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Butrint ( el, Βουθρωτόν and Βουθρωτός, ''Bouthrōtón'', la, Buthrōtum) was an
ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the diale ...
and later
Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Laz ...

Roman
city and bishopric in
Epirus sq, Epiri rup, Epiru , native_name_lang = , settlement_type = Historical region Historical regions (or historical areas) are geography, geographical areas which at some point in time had a culture, cultural, ethnic group, ethn ...
. "Speakers of these various Greek dialects settled different parts of Greece at different times during the Middle Bronze Age, with one group, the 'northwest' Greeks, developing their own dialect and peopling central Epirus. This was the origin of the Molossian or Epirotic tribes." " ..a proper dialect of Greek, like the dialects spoken by Dorians and Molossians." "The western mountains were peopled by the Molossians (the western Greeks of Epirus)." "That the Molossians... spoke Illyrian or another barbaric tongue was nowhere suggested, although
Aeschylus Aeschylus (, ; grc-gre, Αἰσχύλος ''Aiskhylos'', ; c. 525/524 – c. 456/455 BC) was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kin ...
and
Pindar Pindar (; grc-gre, Πίνδαρος , ; la, Pindarus; c. 518 – 438 BC) was an Greek lyric, Ancient Greek lyric poet from Thebes, Greece, Thebes. Of the Western canon, canonical nine lyric poets of ancient Greece, his work is the best preserv ...

Pindar
wrote of Molossian lands. That they in fact spoke greek was implied by
Herodotus Herodotus ( ; grc, Ἡρόδοτος, Hēródotos, ; BC) was an Classical Greece, ancient Greek writer, geographer, and historian born in the Greek city of Halicarnassus, part of the Achaemenid Empire, Persian Empire (now Bodrum, Turkey). He ...
' inclusion of Molossi among the Greek colonists of Asia Minor, but became demonstrable only when D. Evangelides published two long inscriptions of the Molossian State, set up p. 369 BC at
Dodona Dodona (; : Δωδώνα, ''Dōdṓnā'', and : Δωδώνη, ''Dōdṓnē'') in in northwestern was the oldest oracle, possibly dating to the according to . The earliest accounts in describe Dodona as an oracle of . Situated in a remote r ...
, in Greek and with Greek names, Greek patronymies and Greek tribal names such as Celaethi, Omphales, Tripolitae, Triphylae etc. As the Molossian cluster of tribes in the time of Hecataeus included the Orestae, Pelagones, Lyncestae, Tymphaei and Elimeotae, as we have argued above, we may be confindent that they too were Greek-speaking."
"Epirus was a land of milk and animal products.... The social unit was a small tribe, consisting of several nomadic or semi-nomadic groups, and these tribes, of which more than seventy names are known, coalesced into large tribal coalitions, three in number: Thesprotians, Molossians and Chaonians.... We know from the discovery of inscriptions that these tribes were speaking the Greek language (in a West-Greek dialect)" Perhaps inhabited since prehistoric times, Buthrotum was a city of the Epirote tribe of the
Chaonians The Chaonians ( grc, Χάονες, Cháones) were an ancient Ancient history is the aggregate of past eventsbishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Moravian Chu ...

bishop
ric. It entered into decline in
Late Antiquity Late antiquity is a periodization Periodization is the process or study of categorizing the past into discrete, quantified named blocks of time.Adam Rabinowitz. It’s about time: historical periodization and Linked Ancient World Data'. Inst ...
, before being abandoned during the Middle Ages after a major earthquake flooded most of the city. In modern times it is an
archeological Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis Analysis is the process of breaking a complex topic or substance into smaller parts in order to gain a better understanding of it. The technique h ...
site in
Vlorë County Vlorë County (; sq, Qarku i Vlorës) is one of the Counties of Albania, 12 counties of the Republic of Albania with the capital in Vlorë. The county spans and has a total population of 188,922 people as of 2020. It borders the counties of Fie ...
,
Albania Albania ( ; sq, Shqipëri or Shqipëria), officially the Republic of Albania ( sq, Republika e Shqipërisë), is a country in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a par ...

Albania
, some 14 kilometres south of
Sarandë Sarandë (; sq-definite, Saranda; el, Άγιοι Σαράντα, Agioi Saranda; it, Santiquaranta) is a List of cities and towns in Albania, city in the Republic of Albania and seat of Sarandë Municipality. Geographically, the city is located ...

Sarandë
and close to the
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...

Greek
border. It is located on a hill overlooking the
Vivari Channel Image:Vivari Channel.jpg, 230px, Vivari Channel. The Vivari Channel (Albanian language, Albanian: Kanali i Butrintit, also known as Butrinto River) links Lake Butrint in Albania with the Straits of Corfu, and forms a border of the peninsula of Bu ...

