Some Controversies Connected with the Origin of the Albanians, Their Territorial Cradle and Ethnonym
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This article examines controversies arising in 19th and 20th century scholarly (as well as popular) works related to the ethnogenesis of Albanians and their ethnohistoric territory. It also touches on some issues concerning the Albanian ethnonym and its origin. The author contends that, despite the existence of only limited traces of the language of the ancient Illyrians, scholars speak strongly in favor of the Illyrian theory of the origin of Albanians. Other theories, e.g. Thracian and Daco-Mysian (and combined Daco-Thracian) ones, are slighted, especially by Albanian scholars. On linguistic grounds numerous ties between the Albanian and Romanian languages have been proved, suggesting a common formation in the past remote centuries. Thus, the author maintains that due to this connection attempts to combine the Illyrian theory with some elements of the Daco-Mysian (or Daco-Thracian) theory may occur in the future. Another issue discussed in the article concerns the potential, overlooked by some authors, to ignore the threat of the political propagandist use of the theory of the ancient ethnogensis of Albanians. For example, Serb scholars raise doubts concerning the 'capacity' of the term 'Illyrians' and object to the idea that Dardans could be termed 'Illyrians'.The author also presents past and present views on Albanian territorial issues and maintains that the Albanians can legitimately be associated with the territory of Albanopolis and the tribe of Albanoi, though not before the time of Medieval sources - despite the fact that the two names were recorded by Ptolemy. Accordingly, to associate the Albanians with the entire ancient Illyria is to introduce another controversial issue.
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