Re: Ilire, Maqedone dhe Helene.
Posted: Sun Aug 15, 2010 10:29 pm
Kete material e kam marre nga ky link: http://www.greenspun.com/bboard/q-and-a ... _id=00CIwd. Eshte mire te postohen edhe ca pjese te tjera mbi Camerine, ne temen perkatese!
Keni njohuri kush mund te jete autori i ketij teksti?In a pamphlet written in 1416 by the Byzantine satirist Mazaris, ‘The Sojourn of Mazaris in Hades’, there is an imaginary letter dated 21 September 1415 and addressed from the Peloponnese to one Holobolos of the Underworld, which describes the condition then existing in the peninsula:
“In the Peloponnese … live pell-mell numerous nations, of which it is not easy nor very necessary to retrace the boundaries, but every ear can easily distinguish them by their languages, and here are the most notable of them: Lacedaemonians, Italians, Peloponessians, Slavs, Illyrians, Egyptians, and Jews (and among them are not a few half- castes) in all seven nations.”
John Fine, a specialist in medieval Balkans describes Albanian movement in Morea (Peloponesse) this way:
“A certain amount of disruption was caused by further Albanian migration and settlement, but this had benefits as well. Albanians, settled in deserted and mountainous regions, added to the number of farmers and shepherds and contributed to increased agricultural production and tax income. The Albanians also provided further, and excellent soldiers. However, the Albanians were also a source of disorder and brigandage. For though their settlement at times took place on vacant lands, at others it resulted in the ousting of already settled agriculturalists. And since many Albanians were shepherds and continued to be so, a portion of Morean (Peloponessian) farmland, went out of crop production to become pastureland. In March 1415 Emperor Manuel arrived in Morea, investing his son Theodore, who was now of age, with full authority…” (The Late Medieval Balkans – A Critical Survey from the Late Twelfth Century to the Ottoman Conquest, John V. A. Fine Jr.)
It must be paragraphs like this tempting Phil-Hellenes and Slavo- phones to paint the origin of Albanians as enshrouded into mystery. It is time we spread the clouds and let the eagle fly high on clear skies over peaks she once raised her eaglets. The Illyrians, Mazaris speaks of, are the same Albanians following Scanderbeg’s father, Gjon Kastrioti. By 1415 Gjon Kastrioti held Tirane and the territory north of that town to the Mati and beyond it(including Thkella), controlling lands as far east as Prizren, and by 1423 extended his dominance to the outskirts of Alessio (including Mirdite). Meanwhile, that same year, the Turks directed a major offensive into Albania and Gjon Kastrioti accepted suzerainty and sent his sons as hostages to Adrianople. Captured by Ottoman Turks and educated at Adrianople, the Turks nicknamed young Kastriot (Gjergj), “Scander-beg”. Literally, “Iskander”, Turkish for Alexander in reference to his illustrious forefather, Alexander the Great; and “bey” or general, lord.) Skender-bey quickly won the favor of sultan and served him loyally in campaigns both in Europe and Asia. He did well and rose rapidly to become a high-ranking Ottoman military commander. Seeing what was happening to Albania, Scanderbeg with three hundred loyal Albanian horsemen deserted the Ottomans and arrived at Kroia (Albania), recovered all his family holdings and set out to unite the Albanians chiefs into a league to resist the Turks. In March 1444 he called a congress at Alessio, where all the tribesmen willingly submitted to central discipline with Scanderbegas head of the League. A Mirdites by blood, he was able to overcome every difficulty in uniting his tribesmen. Scanderbeg’s heroics and his brilliant military leadership defending Albania from the Empire of the Turks became widely known in Europe. Proclaimed by the Pope as King of Albania and Macedonia, Scanderbeg died in 1468. Marlowe’s first work was titled ‘Scanderbeg’ as was one of Vivaldi’s operas and later Longfellow would describe the Great Lord Alexander of Medieval Albania this way:
Anon from the Castle walls the crescent banner falls, And the crowd beholds instead, like a portent in the sky, Iskander’s banner fly, the Black Eagle with double head, And the loud exultant cry that echoes wide and far, “Long Live Scanderbeg!” H W Longfellow Tales of a Wayside Inn, 1873
Scanderbeg’s name is closely linked with the League of Alessio (Alexiensis). Alessio, one of the principal seaports of Albania, favourably located near the mouth of Drin, was known through ages as Lissus, Alise, Alessio, Lesch and today as Lezh. Within the diocesan limits of Alessio was the quasi-episcopal abbey (abbatia nullius) of St. Alexander Oroshi or Orochi, the mountain stronghold of the small but brave body of the Catholic Mirdites of Albania. St. Alexander called Shen Llezh-dri is the saint protector of the Mirdites. There existed a legend about an Arc up at the top of Orosh, none could open, where the Saint’s head was believed to be found. It’s from Shen Llezh-dri (St. Alexander) that the modern name Lezh originates. Its medieval name Lesh is also Albanian deriving from the short Latin version for Alessandro, Alessio (root – Lesh). Lezhe (Alessio) had formerly five churches. The cathedral was dedicated to St. Nicholas and once held the mortal remains of Gjergj (George) Kastrioti, the immortal Skanderbeg. Local tradition relates that when the Turks took the town they opened his grave and made amulets of his bones, believing that these would confer indomitable bravery on the wearer. Transformed into a mosque, the cathedral was abandoned by the Ottomans after three dervishes had successively committed suicide from one of its towers. We may speculate that the saint’s head, at the Arc of Orosh, was in fact that of Gergj Kastrioti – Skenderbey, saved by the Mirdites not to fall in Ottoman hand. Alexander’s name in Indo-Pak. is Sikander, which comes from Iskender. The peoples of Asia Minor and the Middle East called him this because Alexander of Macedon conquered all their lands so quickly and when riding into battle tied horns to his head to look more menacing. The peoples of these regions believed these were real! In similar fashion Gjergj Kastrioti, Skender-bey (Lord Alexander in Turkish) wore a helmet with a goat’s horns standing out. It may be a coincidence that Alexander the Great of Macedon was turned into a latter-day saint, named St. George by Greek Orthodox Church, in Mirdite Shen Gjergji corresponding with Albania’s own medieval Lord Alexander named Gjergj Kastrioti.