Vivari Channel
and is part of the
Butrint National Park The Butrint National Park ( sq, Parku Kombëtar i Butrintit) is a national park in southern Albania Albania ( ; sq, Shqipëri or Shqipëria), officially the Republic of Albania ( sq, Republika e Shqipërisë), is a country in Southeast Euro ...
. Today Bouthrotum is a Latin Catholic
titular see A titular see in various churches is an episcopal see The seat or ''cathedra'' of the Bishop of Rome in the Archbasilica of Saint John Lateran An episcopal see is, in the usual meaning of the phrase, the area of a bishop's ecclesiastical jurisdi ...
and also features the Ali Pasha Castle. The city is considered as one of the most important
archaeological site An archaeological site is a place (or group of physical sites) in which evidence of past activity is preserved (either prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, also kn ...

archaeological site
s in Albania. On the strength of the immense wealth of
cultural Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior Social behavior is behavior Behavior (American English) or behaviour (British English; American and British English spelling differences#-our, -or, see spelling diff ...

cultural
,
historical History (from Ancient Greek, Greek , ''historia'', meaning "inquiry; knowledge acquired by investigation") is the study and the documentation of the past. Events before the History of writing#Inventions of writing, invention of writing systems a ...

historical
and
natural Nature, in the broadest sense, is the natural, physical, material world or universe The universe ( la, universus) is all of space and time and their contents, including planets, stars, galaxies, and all other forms of matter and ...

natural
value with a considerable history, Butrint was declared a
UNESCO The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) (french: Organisation des Nations unies pour l'éducation, la science et la culture) is a specialised agency United Nations Specialized Agencies are autonomous orga ...

UNESCO
World Heritage site A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area with legal protection by an international convention administered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). World Heritage Sites are designated by UNESCO for h ...
in 1992 and further a
National Park#REDIRECT National park A national park is a park in use for Conservation (ethic), conservation purposes, created and protected by national governments. Often it is a reserve of natural, semi-natural, or developed land that a sovereign state dec ...
in 2000.


History


Ancient Greek period

''Bouthroton'' (modern day Butrint) was originally one of the major centres of the Epirote tribe of the
Chaonians The Chaonians ( grc, Χάονες, Cháones) were an ancient Ancient history is the aggregate of past eventsCorinthian
Corinthian
colony of
Corcyra Corfu (, ) or Kerkyra ( el, Κέρκυρα, Kérkyra, ), ; ; la, Corcyra. is a Greek islands, Greek island located in the Ionian Sea, of the Ionian Islands, and, including its small satellite islands, forms the margin of the northwestern fronti ...
(modern
Corfu Corfu (, ) or Kerkyra ( el, Κέρκυρα, Kérkyra, ), ; ; la, Corcyra. is a Greek island Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece, a country in Southern Europe: *Greeks, an ethnic group *Greek language, a branch ...

Corfu
). According to the Roman writer
Virgil Publius Vergilius Maro (; traditional dates 15 October 7021 September 19 BC), usually called Virgil or Vergil ( ) in English, was an ancient Rome, ancient Roman poet of the Augustan literature (ancient Rome), Augustan period. He composed three ...

Virgil
, its legendary founder was the seer
Helenus In Greek mythology, Helenus (; grc, Ἕλενος, ''Helenos'', la, Helenus) was a gentle and clever seer. He was also a Troy, Trojan prince as the List of children of Priam, son of King Priam and Queen Hecuba of Troy, and the twin brother of the ...
, a son of
king Priam ''King Priam'' is an opera by Michael Tippett Knight Bachelor, Sir Michael Kemp Tippett (2 January 1905 – 8 January 1998) was an English composer who rose to prominence during and immediately after the Second World War. In his lifetim ...
of Troy
of Troy
, who had moved West after the fall of Troy with
Neoptolemus Neoptolemus (; ), also called Pyrrhus (; , for his red hair), was the son of the warrior Achilles In Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of s originally told by the , and a of . These stories concern the and , the lives and ...
and his concubine
Andromache In Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of myth Myth is a folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A beli ...
. Both Virgil and the Greek historian
Dionysius of Halicarnassus Dionysius of Halicarnassus ( grc, Διονύσιος Ἀλεξάνδρου Ἁλικαρνασσεύς, ; – after 7 BC) was a Greek historian Hellenic historiography (or Greek historiography) involves efforts made by Greeks to track and r ...
recorded that
Aeneas In Greco-Roman mythology, Aeneas (, ; from Greek language, Greek: Αἰνείας, ''Aineíās'') was a Trojan hero, the son of the Trojan prince Anchises and the goddess Aphrodite (equivalent to the Roman Venus (mythology), Venus). His father ...
visited ''Bouthroton'' after his own escape from the destruction of Troy. The earliest archaeological evidence of settled occupation dates to between 10th and 8th centuries BC, although some claim that there is earlier evidence of habitation dating from the 12th century BC. Excavation at Bouthroton has yielded
Proto-Corinthian Ancient Greek pottery, due to its relative durability, comprises a large part of the archaeological record of ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of History of Greece, Greek histo ...
pottery of the 7th century and then
Corinthian
Corinthian
and
Attic An attic (sometimes referred to as a ''loft 's Near West Side A loft is a building's upper storey or elevated area in a room directly under the roof (American usage), or just an attic: a storage space under the roof usually accessed by a lad ...

