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Forum LockedWho are the Vlach people?

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    Posted: 11-Jun-2005 at 15:44

WHo are the Vlach, specifically in Greece?

 

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They are mostly let overs Romanized people. These include Illyrians, Thrakians, Greeks etc etc. I guess in Greece they are Romanized greeks. Its what they say they are for the most part. My father is of vlach ancestry.

 

Here is an interesting study done on them;

 February 02, 2004
Origin of Aromuns (Vlachs)
Ann Human Genet

Alu insertion polymorphisms in the Balkans and the origins of the Aromuns

D. Comas et al.

We have analysed 11 human-specific Alu insertion polymorphisms in the Balkans to elucidate the origins of the Aromuns, a linguistic isolate inhabiting scattered areas in the Balkan Peninsula. Four Aromun samples (two from the Republic of Macedonia, one from Albania, and one from Romania) and five neighbouring populations (Macedonians, Albanians, Romanians, Greeks, and Turks) were analysed by means of genetic distances, principal components and analyses of the molecular variance (AMOVA). Three hypotheses were tested: Aromuns are Romanophonic Greeks; the result of a Romanian southward migration; or local descendants of the Thracians. The analyses show that the Aromuns do not constitute a homogeneous group separated from the rest of the Balkan populations. Grouping by language or geography does not explain the genetic differences observed in the region, suggesting a lack of genetic structure in the area. Aromuns do not seem to be particularly related to Greeks, Romanians, or to other Romance speakers. The Aromuns might have their origin to the south of the Danube river, with extensive gene flow with the neighbouring populations. The present results suggest a common ancestry of all Balkan populations, including Aromuns, with a lack of correlation between genetic differentiation and language or ethnicity, stressing that no major migration barriers have existed in the making of the complex Balkan human puzzle.



Edited by Iskender Bey ALBO
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TheodoreFelix Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Jun-2005 at 16:10

An article on their culture

 THE VANISHING NOMADS

By Miranda Vickers

In mid-spring, empty hillsides in the Greek-Albanian border region come alive to the sound of sheep and goat's bells as the Vlachs, Europe's last semi-nomadic pastoralists, bring their large flocks up from the plains.

The returning Vlachs create a buzz of activity in their remote, isolated villages, which are largely uninhabited in the long winter. Rugs and blankets are unpacked, wood is chopped, ovens are lit, produce and gifts are exchanged and young people are betrothed. At night every house admits the smell of the Vlachs' favorite dish -- pitau -- layers of thin pastry soaked in butter and filled with leeks, baked in an iron dish and served with dark red wine.

For centuries these people have spent the summer months wandering with their animals through the vast, forest-clad hillsides of the southern Balkans, following ancient paths known only to them. But nowadays this lifestyle is threatened, and each spring fewer Vlachs make the journey back to their traditional homes.

The Vlachs, who speak an obscure unwritten language derived from Latin and akin to modern Romanian, claim descent from Roman garrisons stationed in the region. Today 90,000 Vlachs live in scattered communities in southeast Albania, the southwest corner of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and on the Pindus mountains in Greece. Many thousands more live permanently in the towns of the central Balkans, virtually assimilated.

Since the 1920s, Vlachs have settled in Germany, Australia and America, where emigre groups have started societies to try to preserve their unique language by telling folk tales and singing Vlach songs. They organize traditional picnics and sports teams to encourage their communities to avoid assimilation and are a forum for Vlachs to discuss their culture and history.

For those who remain in the Balkans, however, maintaining a Vlach identity is increasingly hard. In Albania, postwar agricultural collectivization destroyed patterns of nomadic pastoral life, forcing many Vlachs to find work in the country's new industrial centers.

But in the remote highlands Vlach culture and language has survived. Shepherds wear the characteristic heavily woven goatskin capes -- which are still much prized as trading items.

With no particularly strong religious identity, the Vlachs' traditional pagan beliefs are covered by a thin veneer of Orthodox Christianity. Many elderly women have a black cross tattooed on their forehead to ward off the evil eye, and their stories of witches and curses are listened to attentively by those with recent troubles. With their parents working long hours, children are brought up by grandparents from whom they learn Vlach customs and the language with its distinctive hissing sounds which have earned them the name Tsintsars, by which they are known throughout the Balkans.

In Shamolle, a mixed Albanian and Vlach village near Korce, the Vlachs provide the inhabitants with milk and cheese with their flocks which graze in the surrounding foothills. And they continue to enjoy many of their traditional pastimes.

