhaps Federico. It is said that this line died with Irene, sole surviving child of Ferrante, married in 1539 to Pietrantonio Sanseverino, prince of Bisignano. Among the illegitimate children of Ferrante, two had issue: Achille, born of Dianora, a Greek slave from Corone freed by the duke, whose descendants now live in Naples; and Pardo, son of Porzia de Urrisio, made a patrician of the city of Lecce, whose descendants live in Lecce and Ruffano. A member of that branch was Isabella Castriota Scanderbeg (1704-49), a poet.

The family still exists. The current (or at least recent) head of the family of Castriota-Scanderbeg lives at "Napoli: via G. Cotronei 2", while his uncle lives at "Napoli: villa Scanderbeg, via Napoli 119 bis; La Pietra- Bagnoli (Napoli)". They bear the arms d'oro all'aquila bicipite, coronata sulle due teste di nero, col volo abbassato, alla punta d'azz., movente dal lembo superiore dello scudo, rovesciata e caricata di una stella (6) d'oro (which translates into Or an double-headed eagle, wings abaisse, crowned on both heads sable, on a pile azure a mullet or.)

A brother of George Castriota Scanderbeg was Stanisha (Staniscia), who left a son Branilo. Raised as an Ottoman under the name of Hamsa, he became Christian in 1443, count of Mat, governor of Croia in Albania, was made duke of Ferrandina in the kingdom of Naples and died in 1463. By Maria Zardari he had Giovanni, duke of Ferrandino who left a daughter Maria; and Alfonso, marquis of Altripalda in 1512 (died 1544). Some source give him a son Antonio Branai who married his cousin Maria and became duke of Ferrandina. Antonio had no legitimate issue, but a natural son Alessandro d'Altripalda whose descendants formed a prominent family of the Napolitan aristocracy ad were were given the name Castriota in 1803. Others say that this is a confusion, and that this Castriota family descends from Bernardo Granai, a lieutenant of Scanderbeg.

Recently (according to the Electronic Telegraph of May 8, 1997) Giorgio Castriota Scnaderbeg, a bank employee near Naples, has made a claim to the Albanian throne. Isabella Stasi Castriota Scanderbeg, an Italian TV documentary writer and producer who lives in Rome and Cadaqués;, may belong to the Catriota d'Altripada family.


Enciclopedia Italiana.
Enciclopedia Storico-Nobiliare Italiana.
Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani.
Charles Hopf: Chroniques Gréco-Romaines. Berlin, 1873.
Foscarini, Amilcare: l' Armerista delle famiglie nobili e notabili in terra d'Otranto, 1927.


Posted: Sun Aug 09, 2009 3:41 am
by Arta
Scanderbeg, Gibbon had written:

Gibbon's History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, London 1776- 1778, Of Scanderbeg, Gibbon had written:

"In the list of heroes, John Huniades and Scanderbeg are commonly associated, and they are both entitled to our notice, since their occupation of the Ottoman arms delayed the ruin of the Greek empire. John Castriot, the father of Scanderbeg, was the hereditary prince of a small district of Epirus or Albania, between the mountains and the Adriatic Sea. Unable to contend with the sultan's power, Castriot submitted to the hard conditions of peace and tribute: he delivered his four sons as the pledges of his fidelity; and the Christian youths, after receiving the mark of circumcision, were instructed in the Mahometan religion, and trained in the arms and arts of Turkish policy. The three elder brothers were confounded in the crowd of slaves; and the poison to which their deaths are ascribed cannot be verified or disproved by any positive evidence. Yet the suspicion is in a great measure removed by the kind and paternal treatment of George Castriot, the fourth brother, who, from his tender youth, displayed the strength and spirit of a soldier.

The successive overthrow of a Tartar and two Persians, who carried a proud defiance to the Turkish court, recommended him to the favor of Amurath, and his Turkish appellation of Scanderbeg (Iskender beg), or the lord Alexander, is an indelible memorial of his glory and servitude. His father's principality was reduced into a province; but the loss was compensated by the rank and title of Sanjiak, a command of five thousand horses, and the prospect of the first dignities of the empire. He served with honor in the wars of Europe and Asia; and we may smile at the art or credulity of the historian, who supposes, that in every encounter he spared the Christians, while he fell with a thundering arm on his Mussulman foes.

