Marin Barleti

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Marin Barleti
Marinus Barletius
Born c. 1450-1460
Scutari, Republic of Venice (modern Shkodër, Albania)
Died c. 1512/1513 (age 52–63)
Padua, Republic of Venice (modern Padua, Italy)
Institutions Church of St. Stephan
Known for Author of Historia de vita et gestis Scanderbegi Epirotarum principis

Marin Barleti (Latin: Marinus Barletius, Italian: Marino Barlezio; ca. 1450–60 – ca. 1512–13) was a historian and Catholic priest from Shkodra.[1] He is considered the first Albanian historian because of his 1504 eyewitness account of the 1478 siege of Shkodra. Barleti is better known for his second work, a biography on Skanderbeg, translated into many languages in the 16th to the 20th centuries. Some scholars say he was an ethnic Italian,[2] while most Albanian scholars say he was Albanian.[3][4] Barleti said that Albania was his fatherland and he was an Albanian.He called himself a Shkodran equating being Shkodran with being Epirote (Albanian).[5]


Barleti was born and raised in Shkodra.In 1474, the Ottoman Empire besieged Shkodra and Barleti participated in the successful defense of the town, both in the first siege in 1474 and the second in 1478. Both Barleti's parents were killed in the sieges.[6] When Venice ceded Shkodra to the Ottomans in 1479, Barleti escaped to Italy where he would become a scholar of history, classical literature and the Latin language.

Soon after Barleti arrived in Venice, he was given a stall at the Rialto meat market as a temporary means of financial aid. In 1494 became a priest after his theological studies in Venice and Padova, and soon was appointed to serve at St. Stephen's Church in Piovene.[7]


A page from De obsidione Scodrensi (1504)
A page from Historia de vita et gestis Scanderbegi Epirotarum principis

The Siege of Shkodra[edit]

Barleti's first work was The Siege of Shkodra (Latin: De obsidione Scodrensi, Venice, 1504). It was published several times in Latin and translated into Italian, Polish, French, Albanian, and English. Barleti wrote this work as an eyewitness. Of this work, acclaimed Albanian author Ismail Kadare wrote that "if one were to search for a literary creation wholly worthy of the expression 'monumental work,' it would be hard to find a better example than The Siege of Shkodra."[8]

The History of Scanderbeg[edit]

Barleti's second and largest work was The History of Scanderbeg, fully entitled About the excellent Prince of the Epirots, George Castrioti's, life, character and deeds, especially against the Turks. Because of his famous exploits he was surnamed Scanderbeg, that is, Alexander the Great. Thirteen books by Marin Barleti of Shkodra (Latin: De Vita Moribus Ac Rebus Praecipue Aduersus Turcas, Gestis, Georgii Castrioti, Clarissimi Epirotarum Principis, qui propter celeberrima facinora, Scanderbegus, hoc est, Alexander Magnus, cognominatus fuit, libri Tredecim, per Marinum Barletium Scodrensem conscripti). It was published in Latin between 1508 and 1510 and translated into Portuguese, German, French, English, Serbian, and Albanian. Unlike The Siege of Shkodra, Barleti relied on the testimonies of others to produce this work.

The History of Scanderbeg is still the foundation of Scanderbeg studies and is considered an Albanian cultural treasure, vital to the formation of Albanian national self-consciousness. The Serbian language version is the major part and the first manuscript of the Cetinje chronicle.[9][10] A note at the end of this manuscript says that the author of the text is "Marin from Shkodër of Slavic origin".[11][10]

A Brief History of Lives of Popes and Emperors (disputed)[edit]

A third work has often been attributed to Barleti, A Brief History of Lives of Popes and Emperors (Latin: Compendium vitarum pontificum et imperatorum, Venice, 1555),[12] but new research asserts that it was not his work, but rather an extract from Giovanni Stella’s works, published by Bernardino de Vitali.[13]


Barleti invented spurious correspondence between Vladislav II of Wallachia and Skanderbeg, wrongly assigning it to the year 1443 instead to the year of 1444.[14] Barleti also invented correspondence between Scanderbeg and Sultan Mehmed II to match his interpretations of events.[14] His first work is considered more reliable than his second work due to its nature of being an eyewitness account of the events that occurred in his home town.[15] However, one should keep in mind that inserting fictive speeches suited to the historical character was characteristic of classical/classicizing historiography.


