|est. 50,000-200,000 (see below)|
|Regions with significant populations|
|Attica, Peloponnese, Boeotia, Epirus (Greece)|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Albanians, Greeks, Italian Albanians|
Arvanites (Greek: Αρβανίτες, Arvanitika: Arbëreshë or Αρbε̰ρεσ̈ε̰) are a population group in Greece who traditionally speak Arvanitika, a dialect of the Albanian language. They settled in Greece during the late Middle Ages and were the dominant population element of some regions of the Peloponnese and Attica until the 19th century. Arvanites today self-identify as Greeks as the result of a process of assimilation, and do not consider themselves to belong to Albania or the Albanian nation. They call themselves Arvanites (in Greek) and Arbëror (in their language). The Arvanite communities in northwestern Greece call themselves Shqiptar (the same used by Albanians of Albania). Arvanitika is in a state of attrition due to language shift towards Greek and large-scale internal migration to the cities and subsequent intermingling of the population during the 20th century.
Arvanites in Greece originated from Albanian settlers  who moved south at different times between the 13th and 16th century from areas in what is today southern Albania.[page needed] The reasons for this migration are not entirely clear and may be manifold. In many instances the Arvanites were invited by the Byzantine and Latin rulers of the time. They were employed to re-settle areas that had been largely depopulated through wars, epidemics, and other reasons, and they were employed as soldiers. Some later movements are also believed to have been motivated to evade Islamization after the Ottoman conquest. The main waves of migration into southern Greece started around 1300, reached a peak some time during the 14th century, and ended around 1600. Arvanites first reached Thessaly, then Attica, and finally the Peloponnese.
The poem "Thourios" by the 18th-century poet and Greek national hero Rigas Feraios included a call upon Arvanites, as upon other Christian Orthodox peoples living at the time in the general area of Greece, to join in rebelling against Ottoman rule. Indeed, during the Greek War of Independence, many Arvanites played an important role fighting on the Greek side against the Ottomans, often as national Greek heroes. With the formation of modern nations and nation-states in the Balkans, Arvanites have come to be regarded as an integral part of the Greek nation. In 1899, leading representatives of the Arvanites in Greece, among them descendants of the independence heroes, published a manifesto calling their fellow Albanians outside Greece to join in the creation of a common Albanian-Greek state.
During the 20th century, after the creation of the Albanian nation-state, Arvanites in Greece have come to dissociate themselves much more strongly from the Albanians, stressing instead their national self-identification as Greeks. At the same time, it has been suggested that many Arvanites in earlier decades maintained an assimilatory stance, leading to a progressive loss of their traditional language and a shifting of the younger generation towards Greek. At some times, particularly under the nationalist 4th of August Regime under Ioannis Metaxas of 1936–1941, Greek state institutions followed a policy of actively discouraging and repressing the use of Arvanitika. In the decades following World War II and the Greek Civil War, many Arvanites came under pressure to abandon Arvanitika in favour of monolingualism in the national language, and especially the archaizing Katharevousa which remained the official variant of Greek until 1976. This trend was prevalent mostly during the Greek military junta of 1967–1974.
Regions with a strong traditional presence of Arvanites are found mainly in a compact area in southeastern Greece, namely across Attica (especially in Eastern Attica), southern Boeotia, the north-east of the Peloponnese, the south of the island of Euboea, the north of the island of Andros, and several islands of the Saronic Gulf including Salamis. In parts of this area they formed a solid majority until about 1900. Within Attica, parts of the capital Athens and its suburbs were Arvanitic until the late 19th century. There are also settlements in some other parts of the Peloponnese, and in Phthiotis (Livanates, Malesina, Martino villages).
There are no reliable figures about the number of Arvanites in Greece today (no official data exist for ethnicity in Greece). A Venetian source of the mid-15th century estimates that 30,000 Albanians lived in the Peloponnese at the time. In the mid-19th century, Johann Georg von Hahn estimated their number in Greece between 173,000 and 200,000. The last official census figures available come from 1951. Since then, estimates of the numbers of Arvanites has ranged from 25,000 to 200,000. The following is a summary of the widely diverging estimates (Botsi 2003: 97):
- 1928 census: 18,773 citizens self-identifying as "Albanophone" in all of Greece.
