Naim Frashëri

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Naim Frashëri
Naim Frashëri.jpg
Born(1846-05-25)25 May 1846
Fraşer (Frashër), Janina Vilayet, Ottoman Empire
Died20 October 1900(1900-10-20) (aged 54)
Kadıköy, Constantinople, Ottoman Empire
OccupationPoet, writer and translator
Literary movementAlbanian National Awakening
ChildrenNerqeze and Nevrezi
RelativesAbdyl Frashëri (brother)
Sami Frashëri (brother)
Mit'hat Frashëri (nephew)
Ali Sami Yen (nephew)


Naim Frashëri (25 May 1846 – 20 October 1900) was an Albanian poet, writer and one of the most prominent patriots of the Albanian national movement for independence from the Ottoman Empire. He is widely regarded as the national poet of Albania.[1] He authored 22 works.

Early life and career[edit]

Naim Frashëri was born in 1846 in Frashër, a village of 1500 residents in the Vilayet of Janina. He was one of eight children of Halit bey (1797–1859) and Emine Hanım (1814–1861).[2][3][2] His paternal family traditions held that they were descendants of timar holders that hailed from the Berat region before going to live in Frashër.[2] While their mother Emine Hanım (1814–1861[3] was descended from Imrahor Ilyas Bey, a distinguished 15th century Ottoman Albanian commander from the Korçë area.[2] Kristo Frashëri, an Albanian historian member of the family, points out that the first Frashëri documented was an Albanian merchant in Thessaloniki.[4] Although of distinct origin, the family seemed to be of modest financial means by the mid-nineteenth century.[2]

Naim spent his childhood in Frashër, where he began learning Ottoman Turkish, Persian and Arabic. As a member of a family which gave him a strong Bektashi upbringing, he spent a part of his time in a Bektashi tekke. After the death of their parents the family moved to Ioannina in 1865. The eldest brother, Abdyl (b. 1839), became the family head at the age of 22 and started working as a merchant. That year Naim and Sami enrolled in the Zosimaia secondary school.[5] The education there provided Naim with the basics of a classical education along Western lines.[2] Apart from languages he learned in the Zosiamaia (Ancient and Modern Greek, French and Italian), Naim took private lessons in Persian, Turkish and Arabic from two important local Bektashi.[6] Frashëri showed interest in Bektashism, Persian poetry and Age of Enlightenment. Robert Elsie states that "His education in Janina made of him a prime example of a nineteenth-century Ottoman intellectual equally at home in both cultures, the Western and the Oriental".[3]

After he finished his studies in 1870, Frashëri worked for a few months at the press office in Istanbul (1870) but was forced to return to his home village because of tuberculosis. The climate of Frashër helped Naim and soon he started work in the Ottoman bureaucracy as a clerk in Berat and later in Saranda (1872–1877).[7][8] However, in 1876 Frashëri left the job and went to Baden, in modern Austria to cure his problems with rheumatism in a health resort.[3]>[6] In 1879 along with his brother Sami and 25 other Albanians, Naim Frashëri founded and was a member of the Society for the Publication of Albanian Writings in Istanbul that promoted Albanian language publications.[9][10] Ottoman authorities forbid writing in Albanian that resulted in publications being published abroad and Frashëri used his initials N.H.F to bypass those restrictions for his works.[11]

An Albanian magazine Drita appeared in 1884 under the editorship of Petro Poga and later Pandeli Sotiri with Naim Frashëri being a behind the scenes editor as Muslim Albanians were not allowed by Ottoman authorities to write in Albanian at that time.[12][13] Naim Frashëri and other Albanian writers like his brother Sami Frashëri would write using pseudonyms in Poga's publication.[12][13] Due to a lack of education material Naim Frashëri, his brother Sami and several other Albanians wrote textbooks in the Albanian language during the late 1880s for the Albanian school in Korçë.[13] In a letter to Faik Konitza in 1887, Frashëri expressed sentiments regarding the precarious state of the Ottoman Empire that the best outcome for Albanians was a future annexation of all of Albania by Austria-Hungary.[14]

In 1900 Naim Frashëri died in Istanbul. During the 1950s the Turkish government allowed for his remains to be sent and reburied in Albania.[15]

Influence and recognition[edit]

Portrait of Naim Frashëri on the 200 lekë banknote

Through his writings, Frashëri exerted a strong influence on later Albanian literature and society.[16] In particular Albanian Bektashis were influenced by Frashëri's writings which promoted national unity and nationalism that made Bektashi order in Albania follow patriotic and nationalistic trends.[17] Frashëri himself a Bektashi Muslim desired purity of the Albanian language and had attempted in his lifetime to Albanianize hierarchical terms of the order in his work Notebook of the Bektashis (1896) which also called for an Albanian Bektashism.[18] During Frashëri's lifetime he published influential works of Albanian literature.[19] His poem Bagëti e Bujqësi (Cattle and Land) in 1886 celebrated the natural beauty of Albania and the simple life of Albanians while expressing gratitude that Albania had bestowed upon him "the name Albanian".[19] In 1889, another poem Skenderbeg[20] long in verse celebrated his love for Albania by referring to the medieval battles of Albanians and Ottomans while highlighting Skenderbeg's Albanian origins and his fight for liberation.[19] In the poem Our Language Frashëri called for fellow Albanians to honour their nation and write in Albanian, while in another poem Feja (Religion) he pleaded with Albanians not make religious distinctions among themselves as they all were of one origin that speak Albanian.[19]

