The Albanian in His Own Habitat. A Dated Portrait
Viorel Stănilă

Almost all would wear the characteristic black cloak (fashioned by the Aromanian tailors, the author?s note) as mourning sign for Skanderbeg, while many had their heads shaven and only wore a braid at the back, hanging out of the white fez or enmeshed with a kerchief over the nape. These Muslims made me the impression of savages, of the sort I would not want to run into at night.? (Burileanu, 1906, p.204)

Surprising as it may be, yet the thief is not the only social category (how fitting is the syntagm to that type of society!) encountered in Albania. As with the Aromanians, yet in minor figures, the Albanian people may be craftsmen (Burileanu, p.155), caravaneers, farmers, or shepherds. This latter category is of special concern to Burileanu: ?The Albanian shepherds I have encountered on the way with their sheep were not of a less curious sight: one man walked in front of the sheep herd, carrying after him a big shepherd?s dog in a chain, then the sheep came, and behind them there was another Muslim, with one or two dogs, chained as was the first one. And these Muslim shepherds wore crewcut, covered with a fez that once had been white, out of which there wayed out a single braid, the only hair that was spared, and they were particular by their lack of hygiene, because they were more unwashed than the fărşerot caravaneers that transport oil from Berat to Coriţa.? (Burileanu, 1906, p. 204)

The self-image of the Vallachian caravaneers was certainly different: ?Encountering a few Turks on the way, women as well as men dressed wretchedly, almost in scraps, and noticing that they (the fărşerot men, the author?s note) were better dressed, they set off lamenting again over the Turks, saying: ?We, Sir, are always on the road, as you can well see, and weren?t we dressed in warm clothes, we would not be able to suffer the roads in winter, beacause bad weather is on its way, rainfalls, snow; and what would become of us, who we live outdoors, if we were dressed poorly. Our wives are diligent, they weave our clothes, as they do theirs, at home. The Turk is not as productive as us, Sir, this is why they are so wretchedly dressed; their wives don?t know how to weave, as our wives know, and they have no one to preserve them well dressed.? ? (Burileanu, 1906, p. 126-127)

            In the description that Bolintineanu, in his time, made of the Albanians, there is a natural predominance of the typically Romantic glorification: common ethnonyms are mixed together with the names of ancient tribes, their characteristics are extreme, while the gradual effect is attained by syntactical construction rather than by lexical modalities. One should retain however the distinction he operates between the members of dissimilar tribes: 

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