Attic
pottery of the 6th century, however there are no indications of a prehistoric settlement. ''Bouthroton'' was in a strategically important position due its access to the Straits of Corfu, and its location at the crossroads of mainland Greece and
Magna Graecia Magna Graecia (, ; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic ...

Magna Graecia
, the Greek and the "barbarian" worlds. Thus, it became one of the two ancient ports in lower
Chaonia Chaonia or Chaon (Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approxi ...
, the other being Onchesmos (modern Sarandë). The acropolis was erected on a hill on the bank of a
lake Butrint
lake Butrint
(or lake Bouthrotum). The first extension of the 7th century BC acropolis occurred during the 5th century BC. During the first years of the second
Peloponnesian War The Peloponnesian War (431–404 BC) was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to ...

Peloponnesian War
(413-404 BC) the Corkyreans built fortifications stretching from Ksamil to Buthrotum. Buthrotum being previously an independent city, became subject to nearby Corfu. By the 4th century BC it had grown in importance and included a
theatre Theatre or theater is a collaborative form of performing art that uses live performers, usually actor, actors or actresses, to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience in a specific place, often a stage. The p ...
, a sanctuary dedicated to
Asclepius Asclepius (; grc-gre, Ἀσκληπιός ''Asklēpiós'' ; la, Aesculapius) or HepiusJohn Tzetzes John Tzetzes ( gr, Ἰωάννης Τζέτζης, Iōánnēs Tzétzēs; c. 1110, Constantinople la, Constantinopolis ota, قسطنطي ...
and an
agora The agora (; grc, ἀγορά ''agorá'') was a central public space A public space is a place that is generally open and accessible to people. Roads (including the pavement), public square A town square (or square, plaza, public squ ...

agora
. The acropolis of Bouthrotum was protected by three circuit walls. The last and outer wall was erected around 380 BC enclosing and area of 4ha. This 870m-long wall included bastions and five gates. Two of the most important gates were known as Scean and Lion gate. Moreover, the agora, the
stoa A stoa (; plural, stoas,"stoa", ''Oxford English Dictionary'', 2nd Ed., 1989 stoai, or stoae ), in ancient Greek architecture Ancient Greek architecture came from the Greek-speaking people (''Hellenic'' people) whose culture Culture () is ...
s, the residential zone and the theatre were located in a separate walled area. Several inscriptions in Buthrotum describe the organization of the Chaonians in the beginning of the 3rd cent. BC. which show that they too had an annual leader called ''Prostates'' ( el, Προστάτης Protector). The Greek calendar of Bouthroton appears in the oldest known analog computer, the so-called
Antikythera Mechanism The Antikythera mechanism ( ) is an ancient Greek hand-powered orrery An orrery is a mechanical Solar system model, model of the Solar System that illustrates or predicts the relative positions and motions of the planets and natural satellit ...

Antikythera Mechanism
(c. 150 to 100 BC). The theatre is known for the impressive number of inscriptions carved on its stones. Most of them deal with manumissions and give a great amount of details on the city during the Hellenistic era. The names of those slaves were almost exclusively Greek with a few exception of Latin ones which bore Greek family names. In 228 BC ''Buthrotum'' became a Roman
protectorate A protectorate is a state that is controlled and protected by another sovereign state. It is a dependent territory A dependent territory, dependent area, or dependency (sometimes referred as an external territory) is a territory that does not ...
alongside Corfu. In the middle of the second century BC Buthrotum was the centre of an independent state, possibly the "Koinon of the Prasaiboi", as listed in the list of the
theorodokoiThe ''theorodokoi'' (Ancient Greek, Greek: , ) in ancient Greece were sacred envoy-receivers whose duty was to host and assist the ''theoroi'' (θεωροί, "viewers") before the Panhellenic Games, Panhellenic games and festivals... A ''theorodokos ...
at the
Oracle of Delphi Pythia (; grc, Πυθία ) was the name of the high priestess of the Temple of Apollo (Delphi), Temple of Apollo at Delphi. She specifically served as its oracle and was known as the Oracle of Delphi. Her title was also historically glossed in ...
.


Ancient Roman period

In the next century, it became a part of a province of
Macedonia Macedonia most commonly refers to: * North Macedonia North Macedonia, ; sq, Maqedonia e Veriut, (Macedonia until February 2019), officially the Republic of North Macedonia,, is a country in Southeast Europe. It gained independence in ...
. In 44 BC,
Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) was a Roman people, Roman general and statesman. A member of the First Triumvirate, Caesar led the Roman armies in the Gallic Wars before defeating his political rival Pompey Caesar's C ...