The glory of Huniades is without reproach: he fought in the defence of his religion and country; but the enemies who applaud the patriot, have branded his rival with the name of traitor and apostate. In the eyes of the Christians, the rebellion of Scanderbeg is justified by his father's wrongs, the ambiguous death of his three brothers, his own degradation, and the slavery of his country; and they adore the generous, though tardy, zeal, with which he asserted the faith and independence of his ancestors. But he had imbibed from his ninth year the doctrines of the Koran: he was ignorant of the Gospel; the religion of a soldier is determined by authority and habit; nor is it easy to conceive what new illumination at the age of forty could be poured into his soul.

His motives would be less exposed to the suspicion of interest or revenge, had he broken his chain from the moment that he was sensible of its weight: but a long oblivion has surely impaired his original right; and every year of obedience and reward had cemented the mutual bond of the sultan and his subject. If Scanderbeg had long harbored the belief of Christianity and the intention of revolt, a worthy mind must condemn the base dissimulation, that could serve only to betray, that could promise only to be forsworn, that could actively join in the temporal and spiritual perdition of so many thousands of his unhappy brethren.

Shall we praise a secret correspondence with Huniades, while he commanded the vanguard of the Turkish army? Shall we excuse the desertion of his standard, a treacherous desertion which abandoned the victory to the enemies of his benefactor? In the confusion of a defeat, the eye of Scanderbeg was fixed on the Reis Effendi, or principal secretary: with the dagger at his breast, he extorted a firman or patent for the government of Albania; and the murder of the guiltless scribe and his train prevented the consequences of an immediate discovery. With some bold companions, to whom he had revealed his design, he escaped in the night, by rapid marches, from the field of battle to his paternal mountains. The gates of Croya were opened to the royal mandate; and no sooner did he command the fortress, than George Castriot dropped the mask of dissimulation; abjured the prophet and the sultan, and proclaimed himself the avenger of his family and country. The names of religion and liberty provoked a general revolt: the Albanians, a martial race, were unanimous to live and die with their hereditary prince; and the Ottoman garrisons were indulged in the choice of martyrdom or baptism.

In the assembly of the states of Epirus, Scanderbeg was elected general of the Turkish war; and each of the allies engaged to furnish his respective proportion of men and money. From these contributions, from his patrimonial estate, and from the valuable salt-pits of Selina, he drew an annual revenue of two hundred thousand ducats; and the entire sum, exempt from the demands of luxury, was strictly appropriated to the public use. His manners were popular; but his discipline was severe; and every superfluous vice was banished from his camp: his example strengthened his command; and under his conduct the Albanians were invincible in their own opinion and that of their enemies.

The bravest adventurers of France and Germany were allured by his fame and retained in his service: his standing militia consisted of eight thousand horse and seven thousand foot: the horses were small, the men were active; but he viewed with a discerning eye the difficulties and resources of the mountains; and, at the blaze of the beacons, the whole nation was distributed in the strongest posts. With such unequal arms Scanderbeg resisted twenty- three years the powers of the Ottoman empire; and two conquerors, Amurath the Second, and his greater son, were repeatedly baffled by a rebel, whom they pursued with seeming contempt and implacable resentment. At the head of sixty thousand horse and forty thousand Janizaries, Amurath entered Albania: he might ravage the open country, occupy the defenceless towns, convert the churches into mosques, circumcise the Christian youths, and punish with death his adult and obstinate captives: but the conquests of the sultan were confined to the petty fortress of Sfetigrade; and the garrison, invincible to his arms, was oppressed by a paltry artifice and a superstitious scruple. Amurath retired with shame and loss from the walls of Croya, the castle and residence of the Castriots; the march, the siege, the retreat, were harassed by a vexatious, and almost invisible, adversary; and the disappointment might tend to imbitter, perhaps shorten, the last days of the sultan. In the fulness of conquest, Mahomet the Second still felt at his bosom this domestic thorn: his lieutenants were permitted to negotiate a truce; and the Albanian prince may justly be praised as a firm and able champion of his national independence.

