"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


Sillni citime historike për figurat e historise shqiptare, për racën dhe vendin e arbërve.

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Post by ALBPelasgian » Sun Jul 05, 2009 9:52 pm

Kjo teme eshte e ngjashme me simotren 'Quota per Shqiptaret" ne po te njejten kategori. I vetmi dallim eshte se perderisa ne temen e siperpermendur postohen vetem citatet e shkurtera, ne kete temen e re do te postohen edhe pasazhe me te gjata qe kane te bejne per aspekte cfaredo, por te jene brenda caqeve qe kane te bejne me Historine e Popullit tone. Do te ishte e keshillueshme, qe pasazhet qe i sillni ketu te jene te skanuara per shkak se shumica e librave online jane ne 'books.google'.com.

Kur te sillni dicka te tille, dmth ndonje pasazh, le te sillet faqja (ne te cilin eshte pasazhi) por edhe kopertina e librit nga eshte marre.

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Post by ALBPelasgian » Mon Jul 06, 2009 10:36 am

Artikulli i pare qe do e sjell ketu eshte edhe intervista e profesorit te mirenjohur grek Nikos Dimou i cili punon ne Universitetin e Athines. Kete interviste ai e ka dhene ne 'New York Times'. Lexim te kendshem!

“.......It’s the fault of a German,” Mr. Dimou said about Greek pride in this cause. He was referring to Johann Winckelmann, the 18th-century German art historian whose vision of an ancient Greece “populated by beautiful, tall, blond, wise people, representing perfection,” as Mr. Dimou put it, was in a sense imposed on the country to shape modern Greek identity.

We used to speak Albanian and call ourselves Romans, but then Winckelmann, Goethe, Victor Hugo, Delacroix, they all told us, ‘No, you are Hellenes, direct descendants of Plato and Socrates,’ and that did it. If a small, poor nation has such a burden put on its shoulders, it will never recover.

Per lexim me te gjere ju lutem shihni kete lidhje:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/24/arts/ ... 2&emc=eta1
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Post by ALBPelasgian » Mon Jul 20, 2009 11:40 pm

Ne sot po hedhim faren me emrin Bashkim,
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Post by ALBPelasgian » Wed Feb 15, 2012 6:42 pm

Turkey by Julius R. Van Millingen

And the Albanians are fighting to maintain



Having briefly narrated the history of the rise and decline of the Ottoman Empire, it may be interesting to have a peep at the various races and nationalities which at present constitute it.

Beginning with Turkey in Europe, we have the Albanians, who occupy the mountainous country north of Greece, and also Albania and Epirus on the eastern shore of the Adriatic. They are a brave, haughty, liberty-loving, but turbulent people, whom some maintain to be the descendants of the ancient Pelasgi, who originally occupied Greece. They boast of having given Alexander the Great to the world. The Albanians were never properly conquered by the Turks, and, excepting those inhabiting the lowlands, they do very much what they please, and even at this moment they are defying the Turkish troops sent to disarm them, and bring them under subjection. Some are Mahomedans, others are Roman Catholics, and others belong to the Greek Church. They have a language of their own, but until quite recently they had no alphabet for it, and it was only within the last forty years that a Scotsman, the agent of the British and Foreign Bible Society, endowed them with one, and printed the Scriptures in their tongue. It is this alphabet that the Turks are now trying to suppress by substituting the Arabic, and the Albanians are fighting to maintain. The national dress of the Albanians is a white kilted petticoat coming down to their knees, with a scarlet or purple embroidered vest, and a corresponding sleeveless jacket worn over a white shirt with wide sleeves. The waist is girded with a broad silken band folded many times round the body. Embroidered leggings, corresponding in colour with the jacket, protect the legs, and a red cap, called a _fez_, with a silken blue tassel, covers the head.

So attached are they to their national costume that an attempt made by Sultan Mahmoud to forbid it led to an insurrection in the same way that the edict in 1747 to do away with the kilts and tartans in the Scottish Highlands created the troubles which followed the rebellion. Naturally, the peasants cannot afford costly material, and their dress consists of a closely-woven, home-spun tweed called _shayiak_, which is very warm and enduring. They wear a skull-cap of the same material, _shayiak_ knickers and leggings, and sandals instead of shoes. Over this girdle they wear a broad cartridge-belt, which bristles with old-fashioned pistols and formidable daggers.

The Albanians are a nation of clans, implacable in their hatred and constant in their friendships. Their covenant of friendship is cemented by tasting a drop of each other's blood, and from that moment they consider themselves blood kinsmen, and sworn to befriend, defend, or avenge each other.

Like the Israelites of old, the blood avenger pursues the murderer of his friend or clansman until he finds him, and if he should fail to do so during his lifetime, his children are bound to act on his behalf. You can thus understand that in accordance with this law of "vendetta," as they call it, whole families become sometimes exterminated.

Another peculiar method of establishing friendships is by securing the assent of an influential person to stand as godfather to children at baptism. It involves no spiritual obligations, as may be seen from the fact that these godfathers are frequently Mussulmans, but is recognized as a social rite whereby the two families become relations. Albania being a poor country, a large number of its Moslem population join the Turkish army as soldiers or officers, this vocation being congenial with their tastes. Others go to Constantinople or other large towns, and engage in an occupation very different from that of warriors--namely, that of manufacturing and selling cakes, called _simits_, and an Albanian speciality of confection called _halva_. It resembles nougat, and is prepared with walnuts or sesame seeds. These commodities are temptingly arranged on large circular trays, which they poise very adroitly on their heads by means of a small cushion resembling a quoit. You will see, under the heading of "Simitji," a picture of this kind of tray, and the tripod upon which it is rested. The seller in the picture is not, however, an Albanian, but a Turk from Anatolia.

These _halvagis_, as they are called, are great favourites of boys and girls, and of grown-up persons too, and are to be met with at every gathering of people. Albanians also go out as vegetable-gardeners and fruit-sellers, and deal in the remarkably beautiful apple which grows so splendidly in their native country.

The Turks call the Albanians Arnaouts, and many a village occupied by them has in consequence been named Arnaoutkioy, the village of the Albanian.

Another occupation in which they engage is that of shepherds, and among some of this craft I may mention those of the Sultan's flock of sheep on Mount Olympus, to which I have already alluded. They keep huge fierce dogs, which are a terror not only to wolves and bears, but also to human beings whom they may encounter. So daring and powerful are shepherd-dogs of this description that they have been known to tear riders down from the saddle. The writer might once have undergone this fate were it not for the powerful dog-whip which he carried on the occasion of an attack, and to the fact that his horse finally bolted with him until he was some miles from the field of danger.

To shoot one of these dogs is at the peril of your life, for the Albanian law of vendetta seems to extend to avenging their dogs. There is a strong suspicion that an Englishman, who made the ascent of Olympus some twenty years ago, was murdered by these shepherds for shooting one of these creatures in self-defence. On another occasion the captain of one of our ironclads, while shooting in that neighbourhood, had occasion to kill a dog which attacked him, whereupon he was himself felled to the ground by the axe of the shepherd.

Turkish shepherd-dogs, though savage and powerful, have none of the finer instincts of our collies; they will not bring round the sheep in accordance with the shepherd's directions; they are only fighters, and often turn and rend their masters.

It is interesting to watch, as I have done, the yearly migrations of the Albanian shepherds to and from Olympus. My home lay at the foot of the mountain, and one summer's night, when the moon was full, I was waked by the sound of sonorous voices, and the barking of dogs, and bleating of rams. Gradually the sounds became louder, and I could hear the tinkling of bells and finally the tramp of thousands of little feet pattering past my door. To the bleating of the rams was added the shriller cry of the ewes and the feebler notes of the lambs, and, rushing to the window, I could see the whole procession--sheep and shepherd--winding its way upwards. It was a weird sight, those shepherds in their heavy capotes of sheepskin, and their shadows reflected on the mountain, and gave one the impression of so many spectres gliding in the moonlight. The procession passed along, the bleating, the tinkling, the barking, the shouting became fainter, and finally the mountain returned to its silence primeval, and when I awoke in the morning I could not help wondering if it had not all been a dream.

Bordering on Albania and Epirus, and east of them, you will find a district marked on the map as Macedonia. It is inhabited principally by Tartars, Bulgarians, and Greeks, with a large sprinkling of Jews in its seaport towns, specially in Salonica, the Thessalonica of Scripture. The Bulgarians belong to the Slav family, and are mostly Christians. Some, however, have turned Moslems, and are generally known under the name of Pomaks. The Pomaks have intermarried and fused with Tartars, who migrated to Macedonia, as well as to other parts of Turkey, in large numbers when their native lands--the Crimea, Bessarabia, Roumania, and Bulgaria--passed under the sovereignty of Christian rulers. They have high cheekbones, broad flat faces, globular noses, and sunken eyes. They are fanatical, ignorant, and naturally embittered against Christians, and many, as the authors of the so-called Bulgarian atrocities, have fled to escape the punishment they deserved.
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Post by ALBPelasgian » Wed Feb 15, 2012 6:48 pm

The Life of Lord Byron by John Galt

At this period my fellow-passengers were full of their adventures in Albania. The country was new, and the inhabitants had appeared to them a bold and singular race. In addition to the characteristic descriptions which I have extracted from Lord Byron's notes, as well as Mr Hobhouse's travels, I am indebted to them, as well as to others, for a number of memoranda obtained in conversation, which they have themselves neglected to record, but which probably became unconsciously mingled with the recollections of both; at least, I can discern traces of them in different parts of the poet's works.

The Albanians are a race of mountaineers, and it has been often remarked that mountaineers, more than any other people, are attached to their native land, while no other have so strong a thirst of adventure. The affection which they cherish for the scenes of their youth tends, perhaps, to excite their migratory spirit. For the motive of their adventures is to procure the means of subsisting in ease at home.

This migratory humour is not, however, universal to the Albanians, but applies only to those who go in quest of rural employment, and who are found in a state of servitude among even the Greeks. It deserves, however, to be noticed, that with the Greeks they rarely ever mix or intermarry, and that they retain both their own national dress and manners unchanged among them. Several of their customs are singular. It is, for example, in vain to ask a light or any fire from the houses of the Albanians after sunset, if the husband or head of the family be still afield; a custom in which there is more of police regulation than of superstition, as it interdicts a plausible pretext for entering the cottages in the obscurity of twilight, when the women are defenceless by the absence of the men.

Some of their usages, with respect to births, baptisms, and burials, are also curious. When the mother feels the fulness of time at hand, the priestess of Lucina, the midwife, is duly summoned, and she comes bearing in her hand a tripod, better known as a three-legged stool, the uses of which are only revealed to the initiated. She is received by the matronly friends of the mother, and begins the mysteries by opening every lock and lid in the house. During this ceremony the maiden females are excluded.

The rites which succeed the baptism of a child are still more recondite. Four or five days after the christening, the midwife prepares, with her own mystical hands, certain savoury messes, spreads a table, and places them on it. She then departs, and all the family, leaving the door open, in silence retire to sleep. This table is covered for the Miri of the child, an occult being, that is supposed to have the care of its destiny. In the course of the night, if the child is to be fortunate, the Miri comes and partakes of the feast, generally in the shape of a cat; but if the Miri do not come, nor taste of the food, the child is considered to have been doomed to misfortune and misery; and no doubt the treatment it afterwards receives is consonant to its evil predestination.

The Albanians have, like the vulgar of all countries, a species of hearth or household superstitions, distinct from their wild and imperfect religion. They imagine that mankind, after death, become voorthoolakases, and often pay visits to their friends and foes for the same reasons, and in the same way, that our own country ghosts walk abroad; and their visiting hour is, also, midnight. But the collyvillory is another sort of personage. He delights in mischief and pranks, and is, besides, a lewd and foul spirit; and, therefore, very properly detested. He is let loose on the night of the nativity, with licence for twelve nights to plague men's wives; at which time some one of the family must keep wakeful vigil all the livelong night, beside a clear and cheerful fire, otherwise this naughty imp would pour such an aqueous stream on the hearth, that fire could never be kindled there again.

The Albanians are also pestered with another species of malignant creatures; men and women whose gifts are followed by misfortunes, whose eyes glimpse evil, and by whose touch the most prosperous affairs are blasted. They work their malicious sorceries in the dark, collect herbs of baleful influence; by the help of which, they strike their enemies with palsy, and cattle with distemper. The males are called maissi, and the females maissa--witches and warlocks.

Besides these curious superstitious peculiarities, they have among them persons who pretend to know the character of approaching events by hearing sounds which resemble those that shall accompany the actual occurrence. Having, however, given Lord Byron's account of the adventure of his servant Dervish, at Cape Colonna, it is unnecessary to be more particular with the subject here. Indeed, but for the great impression which everything about the Albanians made on the mind of the poet, the insertion of these memoranda would be irrelevant. They will, however, serve to elucidate several allusions, not otherwise very clear, in those poems of which the scenes are laid in Greece; and tend, in some measure, to confirm the correctness of the opinion, that his genius is much more indebted to facts and actual adventures, than to the force of his imagination. Many things regarded in his most original productions, as fancies and invention, may be traced to transactions in which he was himself a spectator or an actor. The impress of experience is vivid upon them all.
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Post by ALBPelasgian » Sat Feb 25, 2012 6:55 pm

Turkey In Europe - Albania And Epirus
(Originally Published 1920 )

THE name of Shkiperi, which the Albanians give to the country they inhabit, is supposed to mean " land of rocks," and no designation could be more appropriate. Stony mountains occupy the whole of the country, from the frontiers of Montenegro to those of Greece. The only plain of any. extent is that of Scutari (Shkodra), to the south of the Montenegrin plateau, which forms the natural frontier of Albania towards the north. The bottom of this depression is occupied by the Lake of Scutari; and the Drin, the only river of the Balkan peninsula which is navigable for a considerable distance from the sea, debouches upon it. The Drin is formed by the junction of the White and the Black Drin, and in former times it only discharged a portion of its waters temporarily into the Boyana River, which drains the Lake of Scutari. But in 1858 it opened itself a nett channel opposite to the village of Miet, about twenty miles above its mouth, and since that time the greater volume of its waters flows in the direction of Scutari, frequently inundating the lower quarters of that Wan. The marshy tracts ou the Lower Drin are dangerous to cross during the heat of summer, and the fevers of the Boyana are the most dreaded along the whole of that coast.

