GJIROKASTRA DESPOTATE AND GJIN ZENEBISH

Spiro Nika

Abstract


The Zenebish (Byzantine form Zenevisi, Italian Zenebisi or Sarbissa) represent a large Albanian feudal family of Southern Arberia centered on the city of Gjirokastra (1304 - 1444). Ottoman historians and chroniclers, according to Eqrem bey Vlora, note that the Zenebish family originated in the Zagoria region of Gjirokastra, specifying that it was precisely the support between Gjirokastra and Përmet. The Vilayet of Gjirokastra, as part of the Sandzak of Arbër, in the Ottoman register of 1431-1432, is also known as the "Vilayet of Zenebish". Turkish professor Halil Inalçikk in his 1960 study "Sandzak Arvanid" marks the "Lands of Zenebissi-ili" or Zenbis and gives an accurate description of the ethnic panorama of the southern Arbëresh areas of 1431. Ottoman records prove that the Dropulli Field inhabited by the Albanian population. In 1410, the Ottomans took Gjin Zenebish's son hostage and sent him to the Sultan's court in Edirne (Adrianople) to "educate him with the norms of Ottoman behavior." In Ottoman historiography, Gjin's son is known as Hamza Bey, a military leader, but who, like Gjergj Kastriot Skënderbeu, returns to his homeland and the Christian religion. After 1414, Gjin Zenebishi was forced to settle on the island of Corfu, which was under Venetian rule to escape the Ottoman rule. . In 1416 he returned to his homeland with the support of Venice, regained the post of lord of Gjirokastra, but in 1417, together with other Arbëresh leaders, he found refuge on the island of Corfu. There he died in 1418. Thus ended the life of one of the most prominent princes of Arberes, the lord of Gjirokastra and a good part of the southern Albanian territories. The life of this brave man, of this great Albanian, is filled with almost half a century of war and titanic efforts in defense of Arberian interests.


References


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Valentini, G. “Actia Albaniae veneta”, “Chronicles of Ionina” p.265-266

Zaputin, I., Malltezi, L. “Documents on the History of Albania of the 15th century”, Volume I, p. 77

Jericik, C. “Die Witwndo die Sohne des Despoten Esau vo Epirus” f. 314-316

Shuteriqi, Dh. "Arianites", pp. 44-45.




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.0001/ijllis.v9i5.2092

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