Albanian Mythology comprises myths and legends of the Albanians. The elements of Albanian mythology are of Paleo-Balkanic origin and almost all of them are pagan. Albanian myths can be divided into two major groups: legends of metamorphosis and historical legends.
Many of the characters of the Albanian mythology are included in the Albanian Songs of the Frontier Warriors (Albanian: Kėngė Kreshnikėsh or Cikli i Kreshnikėve), the traditional cycle of Albanian epic songs.
Some of the best known legends, concepts, ballads, songs and/or characters of the Albanian mythology are:
Besa- is an Albanian cultural precept, usually translated as "faith", that means "to keep the promise" and "word of honor". The word's origin can be traced to the Kanun of Lekė Dukagjini, a collection of Albanian traditional customs and cultural practices. Besa is an important part of personal and familial standing and is often used as an example of "Albanianism". Someone who breaks his besa may even be banished from his community. The roots of this code sprouted from the Code of Leke Dukagjini, an Albanian cultural code
Bolla- is a type of serpentic dragon (or a demonic dragon-like creature) with a long, coiled, serpentine body, four legs and small wings in ancient Albanian folklore. This dragon sleeps throughout the whole year, only to wake on Saint George's Day, where its faceted silver eyes peer into the world. The Bolla does this until it sees a human. It devours the person, then closes its eyes and sleeps again.
In its twelfth year, the bolla evolves by growing nine tongues, horns, spines and larger wings. At this time it will learn how to use its formerly hidden fire-breathing abilities, and is now called a Kuēedra (hydra). The Kuēedra causes droughts and lives off human sacrifices. The Kuēedra is sometimes also represented as an enormous woman with a hairy body and hanging breasts. In other mythologies it corresponds to the Lernaean Hydra of the Greek Mythology.
The monster can cause a shortage of water and it requires human sacrifices to propitiate it. The creature is also known as Bullar in southern Albania.
Bajloz or Katallan (giant)
Constantin and Doruntine-Doruntine is the only daughter in a family with 13 children. When Doruntine is asked in marriage by a foreign prince, everyone in the family disagrees to let her go so far away. Only Constantin, the youngest of Doruntine's twelve brothers, wants to make her happy and promisses his mother that he'll bring Doruntine back to see mother as soon as mother wants to. Eventually mother agrees to the marriage because of Constantin's promise.
At this point all twelve brothers agree to the marriage, but soon they all die in a war, Constantin included. Mother cannot bear the loss of all of her children and not having even her daughter close to her at an old age, her mourning too heavy to bear. Her monologue is full of pathos and anger. During her rage she curses her own dead son, Constantin, who made her a promise he couldn't keep.
At the curse, Constantin wakes up from death and brings Doruntine back, because a mother's curse even after death, is worse than anything else. He finds Doruntine dancing during Easter time. Doruntine knew absolutely nothing about all 12 brothers being dead. Constantin tells her to come immediately with him and brings Doruntine back overnight on the back of his horse. She observes that he looks tired and that he is full of dust, but he tells her that it's because of the long trip. She cannot know that he is already dead. When they arrive back home, he leaves her at the door and tells her that he has to go to Church, but instead goes back to his grave.
Doruntine doesn't realize that she has travelled on his brother's horse when he was already dead, until she is told so by her mother.
The finale is breathtaking because of the shock of the two women who realize that Constantin has risen from the dead.
The morale of the legend is that the Albanians will get up from their graves to keep a promises and to maintain their besa. This is the reason why several times the legend is called Constantin's Besa.
Dhampir-A Dhampir in Balkan folklore is the child of a vampire father and a human mother. The term is sometimes spelled dhampyre, dhamphir, or dhampyr. Dhampir powers are similar to those of vampires, but without the usual weaknesses. Dhampirs are supposed to be adept at killing and detecting vampires.
It refers to any hybrid of one human and one vampire parent; they are half-breeds, not vampires themselves.