Most of the southern ramifications of the Bosnian Alps are inhabited by Albanians, but they are separated from their kinsmen in Albania proper by the deep valley of the Drin, a kind of canon similar to those of the Rocky Mountains, enclosed between precipitous walls several thousand feet in height, and hardly ever trodden by the foot of a wanderer. The mountain systems of Bosnia and Albania are only indirectly connected by a series of ranges and plateaux stretching from the mountain of Ghieb in a south-easterly direction as far as the Skhar, or Seardus of the ancients. The crest of this latter runs at right angles to most of the ranges of Western Turkey, and although its culminating point is inferior in height to those of Slav Turkey, it is the point of junction between the Balkan and the mountain systems of Bosnia and Albania. The Skhar is of great importance, too, in the hydrography of Turkey ; for two great rivers, the Bulgarian Morava and the Vardar, descend from its flanks, one flowing to the Danube, the other to the Gulf of Saloniki. Chamois and wild goats are still met with in the Skhar, as in the Pindus and Rhodope, and mentions an animal known to the Mirdits as a lucerbal, which appears to be a species of leopard.

A mountain region, hardly 3,000 feet in elevation, but exceedingly difficult of access, rises to the west of the Skhar, on the other side of the Black Drin : this is the citadel of Upper Albania, the country of the Mirdits and Dukajins. Enormous masses of serpentine have erupted there through the chalk, the valleys are hemmed in by bold precipices, and the torrents rapidly run down the hollowed-out beds on the exterior slopes. As a rule, the direction of the tortuous ranges of this mountain country is the same as that of the southern spurs of the Skhar. They gradually decrease in height, enclosing fine upland valleys, u here the waters are able to accumulate. The Lake of 0khrida, the largest sheet of water in Upper Albania, has not inaptly been likened to the Lake of Geneva. Its waters are bluer even than those of its Swiss rival, and more transparent, and fish may be seen chasing each other at a depth of sixty feet beneath its surface: hence its ancient Greek name of Lychnidos. The delightful little town of Okhrida and Mount Pieria, with its old Roman castle, guard its shores, and the white houses of numerous villages peep out amongst the chestnut forests which cover the slopes of the surrounding hills. This lake is drained towards the north. through the narrow valley of the Black Drin. If the statements of the inhabitants may be credited, the waters of the double basin of Lake Presba reach Lake Okhrida through subterranean channels.

The isolated peak of Tomor commands this lake region on the west. To the south of it commences the chain of the Pindus, locally known as Grammos. At first of moderate height, and crossed by numerous mountain roads affording easy communication between Albania and Macedonia, these mountains gradually increase in height as we proceed south, and exactly to the east of Yanina they form the mountain mass of Metzovo, with which the Pindus, properly so called, takes its rise. This mountain mass is inferior in altitude to the peaks of Bosnia or Northern Albania, but it is far more picturesque than either, its slopes being covered with forests of conifers and beech-trees, and the plains extending along its foot having a more southern aspect. Mount Zygos, or Lachman, which rises in the centre of this mountain mass, does not afford a very extended panorama, but if we climb the craggy peaks of the Peristera-Vuna, or Smolika, near it, we are able to look at the same time upon the waters of the AEgean and Ionian Seas, and even the shore of Greece may be descried beyond the Gulf of Arta.

A famous lake occupies the bottom of the limestone basin at the western foot of the mountain mass of Metzovo. This is the Luke of Yanina, and nowhere else throughout Epirus do we meet with an equal number of natural curiosities as on the shores of this lake. Its depth is inconsiderable, nowhere exceeding forty feet, and it is fed only by numerous springs rising at the foot of the rocks. There is no visible outlet ; but Colonel Leake assures us that each of the two basins into which it is divided is drained by a subterranean channel. The northern lake pours its waters into a sink, or roinikora, and reappears towards the south-west as a considerable river, which flows into the Ionian Sea. This is the Thyamis of the ancients, our modern Kalamas. Farther to the south the ancient Acheron bursts from the rocks, and having received the nauseous waters of the equally famous Cocytus, throws itself into the " bay of sweet waters," thus called on account of the large volume of water discharged into it by rivers.

When the waters of the southern and larger basin of Lake Yanina are low, there is but a single effluent, which plunges down into an abyss, and in doing so turns the wheels of a mill. The Cyclopean ruins of the Pelasgic city of Hellas command this huge chasm with its roaring waters. The subterranean river reappears far to the south, and flows into the Gulf of Arta. But when the level of the lake is high, four other sinks swallow up its superabundant waters, and convey them into the main channel, the direction of which is indicated by a few small lakes. The important part played in the mythology of ancient Greece by these subterranean effluents, and particularly by the infernal Acheron and the Cocytus, amply proves the influence exercised by the Pelasgians upon the civilisation of the Hellenes. The myths of the Hellopians became the common property of all Greece, and there was no temple in all Hellas more venerated than their sanctuary at Dodona, where the future might be foretold by listening to the rustling of the leaves of sacred oaks. This sacred grove existed, probably, near one of the Cyclopean towns so numerous in the country, if not on the shore of the lake itself. Some, erroneously no doubt, have looked for it near the castle inhabited in the beginning of this century by Ali Tepeleni, the terrible Pasha of Epirus, who boasted of being a " lighted torch, devouring man."

The mountains of Still, to the west of the basin of Yanina, attain an altitude of 3,500 feet, but the neighbouring hills are of moderate height, though abrupt and difficult of access, and near the coast they sink down into small rocky promontories, scantily clothed with shrubs and overrun by jackals. Swamps abound near the shore, and during summer their miasmatic air spreads over the neighbouring villages. To the north of the swamps of Butrinto and of the channel of Corfu, and to the west of the isolated peak of Kundusi, however, the coast rises again, and the austere chain of the Chimera Main, or Acroceraunii, extends along it. It was dreaded by the ancients on account of its tempests, and the torrents which poured down its sides. Squalls and changes of wind are frequent near the " Tongue (Linguetta) of Rocks," the most advanced promontory of this coast, at the entrance to the Adriatic Sea. These are the " infamous rocks " referred to by the Roman poet, upon which many a vessel suffered shipwreck. The channel which separates Turkey at that place from Italy has a width of only 45 miles ; it is less than 100 fathoms in depth, and at some former period an isthmus may have united the two countries.

The Shkipetars, or Albanians, are subdivided into two leading tribes or nations, the Tosks and the Gheges, both of whom are no doubt descended from the ancient Pelasgians, but have in many places become mixed with Slays, Bulgarians, and Romanians, and perhaps even with other nations ; for whilst in some tribes we meet with the purest Hellenic types, there are others the members of which are repulsively ugly. The Gheges are the purest of their race, and they occupy, under various tribal names, the whole of Northern Albania as far as the river Shkumbi. The territory of the Tosks extends from that river southward. The dialects of these two nations differ much, and it is not easy for an Acroceraunian to understand a Mirdit or other Albanian from the north. Gheges and Tosks detest each other. In the Turkish army they are kept separated for fear of their coming to blows, and, when an insurrection has to be suppressed amongst them, the Turkish Government always avails itself of these tribal jealousies, and is certain of being served with the zeal and fury which hatred inspires.

Up to the period of the migration of the barbarians, the whole of Western Turkey, as far as the Danube, was held by Albanians. But they were then pushed back, and Albania was entirely occupied by Servians and Bulgarians.

The names of numerous localities throughout the country recall that period of obscuration, during which the name of an indigenous race was not even mentioned by the historian. But when the Osmanli had broken the power of the Serb, the Albanians again raised their heads, and ever since they have kept encroaching upon their Slav neighbours. In the north they have gradually descended into the valley of the Bulgarian Morava, and one of their colonies has even penetrated into independent Servia. Like the waters of a rising ocean, they overwhelm the detached tracts of territory still occupied by Servians. This progress of the Albanians is explained, to a great extent, by the voluntary expatriation of the Sarvians. Thousands of them, headed by their patriarchs, fled to Hungary, in order to escape the dominion of the Turks, and the Albanians occupied the wastes they left behind. The Servians still hold their ground near Acroceraunia, on the shores of Lake Okhrida, and in the hills looking down upon the fatal plain of Kosovo, where their ancestors were massacred; but they gradually become Albanians in language, religion, and customs. They speak of themselves as Turks, as do the Arnauts, and apply the name of Servian only to the Christians dwelling beyond the frontier. On the other hand, many of the customs of the Gheges agree in a remarkable manner with those of their Slav neighbours, and this proves that there has taken place a thorough blending of the two races.

But whilst the Albanians are gaining ground in the north, they are losing it in the south. A large portion of the inhabitants of Southern Albania, though undoubtedly of Pelasgic origin, are Greek by language. Arta, Yanina, and Prevesa are Hellenized towns, and only a few Mohammedan families there still speak Albanian. Nearly the whole of the tract between the Pindus and the Adriatio coast ranges has became Greek as far as language goes, and throughout the mountain region extending west ward to the sea the inhabitants are " bilingual ; " that is to say, they speak two languages. The famous Suliotes, for instance, who talk Tosk within the bosom of their family, make use of Greek in their intercourse with strangers. Wherever the two races come into contact, it is always the Albanian who takes the trouble to learn Greek.

This influence of the Hellenes is all the more powerful as it meets with support amongst the Zinzares, known also as Macedo-Walakhs, " Limping " Walakhs, or Southern Romanians, who are met with throughout the country. These Zinzares are the kinsmen of the Romanians of Wallachia and Moldavia, and live in a compact body only on the two slopes of the Pindus, to the south and east of the Lake of Yanina. Like the Romanians of the Danube, they are most probably Latinised Dacians. They resemble the Walakhs in features, character, and disposition, and speak a neo-Latin tongue much mixed with Greek. The Zinzares in the valleys of the Pindus are, for the most part, herdsmen, and wander away from their villages sometimes for months. Others carry on trades, exhibiting much manual skill and intelligence. Nearly all the bricklayers of Turkey, those of the large towns excepted, are Zinzares; and the same individual sometimes erects an entire house, doing in turn the work of architect, carpenter, joiner, and locksmith. The Romanians of the Pindus are likewise esteemed as clever goldsmiths.

Their capacity for business is great, and the commerce of the interior of Turkey is almost entirely in their hands, as is that of the maritime districts in those of the Greeks. The Walakhs of Metzovo are said to have stood formerly under the direct protection of the Porte, and every traveller, whether Mussulman or Christian, was bound to unshoe his horses before he left their territory, for fear " of his carrying away a clod of earth which did not belong to him." Commercial houses conducted by Walakhs of the Pindus are met with in every town of the Orient, and even at Vienna one of the most influential banks has been founded by one of them. Abroad they are generally taken for Greeks, and the wealthier amongst them send their children to Athens to be educated. Surrounded by Mussulmans, the Zinzares of the Pindus feel the necessity of attaching themselves to some country through which they might obtain their freedom, and they hope for a union with Greece. It is only quite recently that they have learnt to look upon the Romanians of the North and the Italians as their kinsmen. They do not, however, set much store upon their nationality, and have no aspirations as a distinct race. There can be no doubt that in the course of ages many of these Macedo-Walakhs have become Hellenized. Nearly all Thessaly was inhabited by Zinzares in the Middle Ages, and Byzantine authors speak of that country as " Great Wallachia." Whether these Zinzares have emigrated to Romania, as some think, or have become assimilated with the Greeks, the fact remains that at the present day they are not very numerous on the eastern slopes of the Pindus. Thousands of Romanian families have settled in the coast towns, at Avlona, Berat, and Tirana, embracing Mohammedanism, but still retaining their native idiom.

If we exclude these Zinzares, the Greeks of Epirus, the Servians, and the few Osmanli dwelling in the large towns, there remain only the semi-barbarous Gheges and Tosks, whose social condition has hardly undergone any change in the course of three thousand years. In their manners and modes of thought these modern Albanians are the true successors of the ancient Pelasgians, and many a scene that a traveller may witness amongst them carries him back to the days of the Odyssey. G. von Hahn, who has most thoroughly studied the Shkipetars, looks upon them as veritable Dorians, whose ancestors, led by the Heraclidœ, burst forth from the forests of Epirus to conquer the Peloponnesus. They are as courageous, as war-like, as fond of dominion, and as clannish as were their ancestors. Their dress, likewise, is nearly the same, and the white tunic (fustanelle) neatly fastened round the waist fairly represents the ancient chlamys. The Gheges, like the Dorians of old, arc addicted to that mysterious passion which the historians of antiquity have confounded, unfortunately, with a nameless vice, and which links men to children by a pure and ideal love, in which the senses have no part.

There is no modern people respecting whom more astounding acts of bravery are recorded than of the Albanians. In the fifteenth century they had their Seanderbeg, who, though the theatre of his glory was more circumscribed than that of his namesake of Macedonia, was hardly inferior to him in genius, and certainly surpassed him in justness and goodness of heart. Or what nation has ever exceeded in courage the Suliote mountaineers, amongst whom not an aged man, a woman, or a child was found to beg for mercy from Ali Pasha's executioners? The heroism of these Suliote women, who set fire to the ammunition waggons, and then hand in hand precipitated themselves from the rocks, or sought death in the mountain torrents, chanting their own funeral song, will at all times stand forth in history as an astounding fact.

This valour. unfortunately, is associated amongst many tribes with a fearful amount of savageness. Human life is held cheap amongst these warlike populations; blood calls for blood, and victim for victim. They believe in vampires and phantoms, and occasionally an old man has been burnt alive, on suspicion of his being able to kill by the breath of his mouth. Slavery does not exist, but woman is held in a state of servitude ; she is looked upon as an inferior being, basing no rights or mind of her own. Custom raises a more formidable barrier between the sexes than do walls and locked doors elsewhere. A young girl is not permitted to speak to a young man ; such an act is looked upon as a crime, which her father or brother may feel called upon to punish by a deed of blood. The parents sometimes consult the wishes of their son when about to marry him, but never those of their daughter. The latter is frequently affianced in her cradle, and, when twelve years of age, she is handed over to a young man on his presenting a wedding outfit and a sum of money fixed by custom, and averaging twenty shillings. From that moment he becomes the absolute master of his bride, though not without first going through the farce of an abduction, as is customary amongst nearly all ancient nations. The poor woman, thus sold like a slave, is bound to work for her husband. She is his housekeeper as well as his labourer, and the national poets compare her to the "ever-active shuttle," whilst the father of the family is likened to the "majestic ram marching at the head of the flock." Yet woman, scorned though she be, and brutalised by heavy work, may traverse the whole country without fear of being insulted, and the life of an unfortunate who places himself under her protection is held sacred.

