Sami Frashëri

Sami Frashëri

Sami Frashëri (Turkish: Şemseddin Sami, June 1, 1850 – June 18, 1904) was an Albanian writer, philosopher, playwright and a prominent figure of the Rilindja Kombëtare, the National Renaissance movement of Albania, together with his two brothers Abdyl andNaim. He accepted and supported the Turkish nationalism and laicism[1] and had close relationships with Turkish nationalist intellectuals such as Veled Chelebi (İzbudak) and Nedjib 'Asim (Yazıksız).[2]

Frashëri was one of the sons of an impoverished Bey from Frashër (Fraşer during the Ottoman rule) in the District of Përmet. He gained a place in Ottoman literature as a talented author under the name of Şemseddin Sami Efendi and contributed to the Ottoman Turkish language reforms.

However, Frashëri's message, as declared in his book "Albania - What it was, what it is, and what will become of it" published in 1899, became the manifesto of the Albanian Renaissance (Rilindja Kombëtare). Frashëri discussed the prospects for a free and independent republic of Albania. In this way, beginning with a demand for autonomy and struggle for their own alphabet and education, he helped the Albanian National Liberation movement develop its claim for independence. Translation and distribution of his works were financed by Theodor Anton Ippen (consul of Austria-Hungary) and Nopcsa. Nowadays, a lot of schools bear his name, i.e. Sami Frashëri High School is one of the most well-known gymnasiums in Tirana, and Prishtina.

Sami Frashëri was born in 1850 in the village of Frashër in the Vilayet of Janina to a distinguished Muslim Albanian family of Bektashireligious affiliations.[3] Sami, alongside his brothers Naim, Abdyl and 5 other siblings were the children of Halit Bey (1797–1859)[4] and their paternal family traditions held that they were descendants of timar holders that hailed from the Berat region before coming to live in Frashër.[3] While their mother Emine Hanım (1814–1861)[4] was descended from Imrahor Ilyas Bey, a distinguished 15th century Ottoman Albanian commander from the Korçë area.[3] The surname Frashëri of the family is derived from the village of Frashër.[5] The settlement was noted in the late Ottoman era for having a mixed Albanian and Vlach population.[3][6] Thede Kahl and the Vlach community in Albania claim that the Frashëri family were of Vlach origin.[5][7][8]
Sami attended the Greek language Zosimea gymnasium in Ioannina, Epirus. There, he came in touch with western philosophy and studied Greek, French and Italian. With the help of a personal teacher, Sami also learned Turkish, Arabic, and Persian.
In 1872 Sami migrated to Istanbul where he worked in a governmental press bureau. His lifetime goal, as that of many other members of Albanian renaissance, was the development and improvement of Albania's culture, and the independence of the country.
Along with his elder brother Abdyl, Hasan Tahsini, Pashko Vasa and Jani Vreto, Sami founded the Central Committee for Defending Albanian Rights. Early in the 1879, this committee formed a commission for the Albanian alphabet.
Sami Frashëri also founded and headed the Society for the Publication of Albanian Writings in October 1879, where Albanian scholastic books and texts were compiled by him and his brother Naim. The society was forced to close by the Ottoman Government in 1885 along with the Drita magazine, then Dituria, which had been opened in 1884 by Petro Poga, but on decree issued on demand of Sami Frasheri.[9]
Sami died on June 18, 1904 after a severe illness at his home in Erenköy, Istanbul.
His son, Ali Sami Yen (1886–1951), was a footballer and founder of Galatasaray SK and chairman of Galatasaray between 1905–18 and 1925–6.
Sami is the author of around 50 works. Theodor Anton Ippen (consul of Austria-Hungary) and Nopcsa financed the translation and distribution of the works of Sami Frasheri.[10]Some of his most important writings are:
• Ta'aşşûk-i Tal'at ve Fitnât ( Albanian : Dashuria e Talatit what Fitneten - English : The Love Between Talat and Fitnat, 1873)
The story carries a sentimental subject of love between Talat and Fitnat. Generally, the novel consists of a combination of Oriental and Western writing styles. Also, this novel is commonly mistaken to be the first novel written in Turkish.[11]
• Vefa Âhde Yahua Besa ( Albanian : "Fidelity or Keeping Word" - English : Besa or The Given Word of Trust, 1874).
Is a melodrama aiming Besa as a subject, but in a very tragic situation; the father kills his son to keep the given word.
• Seydi Yahya (1875)
• Gave (1876)
• Mezalim-i Endülûs (Never printed)
• Vicdân (Never printed)
Dictionaries and Encyclopedical Works[edit]
• Kamus-i Fransevî (1882-1905, French-Turkish dictionary)
• Kamus-i Fransevî (1885, French-Turkish dictionary)
• Small Kamus-i Fransevî (1886, French-Turkish dictionary)
• Kamûs-ül Â'lâm (6 volumes, 1889–1898, Encyclopedia of General Science, known to be the first Encyclopedia printed in Turkish)
• Kamus-i 'Arabi (1898, Arabic-Turkish dictionary, unfinished)
• Kamus-ı Türki (2 volumes, dictionary of the Classical Ottoman Turkish language, still widely used as a reference as of today, 1899–1900, reprints and facsimiles in 1978 and 1998) [1]

Scientific Writings[edit]
Şemseddin Sami also did a series of scientific writings in Albanian such as Qielli (Sky), Toka (Earth), Njeriu (Human Being), Gjuha (Language), and many more.

Educational Writings in Albanian[edit]
• Allfabetarj e Stambollit (Alphabet of Istanbul, 1879)
• Primer Shkronjëtoreja (Grammatical Work 1886).
In Turkish in his "Pocket Library" collection, he published small scientific booklets on subjects as Astronomy, Geology, Anthropology, History of Islam and the Islamic civilization,Women, Mythology and Linguistics. He also published a small compilation of Humor named Letâ'if in two volumes, a compilation of Proverbs and Quotes named Emsâl in four volumes, and a series of reading-oriented educational books for schoolchildren. During Ebüzziya Tevfiks exile, Frashëri managed the Ottoman journal Muharrir.

Sami Frashëri together with Jani Vreto supported the idea that the Albanian alphabet should be based on the Greek alphabet, since according to them, Albanians and Greeks have the same ancestors, the Pelasgians.[12]
• Adequate procedures-ü thick (1886, Orthography of Turkish )
• Never-consumable procedures Turkic-i (1891, Modern Turkish Grammar)
• Yen-yi Turkic alphabet Usul-u (1898, New Turkish Alphabetical System)
• Usûl-ü Cedîd-i Kavâ'id-i 'Arabiyye (1910, New Method for Learning Arabic)
• Exercise-I Arabiyye (1911 Exercises in Arabic )