sabato 17 aprile 2010
Interview with Professor Alberto G. Areddu author of the book "Albanian Origins of Civilization in Sardinia”.
by Brunilda Ternova
Prof. Alberto G. Areddu has been interested for years in the discipline called "Sardinian language" regarding which he published: Studi Etimologici Logudoresi, Postille e Aggiunte al DES (1996), Launeddas and other greek-italic studies (2004). He published his works in Berkeley Romance Philology, and was reviewed by HJ Wolf in Zeitschrift für Romanische Philologie (2002).
In his latest essay "Albanian Origins of Civilization in Sardinia" the author continues his research back to the original sources of Sardinian language, testifying and highlighting the most compelling paleo-illiric perspective relying upon many elements of topography and several lexemes so far unexplained.
Brunilda Ternova: First, Professor Areddu thank you for the chance you offered us to do this interview, enabling the Albanian readers (in Albania and in diaspora) to know you and your scientific works.
Prof. Alberto G. Areddu: Thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk about my works.
Brunilda Ternova: Since it is hard to conceive the work detached from its creator, let me ask you something about yourself. Who is Professor Alberto G. Areddu, where was he born and where did he grow up?
Prof. Alberto G. Areddu: I was born in Genoa (Italy) from Sardinian parents. There I also graduated, after that I moved to Sardinia island. At the moment I’m a teacher in a public high school.
Brunilda Ternova: Your latest essay "Albanian Origins of Civilization in Sardinia" was published in 2007 and is a book that deals with many interesting arguments in linguistic, ethnographic and historical fields. Can you explain to us what this book represents to you, what drove you to undertake a study of this nature and how these studies emerged and grew developed during the time?
Prof. Alberto G. Areddu: Well, the interest that always got me was to find explanations about what were the origins of the Sardinians, who, being islanders, should definitely have come from somewhere. Till now the various hypotheses that emerged, simply contradicted each other. It’s a long I have been through the etymological research in the field. The difficulty was in being able to procure the proving material so to support from a scientific perspective those that were originally simple insights.
Brunilda Ternova: What are the strengths that you think can support your theory about the Illyrian origins of civilization in Sardinia? And why other scholars hesitate and are afraid to deal with these matching points in antiquity between the Sardinian people and the Illyrians?
Prof. Alberto G. Areddu: This is a crucial question. It should be known, and we can say it without fear at all, that the issue of antiquity, especially the toponymic reconstruction in Sardinia, is contracted only by a few scholars who have no interests in allowing non-academics to express opinions contrary to the hypothesis or their works. So happened that the only review (mostly positive) published, belongs to a non-Sardinian, the well known balkanologist Emanuele Banfi, University of Milan.
There is also a general sentiment that makes my study less interesting: it is years that a certain editorial policy of Sardinian publishing houses, which is focused more on manifesting (rather than proving) that the paleosardinians were ancient Semites, in some cases creators of an extraordinary civilization, originated almost in a abiogenetic way. Besides, the baronial university professors are attracted by these hypotheses and write easy reading books for an uneducated audience. For this reason, many people think that Sardinians descend from the imaginary Lydians (of which we hardly know anything), and therefore the sardinians would be nothing but the connecting link with the Etruscans.As you can imagine, there is no living Babylonian or Lydian who can reply to the inaccuracies of these researchers. Of course the idea is to sell little vials of hope to people who think they need it, and all this is done in detriment of the scientific research.
Sardinians then, without accusing them to be too superficial, like to ride (and be ridden by) strong hypotheses, which sublimate their ancient sense of inferiority (due to the fact that they are not and do not feel Italian). Therefore the Illyrian-Albanian hypothesis is not so attractive being addressed to the imagine of a minority group.
However, recently I read a few articles of some Sardinian magazines which allude to some relationships between the paleosardinian and the Thrace world – obviously with no mentioning me at all – although relating to the imaginary Lydian area. Indeed, the stronger evidences that corroborate my thesis are: the location of some lexemes amongst the most isolated areas of Sardinia, which have no explanations through Latin but could be explained through Albanian, Romanian, some archaic elements of Balto-Slavic or the few we know of Thracian and Illyrian often preserved into greek glosses and words. There are sources of data provided by Greek historiography that tend to characterize the arrival of Illyrian elements in Sardinia - not as an invasion of people - together with Boeotian people (who spoke the Eolic language), marking an important moment of civilization, carried on by people with a superior culture particularly in agriculture and farming.
Brunilda Ternova: This book is your third self-financed publication. It seems natural and "fair" to you that this kind of scientific works face so many difficulties to be published and released by the institutions involved and by the publishing houses?
