Culture Supplement

When the Illyrians became arboreal

From the 6th to the 11th century, according to international researchers, there are no records of Illyrians or Albanians, and some write that when the Slavs came to the Balkans, they found a Latin-speaking population there, who could not be determined who they were?! This hypothesis widens the gap between Illyrians and Albanians to 4 centuries. International sources do not contradict the appearance of Albanians in Illyricum for the first time

Peoples, like any other living being, evolve and transform from one level of development to another. The process of evolution, depending on natural and social-cultural factors, speeds up or slows down. There is a general rule that difficulties prompt or push people to make solutions, often with larger adaptations or transformations. Although the Middle Ages is the darkest phase of the historical development of the Albanian people and international researchers have left this gap open, the transformation of the Illyrians into trees, however, the various archaeological, architectural, ethnographic, genetic data, etc. help us illuminate this bridge from the corner of the Roman Empire, when it was separated from the Byzantine one (4th century, year 395) to the corner of the 11th century (year 1043).

Undisputed historical records etc. show that the Illyrians continued to live in the Roman Empire in North-West Illyricum, while those of Southern Illyricum continued to live with Byzantium, which provided many soldiers and emperors for both empires. The Illyrians were "alive" in the documents of the time, although in a process of Romanization and Hellenization, even after the Slavic invasions until the 12th century, when they were finally conquered by the Slavs (Croats, Bulgarians and Serbs). From the 6th century to the 11th century, according to international researchers, there are no records of Illyrians or Albanians, and some write that when the Slavs came to the Balkans, they found a Latin-speaking population there, who could not be determined who they were?! This hypothesis widens the gap between Illyrians and Albanians to 4 centuries. International sources do not contradict the appearance of Albanians in Illyricum for the first time. Albanians first appear in historical annals in 1043, when Albanian troops are present together with Greeks in the army of a rebel Byzantine general, they are also mentioned in Durrës, in 1078, and again, in 1081, when they joined the Byzantine forces that resisted the invasion of the Norman adventurer Robert Zhiskar, according to Stadtmyller, brought by Malcolm.

In order to shed light on this highly controversial gap today in scientific circles, we must carefully analyze all existing data, with a holistic approach, because new data are being discovered over time. The many analyzes and the many factors that are considered determining in the creation of Albanians, leads us to three possible hypotheses:

The Albanians have no connection with the Illyrians, but were created by the mixture of different populations that came to Illyria;

Albanians were created independently and unknown in a territory between Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro and today's Western Bulgaria.

Albanians were created as a result of a long evolutionary development from Neolithic times through the Illyrians as the main link of their transformation under the influence of many natural, social and cultural factors.

The first hypothesis: the Albanians came from somewhere else

This hypothesis is supported by a small number of Slavic and international researchers and until today there is no scientific support. Most of them think that the Albanians came during the time of the Ottoman Empire and settled in the Balkans and culturally and linguistically they have nothing to do with the peoples of the Balkans, alluding that the Slavs are the defining peoples of the Balkans. There is no scientific evidence that Albanians came from somewhere else. According to the laws of evolution, there is no people that comes to a territory and for a short time creates such strong ties with the local culture as the Albanians, nor did the Slavs come for a short and rapid time, their arrival lasted at least four centuries (from the 6th – 10th/12th century).

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Map. 1. The spread of the haplogroups of the Y chromosome, in the peoples of Europe and the Balkans, where you can see the spread of the haplogroup E1b1b, EV13 concentrated in Albanians, while R1b in Albanians and Europeans in contrast to the Slavic peoples with haplogroup I2a. Source: Robert Gabel 2010

The second hypothesis: Albanians were created from an old unknown population

This hypothesis that the researchers supporting it raised in theory is based mainly on the historical documentary data, which the Albanians derive as a native people of the Balkans derived from an old unknown population of the Balkans (paleobalkan). This theory so far excludes the origin of the Albanians from the Illyrians, although it does not reject it completely. This theory is supported by almost the majority of international researchers and is currently the official international theory for the origin of Albanians. The essence of this theory lies in the fact that Albanians appear for the first time in history in the 11th century and there are no written records that they have any connection with the ancient Illyrians, except for some onomastic words or facts. They claim that the gap between the Illyrians and the Albanians is insurmountable with the existing data, and they do not consider the arguments of Albanian and other international researchers to illuminate and connect this gap sufficiently scientifically based. For analysis we will deal with some views offered by Malcolm and Schmitt, as modern representatives of this hypothesis. Our analysis will try to give a different point of view from the proponents of this hypothesis.