- 1951 census: 22,736 "Albanophones".
- Furikis (1934): estimated 70,000 Arvanites in Attica alone.
- Trudgill/Tzavaras (1976/77): estimated 140,000 in Attica and Boeotia together.
- Sasse (1991): estimated 50,000 Arvanitika speakers in all of Greece.
- Ethnologue, 2000: 150,000 Arvanites, living in 300 villages.
- Federal Union of European Nationalities, 1991: 95,000 "Albanians of Greece" (MRG 1991: 189)
- Minority Rights Group International, 1997: 200,000 Arvanites of Greece.
- Jan Markusse (2001): 25.000 Arvanites in Greece
Like the rest of the Greek population, Arvanites have been emigrating from their villages to the cities and especially to the capital Athens. This has contributed to the loss of the language in the younger generation.
Ethnic map of the Epirus region (1878)
German ethnographic map of the Peloponnese, 1890. Albanian-speaking areas in red.
The name Arvanites and its equivalents are today used both in Greek (Αρβανίτες, singular form Αρβανίτης, feminine Αρβανίτισσα) and in Arvanitika itself (Arbëreshë or Arbërorë). In Standard Albanian, all three names are used: Arvanitë, Arbëreshë or Arbërorë.
The name Arvanites and its equivalents go back to an old ethnonym that used in Greek to refer to Albanians. It originally referred to the inhabitants of that region Arvanon (Άρβανον) or Arvana (Άρβανα), and then to all Albanian-speakers. In Albanian language the self-designation Arbëror, which is still in use by Arvanites and Arbëreshë of Italy, had been exchanged for the new name Shqiptarë since the 17th century, an innovation that was not shared by the Albanophone migrant communities in the south of Greece. The alternative exonym Albanians may ultimately be etymologically related, but is of less clear origin (see Albania (toponym)). It was probably conflated with that of the "Arbanitai" at some stage due to phonological similarity. In later Byzantine usage, the terms "Arbanitai" and "Albanoi", with a range of variants, were used interchangeably, while sometimes the same groups were also called by the classicising names Illyrians. In the 19th and early 20th century, Alvani (Albanians) was used predominantly in formal registers, while Arvanites (Αρβανίτες) amongst the wider Greek-speaking population until the interwar period and used indiscriminately for both Muslim and Christian Albanophones inside and outside Greece. In the course of the 20th century, it became customary to use only Αλβανοί for the people of Albania, and only Αρβανίτες for the Greek-Arvanites, thus stressing the national separation between the two groups.
There is some uncertainty to what extent the term Arvanites also includes the small remaining Christian Albanophone population groups in Epirus and West Macedonia. Unlike the southern Arvanites, these speakers are reported to use the name Shqiptarë both for themselves and for Albanian nationals, although these communities also espouse a Greek national identity nowadays. The word Shqiptár is also used in a few villages of Thrace, where Arvanites migrated from the mountains of Pindus during the 19th century however they also use the name Arvanitis speaking in Greek, while the Euromosaic (1996) reports notes that the designation Chams is today rejected by the group. The report by GHM (1995) subsumes the Epirote Albanophones under the term Arvanites, although it notes the different linguistic self-designation, on the other hand, applies the term Arvanites only to the populations of the compact Arvanitic settlement areas in southern Greece, in keeping with the self-identification of those groups. Linguistically, the Ethnologue identifies the present-day Albanian/Arvanitic dialects of Northwestern Greece (in Epirus and Lechovo) with those of the Chams, and therefore classifies them together with standard Tosk Albanian, as opposed to "Arvanitika Albanian proper" (i.e. southern Greek-Arvanitika). Nevertheless, it reports that in Greek the Epirus varieties are also often subsumed under "Arvanitika" in a wider sense. It puts the estimated number of Epirus Albanophones at 10,000. Arvanitika proper is said to include the outlying dialects spoken in Thrace.
