Albanian nobility

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The Albanian nobility was an elite hereditary ruling class in Albania, parts of the western Balkans and later in parts of the Ottoman world. The Albanian nobility was composed of landowners of vast areas, often in allegiance to states like the Byzantine Empire, various Serbian states, the Republic of Venice, the Ottoman Empire and the Kingdom of Naples in addition to the Albanian principalities. They often used Byzantine, Latin or Slavic titles,[1] such as sebastokrator, despot, dux, conte and zupan.

Byzantine Empire[edit]

The Muzaka family was loyal to the Byzantine Empire. For their loyalty to Byzantium, the head of the family Andrea II Muzaka gained the title of Despot in 1335, while other Muzakas continued to pursue careers in Byzantine administration in Constantinople.[2]

Principality of Arbanon[edit]

The first Albanian state in the Middle Ages it was ruled by the Progoni family and extended from the Drin river to the southern boundary of the Ohrid lake. Its rulers were known in Catholic sources with the titles of judices, while in Byzantine ones the titles mentioned are those of the grand archon and the panhypersebastos.

Kingdom of Serbia[edit]

When Durrës was captured by the Kingdom of Serbia, Milutin was titled the King of Albania while his rule was occasionally recognized by Albanian noblemen around Durrës.[3] Many Albanian noblemen were included in the feudal hierarchy of the Kingdom of Serbia and had titles and privileges of župans, voivodas or kaznacs.[4]

Serbian Empire[edit]

Albanian nobility was included into hierarchy of the feudal system of Serbian Empire without any discrimination and participated in the work of the highest government institutions, where Albanian archons had the same rights as the Serbian nobility had.[5][6] Serbian emperor wanted to gain the support of the Albanian nobility so he confirmed the privilleges Kruje had been granted by the Byzantine Empire.[7]

Ottoman Empire[edit]

A decisive point of the relation of Albanian nobility with Ottoman Empire was the Battle of Savra in 1385.[8] After the Battle of Savra Albanian nobility became vassals of the Ottoman Empire.[9]

Albanian nobility did not fight against Ottomans with united and compact forces like Serbian and Bulgarian aristocracy, but with small independent local rulers.[10] Therefore the Ottomans, who have been since claimed to be "brutal and cruel" to the Serbian and Bulgarian nobility, might have been conciliatory with the Albanian nobility.[11]

When Albania became part of the Ottoman Empire it was divided into sanjaks with numerous timars. Many members of the Albanian nobility held high rank positions within Ottoman hierarchy then, like Skanderbeg and Ballaban Badera who were the Ottoman sanjakbeys.[12][13][14] Some members of the Albanian nobility were Ottoman timariots.[15] Through the implementation of the timar system the Albanian nobility was absorbed into the Ottoman military class within not more than two generations.[16] They adopted the Ottoman titles like aga, bey or pasha.

Venetian Republic[edit]

Further information: Venetian Albania

During the period of crisis for the Ottoman Empire after the Battle of Ankara in 1402 several Ottoman vassals from Albania including Gjon Kastrioti, Niketas Thopia and Nicola Zaccaria, recognized Venetian suzerainty.[17] Numerous members of Albanian noble families were Venetian pronoiers.[18][19][20][21][22][23] Many Albanian noblemen fought against Skanderbeg within Venetian forces during Albanian–Venetian War.[24][25]

Kingdom of Naples[edit]

In 1451 many Albanian noblemen became vassals of the Kingdom of Naples. The first was Skanderbeg who signed the Treaty of Gaeta on March 26, 1451 and after him many other Albanian noblemen like George Araniti, Ghin Musachi, George Stresi Balsha, Peter Spani, Pal Dukagjini, Thopia Musachi, Peter of Himara, Simon Zanebisha and Carlo Toco signed similar treaties.[26][27] Skanderbeg had to fulfill his vassal obligations to send his forces to Italy to support Ferdinand I of Naples in his struggle against the Angevin Dynasty.[28] In return, the Kingdom of Naples provided financial and military support to its vassals in Albania and maintained a permanent garrison in Kruje.[29][30]

Religion and language[edit]

The religion of the Albanian nobility depended on the religion of their lords, or the power that could threaten their political existence.[31] Until the end of 14th century the Albanian nobility were Christians (Orthodox or Catholic). After the Battle of Savra in 1385 most of the local Albanian nobility became vassals of the Ottoman Empire[32] and began converting to Islam. In the end of 17th century the Albanian nobility was totally islamized.[33]

The official language of correspondence in the Medieval principalities in Albania controlled by local nobility were Greek, Latin or Slavic.[34]

Restoration[edit]

An attempt to restore the monarchy in 1997 was rejected by about two-thirds of those voting in a referendum.[35] Former noble families and their descendants are still a part of society in Albania, but they no longer retain any specific privileges.

