World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Sami Frashëri

Sami Frashëri
Sami Frashëri and his wife.
Born (1850-06-01)June 1, 1850
Frashër, Përmet, Albania, then Ottoman Empire
Died June 18, 1904(1904-06-18) (aged 54)
Erenköy, Istanbul, Turkey, then Ottoman Empire
Organization Central Committee for Defending Albanian Rights, Society for the Printing of Albanian Writings
Movement National Renaissance of Albania
Children Ali Sami Yen
Relatives Abdyl Frashëri (Brother)
Naim Frashëri (Brother)
Mit'hat Frashëri (Nephew)
Mehdi Frashëri (Nephew)

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 and Naim. 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.


  • Life 1
  • Work 2
    • Novels 2.1
    • Drama 2.2
    • Dictionaries and Encyclopedical Works 2.3
    • Scientific Writings 2.4
    • Educational Writings in Albanian 2.5
    • Other 2.6
    • Linguistics 2.7
    • Political Work 2.8
  • Footnotes 3
  • References 4
  • Further reading 5


Museum house of the Frasheri Brothers in Frasher, Permet, Albania

The Frashëri brothers (Naim, Abdyl and Sami) were Aromanians;[3][4] the family hailing from Frashër, an Aromanian village,[5] from which their surname is derived.[3]

He 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, he also learned Turkish, Arabic, and Persian.

In 1872 he 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, he 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.[6]

He 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.[7] Some of his most important writings are:


  • Ta'aşşûk-ı Tal'at ve Fitnât (Albanian: Dashuria e Talatit me 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.[8]


  • Besâ yâhut Âhde Vefâ (Albanian: "Besa ose Mbajtja e Fjalës" - 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)
  • Gâve (1876)
  • Mezalim-i Endülûs (Never printed)
  • Vicdân (Never printed)

Dictionaries and Encyclopedical Works

  • Kamûs-ı Fransevî (1882–1905, French-Turkish dictionary)
  • Kamûs-ı Fransevî (1885, French-Turkish dictionary)
  • Küçük Kamûs-ı 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)
  • Kamûs-ı 'Arabî (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) [2]

Scientific Writings

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

  • Allfabetarja e Stambollit (Alphabet of Istanbul, 1879),
  • Abetarja e 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.

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.[9]


  • Usûl-ü Tenkîd ve Tertîb (1886, Orthography of Turkish)
  • Nev'usûl Sarf-ı Türkî (1891, Modern Turkish Grammar)
  • Yeñi Usûl-ü Elifbâ-yı Türkî (1898, New Turkish Alphabetical System)
  • Usûl-ü Cedîd-i Kavâ'id-i 'Arabiyye (1910, New Method for Learning Arabic)
  • Tatbîkât-ı 'Arabiyye (1911, Exercises in Arabic)

Political Work

  • Shqipëria ç'ka qenë, ç'është e çdo të bëhetë (Albania - what it was, what it is and what it will be, 1889).


  1. ^ Bozkurt Güvenç, Türk Kimliği, Kültür Bakanlığı, 1993, p. 32. (Turkish)
  2. ^ Diana Mishkova, We, The People: Politics of National Peculiarity in Southeastern Europe, Central European University Press, 2009, ISBN 978-963-9776-28-9, p. 363.
  3. ^ a b Arno Tanner (2004). The Forgotten Minorities of Eastern Europe: The History and Today of Selected Ethnic Groups in Five Countries. East-West Books. pp. 213–.  
  4. ^ Ethnologia Balkanica. LIT Verlag Münster. pp. 150–. GGKEY:ES2RY3RRUDS. 
  5. ^ Nitsiakos. p. 142 
  6. ^ The crescent and the eagle: Ottoman rule, Islam and the Albanians, 1874-1913 By George Walter Gawrych page 88
  7. ^ Blumi, Isa (2007), Seeing Beyond the River Drin, Sarajevo, Ottoman Albanians and Imperial Rivalry in the Balkans after 1878 (PDF), Austria: Kakanien revisited, p. 6, s. Ippen and Nopcsa openly advocated funding efforts to solidify the cultural ambitions of nationalist leaders, resulting, for instance, in the translation into German and distribution of Sami Frashëri’s works 
  8. ^ In reality, the first novel written entirely in Turkish was Akabi's Story by Vartan Paşa, an Armenian Ottoman Pasha in the year 1851
  9. ^ Michael Kreutz. Modernismus und Europaidee in der Östlichen Mittelmeerwelt, 1821-1939. p. 166


  • Letërsia Romantike Shqiptare - Për klasën e njëmbëdhjetë (Albanian Romantic Literature - For eleventh class), Pristina, 2004 – Sabri Hamiti.

Further reading

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.