Caesar
designated ''Buthrotum'' as a
colony In political science Political science is the scientific study of politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations between individuals, ...
to reward soldiers who had fought for him against
Pompey Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (; 29 September 106 BC – 28 September 48 BC), known in English as Pompey or Pompey the Great, was a leading Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization f ...
. Local landholder
Titus Pomponius Atticus Titus Pomponius Atticus ( – 31 March 32 BC; also known as Quintus Caecilius Pomponianus) was a Roman editor, banker, and patron of letters, best known for his correspondence and close friendship with prominent Roman statesman Marcus Tullius ...
objected to his correspondent
Cicero Marcus Tullius Cicero ( ; ; 3 January 106 BC – 7 December 43 BC) was a Ancient Rome, Roman statesman, lawyer, scholar, philosopher and Academic skepticism, Academic Skeptic, who tried to uphold optimate principles during crisis of ...

Cicero
who lobbied against the plan in the Senate. As a result, only small numbers of colonists were settled. In 31 BC,
Roman Emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican can refer to: Politica ...
Augustus Caesar Augustus (23 September 63 BC19 August AD 14) was the first Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of different titles through ...

Augustus
fresh from his victory over Mark Antony and Cleopatra at the
battle of Actium The Battle of Actium was a naval battle in the last war of the Roman Republic The War of Actium (32–30 BC) was the last civil war A civil war, also known as an intrastate war in polemology, is a war between organized groups within ...
renewed the plan to make ''Buthrotum'' a veterans' colony. New residents expanded the city and the construction included an
aqueduct Aqueduct may refer to: Bridges *Aqueduct (bridge), a bridge to convey water over an obstacle, such as a ravine or valley *Navigable aqueduct, or water bridge, a structure to carry navigable waterway canals over other rivers, valleys, railways or r ...

aqueduct
, a
Roman bath In ancient Rome In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians whose work survives. A histo ...

Roman bath
, houses, a forum complex and a
nymphaeum A ''nymphaeum'' or ''nymphaion'' ( grc, νυμφαῖον), in ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of History of Greece, Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th ...

nymphaeum
. During that era the size of the town was doubled. A number of new structures were built next to the existing ones especially around the theatre and the temple of Asklepeios. In the 3rd century AD, an
earthquake An earthquake (also known as a quake, tremor or temblor) is the shaking of the surface of the Earth resulting from a sudden release of energy in the Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known ...

earthquake
destroyed a large part of the town, levelling buildings in the suburbs on the Vrina Plain and in the forum of the city centre. Excavations have revealed that city had already been in decline. However, the settlement survived into the late antique era, becoming a major port in the province of Old Epirus. The town of late antiquity included the grand ''Triconch Palace'', the house of a major local notable that was built around 425.


Byzantine and possible Slavic period

The walls of the city were extensively rebuilt, most probably at the end of the 5th century, perhaps by
Byzantine Emperor This is a list of the Byzantine emperors from the foundation of Constantinople la, Constantinopolis ota, قسطنطينيه , alternate_name = Byzantion (earlier Greek name), Nova Roma ("New Rome"), Miklagard/Miklagarth (Old Norse ...
Anastasius. The
Ostrogoths The Ostrogoths ( la, Ostrogothi, Austrogothi) were a Roman-era The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican can refer to: P ...
under
Indulf Ildulb mac Causantín, anglicised as Indulf or Indulph, nicknamed An Ionsaighthigh, "the Aggressor" (died 962) was king of Alba from 954 to 962. He was the son of Constantine II of Scotland, Constantine II; his mother may have been a daughter of Ea ...
raided the Ionian coast in 550 and may have attacked Buthrotum. In the end of 6th century groups of Slavs possibly arrived at Buthrotum. Evidence from the excavations shows that importation of commodities, wine and oil from the Eastern Mediterranean continued into the early years of the 7th century when the early Byzantine Empire lost these provinces. During the period of Slavic invasions and population movements in the wider region Butrotum was one of the few cities in Epirus that survived and retained its status as a seat of a bishopric without interruption. Because of the scarcity of sources, it is difficult to assess whether Buthrotum was controlled by Slavs or Byzantines between the 7th to 10th centuries. The Grand Basilica of Buthrotum was built during the first half of the 6th century on the northeast side of the settlement. Other monuments include the Acropolic Basilica (4th century), the Triconch Palace (6th century), the Baptistery with a large, complex mosaic (6th century), the Lake Gate church (9th century) and the Baptistery church (9th century). Arab traveller
Muhammad al-Idrisi Abu Abdullah Muhammad al-Idrisi al-Qurtubi al-Hasani as-Sabti, or simply al-Idrisi ( ar, أبو عبد الله محمد الإدريسي القرطبي الحسني السبتي; la, Dreses; 1100 – 1165), was an Arab The Arabs (singular ...
noted in the 12th century that Buthrotum is a densely populated city with a number of markets. It remained an outpost of the Byzantine empire fending off assaults from the
Normans The Normans (Norman Norman or Normans may refer to: Ethnic and cultural identity * The Normans The Normans (Norman language, Norman: ''Normaunds''; french: Normands; la, Nortmanni/Normanni) were inhabitants of the early medieval Duchy of N ...