The enthusiasm of chivalry and religion has ranked him with the names of Alexander and Pyrrhus; nor would they blush to acknowledge their intrepid countryman: but his narrow dominion, and slender power, must leave him at an humble distance below the heroes of antiquity, who triumphed over the East and the Roman legions. His splendid achievements, the bashaws whom he encountered, the armies that he discomfited, and the three thousand Turks who were slain by his single hand, must be weighed in the scales of suspicious criticism. Agaian illiterate enemy, and in the dark solitude of Epirus, his partial biographers may safely indulge the latitude of romance: but their fictions are exposed by the light of Italian history; and they afford a strong presumption against their own truth, by a fabulous tale of his exploits, when he passed the Adriatic with eight hundred horse to the succor of the king of Naples. Without disparagement to his fame, they might have owned, that he was finally oppressed by the Ottoman powers: in his extreme danger he applied to Pope Pius the Second for a refuge in the ecclesiastical state; and his resources were almost exhausted, since Scanderbeg died a fugitive at Lissus, on the Venetian territory.

His sepulchre was soon violated by the Turkish conquerors; but the Janizaries, who wore his bones encased in a bracelet, declared by this superstitious amulet their involuntary reverence for his valor. The instant ruin of his country may redound to the hero's glory; yet, had he balanced the consequences of submission and resistance, a patriot perhaps would have declined the unequal contest which must depend on the life and genius of one man. Scanderbeg might indeed be supported by the rational, although fallacious, hope, that the pope, the king of Naples, and the Venetian republic, would join in the defence of a free and Christian people, who guarded the sea-coast of the Adriatic, and the narrow passage from Greece to Italy. His infant son was saved from the national shipwreck; the Castriots were invested with a Neapolitan dukedom, and their blood continues to flow in the noblest families of the realm. A colony of Albanian fugitives obtained a settlement in Calabria, and they preserve at this day the language and manners of their ancestors.

16 cf. Gibbon, vol. 5, p. 401-406.


Posted: Sun Aug 09, 2009 3:43 am
by Arta
The Battle of Ujebardha(white water in Albanian)

The Commanders

In spring 1457, Mehmed send against Skanderbeg a 70,000 strong force led by Isa Beg Evrenoz and Hamza Kastrioti. Evrenoz was the only Ottoman general that had ever achieved a victory over Skanderbeg, defeating him in the Siege of Berat. Accompanying him was Hamza Kastrioti, Skanderbeg’s nephew. Hamza has proven himself over the years, but he nurtured hopes to one day inherit the principality of Albania after Skanderbeg. His ambition proved too much for him, for when Skanderbeg fathered a child with Donika Kastrioti, he felt cheated by fate and went over to the Ottomans. The presence of these two men demonstrates that this expedition was of a vital importance for the Sultan Evrenoz, as we mentioned, was the only general to have defeated Scanderbeg. Hamza Kastrioti, on the other hand, had spent 14 years as the right hand of Skanderbeg, and new every military tactic that his uncle had ever employed in his war against the Ottomans. Also, by vanquishing Albania, the Sultan could finally resume his two-pronged attack over Europe by reaching Rome and Vienna; his proclaimed ambitions.

The Battle

The orders were simple: engage Scanderbeg and defeat him. Evrenoz entered the valley of Mat and proceeded slowly westwards toward Kruja. A few minor clashes ensued, after which Scanderbeg withdrew his forces. Unhindered, the Ottomans carried on, plundering the small settlement and harassing the population for information. After several weeks and no sign of Skanderbeg, Evrenoz and Hamza were induced in believing that Skanderbeg had indeed fled for his life. Sketchy reports were coming that he had lost the loyalty of the army, who had deserted him, while he, himself, was trying to cross the border over to the domains of Venice in Albania.
In fact, on July 21, Marco Diedo, the Venetian governor of Durres had written to the Republic’s Senate that: “The Magnificent Skanderbeg,” deserted by all was trying to find refuge high in the mountains, while the Turk ruled supreme in Albania. In August the position of the Ottomans in Albania seemed solidified. Twenty thousand soldiers protected the supply routes, while keeping under siege the forts in Cidhna, Dibra, Guri i Bardhe (White Stone), Mat, Rodon, and Petrela.