"We love eating in the open air. In the summer maybe 30 to 40 people go up into the high ground to have picnics with pitau, wine and musical instruments," said Aspasia Dhuka, a young school teacher who, like most Vlachs, finds it hard to accept a purely Vlach national consciousness. "I know that I am a Vlach," said Dhuka, "but I am also an Albanian." She echoes many educated Vlachs who nowadays speak Albanian with greater fluency than Vlach.

To halt the decline of the language, which has never had an alphabet or any official recognition, a Vlach association was formed in Tirana in 1990. It has 20,000 members; and today many Vlachs hold important posts in wider society -- for example, Albania's ambassador to London, Pavil Gesku, is of Vlach descent.

One of the most evocative places in Albania is the isolated Vlach village of Voskopoje. At first glance it is a typically dilapidated Albanian hamlet, but glimpses of white stone tell of the prosperity it enjoyed in the 18th century as a commercial and intellectual center with decorated Orthodox churches. Its population engaged in all manner of trade and commerce. Despite its success, Voskopoje suffered from raids by bandits. After years of devastation and pillage Voskopoje disappeared, leaving only a handful of shepherds' huts among the sacred buildings. Two centuries later the descendants of those Vlach shepherds live among the ruins of the shining marble streets and huge churches.

Set among rolling hills and rich pasture-land, Voskopoje is now the center of Albania's pastoral agriculture. In the town's dingy taverna, Vlach men huddle in clouds of smoke talking of sheep and goats and planning their winter trips to work in Greece. Most of Voskopoje's men-folk have worked in Greece, many have relatives there, others have brought back wives.

"This was once a major town where Greeks and Vlachs lived together and today we still help each other," said Zguri, one of Voskopoje's oldest residents, as he showed me around some of the magnificent churches slowly being restored by Greek-funded craftsmen.

Across the border in Greece, many Vlachs in the Pindus are barely conscious of being Vlach, thinking of themselves instead as Greeks speaking a strange language. But there are Vlach communities with a strong identity, scraping an existence on the edge of Greek society. At a wedding in Pili, a purely Vlach village in Greece's Prespa region, a group of men were angrily discussing how to protect their livestock from being stolen by hungry non-Vlach Albanian illegal migrants, who wander through the forest to avoid detection by Greek border police.

"We have lost over 20 sheep this winter," said a burly young man standing next to me. He then matter-of-factly described how he had killed an Albanian refugee while out hunting last year. He had stumbled across the unfortunate Albanian asleep in a clearing. After slitting his throat with his hunting knife, he left the body as a reminder to other Albanians not to kill Vlach sheep.

There are several historically Vlach villages in southwest FYROM but today these have a fraction of their pre-war population with many families having emigrated in the 1950s to Australia along with thousands of other Yugoslavs. In the 1970s greater mobility caused more breakups of extended Vlach families as young people moved to the cities of Prilep, Bitola and Skopje, where today, high in the tower blocks you hear mothers shouting to their children in Vlach.

As young Vlachs settle in the larger towns and cities of the Balkans, they hear confusing stories about their origins. Greeks claim Vlachs are descended from Greek women who married Roman soldiers. Many Albanians believe Vlachs to be descended from Thracians who lived alongside them during Illyrian times. Romanians think Vlachs are of pure Romanian stock, having somehow been cut off from the main body of their kinsmen south of the Danube.


http://www.farsarotul.org/images/nl19_27f.jpg
Samarina, 1989: Old Man
(Photo ©1995, James Prineas)


The development of a purely Vlach national consciousness has been hindered by the fact that Vlachs have never been able to read or write anything in their language, always being taught to use the alphabet--Greek, Roman or Cyrillic--of the country in which they lived.

"By teaching our children to read and write their own language, we will encourage a sense of unity among the different Vlach communities to work together to preserve our culture," said Tassos Kupatshari, a Vlach from Detroit, visiting relatives in Pili.

To thrive, it seems, the Vlach language must have an alphabet. But there is controversy over the choice of which alphabet to use. So the Vlachs are divided not only by frontiers but also by internal dissent and the curious vagueness many Vlachs profess about their own heritage. Unless agreement is reached on a standard alphabet, the future of the language, and of the culture, is bleak.

Despite the efforts of Vlach associations to preserve their language and customs, there is much uncertainty surrounding the future of the Vlachs. Modern school life is eroding their speech and migration to the towns in search of permanent jobs means many will not return for the annual spring trek back to traditional highland pastures.