Normans
until 1204 when following the
Fourth Crusade The Fourth Crusade (1202–1204) was a Roman Catholic Church, Latin Christian armed expedition called by Pope Innocent III. The stated intent of the expedition was to recapture the Islam, Muslim-controlled city of Jerusalem, by first defeating th ...
, the
Byzantine Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn ...

Byzantine Empire
fragmented, Buthrotum falling to the breakaway
Despotate of Epirus Despot or ''despotes'' ( el, δεσπότης, despótēs, "lord", "master") was a senior Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern ...
. In the following centuries, the area was a site of conflict between the Byzantines, the Angevins of southern Italy, and the
Venetians Venetian often means from or related to: * Venice, a city in Italy * Veneto, a region of Italy * Republic of Venice (697–1797), a historical nation in that area Venetian and the like may also refer to: * Venetian language, a Romance language sp ...

Venetians
.


Between Angevins, Byzantine Empire and Despotate of Epirus

The fortifications were probably strengthened by Byzantine Emperor Michael I. In 1267,
Charles of Anjou Charles I (early 1226/12277 January 1285), commonly called Charles of Anjou, was a member of the royal Capetian dynasty and the founder of the second House of Anjou. He was Count of Provence (1246–85) and County of Forcalquier, Forcalquier (124 ...

Charles of Anjou
took control of both Butrint and Corfu, leading to further restorations of the walls and the Grand Basilica. In 1274, Byzantine forces re-entered Butrint, an act which caused conflict between the Byzantines and the
Despotate of Epirus Despot or ''despotes'' ( el, δεσπότης, despótēs, "lord", "master") was a senior Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern ...
, because Despot Nikephoros considered the site to be his domain.Lala, Etleva (2008). ''Regnum Albaniae''. Pages 37-38: Nikephoros I Angelos (1271-1296)... The relations between the despot of Epiros and the king of the Regnum Albaniae varied at different times, but mostly they were cordial because they had a common enemy in Michael VIII. The relationship which developed between them is rather astonishing considering the fact that Charles was a favored vassal of the papacy while Nikephoros was Orthodox, a staunch opponent of the union of the churches and thus an enemy of papal plans in the Byzantine lands... He even used the chance to fight Michael openly, when Byzantine troops entered Butrint (1274), which Despot Nikephoros considered to be his own. Nikephoros was able to retake Butrint from the Byzantines only in 1278, and pressed by Charles, he was forced to make a formal vassal submission to him, yielding to the latter the newly recovered town as well as the port of Sopot. By recognizing Charles’ right to all the towns that Michael II had awarded to Manfred of Hohenstaufen as the dowry of Helen, Nikephoros also surrendered the port of Himara to the Anjous. As a result Charles acquired possession of the Adriatic coast from the Acroceraunian promontory (below the Bay of Vlora) down to Butrinti. Despite deep religious differences between the Catholic Charles of Anjou and the staunchly Orthodox Nikephoros, the two allied against Byzantine Emperor Michael, and together drove the Byzantines from the area in 1278. Then, pressed by Charles, Nikephoros ultimately ended up recognizing Charles' rights to all the town that Michael II had awarded to Manfred of Hohenstaufen as part of his wife Helen's dowr, as Charles was his successor, thus ceding to him Butrint as well as the entire Acroceraunian Coast from Vlora to Butrint.


As part of the Angevin ''Regnum Albaniae''

From 1284 Byzantine Emperor was in control of most of today's Albania and Angevin control on the Balkan mainland was limited to Butrinto, the later formed a single administrative unit together with nearby Corfu. In the 14th century the site shared a similar fate with Corfu. Butrint remained under Angevin rule until 1386, with only two other interruptions: in 1306, and in 1313–1331.Lala, Etleva (2008). ''Regnum Albaniae''. Page 147 In 1305-1306 it was controlled by the Despot of Epirus,
Thomas I Komnenos Doukas Thomas I Komnenos Doukas (Latinization of names, Latinized as Comnenus Ducas) ( el, Θωμάς Α΄ Κομνηνός Δούκας, translit=Thōmas I Komnēnos Doukas) (c. 1285–1318) ruler of Despotate of Epirus, Epirus from c. 1297 until hi ...
. Butrint became Catholic after it was conquered by the Angevins, and remained so throughout the fourteenth century. Hodges argues that the "episodic" defensive investment in Butrint as a town during this period demonstrates that it still possessed an active urban population, although not one urban dwelling had been identified at the time of writing. Hodges argues this indicates that dwellings were concentrated on the slopes of the northern citadel. The Orthodox Bishopric was transferred to nearby Glyki in 1337 or 1338. The town was reduced in size during the end of the 14th century, due to the tumultuous unrest in the region.


