Malcolm and his critics. A cursory examination. Jan 1, 2008 23:58:58 GMT -5
Post by Emperor AAdmin on Jan 1, 2008 23:58:58 GMT -5
(2/15/04 10:44 pm)
Noel Malcolm and some critics
I thought it might be interesting to look at Malcolm critically, using some sites which offer divergent views of the subject of his early chapters.
The links are to a Serbian Orthodox site and to a rather odd but stimulating Greek Helsinki.word.doc.
Italics = quote from critics
italics with "" = Malcolm
Bold = my comment
Some of this stuff is already in this forum, of course.
1) MALCOLM’S NEGLECT OF KEY SOURCES
Malcolm does not use fundamental historical sources: he is not aware of Byzantine manuscript sources, not even of the works by Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus, let alone the Arab or Armenian texts. He does not use a single history of the Serb people or any work of the kind, not even most recent Western books pretending to present the early history of the Slavs and of South-Eastern Europe. Nor does he refer to important Russian sources. True as far as it goes, but only relevant to Malcolm’s few original arguments. The main linguistic argument, relies on scholars who have referred to relevant sources, notably Weigand, Ducellier, Cabej and Stadmuller However, the criticism does weaken Malcolm’s specific case for Kosovo as the ‘late latin’ Albanian base.
2) ARBITRARY GEOGRAPHICAL AMALGAMATION
Kosovo and Metohija are, historically, two geographically distinct areas, but Malcolm treats them as one. Correct – and possibly rather important
History of the Serbs and analysis of Slavic toponyms.
1) ORIGINS AND LEVEL OF STATE ORGANIZATION OF EARLY SERBS.
According to Malcolm, the Serbs, originally living in the areas north and north-east of the Black Sea, lived in the fifth and sixth centuries in Bohemia and Saxony, and they came to the Balkans following the Croats; then the Serbs settled in the area of Rascia (Raska), where initially they had no social set-up resembling a state, but only a few tribal territories ruled by zupans, etc. (pp. 23-24) Yet, even if long known manuscript sources and even more recent archeological findings are ignored, common sense and logic still remain commanding the conclusion that no people with a historical role like the one played the Serbs could have been shaped. Vague, counter to most authorities and tendentious. Also, does not mention Avar – Serb relationship, a fairly key factor in the 6th century.
2) DATE OF EARLIEST SERB PRESENCE IN KOSOVO
Malcolm grounds his claim that Kosovo and Metohija were not inhabited by the Serbs and Slavs by his own interepretion of the differences between the Serbo-Croat (in fact Serb) language and the Bulgarian-Macedonian (in fact the South-Slav) language. He goes on to argue that the area from the Morava river through Kosovo and Metohija and as far as the Adriatic coast, amounting to an area substantially larger then the few Rascian zupanijas, was inhabited by a native population, as allegedely ancient toponyms demonstrate. Malcolm illustrates this by giving instances of the names of major towns Naissus - Nis, and Scupi - Skoplje. In addition, he mentions the name of Lipljan, allegedely the Latin Lypenion, a name of which there is no record in ancient times but which was mentioned for the first time in Greek, in 1018, as . He cites the place name Puku, allegedely deriving from via publica (26-27). This is neither speculation nor guesswork, but a fabrication serving to promote a definite purpose.
Many toponyms, preserved down to our day, point to the Serb population there in the times substantially preceding the twelfth and thrteenth centuries, for example: Balvanü; Igri e - Süborüsko - Zborce - Gumniøte; Kobûla glava - Kobiqa glava; Rosuqe - Rosuqa, etc.
I don’t know and am not qualified to analyse.
3) BULGARS AND SERBS
Stating his views of the origin of the population of Kosovo and Metohija, Malcolm goes on to say that the Slavs, namely the Bulgarian Slavs (p. 27), are present there only since the beginning of the eleventh century and down to the Byzantine occupation of 1018. Not a word about the Bulgarian raids on Serbia!
