"Moreover, you scorned our people, and compared the Albanese to sheep, and according to your custom think of us with insults. Nor have you shown yourself to have any knowledge of my race. Our elders were Epirotes, where this Pirro came from, whose force could scarcely support the Romans. This Pirro, who Taranto and many other places of Italy held back with armies. I do not have to speak for the Epiroti. They are very much stronger men than your Tarantini, a species of wet men who are born only to fish. If you want to say that Albania is part of Macedonia I would concede that a lot more of our ancestors were nobles who went as far as India under Alexander the Great and defeated all those peoples with incredible difficulty. From those men come these who you called sheep. But the nature of things is not changed. Why do your men run away in the faces of sheep?"
Letter from Skanderbeg to the Prince of Taranto ▬ Skanderbeg, October 31 1460

EPIRI - PERKATESIA E TIJ SHQIPTARE

Këtu mund të flisni mbi historinë tonë duke sjellë fakte historike për ndriçimin e asaj pjese të historisë mbi të cilen ka rënë harresa e kohës dhe e njerëzve.

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Re: EPIRI - PERKATESIA E TIJ SHQIPTARE

#121

Post by ALBPelasgian » Sat Nov 14, 2009 8:37 pm

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Ne sot po hedhim faren me emrin Bashkim,
Qe neser te korrim frutin me emrin Bashkim!

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#122

Post by ALBPelasgian » Sat Nov 14, 2009 8:57 pm

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Ne sot po hedhim faren me emrin Bashkim,
Qe neser te korrim frutin me emrin Bashkim!

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Re: EPIRI - PERKATESIA E TIJ SHQIPTARE

#123

Post by Arta » Sat Nov 14, 2009 9:51 pm

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Lexoini me kujdes fjlaine e fundit. C'fare eshte ky temperament qe shikojme tek femra shqiptare qe ne lashtesi, si tek Olympia, dhe tek Teuta e me vone.. :D Kur puonja afer Universitetit te Harvardit, vinin aty profesorat e Harvardit per llogarite e tyre ne bankare. Midis shume, njeri prej tyre merrej me histori, dhe tek po bisedonim nje dite me thote: "I can see the Illyrian woman in you, almost like Teuta, who was stubrun in front of Romans". :lol:

Thashe me vete, "Mos na fol per kete kokefortesi, se duket qe e kemi ne gene, e kemi humbur gjera te medhaja deri tek Iliria... :P
"I never gave anybody hell! I just told the truth and they thought it was hell."~Harry S. Truman

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Re: EPIRI - PERKATESIA E TIJ SHQIPTARE

#124

Post by ALBPelasgian » Sun Nov 15, 2009 2:27 pm

Arta, ja edhe portreti i nje gruaje tjeter te famshme ilire, Euridika (nena e Filipit, ose gjyshja e Lekes se Madh).

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Re: EPIRI - PERKATESIA E TIJ SHQIPTARE

#125

Post by ALBPelasgian » Sun Nov 15, 2009 3:46 pm

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Nderkaq, ne provincen e Ahese (ose Akese) benin pjese gjithe ato qytet-shtete greke qe kishin bere pjese poashtu edhe ne Lidhjen e Ahese. Ato jane si vijon:

Code: Select all

From Achaea

    * Aegira
    * Aegium
    * Boura
    * Cerynea
    * Dyme
    * Helike
    * Patras
    * Pellene
    * Pharrae
    * Tritaia

 From Arcadia

From the ancient political geography of Arcadia, not totally compatible with modern Arcadia

    * Alipheira
    * Asea
    * Callista
    * Caphyae
    * Cleitor
    * Dipaea
    * Gortys
    * Heraea
    * Lusi
    * Mantineia
    * Megalopolis
    * Methydrium
    * Pallantium
    * Pheneus
    * Phigaleia
    * Tegea
    * Teuthis
    * Theisoa
    * Thelpusa

 From Argolis

    * Alea
    * Argos
    * Asine
    * Cleon
    * Epidaurus
    * Hermione

 From Corinthia

    * Corinth
    * Sicyon
    * Stymphalus
    * Tenea
...qe perfshnin nje territor si vijon:

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#126

Post by ALBPelasgian » Sun Nov 15, 2009 8:35 pm

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#127

Post by ALBPelasgian » Sun Nov 15, 2009 8:58 pm

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#128

Post by ALBPelasgian » Sun Nov 15, 2009 9:22 pm

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Re: EPIRI - PERKATESIA E TIJ SHQIPTARE

#129

Post by ALBPelasgian » Sun Nov 15, 2009 9:33 pm

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Re: EPIRI - PERKATESIA E TIJ SHQIPTARE

#130

Post by ALBPelasgian » Mon Nov 16, 2009 12:48 am

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Ja dhe material teresor i ketij libri rreth Shqiperise:
ALBANIA.

The political crisis which has just been enacted in Greece induces the thoughtful looker-on to ask, What next, and next? Will the Greeks remain contented within their present unnatural limits; or will they make fresh attempts to realise their aspiration by uniting to free Greece the oppressed portions of the Hellenic race in Thessaly, Epirus, Macedonia, and the islands? Again, if they do make such attempts, what are their chances of success ? The impression in Eastern Europe is,—and it is probably a correct one,—that, while Lord Palmerston lives, the influence of England will be as steadily exerted to prevent Hellenic as it has been used to promote Italian unity. Bound by political traditions, of which he is himself in great part the creator, Lord Falmerston will still thwart the legitimate hopes of Greece, and prop up the detestable Turkish despotism; as if the whole position of the Eastern question were not utterly changed since 1840; as if Russian encroachment had not been shown to be an idle bugbear, and thus the only rational motive for endeavouring to consolidate Turkey cut away. But Lord Palmerston's influence will not be always paramount in England; and, even if it were, English policy is not quite all-powerful in the Levant. There are other nations which will be at least as glad to welcome—possibly to help forward—the liberation of oppressed Greeks, as they were to second the unitary projects of Italian liberals; and their sympathy in this case will be much more free from misgiving. But whatever may be the line of action resulting from the composition of the political forces of the great powers, it remains a deeply interesting question:—Are the peoples immediately outside the present artificial frontier of Greece, which runs from the Ambracian to the Pagassean Gulf, contented to remain Turkish, or do their sympathies and interests tend to unite them with Greece? How go things in Thessaly? in Albania? in Macedonia? Where—as in Thessaly and southern Macedonia—the population is chiefly Greek, there can be no difficulty in answering this question. If even the just and enlightened government of England be unanimously repudiated by the people of the Ionian Islands, in comparison of a union with the ill-organised Hellenic kingdom, it need not be asked what are the political hopes and longings of the men of Thessaly, Chalcidice, or Chios, while subjected to the alien yoke of one of the worst governments in the world. But the case of Albania is widely different. The Albanians are not Greeks; and but a fraction of them belongs to the Greek Church. The predominating religion of the country, on the whole, is that of Islam; and, among the Christian tribes, the most powerful and progressive at the present day—the Mirdites—are strenuous Catholics. What, then, are the chances, in the event of a struggle, of the voluntary adhesion of Albania to the Hellenic cause ? In answering this question, we shall not strictly confine ourselves to the examination of the historical and political data which bear upon its solution, but shall endeavour, with the help of the excellent work of Herr Hahn,1 to exhibit some sort of picture of Albanian life and character, and to show what has been performed by, and what may be expected from, these restless mountaineers, who have been well named the Swiss of Eastern Europe.

Sad and mysterious has been the fate of this gallant race. There seems no reason in the nature of things why, under happier circumstances, they should not have been moral and God-fearing, like the Tyrolese; industrious and intellectual, like the Swiss. The original mental endowment or spiritual calibre of the people must be rated very high. It must not be forgotten that Alexander the Great, through his mother Olympias, an Epirote princess, was half an Albanian; nor that these rugged mountains gave birth to a Pyrrhus and a Scanderbeg. Yet, as the Greek historian Paparigopulos remarks, Albania, though never quite subdued, has never quite achieved her independence; though warmly patriotic, her warriors and great men have worked for others rather than for herself; and though peculiarly open to large and ennobling ideas, her people in their own land have become fearfully deteriorated by the working of an atrocious policy and an impure religion.2 Will this always be so? What and where is the moral leverage which, if it can be fairly brought into play, may be expected to elevate Albania to the level of the Christian civilisation of Europe ?

It seems to us that a little consideration enables one to answer this question with tolerable confidence. Though not Greeks,—the learned Athenian professor seems to have exaggerated the slight tie of kindred between the Epirote and the Greek,—the Albanians have always shown a marked predilection and receptivity for Greek ideas. Not Hellenic, they are still Hellenoid; Albania gravitates towards Greece, and tends

1 Albanesische Sludien.

- For particulars respecting the demoralisation of the Albanians, sec Hobhouse, i. 135 sqq., and the chapter on Albania in the work of M. Cyprien Kobert, Lcs Slaves de Turquie.

to take a path of subordinate revolution around that rich centre of thoughts and memories, like a dependent planet round its central sun. One might quote many illustrations of this tendency. The classical scholar will remember that the Molossian kings prided themselves on their supposed descent from Neoptolemus, the son of Achilles; that the readiness of the Epirote tribes to ally themselves with Greek enterprises is apparent from several passages in Thucydides ;3 and that the court of Pyrrhus at Ambracia represented almost exclusively Greek ideas and Greek civilisation. The same tendency reappears in modern times. The Hydriotes and Speziotes, those brave islanders who played so prominent a part in the Greek revolution, were of pure Albanian race. When Byron sought for some modern evidences to prove that the great Hellenic spirit was not extinct, he turned to the Albanian Suliotes:

" On Suli's top and Parga's shore
Exists the remnant of a line
Such as the Dorian mothers bore;
And there perhaps some seed is sown
The Heracleidan blood might own."

It is true that the Mahomedan Albanians were fatally active and formidable enemies of Greek independence; but they did uot become so until the insurgents had made it plain that they meant to turn the revolution into a religious war. At the commencement of the struggle, large bodies of them sided with the Greeks; and if the latter had had the good fortune to find a leader who, while availing himself of their religious enthusiasm, was firm and wise enough to confine the avowed objects of the struggle to the grand issue of national independence, the Albanians, who have a hereditary hatred for the Turks, would for the most part have flocked to the revolutionary standard. But when their religion was attacked, their pride took alarm; and the conduct of the Greek chiefs was in other points so disgraceful, and marked by such incompetency, that they lost faith in the success of the cause. At the present day the tendency of the Epirotes, or southern Albanians, to unite themselves to Greece seems to be as strong as ever. Miss Bremer, the latest authority on the state of Greece, who certainly had access to excellent sources of information, repeatedly speaks of Epirus as being "ready to rise" in aid of any general Hellenic movement against the Turks. The time for such a movement may be yet far off. Greece, in her own internal affairs, offers so wide a field for improvement, that if the great powers should insist

3 Thuo. il. 80.

upon her confining herself for some time to come to measures of domestic reform, and should discountenance, as they did in 1854, any premature attempt to extend her frontier, the prohibition could hardly be complained of. But when the inevitable day arrives, there seems reason to suppose that, if properly managed, the Albanians of all creeds will echo the Greek cry for independence. Not that it would be either easy or desirable to make Albania an integral portion of a bureaucratically organised Hellenic kingdom. Some sort of federal tie is the only one which would suit the circumstances;— perhaps a cantonal organisation, on the Swiss model, of the whole of Albania, leaving large local powers to the several cantonal governments, and providing for their representation by deputies in a general diet. Neither the " free Albanians/' mostly Christians, of the pashalic of Scutari, nor the Mahomedan Tosks farther south, would be likely to submit to a more centralised form of government. But a grand Hellenic federation, with its centre at Constantinople, preserving the fidelity of many non-Greek or partially-Greek races, by wisely conforming itself to local circumstances and conditions,—a free powerful Christian state which, standing in the place of the Byzantine empire, should introduce modern ideas and modern science into the torpid East, instead of suppressing both after the fashion of its predecessor,—such a prospect as this would probably be enough to satisfy the most fervent Philhellene, even though political unity in the Mazzinian sense were still far from being realised.