Language use and language perception
While Arvanitika was commonly called Albanian in Greece until the 20th century, the wish of Arvanites to express their ethnic identification as Greeks has led to a stance of rejecting the identification of the language with Albanian as well. In recent times, Arvanites had only very imprecise notions about how related or unrelated their language was to Albanian. Since Arvanitika is almost exclusively a spoken language, Arvanites also have no practical affiliation with the Standard Albanian language used in Albania, as they do not use this form in writing or in media. The question of linguistic closeness or distance between Arvanitika and Albanian has come to the forefront especially since the early 1990s, when a large number of Albanian immigrants began to enter Greece and came into contact with local Arvanitic communities.
Since the 1980s, there have been some organized efforts to preserve the cultural and linguistic heritage of Arvanites. The largest organisation promoting Arvanitika is the "Arvanitic League of Greece" (Αρβανίτικος σύλλογος Ελλάδος).
Arvanites were regarded as ethnically distinct from the Greeks in the 19th century. Amongst the Arvanites, this difference was expressed in words such as shkljira for a Greek person and shkljerishtë for the Greek language that had until recent decades negative overtones. These words in Arvanitika have their related counterpart in the pejorative term shqa used by Northern Albanians for Slavs. Ultimately these terms used amongst Albanian speakers originate from the Latin word sclavus which contained the traditional meaning of “the neighbouring foreigner”.
With participation in the Greek War of Independence and the Greek Civil War, this has led to increasing assimilation amongst the Arvanites. The common Christian Orthodox religion they shared with the rest of the local population was one of the main reasons that led to their assimilation. Although sociological studies of Arvanite communities still used to note an identifiable sense of a special "ethnic" identity among Arvanites, the authors did not identify a sense of 'belonging to Albania or to the Albanian nation'. Many Arvanites find the designation "Albanians" offensive as they identify nationally and ethnically as Greeks and not Albanians.
Relations between Arvanites and other Albanian speaking populations have varied over time. During the onset of the Greek war of Independence, Arvanites fought alongside Greek revolutionaries and against Muslim Albanians. For example Arvanites participated in the Tripolitsa Massacre of Muslim Albanians, while some Muslim Albanian speakers in the region of Bardounia remained after the war by converting to Orthodoxy and becoming part of the local population. In recent times, Arvanites have expressed mixed opinions towards Albanian immigrants within Greece. Negative views are perceptions that Albanian immigrants are “communists” arriving from a “backward country”. or an opportune people with questionable morals, behaviors and a disrespect for religion. Whereas other Arvanites during the late 1980s and early 1990s expressed solidarity with Albanian immigrants, due to linguistic similarities and being politically leftist. Relations too between Arvanites and other Orthodox Albanian speaking communities such as those of Greek Epirus are mixed, as they are distrusted regarding religious matters due to a past Albanian Muslim population living amongst them.
Amongst the wider Greek speaking population however, the Arvanites and their language Arvanitika were viewed in past times in a derogatory manner. These views contributed toward shaping negative attitudes held by Arvanites regarding their language and thereby increasing assimilation. In post-dictatorial Greece, the Arvanites have rehabilitated themselves within Greek society through for example the propagation of the Pelasgian theory regarding Arvanite origins. The theory created a counter discourse that aimed to give the Arvanites a positive image in Greek history by claiming the Arvanites as the ancestors and relations of contemporary Greeks and their culture. The Arvanite revival of the Pelasgian theory has also been recently borrowed by other Albanian speaking populations within and from Albania in Greece to counter the negative image of their communities.
Fara (Greek: φάρα, from Albanian fara 'seed' or from Aromanian fară 'tribe') is a descent model, similar to Scottish clans and Malësia tribes in Northern Albania. Arvanites were organised in phares (φάρες) mostly during the reign of the Ottoman Empire. The apical ancestor was a warlord and the phara was named after him. In an Arvanitic village, each phara was responsible to keep genealogical records (see also registry offices), that are preserved until today as historical documents in local libraries. Usually, there were more than one phares in an Arvanitic village and sometimes they were organised in phratries that had conflicts of interest. Those phratries didn't last long, because each leader of a phara desired to be the leader of the phratry and would not be led by another.
Role of women
Women held a relatively strong position in traditional Arvanitic society. Women had a say in public issues concerning their phara, and also often bore arms. Widows could inherit the status and privileges of their husbands and thus acquire leading roles within a fara, as did, for instance, Laskarina Bouboulina.