According to N. Malcolm: "The name used in these references (to the Albanians, our emphasis), despite the linguistic differences, is the same: 'Albanenes' or 'Arbanenses' in Latin, "Albanoi" or 'Arbanitaj' in Byzantine Greek ( The latter, with an internal change of consonants, has helped the formation of the Turkish form for Albanians 'arnavudë', from which the word 'arnaut' was later derived). "There is no mystery about the origin of this name. In the 2nd century, Ptolemy mentions a tribe called 'Albanoi', and he calls the town of this tribe 'Albanopolis', which was located somewhere east of Durrës. Linguists believe that the element 'Alb' is derived from the Indo-European word for a type of mountainous terrain, from which the word 'Alps' is derived. Some such toponyms must have remained until today, with a somewhat hazy continuity, there was once an area called 'Arbanon' in the 11th century, in Northern and Central Albania, and at the beginning of the 20th century, 'Arben' it is called a district near Kruja". "Toponyms or names of places can survive, while populations simply come and go (to allude that the name is not related to today's Albanians, our emphasis)". Next, Malcolm raises the question: "Is there any way to bridge the gap between the 'Albanoi' of the 2nd century and the Albanians of the Middle Ages?" The historical documents are completely silent about this". We think that the supporters of this hypothesis, including Malcolm, actually accept the "Illyrian" theory of the origin of Albanians, but also oppose it. In the scientific argumentation of this theory, some problems or shortcomings can be observed, which make this theory completely unbelievable.

Language problems

It is undeniable the great work that international researchers have done on the Albanian issue until Albanian studies began in the 19th - 20th centuries. To see how the problem of bridging the Illyrian-Albanian gap has been treated, we will analyze only some of Malcolm's views, which he summarizes and simplifies, capturing the essence of the international scientific opinion on this matter. The origin of a people is very complicated and cannot be explained only through its language and a word, normally as an example, and only through written documents. In the field of evaluation, there are precise rules on how to evaluate a certain human achievement. To evaluate professionally, relevant information is required, and to provide relevant information, we need to track all dimensions and measure them, and to measure, we need to develop measuring instruments and use them. relevant methodologies. Now the question arises that the researchers who support this theory have included all the dimensions of the object of study and have they used the relevant instruments and methods for the scientific treatment of this problem? We think not. We think that international researchers have studied the Albanian issue not enough and looking at it from afar and from above.

What can we understand from the word "Albanian" as an example? The word "Albanoi" was mentioned in the 2nd century, but also in the 11th century (year 1080) by the Byzantine chronicler and historian Michael Attaleiates. Seen only from the documentary point of view, this is not enough for the connection of the Illyrian tribe Albanoi with the Albanians of the Middle Ages (Albanoi - Arbanon), but there are also no documents that prove the opposite, it depends on how you look at the glass, half full or half empty . The absence of documents in no way means that someone or something does not exist (doubt is the starting point of the scientific treatment of a problem)! On the contrary, the name in question speaks of the glass full, because Malcolm himself says that the continuity of this name is really interesting, so it means that a fact, however blurred, exists. Likewise, when an evidence does not have full explanatory power of a problem, auxiliary evidence should be used, which was not used in this case. While names or few words from onomastics are considered as something that cannot be related to a people, on the other hand, most researchers, supporters of this theory, base the opposition of the Illyrian-Albanian connection with exactly the same argument, with the names in the language Slavic settlements of today's Albanians!? On the one hand, they claim that names remain, and peoples come and go, while when it comes to Slavic names in Albanian lands, they are taken as scientific facts that break the connection between Illyrians and Albanians. Different interpretation of the same criteria or evidence means a non-standard scientific approach.

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Major DNA haplogroups of the Y chromosome for the peoples of the Balkans

It is true that peoples, as Malcolm says, come and go and names remain, but in this case, both the name and the Albanian people neither came nor went, and this theory itself says that Albanians are a native population descended from a population old paleobalkanic. So the word "albion" is a proof in a logical flow, but not the only and complete proof. After all, when we have to ask where the natives of the Balkans are hiding, let's call genetics for help? Genetics says that haplogroups E1b1b (var. EM215, EV13, EM78) etc. encountered Albanians are native populations that penetrated from Western Asia into today's Balkans nearly 10,000 years ago. Meanwhile, Emir Šehović (University of Bern) specifies the relevant haplogroups for the peoples of today's Balkans. (see Tab. 1). Based on these findings, it can be seen that E1b1b originating from Africa and Asia Minor, through Anatolia, is the dominant haplogroup in Kosovars who belong to the old autochthonous Neolithic population with 45.2% and 24.1% of them, the most of the peoples of Balkans (accompanied by Greeks, Hungarians and Romanians), have connections with European populations through R1b.

So the Albanian people are not isolated as thought, but, in all probability, the path of the Europeans from the Near East passed, besides the steppes and Gibraltar, also through Illyricum.

