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of what rank. When a few years since Djavid Bey, the son of the Grand Vizier, was shot dead in broad daylight, and in one of the busiest thoroughfares of Constantinople, everybody explained his murder as an act of vendetta on the part of the Albanians for the assassination of Gani Bey, an influential fellow-countryman of theirs, who a twelvemonth before had been murdered by one of Djavid's creatures. Nor did the avenger attempt to escape. Why should he ? Had he not fulfilled the unwritten law of the gods'? Would not his name be ever remembered and revered by his clansmen, and his deed celebrated in rugged mountain verse for the admiration of posterity? What is death itself, let alone mere imprisonment, when weighed against everlasting fame ?
In view of this state of things it is hardly to be wondered at that agriculture is not a favourite or flourishing pursuit. Maize is the only kind of corn cultivated, and it barely suffices for the subsistence of a small portion of the population. The deficit is made good by robbery. The ordinary Albanian farmer, after having gathered in his crop, and hung it up between the rafters of his cottage, considers the year's labours concluded. This grain, ground as it is wanted, a cow, and a small stock of fowls supply all his needs throughout the winter. A limited export trade in farm produce is carried on with Trieste, and tortoises, which require neither keeping nor tending, are largely exported to Italy. Despite the absence of peace, and the presence of poverty, the Albanian is a very hospitable individual. A stranger, just as among the Homeric Greeks and the modern Arabs, is looked upon as one sent by God'-a sacred and inviolable person. In the smaller villages, where the patriarchal régime is especially powerful, the first rite of hospitality consists in the washing of the guest's feet by the mistress of the cottage. It is also her duty to sleep outside the door of the bedroom assigned to the stranger, in order to be ready at hand to offer assistance, should he chance to be taken suddenly ill during the night. Even the greatest personal enemy is perfectly safe under an Albanian's roof. The host will entertain him kindly, will feast him liberally, and on departing will conduct him half an hour's distance from his house. This is the limit of the forbearance imposed by piety. Once there, the obligation of respect ceases, and the host will proceed to shoot his ci-devant guest with the complacency of a man who feels that he is doing a meritorious deed.
A redeeming feature of the Albanian's character is his warm gratitude for any kindness shown him. If he is slow to forgive an injury, he is still slower to forget a favour. This trait was not long ago vividly impressed upon a foreign consul at Durazzo. The gentleman in question was a qualified doctor, and during an epidemic had saved the lives of many of the inhabitants out of charity. When, some years after, he was transferred, his ex-patients went en masse to see their benefactor off, and, as a proof of their sincerity, they promised to kill his successor. They were not to be dissuaded from their purpose except by repeated assurances, accompanied by a solemn oath, that the consul’s removal was of his own seeking, and had not been brought about by his successor's machinations, as they imagined. The loyalty and fidelity of the Albanians are proverbial throughout the Levant, and those who employ armed attendants (cavasses) of that nationality have many instances of self-sacrifice to relate.
The remarks concerning Albanian barbarism made above apply to the whole of Albania, but it should be added that the degree in which these features prevail is highest in the north and lowest in the south of the country. It is to the northern portion that the term 'Savage Land' (Yabani) is specially applied by the Turks-a term reflecting the wild and lawless character of the people no less than the rugged grandeur of the black and bare mountains amid which they live. This portion administratively constitutes the vilayet of Skutari, and is inhabited partly by Albanised Slavs and partly by Albanians of so-called Illyrian descent. Though both are commonly included in the name of. Ghegs,' the latter are easily distinguished by their peculiar physique, by the fierceness of their temper, and, above all, by the habit of shaving their heads so that only a lock or fringe of hair is allowed to grow on the crown and hang down upon the nape of the neck—a custom recalling to the spectator Fenimore Cooper's Indians despoiled of their plumage. One tribe of the Ghegs—the Mirdites—inhabiting the district between Skutari and Prisrend, among other relics of truly primitive culture, preserve the practice of exogamy, never marrying within the tribe, but habitually providing themselves with wives forcibly carried off from amongst their neighbours. The maid in many cases has no unconquerable aversion to being abducted, but her male relatives make it a point of honour to defend her, and, as a result, a Mirdite wedding is frequently ushered in by a series of funerals.
The language of the Ghegs is as rough and uncouth as
their rocks, as little susceptible of rule as those who speak it, and as primitive as their manners, withal presenting a certain family resemblance to the speech of the ancient Hellenes and Latins in its rudest form. But it is only the resemblance of a half-faded ancestral portrait to its subject's remote descendants.
Such are the Ghegs and their land. The god of light seems to have forgotten to cast a ray to this benighted nook of Europe. History has almost disdained to record the life of a race which, by the caprice of fate, has been suffered to remain in a primordial state of infancy, while its cousins of the south grew, flourished, decayed, all but died, and rose to life again. And yet it is a race brimming with vitality. The continuous drain in men to which North Albania had been subjected for a long series of generations kept down their numbers. But as soon as the current of Ottoman conquest ceased, they began to multiply. During the latter part of the nineteenth century especially the Ghegs, who had been forced to withdraw before the advancing waves of the Slavs, overflowed the landmarks imposed by that movement, and in their turn began to press upon the newcomers. The Slavs were compelled to cross once more the Drin, and to retire further east. Hence the vilayet of Monastir, as well as the district known as Old Servia, presents the theatre of a constant struggle for existence between the Albanians and the Servians, who are gradually driven towards the banks of the Vardar.
