Albanian Mythology: Why there is no God?

Albanian Mythology: Why there is no God?

 Albanian Mythology, an attractive subject to foreigners, became part of French Dictionary of mythologies in 1981. Arshi Pipa prepared for this edition a brief survey on Albanian mythology, which he calls it from the beginning "pagan type mythology of Balkans", but that is distinguished from others because "this mythology has not gods."

"Deities are secondhand and have not particular names, or their name is collective name. They swear for the Sky and the Earth, the Sun and the Moon is called. There are only physical embodiment of elements or objects, not people," writes Pipa.

The editor of this publication is the French poet Yves Bonnefoy, and Arshi Pipa study was published in the first volume on pages 5-7.

Below you can read the full study became known to French readers in 80s of XX century.

The mythologies DIKSIONER

ALBANIA (Mythology of L ')

Editor Flamarion Y. Bonnefoy, Paris, 1981, Vol. I ff. 5-7

Albanian mythology still does not constitute the object of a monograph, but the subject is treated in many essays and articles on linguistics, folklore and ethnography. Can be said that this is a pagan type pagan of Balkans.

Monotheistic religions that are superposed - Catholic North Albania, Orthodox in the South, Islamic nationwide - few have affected its nature. History of the Albanians, whose origin dates back to the migrations of the first Indo-European in the Balkans, is a continuation of invasions by the people who surround them: Romans in ancient times, Slavs, Greeks and Italians in the Middle Ages, Turks at the beginning of the modern era .

Therefore is expected the Albanian mythology to be quite syncretic. We can talk about alogene layers along the axis of a easily identifiable constant: the worship of caracter (gene) of race.

Deities of this Mythology are almost all pagans. There are mountain brides, but also sylphes and wood-nymphs. There are ominous giants, katallajt, thopçat (dwarfs that make fun by disturbing the people). The monsters are in mass: Gogol, dragons etc.

Metamorphoses are frequent: the husband becomes deer, wolf, falcon; the bride in weasel, cuckoo, turtledove. The deities of the house may have a human form as the hearth of nana or animal (vitore, a type of snake). Animals are sacrificed animals (once women) on the foundations of a building; Witchcrafts were made ( eg. to make the male impotent).

There are songs to bring the rain. Is hit with stone the eclipsed moon to frighten the wolves. Magical objects - mirrors, amulets, rings - play a major role. They believe in the evil eye, warning dreams. They believe in the power of stones, plants. But mostly they believed the power of the hero.

The cult of the hero, witnessed by a long national traditionis found in popular epic and customary law, it has maintained a mythical character in several provinces of northern Albania.

Protected by steep mountains, their inhabitants have been able to resist the Roman and Slavic colonization and even were able to maintain some autonomy during Turkish rule. Shepherds of the North, mosty Catholics, to this day can be called Uk, Dash, Bird, Sokol: they worship fire (to spit is taboo), they swear by Heaven and Earth, they mourn their dead by scratching their face, a ritual that is the remnant of a dance; they believe the country hours, spirits, devils, witches, vampires.

Totemism and animism is mixed with classical myths and medieval legends. Ulysses of Perseus have their equivalents. Albanian Polyphemus (KK5)  is called katallâ, in the memory of the Catalan mercenaries atrocities of the XIV century. The Pixy, the protectress of the hero, is etymologically close to Diana (Roman goddess is accompanied by a doe, while the Albanian divinity animal is a wild goat), and to its functions it receives from the Slavic Pixy, Vila. The name shtojzavalle (Nix) is a case  Pagano - Kristian syncretism: Shtoj, Zo (t), vallet.

Many of these pagan beliefs are the same for more than a Balkan nation, while others are perhaps of Celtic or Latin origin. Now what presents the Albanian physiognomy, as featureless, of Albanian mythology?

This mythology has not gods. The deities are secondhand and have not particular names, or their name is collective. They swears for the Sky and Earth, is called the Sun and the Moon. Among the elements the Earth is dominant. The superior quality of the hero or heroine leads to it: the man of the earth, the beauty of the earth. The swear on the stone is solemn (Gjeçov p. 534). Who swears on the stones will became stone if violates his oath. (The Pixy have the power of view that transformes man in stone) There is cairn there where someone has been killed for revenge (Çabej p. 360). Stones are thrown to relieve fatigue.

Another peculiarity is the lack of a life beyond grave. The sky has nothing heavenly, there is no hell. The believe in gremlins, basilisks and bogle is widespread; but these are tormented souls that the earth tossed them out for reasons of any serious wrongdoing. This spirit is an shade equipped with a waste materiality (he can raise the weight).

Albanian Mythology with Pixy and Demons, but without Gods, without eschatology and the conception of the soul is entirely negative, is thus purely terrestrial. It is organized around ethical bipolarity of good and evil. On the one hand there is a monster - a dragon or mamadraga - imagined as a seven-headed serpent that poisons than water and air. On the other hand there is a mythical hero who faced this monser in his cave and kills it. In the South, where the power of the Sultan replaced the Byzantine Emperor, often this kind of hero is noble (son of the King), while in the North it is a son of the people born drangue. Man-drangue has wings, he can fly. Here comes the myth of Hercules that fights Hydrea, who is transformed to that of St. George who kills the dragon. St. George is very popular in Albania, and his feast coincides with the arrival of spring.

George (Gjergj) is also the name of a hero who saved his country from a black monster that emerged from the sea, in what is perhaps the most beautiful Albanian rhapsody.

Albanian mythology, whose monument is the cycle of North rhapsodies, exalts a too ethnic life of heroic conception. The main heroes of this cycle, Muji and Halili, have Muslim names, borrowed from the Bosnian epic songs, of which lend the metric.

Muji the murder of his enemies, the Slavs, but not without suffering by himself. A rhapsody shows him seriously injured, accompanied by his guardian spirit, the time, between a snake that cares for him and a wolf who protects him. When he dies, the enemy comes to provoke him in his grave. He wakes up and calls, with the mediation of a bird help bz Halili, who kills the Slav and exhume his brother (KK32). Muji back to life. One day he makes on his hand the bullet proof. When he saw his hand pierced, he knows that his time is over. He then disappears underground, like Oedipus, to wait, with patience, the return on land of the heroic era.

Vico conceived the history of humanity as a cyclical process that goes through three stages: theological, historical and human. Albanian mythological mentality has faded the first, to feel satisfied in the second, refusing to come out of it. Muji is not the only representative of this mentrality. Another example is that of the national hero himself, Gjergj Kastriot, called Skanderbeg (1405- 1468). The Albanian humanist, Marin Barleti, who wrote the first story in novel form of the hero (v.1510) shows that his mother dreamed that she bear a dragon, whose body covered all Albania, and his mouth is tearing Turks.

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