THE CROATS IN ALBANIA
Vladimir Markotic -
Journal of Croatian Studies, I, 1960, pages 25-31
There exist two schools of thought about the coming of the Croats in today's Croatia. The older and the dominant one maintains that they came together with other Slavs in the 6th Century. The other, that is rapidly gaining ground, says that the Croats came after the Slavs cca. 626 A.D.
A Byzantine emperor and an unknown priest describe the regions originally occupied by the Croats. Constantine Porphyrogenitus said that after the Croats came to Dalmatia "a part split off and possessed themselves of Illyricum and Pannonia. The Priest of Dioclea wrote that the Coastland was divided into two parts: the western called White, and southern called Red, Croatia. However there are other Croatian places that do not fit in this picture. Such are, for example, Arvati near Donja Prespa in the South Slavic Macedonia, Harvati in Attica, and in the county Mycenae near Argos in Peleponnese, and Harvata in the county Khania in Crete. In addition, recently, a book published in Turkey mentions Croatian localities in Albania.
The title of the book is: Hicrî 835 Tarihli Süret-i Defter-i Sancak-i Arvanid, and the English translation is: The Copy of the Register of the Albanian Province Dated 835 (1431 A.D.). It deals with the sanjak (province) of Albania. There were two original copies. One was kept in Adrianople and is now lost. The other one was maintained by the Governor General of the Balkans and is now in the Basbakanlik Archives in Constantinople. The document comprises a list of timars or fiefs, which consisted of villages or parts thereof, along with the number of households in each, the names of fiefholders, and the amount of money paid to them. It covers a period of 25 years from 1431-1456. The register is not only important as the oldest document of such kind in Turkish history, but it is an indispensable historical and ethnic source of Albanians and other Balkan nations. It mentions all the localities that were administratively included in Turkish Albania. Professor Inalçik tried to identify them on a map with modern names put in brackets. A pertinent part of the map is reproduced in our article.
At first I discovered in the book two Croatian villages. One Asagi Hirvate, or Lower Hirvate, consisted of 27 households, paid 2035 aksa yearly, and was part of timar. The village was also mentioned under the name Hirvat. The other village was Hirvatova and the timar 256 had a part of it. It consisted of 17 households and paid 1422 aksa. Since the Lower Hirvate was mentioned, an Upper Hirvate must have existed too. Whether this was Hirvatova or not cannot be ascertained from the register. Asagi Hirvate and Hirvatova were both in Muzakije, between the Rivers Sémeni (Seman) and Shkumbini (Shkumbi), but only Asagi Hirvate can be identified. It is now called Kruatje. Later, when I studied the map in more detail, I discovered in the northwest corner another locality called Kasaz, the modern Kazaz.
The name occurs widely and there is already a considerable literature about it. Kasegs were known in Old Slovenia where they lived together with Croats. In middle Styria we find the Croatian names, Krowot near Weiz, Kraubat near Stainz, Krabaten, Krabatenberg and Krabersdorf near Straden. In Slovenian Styria there was Chrowate. In Carniola we have Charwacsach and in Carinthia Kraut (Chrouuat), north of Spittal. Southwest of Leoben in Styria is the modern village Kraubat, and Chrowat is known near Lobming. This region was called "pagus Chrouuat". The county(Grafschaft) Freibach, from Treffen to Villach in Carinthia, has been known as such only since 1016; before, it was called "pagus Chrouuati", and in it were located Kroatenberg and Krobaten. Here, it seems, was the center of the Croats. All those names are surrounded and accompanied by Edling and Kaseg. Edling is simply the German translation of Kaseg, and occurs as a locality and as a personal name. We shall therefore not describe the various Edlings but shall mention only the name Kaseg. It occurs as Kajzice, Kazaze, Kajzaze, Kazda, Kazize, Kassasse (Kassese, Slovenian Kasaze). In the documents it is also written as Kasses, Kosses, Khasess, Khasses and Khases.
- - -
Journal of Croatian Studies, I, 1960, pages 25-31 – Annual Review of the Croatian Academy of America, Inc. New York, N.Y., Electronic edition byStudia Croatica, by permission. All reserved by the Croatian Academy of America.
- - -
Read full article: http://www.studiacroatica.org/jcs/01/0104.htm