The Albanian nobility was an elite hereditary ruling class in Albania, parts of the western Balkans and later in parts of the Ottoman world. The Albanian nobility was composed of landowners of vast areas, often in allegiance to states like the Byzantine Empire, various Serbian states, the Republic of Venice, the Ottoman Empire and the Kingdom of Naples in addition to the Albanian principalities. They often used Byzantine, Latin or Slavic titles, such as sebastokrator, despot, dux, conte and zupan.
The Muzaka family was loyal to the Byzantine Empire. For their loyalty to Byzantium, the head of the family Andrea II Muzaka gained the title of Despot in 1335, while other Muzakas continued to pursue careers in Byzantine administration in Constantinople.
The first Albanian state in the Middle Ages it was ruled by the Progoni family and extended from the Drin river to the southern boundary of the Ohrid lake. Its rulers were known in Catholic sources with the titles of judices, while in Byzantine ones the titles mentioned are those of the grand archon and the panhypersebastos.
When Durrës was captured by the Kingdom of Serbia, Milutin was titled the King of Albania while his rule was occasionally recognized by Albanian noblemen around Durrës. Many Albanian noblemen were included in the feudal hierarchy of the Kingdom of Serbia and had titles and privileges of župans, voivodas or kaznacs.
Albanian nobility was included into hierarchy of the feudal system of Serbian Empire without any discrimination and participated in the work of the highest government institutions, where Albanian archons had the same rights as the Serbian nobility had. Serbian emperor wanted to gain the support of the Albanian nobility so he confirmed the privilleges Kruje had been granted by the Byzantine Empire.
Albanian nobility did not fight against Ottomans with united and compact forces like Serbian and Bulgarian aristocracy, but with small independent local rulers. Therefore, the Ottomans, who have been since claimed to be "brutal and cruel" to the Serbian and Bulgarian nobility, might have been conciliatory with the Albanian nobility.
When Albania became part of the Ottoman Empire, it was divided into sanjaks with numerous timars. Many members of the Albanian nobility held high rank positions within Ottoman the hierarchy, like Skanderbeg and Ballaban Badera who were Ottoman sanjakbeys. Some members of the Albanian nobility were Ottoman timariots. Through the implementation of the timar system the Albanian nobility was absorbed into the Ottoman military class within not more than two generations. They adopted the Ottoman titles like aga, bey or pasha.
During the period of crisis for the Ottoman Empire after the Battle of Ankara in 1402 several Ottoman vassals from Albania including Gjon Kastrioti, Niketas Thopia and Nicola Zaccaria, recognized Venetian suzerainty. Numerous members of Albanian noble families were Venetian pronoiers. Many Albanian noblemen fought against Skanderbeg within Venetian forces during Albanian–Venetian War.
In 1451, many Albanian noblemen became vassals of the Kingdom of Naples. The first was Skanderbeg who signed the Treaty of Gaeta on March 26, 1451 and after him many other Albanian noblemen like George Araniti, Ghin Musachi, George Stresi Balsha, Peter Spani, Pal Dukagjini, Thopia Musachi, Peter of Himara, Simon Zanebisha and Carlo Toco signed similar treaties. Skanderbeg had to fulfill his vassal obligations to send his forces to Italy to support Ferdinand I of Naples in his struggle against the Angevin Dynasty. In return, the Kingdom of Naples provided financial and military support to its vassals in Albania and maintained a permanent garrison in Kruje.
The religion of the Albanian nobility depended on the religion of their lords, or the power that could threaten their political existence. Until the end of 14th century the Albanian nobility were Christians (Orthodox or Catholic). After the Battle of Savra in 1385 most of the local Albanian nobility became vassals of the Ottoman Empire and began converting to Islam. In the end of 17th century the Albanian nobility was majority islamized.
An attempt to restore the monarchy in 1997 was rejected by about two-thirds of those voting in a referendum. Former noble families and their descendants are still a part of society in Albania, but they no longer retain any specific privileges.
Albanian nobility used intensively a titulature* of Byzantine, Latin or Slavic origins
Kasnije, kad je Drač pao u srpske ruke, nosiće kralj Milutin naslov kralja Arbanije.Missing or empty
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srpskog kralja Milutina [1282-1321]... vlast srpskog kralja priznavali su povremeno i albanski velikaši u zaleđu Drača...Još u doba kralja Milutina albanski feudalci ce uključuju u feudalni poredak srpske države sa zvanjima i beneficijama župana, vojvode ili kaznaca.
