Some Aspects of Hierarchic Relations and Differences in Status in Albanian Society

Xhemile Abdiu

Some Aspects of Hierarchic Relations and Differences in Status in Albanian Society based on some Institutions and Practices during the Ottoman Empire in the Balkans.

(55th Meeting, 2012)

The Balkan represents a very special geographical unit with the peninsula, its mountains and rivers, but at the same time this unit is special for its ethnical geography and historical developments that are verified. The most of the Balkans were under Ottoman domination and the other parts of it were under Austrian-Hungarian domination.

It is obvious that Ottoman domination has influenced the societies of the countries in the Balkans. It is known that, after 700 years, was seen a migration of nomad Turkish speakers direct South, straight in the Arabic world. In 1055 year the Turks conquer   Baghdad and they create the Selcuk Empire. When the Mongols destroyed the Selcuk State, there from 1200 year, Turks tribes were dispersed westward, in Anatolia, where one of them took the name of its leader, Ottoman. They were involved in wars against the Byzantine Empire. First time the Ottoman army entered in the Balkans around 1345 as byzantine mercenaries. After that, they returned to invade it.

The purpose of this topic is to explain in a descriptive historical way the concept of hierarchy, some aspects of hierarchical relations and differences in status in Albanian society based on some institutions and practices during the Ottoman Empire. The military factor and the dynastical and religious factors have worked together and they explain the reasons of long term domination and its success, and also the failure of this Empire in the end.

The hierarchy was obviously present in all institutions and concepts that had entered with this new organization of the society. The military factor explains that how a tribal society with cavalry consisted of nomad mercenaries came from the steppes of central Asia, reaches the purpose to be the Empire. To build an advanced state, Ottomans adapted the institutions needed from the societies which had invaded. Turks of Selcuk Empire had accepted such a religious, constitutional and educational institutions, for that reason the Ottoman society had inherited a system of religious places, schools and tribunals. They applied some byzantine practices, some tribunal practices, some feudal practices and the legislation for the land of the countries that had invaded and all these became strong outfit for the dynasty. Thus this system was seen in the societies like Albanian society during the Ottoman Empire invasion. Political, cultural and constitutional forms of life were adapted to the religious law. In all these tree factors we can see the hierarchy and the concept of the status. During this period hierarchy was reflected even in the small unites like family, in unites like organization of the handcrafts, in the administrative divisions and in the organization of the schools. We will try to give some examples of hierarchical relations and difference in status within Albanian society.