The German Professor Jost Gippert, University of Frankfurt, Institute for Empirical Linguistics and the Norwegian Professor Svein Mønnesland, Oslo University, Department of Literature, Area Studies and European Languages, state to the Albanian news agency Presheva Jone, that there are no historical facts relating the Albanians of the Balkans to Caucasus Albania located in Armenia and Azerbaijan. Both international experts confirm that historians most likely associated the name Albania with the Illyrian tribe Albanoi.
GENEVA, December 16, 2014 – The internationally renowned professors, Jost Gippert and Svein Mønnesland, state to Presheva Jone that there are no facts relating the Albanians of the Balkans to Caucasus Albania despite their similar names.
“The ethnic group considered under the name of ‘Caucasian Albanians’ is an East Caucasian ethnic group that is today represented by the Udi people in the south-eastern Caucasus.
“There is no visible relationship whatsoever between the Albanians of the Caucasus and the Albanians of the Balkans.
“There are no historical facts supporting this, there is only the accidental similarity of the names,” states professor Jost Gippert while declaring his view on the similarities between the Albanians and Caucasus Albania.
Moreover, professor Mønnesland says it is “unlikely” that historical facts exist which could relate the Albanians to Caucasus Albanians due to the linguistic differences between both the Albanians and the Udi people.
He considers this to be key to distinguish the ethnic groups from each other because the Albanians and the Udi people speak different languages.
“It is unlikely that Albania in the Caucasus has anything to do with the country Albania. Albania was a name the Romans gave to the area known today as Azerbaijan.
“The Udi people speak a Caucasian language, not an Indo-European as Armenian. The Albanian language is Indo-European. Therefore, there cannot be any connections between the Udins and the Albanians.
“Whether Albanian derives from Illyrian or Dacian/Thracian, is in this context less important. All these languages were Indo-European.”
Greek historians most likely associated the name Albania with the Illyrian tribe Albanoi
In the context of the origin of the name Albania, Professor Mønnesland underlines that Greek historians have associated the name Albania with the name of the ancient Illyrian tribe Albanoi located in what is known today as Albania.
The Albanians claim to be the direct descendants of the Illyrians, an Indo-European tribe who inhabited parts of the Western Balkans during Antiquity.
“We know that ‘Albania’ is not the name the Albanians use of their country, but was probably given by Western (Greek) historians associated the name with the Albanoi tribe.
“Albania also exists as a name referring to Scotland/England. That means that the name cannot be used to prove anything. Linguistic kinship is important.”
Professor Jost Gippert also points out there is no relationship between Albania and “Albion as an ancient designation of Scotland” and re-iterates professor Mønnesland’s statement regarding Greek historians.
“Albania is the name given to the area in question (present-day Azerbaijan and adjacent areas) by ancient Greek authors such as Arrian, Strabo, and Ptolemy, as well as Latin authors such as Pliny the Elder and Tacitus.”
Serbian historian: The Albanians are indigenous
In textbooks referring to the history and origin of the Albanians used by students in the Albanian-dominated region of Presevo Valley in Southern Serbia, the Albanians are referred to as an indigenous people who have inhabited the Balkans for centuries.
The author of this text is the Serbian historian Rade Mihaljçiç and the books have been printed in Serbia’s capital Belgrade. Presheva Jone reported on this announcement on 01 December 2013.
Mr. Mihaljçiç’s contribution regarding the origin of the Albanians has resulted into a fierce debate among Serbian historians where several historians referred to the text as “scandalous.”
Serbian professor Slobodan Antoniç accused professor Mihaljçiç of not knowing Serbian history and to be a traitor.
“The Serbian author of this textbook was more interested in daily politics than the historical truth.” / Blerim Mustafa
* This article was written by the author in his personal capacity. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not represent the view of Leidar
Link to original article (Presheva Jone, also available below): http://www.preshevajone.com/international-experts-no-historical-facts-relating-the-albanians-of-the-balkans-to-caucasus-albania/