Also, from the data we understand that the percentage of Slavs (I2a) in Kosovo and Albania is very small (1.9 and 5.7%), while the main source (basin) is Bosnia and Herzegovina, which has also been confirmed by archaeological findings. Meanwhile, Macedonians and Montenegrins have a large percentage (37.6 and 26.7%) of the characteristic haplogroup for Albanians, while Serbs and Bosniaks have the lowest percentage of the European haplogroup – R1b (4.8 and 5%).

O. Schmitt says: "It is certain that the ancient Balkan ancestors of today's Albanians lived in Kosovo before the Slavic invasion." But neither Malcolm nor Schmitt nor any of the supporters of this hypothesis at least do not assume, which is a rule in science, which, based on the existing evidence, could be the possible population from which the Albanians were created?! If science cannot prove a hypothesis, in order to rise to a theory, it must at least assume the solution. Science exists to illuminate the unknown, not to obscure it further. In physical science, the dimensions of the subject cannot be measured only with "scales" or only with "meters". For each dimension the corresponding instrument is required. Even the origin of a people cannot be explained by written documents alone. When these documentary writings are missing, researchers have the option of using natural written language. Every population in the world, including the Albanians, is written with the real natural language - with DNA, genes or relevant haplogroups, despite the subjective writings of people. Even when this is not possible, anthropology offers solutions by using the material and immaterial spiritual culture of a people, which in most cases the international researchers for the Albanians reject, but not for the Hellenes (Greeks). With the help of many scholars, these rigid attitudes of historians are now being overcome. Sarah B. Pomeroy (and others) writes: Of course, the line between material and writing is often blurred, as in the case of words scratched into a piece of pottery, or an inscription carved into a stone pillar. Also, the parallel developments in cultural and biological anthropology taking place by different authors as strategic agents are providing a favorable climate for an attempt to reconcile the views between the two subfields.

Byzantium in the 11th century did not call Albanians "Albanoi" by chance. In the world, nothing happens without a reason, surely those who wrote in the time of Byzantium knew that the population that joined Byzantium against the Normans of Robert Zhiskar, came from the same territory where the "Albanoi" tribe was located, and the name of the meaning of at first it did not express the name of the place, but the name of a people, the name of the place "Albanopolis", as a second meaning, came from the name of the people where it lived. All variants of the name "Albanian" were external names, from neighboring peoples, who used the same words to name the same people at different times, and there is no fact that it is otherwise. The finding of the name "arbanon" in Northern Albania and then in Krujë, is completely consistent with the forced migration during the Slavic invasions of the same people, there is no evidence that in the Middle Ages another people with the name "arbanon" came to these regions. Just as the word albanon had evolved into arbanon (arbër), with the change of consonants (l ~ r), so had the people named. The Illyrians "albanized" for 9 centuries, in a linear evolutionary way they were transformed into an arbor or "arbanon". The Albanian word is an internal production motivated and created in other historical circumstances and in this case it does not help in elaborating the problem. The transformation of the word with the same root, which claims to name a people, also with the same root, is fully consistent with the concepts of scientific evolution. Evolution at its core is slow change in which all environmental and social factors participate. In this way, the creation of Homo sapiens, who for 4-5 million years left us no written documents, is explained. Part of evolution is also revolution, where in certain conditions, usually in difficult conditions, larger jumps or changes are observed. In all likelihood, the early Middle Ages, which were characterized by extraordinary conditions of the influx of peoples, turned into a kind of revolution of the transformation of the Illyrians into a tree, although the differences (differences) are not so great that the bridge between them seems so dark

The other problem of the views of this hypothesis is that its supporters believe that the writings found in Latin and Slavic languages ​​for this period in the territory of the Illyrians and then the Albanians are automatically considered as products of the Latin (Roman) and Slavic populations. Malcolm writes that: "what is known is that when the Slavs came to the Balkans, they found a Latin-speaking population", implying that when the Slavs came there were no Illyrians. Who these Latin speakers were is not indicated. In fact, onomastics or the preservation of traditional Illyrian names for people (Illyrian names are also found in inscriptions for official persons who were Roman citizens), for places, rivers, mountains, animals, plants, etc., proves the opposite, that it was not Romanized there. everything, there were traces of the Illyrians. Jason R. Abdale (2019) argues that perhaps we are misreading the artifacts, the Romans rarely made an effort to teach them the names of the gods worshiped by the peoples they conquered, so they simply their gods (the Illyrians in this case ) called them by Roman names. So it is very important how the data is read and interpreted. When developments cannot be explained, then we must go back to the beginning and use other aids.

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Excerpted from the book "Albanian Anthropology" in manuscript