Between Venice and the Ottoman Empire

The dogal
Republic of Venice The Republic of Venice ( it, Repubblica di Venezia; vec, Repùblega de Venèsia) or Venetian Republic ( it, Repubblica Veneta; vec, Repùblega Vèneta), traditionally known as La Serenissima ( en, Most Serene Republic Most Serene Republic ( ...
purchased the area including Corfu from the Angevins in 1386; however, the Venetian merchants were principally interested in Corfu and Butrinto once again declined. By 1572 the wars between Venice and the
Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire (; ', ; or '; )info page on bookat Martin Luther University) // CITED: p. 36 (PDF p. 38/338). was an empire that controlled much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, Northern Africa between the 14th ...
had left Butrinto ruinous and the acropolis was abandoned, while at the order of Domenico Foscarini, the Venetian commander of Corfu, the administration of Butrinto and its environs was shifted to a small triangular fortress associated with the extensive fish weirs. The area was lightly settled afterwards, occasionally being seized by the Ottoman Turks, in 1655 and 1718, before being recaptured by the Venetians. Its fisheries were a vital contributor to the supply of Corfu, and olive growing together with cattle and timber were the principal economic activities. The
Treaty of Campo Formio The Treaty of Campo Formio (today Campoformido) was signed on 17 October 1797 (26 Vendémiaire VI) by Napoleon Bonaparte Napoleon Bonaparte ; co, Napulione Buonaparte. (born Napoleone di Buonaparte; 15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a ...
of 1797 split between France and Austria the territory of the Republic of Venice, which France had just occupied and abolished, and under article 5 of the treaty, Butrinto and the other former Venetian enclaves in Albania came under French sovereignty. However, in 1799, the local
Ottoman Ottoman is the Turkish spelling of the Arabic masculine given name Uthman (name), Uthman (Arabic: عُثْمان ''‘uthmān''). It may refer to: Governments and dynasties * Ottoman Caliphate, an Islamic caliphate from 1517 to 1924 * Ottoman Empi ...
governor Ali Pasha Tepelena conquered it, and it became a part of the Ottoman Empire until Albania gained its independence in 1912. By that time, the site of the original city had been unoccupied for centuries and was surrounded by malarial marshes.


Modern Albania

In 1913, after the end of the
First Balkan War The First Balkan War ( bg, Балканска война; el, Αʹ Βαλκανικός πόλεμος; sr, Први балкански рат, ''Prvi Balkanski rat''; tr, Birinci Balkan Savaşı) lasted from October 1912 to May 1913 and invo ...

First Balkan War
, Butrint was ceded to
Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geogr ...

Greece
but Italy challenged the decision and in the Treaty of London the region was given to the newly created Albania. As such Butrint was located near the southern border of the newly established Albanian state in a largely Greek-speaking territory. The local Greek population was enraged and created an
Autonomous Republic of Northern Epirus The Autonomous Republic of Northern Epirus ( el, Αὐτόνομος Δημοκρατία τῆς Βορείου Ἠπείρου, translit=Aftónomos Dimokratía tis Voreíou Ipeírou) was a short-lived, self-governing entity founded in the afte ...
, for six months, before it was reluctantly ceded to Albania, with peace assured by Italian peacekeeping force until 1919. Italy rejected the decision because she didn't want Greece to control both sides of the Straits of Corfu.


Ecclesiastical history


Residential bishopric

In the early 6th century, Buthrotum became the seat of a bishopric and new construction included the Buthrotum baptistery, one of the largest such paleochristian buildings of its type, and a
basilica In Ancient Roman architecture, a basilica is a large public building with multiple functions, typically built alongside the town's Forum (Roman), forum. The basilica was in the Latin West equivalent to a stoa in the Greek East. The building ...

