A curious item about Albania is her very name, that is, the etymology of the word "Albania." The country was known as Illyria in ancient times and until the eleventh century A.D. Since the name "Albania" appears in 13th century Latin dictionaries, the term was probably in use even earlier. During the Middle Ages the Albanians called their country Arb'r or Arb'n and referred to themselves as Arb'resh or Arb'nesh. To this day, there are communities of Albanians who migrated to Greece and Italy, in the wake of foreign invasions and pressures, who know themselves by those names (11). According to the Albanian scholar Konitza, the term "Albania" did not displace "Illyria" completely until the end of the fourteenth century (12). The term is believed to derive from "Albanoi," the name of an Illyrian tribe in what is now north-central Albania, which was first mentioned in the second century A.D. by Ptolemy, the Alexandrian astronomer. The term slowly spread to other Illyrian tribes until its usage became universal among all the Albanian people.

From: Prifti, Peter R. Socialist Albania since 1944 - Domestic and Foreign Developments. Cambridge, Mass: The MIT Press, 1978.



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