Marin Barleti

Marin Barleti

Marin Barleti (Latin: Marinus Barletius, Italian: Marino Barlezio; c. 1450, Shkodër - 1512 or 1513). Barleti was a humanist of Albanian descent, the first and greatest Albanian historian, and a Catholic priest.

When Barleti lived in Shkodër, he was a scholar and a clergyman. In 1474, the Turks besieged Shkodër. Barleti participated in the defense of the town, both in the first siege in 1474 and the second time in 1478. When Shkodër fell to the Ottomans, he escaped to Italy where he became a profound connoisseur of history, classical literature and the Latin language. In Venice he wrote the "History of Skanderbeg (Historia de vita et rebus gestis Scanderbegi) (1508-1511), "The Siege of Shkodër" (De obsidione Scodransi, Venice, 1504) and "A Brief History of Lives of Popes and Emperors" (Compendium vitarum pontificum et imperatorum, Venice, 1555).

His best-known work is the biography of the Albanian national hero Skanderbeg, Historia de vita et gestis Scanderbegi Epirotarum principis (The story of life and deeds of Skanderbeg, the prince of Epirotes). It was printed in Rome between 1506 and 1510, probably between 1508 and 1510. The book rapidly spread in several languages and eventually was translated into Latin and Portuguese four times and German seven times. It is still the foundation of Skanderbeg studies, and also established the Skanderbeg cult that was important for the formation of the Albanian national self-consciousness. This book is considered an Albanian cultural treasure, and today is in Biblioteka Kombetare in Tirana, Albania.

Barleti's last work was the collection of popes and emperors, Compendium vitarum Summorum Pontificium usque ad Marcellum II Imperatorumque Romanorum (Compendium of biographies of Popes and Roman emperors until Marcellus II).

The old library of Shkodër and a publishing house have been named after Marin Barleti. Recently a University in Albania has been established under his name.

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