The feast day of Saint George, April 23, marks the beginning of summer in Albania, and is associated with numerous popular customs, most of which are designed to ensure growth in children, farm animals and crops. In Kosova and Macedonia, Saint George’s Day, celebrated on May 6 according to the eastern calendar, is associated with the eating of a flija. In Podujeva, nettles are picked from the garden, dipped in water and used to sprinkle the children with in order to give them strength. In Tetova (Macedonia), villagers at the foot of the Sharr mountains bathed their children in water from the Vardar River, which they fetched the night before and mixed with various ingredients (red flowers, red-colored eggshells, blossoms, etc.). The bath water was then thrown back into the river and all potential harm to the child with it. The tradition of bathing children in spring flowers and blossoms is still known throughout Kosova and Western Macedonia. Flowers are also put under children’s pillows at bedtime. In Shala, shepherds gathered flowers and herbs on Saint George’s Day and fed them to the farm animals, which were adorned with ivy leaves and “smoked” with incense. It was believed in the northern mountains that herbs and plants had a particularly strong healing effect if picked between the two Saint George’s days. In Shkodra, children would decorate doorways with branches and flowers picked before dawn. In Mirdita it was believed that, should there be thunder storms between the two Saint George’s days, there would be no snakes that summer. The Orthodox of Kiçnica in Upper Reka (Macedonia) also celebrate Saint George of the Winter (Shën Gjergj i Dimrit) on December 9. Edith Durham in “High Albania” when speaking of Albanians’ use of flags, points to a striking fact: “Only the Mirdites have a distinctive flag with a rayed-sun upon it.” (‘High Albania’, Chapter II London: Edward Arnold, 1909). The Rayed-Sun was the emblem of the Royal House of Macedon, and of course that of Great Alexander. The Rayed-Sun was used in Skanderbeg’s seal as “Dominum Albanie” (King of Albanians) and in a mandate sent to Pope Piu II the seal of his kingdom wrote “Sigilum o Regniae o Macedoniae o et o Albaniae” (Kingdom of Macedonian Albania).
Sir William Woodthorpe Tarn, of the British Academy, regarded worldwide as having written the definitive work on Alexander the Great, states in the opening paragraph of his book ‘Alexander the Great’ that “Alexander certainly had from his father (Philip II) and probably from his mother (Olymbia) Illyrian, i.e. Albanian, blood!” (ALEXANDER THE GREAT, W.W. Tarn, Beacon Press, Boston, 1956)
Aristotle, Alexander’s teacher, favored a “Timocracy” (rule by honor) – a combination of aristocracy and democracy, in which the suffrage would be restricted to property owners, and a numerous middle class would be the pivot and balance wheel of power, an idea very similar to the rule of inviolable trust in the history of Mirdites Albanians. However, Leonidas, the Epirote, rather than Aristotle was considered as Alexander’s greatest teacher.
“The care of his education as it might be presumed, was committed to a great many attendants, preceptors, and teachers, over the whole of whom Leonidas, a near kinsman of Olympias, a man of an austere temper, presided, who did not indeed himself decline the name of what in reality is a noble and honorable office, but in general his dignity, and his near relationship, obtained him from other people the title of Alexander’s foster-father and governor.” (The Life of Alexander the Great – Plutarch)
Alexander himself was quoted to have said:
“All mortals should live like one, united, and peacefully working towards the common good. You should regard the whole world as your country, a country where the best govern, with common laws, and no racial distinctions. I do not separate people, as many narrow-minded others do. I am not interested in the origin or race of citizens; I only distinguish them on the basis of their virtue. For my part, I consider all, whether they be white or black, equal.” (Alexander The Great )
We know for a fact that Alexander’s mother Olympia was an Epirote Princess. We also know that Philips’ mother Eurydice was Illyrian, which makes 3/4th of Alexander’s blood Illyrian. The question however is whether the Macedonian ruling house was of Greek or Illyrian descent?
Shala, Shoshi and Mirdita, says tradition, descend from three brothers, who came from modern Kosova (ancient Dardania). When they left, the first took a saddle (shala); the second a winnowing sieve (shosh); and the third had nothing, so he said ‘good-day’ (mir dit) and withdrew. Up to the days E. Durham visited the highlands of Albania, Shala, Shoshi and the three banners that constitute the original Mirdita brotherhood (Spach, Orosh and Kushnen) did not intermarry. Miss Durham saw this fact as proof of original close consanguinity. Shala, Shoshi and Mirdita are mainly Catholics and the most conservative culturally preserving the Gegh social system. Shala, Shoshi and Mirdita belong to the most important ‘fis’ of whole north Albania, known as the Dukagjins.
