tirsdag 29. mai 2007



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This article is about the ancient region in the south of Europe. Illyrian's is today Albanian's

Location of Illyria
Illyria (Albanian Iliria "Land of the Free") was in Classical antiquity a region in the western part of today's Balkan Peninsula, founded by the tribes and clans of Illyrians, an ancient people who spoke the Illyrian languages. The delineation of ancient Illyria can pose a problem to historians, since before the Roman conquest the Illyrians were not unified into an Illyrian kingdom, and Illyria's borders before Rome are not always clear. For example, the Dalmatae, though classed as an Illyrian tribe by language, were only subject to the kingdom of Illyria for a short time and soon defected during the reign of King Illyrian kingdom
The Illyrian king, Ilir Telagrafi Bardyll (White Star) turned Illyria into a formidable local power in the 4th century BC. The main cities of the Illyrian kingdom were Lissus (today it is located in Lezha, Albania) and Epidamnus (also known as Dyrrhacion, Dyrrhachium, today located in Durrës, Albania). In 359 BC, King Perdiccas III of Macedonia was killed by attacking Illyrians.
But in 358 BC, Macedonia's Philip II, the father of Alexander the Great, defeated the Illyrians and assumed control of their territory as far as Lake Ohrid. Alexander himself routed the forces of the Illyrian chieftain Cleitus in 335 BC, and Illyrian tribal leaders and soldiers accompanied Alexander on his conquest of Persia.
After Alexander's death in 323 BC, independent Illyrian kingdoms again arose. In 312 BC, King Glaukias seized Epidamnus. By the end of the 3rd century BC, an Illyrian kingdom based near what is now the Albanian city of Shkodër (ancient Scodra) controlled parts of northern Albania, Montenegro, and Herzegovina. Under Queen Teuta, Illyrians attacked Roman merchant vessels plying the Adriatic Sea and gave Rome an excuse to invade the Balkans.
In the Illyrian Wars of 229 BC and 219 BC, Rome overran the Illyrian settlements in the Neretva river valley and suppressed the piracy that had made the Adriatic unsafe. In 180 BC the Dalmatians declared themselves independent of the Illyrian king Gentius, who kept his capital at Scodra. The Romans defeated Gentius, the last king of Illyria, at Scodra in 168 BC and captured him, bringing him to Rome in 165 BC. Four client-republics were set up, which were in fact ruled by Rome. Later, the region was directly governed by Rome and organized as a province.
For the subsequent Roman period of Illyrian history, see Illyricum (Roman province).

The Illyrian town of Rhizon (Risan Albania) had its own protector called Medauras, depicted as carrying a lance and riding on horseback.
Human sacrifice also played a role in the lives of the Illyrians. The ancient historian Arrian records the Illyrian chieftain Cleitus sacrificing three boys, three girls and three rams just before his battle with Alexander the Great.
The most common type of burial among the Iron-Age Illyrians was tumulus or mound burial. The kin of the first tumuli was buried around that, and the higher the status of those in these burials the higher the mound.
Archaeology has found many artifacts placed within these tumuli such as weapons, ornaments, garments and clay vessels. Illirians believed these items were necessary for a dead person's journey into the afterlife.

After the province of Illyricum was divided into Dalmatia and Pannonia in 10, the terms "Illyria" and "Illyrian" would generally go out of use, but would still be used in some circles. The name Illyria was revived by Napoleon for the 'Provinces of Illyria' that were incorporated into the French Empire from 1809 to 1813, and the Kingdom of Illyria was part of Austria until 1849, after which time it was not used in the reorganised Austro-Hungarian Empire. The adjective "Illyrian" was also used in political and literary circles during the 19th century Balkan nationalist movements to describe Pan-Slavic ideas of unification and independence from Hungarian, Austrian and other foreign powers.