Djall (devil)-An Albanian god of evil and death. In modern Albania Djall is the name of the Devil. He is also called Dreq from the Latin draco
Drangue-The drangues are semi-human warriors with extraordinary strength, giving them the ability to tear trees out of the ground and throw large boulders at their enemies. They are born wearing shirts and qeleshes, with wings under their arms. Thunderstorms are conceived as battles between the drangues and the kulshedras.Drangues are believed to have slain a kulshedra, knocking her unconscious by throwing trees and boulders at her, and afterwards drowning her in Shkumbin, a river in central Albania.In Albanian mythology, the drangue is a semi-human winged warrior. The goal of the drangue is to defeat the kulshedras and the enemies of the Albanian people.
E bija e Henės dhe e Diellit
E Bukura e Dheut
E Bukura e Detit
E Bukura e Qiellit
Gjergj Elez Alia-Gjergj Elez Alia had nine wounds on his body and lay suffering for nine years in his house and everybody had forgotten him. Only his sister took care of him night and day for nine years. Then news came that another enemy, Balozi i Zi (black knight) had come from the sea and was killing people and destroying villages every day.
One day Gjergj felt some drops of water on his face and thought that his house had become so old that the rain was coming in. His sister told him that it was not the rain, but her tears on his face. She told him that Balozi had requested her and sooner or later would come to get her. Gjergj then told her to take his horse and make it ready for war, as he was going to fight against the horrible Baloz. He met Baloz the next day and had the fight; Gjergj was victorious. He returned home to his sister and as they hugged with joy, both their hearts stopped beating and they died instantly together. They were then buried in the same grave and the place was never forgotten. Everyone that passed by stopped to remember his great actions.
Kacamisri (similar to Tom Thumb)
Kukudhi-In Albanian belief, the kukudhi is the final stage in the transformation of a vampire. It is basically the perfect vampire. It takes 30 years from the start to the finish of this transformation. During this time kukudhi grows in strength, shape, and vampiric powers. When it reaches the state of kukudhi, a vampire is no longer vulnerable to sunlight and no longer is required to return to its grave or keep the cemetery close by. In the kukudhi stage the creature is now able to travel extensively (usually as a merchant) or reside at his own home.
Like any vampire it can be destroyed by staking, decapitation, and cremation. It can be rendered harmless by hamstringing.
Nuse mali (Nymph of the Mountain)
Perendi-In Albanian, Perėndi is a word for God and the sky, especially invoked in incantations and songs praying for rain. It might be derived from perėndoj "to set (of the sun)", which might be borrowed from Latin parentare "to bring a sacrifice (to the dead), to satisfy" or Latin imperantem "ruling" (Alb. dielli perėndon "the sun sets", perhaps ultimately a calque on Greek ο ήλιος βασιλεύει "the sun sets", literally "the sun reigns").
Others see a connection to Indo-European *per(-kwu)- "oak god" or "thunder god" by possible association (as the god that smites the oak with thunder? see Perkwunos for a discussion of the possible etymologies of these groups of gods, the Perėn- element might be related to Slavic Perun, from *per "to strike" perhaps, and the -di to *dyeus e.g. Greek Zeus). If this conjecture is correct, the word could have an "Illyro-Thracian" origin.In Albanian mythology, he is the consort of Prende.
Prende-Prende was a goddess of love in the Albanian folklore. She was the wife of Perendi and referred to in Albanian legends as zoja e bukuris ("the queen of beauty"), while her sacred day was Friday.
When Albania became Christianized in the early Middle Ages, Prende was identified by the Catholic Church as Saint Anne, mother of Virgin Mary Albanian: Shėnepremte or Prende, known in Gheg dialect as Prenne or Petka.
Princess Argjiro-the legendary figure was placed in the 15th century as a woman, who, along with her child, threw herself from the Gjirokastėr Castle so that she may not end up at the hands of the Ottomans
Rozafati-The legend is about the initiative of three brothers who set about building the castle.They worked all day, but the walls fell down at night. They met a clever old man who advised them to sacrifice someone so that the walls would stand. The three brothers found it difficult to decide whom to sacrifice. Finally, they decided to sacrifice one of their wives who would bring lunch to them the next day. So they agreed that whichever of their wives was the one to bring them lunch the next day was the one who would be buried in the wall of the castle. They also promised not to tell their wives of this. The two older brothers, however, explained the situation to their wives that night, while the honest youngest brother said nothing.