Edited by Iskender Bey ALBO
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dorian Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Jun-2005 at 09:35

Here I post some abstracts of an article about the Vlachs

"At the end of the 19th century, there were about 150,000 Vlachs in the southern Balkans, and about half the Greek population of Thessaloniki in fact consisted of Vlachs. After 1912-13 about 100,000 (2/3 of them) became Greek citizens. Since then, they have been much reduced due to emigration and assimilation. The 1951 census, the last time that minorities were counted in Greece, recorded 39,385 Vlachs. Around 2003, there may be 20,000 people in Greece who consider themselves Vlach.

Traditionally, there was a broad spectrum of living conditions and thought among Vlachs. They ranged from isolated and illiterate mountain dwellers of Albania to cosmopolitan merchants and directors of Greek schools. However, the groups that attracted the most attention were the transhumant shepherds. Many foreign visitors were impressed by the picturesque nomads and semi-nomads they saw in Macedonia, with their dresses, occupations, languages, and ability to manage in difficult conditions.

Most interesting were three shepherd groups: The Arvanito-Vlachs (Farsarotes), Vlachs, and Sarakatsani. Despite the unclear meaning of their name, the Sarakatsani spoke Greek in the 19th century, so their Greekness was not disputed. The Arvanito-Vlachs, whose women often wore long hats, had Albanian names that indicated long cohabitation with Albanians. Travelers also wrote a lot about the ‘generic’ Vlachs. The northern type was considered light colored and with features different from neighboring groups, while the southern types were shorter and darker. (Geographically, however, northern and southern dialects are mixed.) They lived free on the mountaintops, were considered hard-working and smart, and many chelniks (goat-herding chiefs) had considerable flocks and wealth. The women who set up households in different places every day when the flocks moved, had more social freedoms than Greek women.

The Vlachs themselves have no traditions that they came from some other part of the world, and no songs or tales have survived regarding some Roman general or the green pastures of a distant country that they lost during the Slavic invasions. All Macedonian Vlachs whom Weigand consulted around 1890 indicated that they lived pretty much in their ancestral country. Populations had moved but over relatively short distances.

However, the Vlachs speak a language that has no close relation to the area languages, so many people assumed that they must have come from somewhere else. There are many Greek words in Vlach, but they are mainly modern Greek. Finally, Vlachs share some traditions with Greeks (e.g. the Kalikantzaroi spirits) but not others, such as the prohibition of unmarried women from going to church. Briefly, theories about their origin have been.

Roman legions. Greeks and foreign travelers of the 18-20th centuries expressed the opinion that the Vlachs are descendants of Roman legions who stayed on to guard the narrow mountain passes and eventually became shepherds. The various versions of the theory do not take much account of the women’s nationality, though women were needed to father children.

Thracians - Diaspora Romanians. Romanian historians hypothesized that between the 6th and 10th centuries, the Vlachs left their country north of the Danube and descended in the southern Balkans, possibly where the grasslands were better. Pro-Romanian authors (e.g. Tache Papahagi) considered the Vlachs relatives of the Romanians, parts of Pelasgian and Thracian tribes that were Latinized. According to this view, the Thracians inhabited the area from Romania to Macedonia, but the Slavic invasions that started in the 6th century fragmented it. Today this theory makes little sense. The Pelasgians were a historical anachronism, and ancient Macedonians have been rather conclusively shown to be a Greek tribe.

Partly Slavs. The Slavs moved to the Balkans during the 7th century, influenced the Vlach-speaking populations, and maybe displaced some. Although there was no specific effort to prove that the Vlachs were Slavs, this argument was used to prove that the Vlachs were not Greek.

Jews. Benjamin of Tudela, a 12th century Sephardic rabbi suspected that at least the Vlach bandits of Thessaly had Jewish origin because although they robbed Jews, they called them brethren and did not killed them as they did others.

A distinct local ethnicity. More recent Romanian historians consider that the Vlachs are a specific nation possibly descending from Pelasgians, Illyrians, Thracians, Macedonians (they consider the latter non-Greek) and other groups that were Latinized. This position is explained in the ‘Dodecalog of the Vlachs’ that has an almost religious fervor. The adherents of this theory get support from the observations of foreign travelers who perceived the mountain Vlachs as different from Greeks. The tendency of many Vlachs to identify with Greeks is attributed to religion, adoption of Greek names that implied a higher social status, and a tendency of becoming easily assimilated in local populations. Some people call themselves Macedono-Vlachs and focus on the Vlach presence in the greater Macedonia of Ottoman times.