Albania is a land of rugged mountains and green valleys, the streams of which often expand into lakes, round which the population clusters thickest. Thus Joannina, the situation of which, placed as it is at a point whence valleys radiate in every direction except to the eastward, makes it, according to Herr Hahn, "the natural capital of united Epirus," stands on the shore of the lake known to the ancients as Pambotis: in a fortified islet in this lake Ali Pasha made his last stand against the armies of Sultan Mahmud. The oracle and temple of Dodona were somewhere in the same locality, though the site cannot be identified; the sweet acorn of the Chaones (Chaordam glandem pingui mutavit arista) still grows in the oak-woods, and is still relished by their descendants the Liapes. Scutari, again, the ancient Scodra, the chief city of northern Albania, stands close to the lake of Scutari; and Ochrida, Struga, and other considerable places, are set round a lake in the centre of the country, anciently called Lychnitis, whence issues the southern Drin. The Drin, by its two branches, northern and southern, which unite nearly in lat. 42°, and their tributaries, waters a large proportion of northern Albania; it enters the sea near Alessio (on the site of the citadel of the ancient Lissus), where the great Scanderbeg in 1467 drew his last breath. Maize and all the common kinds of grain flourish exceedingly in Albania; rice succeeds in some places; the vine, the olive, and the mulberry grow luxuriantly in many of the more southern valleys, on the slopes of the mountains whose upper flanks are clothed with vigorous forests.

Herr Hahn, who has a true eye for natural beauty, gives, in the following description of Croya, a place famous for its resistance to the Turks in the time of Scanderbeg, a typical picture of Albanian scenery: "Under the mountain range, described in the first section, which shuts in the vale of Tyranna to the eastward, occurs an isolated ridge, about four miles long, the summit of which forms a small barren plain. The western face of this ridge, fronting the valley, is extremely steep. Parallel to it runs a chain of low hills, overgrown with dwarf oaks and beeches and some forest-trees, and forming with the ridge a small valley. In the middle of this, but somewhat nearer to the rocky wall, rises a rock which on the south, east, and north sides is so precipitous as to be almost perpendicular; its western side alone has a gentler and less considerable fall. This rock bears the fortress of Croya, which, inaccessible on three sides, only required the aid of human skill on the fourth to make it, in medieval times, impregnable. This was then accomplished by strong walls and several round towers."

Here, again, is a picture of a still scene in the Albauian woodlands: " From the village of Derweni the road passes for twenty miles through a nearly unbroken oak-forest, which takes its name from the village of Sperdet, and is the most considerable forest of its kind in all Albania; for it reaches northwards as far as the Mat, and covers not only the greater part of the plain between that river and the Ischm, but also stretches into the gullies and up the slopes of the eastern range. I passed through several belts of very fine timber, the trees in which seemed to be much about the same age, and appeared to stand at equal distances, as if they had been planted; every thing seemed so neatly and tidily kept by nature that one might have fancied oneself transported into a park. Here and there beeches grow among the oaks. But the beech of this district never spreads out into a timber-tree; several stems always shoot up from the same root, though these occasionally attain to a considerable height. The look of them

reminded me of certain oak-plantations in northern Euboea, where the trees run up so close together that they can put out no branches, and therefore look like a forest of hop-poles. A peculiar stillness seemed to weigh down upon these woods; not a leaf was stirring; nothing was to be heard; our party wound noiselessly along over the soft ground, except that at intervals a horse's hoof, striking against a projecting root, broke the deathlike stillness. True, it was in August and at mid-day; but that silent forest of Sperdet shall I remember as long as I live."

The boundaries of Albania may be roughly described as, to the south, Greece and the Gulf of Arta; to the east, the Pindus range, and in general the watershed between the streams flowing eastward and westward; to the north, Montenegro and Bosnia; to the west, the Adriatic. The boundary line between northern and southern Albania nearly corresponds with that which anciently divided Illyria from Epirus.

Several races of men are found in this narrow mountainous tract. Besides the Albanians, — whose own name for themselves is Skipetar, i. e. rock-dwellers,—there are Greeks and Wallachiaus in southern, Bulgarians and Wallachians in central, and Servians in northern Albania. Of these nonAlbanian elements, the Bulgarians and Servians belong to the Slavonic, and the Wallachians to the Romanic stock. Of the origin of the Albanians we shall speak subsequently. They are divided into two main stocks, the Tosks and the Gueghs, speaking two dialects of the Albanian language, which Herr Halm considers to differ as much from each other as German from Dutch. The Tosks are found in Epirus, the Gueghs in Illyria; the river Skumbi, the Gemusus of Strabo, being the boundary between the races. Among the Tosks the Mahomedan element preponderates; but it is Shiite, or heretical, as tracing its religious traditions to Ali instead of Omar. The Christian Tosks all belong to the Greek Church. Cyprien Robert ascribes to the Tosks generally an erect carriage and a free proud glance, which make them so far contrast favourably with the Gueghs; but their occasional sidelong and furtive looks reveal, what is the fact, that they are the most perfidious among the Albanian tribes.

Among the Gueghs, on the other hand, the Christian element predominates. Those who are Mahomedans belong to the orthodox or Sunnite church, and mortally detest the Shiites. Among all the Christian Albanians, the Catholic tribe of the Mirdites holds the first place. Descended from Scanderbeg's brothers in arms, they are, according to Cyprien Robert, "the most vivacious and youthful portion of the Albanian people." They number about 96,000 souls, and inhabit the lofty plateau, with its related valleys, between the black or southern Drin and the sea. They are free from all Mahoraedan intermixture, for they have always expelled apostates from their community. Their way of life is thus described by the eye-witness above quoted: " Numerous traces of the patriarchal life survive among this people. The domestics are treated like children by the head of the family. The latter, like a pontiff of old, has alone the right to kill the garlanded sheep reserved for festive occasions, which is then roasted whole, and partaken of by the whole household, before the gate of the keep. While the thin Greek wines, which pass in Albania for the produce of Prance, circulate among the company, thepliak, or master, sitting cross-legged on his carpet, takes the Mirdite lyre, strikes it with rapid touch, and, like another Achilles before his tent, sings the exploits of himself and his Palikares [warriors], who, roused by the strain, commence a Homeric dance. By way of contrast to this simple home scene, observe those traders who are receiving an audience from the chieftain of a phara or clan; their kneeling posture, their hands hidden beneath their drooping sleeves, their every movement, reproduces the gestures which suppliants are represented as using in the Byzantine miniatures. Among a people which has thus preserved its antique cast, the Church alone seems perpetually to renew her youth; the chapels without number which deck the Mirdite valleys appear at a distance of such lustrous whiteness that one would suppose them newly built. Their structure, in the form of the Latin cross, and their bell-towers — points of distinction between them and the Greek churches — give a momentary pleasure to the European traveller, but grieve those who understand the true interests of the Mirdites. The Greek rite is, in fact, too popular in the peninsula to allow of one's desiring to see a fusion of all the Greco-Slaves in the bosom of the Latin Church, which is far from meeting amongst them with the same sympathies as its rival. It is through the religious union of the rites that one would arrive most surely at the reconciliation of the peoples." Perhaps so; but till that union is effected by proper authority, which recent manifestations have shown to be not absolutely impossible, it is difficult to share the chagrin at the fidelity of the Mirdites to the worship of their ancestors, still less to wish them to adopt the rite of a schismatic church.

The Catholics of northern Albania are divided among seven sees, three of them archbishoprics, which are all directly under Propaganda. The clergy are for the most part men of worth and enlightenment.

In any estimate of the population of Albania, exactness is unattainable, for no census appears to have been ever taken. Herr Hahn computes the total number of Albanians in the Turkish empire at 1,600,000, of whom doubtless the great majority reside within the limits of Albania, though many are found in Turkish Servia and Bosnia, We have met with no estimate, even approximate, of the numbers of the Greeks, Wallachians, Bulgarians, and Servians settled in the country. Of the number of the expatriated Albanians it is possible to speak with greater certainty. First, there are three insignificant Albanian settlements in Dalmatia. In the kingdom of Naples there is an Albanian population numbering 86,000 souls, and still retaining their national dress and customs, whose ancestors crossed the Adriatic in the fifteenth century, to escape the necessity of submitting to Turkish rule. A far more considerable Albanian offshoot exists in the kingdom of Greece. In the terrible wars of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, when Venice was struggling with Turkey for the Morea, and the miserable Greeks of the Levant were a prey alike to Christian and Ottoman corsairs, a large portion of Greece was depopulated through the slaughter, translocatiou, or enslavement of the original inhabitants. In the war between Venice and Bayezid [Bajazet] II., which was terminated in 1502, the Greek population of Argolis was exterminated; some years later the populous and flourishing island of JEgina, was taken by the corsair Barbarossa, and met with a like fate; from other districts, as Attica, and from other islands, as Spezas, the greater part of the natives were swept away by the sword or reduced to slavery; and in all these cases Albanians after a time occupied the vacant ground. Mr. Finlay calculates that the Albanians in Greece hold one-fifth of the soil, and that they are about 200,000 in number, of whom onetenth profess Islam. The traveller in Attica must not suppose that the peasant whom he meets on the ridge of Parnes descends from ancestors who fought at Marathon; at the utmost he may claim kindred with those Epirotes whose serried phalanx under Pyrrhus repeatedly broke through the legions of Rome. Bceotia also, and Argolis, and the district round Corinth, together with parts of Elis and Messenia, and a portion of the upper valley,

" where Peneus strong Pours his incessant flood along,"

are almost entirely peopled by Albanians, who, like their

countrymen in Attica and the islands, exclusively belong to the Tosk race.