U Dušanovom carstvu albanske zemlje i velikaši Albanije obuhvaćeni su bez ikakvog izdvajanja i diskriminacije hijerarhijskim feudalnim sistemom....Politička integracija Albanaca u srednjovekovnoj srpskoj državi izvršena je u okviru feudalnog sistema bez diskriminacije prema albanskoj vlasteli. Sa svojim starim ili novim zvanjima, stečenim ili tek dobijenim povlasticama, sa baštinama, pronijama i drugim feudalnim pravima albanski feudalci, u meri u kojoj su ulazili u srpsku državu, bili su aktivan činilac te države. U titulama srpskih kraljeva odnosno careva, kao što smo videli, albanski narod je došao i do svojevrsnog državnopravnog legitimiteta. Ovaj ce legitimitet izražavao i u pravima albanske vlastele da učestvuje u radu najviših organa vlasti srpske države, srpskih sabora. Već sa širenjem granica srpske države preko grčkih i albanskih oblasti, kako je primetio Nikola Radojčić, javilo ce pitanje o učestvovanju Grka i Albanaca na srpskim saborima; grčki i albanski arhonti su i učestvovali u radu sabora sa svim pravima srpske vlastele.
The chrysobull that Dusan issued in June 13h3, by which he confirmed the privileges of Kroja that had been granted by the Byzantine emperors, clearly indicates that the Serbian ruler sought to win the support of the Albanian nobility. From the evidence of this document we may assume that Dušan entrusted to the local nobility the administration of various Albanian cities
A turning point in the first contacts between the Albanian nobility and the Ottomans was the Battle of Savra (ca. 1385).
After the Battle of Savra Albanian princes became vassals of the Ottomans.
...the Bulgarian and Serbian aristocracies...In the first place, the Albanian feudal lords did not fight against the Ottomans, as the Bulgarians and Serbs in an orderly battle, with united and compact forces.
One might wonder why the Ottomans, who were so harsh on the Bulgarian and Serbian aristocracies, were so conciliatory with the Albanian nobility.
In 1440, he was promoted to sancakbey of Debar
Balaban Aga, qui a accordé des timar à ses propres soldats dans la Basse- Dibra et dans la Çermeniça, ainsi qu'à son neveu à Mati, doit être ce même Balaban Aga, sancakbeyi d'Ohrid, connu pour ses batailles sanglantes contre Skanderbeg.
Some timars were acquired by members of the Albanian nobility,
After the adoption of timar system, the absorption of Albanian nobility into Ottoman military class did not take more than two generations
Among those disloyal vassals was Ivan Kastrioti, Niketas Thopia and Nicola Zaccaria.
Радич Хумој био је врло истакнути пронијар у Скадарском крају
Радич Хумој је умро пре но што је пописан скадарски крај. Балеч је, после њега, припао његовом брату Андрији, који је био војвода предела изнад Скадра, и сину Којчину.
Наиме, женећи се 1433 године ћерком Петра Спана, Радич II Хумој је добио село Серељи у барском дистрикту
Radic und Maran Humoj verwalteten seit 1441 Gleros bei Skutari, das einst den Bonzi gehört hatte.
In einer getreidearmen Gegend war dies ein Anschlag auf die Lebensgrundlagen der Gemeinde. Venedig ging in dieser Frage äusserst behutsam vor, denn Koja und Andreas Humoj hatten der Signoria bedeutende Dienste geleistet. Zusammen mit Simeon Vulkata waren sie an der Spitze der venezianischen Verbände gegen Skanderbeg ins Feld gezogen (1447). In ihren Machtgebieten um Balezo und Drivasto wurde besonders heftig gekämpft.
Многи домаћи људи учествовали су у борбама на Млетачкој страни. Која Хумој... Василије Угрин,...Јован Запа и његов брат...седморице браће Педантари...више њихових рођака...три сина Рајка Монете...Петар Малонши са два сина...и Буша Сорња из Дања...Другима и нема трага...
Later on Alphonse concluded similar treaties with George Araniti, Ghin Musachi, George Stresi Balsha, Peter Spani, Paul Ducaghini,...
Scanderbeg now entered into special close relations with King Alphoso of Naples....on 26 March 1451. They got along very well together, as lord and vassal...Besides Alphonso's assertion of suzerainty over Skanderbeg and the latters father in law George Arianiti Topia Golem Cominović,... Alphonso gave recognition as vassals to Ducagjini family, to Simon Zenevisi, ...
In 1458, Scanderbeg was summoned to Italy to fulfil his obligations as vassal under the treaty of Gaeta.
Skanderbeg in 1451 made an alliance with King Alfonso I of Naples (Alfonso V of Aragon), whose vassal he became, and a permanent Neapolitan garrison was installed in his fortress
Кастел Нови код Напуља, 21. октобар 1454: Краљ Алфонс V јавља Скендербегу да му је Павле Дукађини преко свог посланика изјавио оданост и покорност и да му је као свом вазалу, одредио годишњу провизију од 300 дуката ...
The Albanian nobility embraced the religion of their lord or of that power which could threaten its political existence.
The Albanian nobility and townfolk from Kosovo were totally Islamized in the end of the 17th century.
Local principalities... using Greek, Ladin or Slavic as the official languages of correspondence in their courts.
The Kuprilis, Albanian noblemen,