The list of Albanian nobility[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bulgarian historical review. Pub. House of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. 2003. p. 164. Retrieved 16 March 2012. "Albanian nobility used intensively a titulature* of Byzantine, Latin or Slavic origins" 
  2. ^ Anamali, Skënder (2002), Historia e popullit shqiptar në katër vëllime (in Albanian) I, Botimet Toena, p. 252, OCLC 52411919 
  3. ^ Jugoslavenska akademija znanosti i umjetnosti (1937). Rad Jugoslavenske akademije znanosti i umjetnosti, Issue 257 (in Serbian). Jugoslavenska akademija zanosti i umjetnosti. p. 259. Retrieved 22 March 2012. "Kasnije, kad je Drač pao u srpske ruke, nosiće kralj Milutin naslov kralja Arbanije." 
  4. ^ Bogdanović, Dimitrije (November 2000) [1984]. "Albanski pokreti 1908-1912.". In Antonije Isaković. Knjiga o Kosovu (in Serbian) 2. Belgrade: Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts. Retrieved January 9, 2011. "srpskog kralja Milutina [1282-1321]... vlast srpskog kralja priznavali su povremeno i albanski velikaši u zaleđu Drača...Još u doba kralja Milutina albanski feudalci ce uključuju u feudalni poredak srpske države sa zvanjima i beneficijama župana, vojvode ili kaznaca." 
  5. ^ Bogdanović, Dimitrije (November 2000) [1984]. "Albanski pokreti 1908-1912.". In Antonije Isaković. Knjiga o Kosovu (in Serbian) 2. Belgrade: Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts. Retrieved January 9, 2011. "U Dušanovom carstvu albanske zemlje i velikaši Albanije obuhvaćeni su bez ikakvog izdvajanja i diskriminacije hijerarhijskim feudalnim sistemom....Politička integracija Albanaca u srednjovekovnoj srpskoj državi izvršena je u okviru feudalnog sistema bez diskriminacije prema albanskoj vlasteli. Sa svojim starim ili novim zvanjima, stečenim ili tek dobijenim povlasticama, sa baštinama, pronijama i drugim feudalnim pravima albanski feudalci, u meri u kojoj su ulazili u srpsku državu, bili su aktivan činilac te države. U titulama srpskih kraljeva odnosno careva, kao što smo videli, albanski narod je došao i do svojevrsnog državnopravnog legitimiteta. Ovaj ce legitimitet izražavao i u pravima albanske vlastele da učestvuje u radu najviših organa vlasti srpske države, srpskih sabora. Već sa širenjem granica srpske države preko grčkih i albanskih oblasti, kako je primetio Nikola Radojčić, javilo ce pitanje o učestvovanju Grka i Albanaca na srpskim saborima; grčki i albanski arhonti su i učestvovali u radu sabora sa svim pravima srpske vlastele." 
  6. ^ У време јаког продора српске државе у средњовековну Ал- банију и потпуне превласти цара Стефана Душана арбанашка властела постала је активан и врло значајан политички чинилац у земљи., p.42 - Glas, Том 338, Srpska akademija nauka i umetnosti, 1983
  7. ^ Christos Soulis, George (1984). The Serbs and Byzantium during the reign of Tsar Stephen Dušan (1331-1355) and his successors. p. 136. Retrieved 26 March 2012. "The chrysobull that Dusan issued in June 13h3, by which he confirmed the privileges of Kroja that had been granted by the Byzantine emperors, clearly indicates that the Serbian ruler sought to win the support of the Albanian nobility. From the evidence of this document we may assume that Dušan entrusted to the local nobility the administration of various Albanian cities" 