‘Fis’ comes from Pelasgian ‘phys-us’ meaning common origin. The ‘fis’ is an exogamus patrilineal kinship group, without geographical attachments; several whole banners (bairaks) may belong to one ‘fis’; on the other hand one small village may contain branches of several ‘fis’, some large and national, others small and local. The ‘fis’ is the body of descendants in the male line of one usually eponymous ancestor
The original ancestor of Mirdita triple brotherhood (Spach, Orosh, and Kushnen), youngest from the legend of the super-fis (Shala, Shoshi and Mirdita), came from the plain of Kosova (ancient Dardania) looking for refuge, at least 100 generations ago, according to popular tradition. This youngest brother, left with nothing but a ‘good-day’ (Mir-dita) greeting to come and live in the mountains of today’s Mirdite where he had three sons. When these three brothers set out to divide the land, the oldest took Orosh, that’s why the banner of Orosh is known as the leading banner, Spach took the second place and Kushnen the third. It’s of great interest to stop at the relationship of this triple brotherhood with the other banners of Mirdite (9 of them, altogether 12 banners).
Spach, Orosh and Kushnen together with Fan and Dibrri formed the League of Mirdite and later with the other 3 banners of Thkella (Thkella, Selita, Perlati) and 4 banners of Lezha highlands formed Mirdite with 12 banners. While Fani and the banners of Lezhe could be the most ancient inhabitants of these highlands, the other two major groups, Mirdita and Thkella, often times rivals, claim as their ancestral origin respectively Dardania and Ohrid area. Archaeological and historical findings, show that Mirdite in antiquity was inhabited by the Illyrian Pirustae. Pirustae, according to Ptolemy (Geogr., ii, 16, §5), dwelt in the eastern part of Albania, east of Dyrrachium (Durazzo); Pirustae, is Latin for Dardanian, since Pirus is Latin for pear, in Alb. would be ‘Dardhe’. The ethnic affinities of the Dardanians, from whose name, derives the modern Albanian word for ‘pear’ (dardhe), have been examined by Papazogly. Names of individual peoples may have been formed in a similar fashion. The name of the Delmatae appears connected with the Albanian word for ‘sheep’ (delme) and the Taulantii from ‘swallow’ (cf. the Albanian tallandushe). It is possible that just like Pirustae, the Taulanti are one of the many branches of the Dardani, and therefore referred by a different name at a particular place and westward movement in time. M.E. Durham pointed out that Bertius, mapmaker of Louis XIII of France, who marked the region “Pirustae” added to it “albanese”. She also remarked that the name Dardania was used as late as 1770, as attested by a map published in Nuremberg (see Durham, Some Tribal Origins… pp.) Dardanians, were believed to be descended from the legendary king of Troy, Dardanus, who ruled over many tribes in Asia Minor and was responsible for settling the Dardani west of the Thracians. According to tradition, this Dardanus was founder of the Trojan ruling house from which Epirus, Macedonia and later Rome (from Aeneas) claimed Trojan ancestry. This son of Zeus and Electra (daughter of Atlas) survived the great flood and sailed to the area that later became known as Troy. He married the daughter of Teucer, who was king of the area, built a city, and named it after himself. When Teucer died, Dardanus succeeded him as king and renamed the entire area Dardania; the inhabitants of the region were known as Dardani. (Homer, Iliad 20.215-222; Apollodorus 3.12.1- 2; Diodorus Siculus 5.48.2-3). Family Tree 42.
John Wilkes, author of “The Illyrians- Peoples of Europe”, well-known British scholar concerned with the archaeology of Roman frontiers and Eastern Europe writes:
“Among groups who may have belonged to the Taulanti, known to Greeks for their method of preparing mead from honey, were the Abri, named by the sixth century writer Hecataeus as neighbors of the Chelidones, the ‘snail-men’, who may have lived on their northern borders towards the Mat or Drin valleys.Behind the coast Illyrians bordered the Chaones, the Epirote people of whom the Dexari or Dessaretae were the most northerly and bordered the Illyrian Enchelei, the ‘eel-men’, whose name points to a location near Lake Ohrid. According to Polybius (5.108), the Dassaretae possessed several towns, though none has yet been definitely located, including Pelion, Antipatrea (probably Berat), Chrysondym, Gertous or Gerous and Crenion. Livy’s refrence to ‘Pirustae of the Dassareti’ (45.26) in the second century BC may be an error of the manuscript…” (p. 98)
Going through Wilkes’ book, I found many fascinating facts, the author knew nothing how closely they relate to Albania and modern Albanians. I believe Wilkes to be a Phil-Hellene, however I must say his work is a great accomplishment in Illyrian studies. I have to disagree with his assumption that Livy’s reference to “Pirustae of the Dassareti” might be a manuscript error, because I don’t see why the Pirustae, one of the most powerful Illyrian tribes could not hold possessions in and around Lake Ohrid or why the Pirustae and the Dassaretis may not have been connected to a common ancestor as in the case of our talked about Gegh super-fis!