The Greek-speaking population in southern Albania, which is strangely interspersed among the Albanians and Wallachians, must be for the most part descended from the old Greek colonies in Epirus, particularly Ambracia, which was for centuries a large and flourishing city. They all belong to the orthodox Greek Church. The Wallachians occupy the western slopes of the Pindus range; they are described as an inoffensive, hard-working, pastoral people. The Bulgarians on the lake of Ochrida much resemble them. M. Robert charmingly contrasts their way of life with that of the warlike Albanians : " It is on the journey from Ochrida to Prisren that one can best study the differences in morale which separate the Bulgarian, half shepherd, half husbandman, from the Skipetar, half shepherd, half hunter and warrior. In passing through the country of the hunters, one scrutinises every rock with an anxious glance; one fancies at each moment that one sees the glitter of a gun-barrel among the bushes. Among the Bulgarians, on the other hand, what absolute security! Wherever you make a halt, the shepherds come down from the hills to greet you with friendly wishes; they form a ring and squat down round the carpet on which the Frank is resting, and chat with him about the things which they hold dear, or sing to him perhaps one of those Slavonic airs which send the listener into a deep and pleasing reverie. With what a sense of profound peace did I watch the sunrise and the sunset in these vast forests, the asylum of a free and primitive existence, where man is the brother of all his fellows, and the very wild animals do not flee at his approach!"

To the north and north-east of Scodra, there is a considerable intermixture of Servians in the population, and Slavonic names—Podgoritza, Plownitza, Jakowa, &c.—become common. The redoubtable Montenegrins, whose mountain fastness bounds Albania to the north-west, are also of Servian race, and belong to the Greek Church. Whatever may be their merits as Turcophagi,—a name which the modern Greeks love to confer on any masterful harasser of their oppressors, —their razzias, it would seem, do not spare their Christian neighbours; the Catholic Mirdites of the valley of the united Drin would, according to M. Robert, make an Eden of those splendid plains, but for the sense of insecurity produced by the frequent incursions of these marauding mountaineers.

From the impossibility of giving unity to the picture, it is difficult to feel a very lively interest in the history of that portion of mankind which, from age to age, has lived among these mountains. Physically considered, the north and south of Albania, or Illyria and Epirus, are two distinct regions, of which one may be loosely described as the basin of the Drin, the other as the district of Dodona, with its central lake (that of Joannina) and radiating valleys. In the same way, there are at least two historical threads which the enquirer into the past of Albania must disentangle from the mass of heterogeneous material presented to him in the ancient authors and the Byzantine chronicles. To one of these, which relates to northern Albania, belongs the story of Scanderbeg; to the other, the exploits of the Suliotes, and the obscure fortunes of the sovereignty of Epirus. Not till the days of Ali Pasha did a uniting power appear, endowed with sufficient energy to weld these recalcitrant and explosive elements into something like a national organism. Herr Hahn considers that Ali, wicked as he was, and while working solely for his own interest, did in great measure effect this. From Arta to Scutari the Albanians, whatever might be their creed, felt proud of their countryman; the feeling of nationality, the sense of common interests, gradually arose; and through all subsequent confusions has, in our author's opinion, held its ground. It would require an elaborate essay to explore the question, what was the ethnical relation between the Illyrico-Epirote tribes and the Hellenic race. The learned Greek professor whom we quoted above decides it summarily by assuming as a fact a close relationship between, at least, the Epirotes and the Greeks. But against this notion we have to set the distinct words of Thucydides, who always speaks of the Epirote tribes as /3dpj3apoi. Yet we are told,4 that after the assassination of Clearchus, a Dardanian (that is, a native of a district at the extreme north-eastern border of Illyria) was chosen by the soldiers in the room of the Spartan general. Is this choice conceivable unless there was felt to be some close affinity between Dardanians and Greeks—some tie closer than that of an ultimate common derivation from the Pelasgic stock ? But, leaving this point, we must admit that in the history of the population of this region, before and long after the Christian era, there is slight matter to detain us. It is the old story of the kites and the crows, each getting and losing the upper hand in turn. Under Pyrrhus, the political centre of gravity was moved to the southward; and Epirus, thanks to a large infusion of Greek culture, became momentarily famous. But a series of weak and vicious successors on the Epirote throne, and the generally troublous state of the Eu4 Xen. A nub. iii. 1.


ropean portion of Alexander's imperial bequest, reduced it in fifty years to a nullity. Illyria, under its queen Teuta, became, not famous, but notorious, for piracy between the first and second Punic wars, which Rome, however, put down with a high hand. As forming part of the Macedonian kingdom, the whole country passed under the dominion of Rome in the second century before our era, and the turbulence of the population was repressed by the Roman generals in the usual merciless way. We are told by Polybius (quoted by Strabo) that seventy Epirote cities were razed to the ground by .JSmilius Paullus, and 150,000 persons sold into slavery. For many centuries the effects of this blow were apparent. In the time of Strabo, that is, in the first century of our era, the desolation was pitiable. " The greater part of these countries," he writes,5 " is now a wilderness, and in the inhabited districts one meets only with villages and ruins." Under the deadening imperial regime, materials for history nearly fail us. In the fourth century the energetic northern barbarians enter upon the scene. Alaric with his Visigoths retired before Stilicho out of the Peloponnesus into Epirus in 397; and, being appointed master-general of eastern Illyria by Arcadius, held this government for several years, leaving it when setting out for his final and successful invasion of Italy in 408. The Teutonic element in the Albanian language (amounting, according to Paparigopulos, to one-seventh) is traced to this Gothic inhabitation. Then comes a long period of darkness and confusion, during which inferior races press in from the north. Between the sixth and the tenth centuries, Greece was often overrun by hordes of Scythians and other barbarians, who, according to the theory of the learned Fallmerayer,6 displaced for ever, and whose descendants now represent, the old Hellenic inhabitants. Albania, however, offering less temptation to these inroads, seems to have experienced them only in a minor degree. We hear of an influx of Serbs and Croats into northern Albania in the seventh century, which resulted in a partial slavonising of the population. Between 861 and 1018 Albania was comprehended in the Bulgarian

'- We quote here, and in many other places in this section, from Ilerr Hahn's historical sketch.

6 Fallmerayer, Entstehung der heutigen Griechen : Stuttgart, 1835. But the professor has certainly pushed his thesis too far. He says, for instance (p. 51), that the proper designation for the whole country lying between Mount Zagora, in Epirus, and the promontory of Sunium is New Albania, to indicate the complete denudation of the Hellenic race which has there taken place. But later researches, among which those of Mr. Finlay and Herr I lohn may be particularised, prove that between the Albanians of Attica and Bceotia and those of Epirus a broad belt of country inhabited by men of Greek descent interrenes.

kingdom, which grew up like a wen on the enfeebled body of the Byzantine empire, but was absorbed again at the latter date, during an interval of transient vigour. The Albanians first appear under that name in the year 1079, in the character of a mountain tribe inhabiting the Pindus range, employed by the Byzantine emperors to carry out the expulsion of the Bulgarians and Servians. Ptolemy however, writing in the second century, already speaks of a Mons Albanus and an Albanopolis as existing in this region. In this Albanopolis Herr Hahn sees the modern town of Elbassan in central Albania,—Albanopolis, Albanon, Elbanon, Elbassan.

But whence come these Albanians ? Were they the original inhabitants of Illyria and Epirus, or some foreign people which at some unknown time had immigrated thither? In the discussion of this interesting question, which Herr Hahn investigates at great length, we wish our limits would permit as to accompany him. His theory is—and he supports it with great ingenuity, and as the result of a searching review of all sources of information, ancient and modern—that the Albanians are lineally descended from the ancient Pelasgian inhabitants of Epirus, Macedonia, and Illyricum; that their language at the present day, thanks to the degree in which the physical geography of their country has kept them isolated and protected them from change and dislodgment, is substantially the same as that of the remnants of the Pelasgic race known to Herodotus (i. 57), to which he ascribes a "barbarian speech;" and that, just as the Pelasgic inhabitants of Arcadia became completely hellenised in speech and customs after the Hellenic immigration into Greece, so the Albanians now living on Greek soil are undergoing a precisely similar process through contact with the modern Greeks. In Macedonia and northern Illyricum, he considers the Slavonic element to have pressed down so powerfully from the north as to have absorbed and extinguished the Pelasgian civilisation there. In Albania also the Slavonians from Bulgaria and Servia attempted many times to make the country their own; but the aborigines were too strong in this case for the new comers, and, regaining a name in history, as we have seen, in the eleventh century, gradually expelled from their midst nearly the whole of the foreign elements which had intruded themselves upon their soil, leaving only the names of a considerable number of places to attest the extent to which Slavonisation had once proceeded.

About a hundred years after the first appearance of the Albanians, a strong principality was founded in Epirus by a branch of the imperial house of the Comneni, the princes of which took the title of Despots. By their persevering hostility the fall of the Latin empire at Constantinople, in the thirteenth century, was in no small degree occasioned. After many fights with Albanian chieftains, and more than one change of dynasty, this principality, in 1430 or 1431, fell under the power of the Sultan Amurath, and has ever since formed part of the Turkish empire. Its capital, Joannina, was, as we have seen, the head-quarters of AH Pasha's successful domination in the early part of the present century.

Northern Albania, after having been overflowed by a Servian immigration in the seventh century, made itself independent of the Servian kingdom seven hundred years later; Balza, the lord of Scodra, heading an insurrection in 1370, throwing off the foreign rule, and embracing Catholicism. The conversion of the Mirdites to Catholicism had taken place a hundred and twenty years before, as we learu from some letters of Pope Innocent IV., dated in 1250. But the confused annals of the principality thus erected will not repay the trouble of investigation. After the death of the last Balza in 1421, his territories fell to the Venetian republic, which held them with an insecure grasp until they, like Epirus, fell, with the exception of a few places on the coast, into the power of the Turks.

Central Albania, in which the family of the Castriotes held the most considerable principality or chieftainship in the early part of the fifteenth century, fixes our attention, on account of the long and heroic struggle maintained for threeand-twenty years against two powerful sultans by George Castriote, better known as Scanderbeg. Unfortunately, the only contemporary authority for his history, apart from a few isolated passages in the Byzantine historians, is the Life, written by the monk of Scodra, Marinus Barletus, whose highly-coloured style and glaring self-contradictions oblige us to receive his narrative with great reserve. It is remarkable with what clear insight Gibbon estimates the value of this work, which many succeeding historians, French and German, have copied without scruple. Gibbon alone points out the extraordinary discrepancy of ten years, into which Barletus falls, when he states Scanderbeg to have been sixtythree years old at the time of his death in January 1467, aud yet to have been but nine years old when, in 1423, he was given up by his father as a hostage to Amurath II. Lebeau,7 Hammer-Purgstall,8 Paganel,9 even Herr Hahn himself, in blind reliance upon Barletus, relate that Scanderbeg was twenty-nine years old when he deserted the Turkish standards in 1443, after the battle of Nissa, and also relate that he was sixty-three in January 1467. Gibbon, assuming the earlier statement to be the erroneous one, urges the improbability of Scanderbeg's change of religion having been sincere, when he had remained till his fortieth year in the profession of Islam. But an attentive consideration of the story seems to make it more probable that the second statement is the erroneous one, and that Scanderbeg was really only fifty-three at the time of his death, not sixty-three. The tenor of the narrative suits the assumption that he was a mere child when taken to Constantinople, and that the whole bias of his education was received amidst Mahomedan influences, much better than the other assumption, that he was at the same date a young man of nineteen, whose character must have been partly formed.