Family ties are very powerful amongst the Albanians. The father retains the rights of sovereign lord up to an advanced age, and as long as he lives the earnings of his children and grandchildren are his own. Frequently this communism continues after his death, the eldest on taking his place. The loss of a member of the family, and particularly of a young man, gives rise to fearful lamentations amongst the women, who frequently swoon away, and even lose their senses. But the death of persons who have reached the natural limits of human life is hardly mourned at all. The descendants of the sane ancestor never lose sight of their parent age. They form clans, called phis or pharas, hich are bound firmly together for purposes of defence or attack, or in the pursuit of their common interests. Brotherhood by election is known amongst the Albanians, as well as amongst the Servians and other ancient nations, and its tics are as strong as those of blood. Young men desirous of becoming brothers bind themselves by solemn sows in the presence of their families, and, having opened a vein, they drink each other's blood. The need of these family bonds is felt so strongly in Albania, that young people brought up together frequently remain united during the remainder of their lives, forming a regular community, having its days of meetings, its festivals, and a common purse.

Tut in spite of these family associations and clans, in spite of the enthusiastic love which the Albanian hears his native land, there exists no political cohesion amongst the various tribes. The physical conditions of the country, no less than an unhappy passion for war, have scattered their forces, and rendered them unable, consequently, to maintain their independence. The religious animosities between Mussulman and Christian, Greek and Roman Catholic, have contributed to the like result.

It is generally supposed that the majority of the Albanians are Mohammedans. When the Turks became masters of the country the most valiant amongst them fled to Italy, and the greater part of the tribes that remained behind were compelled to embrace Islamism. Many of the chiefs, moreover, turned Mussulmans, in order that they might continue their life of brigandage, on pretence of carrying on a holy war. This accounts for the fact of the aristocracy of the country being for the most part Mohammedan, and in possession of the land. The Christian peasant who tills it is nominally a free man, but in reality he is at the mercy of his lord, who keeps him at the point of starvation. These Albanian Mussulmans, however, are fanatic warriors rather than religious zealots, and many of their ceremonies, particularly those connected with their native land, differ in nothing from those of their Christian compatriots. They have been converted, but not convinced, and cynically they say of themselves that their " sword is wherever their faith is."

In many districts the conversion has been nominal only, and zealous Christians have continued to conduct their worship in secret. Many Mohammedans of this class returned to the faith of their fathers as soon as the tolerance of Government permitted them to do so. As to the warlike mountain clans, the Mirdits, Suliotes, and Acroeeraunians, they had no need to bend to the will of the Turks, and remained Greek or Roman Christians. The boundary between Gheges and Tosks coincides approximately with the boundary between these two denominations, the Roman Catholics living to the north of the Shkumbi, the orthodox Greeks to the south of the river. The Hellenes and Zinzares in Southern Albania are orthodox Greeks. The hatred between these two denominations of Christians is intense, and this is the principal reason why the Albanians have not succeeded in regaining their independence, as have the Servians.

Southern Albania and Epirus had feudal institutions up to the close of last century. The chiefs of the clans and the semi-independent Turkish pashas lived in strong castles perched upon the rocks, from which they descended from time to time, followed by bands of servitors. War existed in permanence, and property changed hands continuously, according to the fortunes of the sword. Ah the Terrible, of Yanina, put a stop to this state of affairs. He reduced high and [ow to the same level of servitude, and the central Government now wields the power formerly exercised by lords and heads of families.

If we would become acquainted with a social condition recalling the Middle Ages, we must go amongst the independent tribes of Northern Albania. On crossing the Matis e at once perceive a change. Every one goes armed ; shepherds and labourers carry a carbine on the shoulder ; and even women and children place a pistol in their belts. Families, clans, and tribes have a military organization, and at a moment's notice are ready to take the field. A sheep missing in a flock, an insult offered in the heat of passion, may lead to war. Not long since the Montenegrin was the most frequent disturber of the peace, for, shut up in his sterile mountains, he was often obliged to turn brigand in order to sustain life, and laid under contribution the fields of his neighbours. The Turks have at all times nourished this hatred between Albanians and Montenegrins. They recompense the warlike services of the tribes of the border clans by exempting them from taxation, and allowing them to govern themselves according to their ow n laws. Let these immunities be touched, and they will make common cause with their hereditary foes of the Black Mountains.

The Mirdits are typical of the independent tribes of Northern Albania. They inhabit the high valleys to the south of the gorge of the Drin, and, though hardly numbering 12,000 souls, they exercise, in consequence of their warlike valour, a most important influence in all Western Turkey. Their country is accessible only through three difficult defiles, and they hold command of the roads which the Turkish troop must follow when operating against the Montenegrins. The Sublime Porte, well aware how difficult it would be to subdue these redoubt-able mountaineers, has endeavoured to attach them, showering honours upon them, and granting them the most complete self-government. The Mirdits, on their side, though Christians, have at all times fought most valiantly in the ranks of the Turkish army, in Greece and the Morea, as well as against their fellow-Christians of Montenegro. They are formed into three banners" of the mountains and two of the plains, and in time of war are joined by the five banners of Lesh, or Alessio. The banner of the renowned chin of Orosh takes precedence of all others.

The country of the Mirdits is governed by an oligarchy, of which the Prince or Pasha of Orosh is the hereditary head. His you or, however, is merely nominal, for in reality the country is governed by a council consisting of the elders (vecehiardi) of the villages, the delegates of the banners, and the heads of clans. The proceedings of this council are regulated by ancient traditions. Wives are taken by force from the enemy, for the members of the five banners look upon each other as relatives, and the Mohammedan girls in the lowland villages look forward with little fear to their being carried off by Mirdit warriors. The vendetta is exercised in an inexorable manner, and blood cries for blood. A violation of hospitality is punished with death. The adulteress is buried beneath a heap of stones, and her nearest relative is bound to deliver the head of her accomplice to the injured husband. It need hardly be said that education is at a very low ebb amongst these savages. There are no schools, and in 1860 hardly fifty Christians of the Mirdit country and of the district of Lesh were able to read. Agriculture, nevertheless, is in a relatively advanced state. The valleys of the sterile mountains are cultivated with a certain amount of care, and they produce finer crops than do the fertile plains, inhabited by an indolent population.

By a strange contrast, these direct descendants of the ancient Pelasgians, to whom we are indebted for the beginning of civilisation in Europe, still number amongst the most savage populations of our continent. But they, too, must yield in time to the influence of their surroundings. Until recently the Epirotes and southern Shkipetars left their country only in order to lead the easy but degrading life of mercenaries. In the last century the young men of Acroceraunia sold themselves to the King of Naples, to be embodied in his regiment of " Royal Macedonians;" and even in our own days not only Mohammedans, but also Christian Teske, enter the service of pashas and beys. These men, known as Arnauts, may be met with in the most remote parts of the empire—in Armenia, at Bagdad, and in Arabia. On the expiration of their term of service, the majority of these veterans retire to estates granted them by Government, and this accounts for the large number of Arnaut villages met with in all parts of the empire.

But wars are less frequent now, the life of a mercenary offers fewer ads antages, and increasing numbers of Albanians leave their country annually in order to gain a living abroad by honest labour. Like the Swiss of the canton of Grisons, many Shkipetars descend from their mountains at the commencement of winter in order to work for wages in the plains. Most of these return to their mountain homes in spring, enriched by their earnings ; but there are others who remain abroad for years, or who never return. The ads antages of a division of labour appear to be well understood by these mountaineers of Epirus and Southern Albania, and each mountain valley is noted for the exercise of some special craft. One valley sends forth butchers, another bakers, a third gardeners. A village near Argyrokastro supplies Constantinople u ith most of its well-sinkers. The district of Zagori, perhaps the home of the ancient Aselepiads, sends its doctors, or rather " bone-setters," into every town of Turkey. Many of these emigrants, when they become wealthy, return to their native land, where they build themselves fine houses in the midst of sterile mountains, and these take the places of the old seigneurial towers, which were erected only for purposes of defence.

The Albanians are thus being carried along by a general movement of progress, and if once they enter into the common life of Europe, we may expect them to play a prominent part, for they possess a penetrating mind and much strength of character. The Albanians enjoy the advantage of having ready access to the sea, but hitherto they have derived only small benefit from it, not only owing to the disturbed state of the country and the absence of roads, but also because of the alluvial deposits formed by the rivers and the malaria of the marshes. Still, making every allowance for these disadvantages, they hardly account for the almost entire absence of maritime enterprise. One would scarcely fancy these Epirotes and Gheges to be of the same race as those Hydriote corsairs who launched whole fleets upon the waters of the Archipelago at the time of the war for Hellenic independence, and v ho still maintain the foremost place amongst the mariners of Greece. The ports of Albania—Antivari, Porto Medua (one of the safest on the Adriatic), Durazzo, Avlona, Parga (lost in a forest of citron-trees), and even strong Prevesa, surrounded by more than a hundred thousand olive-trees—can boast but of a trifling commerce, and two-thirds of that are carried on in Austrian vessels from Trieste. With the exception of the Acroceraunians and the inhabitants of Dulcigno, which is the port of Scutari, no Mohammedan Albanian ventures upon the sea, not even as a fisherman. In spite of the fertility of the soil, there are hardly any articles to export. The mines of the country are unexplored, agriculture is in a most backward state, and in Epirus hardly any industry is known except the rearing of sheep and goats.

At the time of the Romans these countries were equally forsaken. There was one magnificent city, Nicopolis, built by Augustus on a promontory to the north of the modern Prevesa to commemorate his victory at Actium. The only other town of importance was Dyrrhachium, called Durazzo by the Italians. It formed the terminus of the Via Egnatia, which traversed the whole of the Balkan peninsula from west to east, and constituted tho great highway between Italy and the Orient. At Iona may aspire one day to take the place of ancient Dyrrhachium. Its geographical position is superior to that of Durazzo, for it is nearer to Italy, and its deep and secure harbour enjoys the shelter of the island of Suseno and of the Linguetta of Acroceraunia.

In the meantime all the commerce of the country is concentrated in Scutari and Yanina, and in some other towns of the interior. The most considerable amongst the latter are Prisrend, at the foot of the Skhar, whose nobles boast of their magnificent dresses and fine weapons; Ipek (Pech), Prishtina, Jakovitza (Yakova), in the north-eastern portion of the country, and on roads which lead from Macedonia into Bosnia. Nearer the coast are Tirana, Berat, and Elbasan, the ancient Albanon, whose name recalls that of the entire country. Gyorcha (Koritza), to the south of the Lake of Okhrida, is likewise a place of much trade, thanks to its position on a road joining the Adriatic to the AEgean Sea. Scutari and Yanma occupy sites at the foot of the mountains, whose natural advantages could not fail to attract a numerous population. Yanina, the capital of Epirus, is the more picturesque of these two cities. It is situated on the shore of a fine lake, opposite the somewhat heavy masses of the Pindus, but in sight of the mountains of Greece, which are of a "luminous grey, glittering like a tissue of silk." At the time of Ali Pasha, Yanina became the capital of an empire, and its population then exceeded that of Scutari. But the latter has now regained its pre-eminence. It is admirably situated, and the roads from the Danube and the .Egean, from the Lower Drin and the Adriatic, converge upon it. Scutari, or Shkodra, is the first oriental city which a traveller coining from Italy meets with, and the first impression made by its numerous gardens enclosed by high walls, its deserted streets and irregular buildings, is sufficiently curious. Long after he has entered the town, the traveller will remain uncertain as to its whereabouts. But let him climb to the summit of the limestone rock surmounted by the old Venetian castle of Rosapha, and the most magnificent panorama will unfold itself before his eves. The domes of Scutari, its twenty minarets, the emerald verdure of the plain, the surrounding amphitheatre of fantastically shaped mountains, the winding waters of the Boyana and Drin, and the placid surface of the lake glittering in the sun—these all combine to produce a spectacle of rare magnificence. The sea alone is wanting to render this picture perfect, but, though near, it is not within sight.

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

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Post by ALBPelasgian » Sun Feb 26, 2012 8:40 pm




By the Rev. Hugh Callan, M.A.

Albania seems always to have been what it is now, the home of a sturdy, fearless race of men. It is a " land of the mountain and the Hood " ; a land of ancient customs, ancient garb, ancient feuds ; a land of clans and tribes, each embittered against the other ; a land of indi-
vidualism, Avhere the social instinct is smothered by the right and might
of each unit to do as it pleases. Its position and configuration are such that a race once in it can defend itself against absorption by any invader. On the east it is bounded towards Macedonia and Thessaly by a line of
mountains (Scardus and Pindus) and some large lakes (Ochrida, Presba) ; on the south by the highlands of Greece and the Gulf of Arta ; on the Avest by the boisterous Adriatic, a long line of inaccessible clifts (Chimara or Acroceraunia), and long low dangerous shores with swampy strips behind
(from Valona up to the Gulf of Drin) ; on the north by Montenegro and Novi Bazar (with mountains going up to 8000 and 9000 feet). The interior everywhere is mountainous, with small plains and valleys between, each
usually containing a considerable town. Communication is impossible except over the high intervening passes.

If you can imagine Scotland all highlands and no lowlands, with the average height of the land 2000 feet instead of (say) 1000 feet, with mountains going up to 7000 and 8000 feet, instead of to 3000 and 4000 feet, you have an idea of Albania physically, and if further you can conceive of all Scotland being what the Highlands were in the time of Columba, you have an idea of Albania's present social condition.

Although the inhabitants do not call themselves Albanians, but Skipetars (mountaineers), and their language Ship (pron. Shkyp), there seems no doubt that Albania is the older term. The root alp seems to afford some clue to their ethnological connections. We have it in

VOL. XV. 2 B


Western Asia in Albania (classical) of the Caucasus, and in Western Europe in Albyn, Albany (the old name for Scotland, or North-eastern Scotland), and also in Italy in the various towns called Alba, in Mons Alhanus, Laciis Alhanns, and Alba Longa, of the Komans. The latter was the most ancient town of Latium, and may have signified the "long mountain town," as much as "the long white town" — for alp may radically mean ivhite or snowi/, just as Himalaya and -X^elficov, hiems, are connected. At any rate, all the words with alp
or alh are associated with the idea of " mountain," and go back to antiquity. Some of the Pictish tribes called themselves Albanich. In modern Albania the town called Elbassan was once called Albanon, and it is in the central mountainous district, containing the purest and finest tribes. There is a village, containing a fine set of people, called Albochori {^alp and yMpiov, a place), situated 500 feet up a mountain which over- looks the remains of the Pelasgic city of Dodona, 9 hours south-west of Janina. It may have been so called '' the mountain place " in contra-distinction to Dodona in the valley.