“… The Issenses, the Taulantii, the Pirustae of Dassaretia, the cities of Rhizon and Olcinium, shall be not only free politically, but exempt from all tribute …” (Livy’s History of Rome)
There were in fact other groups going by the same name as in the case of Atintanes of Epirus located among the hills on the right bank of Aous in the Mallakastra north of Tepelena and perhaps as far as Skrapar and the Atintani of Illyria located in the region of Chermenike, north of Elbasan. If we accept Livy’s reference as truth and not as a ‘manuscript error’ than there is a high probability or should we call it ‘evidence’, that those belonging to the Mirdites triple brotherhood (Spach, Orosh and Kushnen) are descendants of Illyrian Pirustae (Dardans) and the ones from Thkellas triple brotherhood (Thkelle, Selite, Perlat) descend from ‘Pirustae of the Dassareti’ (Southern Dardans), whose ancestor as we will see might be the same. According to tradition, Thkella, Selita and Perlati, known as ‘Thkellas’ or ‘Oherians’ (Ohrides), were three brothers that came from somewhere near Lake Ohrid, which corresponds to Dassarete’s location Livy has given us.
Being neither a historian nor a linguist I have no definite say on something so intriguing and fascinating as the origin of Macedonian dynasty but since our historians are not brave enough to step in, do the research and unravel the truth Slav-Macedonians and Greeks falsely claim as theirs in their daily fabrications, it is left to many of us simply taken by the connection between Albanian culture and antiquity, when this should be rather than a hobby, a scholarly challenge. Mixing facts with legends may seem foolish since all ancient people traced their origin based on some legend, but there is one truth Albanian highlands know best, that which has brought down from one generation to the next an oral tradition as unique as one can find, preserving their identity through thousands of years in midst of wars, fighting endless enemies up in their mountains. These highlanders were called “barbarians” by the new coming Greeks* whose name in fact is anything but Greek.
Greek was a name applied by Illyrians to an insignificant group of Dorians that passed through Illyria into Epirus and settled in a region of Thessaly called Graia. Gra – in Albanian literally means women or ladies. According to Pelasgian mythology ‘Graias’, were three gray haired, old ladies (representing three Dorian tribes), sisters of the monsters called Gorgons. The original name of Greeks was ‘Grae-ci’ originally given to them by Illyrians and then modified by Romans, adding the Latin suffix (- ci) just as in the Illyrian case, ‘Illyri-ci’. I’ll try not to get any further into the roots of Greek mythological origin because then I’d have to explain a whole different connection having nothing to do with Macedonians and the Illyrian ‘barbaric’ war style deeply rooted in Alexander’s spirit. Velleius Paterculus, officer in the Roman army and an eyewitness of the Roman campaign to crush the Illyrian uprising of the Pirustae and neighboring tribes, makes this comments:
“…for the Pirustae and the Desidites, Dalmatian tribes who were almost unconquerable on account of their position of their strongholds in the mountains, their warlike temper, their wonderful knowledge of fighting, and, above all, the narrow passes in which they lived, were then at last pacified, not now under the mere generalship but by the strength in arms of (Tiberius) Caesar himself, and then only when they were all but exterminated” (2.115).
Alexander the Great, Alexander III of Macedon (356-323 B.C.), king of Macedonia, born in late July 356 BC in Pella, Macedonia is one of the greatest military genius in history. He conquered much of what was then civilized world, governed by his divine ambition of the world conquest and creation of universal world monarchy. Arrian describes Alexander: the strong, handsome commander with one eye dark as a night and one blue as a sky, always leading his army on his faithful Bucephalus, accompanied by the best military formation of the time, the Macedonian Phalanx which was armed with sarisses, the fearful five and a half meter long spears. He was the first great conqueror, which has reached Greece, Egypt, Asia Minor, and Asia till the river Indus in India.
Like all ancient kings, Alexander claimed that the gods were his ancestors. Already in the fifth century, the Macedonian kings said that they descended from Temenos, a king of Argos; great grandchild of Hyllus (Alb. Star), the son of Heracles. The oldest source for this family tree can be found in book eight of the Histories of the Greek researcher Herodotus of Halicarnassus.
Herodotus in his work “The Histories” gives us this account on Alexander’s ancestry:
“This Alexander was descended, in the seventh generation, from Perdicass, who won the lordship of the Macedonians in the following way. Three brothers, Gauanes, Aeropus, and Perdicass, descendants of Temenus, had been expelled from Argos and had taken refuge in Illyria. Thence they crossed into upper Macedonia and went to the town of Lebaea, where they hired themselves out to do menial work for the king, one tending the horses, another the oxen, and the youngest, Perdicass, the sheep and goats.
In the old days it was not only the common folk who were poor; even the reigning houses were of slender means, and in Lebaea the king’s wife cooked the food. Now it happened that every time she baked, the loaf intended for the boy Perdicass swelled to double its proper size. She said nothing for a while, but when it went on happening every time, she told her husband. At once it occurred to the king that it was portent from heaven of some important event, so he sent for three servants and ordered them to leave the country. The young man in reply, said they had a right to their wages, and would go as soon as they were paid. The sun was shining through the smoke-hole in the roof of the house, and the king, when he heard wages mentioned, was inspired to his ruin, crying out: ‘I give you the wages you deserve – there they are?’ – and pointed to the sun. The two elder brothers Gauanes and Aeropus, were struck dumb; but the boy, who had a knife in his hand, scratched a line with the point of it around the patch of sunlight on the floor, and said: ‘King, we accept what you offer us.’ Then three times he gathered the sunlight into the folds of his tunic, and left the town together with his brothers.
When they were gone, somebody who was in attendance upon the king mentioned what a significant thing the boy had done, and suggested that the youngest of the three knew what he was doing in accepting the offered wage. The king was angry and ordered men to ride in pursuit of the brothers and kill them.