Malcolm does mention Bulgarian attacks on 9th century Serbia. He tells us:
“the Bulgarians pushed westwards across modern Macedonia and eastern Serbia, until by
the 850s they had taken over Kosovo and were pressing on the borders of Rascia”
History of the Albanians
1) ALBANIAN AUTOCHTONY
Who did the Romans conquer?
during Communism Albanian historians supported the theory that modern Albanians are direct descendants of the ancient Illyrians, who, however, had already disappeared when the Romans conquered the region. ….. The name Illyrians originated with the Greeks who had used it in the 5th-4th century B.C. to name a group of people living on their northwestern border. These people were divided into tribes, of which at least three are known: the Taulantian, the Enkhelai, and the Piraei. Much later on, Roman authors also mention the existence of an Illyrian kingdom in the same region. By that time, the people identified by the Greeks had already disappeared. The Dalmatians had replaced them.
Misleading. The term originally refers to a small tribe based between Scodra and the Mati, possibly the Taulantians. It was extended to include other tribes, notably the Ardiaei, who were powerful before the reign of Pyrros and Philip II’s Macedonian expansion. They remained so right up to c260BC when they first clashed with Rome. The Ardiaei were in fact the overlords of the Delmatae (Dalmatians) and it was only once the Romans had broken the former that the latter achieved prominence as an opponent of Rome. The Delmatae were based to the north, near present day Split; the Ardiaei between Shkoder and the south Dalmatian coast opposite Hvar.
Catholicism and Coastlines
Dyrrachium is originally the Greek city of Epidamnus, a Corinthian/Corcyran colony founded in 625 BC. Not Illyrian, though a key port for the Illyrian trade. Attacked by Illyrians in 229BC and immediately occupied by Romans. Became a key city for Roman operations in the area. Not a response, just background info
Since 58 AD, the town of Durrës (Dyrrachium) has been an Episcopal See, with Apollonios as its first bishop [Rance, 1997: 47-48].
Between the fourth and fifth centuries, most probably, Christianity was widespread in the urban centers, whereas paganism was still influential in the rural and mountainous areas.
In 395, following the division of the Roman Empire by Theodose, the Illyrian territories came under Byzantine political rule. In terms of religious authority, they were still dependent on Rome. This was an important factor for the future of the region. The border that first separated the Western and the Eastern Empire, and subsequently, Catholicism and Christian Orthodoxy, was a line through the present-day Albanian territory. This line was shifted a great deal during the next millennium. Thus, the Albanian territories were for a while under Eastern (Byzantine) influence, and then under Western influence.
This explains why present-day Albanians do not have either a strong Catholic or a strong Orthodox identity. Albania remains a land of several faiths and religions where Islam co-exists with Christianity (Catholicism and Orthodoxy). Albania has always been at the center of the conflicts of the two Churches. This also explains the reason that Catholics are found exclusively in the north of Albania and Orthodox Christians in the south.
It may also relate to the issue of why there are fewer Slavic (orthodox) toponyms in the north of Albania. Those who believe that the Albanians are indeed Illyrians – and that the Albanian base is indeed the Mati basin, smack bang on the religious faultline – might enquire if the whole original division between Ghegs and Tosks does not originate in the Great Schism.
Other peoples have been bitterly divided by religion: just because the Albanians under the Ottomans, 4 centuries later, were not at war with conationals of different religions does not mean that the same was true following the quarrels of Photius [815-897] and Michael Caerularius [1043-58] with the Pope. I know it’s difficult to imagine Albanians quarreling about Azymite bread and a ritual phrase, but that wasn’t the point. It would have been about your alignment with Constantinople or Rome, and your relations with Crusaders. Subsequent tension with the Serbs, and resistance to adoption of Orthodox toponomy might help explain why there are fewer Slavic toponyms in the north than in the south. After all, it’s in the north that Malcolm suggests there was extensive Serb penetration during the Bulgar apogee.