One cannot go far in the study of origins in Albania without striking on the Pelasgic problem : " What were, and Avhat has become of, the Pelasgi 1 " That they forefathered much of ancient Greece seems certain, that they were a superior race with a distinctive civilisation may be inferred from the numerous existing architectural remains known as Pelasgic, and that they coalesced with other races as time went on seems evident from the few notices of them in historic times.

Now, it is held, by the few educated Albanians who are competent to look into the matter, that the bulk of the Pelasgi settled in Albania, and
that the best tribes of Albania are their descendants
I share in this opinion, which local traditions go to confirm, and which would go far to explain the unique distinctiveness of the Albanian people and language. In Central Albania there are manj' villages or groups of villages on the mountains resolutely keeping themselves apart, and the people are fine specimens of humanity, exquisite in mould, with finely chiselled features, open brow, long eyelashes, straight nose, perfect mouth, pencilled like Cupid's bow, and of noble yet quiet natural bearing.

Moreover, on inquiry of them as to who held the land " in the old old times," I was told " the PeUhhe," which is surely Pelasgi. I also find it quite a common conviction that an important people in pre-Roman times fixed most of the existing sites of places and ruins. For instance, a small church at Durazzo (called now San Giorgio, but formerly Santa Lucca),
the entrance of which is 3 feet below the present surface, and the foundations as much again, is locally believed to have first been built by the ptopulo gentile, by which term seems to be denoted something more than the Patristic sense of " all not-Christian," but rather " gentle, civilised."

A likely hypothesis regarding the Pelasgi is this : — Following the sun through Thrace and Macedonia (where as in Asia Minor they created areas), they came into North Albania, and finding the sea a bar to their farther progress west, turned southward (the mountains that way being lower than towards the north), then leaving contingents as they went,
settled about Lake Pambotis (Janina), where a new sort of country con-


fronted them, and thence sent various incursive waves into Greece proper. There can be no doubt that Southern Albania (especially Molossis and Thesprotis, with the great Pelasgian centre, Dodona, in their midst) was the seat of many tribes who eventually became Greeks — e.g. the Thes- salians and the Dorians. Another and a finer civilisation was developed in the towns and lowlands of the south (Greece proper). It is to a type
of an earlier world than his own, but yet by implication co-existent with his theme (the tribes of Greece and the Trojan war), that Homer refers when in //. xvi. 233, Achilles appeals to " King Zeus, Dodonean, Pelasgian, dwelling afar, guardian of wintry Dodone, and round thee are seen the Selloi, who do not wash their feet, and sleep upon the ground."

It is quite clear that the Dodona district was Pelasgian, and it seems also equally clear that the name of Hellas originated there. The Selloi are called Helloi by Pindar, and the district Hellopia by Hesiod, and Aristotle affirms that these Selloi had as neighbours a people called
" Graeci now known as Hellenes." At any rate there to this day are the vast Pelasgic ruins (resembling those elsewhere — e.g. at Mycenae) of Dodona — answering to all the scraps of information we possess about it — the ilex groves, the falling water, the jutting point of land on which the temple of the oracle stood, and the fertile land about it. There, too,
we find the strange natural phenomena of sinks or Kara^oOpa, which convey the waters of lakes (e.g., and chiefly, Janina) having no other out- let, beneath the ground to reappear elsewhere as rivers (three being still traceable, Thyamis, Cocytus, Acheron), which gave origin to the great mythological idea of Hades and the under-world. Surely the Pelasgi
must have been in a position of pre-eminence either in mental force or in numbers to have thus imprinted on the whole Grecian world their own
local religious conceptions !

Whether, however, the Pelasgi are the true ancestors of the Albanians or not, this at least seems sure, that these must have remained unchanged
for thousands of years, as they remind one more forcibly of early Greek descriptions of life than any other existing race
. The system of guest- friendship, the grouping of the land into districts under hereditary chiefs, the dress — fustinella, tunic, sandals, and leggings, formed of strips of hide crossed — the shepherds' hairy cloaks, the huge sheep dogs, are all suggestive of ancient descent.

Having been left to themselves while all around has been changed, the Albanians have no history (strictly speaking) to boast of, but that does
not mean that they are either a quiet or an unimportant people
Quite the reverse ; they have never been properly subdued, and are for ever in strife among themselves. Internecine feuds — one village or clan, or one division of a town against another — murder, robbery, and pillage go on
daily. A gendarmerie sergeant up in the interior told me that sometimes for days and nights together he never has off his riding- boots, so frequent are the disturbances — as often as not ending fatally — in the district demanding his attention. Often when sitting quietly in a house conversing with some local men in a town, we would suddenly be startled by the
firing of a shot, then another farther off, and others at intervals. " AVhat is it ]" — "Ah, some poor fellow finished ! That cursed blood-feud I"


Such being their condition of life, they are far from proving amenable to Turkish rule, except that they are proud to go whenever called to fight victoriously for the Crescent. They laugh at Turkey, and where they dare not, they hate and sullenly submit. Were they not so hope- lessly divided, they could achieve their independence in a year. It is a knowledge of this fact (coupled with admiration of the good success of British administration in Egypt) that has lately induced a number of Albanians who have thriven abroad to approach our ambassador at
Constantinople in the hope that something may be done to raise the condition of Albania, while still remaining Turkish. As they say and write, " "We distrust Austria and much more Russia ; it is the help of your great and just nation we implore. We stretch our hands across the sea."

There are three methods by which we may attempt to classify the Albanians — (1) dress; (2) religion; (3) race. So varied are their costumes that (1) dress appears a natural distinction. But there is a good deal of intermingling even in this, according to the districts. The fustinella predominates towards the south among all classes, peasants and
proprietors ; in the north it usually indicates the better-class native, proud, haughty, " the wild Albanian kirtled to the knee." The other characteristic costume is that adopted most generally by the peasants in North and Central Albania, and consists of grey homespun from head to heel, jacket and close-fitting trousers braided with black, white fez or skull-cap, or scarf going round the head and tied under the chin, ox-hide sandals (opunkas), sash and belt round the waist bristling with yataghan and pistols, and usually a long gun slung over the shoulder.

In the towns the trading classes, whether Eoman Catholic, or Greek,
or Mohammedan in religion, usually wear the fez, baggy silk trousers
tied below the knee, white socks and elastic-sided boots or coloured
gaiters and shoes, or dress in the European fashion.

The women's dress varies greatly. Some have one coarse garment,
drawn in at the waist, and go bareheaded and barefooted ; some, a tight
jacket, open in front, and thick short petticoats ; others, and more com-
monly, a simple skirt, met at the knee by a sort of thick gaiters, leather
bands round the waist, a little black shawl on the shoulders, and a richly
hued shawl or kerchief swathing the head. Most of the townswomen
dress either in the veiled Turkish style or in European style.

As to the other method, (2) religion, we might say they are mainly
Roman Catholic in north, Greek Orthodox in south, and Moham-
medan in central Albania; but, considering that out of an estimated
population of Ih millions, only half a million are Christians — the one
million being Mohammedan, at least nominally — we cannot accept this
method, even though Lord Strangford advocates it.

There remains, then, the old and only true method, (3) that of racial
or tribal difference. The Gheghes in the north are quite distinct in
appearance and manners from the Toskhs in central and part of
southern Albania — the former being dark, the latter fair in complexion.
Between them they hold what is purest and oldest in race. There are
also (to the south of the Toskh country) the Liaps and the Dzhams —


coarser, weaker, more civilised perhaps, mostly speaking (Romaic)

But, on the whole — excluding some repulsive types to be met with
here and there both north and south — wherever they are and whatever
their speech, dwelling in wild eyrie-like hamlets perched on precipices
or in snug towns on fertile plains, the Albanians give you the impression
that they are of a noble and ancient race, physically and psychologically,
both men and women, a credit in point of health, strength, and beauty
to humanity
The Albanian has been maligned because he has not been
known. He is fierce, reckless, re vengeful — but truthful, faithful, virtuous,
He has the quickness of the Greek without his instability ;
the solidity of the Slav without his boorishness.

I cannot deny that it is dangerous and dreadful to travel in Albania.
But with all the outcry of danger, brigands, and of disbanded but not
disarmed soldiers going about starving and marauding, I state the fact
that I went througli it all — including some of the wildest parts not
hitherto visited — with no other weapon than my riding-switch, and
often with no other guard than my native follower, also unarmed — and
that without molestation.

It augured ill for my journey that the Turkish authorities were very
sullen and slow at Durazzo, where, moreover, I was well known from
previous visits. I found myself ominously a suspect. You see, the Russian •
consul from Scutari had been up the country recently backing the native
(Greek) Christians against the Government, and disturbances had been
frequent. The very day I arrived the Bey of Tirana had been shot dead
by a man whose privacy he was invading, and the authorities durst not
touch the murderer. It being allowed that a Turkish passport (tesJicreh)
was essential to my protection in the interior, every pretext was seized
upon to put me off. First, a change of governors {mutesarif) was going
on : the late one could not grant it, and the other one had delayed his
arrival. When he came, he pleaded illness, then his wife's death. Then
his next-in-office, when applied to, "could do no business, being in
mourning for his uncle." However, a few telegraphic messages, strongly
worded, altered the situation, and I got "orders to go everywhere, with
guards if wanted." That 's the way with the Turks : a dead wall,
nothing ! when once the right wire has been pulled, everything, more
than you want ! Then my man required his passport, but as he was
poor, and was in arrears with his taxes, he could not obtain it. By the
law he could not quit the town. So they had recourse to a legal figment.
His legal shadow, the poor Turkish debtor, remained behind in Durazzo,
while his real substance, as my servant, and pro temp, a British subject,
went with me on horseback and through Albania, was finally smuggled
across from Previza to Greece, thence rid Corfu returned to rejoin his
wife and family and legal shadow at Durazzo.

While waiting I explored the long, isolated (separated from the main-
land by a Avide salt swamp, on which the Government carries on salt-
panning) ridge, on the south end of which Durazzo lies. Its height
averages from 300 feet to GOO, length about G miles, soil argillaceous,
beautiful clay of many tints, from dull grey to bright orange. The sea


lias encroached, revealing traces of Roman brick-kilns and terra-cotta
remains in layers several yai'ds below the present surface. Solid walls
of very fine seaweed, from 5 feet to 15 feet high, are piled all along the
shore. The northern part contains quartz on the top and vast con-
glomerate heaps below. That the whole seaward slope was once a Cam-
pagna lioinana, the thick copses, where now foxes, hares, and weasels
make their dens, crowded with fruit-trees Jind plants, all degenerated to
their wild state (vines, figs, apples, asparagus, phlox, sweet-william, and
many such, especially about a beautiful hollow called Calmi, with an
immense fig-tree in the midst), testify at this day.

Starting from Durazzo eastward, our path the first day went over a
series of low sandy hills, with long stretches of reedy marsh between,
then along the bed of the river Arsen, and up on to a fertile plain covered
with flocks, through deep woods of olives and abeles, up to 500 feet.
Judged by the various hamlets and khans and by the red-tiled
houses peering out amid the woods, this district seems prosperous. Half
of the peculiar picturesqueness of Albanian scenery is dive to the deep
yellow or brown of the soil, contrasting with the light green of vegeta-
tion. We came out on to a plain at right-angles to our course, running
from Tirana north-west to the Drin Gulf, with the town of Kroia on the
east, 2000 feet up a range 5000 feet high — an impressive sight, with its
walls and palace up on the precipices. We passed a row of tall poplars,
at least 500 yards long, and found ourselves among the planes and
cypresses and minarets of Tirana, lying at the foot of Mount Daiti (5000
feet). A city of waters, runlets along the middle of the cobble-paved
streets, with bridges crossing ; a city of houses amid gardens, of mosques
and graveyards, of enclosures containing sweet streams and cypresses
(80 to 100 feet), and plane-trees (6 to 10 yards in girth); of wonderful
costumes of Gheghes men and women coming and going and pressing in
the narroAV slippery lanes ; a city of great markets, where hundreds and
thousands of horses and donkeys and oxen crowd all the oj^en places,
and fruits of all kinds, melons, bamyas, patiljans, pepper-pods, onions,
and small ware of all sorts, tins and pots, mirrors, combs, soap-cakes, and
trinkets are spread out on carpets for sale ; while over all the glorious
shapes of clouds, arrested by the proximity of a mighty mountain range,
lie in deep rosy beds filled with the sun ; the cicalas in countless multi-
tudes whir their monotones in every bush and tree, and the cuckoos call
from grove to grove — such a i)lace is Tirana !

To get to the next city, Elbassan, we had to cross perhaps the
stifFest pass in Albania. First, we cross a low range (500 to 600 feet),
with heights above, on one of which (to the west), around a castle, there
lives what is said to be the purest and oldest tribe in Albania. Then
we rejoin the Arsen in a deep ravine, Avith the cliffs rising abrupt on
either side. Here we crossed eight times at least within half a mile,
wading or swimming our horses. A sort of path exists, up and down
the banks, sometimes rudely paved, always deep in mud, often as steep
as a house roof. The rocks in the river bed are whinstone, in the
ravines yellow sandstone, while the prevailing character of the moun-
tains east and west, dark red in colour, seems ferruginous. The few


villages are so suited to the soil, and so buried among woods, that one
can hardly detect them. The sweet sandy lanes are gay Avith heaths,
thistles, campions, geraniums, nipplewort, calamint. At 950 feet (temp.
65°) there is a khan called Cafkhrab, under a village called Skuteh.
Beyond this we leave the valley of the Arsen (which here trends east-
ward) and ascend the Khrab mountains. The path twists up among
huge jutting blocks of rock and prickly Palmrus bushes (where one is
bruised and scratched all over) up across a vast bare sloping wall of
shale and whin (where a thunderstorm burst, making the horses start
and risk a fall down the unbroken slope for 500 feet, and as much again
sheer below that). At 2000 feet Ave pass a guardhouse (two soldiers)
and begin at once to descend, abruptly, leading the horses. We come
to a melancholy Avood, Avith bleached trunks of trees, a mossy fountain,
a grave or tAvo of murdered travellers ; then up and doAvn again over
three eminences 1 200 feet high, among the glorious red soil and the
shining patches of quartz by giddy slippery paths into the valley of the
Zaranika. DoAvn past streams and dams and mills, and men and
women shepherding, into lanes bordered Avith tamarisks and wild vines,
and on over the broken causeAvay {selciatci) through olive groves and
grassy meads, and out on to the Avide plain of the Skumbi, A\'ith vast
Tomorhit and its triple crests toAvering away to the south, a glorious
purple Aasion.