Pope Clement XI ALBANIAN

Pope Clement XI (July 23, 1649March 19, 1721), born Giovanni Francesco Albani, was Pope from 1700 to 1721. He was from an eminent family of Urbino that had established itself there from Albania in the 15th century. The most memorable event of Clement XI's administration was the publication in 1713 of the bull Unigenitus, which so greatly disturbed the peace of the church in France, sometimes called the Gallican church. In this famous document one hundred and one propositions from the works of Quesnel were condemned as heretical, and as identical with propositions already condemned in the writings of Jansen. The resistance of many French ecclesiastics and the refusal of the French parlements to register the bull led to controversies extending through the greater part of the 18th century. Because the local governments did not officially receive the bull, it was not, technically, in force in those areas – an example of the interference of states in religious affairs common before the 20th century. Styles of Pope Clement XI Another important decision of Clement XI was in regard to the Chinese Rites controversy: the Jesuit missionaries were forbidden to take part in honors paid to Confucius or the ancestors of the Emperors of China, which Clement XI identified as "idolatrous and barbaric", and to accommodate Christian language to pagan ideas under plea of conciliating the heathen. The political troubles of the time greatly embarrassed Clement XI's relations with the leading Catholic powers, and the moral prestige of the Holy See suffered much from his compulsory recognition of the Archduke Charles of Austria as King of Spain. His private character was irreproachable; he was also an accomplished scholar, and a patron of letters and science. Personal library Clement XI's family library was sold between 1864 and 1928, and part of it was purchased by The Catholic University of America. This collection contains a large section concerning the Jansenist controversy and the Chinese Rites controversy, as well as Canon Law, and other related topics. The manuscript material purchased in 1864 by Theodor Mommsen on behalf of the Prussian government was lost at sea on its way to Germany. Decoration of San Giovanni Laterano Clement established a committee, overseen by his favorite artists, Carlo Maratta and Carlo Fontana, to commission statuary of the apostles to complete the decoration of San Giovanni in Laterano.

Histori of Albania

On January 20, 2004, I was in the U.S. Capitol with the Board of the Albanian American Civic League. As we watched President Bush give his annual State of the Union speech, in which he concluded that the state of our nation is strong, I thought about the weak economic, political, and social conditions that affect the seven million Albanians living side by side in six political jurisdictions in the Balkans. I thought to myself if Gjergj Kastrioti or Fan Noli were here today looking through my eyes, how would they assess the state of the Albanian nation in the political and economic context of the world today?

I think that Kastrioti and Noli would conclude that the state of the Albanian nation today is poor.This is not to say that Albanians as individuals and families are not strong. They are, and this has enabled the Albanian people to resist and endure 2,300 years of foreign aggression and occupation, as follows:

A History of Occupation and Albanian Resistance
From the Roman Empire to the 21st Century
Symbol of Resistance
Roman Empire
Queen Teuta
Ottoman Turks
Gjergj Kastrioti
Montenegrin Slavs
Ali Pacia Gucia
November 28, 1912
The Great Powers
Ismail Qemali
Local Slavs and Serbs
Sultana Saliu
Shota and Azem Galica
Albanians in Balkans
Expulsion by Serbs to Turkey
Fan Noli
Serbs and Montengrins
Azem Hajdini
Pjeter Abnori
Presheve Valley
Adem Demaci
Milosevic/Serbian Army
Pekaz, Drenice
Adem Jashari
Greek, Serb, Russian Lobbies
AACL and Jewish lobby
Milosevic/Serbian army
Belgrade and its Allies
AACL/H.Res.28 Lantos/Hyde