  8. ^ Universiteti Shtetëror i Tiranës. Instituti i Historisë e Gjuhësisë, Instituti i Gjuhësisë dhe i Letërsisë (Akademia e Shkencave e RPS të Shqipërisë), Akademia e Shkencave e RPSH. Instituti i Ghuhësisë dhe i Letërsisë, Instituti i Historisë (Akademia e Shkencave e RPS të Shqipërisë) (2005). Studia Albanica, Volume 38, Issue 1. Académie des sciences de la République Populaire d'Albanie, Institut d'histoire, Institut de linguistique et littérature. p. 85. Retrieved 26 March 2012. "A turning point in the first contacts between the Albanian nobility and the Ottomans was the Battle of Savra (ca. 1385)." 
  9. ^ Universiteti Shtetëror i Tiranës. Instituti i Historisë e Gjuhësisë, Instituti i Gjuhësisë dhe i Letërsisë (Akademia e Shkencave e RPS të Shqipërisë), Akademia e Shkencave e RPSH. Instituti i Ghuhësisë dhe i Letërsisë, Instituti i Historisë (Akademia e Shkencave e RPS të Shqipërisë) (2005). Studia Albanica, Volume 38, Issue 1. Académie des sciences de la République Populaire d'Albanie, Institut d'histoire, Institut de linguistique et littérature. p. 85. Retrieved 26 March 2012. "After the Battle of Savra Albanian princes became vassals of the Ottomans." 
  10. ^ Skendi, Stavro (1980). Balkan cultural studies. East European Monographs. p. 172. Retrieved 26 March 2012. "...the Bulgarian and Serbian aristocracies...In the first place, the Albanian feudal lords did not fight against the Ottomans, as the Bulgarians and Serbs in an orderly battle, with united and compact forces." 
  11. ^ Skendi, Stavro (1980). Balkan cultural studies. East European Monographs. p. 172. Retrieved 26 March 2012. "One might wonder why the Ottomans, who were so harsh on the Bulgarian and Serbian aristocracies, were so conciliatory with the Albanian nobility." 
  12. ^ Zhelyazkova, Antonina. "Albanian identities". Archived from the original on April 3, 2011. Retrieved April 3, 2011. "In 1440, he was promoted to sancakbey of Debar" 
  13. ^ İnalcık, Halil, From empire to republic : essays on Ottoman and Turkish social history, Istanbul: Isis Press, p. 88, ISBN 9789754280807, OCLC 34985150, retrieved 4 January 2012, "Balaban Aga, qui a accordé des timar à ses propres soldats dans la Basse- Dibra et dans la Çermeniça, ainsi qu'à son neveu à Mati, doit être ce même Balaban Aga, sancakbeyi d'Ohrid, connu pour ses batailles sanglantes contre Skanderbeg." 
  14. ^ Hösch, Peter (1972). The Balkans: a short history from Greek times to the present day, Volume 1972, Part 2. Crane, Russak. p. 96. ISBN 978-0-8448-0072-1. Retrieved April 4, 2011. 
  15. ^ AARP, art and archaeology research papers. 1975. p. 61. Retrieved 16 March 2012. "Some timars were acquired by members of the Albanian nobility," 
  16. ^ Schmitt, Oliver Jens (2010), Religion und Kultur im albanischsprachigen Südosteuropa 4, Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien: Lang, p. 22, ISBN 978-3-631-60295-9, "After the adoption of timar system, the absorption of Albanian nobility into Ottoman military class did not take more than two generations" 
  17. ^ Central Institute of Islamic Research (1997). Islamic studies. Pakistan: Islamic Research Institute. p. 194. Retrieved 22 March 2012. "Among those disloyal vassals was Ivan Kastrioti, Niketas Thopia and Nicola Zaccaria." 
  18. ^ Serbian Academy of Science 1980, p. 43