7 Hist, du Bos-Empire, vol. xx!.: Paris, 1836.

8 Geschichte des Omanischen Retches: Festh, 1840. ' Hist, de Scanderbeg: Paris, 1855.

Yet Gibbon's depreciating tone must not blind us to the fact that it was a truly glorious struggle, and that the story of Scanderbeg proves what may at any time be expected from the Albanians in the hands of a great leader. The people that defied for eight years the power of the high-souled Amurath,—the Mussulman whose truth and honour, contrasted with the perfidy of the Christian princes and prelates who broke the treaty of Szegedin, form the subject of one of the most humiliating chapters in European history; the people that made head for twenty-seven years longer against his yet greater son, Mohammed II., the conqueror of Constantinople ; that destroyed so many Turkish armies and baffled so many besieging hosts in the young and vigorous days of Ottoman power;—might well be reckoned upon, were there no adverse circumstances to be accounted for, to shake off the Turkish government in its decrepitude. Certainly there are such adverse circumstances. The satanic policy of the Porte, pursued through four centuries, has made a large proportion of the Albanians apostates from the faith of their fathers. The Tosks and the Gueghs hate each other with a mortal and hereditary hatred. Still, if so consummate a villain as Ali Pasha was nearly successful in his attempt to sever Albania from the Turkish empire, and only failed because his falsehood and cruelty had made it impossible for any one to put faith in him, it does not seem unreasonable to expect that a chieftain may some day arise among the Catholic Mirdites, who, seizing the favourable hour, may avenge upon the Turks the dying agony of Scanderbeg. Vol. lit. /

In writing of Albania, it is difficult to avoid entering upon the subject of the language, — that long-standing crux of the philologers. All that will be here attempted, is to indicate the present state of philological opinion respecting it, besides giving a short list of words by way of illustration. As far back as the time of Leibniz, speculations have been indulged in as to the origin and affinities of this language. Prichard10 enumerates Leibniz, Bianchi, Da Lecce, Vater, Thunmann, Masci, and Malte Brun, among the writers who have discussed the question. Some of these endeavoured to connect Albanian with the Semitic, or, again, with the Turanian family; but the researches of the Ritter von Xylander, who published a work on the language in 1835, accompanied by a vocabulary of Albanian words (chiefly drawn from a translation of the New Testament made in 1827 by Gregorius, archbishop of Euboea), established beyond dispute the connection of the Albanian with the IndoGermanic family. At the same time Xylander laid down, as the result of his investigation, that Albanian was not more closely related to Greek than Greek to the Slavonic, or than the Celtic to the Teutonic tongues. These conclusions are now generally received. With regard to the constituents of the language, Paparigopulos, in the article before quoted, states that half the words in it are to be traced in the Greek, Latin, German, Slavonic, and Turkish tongues; the remainder he conjectures to belong to the old Illyrian. Heir Hahn, while he abstains from all speculation on the subject, has rendered a great service to philology by enlarging the materials on which future speculations must be based. He has constructed a grammar, or, as he modestly calls it, contributions to a grammar, of the Tosk dialect, enriched with a great number of the corresponding forms in the Guegh dialect ; to this he has added " Contributions to an AlbanianGerman Dictionary," containing very many words unknown to Xylander, which were taken down by himself from the lips of the natives during his residence in the country, and also a German-Albanian index to the dictionary. Independently of all this, he devotes a complete section to the study of the Albanian alphabet, with its fifty-two crabbed characters, many of which he traces to the Phoenician alphabet, and also recognises in that first used by the Greeks. His conclusion is that the alphabet, no less than the language and the people, is extremely ancient, and not, as some have thought, a modern invention of the Albanian literati; he

10 Physical History of Mankind, vol. iii. p. 480.


considers it to be " a daughter of the Phoenician, and a sister of the original Greek alphabet."

An examination of the Albanian words contained in Herr Halm's grammar and dictionary seems to justify the conclusion that the Albanian is much more closely allied to Latin than to Greek. A list of words taken at random from among those which have evident correlatives either in Greek or Latin puts this point in a clear light. A portion of such a list is here subjoined. It will be seen that, in representing the Albanian words, Herr Hahn has mercifully forborne from using the national alphabet, in place of which he employs the ordinary Greek characters, supplementing them, when he has to represent non-Greek sounds, by the use of a few italic letters and of certain dots and lines to which he assigns a definite phonetic value.
[table]

It seems worth while to give this list, meagre as it is, in order to place before the eye a sample of the evidence upon which the relations of the language have been, or may be, determined. If the relatively closer connection of Albanian with Latin than with Greek be truly represented in the above table, and if Herr Hahn has good grounds for believing Albanian to represent the language of the Pelasgians, important questions at once arise, the solution of which may throw increased light on the ethnological relations of the early inhabitants of Italy and Illyricum.

Herr Hahn appends to his grammar a collection of specimens of Albanian poetry and prose, which are of great interest. A few of the former, which seem specially to illustrate the turn of imagination, the peculiar cast of thought, and the manner of life, which prevail among these mountaineers, we shall here translate from the author's German versions. The metre adopted in the original poems appears to be invariably trochaic, the lines being usually of eight, but often of seven, syllables.

The first section consists of twenty-seven short love-poems in the Tosk dialect, which present no very remarkable features. Travellers state that among the Albanians the women are generally despised. Lord Broughton11 adds that they are almost disliked, which may perhaps explain the feebleness of the amatory poetry of the country. In one of the pieces, No. 5, in reply to a wooer, who is urging the suit of some Bey, the unromautic maiden answers:

" I am no present for the Bey :
I am for him who has bought me,
Bought me with money,
With three hundred colonati" [Spanish piastres],

The elegiac pieces, or dirges, have more substance and heart in them. They commence, says Herr Hahn, " as soon as the wail of anguish [ululatus], which the women of the house set up upon the decease of one belonging to them, and which serves for a signal to summon together the relations and neighbours, has somewhat subsided. They consist of solo parts and choruses. Men never take part in them." They appear to be invariably in the form of distichs; and the solo parts sometimes contain a sketch of the life and deeds of the departed. The following dirge is in frequent use for men:

" 0 thou many-coloured snake,
Mishap came not lightly near thee.
Snake and Astrit" on the path,
Friend to Turk and Giaour."

11 Journey throngh Albania, vol. I. p. 135.

The serpent [the enemy] came within the boundaries;
Then thou stoodeat facing him with thy staff.

Arise, for the place longeth after thee,
For thy word of counsel is needed.

Thy heart with its fire,
Thine eye with seven stars.

A double warrior by thyself alone,
Thou requiredst no other companion.

Thy heart was sharp-pointed;
Thy sword had the falling sickness.

When thou wentest on the road,

Thou hadst seven flashes on thy shoulder.

The sword heldest thou in thy teeth ;
Thou pulledst the trigger with thy foot."14

All the poems in this section are full of point and vivid local colouring. The following dirge is for old men:

" 0 thou selected with the hands,
Like the ram that bears the bell.

Thou, prominent among the protectors of the clan,
First among the first.

0 comer-stone that never tottered,

Full of understanding, and with well-stored head.

Thou hadst a great bell;

When thou puttedst it off, on whose neck didst thou hang it ?

Oldest in the house,
Honour of friendship."

The two beautiful and touching pieces which follow are said by Herr Hahn to be very old and widely popular. The first is the lament of a bride over the death of her bridegroom, who was shot on the night of the marriage:

" On this night of the bridal
The musket-bullet smote thee
On the lace of thy vest.
The whole kindred lament—
Yes, you bewail your kinsman.
For me, I am but a stranger;
Yesterday I came, to-day I go :
Yesterday decked with tinsel;
To-day with loosened hair."

12 A large kind of serpent.

13 The southern Albanians freely apply to themselves this name, which the Turks apply to Christians as a term of reproach.

1 i. e. when thy hands were not free.

The next is upon the death of a young Albanian soldier:

" I fell, 0 comrades! I fell,
Beyond the bridge of Kiabcso.
Greet my mother for me;
The two oxen must she sell,
And give the price to my betrothed.
If my mother ask after me,
Tell her I am newly wedded;
If she ask what sort of bride I have taken home,
Tell her—three bullets in the breast,
Six in the feet and arms;
If she ask what kinsfolk came to the bridal banquet,
Tell her—the crows and ravens feasted well."

(~The home and foreign review~1863, page 52-70)
Ne sot po hedhim faren me emrin Bashkim,
Qe neser te korrim frutin me emrin Bashkim!

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Re: EPIRI - PERKATESIA E TIJ SHQIPTARE

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Post by ALBPelasgian » Mon Nov 16, 2009 10:58 am

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Re: EPIRI - PERKATESIA E TIJ SHQIPTARE

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Post by ALBPelasgian » Mon Nov 16, 2009 11:03 am

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Re: EPIRI - PERKATESIA E TIJ SHQIPTARE

#133

Post by ALBPelasgian » Mon Nov 16, 2009 1:13 pm

Dy artikuj historik mbi perkatesine etnike te Epirit:
Epiri, një histori e shkurtër
Ejup Ramadani

Ndërmjet shkencëtarëve ekzistojnë dy mendime të kundërta përsa i përket përkatësisë etnike të popullsisë së Epirit: i pari i konsideron epirotët si popullsi etnike ilire dhe i dyti që i konsideron si grekë.

Epiri i vjetër përfshinte krahinën nga malet Akrokeraun (Vetëtimës) në Himarë, në veri deri te gjiri i Artës (Ambrakisë) në jug, prej brigjeve të detit Jon, në perëndim deri te vargu i Pindit në lindje.

Emri Epir që në gjuhën greke do të thotë tokë - sterë - kontinet, është emër me të cilin banorët e ishujve i quanin viset përballë tyre, mirëpo ky emër përdorej gjithnjë e më pak në mesjetë. Në vend të Epirit burimet përdorin termin Nikopojë, emër i kryeqendrës së themës së Nikopojës ose me emrat e krahinave përreth: Thesalia, Etolia dhe Akarnania. Ndonjëherë është përdorur edhe emri "Vegenetia", emri mesjetar i Tesprotisë së vjetër ose i Çamërisë së sotme.

Në kohën e vjetër disa burime flasin për fiset kryesore që banonin në Epir, siç ishin kaonët, molosët, thesprotët etj. Edhe në luftën e Peloponezit (432-404) këta fise paraqiten si entitete politike më vete dhe marrin pjesë si aleatë të Spartës ose Athinës.