The independent Albanian state created an order of merit that bears his name, awarded to, amongst others, Mother Teresa. A publishing house in Tirana was named Naim Frashëri. Some Albanian elementary schools are named Naim Frashëri in his honor.[21]

Naim Frashëri is depicted on the obverses of the Albanian 500 lekë banknote of 1992–1996, and the 200 lekë banknote issued since 1996.[22]


Museum house of the Frasheri Brothers in Frasher, Permet, Albania
Frashëri on a 2002 stamp of Albania
  1. Kavâid-i farisiyye dar tarz-i nevîn (English: Grammar of the Persian language according to the new method), Istanbul, 1871.
  2. Ihtiraat ve kessfiyyat (English: Inventions and Discoveries), Istanbul, 1881.
  3. Fusuli erbea (English: Four Seasons), Istanbul, 1884.
  4. Tahayyülat (English: Dreams), Istanbul, 1884.
  5. Bagëti e Bujqësi (English: Herds and Crops), Bucharest, 1886.
  6. E këndimit çunavet (English: Reader for Boys), Bucharest, 1886.
  7. Istori e përgjithshme për mësonjëtoret të para (English: General history for the first grades), Bucharest, 1886.
  8. Vjersha për mësonjëtoret të para (English: Poetry for the first grades), Bucharest, 1886.
  9. Dituritë për mësonjëtoret të para (General knowledge for the first grades), Bucharest, 1886.
  10. O alithis pothos ton Skypetaron (English: The True Desire of Albanians, Greek: Ο αληθής πόθος των Σκιπετάρων), Bucharest, 1886.
  11. Luletë e Verësë (English: Flowers of the Summer), Bucharest, 1890.
  12. Mësime (English: Lessons), Bucharest, 1894.
  13. Parajsa dhe fjala fluturake,(English: Paradise and the Flying Word) Bucharest, 1894.
  14. Gjithësia (English: Omneity), Bucharest, 1895.
  15. Fletore e bektashinjët, (English: The Bektashi Notebook)Bucharest, 1895.
  16. O eros (English: Love, Greek: Ο Έρως), Istanbul, 1895.
  17. Iliadh' e Omirit, Bucharest, English: Homer's Illyad, 1896.
  18. Histori e Skënderbeut (English: History of Skanderbeg), Bucharest, 1898.
  19. Qerbelaja, Bucharest, (English: Qerbela), 1898.
  20. Istori e Shqipërisë (English: History of Albania), Sofia, 1899.
  21. Shqipëria (English: Albania), Sofia, 1902.


  1. ^ Cornis-Pope, Marcel (2004). History of the literary cultures of East-Central Europe: junctures and disjunctures in the 19th and 20th centuries. History of the Literary Cultures of East-central Europe. 2. John Benjamins Publishing Company. p. 291. ISBN 90-272-3453-1.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Gawrych 2006, p. 13.
  3. ^ a b c d Elsie, Robert (2005). Albanian Literature: A Short History. I.B.Tauris. pp. 67–70. ISBN 978-1-84511-031-4.
  4. ^ Frashëri, Kristo (2010). Frashëri, shkëlqimi dhe rrënimi i tij: vështrim i shkurtër. p. 14. ISBN 9789995688097.
  5. ^ Gawrych 2006, pp. 13, 26.
  6. ^ a b Qosja, Rexhep (2000). Porosia e madhe: monografi mbi krijimtarinë e Naim Frashërit [The Great Instruction]. pp. 34–42. ISBN 9789992713372.
  7. ^ Dhimitër S. Shuteriqi (1971). Historia e letërsisë shqipe (History of Albanian Literature).
  8. ^ Gawrych 2006, p. 14.
  9. ^ Skendi 1967, p. 119.
  10. ^ Gawrych 2006, p. 59.
  11. ^ Skendi 1967, p. 128.
  12. ^ a b Skendi 1967, p. 146.
  13. ^ a b c Gawrych 2006, p. 88.
  14. ^ Skendi 1967, p. 268.
  15. ^ Gawrych 2006, p. 200.
  16. ^ Elsie, Robert (2005), "Writing in the independence period", Albanian literature: a short history, London, UK: I.B. Tauris in association with the Centre for Albanian Studies, p. 100, ISBN 1-84511-031-5, retrieved 18 January 2011, major source of inspiration and guiding lights for most Albanian poets and intellectuals
  17. ^ Skendi 1967, p. 166.
  18. ^ Skendi 1967, pp. 123, 339.
  19. ^ a b c d Skendi, Stavro (1967). The Albanian national awakening. Princeton: Princeton University Press. pp. 123–124. ISBN 9781400847761.
  20. ^ Gawrych, George (2006). The Crescent and the Eagle: Ottoman rule, Islam and the Albanians, 1874–1913. London: IB Tauris. p. 90. ISBN 9781845112875.
  21. ^ Naim Frashëri official website,; accessed 5 February 2017.
  22. ^ Bank of Albania Archived 26 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine. Currency: Banknotes in circulation]; retrieved 23 March 2009.

External links[edit]