Sami Frashëri

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Şemsettin Sami)
Jump to: navigation, search
Sami Frashëri
Sami Frasheri with his wife Emine.jpg
Sami Frashëri and his wife Emine, May 1884.
Born (1850-06-01)June 1, 1850
Frashër, Përmet, Ottoman Empire
Died June 18, 1904(1904-06-18) (aged 54)
Erenköy, Istanbul, Ottoman Empire
Citizenship Ottoman
Organization Central Committee for Defending Albanian Rights, Society for the Printing of Albanian Writings
Movement National Renaissance of Albania
Children Ali Sami Yen
Relatives Abdyl Frashëri (Brother)
Naim Frashëri (Brother)
Mit'hat Frashëri (Nephew)
Mehdi Frashëri (Nephew)

Sami Frashëri (Turkish: Şemseddin Sami, June 1, 1850 – June 18, 1904) was an Ottoman Albanian writer, philosopher, playwright and a prominent figure of the Rilindja Kombëtare, the National Renaissance movement of Albania, together with his two brothers Abdyl and Naim. He also supported the Turkish nationalism against it's Ottoman counterpart as well as laicism against theocrasy. [1] and had close relationships with Turkish nationalist intellectuals such as Veled Chelebi (İzbudak) and Nedjib 'Asim (Yazıksız).[2]

Frashëri was one of the sons of an impoverished Bey from Frashër (Fraşer during the Ottoman rule) in the District of Përmet. He gained a place in Ottoman literature as a talented author under the name of Şemseddin Sami Efendi and contributed to the Ottoman Turkish language reforms.

However, Frashëri's message, as declared in his book "Albania - What it was, what it is, and what will become of it" published in 1899, became the manifesto of the Albanian Renaissance (Rilindja Kombëtare). Frashëri discussed the prospects for a united, free and independent republic of Albania. In this way, beginning with a demand for autonomy and struggle for their own alphabet and education, he helped the Albanian National Liberation movement develop its claim for independence. Translation and distribution of his works were financed by Theodor Anton Ippen (consul of Austria-Hungary) and Nopcsa. Nowadays, a lot of schools bear his name, i.e. Sami Frashëri High School is one of the most well-known gymnasium in Tirana


Museum house of the Frashëri Brothers in Frashër, Përmet, Albania

Sami Frashëri was born in 1850 in the village of Frashër in the Vilayet of Janina to a distinguished Muslim Albanian family of Bektashi religious affiliations.[3] Sami, alongside his brothers Naim, Abdyl and 5 other siblings were the children of Halit Bey (1797–1859)[4] and their paternal family traditions held that they were descendants of timar holders that hailed from the Berat region before coming to live in Frashër.[3] While their mother Emine Hanım (1814–1861)[4] was descended from Imrahor Ilyas Bey, a distinguished 15th century Ottoman Albanian commander from the Korçë area.[3] The surname Frashëri of the family is derived from the village of Frashër.[5] The settlement was noted in the late Ottoman era for having a mixed Albanian and Vlach population.[3][6] Thede Kahl and the Vlach community in Albania claim that the Frashëri family were of Vlach origin.[5][7][8]

Sami attended the Greek language Zosimea gymnasium in Ioannina, Epirus. There, he came in touch with western philosophy and studied Greek, French and Italian. With the help of a personal teacher, Sami also learned Turkish, Arabic, and Persian.

In 1872 Sami migrated to Istanbul where he worked in a governmental press bureau. His lifetime goal, as that of many other members of Albanian renaissance, was the development and improvement of Albania's culture, and the independence of the country.

Along with his elder brother Abdyl, Hasan Tahsini, Pashko Vasa and Jani Vreto, Sami founded the Central Committee for Defending Albanian Rights. Early in the 1879, this committee formed a commission for the Albanian alphabet.

Sami Frashëri also founded and headed the Society for the Publication of Albanian Writings in October 1879, where Albanian scholastic books and texts were compiled by him and his brother Naim. The society was forced to close by the Ottoman Government in 1885 along with the Drita magazine, then Dituria, which had been opened in 1884 by Petro Poga, but on decree issued on demand of Sami Frasheri.[9]

Sami died on June 18, 1904 after a severe illness at his home in Erenköy, Istanbul.

His son, Ali Sami Yen (1886–1951), was a footballer and founder of Galatasaray SK and chairman of Galatasaray between 1905–18 and 1925–6.


Sami is the author of around 50 works. Theodor Anton Ippen (consul of Austria-Hungary) and Nopcsa financed the translation and distribution of the works of Sami Frasheri.[10] Some of his most important writings are:


  • Ta'aşşûk-ı Tal'at ve Fitnât (Albanian: Dashuria e Talatit me Fitneten -English: The Love Between Talat and Fitnat, 1873)

The story carries a sentimental subject of love between Talat and Fitnat. Generally, the novel consists of a combination of Oriental and Western writing styles. Also, this novel is commonly mistaken to be the first novel written in Turkish.[11]


  • Besâ yâhut Âhde Vefâ (Albanian: "Besa ose Mbajtja e Fjalës" - English: Besa or The Given Word of Trust, 1874).