Traditional Arvanite folk songs offer valuable information about social values and ideals of Arvanitic societies.
- Greek War of Independence
- Andreas Vokos Miaoulis, admiral (and later politician)
- Laskarina Bouboulina, the only female member of Filiki Etaireia
- Georgios Kountouriotis, from Hydra, admiral (and briefly Prime Minister)
- Dimitris Plapoutas
- Markos Botsaris, general, leader of the Souliotes
- Hatzigiannis Mexis, from Spetses
- Nikolaos Krieziotis, from Euboea
- Prime Ministers of Greece
- Hall, Jonathan M. Ethnic Identity in Greek Antiquity. Cambridge University Press, 2000, p. 29, ISBN 0-521-78999-0.
- Botsi (2003: 90); Lawrence (2007: 22; 156).
- GHM (1995).
- Hart, Laurie Kain (1999). "Culture, Civilization, and Demarcation at the Northwest Borders of Greece". American Ethnologist 26: 196. doi:10.1525/ae.19188.8.131.52.
- Trudgill/Tzavaras (1977).
- Ducellier (1994).
- Troupis, Theodore K. Σκαλίζοντας τις ρίζες μας. Σέρβου. p. 1036. Τέλος η εσωτερική μετακίνηση εντός της επαρχίας Ηπειρωτών μεταναστών, που στο μεταξύ πλήθαιναν με γάμους και τις επιμειξίες σταμάτησε γύρω στο 1600 μ.Χ.
- Biris gives an estimated figure of 18,200 Arvanites who were settled in southern Greece between 1350 and 1418.
- First published in Ελληνισμός, Athens 1899, 195-202. Quoted in Gkikas 1978:7-9.
- Tsitsipis (1981), Botsi (2003).
- GHM (1995), Trudgill/Tzavaras (1977). See also Tsitsipis (1981), Botsi (2003).
- Gefou-Madianou, pp. 420-421. "Those speakers of Arvanitika who were living in or near the capital came under greater criticism since their presence allegedly embodied the infection that contaminated the purity of the ethnic heritage. Thus, some decades later, during the dictatorship of August 4, 1936, the communities of Arvanites suffered various forms of persecution at the hands of the authorities, though during the 1940s their position improved somewhat as their members helped other Greek soldiers and officers serving in the Albanian front. Later, during the 1950s, 1960s, and early 1970s, especially during the years of the military junta (1967-74), their lot was undermined once more as the Greek language, and especially katharevousa during the junta, was actively and forcibly imposed by the government as the language of Greek nationality and identity."
- Travellers in the 19th century were unanimous in identifying Plaka as a heavily "Albanian" quarter of Athens. John Cam Hobhouse, writing in 1810, quoted in John Freely, Strolling through Athens, p. 247: "The number of houses in Athens is supposed to be between twelve and thirteen hundred; of which about four hundred are inhabited by the Turks, the remainder by the Greeks and Albanians, the latter of whom occupy above three hundred houses." Eyre Evans Crowe, The Greek and the Turk; or, Powers and prospects in the Levant, 1853: "The cultivators of the plain live at the foot of the Acropolis, occupying what is called the Albanian quarter..." (p. 99); Edmond About, Greece and the Greeks of the Present Day, Edinburgh, 1855 (translation of La Grèce contemporaine, 1854): "Athens, twenty-five years ago, was only an Albanian village. The Albanians formed, and still form, almost the whole of the population of Attica; and within three leagues of the capital, villages are to be found where Greek is hardly understood." (p. 32); "The Albanians form about one-fourth of the population of the country; they are in majority in Attica, in Arcadia, and in Hydra...." (p. 50); "The Turkish [sic] village which formerly clustered round the base of the Acropolis has not disappeared: it forms a whole quarter of the town.... An immense majority of the population of this quarter is composed of Albanians." (p. 160)
- Era Vranoussi, Deux documents byzantins inedits sur la presence des Albanais dans le Peloponnese au XVe siecle in The Medieval Albanians, NHRF, Institute for Byzantine Research, p. 294
- von Hahn, Johann Georg (1854). Albanesische Studien. pp. 14, 32.; cited in Vasiliev, A (1958). History of the Byzantine Empire, 324-1453. Univ of Wisconsin Press. p. 615. ISBN 0-299-80926-9.