Latinized local inhabitants. Some contemporary Greek historians think that the Vlachs are main Latinized Greek populations. According to this theory, the Vlachs of the Greek peninsula and cities in the north where Greek communities also lived are originally Greek. By the same theory, Vlachs who lived beyond the borders of Greek communities are probably not Greek. Indeed, many Vlachs of Serbia, Bulgaria, and Albania do not consider themselves Greek and have traditionally lived north of the Greek borders.

The origin of Vlachs could be clarified through comparisons of DNA samples (deoxyribonucleic acid) of various populations. The various Vlach groups could be compared among themselves and with Greeks, Romanians, and Albanians. However, no genetic studies have been done on the Vlachs. The existing DNA studies on Greeks (which include some Vlachs as part of the general population) show that Greeks are quite homogeneous and that the populations of Macedonia and Epirus are more closely related. Greeks are different from Turks and Bulgarians but quite similar to other Europeans, particularly to Italians. So, even if the Vlachs are descendants of (male) Romans, they are a genetically related population. Hopefully, more research will take place later on, though political repercussions may raise obstacles. Without it there is simply not sufficient evidence regarding the origin of various Vlach groups."

This is a controversial issue. In my opinion  nobody knows the truth about the Vlachs. Here in Greece there are few people now who claim that they are Vlachs but they insist on their Greek origin. There are many Vlachs who left Greece during the 20th century and live now in Romania (Romanians claim that Vlachs are of Romanian origin). But even in their alleged (by the Romanian propaganda) home-country, the Vlachs don’t change their mind and still rumor their Greekness and the fact that the Greek state put obstacles on their way to come back to Greece as Greek citizens while it accepts other non Greek populations like Albanians, Russians etc.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Richard XIII Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Jun-2005 at 04:04
Vlachs
Walles
Valons

means Romans in german I think
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jazz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Jun-2005 at 02:40
East Roman Emperor Justinian (527-565) was apparently a native Latin speaker, apparently with ancestry from the mountainous regions of Greece where the I guess Latin took a hold.  These peoples are the ancestors of today's Aromuns or Vlahs.
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vlach

The origin of the name is Germanic: the same origin led to the words "Welsh" and "Walloons" in other parts of Europe. Slavic peoples initially used the name Vlachs when referring to Romanic peoples in general. Later on, the meaning got narrower or just different. For example Italy is called Włochy in Polish, and Olaszorszag in Hungarian. The term was originally an exonym, as the Vlachs used various words derived from romanus to refer to themselves (români, rumâni, rumâri, aromâni, arumâni etc). Only the Meglenites adopted the term Vlashi to describe themselves
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dorian Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Jun-2005 at 06:52

Originally posted by Jazz Jazz wrote:

East Roman Emperor Justinian (527-565) was apparently a native Latin speaker, apparently with ancestry from the mountainous regions of Greece where the I guess Latin took a hold.  These peoples are the ancestors of today's Aromuns or Vlahs.

Yeah but the point is what the ancestors of those people (of the Byzantine  Empire) are.

"We are Macedonians but we are Slav Macedonians.That's who we are!We have no connection to Alexander the Greek and his Macedonia…Our ancestors came here in the 5th and 6th century" Kiro Gligorov FYROM
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Orestis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Jun-2005 at 02:41

No doubt they are of East Roman stock. A likely scenario I read a while ago was that when the Lombards invaded Northern Italy many Byzantines in the region were forced to move to South Italy or migrated to Constantinople between 6th and 8th century AD.

There is another theory that in the 11th century AD the Byzantines in South Italy were facing forced Catholization to the point of death. Many fled the area and moved to Constantinople or anywhere where there was access to an Orthodox Church within the East Roman Empire.

Latin speaking people within the East Roman Empire was not rare. The language of liturgy, education and laws were written Greek.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dorian Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Jun-2005 at 10:05

I have read a lot of articles of Vlachs. They say that Greece is their homeland and they are not another race but pure Greeks. They also say that the Vlachs who are out of Greece belong to the interspersion of the Vlachs.

Their alternative name Aromuns or Romuns is the Latin word for the name Romioi which was used for the rest of Greeks.

During the Ottoman Empire, Vlachs (vlachophones) and Graecoi (Greek-speaking) constituted the nation of Hellenes. So, the difference between Vlachs and Graecoi was their language, not their origin. Vlachs were romanized Greeks. The Turks often called all the Hellenes, Vlachs. Especially they called the Greek women "Vlachopoules".

They played a significant role during the revolution against the Turks. The big percentage of Armatoloi were Vlachs. The women who carried the armament on the mountains of Pindos were Graeco-Vlachs (Graeces and Vlaches).

