- Bef 1461
Has no ancestors but more than 100 descendants in this family tree.
||Gjergi Comino Araniti Golem |
|Relationship||with Francis Fox|
||Bef 13 Jan 1461
||16 Nov 2009 |
- Lord of Cermenica, Kanina, Elbasan & Shpat
Arianit has many names. His true name is Arianit Komneni, but is most commonly known as Gjergj Arianit. Among folk legends, he is known as Gjorg Golemi, and on his bust found in Librazhd is written Gjorg Golem Arianiti. He is also known as Gjergj Golemi.
Writings of his figure are not very common. He is more commonly referred to as the father of Donika Kastrioti , Skanderbeg's wife, rather than a leader of a rebellion that held back the Ottoman armies for years.
The family origin of Gjergj are debated, but it is known that his family eventually emigrated to Italy along with many other Albanians . In 1253, Byzantine chronicles mention a Gulem who ruled the lands of Albanon. Gulemi may be the grandfather of Gjergj Arianiti. Gulemi married a cousin of the Byzantine empress, Irene. From this marriage came the name Komneni.
Gjergj was the oldest of three sons. He married Maria Muzaka, and from this he acquired territory from Mallakastra to Vlorë . His territories eventually reached northwards to Dibër . The center of his dominions were located between Librazhd and Elbasan .
With the death of his first wife, Gjergj married Pietrina Francone, an Italian aristocrat. His two wives bore him ten children, three of which were boys.
[edit ] Campaigns against the Ottoman Empire
[hide ] Ottoman-Albanian wars Before Skanderbeg Campaigns of Arianiti Skanderbeg's campaigns and battles Torvioll - Mokra - Otonetë - Albanian-Venetian War (1447-1448) - 1st Oronichea - Sfetigrad - 1st Krujë - Berat - 2nd Oronichea - Ujëbardha - 2nd Krujë - 3rd Krujë After Skanderbeg's death 4th Krujë eventual Ottoman rule over Albania caused much distress and negative reactions among the population. The Ottoman domination of Albania brought their legal, political, and economic systems into Albania, threatening to destroy the feudal system and autonomy of the Albanians. These reforms took away much of Gjergj's power, but still remained a vassal of the sultan. These drastic changes encouraged the rebellions of the Albanians against the Ottoman empire. Gjergj Arianiti was one of the main leaders of these rebellions.
In the spring of 1432, after the first phase of the reforms ended, an Albanian revolt erupted which spread to much of Albania. The first revolts began in central Albania. The Albanians called on Gjergj Arianit - who was thirty six years old- to lead the revolt.
Gjergj was at first apprehensive, but saw an opportunity to save the dominions left to him by his father. Upon hearing of the rebellions, many political enemies of Gjergj, who had become sipahis returned from Edirne to Albania. Upon reaching Albania, Gjergj immediately banished them. He was to lead the soldiers rebellion, which came from the peasant masses. Durrës , the area of Tirana controlled Andrea Topia, and Nikoll Dukagjin in the North joined the revolt.
The Porte responded by sending an army of fresh troops in Albania under experienced commanders. Danja in northern Albania fell, while the Topias were returned to their former state. After a strong counterattack by Arianiti, the Ottomans were soon defeated.
This victory strengthened the revolt in southern Albania, especially in Kurvelesh. Murad II headed for Albania and chose to camp at Serez in Macedonia . From here, he sent out a force of ten thousand into Albania under Ali bey Evrenoz. The army of Ali bey, in the winter of 1432-1433, went through the tight valleys of the Shkumbin ; near Buzurshekut (Bërzeshtës), the Albanians ambushed the Ottoman army. Arianiti observed and maneuvered against the Turks while also encouraging his men, eventually leading to an Ottoman rout. This victory further strengthened the Albanian cause and gave hope to the Europeans who feared a major Ottoman invasion.
The Byzantine chronicler, Chalcondyles , wrote: "In this battle, Arianit Komneni won a glorious victory."
Arianit used the classic tactic of "Pulling the enemy in, preparing the trap and striking suddenly." Arianiti also destroyed a second army sent by Ali bey, leaving hundreds dead in the valleys of Kuç all the way to Borsh. The failure of the second Ottoman expedition became known throughout Europe, which was used to hearing about Christian defeats in the East. The joyful states of Europe - Pope Eugene IV , Alfonso V , Emperor Sigsimund , Venice and Ragusa - promised aid. In his third battle (1434), in order to recapture Vlorë and Kanina, Arianiti used numbers, expediency and his tactics. Arianiti was known as the "protector of freedom" throughout the European kingdoms.
During the fall of 1443 and the winter of 1444 Arianiti led an army deep into Macedonia. During the same time, the Turks were routed at Nish and Skanderbeg deserted the Ottoman army and began another rebellion. Skanderbeg eventually allied with Gjergj Arianit through the League of Lezhë .
When Krujë was besieged by the Turks, the sixty seven year old Gjergj Arianiti fought fiercely against the Turks. Arianiti, along with 3,000 warriors, joined the anti-Venetian force which eventually defeated the Venetian army at Drin . He was one of the main commanders during the short siege of Durrës and the siege of Dagno. Some of his troops went as far as the gates of Shkodër . Thus, his interests were not harmed by Venice, who wished to incorporate the bay of Vlorë into its dominions.
Arianiti supported the recapture of Sfetigrad with 4,000 men. During the two main engagements of the siege, Arianiti showed great bravery. During the siege, his brother was killed. The experience of Arianiti convinced Skanderbeg to marry Donica, Arianiti's daughter. The strong connections between the Kastrioti and Arianiti families were of great benefit to the Albanian cause.
Arianiti was the only Albanian leader to have two capitals; one near the coast in Kanina, and another near the eastern mountains in Sopot. His dominions acted as the first defense against many of the Ottoman expeditions and served as one of the main centers of the Albanian League. The union between the Kastrioti and Arianiti did not have much effect due to the exposed territories of Arianiti. Through many localities, he brought together his last resistance force (1460-1462). In an open front, Mehmet II ordered movements into Albania to engaged a group of Arianiti's warriors. He then surrounded Gjergj Arianiti by moving through the valley of Furka all the way through Shushicë. Fierce engagements began, but Sopoti was not captured and the Ottoman encirclement failed. The people compared Gjergj Arianiti to Skanderbeg. To celebrate this victory, the army was taken to Galigat after the Ottomans had fully left Albania. However, when the Ottomans heard of this, they traveled back to Albania at night. The fortress of Sopot, left with a garrison chosen by Arianiti, still could not be taken. Only through bribery and treachery was it possible for the castle be taken. The Ottoman commander, took advantage of Arianiti's absence by launching a large attack with his main army. The Ottomans soon entered the castle, and in revenge for the defeats they had suffered, the entire population was massacred.