In this part of the country there is a river to which the descendants of these three men offer sacrifices as their savior – for when the sons of Temenus had crossed it, it suddenly rose so high that their pursuers were unable to get over. Once safe on the other side, the brothers went on to another part of Macedonia and settled near the place called the Gardens of Midas, the son of Gordias, where roses grow wild – wonderful blooms, with sixty petals apiece, and sweeter smelling than any others in the world. According to the Macedonians it was in these gardens that Silenus was caught. Above them rises Mt. Bermium, the heights of which are so cold that none can climb them, and it was from the slopes of these mountains that the brothers conquered, first, the land in the immediate neighborhood, and afterwards the rest of Macedonia. From the Perdicass of this story Alexander was descended: he was the son of Amyntas, Amyntas of Alcetas; the father of Alcetas was Aeropus; of Aeropus, Philippus; of Philippus, Argaeus; and of Argaeus, Perdicass – who first won the sovereign power.” (Herodotus – The Histories, p. 549)
It is not how the legend of Shala, Shoshi and Mirdite relate to the one of Gauanes, Aeropus and Perdicass, told by Herodotus that convince us about the connection between the two legends, but the mounting material showing Macedonians as a pre-Hellenic stock, whose might together with the Epirote and Illyrian kingdoms formed Pelasgian bastions in the sea of Hellenic assimilation within Greek cultural piracy. In Albanian “Argat” is a servant working the fields since “Ar-a” means field just as in ancient Pelasgian “Aras”, meant flat land. The plot as told by Herodotus takes place first in Illyria where three brothers have taken refugee which for Herodotus must have been a territory next to upper Macedonia, either Dardania or Dassaretes’ land. There is hard to find a town called Lebaea in upper Macedonia but in Wilkes book I came across Labeates, a small Illyrian tribe later absorbed by the Autariates living around Lake Shkoder.Coins with the legend ‘LABIATIAN’ were produced by the Labeatae of the Lacus Labeatis (Lake of Shkoder) and, like other pieces of Scodra (legend SKODRI-NON), bear on the reverse a galley, a traditional image dated in Illyria around 211-197 BC. If our three brothers followed an itinerary from Argos (will explain later which Argos we’re talking about) to Dardania and then onward to the house of Labeates’ king we might be able to imaginatively construct a fictional way of their escape through Mirdite passing onto a great river called Emathia (modern Mat), whose name later was brought to Paeonia by one of the Macedonians kings named Emathion (Mation/Matian, people from Mat).
Thkella as a brotherhood in its history has not always sided with Mirdite, at times those two brotherhoods would appear as rivals, other times Thkella would act alone or side with Mat tribesmen, but when facing enemies Mirdite and Thkella were always one. What separated Mirdite (with Thkelle) from Mat tribesman was the river Mat, other than that every aspect of their tradition is almost identical. If the story of the young Temenaid, named Perdicass and his older brothers was that of Shala, Shoshi and young Mirdite than the Illyrian connection between Mirdite and Thkelle might indicate a migration of the Pirustae to the south from where they probably launched their attack on Paeonia establishing themselves as rulers of not only Illyrian Paeons but of Thracian tribes as well, and giving rise to a new identity, that of Macedon.
The fact that Macedonia’s ancient name was Emathia (Alb. Emadhia) meaning ‘great one’ indicates that the river crossed must have been Mat (ancient Emathia). Emathia, [Hom.Il.14.226; Nonn.48.77; Ov.Met.5.313, 12.462; Strab.Frag.7.11]. In winter Mat raises so high that quite often accidents happen to those who try getting from one side to the other. Greeks place a strong emphasis on the Royal House of Macedon as Heraclids and therefore true Hellenes, an attempt by the ancient Greeks to make it easier the idea of subordination to a foreign leadership. If Royal Macedonians were Heraclids and therefore Greeks then all Illyrians are Hercalids therefore “Greeks” but we know that ancient Greeks and Illyrians spoke a different language and we also know that Illyrians were named Hercalids, after Hyllus, son of Heracles. In Periplus or Coastal Passage attributed to Scylax of Caryanda, we find this description:
“22. …The Illyri dwell by the sea as far as Chaonia, which lies opposite Corcyra, the island of Alcinous. There is situated the Greek city called Heraclea, with a harbour. There dwell the Lotus-eaters, barbarian peoples with the names Hierastamnae, Bulini, and Hylli who are neighbors of the Bulini. This people tell that Hyllus the son of Hercules had his dwelling among them. They are a barbarian people occupying a peninsula a little smaller than the Peloponenese. The Bulini are also an Illyrian people. The voyage along the land of the Bulini as far as the river Nestus takes one day. 24 … Then from the river Arion (to the river Rhizon) the voyage is a half-day. There are the rocks of Cadmus and Harmonia and a shrine, not far from the river Rhizon….” (Periplus, Coastal Passage).
There is no doubt that Hylli were named after Hyllus, the adopted son of Heracles. According to legend, Hyllus was the son of Cadmus and Harmonia, the first king of Illyrians, worshiped as ‘The Star’. To this day ‘Hyu’ has entered the Albanian vocabulary as ‘God’, where in ancient Greek, understandably ‘Hyus/Hyos’ meant ‘Son/Son of God’. Modern Greek claims of Macedonians as Heraclids and therefore Graecis/Grakois are false and scholars today make the distinction between Dorians and Heraclids, two different groups purposely confused by the ancient ‘Hellenes’ to lay claims upon Pelasgian land and culture.
