December 02, 2004
Alexander the Albanian
...at least according to this. Well, it's not as if there's no one else claiming him as one of their own...
Posted by Ideofact at December 2, 2004 01:24 PM
Wow, that's a dotty article. They're all "great" because they were born near the terrain now known as Macedonia, eh? What is that, an inverted post hoc fallacy?
Although, the author stumbles over an interesting phenomenon - the tendency of back-country provinces to provide high-quality military and political leadership. The military leadership is driven by the historical tendency of impoverished, barren mountain country to export military, often mercenary, talent. The political leadership is perhaps a combination of the parasitic reliance of political power on military power, and the hybrid vigour of provincial elites - elites who tended to follow in the footsteps of pre-modern population flows from low-mortality rural areas to high-mortality urban regions.
Very odd indeed. Even odder, the article manages to omit the one indubitably great bona fide Albanian general, Skanderbeg (George Castriotis - who presumably took his nom de guerre from the ancient Macedonian ruler).
There are few places where Alexander the Great's influence has not been felt. His vast empire spread from the Atlantic shores of Spain to the plains of India. His example has been admired and followed for generations to come, and his legacy has been deeply felt by the entire world. It is said that Julius Ceaser himself began to weep as he stood under the shadow of a statue of Alexander the Great, for Alexander had conquered half the world by 19, and Ceaser not even made a name for himself by that age.
And how was he Albanian in any way? Well, first of all Alexander was son of Philip II and Olympia. Olympia, was the princess of Epirus, a province in Northern Greece, considered to be modern day Albania, and an ancient territory of Albanian tribes. This relation of Alexander having Albanian blood is considered somewhat feasible and acceptable by the history books, but we want to stretch out the enigma of Alexander.
Initially there is the question of where and to what people Alexander belonged to. It is known that Alexander the Great, was really Alexander of Macedon, and the current flag of Macedonia is the ancient sun flag of Alexander's army. This seems reasonable, but what really were the "Macedon" people. As stated in the Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia, "the Slavs, occupied much of the area [Balkans] by the 6th century AD", so it cannot be possible for the now largely Slavic Macedonia to be a descendant from Alexander the Great. Slavic tribes did not come into the region of Northern Greece until well after Alexander's death, which leaves only two people left, the Albanians and the Greeks. It is important tot note that the history books have not labeled Alexander Greek, and therefore he can only be Albanian. Albanian tribes are the earliest known to occupy northern Greece, and that allows Alexander only one nationality. Alexander did not have Albanian blood, he was an Albanian. To Albanians this fact seems very clear, for we have named our currency lek, after Leka I Madh.
The Barbaric war style of the Illyrians was deeply rooted in Alexander's spirit, which is good reason for his expertise as a general and a conqueror.
More proof of Alexander's Albanian ancestry would have to be the close relations he had with the King of the Illyrians, practically a man of his own kin. There is an ancient legend that the Illyrian king gave Alexander a large, beastly, dog to commemorate his achievements. The beast was so ferocious, Alexander decided to make it hunt bears. The dog showed no interest in this endeavor and lay lazily without moving. This angered Alexander and he had the dog killed. When the king of the Illyrians heard of this he sent him another dog, this time with a message of "not wasting the dog's time with small things". This time Alexander had the dog fight a lion, which the dog quickly broke the back of, and then an Elephant, who the dog forced off a cliff. The extensive diplomacy between Alexander and the Illyrians only suggests that Alexander was an Albanian himself.
Also, there is the conquered territory of Alexander. When looking at a map of his advances, oddly enough Illirium and Northern Greece is not touched by his armies. Yet, the Illyrian and Northern Greek tribes did not have armies capable of facing the Great Alexander. But Alexander considered them as one, they were all Albanian. Alexander could not possibly conquer his own land. That is why this area remained untouched.
Accepting Alexander's Albanian ancestry opens a vast world of possibilities. There is of course the long Ptolemy dynasty of Egypt that followed after Alexander's death, started by one of Alexander's generals and childhood friend. Accepting Alexander as an Albanian, would mean accepting a big part of Egypt's history to be determined by an Albanian dynasty, that of Ptolemy.