basilica
. The diocese of Buthrotum was initially a
suffraganIn the Anglican Communion The Anglican Communion is the third largest Christian Full communion, communion after the Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Churches, Eastern Orthodox Church. Founded in 1867 in London, the communion has more tha ...
of the Metropolis of Nicopolis, the metropolitan capital of
Epirus Vetus Epirus () is a geographical and historical History (from Ancient Greek, Greek , ''historia'', meaning "inquiry; knowledge acquired by investigation") is the study of the past. Events occurring before the History of writing#Inventions of writin ...
and in the papal sway, but in the 9th and 10th centuries it is listed with the suffragans of
Naupaktos Nafpaktos ( el, Ναύπακτος) is a town and a former Communities and Municipalities of Greece, municipality in Aetolia-Acarnania, West Greece, situated on a bay on the north coast of the Gulf of Corinth, west of the mouth of the river Morn ...
, which succeeded ruined Nicopolis as provincial capital and metropolis of the new Byzantine
theme Theme or themes may refer to: * Theme (arts) In contemporary literary studies Literary criticism (or literary studies) is the study, evaluation Evaluation is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated eleme ...
of
Nicopolis Nicopolis ( grc-gre, Νικόπολις, Nikópolis, City of Victory) or Actia Nicopolis was the capital city of the Roman province of Epirus Vetus. It was located in the western part of the modern state of Greece. The city was founded in 29  ...
, bringing it in the sway of the Byzantine
Patriarchate of Constantinople The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople ( el, Οἰκουμενικόν Πατριαρχεῖον Κωνσταντινουπόλεως, translit=Oikoumenikón Patriarkhíon Konstantinoupóleos, ; la, Patriarchatus Oecumenicus Constantino ...
. After the 14th century, it was under the jurisdiction of the Metropolis of Ioannina. Two of its Byzantine (pre-Eastern Schism) bishops are mentioned in extant documents: * Stephanus signed the joint letter of the bishops of
Epirus Vetus Epirus () is a geographical and historical History (from Ancient Greek, Greek , ''historia'', meaning "inquiry; knowledge acquired by investigation") is the study of the past. Events occurring before the History of writing#Inventions of writin ...
to Emperor Leo I the Thracian in the aftermath of the killing of Patriarch Proterius of Alexandria in 458 * Matthaeus signed the synodal letter of the bishops of the province to Pope Hormisdas in 516 concerning the ordination of Metropolitan John of Nicopolis. It became a Latin Church see under Angevin and Venetian rule.


Latin residential bishopric

A Latin see was established circa 1250 under the Italian name ''Butrinto'', functioning under Capetian House of Anjou, Angevin and Republic of Venice, Venetian rule, but suppressed circa 1400. The 6th-century
basilica In Ancient Roman architecture, a basilica is a large public building with multiple functions, typically built alongside the town's Forum (Roman), forum. The basilica was in the Latin West equivalent to a stoa in the Greek East. The building ...

basilica
was rebuilt by king Charles I of Naples in 1267. ;Known Latin bishops * Nicola, Dominican Order, O.P. (? – 1311.02.15) * Nicola, O.P. (1311.05.23 – ?) * Nicola da Offida, Friars Minor, O.F.M. (? – 1349.06.15) * Francesco (? – ?) * Arnaldo Simone (? – 1355.02.13) * Giacomo, O.P. (1356.10.12 – ?) * Lazzarino, O.F.M. (1366.02.09 – ?)


Catholic titular see

Buthrotum is today listed by the Catholic Church as a Latin titular see since the diocese was nominally restored in 1933 as titular bishopric of Buthrotum (Latin) / Butrinto (Curiate Italian) / Butrint (Albanian). Following titular bishops have been nominated: * Louis-Bertrand Tirilly, Picpus Fathers, SS.CC. (1953.11.16 – 1966.06.21) as last Apostolic Vicar of Apostolic Vicariate of Marquesas Islands, Marquesas Islands * George Frendo (7. 7. 2006 – 17. 11. 2016), Dominican Order, O.P., Auxiliary Bishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Tiranë–Durrës, Archdiocese of Tiranë–Durrës (
Albania Albania ( ; sq, Shqipëri or Shqipëria), officially the Republic of Albania ( sq, Republika e Shqipërisë), is a country in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a par ...

Albania
) (7. 7. 2006 – 17. 11. 2016), also Secretary General of Episcopal Conference of Albania (2016.05.05 – ...) * Friar Giovanni Salonia, Capuchin Franciscans, O.F.M. Cap., (10. 2. 2017 – resigned 27. 4. 2017) as Auxiliary Bishop of Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Palermo, Archdiocese of Palermo * Zdeněk Wasserbauer (* 16. 6. 1965), Auxiliary Bishop of Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Prague, since 19. 5. 2018


Archaeological excavations

The first modern archaeological excavations began in 1928 when the Fascism, Fascist government of Benito Mussolini's Italy sent an expedition to Butrint. The aim was geopolitical rather than scientific, aiming to extend Italian hegemony in the area. The leader was an Italian archaeologist, Luigi Maria Ugolini who despite the political aims of his mission was a good archaeologist. Ugolini died in 1936, but the excavations continued until 1943 and the Second World War. They uncovered the Hellenistic civilization, Hellenistic and Ancient Rome, Roman part of the city including the "Lion Gate" and the "Scaean Gate" (named by Ugolini for the famous gate at Troy mentioned in the Homeric ''Iliad''). After the communism, communist government of Enver Hoxha took Albania over in 1944, foreign archaeological missions were banned. Albanian archaeologists including Hasan Ceka continued the work. Nikita Khrushchev visited the ruins in 1959 and suggested that Hoxha should turn the area into a submarine base. The Albanian Institute of Archaeology began larger scale excavations in the 1970s. Since 1993 further major excavations have taken place led by the Butrint Foundation in collaboration with the Albanian Institute of Archaeology. Recent excavations in the western defences of the city have revealed evidence of the continued use of the walls, implying the continuation of life in the town. The walls themselves certainly seem to have burnt down in the 9th century, but were subsequently repaired. After the collapse of the communist regime in 1992, the new democratic government planned various major developments at the site. The same year remains of Butrint were included in the
UNESCO The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) (french: Organisation des Nations unies pour l'éducation, la science et la culture) is a specialised agency United Nations Specialized Agencies are autonomous orga ...

