Alexander the Great. The text of the Statutes of Scutari re-emerged in the 1995 from the manuscript collections of the Library of the Correr Museum in Venice, it is faithfully transcribed from the original preserved in the Archive of the Council of Ten of Venice, unfortunately lost, perhaps, perhaps in the fires that invested the Venetian Ducal palace in the XVI century.
It was transcribed by such Marino Dulcichio around the 1504 (as the writer has shown) in the aftermath of the peace concluded by Venice with the Turks after decades of struggle. Just around the same time, in the School of the Albanians in San Maurizio, Vittore Carpaccio was commissioned to produce a splendid pictorial cycle on the life of the Virgin Mary. And it was no coincidence that the 1504 was published in the press De Scodrense Obsidione of Marin Barleti, who became a priest in the Veneto region in the 1494 and appointed parish priest in Piovene, near Vicenza; the work was edited by Bernardino (de) Vitali, from a family originating from Albania.
The Albanian community in Venice was therefore engaged in the very early sixteenth century to keep alive the memory of its past, from the remote to the most recent, to recall the role of the frontier supported by Albania in the dramatic events of the second half of the fifteenth century, by the extraordinary role played by Scanderbeg , "Soldier of Christ", up to the heroic anti-Ottoman resistance sustained in northern Albania by Scutari and Drivasto.
Reproduce the text of the Statutes of Scutari it meant therefore for the exiles in the Venetian land to remember the happy time in which the city communities in Albania were created, the time in which they were becoming part of the Mediterranean circuit - and therefore in the European circuit - of economic and cultural relations; Country of cities and of the sea Albania, already in the first fourteenth century, not only country of the mountains.
It emerges from the reading of the Statutes (a text that should be read and studied in all the Albanian school structures) the image of a very civilized medieval community and not by chance the first word on which the text opens is Libertà; reads the title of the first chapter:
De the freedom of foreigners to come to our City as a star.
Scutari, heart of the trade of that central Europe that connects the Baltic to the Aegean, Scutari metabolized by an aqueous network that also made it a maritime city, Scutari became Venetian, but well before Shkodra residence of Illyrian kings, Roman Scodra, Skadar of Serbian kings : the community of Albanian exiles who in the early sixteenth century participated in the peace celebrations with the Ottomans, could not but revive the ancient, centuries-old grandeur of their land, full of history.
This is why the text of the Scutari Statutes was preceded by a Privilege with which Alexander the Great, recognizing the armed help received, would have left sovereignty over the lands “between the extreme north of Europe up to those bordering on southern Italy "To the peoples who lived there; specifically "to the peoples of the illustrious lineage of the Illyrians, the Dalmatians, the Liburnia" and to all those who lived there, "from the Danube to the medium regions of Thrace", reiterating that they alone should be considered the true masters of those lands themselves: anyone he claimed they should be considered their "servant".
Alexander the Great
The privilege of Alexander of Philip king of Macedonia would have been given "In Alexandria, in the twelfth year of the kingdom".
Who created this text, already known in the XIV century, is not given until today to know; with retouches and variations it accompanies the birth of various communities in the Balkan area, better than the area that the most recent criticism, with the studies of Francesco Leoncini, is defining Central Europe, thus reinterpreting also the geopolitical position of Albania.
In the case of the Privilege that accompanies the Statutes of Scutari, there is no mention of Slavic peoples, who are not mentioned, but of Illyrian peoples, because these were defined in the sixteenth century by the inhabitants of Albania by the exiles in the Venetian land: the variant in Venetian code is significant.
This text was widely circulated, as evidenced by the various copies preserved in manuscripts of the Biblioteca Marciana in Venice and thus recalls the myth, created over the centuries, of Alexander the Great.
But it should not be forgotten, with regard to the specific claim of its origins by the Albanian exiles in Venice, also the specific figure of Alessandro's uncle: Alessandro I called il Molosso who was, as is known, king of Epirus and whose iconography is it was recently brought into contact by Maddalena Bassani with the statue placed on the Venetian Bucintoro in the 1606 depicting Scanderbeg.
Not to mention Olimpia, mother of Alessandro, originally from Epirus.
And Giorgio Merula, a Venetian humanist, stated in the 1474 in his Bellum scodrense: that the Ottomans had invaded Macedonia which "by the youngest" was called Albania.
Privilege of Alexander the Great
Therefore the Privilege of Alexander the Great is not an authentic text, perhaps, in this specific case, it has been "revisited" by some writers' workshop in Padua in the very early sixteenth century, where the influence of Annio da Viterbo continued, who had produced many new products in previous decades documents to be spread as authentic. Pietro Angeli then resided in Padua, exiled from Drivasto, animator of the recovery of historical memory of his country. The document concurred in the creation of a 'mythology' that saw the Albanians linked to Alexander the Great by testamentary (as well illustrated by Maddalena Bassani).
It is however, the Privilege, a very precious witness for the history of Albania, because it opens a specific window on the complex problem of the origins of the Albanian people.
In the 1532 Marin Sanudo wrote in his Diaries, as Stefano Trovato says, "all of Albania will return to reacquistar el nome as it was in Alexandro's time".
And in the nineteenth century, Niccolò Tommaseo, referring to Alexander the Great, wrote: "From Macedonia, a place of illusionary people, the strong eagle came out and stretched the flight of its lightning feathers up to India".
Il Molosso, Olimpia, Alessandro Magno; Illyria, Epirus and Molossia, Albania; a "Balkan" scenario complicated over time by mixtures and claims of different natures.
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For those wishing to learn more, refer to:
- Statutes of Scutari of the first half of the XIV century with additions up to 1469, edited by Lucia Nadin, with introductory essays by Gian Battista Pellegrini, Oliver J. Schmitt, Gherardo Ortalli; Albanian translation by Pëllumb Xhufi, Rome, Viella, 2002; II edition, Tirana, Wisdom University, Onufri, 2010.
- Lucia Nadin, [amazon link = "8878703400 ″ /], Rome, Bulzoni, 2008 and in Albanian translation of Pëllumb Xhufi, Tirana, Shtëpia Botuese “55”, 2008
- Stefano Trovato, The myth of Alexander the Great between Slavs and Albanians, in AA. VV., Bridges and borders Interdisciplinary day of studies, Venice 20 October 2004, curated by Andrea Bonifacio, Venice, EditGraf editor, 2005.
- Maddalena Bassani, Scanderbeg in Venice. Classical suggestions in the creation of a myth, in [amazon link = "8891302902 ″ /], edited by Flavio Raviola, Maddalena Bassani, Andrea Debiasi, Elena Pastorio, Rome, L'Erma di Bretschneider, 2013, pp. 123-139.
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