"Moreover, you scorned our people, and compared the Albanese to sheep, and according to your custom think of us with insults. Nor have you shown yourself to have any knowledge of my race. Our elders were Epirotes, where this Pirro came from, whose force could scarcely support the Romans. This Pirro, who Taranto and many other places of Italy held back with armies. I do not have to speak for the Epiroti. They are very much stronger men than your Tarantini, a species of wet men who are born only to fish. If you want to say that Albania is part of Macedonia I would concede that a lot more of our ancestors were nobles who went as far as India under Alexander the Great and defeated all those peoples with incredible difficulty. From those men come these who you called sheep. But the nature of things is not changed. Why do your men run away in the faces of sheep?"
Letter from Skanderbeg to the Prince of Taranto ▬ Skanderbeg, October 31 1460

We used to speak Albanian and...

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We used to speak Albanian and...


Post by truth » Thu Jul 02, 2009 6:27 am

The New York Times.
That’s what the Greeks have insisted for years when arguing why the marbles belong to Greece, but they also say the marbles belong to the world when pointing out why they don’t belong to the British. The marbles in fact belonged to the Parthenon, a building here and nowhere else, the best argument for repatriation, except the idea now is not to reattach them where they came from but to move them from one museum to another, from the British Museum to the new Acropolis Museum, albeit next door — a different matter, if not to the Greeks.
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“It’s the fault of a German,” Mr. Dimou said about Greek pride in this cause. He was referring to Johann Winckelmann, the 18th-century German art historian whose vision of an ancient Greece “populated by beautiful, tall, blond, wise people, representing perfection,” as Mr. Dimou put it, was in a sense imposed on the country to shape modern Greek identity.

“We used to speak Albanian and call ourselves Romans, but then Winckelmann, Goethe, Victor Hugo, Delacroix, they all told us, ‘No, you are Hellenes, direct descendants of Plato and Socrates,’ and that did it. If a small, poor nation has such a burden put on its shoulders, it will never recover.”

This myth required excavators on the Acropolis during the 19th century to erase Ottoman traces and purify the site as the crucible of classicism. The Erechtheion had been a harem, the Parthenon a mosque. “But Greek archaeology has always been a kind of fantasy,” Antonis Liakos, a leading Greek historian, noted the other day. The repatriation argument, relying on claims of historical integrity, itself distorts history.

For their part, the British also point out that the marbles’ presence in London across two centuries now has its own perch on history, having influenced neo-Classicism and Philhellenism around the globe. That’s true, and it’s not incidental that the best editions of ancient Greek texts are published by British, French, Americans and Germans, not Greeks. But imperialism isn’t an endearing argument.

So both sides, in different ways, stand on shaky ground. Ownership remains the main stumbling block. When Britain offered a three-month loan of the marbles to the Acropolis Museum last week on condition that Greece recognizes Britain’s ownership, Mr. Samaras swiftly countered that Britain could borrow any masterpiece it wished from Greece if it relinquished ownership of the Parthenon sculptures. But a loan was out.

Pity. Asked whether the two sides might ever negotiate a way to share the marbles, Mr. Samaras shook his head. “No Greek can sign up for that,” he said.

Elsewhere, museums have begun collaborating, pooling resources, bending old rules. The British Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Louvre and other great public collectors of antiquity have good reason to fear a slippery slope if the marbles ever do go back, never mind what the Greeks say.

At the same time the Acropolis Museum plays straight to the heart, sailing past ownership issues into the foggy ether of a different kind of truth. It’s the nobler, easier route.

Looting antiquities obviously can’t be tolerated. Elgin operated centuries ago in a different climate. The whole conversation needs to be reframed. As Mr. Dimou asked, “If they were returned, would Greeks be wiser, better? Other objects of incredible importance are scattered around Greece and no one visits them.” Mr. Liakos put it another way: “It’s very Greek to ask the question. Who owns history? It’s part of our nationalist argument. The Acropolis is our trademark. But the energy spent on antiquity drains from modern creativity.”

The new museum finally casts Melina Mercouri’s old argument in concrete.

The opportunity is there.

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Re: We used to speak Albanian and...


Post by Patush » Fri Sep 18, 2009 8:41 pm

Mr. Dimou on what appears to be his blog now claims that he was mis quoted.


he says
On the occasion of the inauguration of the museum I gave a two-hour interview to Michael Kimmelman, culture guru of the New York Times. Since it took some clips and used them in an article he wrote for the NYT. Today republished and the International Herald Tribune in its publication printed in Greece.

Among other treats there to say: "We used to speak Albanian and call ourselves Romans, but then Winckelmann, Goethe, Victor Hugo, Delacroix, they all told us, 'No, you are Hellenes, direct descendants of Plato and Socrates,' and that did it. If a small, poor nation has such a burden put on its shoulders, it will never recover. "

Of course I did not say that. I said those times most of the inhabitants of Attica were talking Arvanitis (which is true) and called themselves Greeks. But to do the accent, the columnist generalized ...

Now wait for the stones of the damnation that rain will fall on the "anti-Hellenic" City who told us all Albanians, etc.

This is the second time the potatoes in a week. The only one way to avoid the misunderstanding is to stop talking.
Translation done by Arta
Qui tacet consentit
Heshtja eshte Hjeksi!

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Re: We used to speak Albanian and...


Post by jay_albania_fan » Tue Sep 22, 2009 9:16 pm

It is interesting that the areas surrounding Athens were all Albanian speaking. In Athens itself, the old Athenian Greek dialect was spoken and remained distinct because Albanian surrounded it. But, as Albanian ceased to be spoken around Athens, the old Athenian Greek dialect went extinct due to standard Greek. Old Athenian had /u/ for υ versus /i/ of Modern Greek. There were other distinct Greek dialects spoken in "islands" surrounded by Albanian in Greece, but they also went extinct when Albanian went extinct in Greece. The other three were Kimi, Megara, and Aegina.

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Re: We used to speak Albanian and...


Post by ZigiZagi » Sun Sep 13, 2015 7:40 pm

Thank you for sharing that. It's so interesting.

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