Gjatë sundimit të mbretit Tharypa (430-390) molosët krijuan një bashkësi politike që njihet me emrin "Lidhja molose". Kah mesi i shekullit IV, mbreti Aleksandër Molosi (342-331) i nënshtroi edhe thesprotët dhe u formua "Aleanca e epirotëve". Kjo bashkësi kishte karakter federativ me të drejta të barabarta për të gjithë, por nën një mbret nga dinastia e molosëve. Që nga kjo periudhë ky emër do të shfaqet si një nocion politik dhe gjeografik. Ky proces politik siguronte barazinë ndërmjet fiseve pjesmarrëse në federatë.

Zhvillimin më të madh Epiri e arriti nën udhëheqjen e mbretit Pirro (307-271), përmes të cilit u realizua bashkimi i plotë i shtetit i cili u bë një fuqi ushtarako-politike që u shtri edhe jashtë kufijëve natyrorë, si në krahinat e Maqedonisë, Thesalisë, Ambrakisë dhe Akarnanisë.

Pas vdekjes së Pirros Epiri u dobësua mjaft. Vendin e mbretërisë së Ajakidëve e zuri Lidhja e Epirotëve, e cila përfaqësonte një sistem republikan, por nuk luajti ndonjë rol të rëndësishëm.

Më 167 Epiri ra nën sundimin romak, kurse më 145 u përfshi në Provincën e Maqedonisë, që bënte pjesë në sistemin administrativ shtetëror romak. Në fund të shekullit të II Epiri ishte provincë në vete, kurse në fund të shekullit të III, me reformat administrative ushtarake të perandorit romak Dioklecianit, u krijua provinca e Epirit të Ri me krahinat ndërmjet Vjosës dhe Matit, kurse trevat e tjera të Epirit u quajtën provinca të Epirit të Vjetër. Të dy këto provinca bënin pjesë në Prefekturën e Ilirikut.


PËRKATËSIA ETNIKE E EPIROTASVE

Ndërmjet shkencëtarëve ekzistojnë dy mendime të kundërta përsa i përket përkatësisë etnike të popullsisë së Epirit: i pari i konsideron epirotët si popullsi etnike ilire dhe i dyti që i konsideron si grekë.

Historiani i njohur francez Gustav Glotz për Greqinë thekson:

"Greqia e mirrëfilltë nuk është veçse një pjesë, as më e pasura dhe as më e madhja e tokave që u bënë greke. Është një vend i vogël... Në të vërtetë, të vjetërit nuk kanë qenë aspak dakord për kufijt e saj. Ata përfshinin këtu Thesalinë për të përjashtuar zakonisht Epirin dhe gjithmonë Maqedoninë. Greqia e vjetër është pra, pak a shumë, tërësia e kantoneve që gjinden në jug të një linje, që tërheqin nga gjiri i Ambrakisë deri në grykën e Peneut".

Për këtë problematike kemi burime të vjetra edhe nga Herodoti, i cili në librin e tij sjell dy fragmente: në të parin përmend një molos me emrin Alkon, i cili ishte ftuar nga tirani i Sikyonit, Klthsteni, njeri i pasur që donte të martonte të bijën Agaristën me një djalë që ishte më i mirë midis grekëve. Kjo e dhënë e Herodotit u ka dhënë kurajo përkrahësve të teorisë së origjinës greke të epirotasve. Në fragmentin tjetër Herodoti e mohon praninë e një molosi në këtë ceremoni.

Edhe në luftërat greko - persiane molosët nuk bëjnë pjesë midis grekëve që shkuan në mbrojtje të Sallaminës. Historiani tjetër grek Thucididi në hyrje të veprës së tij "Lufta e Peloponezit" (432-404) thekson:

"Nga përpjestimet dhe rëndësia kjo luftë i kalonte luftrat e mëparshme dhe ishte kriza më e madhe që përfshiu jo vetëm grekët, por edhe një pjesë e botës barbare".

Ashtu sikurse Herodoti edhe Thucididi i quan "barbarë" të gjithë popujt jogrekë. Ky i fundit na jep një pasqyrë të qartë të gjeografisë etnike të këtij rajoni. Në vitin 429, shkruan ai,

"...ambrakasit së bashku me shumë barbarë të tjerë marshuan kundër Argosit të Amfilohisë dhe gjithë Amfilohisë tjetër; banorët e tyre greqishten e kanë mësuar nga ambrakasit e ardhur; amfilohët e tjerë janë barbarë, në këtë ekspeditë nga barbarët ishin: kaonët, thesprotët, molosët, atintanët, paruejtë dhe orestët".

Shkencëtarët thonë se kur kolonistët grekë u vendosën në Korkyrë u detyruan të ndeshen me qëndresën e ilirëve - liburn, të cilët e zotëronin këtë ishull.

Historiani grek i shekullit IV Efori ashtu si Herodoti dhe Tukididi thotë:

"nga ana e perëndimit Hellada fillon me Akarnaninë, sepse kjo ndeshet e para me fiset epirote".

Pra, sipas burimeve historike emri Epir haset kah mesi i shekullit IV në hapësirën gjeografike buzë detit JON, ndërmjet gjirit të Ambrakisë dhe maleve Keraune, në lindje deri te vargmalet e Pindit ku bënin pjesë fiset si molosët, kaonët, thesprotët etj.

Edhe shfaqja e kolonive helene nuk e ndryshoi karakterin etnik të popullsisë vendase, e cila mbeti si edhe më parë "barbare". Shteti i Epirit në asnjë dokument nuk përmendet si shtet grek. Ai i takonte trungut etnik ilir.


FISET SHQIPTARE TË EPIRIT

Dyndjet sllave të shekullit VI-VII sollën ndryshime të mëdha në aspektin etnik në Ballkan, që nuk u vërejtën shumë në Epir, pasiqë popullësia vendase u ruajt nga pushtimi i tyre.

Pas pushtimit të Konstantinopojës nga kryqëzatat, fisnikët bizantinë u strehuan në Epir, sidomos në Janinë, ndërmjet tyre edhe Mihail Engjëlli, i biri i qeveritarit të dikurshëm të Epirit, që tentoi të krijonte një perandori të vogël bizantine.

Më 1358 në Epir u vendos pushteti i familjeve të mëdha shqiptare si Gjin Bua Shpata Zenebishti dhe Losha. Kur në pushtet, në Epir, erdhi sunduesi italian Karl Toko, dëboi princët shqiptarë, kurse pronat e tyre ua shpërndau përkrahësve të tyre.

Më 1346 Epiri ra nën sundimin e sundimtarit serb Stefan Dushanit. Politikën e shfronësimit e ndoqën edhe normanët dhe anzhuinët.

Në fund të shekullit XII në këtë territor përmendet familja e njohur e Shpatajve të Epirit dhe e Zenebishëve. Historiani bizantin Kantakuzeni përmend fiset shqiptare që banonin ndërmjet Epirit dhe Thesalisë: Buavët, Malakasët dhe Mazrekët.

Principatën e Gjin Bua Shpatës burimet historike e quajnë "Despotati i shqiptarëve", që u krijua nga mesi i shekullit XIV dhe që përfshinte Epirin jugor.

Emërtimi etnogjeografik "Shqipëri" gjithnjë e më shpesh nga shekulli XIV filloi të zëvendësojë emërtimet si Epir, Nikopojë, Etoli, Akarnani.

Dokumentet e të njëjtit shekull pjesën e kontinentit përballë ishujve të Korfuzit e të Leukadës, deri te gjiri i Ambrakisë në derdhjen e lumit Akelos, e quajnë "Albania".

Dy princët shqiptarë, Gjin Bua Shpata e Gjon Zenebishi që sunduan nga Gjirokastra dhe Himara e deri në Akarmani cilësohen si "Sundimtar të Shqipërisë".

Duke filluar nga shekulli XVI autorët evropianë e njihnin Epirin deri në gjirin e Amrakisë si provincën më jugore të Shqipërisë ("Shqipëria e Poshtme"), emërtim që do të ruhet deri në shekullin XX.

Një emërtim të tillë do ta bëjnë edhe Marin Barleti, Frang Bardhi etj. Në një dokument, Skenderbeu do të theksojë se "ne jemi epirotë".

Kartografi i njohur i shekullit XVII I. Lavrenberg shkruan:

"Leandri dhe Eritrea na mësojnë se Epiri sot quhet Shqipëri. Banorët e tij, sipas Leonklavit, quhen shqiptarë, ndërsa turqit i quajnë arnautllarë. Epirotët ndahen në fise të ndryshme, por që të gjithë ndryshojnë prej grekëve, si nga gjaku ashtu edhe nga gjuha".

Kur flitet për karakterin etnik të Epirit në mesjetë nuk duhet nisur nga realiteti i sotëm i këtij territori. Gjatë shekujve XVI-XX këtu përmenden disa lëvizje të popullatës që kanë ndikuar në etnografinë e vendit, si p.sh. depërtimin e vllehëve prej maleve të Pindit dhe të Maqedonisë Jugperëndimore drejt ultësirës nga fusha e Delvinës deri poshtë në Akarnani, por kishte edhe prej atyre që u vendosën në territorin Janinë - Artë dhe që u greqizuan.

Regjistri osman i Sanxhakut të Vlorës, nahija e Gjirokastrës, i vitit 1520 shënon praninë e bashkësisë vllehe në fshatrat e Vodhinë e Llovinë dhe fshatrat që sot flasin greqisht në zonën e Dropullit e të Delvinës, që banoheshin edhe nga popullsia shqiptare.

Sipas disa studiuesve, pas vitit 1520, në Luginën e Dropullit erdhën nga Atika një popullsi helene apo e helenizuar. Me depërtimin e popullsisë greke në Epir vepronin me forcë edhe politika e helenizimit, ku bartës kryesor ishin shkolla dhe kisha greke. Kjo zonë u godit më shumë nga shpërnguljet e shekujve XIV-XV që ndikoi në përbërjen etnike të Epirit.

Shpërngulja e shqiptarëve të Epirit drejt tokave greke nisi që në gjysmën e parë të shekullit XIV, pas shtypjes së kryengritjeve shqiptare nga perandori bizantin Andronik III Paleolog.

Këto shpërngulje ndodhën edhe pas rënies së principatave të Shpatajve dhe të Zenebishëve, por me intensitet më të madh vazhduan pas depërtimit të turqve. Shqiptarët u vendosën në Atikë, Beoti, Livadha, Peloponez etj.

Megjithë shpërnguljet e mëdha, Epiri sërish mbeti trevë shqiptare. Edhe dokumentet veneciane të vitit 1444 popullsinë e rretheve të Pargës, Margëlliqit dhe të Janinës i quajnë shqiptarë. Më 1555 francezi Belon du Mans, pas vizitës që ia bëri Epirit, konstatoi se popullsia e kësaj treve ishte shqiptare.

Edhe admirali turk Piri - Reiz, në librin e tij të udhëtimeve thotë se popullsia e Pargës ishte shqiptare.

Dëshmi më të qartë për përbërjen etnike të Epirit paraqesin regjistrat osmanë si ai i Vlorës 1520, i Delvinës dhe i Janinës i vitit 1583. Sipas antroponimisë së pastër shqipe, shqiptarët dominonin edhe në zonat periferike të Epirit.