One of the most striking impressions of contemporary Epirus is the emptiness of the interior of this northern Greek province, which is known to Albanians as Chameria. Vast forests now cover what was once prime grazing land leaving just scattered settlements marooned as a result of a cruel history that has driven Albanians, Slavs and Greeks from this region because of their ethnicity or political beliefs. The ever- encroaching wilderness has enveloped many villages once occupied by ethnic Albanians or Chams, who were forced to flee their homes towards the end of the Second World War. There are, however, some haunting reminders of this once populous region in the form of ruined houses, mosques and other buildings, which protrude from the hillsides or in isolated pockets hidden in undergrowth on the outskirts of new settlements.
These older buildings of Epirus/Chameria comprise one of the most important geographically concentrated clusters of historic monuments from the Venetian and Ottoman periods in south eastern Europe. They exist in a compact region stretching inland from the 1913 Greek – Albanian border south to Ioannina and Arta, and down to Vonitsa and Preveza on the coast. Apart from the theatre at Dodona, there are few monuments from the ancient period. The few outstanding remains are focused on the Illyrian hilltop forts, which later became the foundations of the great Venetian and Ottoman citadels such as Rogoi and Karavosstari Castle. There are also numerous important Islamic monuments to be found throughout Epirus, which include the hauntingly beautiful mosque in the lake at Ioannina, the Ottoman military edifices at Pende Pigada, and many graceful bridges at Arta and elsewhere. Thousands of mostly uninhabited ordinary houses have somehow managed to survive the violent and tragic history of the region during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
The disgraceful state of preservation of much of this heritage by the Greek government should be a matter of international concern. Although there has been some progress in declaring conservation areas in Greek cities in recent years, many historic buildings once occupied by Albanians have been demolished since 1945. In the countryside, some restoration work has begun at a very basic level in buildings such as Rogoi Castle, but the greater share of available resources goes to sites like Dodona which can find a place in the approved ‘canon’ of Greek history. However, alongside this work there are many gross distortions of both ancient and modern history in the information provided for visitors. The Illyrian period is never mentioned, and the nature and ethnic background of rulers such as King Pyrrus is either omitted or grossly distorted. The fact that local tribes during the ancient period were a mixture of Greek and non-Greek speakers is omitted.
In the modern period, the nature of such distortions becomes much worse. This is especially the case during the period of rule by Ali Pasha of Tepelena (1788-1823)

Many Ottoman monuments have no historical or cultural information available at all to visitors. The very few surviving mosques have been taken over as ‘museums’, following the model pioneered by the Yugoslav communists, despite the existence of observant Muslims in many localities. Muslim cemeteries are frequently desecrated by modern building works, particularly road building. At the same time most restoration work is financed by the European Union, which is unaware that EU funding is being used to underwrite the ideological projection of Greek nationalist history.