The following afternoon, the brothers waited anxiously to see which wife was carrying the basket of food. It was Rosafa, the wife of the youngest brother. He explained to her the agreement that they had made, namely that she was to be sacrificed and buried in the wall of the castle so that they could finish building it. She did not protest.
The faithfulness of the youngest brother and the life sacrifice of his young wife are portrayed as elements of symbolic importance. Rosafa, who was predestined to be walled in, worried about her infant son, accepted to be walled in on condition that they leave her right breast exposed to feed her newborn son, her right eye to see him, her right hand to caress him and her right foot to rock his cradle. It is said that milk still flows from one of the walls in the castle.
Shtojzovalle (sylph)-In Albanian mythology, the shtojzovalle, also known as shtojzorreshta, shtozote and xhinde is a small creature with supernatural powers and of extraordinary beauty. They are invisible woodland creatures, which can be seen by humans only on rare occasions and are fond of song and dance.
Shtriga-The Shtriga (ultimately from the Roman strix, Italian strega; compare also Romanian strigă and Polish strzyga), in Albanian folklore, was a vampiric witch that would suck the blood of infants at night while they slept, and would then turn into a flying insect (traditionally a moth, fly or bee). Only the shtriga herself could cure those she had drained (often by spitting in their mouths), and those who were not cured inevitably sickened and died. Also means just a witch, a person that uses magic. The male noun for shtriga is shtrigu or shtrigan.
Shurdhi-In Albanian mythology, Shurdhi is a weather deity. The deity of Shurdhi is of Illyrian origin
The Tale of the Eagle-The Tale of the Eagle is an Albanian folk tale that explains how Albania and Albanians received their indigenous name:
A youth was hunting in the mountains. An eagle flying above him alighted on top of a crag. The eagle was especially large and had a snake in its beak. After a while, the eagle flew away from the crag where it had its nest. The youth then climbed to the top of the crag where he saw, in the nest, an eaglet playing with the dead snake. But the snake wasn't really dead! Suddenly it stirred, revealed its fangs and was ready to pierce the eaglet with its deadly venom. The youth quickly took out his bow and arrow and killed the snake. Then he took the eaglet and started for his home. Suddenly the youth heard above him the loud whir of the great eagle's wings.
"Why do you kidnap my child?" cried the eagle.
"The child is mine because I saved it from the snake which you didn't kill," answered the youth.
"Give me back my child, and I will give you as a reward the sharpness of my eyes and the powerful strength of my wings. You will become invincible, and you will be called by my name!"
Thus the youth handed over the eaglet. After the eaglet grew, it would always fly above the head of the youth, now a grown man, who with his bow and arrows killed many wild beasts of the forest, and with his sword slew many enemies of the land. During all of these feats, the eagle faithfully watched over and guided him.
Amazed by the valiant hunter's deeds, the people of the land elected him king and called him Shqipėtar, which is to say Son of the Eagle (shqipe or shqiponjė is Albanian for eagle) and his kingdom became known as "Shqipėria" or Land of the Eagles.The two heads on the eagle represent the north and the south.
Tomor-Tomor is the father of gods and humans in the Albanian mythology. Baba Tomor is seen as an old man with a long white beard flowing down to his belt. The deity of Tomor is of Illyrian origin. He is accompanied by two female eagles and the winds are his servants. His consort was a mysterious goddess referred to as Bukura e dheut. He was attended to by wind-spirits.
In medieval Albanian he was referred to as En, and his name survives in enjtė, the Albanian word for Thursday.
The cult of Tomor has been linked to romantic nationalism by many Rilindas.
Verbti-Verbti is a deity of storm and fire in northern Albanian mythology. His name means "the blind one". He was also known as Shėn Verbti ("the holy blind one") or, in some parts of Albania, as Rmoria.
Ymer Agė Ulqini
Zana e malit (Mountain Fairy)-The zana e malit is an Albanian mythological creature (Albanian: Zane or Zėre in southern Albania)("fairy of the mountain" in English), zana (as a definite noun), or zanė (plural) of pre-Roman Paleo-Balkan origin. Its etymology is related to Latin Diana its also similar to the Bardha