- Anderson, Bridget; Minority Rights Group (1997). World directory of minorities. Minority Rights Group International. p. 155. ISBN 1-873194-36-6.
- Markusse Jan, Territoriality in national minority arrangements: European-wide legal standards and practices, in Gertjan Dijkink & Hans Knippenberg (eds.) The Territorial Factor, Vossiuspers UvA, Amsterdam, 2001, p. 260, table 12.1.
- Fine, John Van Antwerp (1994). The Late Medieval Balkans: A Critical Survey from the Late Twelfth Century to the Ottoman Conquest. University of Michigan Press. ISBN 978-0-472-08260-5. http://books.google.com/books?id=QDFVUDmAIqIC.
- ΛΕΞΙΚΟΝ ΤΗΣ ΙΤΑΛΙΚΗΣ ΓΛΩΣΣΗΣ ΣΥΝΤΕΘΕΝ ΠΑΡΑ ΣΠΥΡΙΔΩΝΟΣ ΒΛΑΝΤΗ. Καὶ παρ' αὐτοῦ πλουτισθὲν τῆ προσθήκῃ περίπου δεκακισχιλίων Λέξεων. ΕΚΔΟΣΙΣ ΤΕΤΑΡΤΗ. ΕΝ ΒΕΝΕΤΙᾼ. ΠΑΡΑ ΝΙΚΟΛΑῼ ΓΛΥΚΕΙ Τῼ ΕΞ ΙΩΑΝΝΙΝΩΝ• 1819; ΛΕΞΙΚΟΝ ΓΕΩΓΡΑΦΙΚΟΝ ΙΤΑΛΙΚΟ ΓΡΑΙΚΙΚΟΝ. (σελ. 5)... Albania: Ἐπαρ. τῆς Εὐρωπ. Τουρκίας. Ἀλβανία, κοιν. Ἀρβανιτία.
- Michael Attaliates, History 297 mentions "Arbanitai" as parts of a mercenary army (c.1085); Anna Comnena, Alexiad VI:7/7 and XIII 5/1-2 mentions a region or town called Arbanon or Arbana, and "Arbanitai" as its inhabitants (1148). See also Vranousi (1970) and Ducellier (1968).
- Baltsiotis, Lambros (2011). The Muslim Chams of Northwestern Greece: The grounds for the expulsion of a "non-existent" minority community. European Journal of Turkish Studies. "Until the Interwar period Arvanitis (plural Arvanitēs) was the term used by Greek speakers to describe an Albanian speaker regardless of his/hers religious background. In official language of that time the term Alvanos was used instead. The term Arvanitis coined for an Albanian speaker independently of religion and citizenship survives until today in Epirus (see Lambros Baltsiotis and Léonidas Embirikos, “De la formation d’un ethnonyme. Le terme Arvanitis et son evolution dans l’État hellénique”, in G. Grivaud-S. Petmezas (eds.), Byzantina et Moderna, Alexandreia, Athens, 2006, pp. 417-448."
- Banfi (1996).
- Moraitis (2002).
- Botsi (2003: 21).
- Ethnologue (2005). "Albanian, Tosk: A language of Albania".
- Ethnologue (2005). "Albanian, Arvanitika: A language of Greece".
- GHM 1995
- Breu (1985: 424) and Tsitsipis (1983).
- Botsi (2003), Athanassopoulou (2005).
