“Meet the Arbëresh Hour”, is an initiative on social networks created to present the extraordinary cultural, monumental heritage, identity and food, the summer of the Arbëresh Hour. A new section has been launched on the Facebook page “Hora” aimed at recognizing the history of “Hora e Arbëreshëve”.

An interesting article by Professor Giuseppe Chiaramonte will be published in this episode.

“In medieval Christianity, on an official level, peoples were not recognized as ethnic, but according to religious affiliation.

The difference between Greeks and Latins therefore corresponds to the liturgical use of Greek or Latin. Another difference: East and West and, most recently, Orthodox and Catholic.

The Eastern Roman Empire and, later, the Ottoman Empire, although in fact multi-ethnic, considered subjects (millet) as Latin, Roman / Roman, Muslim / Muslim, Jewish.

The term “albanòi”, replacing the Illyrians, is first encountered in Anna Comnena. The latter complains about their breakup with the Greeks, with whom they had ruled the fate of the Empire in Isopolitics.

Among the powers that, meanwhile, had carved a territory within the Eastern Empire, we include the Venetians.

One of its areas was the Peloponnese, where Greeks and Albanian speakers lived side by side and exchanged both languages. However, many documents prove that Venice preferred the Albanians more than the Greeks, because it considered them more loyal to the protection of its cornerstones.

Even the medieval name of the Peloponnese is derived from the Albanian / way, which means I got, where Morea comes from.

The conquest of the Balkans (formerly the Illyrian Peninsula, then Romania and then Rumelia and the Balkans) intervened in various phases, the southern Albanian population (toschi) and that of Morea (arvaniti), left the region en masse and took refuge in the Southern Kingdom: Naples and Sicily.

The regime in power at the time made the immigrants perceive as Greeks, as they were not Latinos.

This result can also be achieved due to the following three elements:

– the refugees had another ritual in the liturgy, but the language used was Greek;

-the difference between Greeks and Latins pre-existed in Sicily (you can see the Letters of Gregory the Great and the three-ethnic division of Norman Regnum Siciliae);

– the feudal lords, in whose possessions the refugees were sheltered, were mainly ecclesiastical.

As such, they privileged religious distinction and called them Greeks.

The writers of Sicilian affairs, from Fazello onwards, and the notarial documents, however, speak of “graeci seu albanenses” (Greeks and Albanians). Both terms show, on the one hand, the official difference in terms of Christianity, on the other hand, the identity self-awareness of refugees like Arbër.

At the popular level, however, the names were different:

“Head of the Greek”, which is a phrase with “caveza d’arnaut” (Albanian head), used by the Jews of Spain for the Albanians, shows their stubborn nature, or determined to preserve their language and traditions; or words like “thing, inserting question mark and thing? = hai sentito? (have you heard?); jartù, from the way of saying, come here, converted to come rtu = come qui. ”

Hora e Arbëreshëve

“Hora e Arbëreshëve” starts in the last part of the city of “Piana degli Albanesi” (Hora e Arbëreshëve) and extends to Merrughat, in the territory of Santa Cristina Gela, on the border with Marineo.

It is closed between the Kazaghot, the Kumeta (al Kumaj) Mountains, Maganoce, Leardo and Rossella / Turdiepi, to the south-west. From the heights of Mendra and Muzakja, Costa Marcione, Firrjati, Baghatelet, Guri i Korvit and Sëndahstina, to the east.

We do not know how this territory was divided in the Roman and Byzantine periods, while from Norman documents it is divided between the city of Palermo and the city of Jato. Impluvio and common border Belice Destro.

The part concerning Palermo is given to the Archbishop of Palermo on February 12, 1095 with the privilege of “Grand Count Roger”.

In 1182, King William II, il Buono, gave the part related to Jato to the newly created Diocese of Montreal. The Archbishop’s piano extends to this part as well.

It is said that the area was previously thought of as the “Valley of Hell”.

Perhaps because of the intrigues of the forests and brushes after the exhaustion of the labor force of the Arab settlers, or because of the presence of the terrible abyss of the Hon.

With the settlement of Arbëreshë in the mountainous part of the Monregalese area, the conglomeration of huts, first, and houses, later, was called “Casale dei Greci” by the administration of the archdiocese. While the rest he called Kazallot / Kazallonë.

Moving the settlement below, in the plain part begins and speaks of the “Casale de la Piana”.

When the feudal administration ceased (1812) and in view of the birth of the municipalities in Sicily (January 1, 1818), the Bourbon administration asked the feudal lords for the name and coat of arms to be assigned to the future municipalities.

For the above considerations, the Archbishop-baron indicated the name of “Piana dei Greci”.

This name, therefore, becomes official for the new Municipality. “Piana dei Greci” is shown at the bottom of the municipal coat of arms, while the two proud eagles we see in the center are surrounded by the inscription “Nobilis Planae Albanensis Civitas”.

This apparent contradiction seems to have escaped scholars, leaving room for many, often biased, reconstructions and explanations, both in Italy and abroad (Greece).

The archbishop still argues in the official aspect of Christianity, the Jurors and the Foran Vicar in terms of ethnicity.

On the other hand, we find SPQA (SENATUS POPULUSQUAE ALNANSIS) and NPAC (NABILIS PLANAE ALBANENSIS VIVITAS) already impressed in public architectural works.

The confusion between the Greek rite – which today should be called Byzantium – and ethnic Greek must be rejected, just as the Orthodox, Greek and Byzantine equivalences must be rejected.

The term Byzantine, first used in the mid-eighteenth century to denote a phase of the Greek language, finally helps us to see the Arbëresh as ancient Albanians of Italy, and their Church as Byzantine-Arbëresh (no longer Greek and not even Byzantine – Greek or Greco-Byzantine!)

Thus they were officially recognized by the Papal Yearbook, of Zef Giuseppe Chiaramonte. (GDSH)

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