Culture Supplement

It's not just stones

Descriptive Text

Considering how many property conflicts between states take place here, in Kosovo (former Dardani), archeology should be the most privileged science by the state, because it preserves its foundations. Also, since the name Kosovo itself is problematic, because it was put by the Serbs, not the Albanians, the primary goal of the state should be the return of the first name: Dardania. The stones mentioned by the English archaeologist, Arthur Evans, are not just stones

The archaeologist, agent, journalist, philanthropist and English statesman, Sir Arthur Evans (1851-1941), is a great researcher, because his discoveries have linked eras and civilizations, although sometimes excesses have been observed in his restorations. As an archaeologist who found important traces of the Bronze and Iron Ages, and who focused mainly on the Greco-Illyrian terrain, his name forever remains associated with the palace discovered on the outskirts of Heraklion, Crete, known as the Palace of Knossos, which is related to the Minoan civilization and the myth about Theseus and the Minotaur, where Ariadne's thread, the tyranny of King Minos, etc. are also interfered.

It was these mythological connotations of Knossos that were rekindled with the discovery of Evans, who now has a bust in that archaeological courtyard, where visitors from all over the world go every year and every day.

I was one of them. When I left there, I saw that the taxi driver was waiting for me, after he had returned some glasses to the bar opposite. As we headed back towards the center of Heraklion, I asked him what he thought of this discovery and what he knew about Knossos. Although he had lived opposite the archaeological site for forty years, and took visitors there daily, he had never been tempted to go inside to visit. So, not only did he know nothing about archaeology, but also about mythology. As we had a little way to go, I told him about Theseus and Ariadne, Minos and the Minotaur, Daedalus and Icarus, while he listened to me with interest, like a child when told a fairy tale, and seemed happy with what he heard. Once he looked at me and said: it looks very interesting, when I know these stories, but for me those ruins are just stones, nothing more.

Just stones, nothing more. These last famous words of that trip stuck in my head.

Like that Greek taxi driver, it is the majority of Albanians who use ancient stones to build modern houses and palaces and cover them with lime, not because they are afraid because of the obscenity, but because they are ashamed of their age. They like to obliterate ancient traces and boast of antiquity. Paradoxical people.

Greco-Illyrian civilization is the greatest European treasure, but the Greek branch has borne fruit, while the Illyrian branch has not. How much can we hope that in the future this Illyrian past can give something to the world? Little or nothing, when we know how we deal with ancient remains today.

Albanians were lucky to be a very important part of Illyria, and to be neighbors of Greece. They were between the two greatest European civilizations: the Greeks and the Romans. It doesn't seem to me that they will take advantage of this luck today.

Anyway, Arthur Evans, studying Illyria, also researches the Albanian terrain, and especially the Illyrian province called Dardani, which had three centers: Skopje, Ulpiana (Lipjan) and Nis. In the research trip through Dardani, he traces, records, draws, witnesses and studies the ancient Illyrian remains in Gjakovë, Pejë, Lipjan, etc. He made special discoveries in Kaçanik, where he found evidence of the worship of Mr. Andin, the god of vegetation and soil fertility.

The Albanians, as descendants of the Illyrians, and especially the Kosovars as descendants of the Dardanians, have not had difficulty finding Illyrian traces, because they are everywhere in their land, but they have had difficulties in finding and maintaining historical continuity, so conditioned by archaeological evidence. The poet Odyssea Elitis, in his speech on the occasion of accepting the Nobel Prize, says that the Greeks have the language that has been spoken for over two thousand five hundred years without interruption and with very minor changes, and that in each of those 25 centuries, without any interruption, Greek, in addition to being spoken, was also written. Thus, he sees language (especially written language) as evidence of identity continuity, that is, as an unbroken chain from antiquity to modernity.

Unfortunately, among the Albanians, many links are missing, the chain is broken and, thus, those who came later have more evidence than Albanians (Illyrians) who are as ancient as the Greeks (Hellenes) in the Balkan Peninsula. Considering how many property conflicts between states take place here, in Kosovo (former Dardani), archeology should be the most privileged science by the state, because it preserves its foundations. Also, since the name Kosovo itself is problematic, because it was given by the Serbs, not the Albanians, the primary goal of the state should be the return of the first name: Dardania. Let Crete serve as an example. Around the 9th century, its administrative capital, Heraklion, was given the name Handak (ditch) by the Arabs, which was then deformed by the Italians to Kandia. It took ten centuries to return the country to its first name: Heraklion ("the city of Heracles").

It is not known exactly when the name Dardani was removed, but somewhere between the 8th and 13th centuries, when Dardania was divided into two parts: the Monastery Properties and the Field of Mellenjave. So, Metohija (Greek word: μετόχια, metóchia; singular μετόχιον, metóchion, meaning "property of the monastery") and Kosovo Polje. (Serbian: kos – thrush; polje – field; thus, Field of thrushes). The Greek name, Metohia, is also used by Arthur Evans. It is strange that Albanians are offended by the Greek name Metohia, but not by the Serbian name Kosovë (Kosovo/Kosova).

After the arrival of the criminal president at the head of the Serbian state in 1989, a party was formed in Kosovo that brought to the head of the state a president who ignored the name Kosovo and preferred the return of the old name: Dardania. Thus, on the occasion of the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo, when the Albanians and Serbs were allies against the Ottomans, another battle began, this time between the "allies": the Serbs fought for the "return" of Kosovo, the Albanians for its protection and return of toponymy; the Serbs said that this was their land since the Byzantine period, the Albanians insisted that they were here from the Illyrian period. How and how much this issue was resolved, we all know.

As long as the Kosovar president, due to the context or character, in addition to bringing a pro-Dardan spirit, as something proto-Kosovar, failed to do something more, it is the duty of the Dardan descendants to return to themselves and the country the first name .

Modern, civilized people are proud of old things, while for Albanians old age is covered as a shame. I think that this anti-modern approach should be the explanation for such large gaps in the history of Albanians, gaps that often cause historical inferiority to their neighbors.

Thus, even though the research of Arthur Evans - translated into Albanian by Sherif Luzha - is not perfect, the lack of interest until today to put it into circulation for the Albanian reader, is a clear indicator of the lethargy of the Dardanian pine trees. The English archaeologist does not beat us on the shoulders, but opens our eyes.

In a country where the links of the historical chain are missing, this archaeological research, regardless of any methodological or toponomastic omission, should not cause dissatisfaction, but awaken the consciousness of the sleeping Dardanians to follow the traces of their civilization antique.

The stones mentioned by the English archaeologist are not just stones.