- Arvanitic League of Greece
- Tsitsipis. Language change and language death. 1981. pp. 100-101. "The term /evjeni̇́stika/ meaning “polite”, used by the young speaker to refer to Greek, is offered as synonymous to /shkljiri̇́shtika/ one of the various morphological shapes of the Arvanitika word /shkljeri̇́shtë/ which refers to “the Greek language”. Thus, Greek is equated with the more refined, soft, and polite talk. The concept of politeness is occasionally extended from the language to its speakers who are the representatives of the urban culture. In conversations in Kiriaki, I heard the word /shklji̇́ra/ (fem.) referring to a city women who exhibits polite and fancy behavior according to the local view. As I stated in the introduction to this dissertation, most of the occurrences of the term /shkljeri̇́shtë/ are not socially marked, and simply refer to the Greek language. But a few are so marked and these are the ones that reflect the speakers’ attitudes. The term /shkljeri̇́shtë/ is ambiguous. This ambiguity offers a valuable clue to the gradual shift in attitudes. It points to the more prestigious Greek language and culture, and also has a derogatory sense. In my data only the first meaning of the socially marked senses of the word occurs."; pp. 101-102. "The second meaning is offered by Kazazis in his description of the Arvanitika community of Sofikó, in the Peloponnese (1976:48): . . . two older people from Sofiko told me independently that, to the not-so-remote past, it was those who spoke Greek with their fellow-Arvanites who were ridiculed. Even today, if an older inhabitant of Sofiko were to speak predominantly in Greek with his fellow villagers of the same age, he would be called i shkljerishtúarë, literally “Hellenized” but used here as a derogatory term denoting affectation. One of those two informants, a woman, said that, until about 1950, it was a shame for a girl in Sofiko to speak Greek with her peers, for that was considered as “putting on airs.” In Spata, /shkljeri̇́shtë/ is used only to refer to “the Greek language” although speakers are aware of the other meanings of the word."
- Pipa, Arshi (1989). The politics of language in socialist Albania. East European Monographs. p. 178. "North Albanian call Slavs shqé (sg. shqá <shkjá <shklá, from sclavus), whereas to Greco-Albanians shklerisht means ‘in the Greek language.’ Hamp observes that “obviously the meaning is traditionally ‘the neighbouring foreigner,’ as with Welsh, Vlah, etc.”"
- Hemetek, Ursula (2003). Manifold identities: studies on music and minorities. Cambridge Scholars Press. p. 55. ISBN 1-904303-37-4.
- Heraclides, Alexis (2011). The essence of the Greek-Turkish rivalry: national narrative and identity. Academic Paper. The London School of Economics and Political Science. p. 15. "On the Greek side, a case in point is the atrocious onslaught of the Greeks and Hellenised Christian Albanians against the city of Tripolitza in October 1821, which is justified by the Greeks ever since as the almost natural and predictable outcome of more than ‘400 years of slavery and dudgeon’. All the other similar atrocious acts all over Peloponnese, where apparently the whole population of Muslims (Albanian and Turkish-speakers), well over twenty thousand vanished from the face of the earth within a spat of a few months in 1821 is unsaid and forgotten, a case of ethnic cleansing through sheer slaughter (St Clair 2008: 1-9, 41-46) as are the atrocities committed in Moldavia (were the “Greek Revolution” actually started in February 1821) by prince Ypsilantis."
- Andromedas, John N. (1976). "Maniot folk culture and the ethnic mosaic in the southeast Peloponnese”. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 268. (1): 200. "In 1821, then, the ethnic mosaic of the southeastern Peloponnese (the ancient Laconia and Cynouria) consisted of Christian Tsakonians and Albanians on the east, Christian Maniats and Barduniotes, and Moslem Albanian Barduniotes in the southwest, and an ordinary Greek Christian population running between them. In 1821, with a general Greek uprising impending, rumors of a “Russo-Frankish” naval bombardment caused the “Turkish” population of the southeastern Peloponnese to seek refuge in the fortresses of Monevasia, Mystra, and Tripolitza. Indeed, the Turkobarduniotes were so panic stricken that they stampeded the Moslems of Mystra along with them into headlong flight to Tripolitza. The origin of this rumor was the firing of a salute by a sea captain named Frangias in honor of a Maniat leader known as “the Russian Knight.” Some Moslems in Bardunia,’ and elsewhere, remained as converts to Christianity. Thus almost overnight the whole of the southeastern Peloponnese was cleared of “Turks” of whatever linguistic affiliation. This situation was sealed by the ultimate success of the Greek War for Independence. The Christian Albanians, identifying with their Orthodox coreligionists and with the new nationstate, gradually gave up the Albanian language, in some instances deliberately deciding not to pass it on to their children."