Elbassan is very Mohammedan — population 12,000, very few being
Christians. But if my host, Hassan Dommi Effendi, is typical, no Chris-
tian can have much to complain of. The humanity of the Turkish
system is Avell seen in its tolerance of the lower creatures. DaAvs and
jays wheel about the old clock-tower and the tin-plated minarets in
flocks ; turtle-doves sit and coo on the branches of the grand old
mediaeval cypress-trees. As Hassan said, "The poor here are oppressed,
but it is bad men, bad Turks, who only wish to enrich themselves, do
the big, and go back to Constantinople, who are to blame, not our
religion, nor our good Sultan (Inshallah) ! If Ave had only schools here,
the people are naturally so bright and intelligent that they Avould soon
surpass all their neighbours." It is the case that there are no national
schools in Albania, very feAV of any kind, and only in the bigger places a
Roman Catholic or Greek Orthodox one, to which, of course, Moham-
medan children cannot go. Elbassan is very picturesque in its streets
and situation, and very rich in types of physiognomy. The finest tribes
make this their market town. Any day you can see crowds of hill
people trooping in and out, their splendid physique and serious
demeanour contrasting AA-ith their appearance of extreme poverty. Tall,
lithe, big-boned, strong-nosed, high-cheeked men and women, with large
liquid dark eyes, long eyelashes, dark hair, are the rule. Some rude
repulsive types are noticeable, but no Aveak faces. Some Avomen have
absolutely carrot-red hair — of the loAvest class, evidently, for their one
garment is a rough brown cloak dreadfully tattered and patched. Here,
as mostly all over Albania, there is not much close veiling. It is
boasted that, when on a festival the people gather in thousands in the
large cypress-grove, no such assemblage of fine men and lovely Avomen


can be seen elsewhere. As to the religion of the hill people, it seems
doubtful if they are really Mohammedan. Most of them are Turks to
the Turks and Christians to the Christians, nominally Mohammedan,
while cherishing for centuries a sort of vague hybrid Christianity —
perhaps a relic of the Albanenses. Such is the view of the scholarly old
Bishop of Durazzo (Greek Church), who lives here.

We were a large caravan when we faced the stage between Elbassan
and Ochrida — one of the worst for desolateness, steepness, and brigands.
Having heard that a Frank was going, quite a number of travellers had
waited to join us, for greater security. There was the old weather-
beaten rugged suvari (Turkish guard), the retfurino, or horse-hirer, two
Albanians bound for Asia Minor, a Greco-Jew bearing trinkets and stuft'
fabled to be worth £200, a quiet pensive young Turk, and several others.
From the bed of the river Skumbi (anc. Genusus, town Scampae) we
climbed by steep tortuous paths up a hill 1000 feet, then one 1700, then,
by fearful sweeping bends around precipices, up to 2300 feet — and so on
from height to hollow, from ridge to river, up and down for two and a
half days, the last climb taking us up to 4000 feet, and showing us the
glorious lake Ochrida, with a Avorld of mountain all around. In the
deep valley of the Skumbi the scenery is wild and rugged, and whatever
cultivation is seen, is only on small plateaux at some height above the
river-bed. On the north the mountains slope up and away in broad
expanses of deep red varying to yellow-brown earth, then belts of trees,
then bare round heights much scarred, resembling Herzegovina, and
distinctly of Karst formation. We kept the south side. Sometimes for
hours we would toil in the great heat — the thermometer never fell below
70° — under a huge wall of limestone tov/ering 1000 to 1500 feet up,
with torrents rushing and roaring down and carving out fearful chasms,
around which we had to clamber with precarious footing, not reassured
by skeletons of horses lying bleaching in the sun or pecked at by vultures
below. Sometimes the eye would be dazzled by vast piles of red
porphyry and glittering veins of quartz. Sometimes the whole side of a
mountain would face you, black, a field of anthracite or other carbona-
ceous rock.

On a plain bit of road as we approached Khukuz khan (and
village on the cliffs above it), we were in straggling order, when
suddenly at a bend I caught sight of a group of men rising up as if
surprised. The old suvari cried chahook (hurry up !). On came the big
fellows, with skull-cap, jacket, and fustinella, and rifle slung at the back,
and breast bristling with cartridges — one after the other, twelve of them,
towards us. Our file and theirs met and were passing, when number
three of them as he passed brought the barrel of his rifle right against
my side. However, quietly and smilingly lifting it aside with my
riding-switch, I declined the quarrel, and we all passed on in silence.
"They're all notorious villains and murderers," said the suvari, "but
they '11 not venture this time, as they didn't expect the English efFendi."

In the khan (where of course the twilight hour was spent in listening
to Albanian singing, mainly recitative; theme, love and war), we all slept
in one room on rush mats. New arrivals lay down amongst us until






there was no more decent space. The cold was intense (at night). The
iieas were in legions. The cocks began to crow two hours before dawn,
and kept it up till dawn, so that the whole country from the riverside to
the mountain crests seemed peopled with chanticleers — indicating that
those deep side ravines and hollow nooks were not so innocent of
inhabitants as appeared to the passing traveller.

Over the last ridge, we emerge at the north-west corner of the lake
basin, and see what a vast country we are in — a ring of mountains,
dominated on the north-west and north-east by several mighty peaks
6000 feet to 7000 feet (of Shkar, anc. Scardus) ; mighty gorges filled in
with lower swelling hills sending down their alluvial debris to the shore;
the deep-blue lake itself in the midst, with a broad belt of verdure for
its margin. The many people we meet now on the fine road (Via Egnatia,
re-made), are smaller, darker, less frank, speaking Bulgarian, wearing not
the fez or fustinella, but the Bulgarian Imlpak and cloak, or old soldiers'
clothes. At Struga there seems to be a good deal of trade, especially in
fish. The shore-line is broken with huge apparatus for fishing. Myriads
of fowl blacken the water far out into the lake. All the way to Ochrida
we met a continual stream of traffic — peasants, Albanians, and Greek
poppas with their families, Turkish officials with retinues. At this great
altitude (2100 feet, lake level), the flora is astonishing — vines, haricots,
melons, pumpkins, gourds in the fields; wild vines, hollyhocks, valerians,
spurreys, pearlworts, dianthus by the road.

Ochrida, built on two hills ending in cliflfs at the lake, beneath the
swelling bosoms of the upper mountains, on the margin of the beautiful
blue lake, is one of the most charming places on earth. Here Christians
and Mohammedans are about equal (population 12,000), and there is
neither discontent nor oppression. Flowers abound in windows, gardens,
yards, and walls, declaring (said a citizen) the presence of Christ, The
swallows and cuckoos are here (they say) all the year round, and the
storks build their nests on the tops of the minarets.

In the great vaulted gate of the old town (beneath the acropolis or
kastroii) are many lettered stones, mostly built into the ten-feet-thick
walls. Some are pieces of entablature ; others slabs. One is of a dark
ruby colour, bearing Greek lettering in memory of some " Cleanthus,
son of Ptolemy." Another (6 feet X 3 feet) bearing mixed Greek and
Roman characters, the first word being AVPIA — which may be Achrida
— is probably a milestone on the Via Egnatia. The bare massive walls
alone remain of the early church of St. Clement (burnt by the Turks in
the fifteenth century). In the one which replaced it (Byzantine) many
relics lie about — pieces of columns and capitals inscribed — probably of
the fifth and sixth centuries. In a side chapel there is a statue of Pope
Clement of Home sent by him along with a Madonna-and-child painting
to his namesake St. Clement, Greek bishop of Ochrida. Around the
exterior of St. Sophia (now a mosque), said to have been built by
Justinian (sixth century), there is a Greek inscription Avhich seems to
refer to the teaching of the scriptures among the Moesians {rov deoypacjiov
vofiov eKSiSdcTKei edvrj ra \]oLcro)v).

Ochrida lake (anc. Lijchnitis, possibly so called from its wonderful


transparency, which enables one to see the fishes disporting 20 yards
below) is the lari'est of all Balkan waters, and is one of the most beauti-
ful in Europe. Around it are some dozen happy villages in the alluvial
hollows, besides Struga, Ochrida at the north end, and Pogradei; and
8. Naoum monastery at the south end. The western side is in Albania,
and consists of a succession of deeply wooded hills under a higher range,
with cultivated alluvial slopes between. The eastern side is in Mace-
donia, and is almost precipitous to the shore (the Galicica range, G700
feet). The river Drin, issuing at the south-east end behind S. Naoum,
flowing in its own course through the lake, and having its exit at Struga,
is the boundary of these provinces. M. Eeclus (who often has Jules
Verne's so happy knack of truly describing what he has never seen) is
quite " out " when he supposes that the lake had once its exit on the
south by lake Malik and the river Devol ; for the south end is a wall of
mountain (from 500 to 1000 feet above the lake), and Malik is at least
150 feet higher in level. It is more than probable that the Drin, so
copious a stream at its issue from the mountains, carries off subter-
raneously some of the waters of Lake Presba (to the east of Ochrida).

The only boats in use on Ochrida are remarkable, and perhaps of the
oldest type extant — flat-bottomed, of some dozen pieces altogether, 1 8 to
20 feet long, narrow, bow rising like an ancient galley, broadening
to the stern, a heavy log on each side outside along the body, four rowers
on the port side (three in the bows and one at stern), and the steersman
with oar at the starboard stern.

The sun sets over Albania, but Macedonia still seems all on fire. To
us on the lake the water for half a mile from the beach is black with
waterfowl fishing ; the hills above Pogradec^ are covered with dark woods,
all good chestnut-trees ; the yellow mountain slopes above are lined with
long strings of goats wending their way home. The people about here
are mainly Toskhs, and wear the fustinella; but as the local names (e.g.
Pogradec, from pod and grad = lower town) and the furred jackets and
cloaks indicate, it is not long since the Bulgarian element predomi-
nated. They have an ill name, which the first news we got, that two
passengers by the post {menzil) had just been killed, bore out. Their
chieftain, however (Uzcheref Bey), assured me there was nothing to fear.

The great monastery of St. Naoum {a'yio<; Naowyu,) stands (opposite
Pogradec) on a jutting rocky strip of land close to the lake ; is quad-
rangular, with white walls, red-tiled roofs, and Avith numerous outhouses,
granaries, and workshops clustering about it. The rocks are limestone,
much fissured, and out of them copious streams of clear icy water fall
into the lake. The whole district around, including a village and the
mountain, is tributary to the monastery. Besides the ?;7ou/iei/o9
(superior), three monks and a schoolmaster, there are seventy inmates.
There are cells for monks (formerly thirty), guest-rooms, a large veranda
with mats for Mohammedans, stables, kitchen, slaughter-house, school,
and a large residence for the superior and better-class guests. The
church in the courtyard is a thousand years old, Byzantine, contains grey
marble columns, many Cyrillic and Greek inscriptions, and the tomb of
S. Naoum, who came hither from Asia Minor in A.D. 800.


From this to Korica is an uiivisited district. It is an undulating
hill country as far as the end of Lake Malik, average height 3000 feet,
with several considerable villages dotted over it — Cirava, Causli, Malikc,
Sofiani, Kastifalik, in order going south. Malikc is at the outlet of the
lake on the west, and it seems that is the name the river goes by too,
being called Devol only much farther west. The plain with the lake
in its midst runs on to the great Korica plain, striking it at an angle of
about 25°. At the north-east the Galicica mountains drop abruptly on
to a lower range which shuts out Lake Presba, while beyond and to
the south rise the massive spurs of Pindus. The north end of the lake
is filled up with gigantic reeds, leaving only a long line of water in the
middle. The shores are choked with these, the nearest being 10 feet
tall and those farther out 20 to 25 feet, with huge bulrush heads. Long
lines of flame at points where they are being burned are visible even
in the sun, 40 to 60 feet in the air. We pass plenty of good sandstone,
fine hard slate, much trap-rock. The altitude of the plain is between
2400 and 2450 feet. The thermometer rose from 70° through the fore-
noon to 95" at noon. The flora consists of mighty water-lilies, spreading
their cups among the rushes, tall red and yellow thistles (4 to 10
feet), enormous umbellifer^e, hyperacete, hollyhocks, valerians, blue and
red geraniums, toad-flax, nipplewort, gallium, dianthus, poppies, sorrel,
cress, phlox, rest-harrow. There is much cultivation — maize, pumpkins,
melons, pepper.

Grandly placed is Korica town under the Morava mountains on the
east side of the plain, which area long line of serrated, bare, reddish, or
copper-coloured hills — trappean — average height 5500 feet. Korica is
very lively, a great market centre. All around it are fields, vineyards,
vegetables, flowers, groves. The population is 19,000, of whom 12,000
are Greek Orthodox, and 200 or 300 Eoman Catholic. They are dark
in hair and complexion, and wear fez and fustinella. They call them-
selves mostly Greeks ; but they are simply Albanians, largely mixed
with Bulgarian blood. The true Albanian among them is always
noticeable — by his head, broad at front, with knobs, and towering to
the crown, flat behind, denoting intelligence with little reflection, firm-
ness with much egotism. The mountain villagers about here are said
to be very fanatical and treacherous. I climbed to the nearest village
called Boria {ifiiropLal), where there is a Byzantine church of date 1390,
the interior of which is covered with Cyrillic writing of date 1500, I
climbed farther up to a peak 4300 feet, where are ruins called rutet (a
word always applied to a hill town or castle ; cp. city, citta, cite, civitas).
They seem Byzantine — not Venetian or Roman as supposed — and are
composed of the whinstone of the locality cemented with beautiful white
lime. The Morava range is very rich also in granite and in coal, and
possibly copper. Across the plain, among the hills, there is a good
copper-field, and near a village called Debarza above Ochrida there is
another ; the specimens from both show excellent copper. Concessions
to work have been granted to a local family of the name of Moscha, and
French and German engineers will be on the spot this year.

From Korica to Janina (pron, Yanina), four days' ride, is a wonderful


but terrible journey. The district has the worst name for robbers in all
Albania. Roughly, it consists of a succession of ravines winding up and
down among lofty mountains and tablelands. As far as a place called
Eimizi (where are the sources of the Osum, farther west termed the
Beratini, which jjresently joined to the Devol, becomes the Semeni, and
falls into the Adriatic above Valona) there is no cultivation, only bare
rocks (lime, whin, carbonaceous) sparsely clad with junipers — average
altitude 4000 feet. Vast stretches of chrome slopes under the Grammes
mountains on the east and the Skrapari on the west ; many villages with
minarets ; a long, wide plain completely honeycombed with deep clayey
gorges ; a very Turkish, tumble-down, hoary-looking place called Hersek
(3380 feet, temperature 69° evening), constitute the region called
Colonia. Thence we pass into a very white limestone district containing
some very deep fantastic ravines, with small Christian villages in them
embowered in walnut groves and gardens. At the edge of one such you
look down, from a height of 3500 feet, at least 1000 feet sheer below on
a happy valley filled with flocks, village, mill, bridge, torrent, while all
around rise pinnacled, castellated, or pyramidal heights of various hues,
and towards the east two huge pyramids sending down their debris, all
covered with woods and fields and nestling white houses. Here the tints
of the soil often vary within a dozen yards — white, yellow, orange, violet,
red, great masses of sulphurous stuff. The road proceeds by fearful
zigzags from one valley to another. Then we descend into a blacker
region — one of tremendous ranges — basaltic, trappean.