Based on legends and accounts given to us from story-tellers of old and new ages, we can see the truth behind this “based on a real story” legend. As we all know myth is part truth and part fiction, a reason why Herodotus, claiming a Dorian ancestry, was known not just as ‘Father of History’ but as ‘Father of Lies’ as well. It’s one thing claiming Alexander’s heritage and another to back it up with facts.
The legendary origin of the Macedonians from Argos in Peloponnesus, was invented by King Alexander I Macedon (498-454 B.C.). When as a Phil-Hellene he wanted to take part in the Olympian games, he was rejected, since “the games are not meant for the barbarians, but only for the Hellenes.” The Macedonian king, for the sake of his own prestige and to fulfill his desire to take part in the Great Games, tried cunning: he stated that, according to tradition, his family originated from Argos on Peloponnesus and not from Western Macedonia. Consequently, he became the first Macedonian at the Olympic Games; but this is a questionable statement. There is no evidence that any Macedonian took part in the Olympic Games before Philip II. And the assertion that Alexander I Macedon won in some events should be completely rejected because his name is not included in the lists of the victors, the Olympionics. Alexander I had done a great favor for the Greeks prior to the Battle of Plataea in 479 B.C., and was therefore known as a Phil-Hellene, “admirer of the Greeks” or “friend of the Greeks.” But it is obvious that Alexander could not have been a Greek, if he was called a “Greek friend” and not referred to as a Greek.
Alexander I, the Phil-Hellene, misrepresented the fact that Temenid legend spoke not of Argos in Peloponnesus, but of Argos Orestikon in Upper Macedonia. Herodotus stated that the three brothers Gauanus, Aeropus and Perdiccas, descendants of Heraclides Temenus and therefore called the Temenids, had fled from Argos in Upper Macedonia and arrived at the town of Lebaia. Herodotus does not say where Argos was located; however, the historian Apyanus asserts that it was Argos in Oresteide.
The name ‘Argeads’ has created the impression that the Macedonian kings traced their descent back to Argos in the Peloponnesus, but today most scholars believe that this impression is the result of confusion between Argos in the Peloponnese and Argos Orestikon south of Kastoria. Just south of Keletron was Argos Orestikon, a mountain city, founded by the Orestae, a Molossian tribe that in Late Bronze Age moved from the north into the upper Haliakmon river valley. Orestides lived in Epirus in their land called Orestis, which was part of Molossia. The Orestae were the tribe from which the Argeadae Macedones sprang. They became the leading tribe of Macedonia forming the Macedonian royal house that reigned until the death of Alexander III (the Great). Their territory was found between rivers Aous and Achelous and they claimed to be successors of legendary Orestes of Mykenaea, son of the Dannan leader, Great Agamemnon. Orestes’ name comes from Oros / Orae, (offspring of “Gaia”) which in Pelasgian was a mountain god/goddes, and in today Albanian Or-e is a mountain nymph. Edwin E Jacques in his book on Albanians among other place- names found in Iliad mentions Maleiaon Oros (Nymph’s Mountain – Malin Orosh). In Aggamemnon’s kingdom we find the ancient city of Or-neai. The Greeks of classical world would say, “we will say that we died fighting the enemy at Orneai.” ‘At Orneai’ in classical Greek is a pun meaning (bird), i.e. ‘At Birdland’, and the town of Orneai, which lay between Korinth and Sikyon, underwent a bloodless one-day siege in 416. Aristophanes uses this classical Greek expression, in his play “The Birds”, to remind Greeks not to undertake their Sicilian expedition against natives of that land. It’s a fascinating fact that for as long as it can be remembered Arvanites of Greece referred to their language as “The language of the Birds”. The oldest brother in the Mirdita brotherhood was also called Orosh (Mali Orosh) and strange enough in “Twelfth Nights” Shakespeare, the Duke of Illyria is named Orsino.
The issue of how the term “Macedonian” originated is dealt with by J. R. Ellis:
“One of the significant sites which illustrates their presence [the presence of the Illyrian tribes] is the one in the vicinity of the neighboring villages Vergina [Kutlesh in Macedonian, in Aegean Macedonia] and Palatitsia, at the foot of the Pirin Range, which projects above the southwestern corner of the Emathia Plain, twenty kilometers from Methone on the land and seven or eight kilometers in the south from the coasts of the lower Haliacmon River. The archaeological picture there shows the presence of an Illyrian population from 800 B.C. until the middle of the seventh century. Further to the south, on the slopes of Mt. Titarion and the Pirin Mountains as well as the northern extensions of Mt. Olympus lived Macedons, who gave their name to the region Macedonia.”
J.R. Ellis assessment of the Macedonian background gives us an understanding of the “barbarian” identity, highlighted in Curtius’ famous dialogue between Alexander and Philotas.
Curtius(2) Hist. Alex. Magni Maced., IV, I11.4.:
The general Philotas was accused by one of his compatriots of not feeling ashamed,
” . . . Macedonatus, homines linguae suae per interpretem audire,” “. . . born a Macedonian, to hear the men of his language through an interpreter,”
Alexander asks if Philotas will speak in the language of their fathers,
“… Macedones … de te indicaturi sunt, quero an patrio sermone sis apud eos usurus,” “… the Macedonians who will judge you, I ask if you will use the language of [our] fathers with them,”
“Praeter Macedonas … plerique adsunt, quos facilius quae dicam percep-turus arbitror, si eadem lingua fuero usus qua tu egisti, non ob aliud, credo quam ut oratio tua intellegi posset a pluribus,” “[Above and] beyond the Macedonians … there are many present whom, I feel, will more easily grasp the things I say if I use the same language you did, for no other reason, I believe, than that your speech might be understood by many.”
