Amantia - founded 5th Cent BC, was the ancient Greek capital of the Illyrian tribe of Amantes in Epirus.
The Ruins of Amantia are found high in the Kurvelesh Mountains. Amantia provided an important defensive position above the Vjosa river valley, to the east of the Kurvelesh Mountains, guarding the primary road leading to the coastal bay and city of Vlora.
By the 3rd cent. BC, the Amantia town had grown considerably and covered an area of 13 hectares, It was strengthened economically and minted its own coinage. The city of Amantia was situated within a walled enclosure roughly 2100 meters long. A large fort was built with two gates and two defensive towers in the north with its own acropolis and a Doric style temple dedicated to Aphrodite. Amantia remained a small urban center and in early Christian times held the seat of a bishop. The city was abandoned around the end of the 6th cent. AD.
Very little of the original city remains, a reconstructed Arched Gate, a number of areas of defensive walling and the Stadium which is the best preserved monument of the site. It is 60m long and 12.5 m wide, 17 steps on the highest side and 8 steps on the lower side, seating approx. 4000 people. 360 degree views from the very top show immediately why the original site was chosen.
The Kurvalesh Mountains range from Vlora to Saranda in Southern Albania. Primarily occupied by a number of tribal villages, that have opposed any previous forms of centralised governing, preferring a feudal system based on family position and land ownership which has maintained constant resistance since former Ottoman leadership to recent times. The Lab Albanians are self sufficient and sustaining existence from the land allows their remote existence to continue today.
Amongst their traditional cultures is the practice of Gjakmarrja (blood feud) or Hakmarrja (revenge) which is held as a social obligation to salvage one's honour if deeply offended by the actions of another. This was written in the Kanun, or Canon of Leke Dukagjini first documented in the 15th Century, which consisted of twelve books naming a non-religious social code practised by both Muslims and Christians. This was commonly known as - blood that is paid for with blood.
Protecting one's honour is the core of social respectability and is held in highest regard and was carried over from one generation to the next in the form of family histories and legacies. The social laws of the Kanun allow an equal response or punishment to be taken against any that conduct attacks or violations against other parties, such as "harming someone's guest while under protection of the owner of the house, trespassing or stealing private property, failure to pay debts of significant value, wrongful kidnapping or imprisonment, sexual violations against women and children". These could result in taking the life of the offender and demanding recompense from their family members over several generations if the debt remained unpaid. The families would be labelled as dishonourable and live in shame and seclusion often for the rest of their lives, excluding them and their children from marriage to prevent future generations of the dishonoured family continuing.
This practice was continued even up until the early 1990's until introduction of the Reconciliation Movement in order to pardon up to 500,000 blood feuds that were continuing conflicts between families and regions across Albania and Kosovo.
Author Ismail Kadare wrote: "Sit quietly and let me recite a terrible story about a blood feud and the inevitability of death by gunfire in my country. You know it must happen because that is the way life is lived in these mountains. Insults must be avenged; family honor must be upheld."
“It is difficult to comprehend the character, mentality and pattern of behaviour of Albanians without taking into account the Kanun down to the present day, its norms continue to regulate many of the Albanians’ daily life matters.” (Mangalakova, 2004)
The Kanun of Lekë Dukagjini
Settling your Family Debts
Many individuals today carry the burden of guilt and shame based on family, religious, caste, race and positions in their society and culture. It is conditioned from birth that they have inherited the labels and traits of their ancestors and they too must carry the traditions of former generations by living out their life in the same manner as their families and neighbours. This is the basic premise of Ethnicity - a grouping of people who identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that distinguish them from other groups such as a common set of traditions, ancestry, language, history, society, culture, nation, religion, or social treatment within their residing area. The conclusions of these empirical and biological studies do not take into account the Sovereignty of the Soul in determining the meaning and purpose of emanating Life in infinite variety and form.
Each Soul chooses a vibration, an expression of Self in which to discover the Nature of Self through multiple opposing experiences. Throughout time and throughout the rise and fall of multiple Civilizations the Soul has sought to emanate a life existence to gain knowledge, abilities and skills in numerous creative manifestation. No one individual follows or even represents an entire line of a single ancestry or race or gender - they are not wholly responsible for all others that have come before them - unless there is a Soul Binding Contract to do so.
In the absence of knowing Self, the individual will revert to the conditions that they have been born into. The Higher Self will seek to release the individual from the self imposed conditions in order to gain freedom to pursue individual Sovereignty. This requires a revocation to the life that is being sustained by family and cultural bindings which will leave the individual feeling blank, empty, devoid of knowing which direction to take, which path to follow. It is only at this point, that one can surrender to your Soul to guide them from within, to bring meaning and purpose towards achieving Soul Intention.
"The Path to Sovereignty requires us to move forward, there is no going back. All we have is the next step of the journey and how we feel about taking it. Whatever lies in front of us was there all along, laid out for us to overcome. All That Is - is what we are and all that we shall become.
Faith, Trust, Hope and Love are our travel companions no matter what lies ahead.
Honour the suffering of the journey and bless the outcome that is destined" - Polaris AB