At the foot of one of those masses — one mile long and 2000 feet at
least sheer up, a spur of the vast Ximerecka (7000 feet) towards the
west — lies the town of Liaskovik, but at the head of a great heaving
basin filled with miles on miles of lower hills, valleys, and rivers,
stretching aAvay south till blocked 80 miles away by the mountains of
Thessaly. It would be hard to conceive a grander site. The town
has a grey, decayed look, but is lively enough. Strangers seem to be
feared, and it is said that there is a good deal of exaction on the part of
oflicials. Beggars abound ; one of them I saw sitting in manacles cursing
and joking by turns. It is a real bit of Turkey : the very boys come up
and demand your reason for going about ; ladies close-veiled, and with
parasol, are out taking an airing, and baby in cradle comes behind on
the black slave's back ; round the only fountain all day and evening
there is a continual trafiic and babel — dark Zingari servants and w^omen,
young and old, in scores crowd round the one slender source with
barrels and pitchers, and the horses let loose after work canter up
neighing and whinnying, and force their way to the spout.

Hence we descend into the bed of the Sarantaporos (forty fords) and
the Vojusa, and clamber along precipices and then over a beautiful pass
full of streams and woods to the plain whereon the two rivers meet —
Yojusa and Charadra. To the north nestles the town of Konica under
cliffs and above green fields and the broad white expanse of river bed,
while right overhead to the east are some of the giants of Pindus —
Papingo, Lazari, Samarina, stupendous masses with one or two conical
peaks. For half a day we wander up and down in the vast forest that


clothes all the mountain to the south, where the solitude is oppressive,
unbroken except by the flutter of jays and the screeching of hoopoes.
The trees are chestnut, walnut, oak, bsech, locust, I'aliurti>', tamarisk. At
about 2300 feet we begin again to descend, and come on to a plain
(1300 feet, temperature 69^ evening) covered ■with flocks and herds,
skirted by oak woods, smelling sweet with clove and lavender, and
surrounded by crenellated ridges, over one of which a road diverges
towards Santa Quaranta. Here in the huge khan of Kalibakia we find
a distinct approach towards Greek manners, and hence southward the
same change in physiognomy, scenery, houses, cleanliness is noticeable.
Up over several long hilly defiles for many hours, then down on to the
plain at the end of which Janina lies, visible ten miles away. The
plain at the north is 1 J miles broad, but widens a little towards Janina,
and there is also a slight rise from 1600 feet to 1650 feet. This fact
is important in considering the drainage of the lake. There is a great
deal of water at the north end, miles of gigantic reeds (Lake Lapsista 1),
and a long stone bridge (dilapidated) crossing it. Janina lies in the
angle on the west, where the plain turns from north-west and south-east
to north and south. The lake has two basins (of almost equal dimen-
sions), one in either direction. Its water is (usually) dirty grey and
strong-smelling, both colour and odour being due to insufficient outlet
and much evaporation. The sinks (Kara^odpa) are the only outlets
for all the water in the long depression of close on 25 miles, which is
shut completely in by the Metzikeli range, running north-north-west by
south-south-east, the ridge of Drysco, behind to the east, and the peak
of Peristeri to the south.

On the rocky promontory jutting into the lake are the fortress and
palace of AH (Tepelini) Pasha, now barracks and hospital and common
houses. On the summit beside a mosque and minaret, and beside the
tomb of St. John (a Christian martyred by the Turks here, whence
Joannina, John's town) All's headless body lies in a gilded tomb beneath
a solitary cypress-tree. A few hundred yards across the water is the
fatal island where Basilike (his favourite) betrayed him, and his own
soldiers shot him. The island is of limestone, contains several vast
caverns (some always filled with water), inside one of which the old
monastery and church of St. Panteleemon are built. It was here in a
room on the second story he met his end : beside the divan on the
floor are five bullet holes. Only one old woman, a nun and rheumatic,
is now in the place.

Janina is very fine, very Greek, there being three Christians for
every Mussulman. The garrison numbers about 650 men, but 4000
nizaiii men could be brought in in a day or two's notice from the

South-west over the hills lies the Pelasgic ruined city of Dodona,
about nine hours' ride. You go over the plain to Rapsista village, then
up a ridge 1750 feet; then another, 2100 feet; then (past vineyards!)
up to 2650 feet; then down into a long valley running north-north-
west by south-south-east past long fences of ancient stones, through
meadows, maize fields, streams, bosky patches around cottages — walnuts,


limes, poplars (abeles), but mostly the ilex oak. This famous Thres-
protian (or Molossian) valley is 2 miles broad by 15 to 20 miles
long, average altitude 20U feet, each end being closed in with hills. On
a jutting point of land (which is doubtless the promontory Hesiod
mentions) are the ruins. The ilex-trees are everywhere around it,
especially on the north ; and here may have been the mysterious oracular
wood, the rustling groves of Dodona, or it may have been aci'oss the
valley and up the other side on the south around an abundant spring of
water at Alhochor'i, where the trees (all ilex) are very big and old.
There is no lack of falling water (another oracular means of Dodona),
for the steep sides of Tomarochora (4500 feet) are scarred profoundly,
and great torrent beds extend right out from it over to the temple site.
The oldest building is behind the amphitheatre — rows and lanes of
rough Cyclopean stones, mostly one yard square. The stones of the
piers and amphitheatre (which faces due east) measure mostly 5x3x2
feet, but at the top they are 8x3x2 feet. The natives say that there
are no treasures or trinkets to be found now since Karapanos carted
away his " three wagon-loads " to Athens. See his Dodone et ses ruines.

From Janina a grand road (made by AH Pasha) runs to Arta and
Previza, through some of the scenes of the late war. Down, down, we
go, skirting the dread Suliote hills — round precipice after precipice,
under great hanging sloping masses, moraines, caverns, natural tunnels
— over several most romantic passes with bluffs overhanging 800 to
1000 feet — down along the Louro (anc. Oropus) river in ever increasing
richness and variety of scenery and indications of pleasant human life.
"We pass much traffic also on horses and in buffalo carts, for there is a
vast opening for trade up this way. We notice a few burned and
shattered cottages by the road. At nightfall the flaming hill-sides all
around Philippiades (the brushwood being burned, but also something
better, say the Greeks) remind one of the late reprisals and war horrors.
The burned houses, villas, shops, and piazzas which to-day represent
what once was a flourishing town tell the same tale.

The people are noticeably changing fast as we near the sea and Greece
— slimmer, lither, sweeter in expression — but still the basis seem not
Greek so much as Albanian (Toskh, Suliote).

Over a long plain, out now from the mountains, in sight of the Gulf
of Arta and the Acarnanian mountains beyond — along sweet flowery
hillsides covered with "asphodels beloved of the gods," to the grand
vast ruins of Nicopolis (Pallaio Kastro), where in the desolation and
silence one thinks of Actium, peerless Cleopatra, brave, foolish Antony,
practical Octavianus, and then wondrous Ali Pasha — on through the
old olive forests (a million trees) above Previza, into a sub-tropical
fringe of palms, and aloes, and cactus, and orange-gardens at Previza,
and then the sea, and Greece, and home.

http://www.archive.org/stream/scottishg ... t_djvu.txt
Ne sot po hedhim faren me emrin Bashkim,
Qe neser te korrim frutin me emrin Bashkim!

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Post by ALBPelasgian » Tue Mar 27, 2012 5:17 pm

Albania, in the most extended acceptation of the name, is that long and lofty chain of mountains, intersected by deep valleys and by fertile basins, which ramifies from the summits of Epirus and the eternal snows of Pindus along to the extremity of the Gulf of Venice, where it comes to knot itself almost perpendicularly with the Germanic Alps. One of the flanks of this chain looks upon Turkey of Europe, the plains of Adrianople, the valleys of Bulgaria, the virgin forests of Servia, the plains of Hungary and of Transylvania ; the other flank, more steep and more calcined by the sun, looks upon the Adriatic, the Ionian Isles and the distant coasts of Italy. All this seaboard, from the Gulf of Lepanto to whore terminates Greece properly so called, is indented with creeks, with roadsteads, with ravines more or less deep, where the sea insinuates itself between precipitous cliffs. Strips of plain, sheltered, sultry, fertile as gardens exposed to the sun, bestrew here and there the margin of the waters along these coves. They present to the sea a town, a citadel, a port, sails painted with ochre like those of the ancient Greek mariners, orchards surrounding the crenelated walls, towers in ruins upon the shoals in front; then those plains disappear by gradual narrowing and elevation into gorges excavated by the torrents that descend from the snows or from the lakes of the mountains.
The robust knot which seems to colligate all the divergent ramifications of this Alpine chain into a common trunk is Epirus or lower Albania and Macedon, this kingdom of Philip and of Alexander, which seems to lean over Greece as if to master it, and over Turkey of Europe to use by turns or to menace its possessors.
Bosnia, Dalmatia, Croatia, the very heights of Bulgaria and of Servia, are but superposed stages of upper Albania. Snows, pasture-lands, forests, lakes, torrents and inaccessible precipices, basins enchased in the roots of mountains, plains enriched by alluvial deposits, villages suspended on the sides of cliffs, interior and maritime towns, citadels, harbors, isles, are distributed to them equally. They form but a single people under a diversity of names. Their origin is misty as their mountains. Their tongue, according to its etymology, varies insensibly in its dialects from the popular Greek of Attica to the Turkish of Thrace, and from the corrupt Italian of the isles to the savage German of Croatia. Their religion, also changed by vicinity, by invasion, and by the colonization of their lowlands, floats from Mahometanism to Christianity, and from the Greek schism to Roman Catholicism, according to the races with whom they carry on by turns trade and war. They change with an astonishing facility their creeds, or they adulterate them with a barbarous promiscuousness which associates the rites of one with the superstitions of the other. This promiscuity of creeds renders them fit to serve indifferently the Christians against the Mussulmans and the Mussulmans against the Christians, at the whim of their adventurous spirit and of their romantio intrepidity. The only thing unchangeable among the Albanians is, the passion for independence and for glory. This passion for glory is the dominant trait of their character and the source of their heroism ; theirs has been a land of heroes in all times. Their heroism is sometimes mistaken in its object and takes pillage for ambition. It is but natural that Homer should have found there his Achilles, Greece her Alexander, the Turks Scander-Beg, a man of the same race, of the same blood, and of the same genius.
It is not known from what human stock the Albanians are descended. They are found under the name of Illyrians in their native mountain strongholds before the Greeks, the Hungarians, the Germans, the Venetians, the Turks. Some historians think they recognize in their traditions and in their tongue an Italic colony of shepherds from Alba, emigrated with their flocks from Latium, and transported, it is not conceived how, into this lllyria from which they were separated by the Adriatic. Others derive their name from the whiteness with which the snows crown, a great part of the year, the summits of their mountains. It is certain that a city of Alba had been built by them before the Greek times, on the confines of the mountain which separates them from Servia. It is more probable they take their name from Alb, permuted from Alp, which in almost all primitive idioms signifies high pasturages, and from the site has been extended to the inhabitants.
Their beauty, masculine in the men, majestic and virile in even the women, is celebrated in the East. These are the Circassian men and women of the Adriatic.
The Caucasus in Asia, Albania in Europe, seemed to correspond geographically and morally at the bottom of the two gulfs of the Mediterranean, which confound their waters, through the current of the Bosphorus, at Constantinople. The Albanians are the Circassians of Europe, the Circassians are the Albanians of Asia. These two groups of mountains seem to have generated the same men, the same women, and the same manners. It is from these two fountains, as from the snows of their hills, that descends for five centuries back, by constant mixture of the three races, the beauty and the intrepidity that repair the race and vigor of the Ottomans. They love arms, battles, adventures, journeys by land and sea, perilous piracies, fields of- battle without care for causes, military engagements in the camps of the Sultans of Egypt, of Syria, of Constantinople. The too regular discipline of European armies is irksome to them; they prefer the eclat of individual exploits, the license of the Ottoman camps, the combat hand to hand upon impetuous horses of Arabia or of Transylvania, the civilization which allows slaves to mount, at the caprice of a master, from servitude to the rank of vizier or of pasha, the religion which gives harems and slaves to heroes.
Their spirit is poetic like their manners. Their popular songs, especially those of their heroic epoch under their countryman Scander-Beg, recall the Homeric rhapsodies rather than the spiritless ballads of modern Greece. They mingle, like Achilles, poetry, music and dance, with war. In the leisure of their mode of life, by turns somnolent and feverish, they are seen carelessly lying in the sun, upon the beach or on the terraces of their houses, chanting to the accompaniment of the sounds of a rustic lyre, their own exploits, or dancing, like women, to the airs by turns warlike or effeminate of their instruments.
The government of the Albanians was feudal like all tho governments of the East, formed by nature on the type of the patriarchal family; a government favorable at once to liberty and to servitude, wherein the father is chief, the family is tribe, the servants are slaves ; wherein power, designated as it were divinely by birth and by primogeniture, is sacred and incontestable as paternity, and where the movable and transient confederation of the tribes among themselves constitutes the State; sometimes coalesced together for a national war against other races, sometimes severed into independent groups for the greater liberty of the whole. Each city, each province, each village recognizes a prince, a lord, a beg, who governs despotically according to tradition and manners. This subjection of the cities, the provinces, the villages, to feudal masters or princes, diminishes nothing of the sentiment of general liberty and the passion of patriotism which is an instinct of the Albanians.
It has been seen that, under the first sultans of Adrianople, partly by incursions into Epirus, partly by voluntary infeoffment as in the case of Janina, partly by armed conquest such as that of Troia after the possession of Thessalonica, Albania was all over become Ottoman. Islamism and Christianity were there commingled without a contest by the mutual tolerance of the two religions, among a people where the same family was usually divided between the two worships. The conformity of warlike and pastoral manners had easily united the two races. Consciences were free; the Albanians suffered only in their national pride from the dominion and the tribute imposed by the Turkish governors.
Such was the state of lower Albania or Epirus, when Amurath II., after the siege of Corinth and by the submission of the Morea, enveloped, so to say, through the conquered coast of the Adriatic, this country which he approached also on the north by Adrianople and the valley of the Heber or the Maritza. The conquering policy of the three last Sultans tended evidently to occupy those high places, natural citadels of Germany, which extend from the summit of Pindus along to the Gulf of the Adriatic at Venice, thence to descend by the Styrian Alps into Germany, and thus embrace, by the Black Sea on one side and by the Mediterranean on tne other, the entire of that Germany which they had but a glimpse of, from the banks of the Danube. Vast and grassy plains have always been the irresistible ambition of shepherd peoples. Eaces like rivers have their currents from the mountains and settle only in the broad basins of the earth.