- Bintliff, John (2003). "The Ethnoarchaeology of a “Passive” Ethnicity: The Arvanites of Central Greece" in K.S. Brown & Yannis Hamilakis, (eds.). The Usable Past: Greek Metahistories. Lexington Books. p. 138. "The bishop was voicing the accepted modern position among those Greeks who are well aware of the persistence of indigenous Albanian-speakers in the provinces of their country: the "Albanians" are not like us at all, they are ex-Communists from outside the modern Greek state who come here for work from their backward country"
- Hajdinjak Marko (2005). Don't want to live with them, can't afford to live without them: Albanian labor migration in Greece. Academic paper. International Center for Minority Studies and Intercultural Relations (IMIR). pp. 8-9. "What is striking is that IMIR’s team encountered exceptionally negative attitude towards the Albanians even among those Greeks, who are of Albanian origin. Arvanitis are ethnic group of Albanian descent. According to Greek historians, they were an Albanian speaking Christian population, which was hired by Venetians as sailors in the 14th century to fight against the Ottomans. Arvanitis have long since abandoned Albanian language for Greek and integrated fully into the Greek ethnos. Arvanitis respondents IMIR’s team spoke with talked about Albanians with disgust, saying that “they have flooded Greece,” that “they were not good people” and that they “steal, beat and kill.” Some were afraid that Greeks might start to identify them, Arvanitis, with Albanians and their condemnable behavior, and as a result start to reject them. The one thing Arvanitis, who are devout Christians, cannot forgive Albanians, is their apparent lack of respect for religion. In order to facilitate their integration, a large number of immigrants from Albania has been changing their names with Greek ones and adopting Orthodox Christianity, but only nominally, as a façade."
- Lawrence, Christopher (2007). Blood and oranges: Immigrant labor and European markets in rural Greece. Berghahn Books. pp. 85-86. "I did collect evidence that in the early years of Albanian immigration, the late 1980s, immigrants were greeted with hospitality in the upper villages. This initial friendliness seems to have been based on villagers’ feelings of solidarity with Albanians. Being both leftists and Arvanites, and speaking in fact a dialect of Albanian that was somewhat intelligible to the new migrants, many villagers had long felt a common bond with Albania."
- Nitsiakos, Vassilis (2010). On the border: Transborder mobility, ethnic groups and boundaries along the Albanian-Greek frontier. LIT Verlag. pp. 23-24. “Linguistic community and cultural intimacy have played and still play a role in the search of a place of settlement and line of work on the part of migrants, but, also, in their reception and incorporation by the communities of local Arvanites. I have had the opportunity to substantiate this fact through many interviews with Albanian migrants, whose report of their good reception by the populations of Arvanite villages tends to be uniform, especially around the area of Thebes during the first months of their ventures in Greece. The fact that the elderly, at least, speak Arvanite and can communicate with Albanians is of crucial importance. As to the question of cultural intimacy, the matter is more complex and demands special research and study. It was brought up at the Korçe conference by S. Mangliveras, who, with his paper on A1banian immigrants and Arvanite hosts: Identities and relationships” (Magliveras 2004; also Derhemi 2003), demonstrated its complexity and great significance for the understanding of the very concepts of ethnic and cultural identity. It is very interesting, indeed, to examine the way such bonds are activated in the context of migration, but, also, the way the subjects themselves confer meaning to it. After all, the very definition of such a bond is problematic, in the sense that it is essentially ethnic, since it concerns the common ethnic origins of the two groups, while now their members belong to different national wholes, being Greek or Albanian. The formation of modern, “pure” national identities and the ideology of nationalism generate a difficulty in the classification of this bond, as is the case with any kind of identification, which, on top of any other social and psychological consequences. It may have, may produce an identity crisis as well. The apparently contradictory attitude of the Arvanites, which Mangliveras discerns, has to do with their difficulty of dealing with this phenomenon in public. Public manifestation of ethnic and linguistic affinity with Albanian immigrants is definitely a problem for the Arvanites, which is why they behave differently in public and in private. For them, the transition from pre-modern ethnic to modern national identity involved, historically, their identification with the Greek nation, a fact that causes bewilderment whenever one wants to talk to them about the activation of ethnic bonds. From this perspective, too, the particular issue is provocative.”