Greek was for the classical world the international language of trade, as English is in modern times, and the elite Macedonians as well as the elite Illyrians spoke it but Alexander and the rest of Macedonians could not help but feel offended when Philotas, one of their own, addressed them in a tongue different from that of their fathers. The language of Macedonians was the “barbarian – Pelasgic” tongue, spoken by the Illyrians of Epirus (Toscans) and Illyria (Gegenes – Homeric Hymns) and Plutarch indirectly proves it, when he says that young Alexander retired in Illyria after the quarrel with Philip:
“At the wedding of Cleopatra, whom Philip fell in love with and married, she being too young for him, her uncle Attalus in his drink desired the Macedonians would implore the gods to give them a lawful successor to the kingdom by his niece. This so irritated Alexander, that throwing one of the cups at his head, ‘You villain,’ said he, ‘What, am I a bastard then?’ Then Philip, taking Attalus’s part rose up and would have run his son through, but by good fortune for them both, either his over-hasty rage or the wine he had drunk, made his foot slip, so that he fell down, on the floor. At which Alexander reproachfully imsulted over him: ‘See there’, said he, ‘the man who makes preparations to pass out of Europe into Asia overturned passing from one seat to another.’ After this debauch, he and his mother Olympias withdrew from Philip’s company, and when he had placed her in Epirus, he himself retired into Illyria.”
Polyxena Myrtale, Alexander’s mother later called Olympia, claimed descent from Achilles, and met Philip’s infidelities by intimating that the real father of her son was god Zeus (Ammon). In the excavations of Dodona conducted in 1875, Karapanos found carved on the stone of the temple a two-headed eagle, which the ancients used to represent the messenger of Zeus. In the Iliad we find Zeus sending an eagle as a divine sign to the Pelasgian combatants (Iliad 8:97; 12:155). Homer also likened those brave warriors to a swift eagle. Queen Olympias of Epirus later took this symbol with her to Macedonia, and her son Alexander the Great made it known throughout the ancient world as a true messenger of Zeus. Achilles, son of Peleus and goddesses of the sea Thetis (Alb. Deti) led in Troy his Myrmidons, which after their king’s death followed his son Pyrrhus to Epirus where Achilles was known by the name Aspetus (alb. Swift), and labeled by Homer “Swift footed Aeacides”. Pyrrhus Neoptolemy, son of Achilles, had three sons by Andromache (Hector’s wife): Molossius, Pictus and Pergamon. While they were still young, king Pyrrhus was assassinated at the temple of Delphi. Meanwhile Elin, Priam’s son taken a slave in Troy’s war, married the twice-widowed Andromache and ruled as king of Chaonia, his kingdom extending from the present-day town of Saranda southwest including the region called Chameria (Molossia). Elin established himself at the Albanian town of Butrint, giving it the name of Buthrotum-Troy. Upon the death of Elin of Butrint, the throne went to Pyrrhus’s son Molossius and from him to his son Neoptolemy whose daughter was Polyxena Myrtale (Olympia). The Athenian orator Hyperides gives us an account on the possessive trait and pride of Olympias as Athens found out when the city decided to renovate the temple of Dodona in Epirus:
“The land of Molossus is mine. It is not for you Athenians to lay a finger upon a stone of that temple.” (Hyperides)
Molossians called Xanthus River the Skamander, for Plato wrote about the river that “the gods call Xanthus, and men call Skamander” (Plato 1952, 7:89), in Albanian meaning ‘I have no dreams’ (S’kam-anderr). Having read Iliad several times I felt compelled to read some more about the authors who translated this great work into English and I came across “A Companion to the ILIAD – Based on The Translation by Richmond Lattimore” by Malcolm M. Willcock, and on page 225, I stopped and tried to make sense of what was written:
“Iliad, 74. For different names for the same thing in the language of gods and men, see 1.403-4 n. Perhaps in this case Xanthos and Skamandros result from separate attempts to put into Greek the same non-Greek name, a confusion which may also be discerned in the names of Alexandros and her sister Cassandra.”
I asked myself, – what’s in the name Alexander?
Alexander was the name given to Olympia ‘s son. The night before her wedding, Olympias dreamed she was penetrated by a thunderbolt, so that fire gushed out of her womb, spreading far and wide before it was extinguished. On the night of Alexander’s birth, tradition alleged, the temple of Artemis was burnt down. The local Persian Magi interpreted this as an omen of further disasters to come. They ‘ran about beating their faces and crying aloud that woe and great calamity for Asia had that day been born’, a firebrand that was destined to destroy the entire East. A month or two later Philip also had a dream: he was sealing up his wife’s vagina, and the wax bore the stamped device of a lion. Some of the palace seers took this to mean that Philip should keep a closer watch on his wife. But Aristander of Telmessus — who afterwards accompanied Alexander to Asia — had a more acceptable explanation: Olympias was pregnant, and with a spirited, lion-like son. One did not, he told Philip, put a seal on an empty jar. The name “”Alexander” was used by Homer for Paris in Iliad, and in Pelasgian, (alb. Aleksanderr) meant ‘Newborn Dream’ – ‘A Le Ksi Anderr’ or ‘Le-Ka Si Anderr’. Lek-e and Llesh are the abbreviated Albanian forms of Alexander widely used in Mirdite. Llesh indicating influence from the Western (Latin) form “A-less- ander” and Leka from the Eastern (Hellenic) form “A-leks-ander”. It doesn’t surprise me that Phil-Hellenes will voice their skepticism and say there is no Albanian explanation in Alexander’s name, that is why I would like you to judge for yourselves. Let’s look at the names Alexander (Paris), Alexander (Macedon), Cassandra (Kassandra), Aristander (of Telmessus), Menander (at Alexander’s Death), Leander (Hero and Leander). If there is a connection between the Albanian word for dream (Anderr) and the story behind each of these character’s birth and life then I think we hit the nail right on.