Këto dëshmi pranojnë se Epiri prej Mesjetës dhe deri në kohën e re ishte dhe mbeti territor shqiptar, pavarësisht nga emigrimi dhe imigrimi i shqiptarëve, vllehëve dhe grekëve.
Ja edhe tjetri nga Arsim Spahiu:
E vërteta historike mbi karakterin etnik të “vorioepirotëve”
Arsim Spahiu
(Doktor në Histori i Universitetit të Franche-Comté-së)

Historianët dhe gjuhëtarët quajnë Greqi territorin e banuar nga grekët edhe para se ata të arrinin në atë vend. Dy qytetërimet e para evropiane paragreke, të cilat kanë lulëzuar në Kretë dhe në pjesën më jugore të gadishullit Ballkanik (Greqi e sotme) para se të arrinin grekët në këto vende, quhen padrejtësisht qytetërime greke.

Pra, termat grek dhe Greqi përdoren shumë më tepër nga ç’duhet. Ta ngasësh nga ana tjetër, këta terma nuk ndeshen as në fjalorët e mitologjisë “greke”, sado të vëllimshëm të jenë. Arsyeja është e thjeshtë: emrat Graeci dhe Graecia kanë dalë në epokën romake dhe rrjedhin nga emri Graii, emër lokal i një fisi ilir, që banonte pranë Dodonës.

Për P. Kretschmer-in dhe të tjerë kërkues të mirënjohur, këto emërtime janë një përshtatje nëpërmjet italishtes të emrit të fisit ilir Γραες (A. Ernout, “Latin Graecus”, n. 98, f. 211).

Edhe emri Helen është shumë i diskutueshëm. TH. Harrison (1988, f. 24) mbron se eponimi Helen, stërgjyshi i grekëve, është i trilluar. Çka është më tepër, ky autor shton se, edhe në epokën klasike (550-300 para e. s.), helenët nuk përbëjnë etnos, por një genos.

Grekët, kaq të pakët në Greqi në vitet 550-300, si mund të jenë të pranishëm para, gjatë dhe pas kësaj periudhe kohe në Epir? E pra, ata kanë qenë të pranishëm në kolonitë greke të vendit.


Kolonitë greke në Epir

Koloni greke quhet një grup grekësh, të shpërngulur nga Greqia në dhe të huaj, ku jetojnë duke ruajtur zakonet dhe gjuhën amtare. Këtu termi koloni nuk ka asgjë të përbashkët me kuptimin tjetër: vend i pushtuar me forcë nga të huajt.

Në rastin tonë kolonia përbën një territor të huaj për popullin, që e rrethon. Fakti që vetë autorët grekë dhe helenofilë flasin për koloni greke në Epir dëshmon se Epiri nuk ka bërë ndonjëherë pjesë në Greqi.

Nuk ka koloni greke në Athinë, apo në Peloponez, por ka vetëm jashtë Greqisë, ashtu siç ka pasur e ka dhe sot koloni shqiptare në Rumani, në Egjipt etj.

Eubeasit dhe korinthasit kanë themeluar kolonitë e para në bregdetin epirot. Në këto koloni janë ngritur qendra tregtare, të cilat me kohë u transformuan në koloni të metropoleve greke.

Një pjesë e popullsisë përherë në rritje e këtyre kolonive përbëhet nga “të huaj” epirotë. Kolonët grekë gjetën mbështetje te këta “të huaj” vendas për t’u shkëputur politikisht nga metropolet greke.

Këto koloni kanë qenë të shkëputura edhe nga mbretërit e Epirit. Por, me mbretër si Pirrua mund të merret me mend se kolonët grekë do t’i jenë nënshtruar autoritetit mbretëror vendas, ose mund të jenë riorganizuar në komuna administrative dhe ushtarake, sipas sistemit ilir në fuqi.

Mund të merret me mend gjithashtu se kolonitë greke në Epir do të kenë qenë transformuar në koloni epirote dhe, për këtë arsye, do të kenë humbur formacionet e tyre demokratike. Në këtë rast termi koloni merr një vështrim të ndryshëm nga i mëparshmi.

Shthurja e rendit fisnor në Epir i ka dhënë mundësi zgjerimit të mëtejshëm të tregtisë me qytetet greke. Nëpërmjet kolonive greke ka depërtuar helenizmi në Epir. Kolonitë ishin qendra tregtare dhe vatra të kulturës greke.


Ilirizimi i kolonive greke

Depërtimi i elementit etnik epirot në kolonitë greke ka ndikuar në përbërjen etnike të popullsisë së këtyre qyteteve. Emrat ilirë në gurët e varreve, të zbuluar në nekropolet e këtyre kolonive, përbëjnë një pjesë të madhe të emrave të njohur të banorëve të këtyre kolonive.

Duke filluar nga sh. III para e. s. kolonitë greke humbasin karakterin tipik të kolonive, sepse tashmë popullsia përbëhet, në pjesën më të madhe, nga epirotët. Madje emrat ilirë të prytanëve dhe të magjistratëve monetarë, që gjenden në drahme dhe në bronze, tregojnë se epirotët kanë fituar të drejtën e qytetarisë, duke përfshirë këtu edhe postet më të lartë në jetën komunale.

Nekropolet tumulare, aq të përhapur në Iliri, në Maqedoni dhe në Epir, mungojnë në kolonitë greke. Përjashtim bën nekropoli tumular i Apollonisë, i cili dëshmon për një traditë të ruajtur nga mënyra e varrimit ilir të taulantëve, të cilët banonin në krahinat përreth

Apollonis. Kodërvarret e këtij qyteti do të jenë shfrytëzuar nga paria fisnore autoktone, e cila bënte pjesë në popullsinë e kolonisë. Varreza tumulare e Apollonisë pasqyron periudhën fillestare të lidhjeve dhe të influencës dypalëshe mes kulturës vendase dhe asaj greke.

Prania e armëve në inventarin e varreve, sidomos prania e majave të ushtave dhe e thikave prej hekuri, është një tregues i ruajtjes së disa traditave ilire në ritet e varrimit. Kurse inventari grek në këto tuma tregon faktin se ilirët vlerësonin objektet e luksit të artizanatit të përparuar grek.


Tipare antropologjike iliro-epirote

Në pikëpamje antropologjike ilirët përbënin një popullsi adriatiko-mesdhetare, ku dallohen qartë edhe tiparet alpine dhe nordike. Studimet antropologjike të qindra skeleteve njerëzorë, të zbuluar në Glasinac (Bosnje), venë në dukje karakterin nordik të ilirëve. Nga nëntë perandorët romakë me prejardhje ilire, tetë kanë qenë leshverdhë dhe me sy të kaltër.

Mirëpo numri i kafkave, të zbuluara në Epir është shumë i vogël për popullsinë e hershme të Epirit. Këto skelete janë zbuluar kryesisht në varrezat e qyteteve, ku ka pasur koloni greke. Për më tepër në Iliri dhe, sidomos, në bregdetin iliro-epirot, ka pasur shumë skllevër. Si thotë Dr. K. Patsch,

“Ilirët, të dhënë pas luftërave dhe dëfrimeve, nuk kishin as dëshirë as kohë të lirë që të merreshin me bujqësi. Për këto punë të rënda ata kishin robërit e luftës, numri i të cilëve do të ketë qenë i madh…”.

Megjithatë, mund të mbështetemi në studimet e thelluara antropologjike të J. Nemeskérit, A. Dhimës etj. për të nxjerrë argumente në të mirë të karakterit etnik ilir të epirotëve.

Tiparet protonordike të skeleteve të varrit qendror të Dukatit, që i përkasin bronzit të hershëm, na kujtojnë tipin verilindor evropian, të ndryshëm nga tipi mesdhetar.

Sipas studiuesve të përmendur më lart elementet antropologjike adriatike të skeleteve, të zbuluar në Karstin triestin, në Olteni, Bosnje, Serbi, Shqipëri dhe në Epir, tregojnë se në këto vise kanë banuar grupe të ndryshëm ilirësh. A. Dhima flet për oshilacione tipologjike të etnisë ilire.

Edhe materialet skeletike të shek. VI-XI të e. s., të zbuluar në Dukat e Piskovë, dhe skeletet e shek. XIII-XV, të zbuluar në Kaninë e në Çepunë, njihen në literaturën antropologjike si materiale dinarike. I bazuar në këtë lëndë, A. Dhima ka ndjekur evolucionin e elementit antropologjik autokton, “adriatizimin” e shqiptarëve të Epirit.


Etnografi

Etnografët mendojnë se, në gjendjen e sotme të kërkimeve arkeologjike, mund të njihen disa petka, të përdorura nga ilirët në Epir. Etnologët sintetizojnë të dhëna dokumentare dhe historiografike për të arritur në përfundimin se këtu është fjala për rroba, që ilirët dhe epirotët kanë përdorur. Por, disa aspekte metodike të trajtimit të këtij problemi nga etnologët do të mund të diskutoheshin.

Linja ose dalmatika është një petk i gjatë e i gjërë, me rrip në ije, i punuar me fije leshi. Isidore de Séville shënon : « dalmatica vestis primum in Dalmatia (Illyricum)… ».

Dalmatica është zbuluar në bustin e “gruas së Dimalit », në Krotinë. Në një gur varri, të zbuluar në Drashovicë është riprodhuar një burrë, i veshur me dalmatica burrash. Ky petk ilir është zbuluar në tërë Ilirinë dhe në Epir.

Z. Çulić e përshkruan hollësisht këtë veshje ilire. Dr. K. Patsch (1923, 53) shton se mbi këtë dalmatica ilire hidhej krahëve një mantel me rrudha. Ky petk tjetër ilir mbahej në shpatullën e djathtë me një gjilpërë dhe mbulonte krahun e majtë, ndërkohë që krahu i djathtë ngelte i pambuluar.

“Më vonë kjo dalmatika ilire (vazhdon historiani vienez) u bë modë në Itali dhe, duke filluar nga koha e perandorit Commodus (180-192 të e. s.), u përdor si veshje në rrethet më të larta romake; pastaj, iu ndërruan stofi, forma e stolia dhe u bë veshje zyrtare e ngeli si petk liturgjik në kishën katolike deri në ditët tona”.

Fustanella. Ky petk ilir është zbuluar në monumentet e Ribić-it (Slloveni), në Glasinac (Bosnje) etj. “Vajza e Vlorës” mban gjithashtu një fustanellë për gra.

Karakteri ilir i fustanellës është pranuar nga shumë specialistë në etnografi (F. Nopcsa, 1959).

F. Konitza mbron se

“… fustanella pak kohë më parë ishte një pjesë e veshjes kremtërore të çdo njeriu prej dere të mirë si në Shqipëri të sipërme ashtu edhe në Shqipëri të poshtme. Puna që të tilla moda veshjeje mund të gjenden dhe në vendet fqinje s’tregon tjatër gjë veç influencës së fortë që shqiptarët kanë ushtruar në kohën e shkuar mbi kombësitë rreth e rrotull. Për shembull, është thënë me përsëritje prej studimtarëvet të këtij subjekti se i ashtu-qojturi kostum modern “grek” në të vërtetë është një imitim i poshtër i kostumit shqiptar. Ky kostum u përhap në mes të Grekëve në shekullin e katërmbëdhjetë, kur Shqiptarët nënë Gjin Bua Shpatën shkelnë dhe pushtuan Greqinë”.