The location of the proto –Roumanian Vlach speakers
Then he attempts to demonstrate, relying solely on philological evidence, that the Albanians are the autochtonous population of Kosovo and Metohija (p. 30).
At length he draws the conclusion that after a "Slav invasion" into the Upper Morava basin, in northern Macedonia, in "Kosovo" (and in Metohija), as well as in a part of Montenegro, a population of Latin speech continued to live from which the Albanians and the Vlachs originated, who were later driven out by the Slavs and Serbs (pp. 39-40).
Substantial archeological excavations conducted in Albania show that the ancestors of the Albanians settled between the Drin and the Adriatic coast in the Middle Ages.
The whole thrust of Malcolm’s argument boils down to this:
"Late Latin developed in two different forms in the Balkans: a coastal variety, which survived as a distinct language (known as Dalmatian) until the end of the nineteenth century, and the form spoken in the interior, which turned into Romanian and Vlach. From place-names it is clear that the coastal form, spoken also in Shkodra and Durres, penetrated some way into the northern Albanian mountains. ] There are some traces of this variety of Latin in Albanian, but the Albanian language's links with the inland variety of Balkan Latin are much stronger. This suggests that the centre of gravity of Albanian-Vlach symbiosis lay a little further to the east."
"The main area of the Balkan interior where a Latin-speaking population may have continued, in both towns and country, after the Slav invasion, has already been mentioned: it included the upper Morava valley, northern Macedonia, and the whole of Kosovo. It is, therefore, in the uplands of the Kosovo area (particularly, but not only, on the western side, including parts of Montenegro) that this Albanian-Vlach symbiosis probably developed.  All the evidence comes together at this point. What it suggests is that the Kosovo region, together with at least part of northern Albania, was the crucial focus of two distinct but interlinked ethnic histories: the survival of the Albanians, and the emergence of the Romanians and Vlachs. One large group of Vlachs seems to have broken away and moved southwards by the ninth or tenth century; the proto-Romanians stayed in contact with Albanians significantly longer, before drifting north-eastwards, and crossing the Danube in the twelfth century. "
Stadmuller suggests a different locus for the Albanians, in Northern Albania. Malcolm argument for Kosova is based on the idea that it is non-coastal and isolated from Latin. But Stadtmuller does not in fact assume a coastal location for the Albanian base. Malcolm tells us that Statmuller has in mind:
"the 'Mat' district north-east of Tirana and west of Debar". From there, according to this theory, the early Albanians were able to "expand to fill the region bounded by the river Shkumbin, the Black Drin, the united Drin and the coast”
A different author’s reference to Stadmuller reads: “the Mati and the mountains of the north”.. Wish I could read German.I also found this Hungarian site interesting on the Albanian origin of Vlach and Roumanian.
2) LINKS WITH CAUCASIAN ALBANIA
In passing, in a note, he mentions the hypothesis concerning the Albania in the Balkans and the Albania in the Caucasus, but dismisses it because allegedly there are no connections between the two areas. This claim is unfounded, because both Albanias were close to the borders of one and the same state, Byzantium. The Albania situated within present-day Azerbaijan, mentioned by that name by Ptolemy, was referred to during the middle and latter Middle Ages as "Albania", "Agwank", "Aluank", "Arran", ar-Ran". A Latin map from 1482 shows an "Albania" in the territory of Azerbaijan.
In the second century, Ptolemy mentions a tribe called “Albanoi” and their town “Albanopolis” located to the east of Durrës. To say that Ptolemy was talking about the Caucasus is, as far as I can see, bunk.
The name, which has deep Indo-European roots, was already widely used within the Adriatic region. All over South and Southeastern Europe, there are areas, cities, mountains, etc., whose names are based on the root “alba” (“white; dawn”). The best-known examples are the Alps and the city of Albani in Italy, not to mention Scotland and Albion.