Nobody's Kingdom cover

Nobody’s Kingdom

A History of Northern Albania

T.J. Winnifrith

Foreword by James Pettifer

The Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman Empires, foreign invasion, communism and tribal conflict: these have been the realities of life in Northern Albania for centuries. In this rich and comprehensive history, Tom Winnifrith examines the many different elements that have shaped this independent and little-known region of the Balkans. He explores the fundamental division between the South of Albania and its mysterious, romantic North – more feudal, more tribal, more Catholic and more prone to Austrian and Italian influence. It is also a region less affected by Greece, both ancient and modern, and by medieval Byzantium or the Orthodox faith. Northern Albania, with a terrain and climate much harsher than the south of the country, has traditionally had little respect for law and authority while its inhabitants remain in thrall to an ancient honour code – the kanun – demanding blood feuds and terrible revenge.

Nobody’s Kingdom traces the history of this ruggedly beautiful region, frequently disturbed by both invaders and internal strife yet retaining a distinct national identity and character. From its origins in the ancient kingdom of Illyria and the Roman province of Illyricum, through Byzantine and Ottoman rule, the granting of Albanian independence in 1912, the rise and fall of communism to its current fragile democracy, Northern Albania can be seen as a cultural crossroads – especially remarkable given its mountainous and difficult landscape. This book, both scholarly and readable, is the first modern comprehensive history of Northern Albania and is a timely and accessible introduction to a remote and inaccessible region.

Tom J. Winnifrith taught for almost thirty years at the University of Warwick. He has a particular interest in the Vlach minority and in Albania and is the author of several books on the Balkans including Shattered Eagles, Balkan Fragments (1995) and Badlands/Borderlands: A History of Northern Epirus/Southern Albania (2003).

£20 hardback

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240 pp

ISBN: 9781909930919

November 2020