Prof. Alberto G. Areddu: Unfortunately, I must say that this is a practice more widespread than one would think. Today either you should have a big publisher behind you – even if your target must be over three thousand copies – or you have to choose on-demand publishing disguised as official publisher. That way the author works on a hypothesis that could even be completely wrong, investing time and capital on his own risk. What is unacceptable is the fact the very people who share your interests are those who obstruct the publication, that is hateful and dehumanizing. There is no point to complain too much in hindsight about this continues silent behaviour, because academics are auto-recommended and corporate and if you allow yourself to criticize them in your studies, for you is over.
Brunilda Ternova: Your theories are very revolutionary; have you ever been afraid of your ideas being criticized by academic and scientific circles?
Prof. Alberto G. Areddu: Less revolutionary than might be assumed. The idea of a paleobalkanic element inside the Sardinian language is not a new one. The greatest scholar of Sardinian language, german Max Leopold Wagner, had expressed this idea in his 1933 study published in the journal ‘Revue de Linguistique Romane’ (which anyone can download from the Gallica website). Unfortunately, this idea later fell into the Italian school of so called "mediterranean" supported by those who saw an enormous presence of pre-indoeuropean elements in the Mediterranean area, with fewer indoeuropean elements. However, I repeat, may my observations were criticized, because that would mean admitting they existence. Therefore, taking into account the fact that in two years in Sardinia has not been published any reviews on local newspapers, television, academic magazines, so to highlight my work, I created a personal web site and I write in some blogs.
Journalists (90% of whom do not even know Greek or Latin, not to mention Albanian) use earflaps to hear what university referents say. The latter ones are generally associated to publishing houses, distribution companies and to those newspapers published nowadays (which do not shine).
Is there anything else to add?
Brunilda Ternova: What does Sardinia represent for you and what does it mean to be Sardinian today under the light of this Sardo-Illyrian/Albanian connection?
Prof. Alberto G. Areddu: It means drawing a remote route which brought elements of Bronze Age civilization to people remained backward to the Neolithic Age. It is possible that in the area of Nuoro - genetic investigations are still in the beginning - it will emerge one day genetic relationships with Balkan people of nowadays. This is the reason why I titled one of the chapters paraphrasing Virgil: “On the search for ancient fathers”.
Brunilda Ternova: The presence of the Albanian diaspora in Italy is about the most numerous and steady ever known in history, starting from antique times up to nowadays. Do you think this ancient connection, and the contemporary presence of the Albanians in Italy, may help in creating a climate of mutual brotherhood between our people and future exchanges between our scholars and scientists?
Prof. Alberto G. Areddu: I wish this may happen. Unfortunately we are in such a moment as both Italy and Sardinia are facing some reactions against immigrants ‘Tout Court’, that does not take into account personal qualities of individuals, and all this for reasons of public order and the current economic crisis. Reasoning in ancient terms, the Illyrian existence could be glimpsed in these of ‘sea peoples’ among which included Shardana. The people of Shardana, according to interpretations of scholars as Schachermeyr and Bonfante, were of Illyrian origin driven by necessity to all thrown into the Nile Delta and later to Palestine. There are many details that ensure that this influx has occurred: the city of Sarda (Shudah today), the tribe of Sardeates or Ardiei, the city of Pelastae from which the ethnonym of Pelaestini or Pelasgians, and other things.
Brunilda Ternova: Do you think there could be other initiatives - not just essays, but also academic initiatives - to shed more light on these issues that reveal the mysteries of the past of our peoples?
Prof. Alberto G. Areddu: Undoubtedly. Albanian scholars should deal with the ‘Sardinian things’ to make certain they can identify the nucleus of common civilization. As well, we would expect academics, just curious, or reasonable experimenters - without prejudice and equipped with the light of logic - to deal with the ‘Albanian things’, studying in depth the dialects, traditions and Albanian toponyms. Unfortunately, we are paying for a negative situation: we are numerically small populations and I do not know how many in Albania and Sardinia would be willing to explore these subtle relationships.
Brunilda Ternova: What would your message be to the Albanian reader, and what about the subject of your next work?
Prof. Alberto G. Areddu: One of my cultural wishes would be the development of a trend outside Albania, to revaluate the Illyrian antiquity, as happened to other ancient indoeuropean populations almost forgotten (such as the Celtic saga case). My scientific desire is to work on a forthcoming essay in which I can develop certain aspects of historical and cultural reconstruction not treated inside the “Albanian origin of civilization in Sardinia”. So I will bring not only words but also artefacts, traditions, symbols and reciprocal liaisons. And now, if you allow me, I will take my leave adopting your typical word for greetings: falem, which according to the great Eqrem Çabej derives from latin ‘CHALARE’, preserved in Sardinia and Corsica, however in the isles is used only with original value of ‘get off’: falare. So to you all: Faleminderit/ Thank you!
Brunilda Ternova: Thank you Prof. Areddu for having released this nice interview!
Interviewed and translated from Italian by Brunilda Ternova
For more information see the author's personal blog:
To contact the author: firstname.lastname@example.org