- Adrian Ahmedaja (2004). "On the question of methods for studying ethnic minorities' music in the case of Greece's Arvanites and Alvanoi." In Ursula Hemetek (ed.). Manifold Identities: Studies on Music and Minorities. Cambridge Scholars Press. p. 60. "That although the Albanians in Northwest Greece are nowadays orthodox, the Arvanites still seem to distrust them because of religious matters."
- Tsitsipis. Language change and language death. 1981. pp. 104-105. "In the shaping of their attitudes towards Arvanitika, speakers have been influenced by the way members of the dominant culture, namely, Greek monolinguals view them their language. One example of the criticism that an old women experienced for her Arvanitika at a hospital in Athens was presented in Chapter IV. Kazazis (1976:47) observes with regard to this matter, that: The attitude of other Greeks certainly reinforces the low opinion so many Arvanites have (or profess to have) of Arvanitika, and other Greek are probably the main source of that opinion. Once or twice, Arvanitika was described to me by non-Arvanites as “ugly” and several people . . . have told me how “treacherous and sly” . . . “uncivilized” . . . and “stubborn” . . . the Arvanites are. That the view of the Greek monolingual segment of the society has been a major source for the development of negative attitudes among Arvanites toward their language can be substantiated on evidence including earlier and more recent information. In the discussion of the Linguistic Policy in Greece (Chapter IV) I observed that the seeds of Arvanitika language are to be sought in the efforts of the intellectuals to bring about the regeneration of Greek nationalism by promoting Greek as the only legitimate language of the nation."
- Tsitsipis. Language change and language death. 1981. pp. 104-105.
- De Rapper, Gilles (2009). "Pelasgic Encounters in the Greek–Albanian Borderland: Border Dynamics and Reversion to Ancient Past in Southern Albania." Anthropological Journal of European Cultures. 18. (1): 60-61. “In 2002, another important book was translated from Greek: Aristides Kollias’ Arvanites and the Origin of Greeks, first published in Athens in 1983 and re-edited several times since then (Kollias 1983; Kolia 2002). In this book, which is considered a cornerstone of the rehabilitation of Arvanites in post- dictatorial Greece, the author presents the Albanian speaking population of Greece, known as Arvanites, as the most authentic Greeks because their language is closer to ancient Pelasgic, who were the first inhabitants of Greece. According to him, ancient Greek was formed on the basis of Pelasgic, so that man Greek words have an Albanian etymology. In the Greek context, the book initiated a ‘counterdiscourse’ (Gefou-Madianou 1999: 122) aiming at giving Arvanitic communities of southern Greece a positive role in Greek history. This was achieved by using nineteenth-century ideas on Pelasgians and by melting together Greeks and Albanians in one historical genealogy (Baltsiotis and Embirikos 2007: 130—431, 445). In the Albanian context of the 1990s and 2000s, the book is read as proving the anteriority of Albanians not only in Albania but also in Greece; it serves mainly the rehabilitation of Albanians as an antique and autochthonous population in the Balkans. These ideas legitimise the presence of Albanians in Greece and give them a decisive role in the development of ancient Greek civilisation and, later on, the creation of the modern Greek state, in contrast to the general negative image of Albanians in contemporary Greek society. They also reverse the unequal relation between the migrants and the host country, making the former the heirs of an autochthonous and civilised population from whom the latter owes everything that makes their superiority in the present day.”
- Χριστοφορήδης, Κων. ΛΕΞΙΚΟΝ ΤΗΣ ΑΛΒΑΝΙΚΗΣ ΓΛΩΣΣΗΣ, p. 456.
- Babiniotis, Lexiko tis neoellinikis glossas.
- See Biris (1960) and Kollias (1983).
- Kollias (1983).
- Songs have been studied by Moraitis (2002), Dede (1978), and Gkikas (1978).
- Απομνημονεύματα Μακρυγιάννη.
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- Moraitis, Thanassis (2002): Anthology of Arvanitika songs of Greece. Athens. (ISBN 960-85976-7-6)
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- Arvanite music performed by Thanasis Moraitis
- Arvanitic League of Greece
- "Εξεγέρσεις Ελλήνων και Αλβανών στην Πελοπόννησο". Τα Νέα. 2000-08-10. p. N16.
- Arvanitic Music
- Η Καινή Διαθήκη Δίγλωττος τουτέστι Γραικική και Αλβανιτική