    Радич Хумој био је врло истакнути пронијар у Скадарском крају

  19. ^ Serbian Academy of Science 1980, p. 49

    Радич Хумој је умро пре но што је пописан скадарски крај. Балеч је, после њега, припао његовом брату Андрији, који је био војвода предела изнад Скадра, и сину Којчину.

  20. ^ Rivista di studi bizantini e neoellenici, Volume 7. Rome: Istituto per l'Europa orientale (Rome, Italy), Associazione nazionale per gli studi bizantini. 1953. p. 506. Retrieved 28 January 2012. 
  21. ^ Antonović, Miloš (2003), Town and district in littoral of Zeta and northern Albania in 14th and 15th century (in Serbian), Belgrade: Istorijski institut, p. 216, ISBN 9788677430313, OCLC 55953999, "Наиме, женећи се 1433 године ћерком Петра Спана, Радич II Хумој је добио село Серељи у барском дистрикту" 
  22. ^ Schmitt 2001, p. 491

    Radic und Maran Humoj verwalteten seit 1441 Gleros bei Skutari, das einst den Bonzi gehört hatte.

  23. ^ The Late Medieval Balkans: A Critical Survey from the Late Twelfth Century to the Ottoman Conquest Author John Van Antwerp Fine Edition reprint, illustrated Publisher University of Michigan Press, 1994 ISBN 0472082604, 9780472082605 p. 510 "Koja [Zaharia] submitted to Venice"
  24. ^ Schmitt 2001, p. 490

    In einer getreidearmen Gegend war dies ein Anschlag auf die Lebensgrundlagen der Gemeinde. Venedig ging in dieser Frage äusserst behutsam vor, denn Koja und Andreas Humoj hatten der Signoria bedeutende Dienste geleistet. Zusammen mit Simeon Vulkata waren sie an der Spitze der venezianischen Verbände gegen Skanderbeg ins Feld gezogen (1447). In ihren Machtgebieten um Balezo und Drivasto wurde besonders heftig gekämpft.

  25. ^ Univerzitet u Beogradu. Filozofski fakultet (1964). Zbornik Filozofskog fakulteta, Volume 8 (in Serbian). Belgrade: Naučno delo. p. 419. Retrieved 28 January 2012. "Многи домаћи људи учествовали су у борбама на Млетачкој страни. Која Хумој... Василије Угрин,...Јован Запа и његов брат...седморице браће Педантари...више њихових рођака...три сина Рајка Монете...Петар Малонши са два сина...и Буша Сорња из Дања...Другима и нема трага..." 
  26. ^ Noli, Fan Stilian (1947), George Castrioti Scanderbeg (1405–1468), International Universities Press, p. 49, OCLC 732882, "Later on Alphonse concluded similar treaties with George Araniti, Ghin Musachi, George Stresi Balsha, Peter Spani, Paul Ducaghini,..." 
  27. ^ Setton, Kenneth (1976–1984), The Papacy and the Levant, 1204-1571 4, American Philosophical Society, pp. 102, 103, ISBN 978-0-87169-114-9, "Scanderbeg now entered into special close relations with King Alphoso of Naples....on 26 March 1451. They got along very well together, as lord and vassal...Besides Alphonso's assertion of suzerainty over Skanderbeg and the latters father in law George Arianiti Topia Golem Cominović,... Alphonso gave recognition as vassals to Ducagjini family, to Simon Zenevisi, ..." 
  28. ^ Elsie, Robert (2010), "Independent Albania (1912—1944)", Historical dictionary of Albania, Lanham: Scarecrow Press, p. 367, ISBN 978-0-8108-7380-3, OCLC 454375231, retrieved 4 February 2012, "In 1458, Scanderbeg was summoned to Italy to fulfil his obligations as vassal under the treaty of Gaeta." 
  29. ^ The New Encyclopaedia Britannica. Encyclopaedia Britannica. 1987. p. 213. Retrieved 26 March 2012. "Skanderbeg in 1451 made an alliance with King Alfonso I of Naples (Alfonso V of Aragon), whose vassal he became, and a permanent Neapolitan garrison was installed in his fortress" 
  30. ^ Spomenik, Volumes 95-97 (in Serbian). Serbian Academy of Science and Arts. 1942. p. xvi. Retrieved 2 February 2012. "Кастел Нови код Напуља, 21. октобар 1454: Краљ Алфонс V јавља Скендербегу да му је Павле Дукађини преко свог посланика изјавио оданост и покорност и да му је као свом вазалу, одредио годишњу провизију од 300 дуката ..." 
  31. ^ Bulgarian historical review. Pub. House of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. 2003. p. 177. Retrieved 16 March 2012. "The Albanian nobility embraced the religion of their lord or of that power which could threaten its political existence." 
  32. ^ Sedlar, Jean W. East Central Europe in the Middle Ages, 1000-1500, University of Washington Press, p. 385
  33. ^ Central Institute of Islamic Research (1997). Islamic studies. Pakistan: Islamic Research Institute. p. 196. Retrieved 16 March 2012. "The Albanian nobility and townfolk from Kosovo were totally Islamized in the end of the 17th century." 
  34. ^ Bulgarian historical review. Pub. House of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. 2003. p. 164. Retrieved 16 March 2012. "Local principalities... using Greek, Ladin or Slavic as the official languages of correspondence in their courts." 
  35. ^ Ex-king's son returns to Albania, BBC News Online, 28 June 2002.
  36. ^ Military history. Empire Press. 1990. p. 49. Retrieved 26 March 2012. "The Kuprilis, Albanian noblemen," 

Sources[edit]