an aristocratic marxist and those ancient albanians

Daniel A. Foss (U17043@UICVM.BITNET)
Fri, 24 May 1996 14:25:27 CDT

Oxford leftist, gave me a copy of Passages From Antiquity to Feudalism,
1973, by that Oxford-bred Marxist, Perry Anderson. (The latter followed
this up with the far-better-known Lineages of the Absolutist State, 1974.)
In Passages, Anderson explained the rise of the Illyrian (Albanian) junta,
headed by Diocletian, in 284, whereby the Third Century Crisis was ended,
by the simple assertion that, "Illyria was the last refuge of *latinitas*."
Where the naive would construe *latinitas* as "the elite high culture of
the Grandeur That Was Rome." The reverse was true; Albanians preserved
their tribal resistance to alien-imposed high cultures against Greeks,
who called Albania "Epirus" (as modern Greeks still do), as in Pyrrhus
of Epirus, who fought Rome in 270 BC; Romans, who never imposed Latin
on them; Serbs, who assimilated those Albanians who descended from their
overpopulated mountains and became Serbs themselves (and who now treat
Albanians as an Inferior Race); Byzantine Greeks; and Ottoman Turks, who
found their religion readily acceptable, but not the Turkish language.
Some of the greatest Ottoman Grand Viziers and, of course, soldiers, were
Albanians, for instance Muhammad Ali, who carved out an empire of his own,
based on Egypt, after military exploits in Egypt, Syria, and Arabia from
1808 on.

The image of Diocletian, on all his coins, shows a bullet head on a bull
neck, the stereotype of the military *gorila* he was. To imagine him as the
representative of the "last refuge" of Noble Romanism shows the grip of
myth. It is, however, quite correct to call Albania "the last refuge of
Stalinism in Eastern Europe."

Daniel A. Foss