UNESCO
list of World Heritage Sites. A major political and economic crisis in 1997 and lobbying stopped the airport plan and UNESCO placed it on the List of World Heritage in Danger because of looting, lack of protection, management and conservation. Archaeological missions during 1994–9 uncovered further Roman villas and an early Christian church. In 2004, archaeological excavations continued under principal investigator, David R. Hernandez.


Directions

The site of Butrint is accessible from
Sarandë Sarandë (; sq-definite, Saranda; el, Άγιοι Σαράντα, Agioi Saranda; it, Santiquaranta) is a List of cities and towns in Albania, city in the Republic of Albania and seat of Sarandë Municipality. Geographically, the city is located ...

Sarandë
, along a road first built in 1959 for a visit by the Soviet Union, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. This road was upgraded during the summer of 2010. The construction was somewhat of an environmental disaster and may yet threaten Butrint's World Heritage Site status. The ancient city is becoming a popular tourist destination, attracting day-trippers from the nearby Greek holiday island of Corfu. Hydrofoils (30 minutes) and ferries (90 minutes) run daily between the New Port in Corfu (city), Corfu Town and Saranda. Many visitors from Corfu use chartered coach services to visit Butrint from Sarandë, and additionally, a regular public bus service runs between Sarandë port and Butrint. Others arrive from the Qafe Bote border crossing with Greece near Konispol and cross the Vivari Channel by the cable ferry at Butrint.


Gallery

Butrint Panorama.jpg , File:Butrint-111183.jpg, File:Butrint-111185.jpg, File:Butrint-111187.jpg, File:Butrint-111189.jpg, File:Butrint-111190.jpg, File:Butrint-111192.jpg, File:Butrint-111194.jpg, File:Butrint-111196.jpg, File:Butrint-111198.jpg, File:Butrint-111200.jpg, File:Butrint-111202.jpg, File:Butrint-111204.jpg, File:Butrint-111206.jpg,


Notable locals

* Saint Therinus, 3rd-century saint * Donatus of Euroea, 4th-century saint


See also

*
Butrint National Park The Butrint National Park ( sq, Parku Kombëtar i Butrintit) is a national park in southern Albania Albania ( ; sq, Shqipëri or Shqipëria), officially the Republic of Albania ( sq, Republika e Shqipërisë), is a country in Southeast Euro ...
* List of Catholic dioceses in Albania * List of cities in ancient Epirus
Excavations of the Roman Forum at Butrint


References


Sources and external links




General information


Butrint National ParkThe Butrint FoundationButrinti 2000 International Festival of TheaterPhoto AlbumsVisiting ButrintButrint in Albania


History articles



on Butrint from History (U.S. TV channel), The History Channel
Rome and Albanian history
from Albania.com
Albania's Long-lost Roman City
BBC
In Pictures: Sights of Butrint
BBC
176 photos from the archeological site of ButrintCoins from Butrint: Numismatic research on archaeological excavation - The British Museum


Further reading

*Ceka N., ''Butrint: A guide to the city and its monuments'' (Migjeni Books) Tirana 2005) *Crowson A., "Butrint from the Air", in ''Current World Archaeology'' 14 (2006). *Hansen, Inge Lyse and Richard Hodges, eds., ''Roman Butrint: An Assessment''. Oxford: Oxbow Books, 2007. * *Richard Hodges (archaeologist), Richard Hodges and Matthew Logue, "The Mid-Byzantine Re-Birth of Butrint", ''Minerva'' 18, #3 (May/June 2007): 41–43. * A. M. Liberati, L. Miraj, I. Pojani, F. Sear, J. Wilkes and B. Polci, ed. by O. J. Gilkes. ''The Theatre at Butrint. Luigi Maria Ugolini's Excavations at Butrint 1928-1932'', (Albania Antica IV) (Supplementary volume no. 35. Published by the British School at Athens, 2003). *Jarrett A. Lobell, ''Ages of Albania'' (''Archeology'' magazine March/April 2006) *Ugolini L. M., ''Butrinto il Mito D'Enea, gli Scavi''. Rome: Istituto Grefico Tiberino, 1937 (reprint Tirana: Istituto Italiano di Cultura, 1999) {{Authority control Albanian Ionian Sea Coast World Heritage Sites in Albania Cities in ancient Epirus Ancient Greek archaeological sites in Albania Populated places established in the 1st millennium BC Former populated places in the Balkans Populated places in Sarandë Chaonia Roman sites in Albania Albania in the Roman era World Heritage Sites in Danger Protected areas established in 2005 Buildings and structures in Vlorë County Tourist attractions in Vlorë County Geography of Vlorë County Butrint National Park Populated places in ancient Epirus