History of Turkey, Volume 2, Alphonse de Lamartine
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Post by Zeus10 » Tue May 26, 2015 1:46 pm

Albania, in the Turkish language Arnaut in the Albanian Skiperi (Epirus and Illyria) a province in Arnaut Wilajeti extending from the Drino to the Acroceraunian mountains, along the coast of the Adriatic and Ionian seas. It has a delicious climate and produces in abundance wine grain oil tobacco cotton wood mineral salt and horned cattle. The principal mountains are the Montenegro and the Chimera the principal rivers the Drino Boja na Somini &c The 300,000 inhabitants are composed of Turks, Greeks, Jews and Arnauts the last of which constitute the boldest soldiers in the Turkish armies. The country is divided into the pachalics of Janina, Ilbessan and Scutari and the sangiacats of Aulona and Delvino. The principal cities are Janina, Delvino, Scutari, Durazzo, Argyro Castro, Valona &c. The authority of the Porte in this region is very uncertain being more or less relaxed in proportion as the independent communities and beys enlarge or contract their possessions in opposition to the pachas whom it appoints. The vast mountainous coast of Albania is very little known. The Venetian government while the republic of Venice existed defended it against any permanent conquest by the Turkish pashas Here Greek and Catholic Christians and Mohammedans likewise live in a half savage state and under the most varied forms of government. At the time of the Revolt of the Greeks the most southern part of Albania took the ancient name of Epirus from the lake of Janina arise the rivers Acheron and Cocytus not far from the mouth of which lies Parga Epirus especially in the neighbourhood of the sea is a fertile conntry it produces wine corn and fruit. In ancient times its horses were famed for swiftness its cows for size and its dogs for strength and courage. These races seem now to be extinct. The Albanian countenance is peculiarly characteristic as is shown in the accompanying portrait drawn by a late traveller. Before the Greek revolution Ali Pacha ruled in Janina. In Scutari there are yet independent communities the inhabitants of Mount Montenegro the Suliots and others in the neighbourhood of the former Venetian now Austrian territory. These small free tribes enjoyed as long as the republic of Venice existed the secret protection of that government to which is to be attributed their success in maintaining themselves against the Turkish force and the violence of private feuds. The same policy was pursued likewise by the French Illyrian government. In the country itself the Arnauts are called Skipetars. They are bold and indefatigable but mercenary and perfidious warriors. They once constituted the flower of the Turkish army. Every one who has no landed property seeks to acquire the means of obtaining it by incursions into the neighbouring territory or military service in foreign countries. The sons of influential families or distinguished soldiers collect a troop and like the former condottieri of Italy sell their aid to any one who will pay them well. This migration of armed hordes caused by the want of landed property sufficient to support them is a national instinct common to the Greek Catholic and Mohammedan Arnauts. For this reason the communities in the most fertile valleys rarely increase and there is a great disproportion of unmarried females But in case of attack the women defend their homes and property with masculine courage The political influence of the clergy is great among the Christian Arnauts .
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Post by Zeus10 » Tue May 26, 2015 2:14 pm