Now there are few Vlachs (Greeks who don't speak Greek) in Greece.



Edited by dorian
"We are Macedonians but we are Slav Macedonians.That's who we are!We have no connection to Alexander the Greek and his Macedonia…Our ancestors came here in the 5th and 6th century" Kiro Gligorov FYROM
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TheodoreFelix Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Jun-2005 at 11:16
As stated in the above studies. Vlach's dont have a common ancestry. Rather, they show kiness to those they are around. Vlach's in Albania showed racial and genetical kiness to Albanian, Vlach's of Greece showed kiness to Greeks. etc etc.

This hints at the idea that vlachs are in fact romanized Illyrians/Greeks/Thrakians/Dacians etc etc.

The Vlachs of Greece feel Greek, while as I showed in the article above, in the comment "I am a Vlach, but I am also an Albanian." that Vlach's of Albania have taken a Vlach identity. Fatos Nano, our prime minister, is of Vlach origins, my fathers side is of Vlach origins.

Edited by Iskender Bey ALBO
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dorian Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Jun-2005 at 18:32

But they are Greeks, Albanians etc etc who don't speak the national language. Here is a census of the prefecture of Grevena, Macedonia in 1905 when Macedonia still belonged to the Ottoman Empire:

Hellenes:     

Graecoi (greek-speaking) : 17,844

Vlachs (vlachophones) : 6,973

Muslims:

Greek-speaking : 7,960

Romuns : 987

It's obvious that Graecoi and Vlachs were Hellenes speaking a different language.

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TheodoreFelix Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Jun-2005 at 23:12
Yes most of them recognized themselves as Greek due to the tie with Greek Orthodoxy.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dorian Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Jun-2005 at 06:32
It was not only the Orthodoxy which connected them but the blood as well. The Ottomans with this census wanted just to count the Greeks and the non-Greek population that's why they don't consider Greeks the greek-speaking muslims (they weren't of greek origin). 
"We are Macedonians but we are Slav Macedonians.That's who we are!We have no connection to Alexander the Greek and his Macedonia…Our ancestors came here in the 5th and 6th century" Kiro Gligorov FYROM
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TheodoreFelix Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Jun-2005 at 15:47
Quote It was not only the Orthodoxy which connected them but the blood as well.


So they did blood tests?

Didnt a large part of the Cretan population that turn muslim eventually move to Turkey?

Again, each Vlach population show kiness to the country they live in. So yes, Greek Vlachs are in fact largely Romanized Greeks.

Edited by Iskender Bey ALBO
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dorian Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Jun-2005 at 16:32

What do you mean by saying "they show kiness"?

What if some Cretans moved to Turkey?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TheodoreFelix Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Jun-2005 at 16:34
Meaning that there were people there who were of different origins but related more with other another people and moved.

When I say show kiness, means they show a relation, similarity etc...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dorian Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Jun-2005 at 17:04

OK, but the Cretans in Turkey have nothing to do with the Vlachs in Greece. The latter are not an ethnic minority. It's not the same fact. While Macedonia was under Ottoman rule, Vlachs required greek schools in their region and they were in trouble with Vlachs of non greek origin who lived there.  

Anyway I like them very much and they are not the poor shepherds but a something like a captivating part of the Greek nation. Unfortunately in Greece, the majority call Vlach all the peasants.

You are of Vlach origin right? Do your ancestors of the vlach side speak this language? 

"We are Macedonians but we are Slav Macedonians.That's who we are!We have no connection to Alexander the Greek and his Macedonia…Our ancestors came here in the 5th and 6th century" Kiro Gligorov FYROM
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TheodoreFelix Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Jun-2005 at 18:03
My fathers side. I always knew it was of Vlach origins but I thought they were within Albania but from the studies I did(which this site did help in) it turns out the probability of them having origins within the country are low. My last name is Pilkati which is not of Albanian origins. My father was also born in Korce, there is a large vlach minority. On top of this Plikati or Pilkata is a vlach village within Ionnina. Another place with a very very similar name is within Montenegro. That village too is a vlach village. I doubt my fathers family moved from Montenegro all the way down to korce though. Most likely they were within Ionnina.

Edited by Iskender Bey ALBO
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dorian Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Jun-2005 at 06:29
Oh, it's such a complex situation.
"We are Macedonians but we are Slav Macedonians.That's who we are!We have no connection to Alexander the Greek and his Macedonia…Our ancestors came here in the 5th and 6th century" Kiro Gligorov FYROM
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