Për fustanellën shqiptare shkruan dhe poeti i njohur britanik:

“Shqiptarët, me veshjen e tyre, më madhështoren në botë, të përbërë prej një fustanelle të gjatë, … - me pisqolla dhe jatagane të stolisur me argjend…” (G. G. Byron).

Llabana është një kapuç i thjeshtë prej leshi.

Busti i “gruas së Krotinës” (Dimal) jep dëshminë e parë për këtë element të veshjes ilire të sh. III-II. Llabana del në reliev edhe në objekte të tjera arkeologjike, të zbuluar në Durrës dhe në Koplik.

M. V. Martial përmend llabanën e liburnëve (cucullus liburnicus). Ky kapuç mund të gjendet dhe sot në Epir. Llabana përdoret edhe në krahina të tjera të Shqipërisë si Korça, Mirdita etj.

Guna. Kjo dallohet qartë në një stelë, të ekspozuar në muzeun e Vlorës. Në një basoreliev duket shëmbëlltyra e një iliri me gunë krahëve. Janë zbuluar edhe skulptura të tjera, të veshura me gunë.

Të bazuar në të dhëna arkeologjike dhe etnologjike iliro-shqiptare, studiues shqiptarë kanë mbështetur opinionin e F. Nopcsa-s, Schuchardit etj., sipas të cilëve këtu është fjala për një element të veshjes ilire.

Riza. Kjo është një shami koke, e përdorur nga gratë ilire.

Diana, hyjni ilire (Eqrem Çabej) mban në kokë një rizë. Në një stelë, të zbuluar në Vlorë, dallohet një grua me rizë në kokë. Një rizë të këtillë mban në kokë një grua, e cila paraqitet në një stelë, të zbuluar në Apolloni.

Opingat dokumentohen në gërmime arkeologjike, të bëra në Dervenberg, Glasinac, Bihac etj. Këto opinga dallohen nga opingat e tipit laptia të popujve sllavë, të cilët do t’i kenë marrë nga ilirët. Si këto opinga mund të gjenden dhe sot në Shqipëri dhe në Epirin e jugut

Sigurisht, ka dhe elemente të tjerë të veshmbathjes së ilirëve dhe epirotëve, për të cilët nuk kemi ende referenca të mjaftueshme.

Kjo veshmbathje ilire, e përdorur në Epir dhe në Iliri, provon se këtu është fjala për një komunitet kulture mes epirotëve dhe ilirëve. Por, ky unitet nuk përjashton ekzistencën e elementeve specifikë në zona të ndryshme të hapësirës gjeografike iliro-epirote. Kjo njësi kulture nuk përjashton as ndikime të qytetërimeve fqinje.


Konkluzion

Në këtë artikull jam përpjekur të vë në dukje karakterin etnik ilir të epirotëve, duke u mbështetur mbi bazat e të dhënave mitologjike, arkeologjike, gjuhësore, antropologjike dhe etnografike.

Mitologjia dhe feja, të ashtuquajtura greke, kanë qenë fillimisht pellazge. Autorët e Greqisë së vjetër dëshmojnë se danajtë kanë përqafuar fenë pellazge ashtu siç ka qenë. Kurse disa autorë të tjerë kanë formuar panteonin grek me elemente të mitologjisë pellazge.

Këto fakte i pranojnë historianë të njohur të ditëve tona. Prandaj mund të konsiderohen si të vjetruara konkluzionet e disa autorëve modernë mbi përparësinë e mitologjisë dhe të fesë greke në Ballkan dhe në Evropë.

Tradita homerike dëshmon për një gjeografi politike të kufizuar të Greqisë së vjetër, ku Epiri, Maqedonia, Kreta dhe ishujt e Egjeut nuk figurojnë. Në “Katalogun e anijeve” Homeri kalon në rivistë të gjithë luftëtarët akeas, të mbledhur në fushën e Trojës. Mirëpo, në këto kontingjente akease nuk ka as epirotë, as maqedonas.

Kujtesa kolektive pellazge, letërsia dhe historia e shkruar helenike dëshmojnë për karakterin etnik jogrek të epirotëve.

Burimet e hershme greke dëshmojnë për lidhjet etnike mes pellazgëve, ilirëve dhe epirotëve.

Gjuha e epirotëve nuk figuron më vete në pemën gjenealogjike të gjuhëve indo-evropiane. Kjo gjuhë nuk ka pasur lidhje me greqishten. Kjo e fundit përmban fjalë pellazge. Një pjesë e mirë e emrave, që gjenden në mbishkrimet e zbuluar në Epir, janë ilirë.

Toponomastika pellazge/ilire është shumë e pranishme në Epir. Toponimia e sotme epirote ruan forma karakteristike të evolucionit fonetik të gjuhës shqipe. Epiri bën pjesë në territorin e formimit të shqipes.

Argumentet e N. G. L. Hammond mbi dyndjet nga Evropa qendrore drejt Greqisë të “popullsive kurghane”, të cilat flisnin një greqishte parahistorike, bien në kundërshtim me të dhënat e traditës greko-romake, si dhe me rezultatet e arkeologjisë së dhjetëvjeçarëve të fundit.

Epiri përbën, njësoj si Maqedonia dhe Iliria, një pjesë të territorit të qytetërimit të Fushave me Urna. Epirotët nuk kanë pësuar asnjë ndikim grek në ritet e varrimit. Varrimet në tuma provojnë vazhdimësinë etno-kulturore ilire në Epir.

Kërkimet e dhjetëvjeçarëve të fundit të A. Harding vënë në dukje se pjesa më e madhe e objekteve prej bronzi dhe prej hekuri, të zbuluar në Greqi, janë ose të tipit adriatik apo ilir, ose objekte arkeologjike barbare, të ardhur nga Evropa qendrore.

Epiri ka të përbashkët një numër karakteresh etnokulturorë me Ilirinë dhe me Maqedoninë.

Kolonitë greke në Epir kanë qenë ishuj të vegjël grekë në gjirin e popullsisë ilire të Epirit.

Argumenti i heshtjes së burimeve për një migrim të vonshëm, ilir ose shqiptar, në Epir mund të vlejë në të mirë të iliricitetit të epirotëve. Toponimia e kësaj krahine, e cila ruan format karakteristike të evolucionit fonetik të shqipes, përjashton çdo mundësi të ndonjë përhapjeje të vonshme të shqipes në Epir.

Elementet që renditëm më lart tregojnë qartë irrealitetin dhe tendenciozitetin e teorisë së “Vorio-Epirit”. Argumentet e mësipërm na bindin për iliricitetin e epirotëve të lashtësisë.

Pra, themi se është në përputhje me realitetin historik të merret Epiri i jugut si pjesë përbërëse e Ilirisë, ose me fjalë të tjera, të pranohet si e vërtetë historike e padiskutueshme përkatësia etnike shqiptare e Çamërisë.
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Re: EPIRI - PERKATESIA E TIJ SHQIPTARE

#134

Post by ALBPelasgian » Mon Nov 16, 2009 7:48 pm

Kerkoj ndjese nese kete harte e kemi postuar edhe me pare ndokush.. E gjeta gjate nje kerkimi hartografik mbi Epirin:

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Re: EPIRI - PERKATESIA E TIJ SHQIPTARE

#135

Post by ALBPelasgian » Mon Nov 16, 2009 8:39 pm

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EPEIKUS or EPI'RUS ('Hwcipos: Elh. 'Hir«panjv, Epirotes: Adj. 'HTftparrut6s, Epirolicus), was the name given to the country lying between the Ionian sea and the chain of Pindus, and extending from the Acrocerannian promontory and the boundaries of lllyria and Macedonia on tho north to the Ambracian gulf on the south. The word ^irtipos signified tho mainland, and was the name originally given to the whole of the western coast of Greece from the Acroceraunian promontory as far as the entrance of the Corinthian gulf, in contradistinction to Con vr i and the Cephallenian islands. In this sense the word was used not only by Homer (Strab. x. p. 451; Horn. //. ii. 635, Od. xiv. 97), but even as late as the time of the Peloponnesian War. (Thuc. i. 5.) Epirus, in its more limited extent, is a wild and mountainous country. The mountains run in a general direction from north to south, and have in all ages been the resort of semi-civilised and robber tribes. The valleys, though frequent, are not extensive, and do not produce sufficient corn for the support of the inhabitants. The most extensive and fertile plain is that ofJo&mina, in which the oracle of Dodona was probably situated, but even at the present day Jnanninu receives a large quantity of its flour from Thessaly, and of its vegetables and fruit from the territory of Aria on the Ambracian gulf. Epirns has been in all times a pastoral and not an agricultural country. Its fine oxen and horses, its shepherds, and its breed of Molossian dogs, were celebrated in antiquity. (Pind. Nan. iy. 82; " quanta majores herbida tanros son habot Epirns," Ov. Met. viii. 282; " Eliadum palmas Epiros equarum," Virg. Gewg. i. 57; " domus alta Molossis personnit canibus," Hor. Sat. ii. 6. 114; Virg. Georg. iii. 405.) The Epirots were not collected in towns, as was the case with tho population in Greece Proper. It is exprcssly mentioned by Scylax (p. 28) that the Epirots dwelt in villages, which was more suitable to their mode of life; and it was probably not tilt tho time when the Molossian kings had extended their dominion over the whole country, and had introduced among them Grecian habits and civilisation, that towns began to be built. It is in accordance with this that we find no coins older than those of Pyrrhus. Along the coast of Epirns southward, from the Acroceraunian promontory, a lofty and rugged range of mountains extends. [ceraunii Months.] Hence the Corinthians founded no colony upon the coast of Epirus at the time when they planted so many settlements upon tho coast of Acamania, and founded Apollonia and Epidamnus farther north. Of the mountains in the interior the names of hardly any are preserved with tho exception of Tomarus or Tmarus above Dodona. [DonoxA.] Of the rivers tho most important are: the Ahachthus, flowing into the Ambracian gulf, and considered to form the boundary between Epirus and Hellas Proper; the Celydsus, flowing into the Ionian sea between Oricum and the Acroccraunian promontory, and forming probably the northern boundary of Epirus; and the Thyamis, Achkkon, and Charauuus, all Bowing into the Ionian sea more to the south.
Epirus was inhabited by various tribes, which were not regarded by the Greeks themselves as members of the Hellenic race. Accordingly Epirus was not a part of Hellas, which was supposed to begin at Ambracia, [hellas,] Some of the tribes however were closely related to the Greeks, and may be looked upon as temi-Hellenic. Thucydides, it is true, treats both the Molossian- and it, protians as barbaric (ii. 80); but these two tribes at all events were not entirely foreign to the Greeks like the Tbracians and lllyrious; and accordingly Herodotus places tho Thcsprotians in Hellas (ii. 56), and mentions the Molosbian Alcon among tho Hellenic suitors of Agarista (vi. 127). It would appear that towards the north the Epirots became blended with the Macedonians and illyrians, and towards the south with the Hellenes.