The most acute crisis for the Cham architectural heritage concerns domestic properties. This is naturally inextricably linked with the failure of the Greek government to deal properly with the original Albanian Cam owners. Practices differ in each locality. In some cases, historic houses belonging to absent Cham families are respected monuments in their locality, and are not interfered with, even if they are in a poor state of repair. Others however, are often used illegally for inappropriate purposes, such as shelter for farm animals. Elsewhere such houses have been seized by illegal Greek owners or squatted in by internal migrants in Greece. In other places there are important collections of old Albanian tower houses, or Kullas, of outstanding architectural quality that have survived amongst the forests and scrub land by virtue of being in old military zones near the Albanian border.
The most important urban monuments are at Paramithia and Margariti, and in small towns like Perdika. Paramithia has a large Cham tower kulla that is wrongly ascribed by the Greek local authority as ‘Venetian’, and a magnificently situated Ottoman fortress which it is made very difficult to access. Margariti has numerous very important large domestic houses, including the old residence of the Ottoman pasha. The latter is completely overgrown by vegetation, and is impossible for visitor access. In some locations, Cham houses have been illegally taken over by local Greek interlopers, including the Greek Orthodox Church, which can result in either the demolition or inappropriate restoration of the Cham property.
Thus the preservation of the wider social and historic heritage of Cameria interfaces with the political and legal problem of justice for the Cham property owners and compensation claims by families affected by the Zervas genocide in 1943-44 and earlier ethnic cleansing attempts. The strategy in Epirus of successive Greek governments has been to allow a slow and largely hidden process of erosion of Cam history and heritage and its substitution by Greek ‘modernity’. A similar process also affects thousands of properties in Northern Greece owned by Slav-Macedonians, who were forced to leave Greece after supporting the losing side in the Greek Civil war 1944-1949. In these cases, Greece is in breach of European Union and international law applicable to the payment of compensation and property restitution for the victims of war and ethnic cleansing. The main reason for the continuation of the ‘state of war’ by the Greek Parliament and the illegal restrictions on the Turkish and Slav-Macedonian minorities is to prevent a rational resolution of these issues and protect Greece from financial compensation claims.
It is not only Greece that should be chastised for the neglect of Cham architectural heritage. The Albanian government has also shown considerable disregard for matters relating to Cham property issues in Greece. It was only after the publication of a British document on the status of Cham property in Greece in April 2002 that the Albanian parliament began to address the Cham issue(1). Despite the draft resolution on compensation and restitution of Cham property approved by the parliamentary group of the ruling Socialist Party in March 2004, there has been no further progress in the matter. If the Tirana government continues to delay resolving this issue, it will be responsible for further condemning the Cham cultural and historical heritage and tradition in Epirus to oblivion. Some critics of the Socialist government in Tirana would also claim that this neglect has been paralleled by the indifference shown by that government to the preservation of historic Ottoman areas such as Korca Market in Albania itself. It is in the general interests of all Albanians and anyone concerned with the preservation of south east Europe’s architectural heritage, to halt this process of architectural erosion. The neglect of the Cham cultural heritage by both the Greek and Albanian governments, shows complete disregard and indifference to international and EU law and natural justice. Greece as a European Union member is legally bound to respect minority rights and minority cultural rights.
In regard to the heritage of the Chams and other minorities in Greece, there appears to be little or no respect for minority cultures, combined with a subtle and active government policy directed towards their complete erosion or assimilation. Many EU laws have never been properly incorporated into national legislation in Athens, and it is a scandal that Greece continues to receive funding for heritage projects that in many instances in North Western Greece actively promote the destruction of a central element in that heritage.
It is time the issue of the Cham heritage in Greece was properly internationalised. A possible avenue for those seeking to preserve this heritage is to seek the involvement of international bodies such as UNESCO and Monuments in Danger or the British organisation SAVE Europe’s Heritage, to force Greece to recognise the problem and take appropriate steps to remedy it. The decay of these buildings is accelerating at an alarming pace and unless measures are taken soon Europe will have lost a fascinating glimpse into its Ottoman past. Cultural heritage is also important in international relations. For example, the destruction of Buddist statues by the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001 was a quite significant factor in mobilising international opinion against the Taliban regime, and helping legitimise humanitarian military action in that country. In the same way, in northern Cyprus attacks on Orthodox churches, the theft of icons and associated vandalism has been valuable in illustrating and focusing international attention the human rights issues there.
The cultural policies and minority rights orientation of modern Greece are quite incompatible with European Union membership and international law, and the government and civil society organisations in Albania should have no hesitation in a vigorous pursuit of Cham rights in this respect, as in others. If Greece does not change its current policies, the EU has various responses to penalise Greece, such as those applied over the environmental crisis on the turtle nesting beaches on the Ionian island of Zachinthos. EU funding was withheld here until there was compliance with EU law on wild life preservation.
The promotion of the restoration of the Cham buildings is also part of the wider issue of the opening up of Ottoman heritage as a normal part of modern Greek - and European - history. It also encompasses the wider question of improving the human rights and legal status of all ethnic Albanians living in Greece. The cultural achievement of the 500 years of Turkish rule is never subject to rational evaluation in modern Greece. An author writing in the authoritative reference volume ‘Blue Guide Greece’ recently stated that there was “no Ottoman archaeology in Greece”(2).
In order to assist moves to restore the most important architectural sites, a number of clear steps need to be taken. A comprehensive inventory of Cham monuments should be drawn up, so that it is clear to the international cultural community what buildings need to be preserved. A central cadastral register of house ownership before the 1944 massacres is urgently needed. A comprehensive map of Chameria needs to be produced, showing Cham place names and modern Greek place names. The Albanian language in Greece has been marginalised and needs proper recognition as a minority language, along the lines of the use of the Turkish language in Thrace. The Greek displacement of the Cham physical heritage has been possible because it has been de-legitimised in international cultural discourse, and a canonic version of Greek nationalist history of the heritage substituted.
Above all, the Albanian government and associated cultural organisations and universities in Albanian communities throughout the Balkans and the diaspora, need to clearly understand that the Cham heritage is not a sectional cause. The legacy of Cham occupation in north western Greece should be recognised as central to gaining international recognition of Albanian culture as is the struggle for the independence of Kosova, and the improvement of human rights for Albanians throughout the world.
(1) The Cham Issue - Albanian National and Property Rights Claims in Greece, by Miranda Vickers, Conflict Studies Research Centre, April 2002
(2) The Blue Guide to Greece, A & C Black, London, 1999