The words of the art critic Vittorio Sgarbi, who labeled the ancient city of Bylis as "Greek", whose ruins are located today in the district of Mallakastër, made much discussion in Albania.
There have been numerous reactions on the web from the Albanian people, which was followed by further social posts by Sgarbi confirming his thesis. To clarify this situation, the television broadcaster Top Channel - through the journalist Marin Mema - made a detailed report based on historical sources.
What's the real story of Bylis? Is this city really Greek as it is considered by the renowned Italian critic? Was Bylis occupied by the Greeks? What do historians, ancient sources as well as archaeological finds claim? Only through them will we be able to find out the truth about Bylis.
"Up to 40 years ago we also had this dilemma: a city that has a theater, that has such a good organization, that is not so far from the ancient city of Apollonia, what is it really?"- says the archaeologist Neritan Ceka
At the end of the 70s, three archaeological expeditions were organized with the aim of clarifying the history of the three ancient cities located in today's Albania in scientific terms. The late professor Selim Islami led the work in the city of Albanopoli, not far from Kruja; in Antigone, near Gjirokastra, a center founded by Pyrrhus king of Epirus, the works were conducted by another archaeologist, Professor Dhimosten Budina; while the third group settled in Bylis led by Professor Neritan Ceka.
"Among the three Bylis it is the perfect model of the ancient Illyrian civilization"- continues the archaeologist.
But regardless of all this, how do ancient scholars consider the city Bylis? Was it a Greek colony?
"It is 100% claimed by ancient authors that it is an Illyrian city. If we consider the most recent, Pliny, who lived around 60 AD, says that the Barbarian Bylins lived near Nymfeo.
The term 'barbarian' at the time did not mean people without education, because they had a theater and a stadium, and this Pliny knew this well; 'barbarian' was referred to all those people who spoke languages incomprehensible to the Greeks. " - claims Neritan Ceka.
Also Stefano di Byzantium (geographer who lived in the XNUMXth century AD), in his geographic dictionary, defines Bylis as a city of Illyria, always founded and inhabited by the Illyrian lineage of the Bylin. [...] So the discussions on Bylis are totally useless: it is a city that has a completely Illyrian history and which has never been conquered by the Greeks.
The fault of these discussions is not of Sgarbi, but of the people in charge of accompanying him, the people who should serve accurate and scientific data and who should tell the true story of Bylis. It took the reactions of researchers, archaeologists and thousands of ordinary people to get the authorities to understand and learn that Bylis is not and never was a Greek city.
Months ago the ancient city of had become Greek Butrint, Bylis today, tomorrow it will be someone else's turn. Our history has changed many times and will continue to be changed until experts in the field are put aside. It is useless to blame others when the fault is ours alone: we are destroying history ourselves.
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