The London encyclopaedia:
or Universal dictionary
of science, art ,literature and practical mechanics
Volume 1
ALBANIA in modern geography, called by the Turks Arnaut is a province which though in fact nearly independent nominally forms one of the provinces of the Turkish empire. It extends from the thirty ninth to the forty third degree of latitude for the space of about 250 miles along the east of the Adriatic and Ionian seas. The breadth inland no where exceeds one hundred miles, and in the southern part not more than thirty. It is bounded on the north by Dalmatia and Servia and on the south by Livadia. Its eastern boundaries are not distinctly ascertained. The chain of Pindus now the mountains of Sagori Metzovo and of Suli separate it by an ill defined line from Macedonia and Thessaly. To use the language of a late publication. Were a line drawn in the Suli mountains from about the narrowest breadth from the sea above cited and extended to the country of the Montenegrins a distance of about 250 miles where this province has its greatest breadth it would complete as correct an outline of Albania as in the present imperfect state of its geography our latest travellers will enable us to describe Ioannina the capital of a district of that name eastward would be about twenty miles to the south east of this line and here resided the enter prizing Albanian chief Ali Pasha who lately commanded the entire resources of this interesting country. Albania thus comprehends in its widest sense the ancient Illyricum and Epirus and is included by the Turks in the government of Romania. The natural features and beauties of this country together with its most striking topography are exhibited in the following beautiful lines from Lord Byron's Childe Harold:
Land of Albania where Iskander rose
Theme of the young and beacon of the wise
And he his name sake whose oft baffled foes
Shrunk from his deeds of chivalrous empriza
Land of Albania let me bend mine eyes
On thee thou rugged nurse of savage men
The cross descends thy minarets arise
And the pale crescent sparkles in the glen
Through many a cypress grove within each city's ken
Morn dawns and with it stern Albania's hills
Dark Sulis rocks and Pindus inland peak
Rob't d half in mist bedewed with snowy rills
Arrayed in many a dun and purple streak
A rise and as the clouds along them break
Disclose the dwelling of the mountaineer
Here roams the wolf the eagle wets his beak
Birds beasts of prey and wilder men appear
And gathering storms around convulse the closing year
Ambracia's gulf behold where once was lost
A world for woman lovely harmless thing
In yonder ripling bay their naval host
Did many a Roman chief and Asian king
Look where the second Caesar's trophies rose
To doubtful conflict certain slaughter bring
Now like the hands that rear d them withering
Imperial anarchs doubling human woes lose
God was thy globe ordained for such to win and
From the dark barriers of that rugged clime
Ev' n to the centre of Illyria's vales
Childe Harold passed o er many a mount sublime
The capital of Albania was formerly Albano poli but it is now Durazzo The other principal towns are Scutari Dulcigno Antivari Oroya Alesso Velona Dataro Dibra 8cc Amongst the lakes we may reckon Scutari The most remarkable river is the Delichi formerly called Acheron and to the class of mountains we may refer the Acroceraunian or mountains of Chimffira The soil of this province is extremely fertile producing excellent wine Its manufactures are chiefly carpets The climate of Albania is mild and healthy In the spring there is seldom much rain or a long continued drought The autumnal rains last about a month In the close of the season the country is truly delightful the sky presents the most perfect clearness and the middre of the day is as warm as our June The winter lasts but two months in the year and in summer the heat is oppressive Though Albania has frequently changed its name its masters and its boundaries a people have been embosomed in its mountains from time immemorial The Greek Illyricum and the Roman Epirus of which Albania nearly occupies the site were however described as barbarous because unexplored and unconquered regions The natives called by the Turks Ar nauts are descended from the ancient Illyrians whose language and habits are still preserved amongst the mountaineers and have been called from their simple and primitive mode of life the Scythians of the Turkish empire Thucydides denominated the Albanians by the general term barbarous and applies it to a people on the coast of Epirus opposite the island of Sy bota and Strabo expressly states that the Epirotic tribes were mixed with the Illyrian and spoke two languages probably their own vernacular tongue and the Greek language as the Albanians do to this day The people have been commonly represented as extremely uncivilized Polybius calls the Illyrians the enemies of all nations and Livy attributes the ferocity of one of the four Roman divisions of Macedonia to the fact of its lying contiguous to these people Epirus and that part of Illyricum subsequently distinguished by the term New Epirus neither the Greeks nor the Romans were able properly to civilize Ptolemy the earliest geographer who mentions the Albani of this district represents them as a small tribe cf Illyrians possessing the small town of Albanopolis of which we hear no more for several centuries It is then described as Albanon Arbanon and Elbanon a town commanding the passes leading from the country about Lychnidus to the maritime plains Anna Comment 1 xiii Accropolita c 14 25. A tradition exists in the country that the name of this town was derived from some obscure connexion with Alba in Italy. The situation of the country induced the Greeks of the lower empire o apply the name of Albanoi to all the nations of these and the contiguous mountains and to the country itself that of Αλβανια Αλβανιτια and Αρβανιτια. But the inhabitants call the country Skiperi and an Albanian they call Skipetar. The great divisions of modern Albania according to Major Leake who is allowed to be the best informed traveller on this head are those formed by the varieties of the native tribes Those which are principally recognized are the Ngege the Toske the Liape and the Tzami The Ngege or Ghegides possess the northern district as far as the ancient Genusus and Kavaia Their principal towns are Dulcigno Scutari and Durazzo The Toske inhabit the great plains of Mizakie and Malakastra extending from the hills of Dyrrhachium to Berat and Avlowa alsothemountainsborderingon the south side of these plains as far as Lopesi Tepelini and Klisara which are situated on the ancient Aous the modern Viosa and the mountains which stretch into Macedonia as far as the district of Koretza Their chief towns are Berat and Elbasan the latter of which is the ancient Albanopolis and the former next toSkodre the most important place in the Albanian territory The Liape a poor predatory race inhabit the wild mountains and the sea coast extending from Toskeri south as far as the plain of Del vino The Tzami inhabit all the regions south of the river Kalama anciently called Thyamis of which the present name of the tribe is supposed to be a corruption It extends inland towards Ioannina and is called Dai by the Albanians Tzamouria by the Greeks The chief places are Suli the Selli of Strabo Paramithia Parga Liuarati Aghia and Margarita The inferior districts which it is presumed have been detached from the above by the different masters of Albania comprehend the maritime region opposite Corfu called Parakalamo the plain of Delvino near the ancient Phcenice Deropul Zagonia and the mountains east of Deropul Reze Kara Murata Kolonia Premedi and Khimara The districts of Konitza Paleo Po goniana and Ioannina are considered rather as conquests of the Albanians than proper divisions of the country Although Albania from time immemorial has been distinguished by the rude valour of its inhabitants its remote situation and want of union among its tribes generally prevented it from acting any conspicuous part in Grecian politics The only remarkable exception occurs in the reign of Pyrrhus II who has been justly celebrated as one of the greatest captains of antiquity After the death of this illustrious commander the country was again divided into a number of petty states which fell under the power of the kinedom of Macedon The Romans gladly availed themselves of the many fine harbours of the coast and the traces of the Ignatian road which communicated from Apollonia to Thessalonica a distance of 262 Roman miles are still visible After the decay of the Roman power Alaric and the Goths took possession of the country Some of their descendants are afterwards mentioned as having stained possession of the northern districts.
Sidismund is particularized for his alliance witli Theodoric the Great It was afterwards the prey of the Sclavonian tribes during the eighth ninth and tenth centuries Of these the Bulgarians were the most prominent In 870 Achris or Ocreda the ancient Lychnidus was the residence of the Bulgariankings and the see of an archbishop j the ancient Nicopolis and ultimately the whole region fell under the power of the same race as is evident from the united testimony of many celebrated historians It was in these ages of the Bulgarian prowess says Major Leake in his Researche in Greece 4to p 240 241 that the remains of the Illyrian and Epirotic nations became finally included within the boundaries which they have ever since held .
It was during the decline of the Greek empire that the Albanians gradually rose to distinction and at last to independence Such was their valour that they were able to maintain their ground against the Bulgarians who had occupied all the neighbouring districts of Greece In the year 1079 historians particularly distinguish them They formed one of the four divisions of the army of Nicephorus Basilaces and were found to be very important auxiliaries The Roman kings of Sicily obtained settlements on this coast as did the Franks and other nations in their alliance during the period of the crusades On the dismemberment of the Oriental empire by the conquest of Constantinople in 1204 Michael Angelus illegitimately related to the imperial family established a despotate in this district embracing Acamania Etolia and Epirus together with the towns of Ioannina Arta and Naupactus This with some trifling interruption continued an independent kingdom until 1431 when it fell under the Turkish yoke The despots of Epirus during this period were counted as allies not only by the surrounding states but even the imperial family and exercised a powerful influence on the neighbouring politics In 1303 they were defeated by the Turks but under the command of their celebrated leader George Castriot commonly called Scanderberg they survived and baffled all the efforts of Mahomet II the conqueror of Constantinople who after his entrance into Albania experienced a succession of defeats and mortifications till he was ultimately obliged to acknowledge its independence by a formal treaty The porte had undisputed dominion over the rest of northern Greece On the death of Scanderberg the Turks redoubled their efforts and at length reduced Albania to nominal subjection The siege of Scutari or Scodra in 1478 which is perpetuated by Marinus Barletius a contemporary biographer and eye witness formed the termination of this memorable struggle The subjection however was always imperfect revolts were frequent and the Venetians who after aiding them in the siege obtained some towns and established themselves in the contiguous Ionian islands co operated in preserving their independence and preventing their complete subjection to the Ottoman faith Islamism has therefore been far from common and the Porte has rarely been able to enforce a more absolute submission to its orders than of late years when every provincial governor first establishes his influence over the country and afterwards applies to the Constantinopohtan government for a sanction to his authority Motives of pay and plunder appear to have had more weight in Albania than any other species of influence and thi3 was the ruling motive which prevailed upon the Albanian soldiers to unite themselves with the Turkish army In proportion however as the Ottoman empire declined in vigour its hold of this celebrated kingdom became less firm till at length the enterprizing genius of Ali Pasha again converted this dependency into what may almost be called a separate kingdom From the vigorous influence of the above mentioned chief upon the history and politics of Albania we shall here present the reader with a brief narration of his history referring the detail of his memoirs to a separate article Until the middle of the last century the kingdom of Albania was divided into several inde E indent pashaliks of which those of Ioannina elvino and Berat possessed considerable military force In 1751 the chief in question was born at Tepelini a small town in the interior where his father a pasha of two tails exercised a limited jurisdiction When he was of the age of fifteen years his father deceased and left the young chief in a very critical situation He used to boast that he began his fortunate career with sixty paras and a musket and an Albanian who attended Mr Hobhouse said he remembered to have seen the pasha with his jacket out at elbows Ali shortly after his inauguration was driven from Tepelini and abandoned by almost all his followers The inhabitants of Gardiki a neighbouring town next formed a plan for his destruction and for this purpose surrounded him in a village in the night time where although he effected his escape they seized his mother and his sister and treated them with every indignity injuries for which he took a dreadful vengeance After his escape he first entered into the service of Coul the neighbouring pasha at Berat and the most important of the chiefs of Albania where by his address and activity he so far insinuated himself as to marry the pasha's daughter Shortly afterwards he overthrew the pashsdik of Ioannina which under the sanction of the Porte he made the centre of his future fortunes and whence by money artifice force and treachery he extended his authority The pashalik of Arta now submitted to his arms and the Porte appointed him derveni pasha of Romelia guardian of all the passes of the country In 1798 he was appointed vizier or a pasha of three tails a title of honour derived from the number of horses tails carried before great officers in procession His father in law being dead he attacked and defeated the pashas of Berat and Delvino in 1811 and 1812 by which means he gained the finest parts of Albania and a population of between 200,000 and 300,000 souls He was induced for some time to preserve pasha Ibrahim in authority at Berat and contracted with the family marriages for his sons The reduction of Prevesa Vonitza and Karlili or Acamania conferred new lustre on his enterprizes and Tepelini with its inhabitants now fell into his power His series of good fortune had not obliterated the remembrance of the wrongs he formerly received from these people and he resolved upon taking a signal revenge he pretended with his usual duplicity an oblivion of all grounds of resentment until he had completely enclosed the city with his troops when he ordered all the inhabitants who were supposed to have been involved in the guilt to the number of 700 to be dragged into a large khan near the city where they were bound together with cords and on a signal given by Ali the soldiery stationed on the walls with their rcusquetry commenced a most unmerciful fire which they continued till they were all destroyed The Suliotes a people inhabiting the Suli an almost inaccessible range of mountains proved the most formidable adversaries with whom Ali had to contend The Suli are placed in the southern extremity of the Albanian territory and beneath them winds a river conjectured by Dr Holland and others to be the Acheron of the ancients the strength of these native bulwarks the warlike habits of the people and their contempt of death rendered them the terror of the Albanians whom they frequently invaded while no foreign power ventured to scale the tremendous barriers by which they were guarded Ali however accomplished the difficult project and entered their retreat where after a furious resistance till the natives were partly extirpated he acquired permanent possession The extent of this chiefs dominions are difficult to define or the degree of authority which he possessed Even within Albania Scutari was independent They are supposed to have been bounded on tne north by an irregular line from Durazzo to the Gulf of Salonica and to have included the mountainous district of Macedonia nearly the whole of Thessaly and part of Livadia On the east they were bounded by those of Ismael Bey who rules over the plains of Macedonia The power of this great man was almost absolute and while little attention was paid to the imperial firman a letter with the signature commanded implicit obedience The Albanians are said to have been enthusiastically attached to him and to have admired the energy of his character so that when they heard of any other chief they used to cry he has not a head like Ali It was this in all probability which if it did not invite at least accelerated the hand of rivalry The terms on which the Albanian vizier held his government in relation to Constantinople may be understood from the preceding account of his character and progress The Porte ac knowleged his titles as conferred by the sultan and the vizier made a formal acknowledgment of the imperial authority by the respectful reception of an annual firman from Constantinople to which he remitted considerable sums in the shape of a karach or capitation tax rents impost &c But in the internal government of Albania the Turks had no interference whatever nor in Ali Pasha's alliances with foreign states from which he received and sent agents regularly in his own name England France and Russia generally kept a consul here and the political information of the court of Ioannina was said to be superior to that of Constantinople The progress of this enterprizing chief was long with jealousy and alarm but a mutual fear prevented hostilities between him and the Porte the latter not being in a condition to driving him into an open rebellion reasons therefore suggested the propriety of investing him by means of their firman the sovereignty of all the provinces he won his sword Similar motives perhaps him to pay an outward deference to the Porte and aid them against foreign enemies marched against Paswan Oglou and was present at the siege of Widden His son Pasha also distinguished himself greatly in late war against the Russians The Porte ardently wished him to repair to Constantinople and even offered him in that case the of grand vizier but Ali uniformly refused kindness knowing that his arrival at that metropolis would be the immediate signal for off his head The lale emperor Napoleon courted his favour and is said to have offered the dignity of king of Albania but Ali viewed designs of that ambitious despot with too much alarm to admit him as an auxiliary To England therefore he invariably attached himself with whose interests and politics Dr Holland him well acquainted P The military force of Ah was calculated at 100,000 men his disposable force in the field however seldom exceeded 15,000 or his standing army 10,000 of which 5000 were generally stationed round his capital His treasures arose first from a land tax amounting to about ten per cent of the produce secondly a tax levied on cities and towns in the shape of a requisition thirdly customs which he raised to about six per cent and fourthly the inheritance of all who die without male heirs together with other sources too numerous to particularize His residence was in an immense building near loannina the outer courts of which were crowded with soldiers and persons of all descriptions who might have petitions to present to him The mysterious awe which he commanded was to Dr Holland astonishing He exercised in person the whole judicial capacity in which his decisions were equitable and all petitioners on their approach used to kneel and kiss his garments He rose at six in the morning and with the exception of an hour at dinner and an hour at supper spent the whole day in business He is said to have been extremely temperate at table and in his haram seldom retaining more than 300 females According to the most accurate information we have been able to obtain the following description of his character from a late publication is just and impartial and although written in Ali's lifetime we transcribe entire Ali is now 1815 sixty or sixty one years of age his figure is corpulent and unwieldy his neck short his stature about five feet nine inches The expression of his countenance is striking and majestic and his features give no indications of those terrible qualities by which he is characterized. His abilities are certainly of no mean order. He displays that union of deep thought and contrivance with prompt and decisive action which unit a mind equally formed for politics and for war He is remarkable for his address both in gaining friends and in lulling asleep the suspicions of his bitterest enemies But if his abilities are of a superior order his dispositions are of a kind which render him an object of fear and detestation His cruelty rather resembles that of an Indian savage than of even the least civilized European Impaling and roasting alive are among the common punishments reserved for those who have unhappily offended him The fierceness of his cruelty is only exceeded by the depth of his dissimulation It is impossible for the most skilful observer to conjecture from his outward deportment the real sentiments with which he regards any individual The only observable difference consists in a peculiar kindness of manner towards those unfortunates whose cruel doom he has silently and unrelentingly sealed It is nevertheless pleasant says Dr Holland to be able to allege as one proof of his superior understanding a degree of freedom from national and religious prejudices rarely to bt among Turkish rulers He has studiously adopted into his territory several of the improvements of the more cultivated nations he has the numerous bands of robbers who infested the peaceful inhabitants of the country his direction roads have been made bridges and agricultural improvements attempted This laudable spirit has added respect the terror inspired by his government and those who out of the immediate reach of power can venture to express hatred of his are obliged to allow that Albania is happy and prosperous under his single stern dominion than when divided among chieftains and harassed by incessant From this opinion no deference to the of despotism can be inferred The of history has proved that a single is less injurious to the happiness of a people than tyranny divided among several and vizier of Albania has himself become a despot only by the annihilation of the many despots preyed on that heretofore distracted and country.
This despot was finally defeated by the Turks and died in a manner suited to his desperate life being cut down by Turkish officers in 1822 See A LI Pasha The physicians of Albania in the considerable towns are Greeks and are for the most part well informed men The surgeons are Albanians and very ignorant Some of their methods are very curious Mr Hobhouse describes the practice of kneading the shoulders and pulling the limbs for a cold and another practice in case of fevers equally curious The patient stretches out his arm and the doctor rubs his thumb along the principal artery from the wrist up to the shoulder having by a repetition of this operation thrown the man into a perspiration he covers him up warm and leaves him in a fair way of recovery The Albanians are of a middle stature small round the loins the chests full and broad the eyes quick and lively They wear a tight girdle round the waist and puncture and stain their skin The women bear many marks of misery and are rather masculine in their appearance Their common dress is a coarse cotton with the head covered by a shawl clasped under the ears Some of them have a white woollen dress and the young women have frequently a scull cap under which the hair is braided and flows down strung with all their smaller pieces of money The women in general have a fantastic taste in their dress and are not very cleanly in their habits The common attire of the men is a shirt of cotton drawers of the same materials a white woollen mantle and a large great coat or capote with loose open sleeves and a white woollen or horse hair band which often hangs in a small piece behind but when used upon the head is pinned into form by a long needle or a pistol ramrod Their girdle is a coarse shawl drawn very tight by a belt containing their pistols when they rest they loosen them and draw their capote about them and seldom have any other covering In the summer they throw off the capote and mantle The poorest Albanian has his pistols in his belt and also a case knife ornamented and the handle strung with amulets and the calamaro a sort of portable ink stand and pen of which they are very proud Their dress is the most elegant of any used in the Turkish empire and the agas who can afford it have it made of rich velvet embroidered and worked with gold and silver superadding another which is a kind of jacket without sleeves Lord Byron says the resemblance between the Albanians and the Highlanders struck him forcibly The inhabitants are very dextrous at the long gun one of which is to be found in very cottage The cottages are neat consisting for the part of one floor divided into two rooms in one of which they keep their maize in the stalk or their grapes which they sprinkle with salt to preserve them Each person has a small garden and each village a green for holiday sports and a circular piece of paved ground attached to it on which their corn is trodden out by eight or nine horses driven abreast from a stake fixed in the centre Their food is chiefly vegetables all classes drink wine and also an ardent spirit called rackee extracted from grapes husks and barley they also drink water in large draughts during the most violent exercise without inconvenience The inhabitants are generally temperate and avaricious but withal are idle and ignorant They think it honourable to rob but disgraceful to steal Their forms of salutation are curious from the rising of the sun to three hours afterwards they say mire nestrascui or nestrascia entire good morning From the third hour to noon mire minghiessi a good cheese making to you this being cheese making time Good day good evening and good night are much the same as with us To a man in his own house they say mire mbe sctepij well at home To a person at work they say mire mbe pane well at your work and to those who are reclining in the sun mire mbe dieli well in the sun They are fond of music and dancing but their execution in both these exercises is extremely imperfect Notwithstanding these deficiencies as soon as the daily occupation is over they begin to sing and play and each Albanian is his own composer and poet In their dances there is only one variety either the hands of the party art locked in each other behind their backs or every man has a handkerchief in his hand which is held by the next to him and so on through a long string of them The first is a slow dance the party stand in a semicircle and their musicians in the middle continually walking from side to side accompanying the movements with their music which are nothing but the bending and unbending the two ends of the semicircle with some slow footing and now and then a hop In the handkerchief dance which is accompanied with a song from themselves they are often violent It is upon the leader of the string that all the principal movements devolve and all the party take this place by turns He begins with the song footing quietly from side to side then he hops forward dragging the whole string after him in a circle and then twirls about dropping frequently on his knee and rebounding from the ground with a shout continues hopping twirling rebounding &c and then gives his place to the next man and so on all round the company each endeavouring to exceed his predecessor in the quickness of his evolutions and movements Two or three old men often sit in the middle to set the songs Sec The same dance can be executed by one performer Mr Hobhouse saw a boy of about fifteen who by the ease with which he performed the pirenette and other difficult movements made a very agreeable spectacle Their chief instruments are the lute three stringed guitar with a very long neck and small round base played with a plectrum formed of a piece of quill half an inch in length .
Their trade is considerable The exports conducted through the gulf of Arta are grain timber oil tobacco cotton wool &c Fifty cargoes of grain are annually sent to the Ionian isles Italy and Malta The timber is grown almost on the shores and during the revolutionary war a French agent resided at Arta for the purpose of contracting for supplies of it Tobacco is cultivated in Upper Albania cotton is received through Thessaly and exported to the German and Italian ports of the Adriatic The only manufactured article exported is the capote which produces 150,000 piastres annually The imports are sugar coffee cloths linen fire arms ironmongery gunpowder &c The Albanians are connected with the Greek houses at Trieste and Maltese houses through which they receive the manufactures of Great Britain The people have from remote antiquity been distinguished for their contempt of death and can endure beyond most men the extremes of heat and cold A soldier being condemned to death was on his way to the place of execution which was situated without the walls of Prevesa md being arrived about halfway he said to his conductors why do you wish me to travel half a league farther in the hottest part of the day can t you hang me here The favour was granted and he put the rope round his own neck The same contempt of death is common They delight in the title of Palikari which signifiesbrave Their discipline is very imperfect they have so little knowledge of rank and file that 6000 men would straggle over five or six leagues in marching They begin their battles with loud shrieks and reproaches which they renew at every pause Their fire commences it their own will and in battle each troop collects round its chief and fights separately from the neighbouring one Their usual arms are two pistols in the girdle an atagar or cutlass slightly bent forward somewhat resembling the harpion of the Greeks a sabre bent backward hung horizontally to a belt and a musket. In fight they are impatient to come to close quarters with their side arms with which they mostly succeed. The professions of the Albanians are shepherd warrior and agriculturist and although they have a university in loanniana superintended by eminent Greek professors the fine arts are unknown and the mechanical arts are chiefly practised by foreign residents Ali Pasha established a complete system of religious toleration The Mussulman and the Greek church are however the two most prominent religions The Mahommedan makes no difficulty in observing Easter and the Greeks often assist at Mussulman ceremonies Rhamazan reminds us of the old fable of beauty and the beast and after an obsequious courting who knows but the nuptials may be completed and they may both be identified in one despotism of moral empire The general morals are indifferent The remains of a feudal independence keep the clans in a constant anarchy and though under the general jurisdiction of a rigid government the bones and tombs scattered every where evince the frequency of desperate quarrels and seditions The gypsies called by the Turks Tchinguenes are numerous in this country The rights of hospitality are as much respected here as in Greece during the early ages Should a mountain traveller enter the house of even a robber chief he may rely on protection and kindness Homer's descriptions are still realized here When a stranger arrives at a village he is surrounded by the chiefs invited to the public square when the old men interrogate him respecting his travels his country &c and relate their chief affairs He is presented with wine and fruits At the time of repast he is invited to one of their houses a sheep roasted whole is placed before him and he is admitted to eat with the principal inhabitants The Albanian or Skipetaric is not a written language Sometimes the Greek characters have been used to represent Albanian words but the Greek being familiar to the higher classes of society is commonly the language used in writing Major Leake has formed a vocabulary and a grammar of the vernacular tongue and Mr Hobhouse in the appendix to his travels in this country gives an abridgment of an Albanian grammar formed in 1716 by an Italian missionary The chief peculiarity of utterance is the predominance of the nasal sounds Leake's Researches in Greece Holluntfs Travels Vau doncourt's Memoirs of the Ionian Islands Hothouse's Albania
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing

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