Paris, called by Homer in Iliad Alexander (A le kesi ander – newborn dream), was the second child of Queen Hecabe 1 of Troy. Just before his birth, Hecabe 1 dreamt she had brought forth a firebrand that destroyed the city of Troy. When this dream was known, the diviner Aesacus 1, who had learned to understand the meanings of dreams because he had been taking lessons in this art from the seer Merops 1, the father of King Priam 1’s first wife Arisbe, advised to expose the child, prophesying that Paris was to become the ruin of the city. So, when Paris was born, King Priam 1, following Aesacus 1’s interpretation of the dream, gave his and Hecabe 1’s son to a servant Agelaus 2, with instructions to expose him on Mount Ida, near Troy. Agelaus 2 did as he was told, but when he returned after five days, seeing that the child had survived because a bear had nursed him in the wilderness, carried him away, and bringing him up as his own son, he named him Paris. This boy grew up to be a very handsome and strong young shepherd who also defended the flocks from robbers.
Cassandra (Ka ca andra – has dreams) according to J.G. Frazier, referring to a couple of scholiasts, acquired her prophetic power (reading dreams) when she, as a child, was left overnight in the temple of Apollo Thymbraeus and in the following morning serpents were seen licking her ears. Others have said that Apollo himself, wishing to gain her love, promised to teach her the prophetic art. But Cassandra, having learned it, refused her favours, and then the god, not wishing to take back his gift, deprived her prophecy of the power to persuade. This is why she, later in life, lamented:
“Apollo, my destroyer, for you have destroyed me …” [Aeschylus, Agamemnon 1080]
… and acknowledged:
“I promised consent to Apollo but broke my word … and ever since that fault I could persuade no one.” [Aeschylus, Agamemnon 1208ff.]
Accordingly no one listened when she recommended to destroy Paris, her ill-omened brother, shrieking:
“Kill him! Kill the destroyer of Priam’s city! Kill that child!” [Cassandra. Euripides, Andromache 293]
When Paris finally sailed to fetch Helen in Sparta, Cassandra uttered new fiery prophecies, saying:
“Where are you going? You will bring conflagration back with you. How great the flames are that you are seeking over these waters, you do not know.” [Cassandra to Paris. Ovid, Heroides 16,120]
And when on Paris’ return, Cassandra saw Helen coming into Troy, she tore her hair and flung away her golden veil; but the city nevertheless received this woman as a jewel meant to enhance its beauty.
Aristander (Arrish te Anderr – grasping, reaching a dream) of Telmessus, who later served as Alexander’s seer during his campaigns, interpreting Olympia’s dream declared that Olympias must be pregnant, since men did not seal up what was empty, and that she would bear a son whose nature would be bold and lion-like. Alexander had many precognitive dreams that benefited his career. The most famous of his dreams occurred while he laid siege to the city of Tyre. Alexander dreamed that he had captured a satyr dancing on a shield. Aristander interpreted the dream as an acronym of the words “Sa Tyros”, meaning, “Tyre is yours.” After a seven month siege, it became his prize. He also had a dream in which he saw Heracles reach out and call from the walls of Tyre. Thus inspired, Alexander won the city on the next day.
Menander: (Men Anderr – dream thinker) had the following dream, and saw this vision: he saw a lion loaded with chains and cast into a pit. A man spoke to him: “Menander, why dost thou not descend with this lion, since his purple is fallen? Get thee up now, and seize him by the neck of his purple.” Menander’s grief at this dream, and his conviction that the lion signified his master, were not mistaken – in the morning a messenger announced the death of Alexander at treacherous hands. This story of Menander’s dream has come down to us in fragments of a Coptic romance the fabulous Life of Alexander.
Leander (Dream born) is the Romeo of ancient world, his name reflecting his good looks in a superlative scale. The beautiful Hero lived in a tower by the Hellespont (a sea), administering to Venus and Cupid. Across the Hellespont lived Leander, a handsome young man. They met at a festival honoring Adonis, and fell in love. Leander agreed to swim the Hellespont each night to visit her, and she agreed to light a lamp to guide him to her tower. Thus, during the summer the two enjoyed many secret nights of love. But when the fierce weather of winter arrived Hero could not resist lighting the lamp anyway to guide Leander to her bed. When Leander saw the lighted lamp he attempted to swim across the Hellespont despite the weather, and drowned in the attempt. The next morning Hero looking down at the wave-battered rocks saw the mangled body of her lover, and threw herself from the highest crag onto the rocks below, uniting with Leander in death.
Alexander the Great was Albanians as was his name.