The main public library of Shkodra and a publishing house have been named after Marin Barleti. Also, a university in Tirana, Albania has been established under his name.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Setton, Kenneth M. (1978). The papacy and the Levant (1204-1571). (null ed.). Philadelphia: Amer.philos.soc. p. 73. ISBN 978-0-87169-127-9. ...perhaps of Italian origin. 
  2. ^ Elsie, Robert (2013). A Biographical Dictionary of Albanian History. I. B. Tauris. p. 32. ISBN 978-1-78076-431-3. 
  3. ^ Nadin, Lucia (2008). Shqiptarët në Venedik: mërgim e integrim (1479-1552) [Albanians in Venice: migration and integration (1479-1552)]. Shtepia Botuese 55. pp. 68–69. 
  4. ^ Marin Barleti (2012). David Hosaflook, ed. The Siege of Shkodra: Albania's Courageous Stand Against Ottoman Conquest, 1478. David Hosaflook. p. 29. ISBN 978-99956-87-77-9. 
  5. ^ Barleti, Marin (2012). The Siege of Shkodra: Albania's Courageous Stand Against Ottoman Conquest, 1478. Onufri Publishing House. p. 11. 
  6. ^ Nadin 2012, p. 111
  7. ^ Nadin 2012, pp. 100-135
  8. ^ Kadare, Ismail in Marin Barleti (ed. David Hosaflook), The Siege of Shkodra: Albania's Courageous Stand Against Ottoman Conquest, 1478. Tirana: Onufri, 2012. p. v.
  9. ^ Martinović 1962

    Najviše prostora u "Ljetopisu" zauzima zapis "Povijest o Skender begu Černojeviću va svetom kršteni narečenom Georgiju".

  10. ^ a b Petrović, Vasilije; Radmilo Marojević (1985) [1754], Istorija o Crnoj Gori [History of Montenegro] (in Serbian), Podgorica: Leksikografski zavod Crne Gore, p. 133, OCLC 439864504, Није познато када је и ко превео или само прерадио већ учињени словенски превод Барлецијевог опширног дјела о Ђурађу Кастриоту. Да ли сам Василије Петровић који је преписивао текстове тога љетописа. Приметно је да је ова "историја о Скендербегу" у Љетопису скраћена,...Рукопис је Василијев. ... Овом Повијешћу и почиње Љетопис, до стр. 30а, гдје стоји напомеана да је ово написао Марин Скадранин, родом Словен на "на (!) у латинском језику велми учен". 
  11. ^ Martinović 1962

    Rukopis se završava na str. 30a; napomenom da je ovo pisao Marin Skadranin, rodom Sloven, "na u latinskom jeziku velmi učen".

  12. ^ Jensen, Minna Skafte. "A Heroic Ta le: Marin Barleti's Scanderbeg between orality and literacy". Retrieved 7 October 2010. 
  13. ^ Nadin 2012, p. ?[page needed]
  14. ^ a b Setton, Kenneth (1976–1984), The Papacy and the Levant, 1204-1571, four volumes, American Philosophical Society, p. 73, ISBN 978-0-87169-114-9, ... The spurious correspondence of July and August 1443, between Ladislas and Scanderbeg (made up by Barletius, who should assigned it to the year 1444) ... He also invented a correspondence between Scanderbeg and Sultan Mehmed II to fit his interpretations of the events in 1461—1463 ... 
  15. ^ Buda, Aleks in Marin Barleti (ed. David Hosaflook), The Siege of Shkodra: Albania's Courageous Stand Against Ottoman Conquest, 1478. Tirana: Onufri, 2012. pp. 26-30.