The northern Epirots, extending from the Macedonian frontier as far as Corcyra, resembled the Macedonians in their mode of cutting the hair, in their language and dress, and in many other particulars. (Strab. vii. p. 327.) Strabo also relates (?.c.) that some of tho tribes spoke two languages, — a fact which proves the difference of the races in the country and also their close connection.

According to Thcopompus, who lived in the fourth century B. c., the number of Epirot tribes was fourteen (ap. Strab. vii. pp. 323, 324). Their names, as we gather from Strabo, were tho Chaones, Tliesproti, Cassopaei, Molossi, Amphilochi, Athamanes, Acthices, Tymphoei, Parauaei, Talarcs, Atintaucs, Orestae, Pelagones, and Elimiotae. (Strab. viii. pp. 324,326, x. p. 434.) Of these, the Orestae, Pelagones, and Elimiotae were situated east of Mt. Pindus, and were subsequently annexed to Macedonia, to which they properly belonged. In like manner, the Athamanes, Aethiccs, and Talarcs, who occupied Piadus, were united to Thcssaly in tho time of Strabo. Tho Atintanes and Paraoaei, who bordered upon lllyria, were also separated from Epirns.

The three chief Epirot tribes were the Cliaones, Thesproti, and Molossi. Tho Chaones, who were at one time the most powerful of the three, and who are said to have ruled over tho whole country (Strab. vii. p. 324), inhabited in historical times the district upon the coast from the Acroceraunian country to tho river Thyamis, which separated them from the Thesprotians (Thuc. i. 46). The Thesproti extended along the coast from the Thyamis beyond tho Acheron to the confines of the Cassopaei, and in the interior to the boundaries of tho territory of Dodona, which in ancient times was regarded as a ]>art of Thesprotia. [dodona.] The Cassopaei, whom some writers called a Thesprotian tribe, reached along the coast, as far as the Ambracian gulf. The Molus-si, who became subsequently the rulers of Epirus, originally inhabited only a narrow strip of country, extending from the Ambracian gulf between tho Cassopaei and Ambraciotae, and subsequently between the Thesprotians and Athamaues, northwards as far as the Dodonaea. (Leakc, Northern Greece, vol. iv. pp. 178, 179.) The Molossi subsequently obtained possession of the Cassopaea and the Dodonaea, and their country reached from the river Aous on the north to the Ambracian gulf on the south.

The most ancient inhabitants of Epirns are said to have been Pelasgians. Dodona is represented as an oracle of the Pelasgians. [DoDONA.J Chaonia is also cjillod Pelasgian; and the Chaones are said, like the Selli at Dodona, to have been interpreters of the oracle of Zeus. (Stcph. B. t.v. Xoovfo.) There appears to have been an ethnical connection between the ancient inhabitants of Epirus and some of the tribes on the opposite coast of Italy. The Chones, on the gulf of Tarentnm, are apparently the same people as the Chaones; and although we find no mention of the Thesprotians in Italy, we have there a town Pandosia, and a river Acheron, as in Epirus. Tl.Tr are good reasons for supposing that the Italian Ocnotrians, to whom the Chonians belonged, were of the same race as the Epirots. (Niebuhr, Hitt of Rome, vol. i. p. 57.) [oenotkia.] If wo were to accept the statement of Aristotle that Dodona was at one time inhabited by the people then called Graeci, but now Hellenes (Meteor, i. 14), Epirus must be regarded as the original abode of the Hellenes ; but this statement is in opposition to the commonly received opinions of the Greeks, who placed the original home of the Hellenes in Thessaly. It may be that the Pelasgians in Epirus bore the name of Graeci, and carried the name to the opposite coast of Italy; which would account for the Romans and Italians in general giving the name of Graeci to all the Hellenes, looking upon the Hellenes who subsequently founded colonies in Italy as the same people. (Niebuhr, vol. iii. p. 451.) But, however this may be, the inhabitants of Epirus exercised, at an early period, considerable influence upon Greece. Of this the wide- spread reputation of the oracle of Dodona is a proof. The Thessalians, who conquered the country named after them, are represented as a Thesprotian tribe. [THESSAUA.] According to the common tradition, Neoptolemus or Pyrrhus, son of Achilles, settled in Epirus after his return from Troy, accompanied by Helenus, son of Priam, He transmitted his dominions to his son Molossus, from whom the Molossian kings traced their descent. (Diet. ofBiogr. I. w. ffeoptolemtu and Molossus.)

The chief Greek settlement in Epirus was the flourishing Corinthian colony of Ambracia, upon the gulf called after it. [ Ambracia.] At a later period, probably between the time of Thucydides and Demosthenes, some Grecian settlers must have found their way into Thesprotia, since Demosthenes mentions Pandosia, Buchetia, and Elaea, as Eleian colonies (d& Halonn. p. 84).

The Epirot tribes were independent of one another, though one tribe sometimes exercised a kind of supremacy over a greater or a smaller number. Such a supremacy may have been exercised in ancient times by the Thesprotians, who possessed the oracle. In the 1'eloponnesian War the Chaonians enjoyed a higher reputation than the rest (Thuc. ii. 80), and it is probably to this period that Strabo refers when he says that the Chaonians once ruled over all Epirus (vii. p. 323). The importance of the Chaonians at this period is shown by a line of Aristophanes (Equit. 78, with Schol.). It must not, however, be inferred that the Chaonians possessed any firm hold over the other tribes. The power of the Molossian kings, of which we shall speak presently, rested upon a different basis.

Originally each tribe was governed by a king. In the time of the Persian wars the Molossians were governed by a king called Admetus, who was living with the simplicity of a village chief when ThemiBtiK'les came to him as a suppliant. (Thuc. i. 13G.) Tharyps, also called Tharypas or Arrhybas, the son or grandson of Admetus, was a minor at the beginning of the Pcloponnesian War, and Whs educated at Athens: he is said to have been the first to introduce among his subjects Hellenic civilisation. (Thuc. ii. 80; Paus. i. 11. § lj Justin, rrii. 8; Plut.

Pyrrh. 1.) The kingly government always continued among the Molossians, probably in consequence of their power being very limited; for we are told that the king and people were accustomed to meet at Passaron, the ancient Molossian capital, to swear obedience to the laws. (Aristot. Polit. v. 11 j Plut. Pyrrh. 5.) But among the Chaonians and Thesprotians the kingly government had been abolished before the Peloponnesian War: the chief magistrates of the Chaonians were selected from a particular family (In rov &fxu""' 7««nw, Thuc. it 80). After the Peloponnesian War the power of the Molossians increased, till at length Alexander, the brother of Olympias, who married Philip of Macedon, extended his dominion over meet of the Epirot tribes, and took the title of king of Epirus. (Diod. xvi. 72, 91; Strab. vi. p. 280.) Alexander, who died n. c. 326, was succeeded by Aeacides, and Aeacides by Alcetos, after whom the celebrated Pyrrhus became king of Epirus, and raised the kingdom to its greatest splendour. He removed the seat of government from Passaron to Ambracia, which was now for the first time annexed to the dominions of the Epirot kings. Pyrrhus was succeeded in B. c. 272 by his son, Alexander II., who was followed in succession by his two sons, Pyrrhus II. and Ptolemy. (For the history of these kings, see the Diet. ofBiogr.) With the death of Ptolemy, between B. c. 239 and 229, the family of Pyrrhus became extinct, whereupon a republican form of government was established, which continued till the conquest of Macedonia by the Romans, B.c. 168. Having been accused of favouring Perseus, the Roman senate determined that all the towns of Epirus should be destroyed, and the inhabitants reduced t«< slavery. This cruel order was carried into execution by Aemilius Paulus, who, having previously placed garrisons in the 70 towns of Epirus, razed them all to the ground in one day, and carried away 150.001 > inhabitants as skives. (Polyb. ap. Strab. vii. p. 322; Liv. xlv. 34; Plut. Aemil. Paul. 29.) From the effects of this terrible blow Epirus never recovered. In the time of Strabo the country was still a scene of desolation, and the inhabitants had only ruins and villages to dwell in. (Strab. vii. p. 327.) NicopolU, founded by Augustus in commemoration of his victory off Actium, was the chief city of Epirus under the Roman empire. Both ibis city and Bnthrotum had the dignity of Roman colonies. Epirus formed a province under the Romans, and in the time of Ptolemy was separated from Achaia by the river Achelons. (Ptol. iii. 14.) Epiros now forms part of Albania. The Albanians are probably descendants of the ancient Illyrians, who took possession of the depopulated country under the Roman or the early Byzantine empire. On the conquest of Constantinople by the Latins in 1204, a member of the celebrated Byzantine family of Comnenus established an independent dynasty in Epirus; and the despots of Albania, as they were called, continued for two centuries only second in power to the emperors of Constantinople. The last of these rulers, George Castriot, resisted for more than 20 years the whole forces of the Ottoman empire; and it was not till his death in 1466 that Albania was annexed to the Turkish dominions.

The chief towns in Epirus were : —

1. In Chaonia. Upon the road near the coast from N. to S.: Palaeste; Chimaera; Fhoenick; Buturotuh ; Cestbia, also called Ilium or Troja, in the district Cestrine. [cestuine.] West of this rood, upon the coast: Omchesmus; Cassiofe.
East of the road in the interior: Phanote; HeliCranon.

2. In Thesprotia. Upon the road leading from Cestria southwards: Eukoea (?); Pandosia, on the Acheron; Elatkkia or-ei.ateia; Cassope; Nicopolis. West of this road, upon the coast: Syiiota; Cheimerium; Toryxe: Buchaetium; Elaea. Between this road and the coast: GitaNAK; Epiiyba, afterwards called Cichyrus. In the interior: Eurymenae (?); Issoria; Batiae (?).

3. In Molossia. From N. to S.: Photice ; TecMon; Dodona; Passaron; Cilalcis; Piivlacej Horreum.

In the annexed coin the heads on the obverse ore those of Xeus and Hera: the ox on the reverse may have reference cither to the excellence of the Epirot oxen, or to its being the victim sacred to Xeus. On nil coins we find the name of the people in the Doric form AFIEIPflTAN, and not HnEIPfiTflN. (Eckhel, vol. ii. p. 160, foil.) (Niebuhr, Hist, of Rome, vol. iii. p. 450, seq.; Grote, Hist, of Greece, vol. iii. p. 549, seq. ; Merleker, ffiitor. geogr. DariteUung des Landes und der Beicohner row Epirot, Konigs. 1841 ; Leake, Northern Greece ; Bowen, Mount A thai, Theisaly, and Epirm, 1352.)

Dictionary of Greek and Roman geography, Volume 1
By Sir William Smith 833 - 837
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