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Αρbε̱ρεσ̈ε̰, Arbëreshë, Greek: Αρβανίτες
Poem in Arvanitika and Greek honoring the wedding of Grand Duchess Alexandra Georgievna and Archduke Paul (1889).
Total population
c. 150,000 (Arvanite-speakers)[1]
Albanian (Arvanitika), Greek
Related ethnic groups
Other Albanian-speaking peoples
(most notably Tosk Albanians)

The Arvanites (Arvanitika: Αρbε̱ρεσ̈ε̰, romanized: Arbëreshë, Greek: Αρβανίτες) are a bilingual Greek people speaking both the Greek language and a dialect of the Albanian language called Arvanitika.[2][3][4] They moved from the regions of northern Epirus and central Albania to the Greek peninsula during the Middle Ages.[4] The Arvanites settled as farmers and soldiers (stradioti) getting land as payment for their work.[4] They were organized into clans called fares (Greek: φάρες), or sogia (Arvanitika: σόjτε),[4] and their culture was Byzantine Greek.[5][6] They fought in the Greek revolution of 1821 against the Ottoman Empire and its allies.[7] The name Arvanites, or Arnauts, was also used to describe Greeks from Roumeli, Albanians, Bulgarians and Serbs who all served as bodyguards for royals.[8]

In one of their songs, the Arvanites of Boeotia in central Greece sing of their homeland, Constantinople: "Τρε παμπόρἐ σκούαν ε βάνἐ νἐ Σταμπούλ νἐ βέντἐ τάνἐ" (transliteration: "Tre pampóre skoúan e báne ne Stampoúl ne bénte táne", "Three ships passed and are going to Constantinople to our lands").[9] According to Maria Michael-Dede, the song proves that the Arvanites are of Greek origin.[10]

References[change | change source]

Citations[change | change source]

  1. Lewis 2009
  2. Tsitsipis 2004, p. 57.
  3. Karastathis 2014.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Eleutherios 2012.
  5. Karastathis 2014, Chapter V, Section 7: "Ἀρβανίτες καὶ λοιποὶ Ἕλληνες: κοινὰ ἤθη, ἔθιμα, παραδόσεις, χοροὶ κ.λπ." and Chapter V, Section 8: "Ἡ ἑλληνικότητα μέσα ἀπὸ τὰ τραγούδια τῶν Ἑλλήνων Ἀρβανιτῶν".
  6. Michael-Dede 1988, p. 1111.
  7. Thomas 1832, Volume I, pp. 141–142.
  8. Thomas 1832, Volume I, p. 95: "Included under the generic name of Arnauts, it was recruited from Roumeliote Greeks, Albanians, Bulgarians and Servians, who acted as body-guards to the princes, the great functionaries, and even the simple Boyards."
  9. Michael-Dede 1988, p. 1111; see also Karastasthis 2014, pp. 152–153.
  10. Michael-Dede 1988, p. 1111; see also Karastasthis 2014, p. 153.

Sources[change | change source]

  • Eleutherios, Alexakis; Koutras, Nikolaos (trans.) (2012). "Arvanites in Boeotia". Encyclopedia of the Hellenic World. Athens: Foundation of the Hellenic World.
  • Karastathis, Kostas V. (2014). Έλληνες απο το Αρβανόν [Greeks from Arvanon] (in Greek). Athens: Athos. ISBN 9789604951420.
  • Konstantas, Gregory; Philippides, Daniel (1970) [1791]. Γεωγραφία Νεωτερική περί της Ελλάδος [On the New Geography of Greece] (in Greek). Athens: Hermes.
  • Lewis, Paul M., ed. (2009). "Albanian, Arvanitika". Ethnologue: Languages of the World (16th Edition). Dallas, Texas: SIL International.
  • Thomas, Gordon (1832). History of the Greek Revolution. Vol. I. Edinburgh: William Blackwood.
  • Tsitsipis, Lukas D. (2004). "A Phenomenological View of Language Shift". Collegium Antropologicum. 28 (Supplemental 1): 55–62. PMID 15156728.

Further reading[change | change source]

Other websites[change | change source]