To the south of these tribes lies the land of the Tosks, a milder and less uncivilised race of men, addicted less to fighting and more to farming than are their northern brethren across the Skumbi, though, like them, they are mostly armed cap-à-pie. The country still further south is inhabited by a group of clans known as Liaps and Tchams. These have little of the ferocity which distinguishes the other Albanians, and are rather more under the control of the Turkish authorities. Conscription and taxation, though practically matters of as little moment as among the Ghegs, are at all events theoretically admitted to be obligatory. The tribal division has, among them, in great measure been superseded by a corresponding local division into districts, each governed by a great landowner, and the vendetta hardly ever involves whole districts in hostilities, being as a rule confined to individual families. In a word, the further south the traveller proceeds the gentler the people grow, in harmony with their surroundings. The scenery in these parts is less
mountainous, the soil more regularly cultivated, and the population, by scarcely perceptible degrees, merges into the Epirotic Greek. So much so that Jannina, the capital city of the vilayet, actually lies to the south of the Greek frontier, as drawn by the Congress of Berlin in 1878, and, were it not for the refusal of the Porte to carry into effect Article 13 of that treaty, a considerable section of the vilayet would now be in fact what it was then recognised to be in theory--part of the Hellenic kingdom.
The division of Albania into northern and southern is neither arbitrary nor new. It closely corresponds with the delimitation which prevailed in ancient times. Strabo regarded the Egnatian road as forming the boundary line between the Illyrians and the Epirots. Despite the vicissitudes through which the country has passed since the old geographer's day, the modern traveller sees reason to endorse his statement, for the Egnatian road ran parallel to the river Skumbi, which still separates the northern Ghegs from the southern Tosks. Strongly marked and strongly felt as is the distinction between the two tribes, both Ghegs and Tosks acknowledge a common national appellation. Under the name of Skipetar they include all those who use the Albanian speech (Skip), a community of sentiment which is not even affected by difference in religion. The name of Skipetar is made to cover a multitude of creeds, Mohammedan as well as Christian. This broad-mindedness is probably due to the fact that neither the Cross nor the Crescent is much more than a mere conventional name to the Albanian. Characteristically enough, the Mohammedan Albanians are mostly Bektashis, an heretical sect deeply tinted with antinomian principles, and therefore congenial to the natural contempt for authority which distinguishes these children of the rocks. In defiance of the precepts of the Koran they openly indulge in wine and pork. Contrary to the practice of Islam throughout the Eastern world they build no minarets to their few mosques, and scorn those who do so. • How foolish they must be to think that Allah will hear their prayers any the sooner because, forsooth, they offer them up from an elevation a few feet higher than the common level of the earth!'an Albanian was heard to exclaim, and the exclamation showed his hazy notions concerning Moslem practice better than a regular examination in the Prophet's catechism could have done.
In South Albania there are whole so-called Mohammedan districts which do not boast a single place of worship or a single minister of Allah. These simple believers consider a Turkish name a sufficient passport to the Prophet's paradise ; they observe no Ramazan—the great Mohammedan fastand even dispense with the rite of circumcision, which among the Mohammedans is equal in solemnity to the Christian baptism. Commander-in-chief Eyub Pasha, during the Greek campaign of 1885, on visiting the sick discovered this curious omission, and, shocked thereat, proposed to have the rite administered to the Albanian regiments in the regular way. He was, however, forced to abandon bis pious design by the threat of the unwilling proselytes that they would desert bodily to the enemy rather than submit to this ignominy. On another occasion the Turkish Government sent to one of these districts an expert to initiate all the boys into the mysteries of the Mohammedan cult. The great landowners (aghas), who had much to lose, submitted with the best grace they could; but the common and irresponsible people rose in arms and put the poor Khodja to death for daring to insult the free sons of Albania, and thus compelled the Porte to recognise that there are limits to the Albanian's susceptibility to religious influence beyond which it is not safe to go. These eccentricities have among the orthodox believers earned the Mohammedan Albanians the sobriquet of Kitabsiz, or Bible-less.
Christianity also, whether it calls itself Greek or Roman, is of a type peculiar to Albania. The ordinary Albanian's ideas on the subject are well illustrated by the story according to which a mountaineer once informed a tourist that he prayed to Christ that He might intercede on his behalf with St. Nicholas. Nor is the line between Islam and Christianity very rigidly drawn. In many districts, Albanians who in time of taxation pose as true believers, a few months later, when they are requested to join the army, discover a sudden leaning to infidelity. Others again, while openly professing the dominant creed, in private adhere to Christianity, and reconcile the two religions by giving to their children two names: one Turkish, imposed by the imam according to the rites of Islam and used out of doors; the other by a Christian priest who, soon after the first ceremony, is called in at dead of night disguised, and thus, under the cloak of darkness, neutralises the evil effect by means of the baptism. The second name is exclusively intended for home consumption. Many other observances exhibit the same eclectic duality of views.
Nearly all the Albanians who call themselves Moham