The rest of the army, fifty thousand strong, moved from the gully of Mat to Ujebardha, northwest of Kruja and south of Lezha so that both cities could be kept under watch, as well as giving the army something to do to keep morale in place. By the end of August, three months after they crossed the border, the Ottoman army seemed to have reached a level of complacency, and its vigilance had lowered significantly. On September 2, Skanderbeg made his move. The strategy was simple. Skanderbeg had to deliver a strong and surprise thrust to the main Ottoman army and destroy it before any of the additional forces that were roaming the country free could come to its relief.

Indeed, so it happened. Small Albanian detachments neutralized the Ottoman patrols, while the main body of the army approached the northern side of the camp. At noon, the Ottomans were awakened from their midday sleep to find their enemy already within their camp. An infernal noise, produced by thousands of metal-clapping devices, gave the impression that they were facing a large force. Confusion settled in as the Albanian cavalry charged on from the west, while the infantry punched its way through to the center of the camp. Soon confusion turned to panic as unit commanders failed to address the situation properly.

The only serious defense was mounted by Hamza Kastrioti, who knew, that not matter what had happened during the last three months, Skanderbeg could not have mustered more than 11,000 soldiers there. Indeed, Skanderbeg had placed considerable care in defeating Hamza and his sipahis first, by sending against him his personal guard of 2,000 cavalry. Hamza was being pushed back, but his retreat was ordered and sustained. This made the task even more difficult, since his resistance could bolster the courage of the Ottomans in other sectors. If this had happened, then Skanderbeg would have been defeated by the superior numbers of his enemy. But this did not happen. The thrust had achieved what Skanderbeg had planned for. Within two hours the Ottoman camp was entirely in his hand, while the remnants of the defeated army made their way through the valley of Tirana, on to Elbasan. The Ottoman casualties amounted to 20,000 dead, wounded and prisoners, whereas the Albanians lost less than 2,000. Hamza Kastrioti was captured alive, and sent to jail in Naples. He was freed later and went on his own, with his wife and children in Turkey, where he died as beggar in early 1460s.


Posted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 4:45 am
by Arta
Scanderbeg knew all of this

Sir William Woodthorpe Tarn, the best book ever written about Alexander and his campaign. The first sentence is:

Alexander certainly had from his father (Philip II) and probably from his mother (Olymbia) Illyrian, ie Albanian, blood!

It's really interesting, especially if you want to know about his invasions in persia and egypt.

Look at skanderbeg for example . Why did he have a goat's head as a crown? because Alexander and Pirro wore it. And all this is connected to Amalthia, the goat-nymph that raised Zeus. In Albanian, we pronounce it Amalte and it's similarity to the Illyrian "tamel" (it means "milk") is not surprising.

Skanderbeg knew all this. no wonder why he wore those two rings.

Skanderbeg and all Albanian nobles (Topia, Muzaka, Arianiti, Dukagjini etc) knew who our (Albanian) ancestors were. That's why the Topia family had Pirro's snakes as their symbol. And that was NOT a copy, it was the real small statue of Pirro's snakes, designed and constructed somewhen in 200-300BC and passed generation after generation. Unfortunately, some Italian thieves stole it between 1519-21 and today it's in Turin's museum (Italy). This is continuity.

The goat is holy for us. It gives the healthiest milk (tamel--Amalte). We have old long stories about goats, all connected to something divine. Goats, oak trees, eagles, snakes, stars, wolves and another animal were all important symbols in Illyria and they still are in Albania. Some of these are international, some aren't.