Is a melodrama aiming Besa as a subject, but in a very tragic situation; the father kills his son to keep the given word.

  • Seydi Yahya (1875)
  • Gâve (1876)
  • Mezalim-i Endülûs (Never printed)
  • Vicdân (Never printed)

Dictionaries and Encyclopedical Works[edit]

  • Kamûs-ı Fransevî (1882–1905, French-Turkish dictionary)
  • Kamûs-ı Fransevî (1885, French-Turkish dictionary)
  • Küçük Kamûs-ı Fransevî (1886, French-Turkish dictionary)
  • Kamûs-ül Â'lâm (6 volumes, 1889–1898, Encyclopedia of General Science, known to be the first Encyclopedia printed in Turkish)
  • Kamûs-ı 'Arabî (1898, Arabic-Turkish dictionary, unfinished)
  • Kamus-ı Türki (2 volumes, dictionary of the Classical Ottoman Turkish language, still widely used as a reference as of today, 1899–1900, reprints and facsimiles in 1978 and 1998) [1]

Scientific Writings[edit]

Şemseddin Sami also did a series of scientific writings in Albanian such as Qielli (Sky), Toka (Earth), Njeriu (Human Being), Gjuha (Language), and many more.

Educational Writings in Albanian[edit]

  • Allfabetarja e Stambollit (Alphabet of Istanbul, 1879),
  • Abetarja e Shkronjëtoreja (Grammatical Work, 1886).


In Turkish in his "Pocket Library" collection, he published small scientific booklets on subjects as Astronomy, Geology, Anthropology, History of Islam and the Islamic civilization, Women, Mythology and Linguistics. He also published a small compilation of Humor named Letâ'if in two volumes, a compilation of Proverbs and Quotes named Emsâl in four volumes, and a series of reading-oriented educational books for schoolchildren. During Ebüzziya Tevfiks exile, Frashëri managed the Ottoman journal Muharrir.

Sami Frashëri together with Jani Vreto supported the idea that the Albanian alphabet should be based on the Greek alphabet, since according to them, Albanians and Greeks have the same ancestors, the Pelasgians.[12]

Language Studies and Linguistics[edit]

  • Usûl-ü Tenkîd ve Tertîb (1886, Orthography of Turkish)
  • Nev-usûl Sarf-ı Türkî (1891, Modern Turkish Grammar)
  • Yeñi Usûl-ü Elifbâ-yı Türkî (1898, New Turkish Alphabetical System)
  • Usûl-ü Cedîd-i Kavâ'id-i 'Arabiyye (1910, New Method for Learning Arabic)
  • Tatbîkât-ı 'Arabiyye (1911, Exercises in Arabic)

Political Work[edit]

  • Shqipëria ç'ka qenë, ç'është e çdo të bëhetë (Albania - what it was, what it is and what it will be, 1889).


  1. ^ Bozkurt Güvenç, Türk Kimliği, Kültür Bakanlığı, 1993, p. 32. (in Turkish)
  2. ^ Diana Mishkova, We, The People: Politics of National Peculiarity in Southeastern Europe, Central European University Press, 2009, ISBN 978-963-9776-28-9, p. 363.
  3. ^ a b c d Gawrych, George (2006). The crescent and the eagle: Ottoman rule, Islam and the Albanians, 1874-1913. IB Tauris. p. 13.
  4. ^ a b Robert Elsie (2005). Albanian Literature: A Short History. I.B.Tauris. p. 67. ISBN 978-1-84511-031-4. 
  5. ^ a b Arno Tanner (2004). The Forgotten Minorities of Eastern Europe: The History and Today of Selected Ethnic Groups in Five Countries. East-West Books. pp. 213–. ISBN 978-952-91-6808-8. 
  6. ^ Nitsiakos (2010). On the Border. p. 142. ISBN 9783643107930. 
  7. ^ Ethnologia Balkanica. LIT Verlag Münster. pp. 150–. GGKEY:ES2RY3RRUDS. 
  8. ^ Stephanie Schwandner-Sievers (March 1999). "The Albanian Aromanians Awakening: Identity Politics and Conflicts in Post-Communist Albania". European Centre for Minority Issues: 6. 
  9. ^ The crescent and the eagle: Ottoman rule, Islam and the Albanians, 1874-1913 By George Walter Gawrych page 88
  10. ^ Blumi, Isa (2007), Seeing Beyond the River Drin, Sarajevo, Ottoman Albanians and Imperial Rivalry in the Balkans after 1878 (PDF), Austria: Kakanien revisited, p. 6, s. Ippen and Nopcsa openly advocated funding efforts to solidify the cultural ambitions of nationalist leaders, resulting, for instance, in the translation into German and distribution of Sami Frashëri’s works 
  11. ^ In reality, the first novel written entirely in Turkish was Akabi's Story by Vartan Paşa, an Armenian Ottoman Pasha in the year 1851
  12. ^ Michael Kreutz. Modernismus und Europaidee in der Östlichen Mittelmeerwelt, 1821-1939. p. 166


  • Letërsia Romantike Shqiptare - Për klasën e njëmbëdhjetë (Albanian Romantic Literature - For eleventh class), Pristina, 2004 – Sabri Hamiti.

Further reading[edit]