Naim Frasheri

Portrait of Naim Frasheri

Naim Frasheri was the Albanian national poet, historian, translator and journalist. He was born in Frasher, Albania on 25th May 1846 and died in Istanbul, Turkey on 20th October 1900 aged 54.

Major Works

“Bagëti e bujqësia” (Cattle and Crops) (1886) 
Luletë e Verësë” (The Flowers of Summer) (1890)
“Parajsa dhe Fjala Fluturake” (Paradise and Winged Words) (1894)
“Istori e Skënderbeut” (The History of Skanderbeg) (1898) 

Biography Timeline

Naim Frashëri was born on 25th May 1846 in Frasher, then part of the Ottoman Empire, into a wealthy Albanian and Islamic family. His father was Halid Frashëri a military commander and landowner and his mother was called Emine from the Korce region. Naim was one of eight children. He studied Arabic and Persian in the Tekke Shrine of Frasher.

1865: At the Zosimaia secondary school in Janina where the family move to after the death of his parents he studies the classics as well as modern Greek, French and Italian. His eldest brother Abdyl becomes the head of the family.

1870: After he finishes his studies Frashëri works for a few months at the press office in Constantinople (Istanbul) but a bout of his congenital tuberculosis forces him to return to his home village. There he begins work as a clerk for the Ottoman government.

1871: He writes “Kavâid-i Farisiyye dar Tarz-i Nevîn” (Grammar of the Persian Language According to the New Method).

1876: He leaves his post in Frasher and goes to Baden, Austria seeking a cure for his rheumatism.

1879: Together with his brother Sami and twenty-five other Albanians, Frashëri founds the Society for the Publication of Albanian Writings in Constantinople. They are both seen as fighters for national freedom in the Albanian Renaissance.

1881: He writes “Ihtiraat ve Kessfiyyat” (Inventions and Discoveries).

1884: He writes Fusuli Erbea” (Four Seasons) and “Tahayyülat” (Dreams).

1885: The Ottoman authorities forbid writing in Albanian and new publications new to be published abroad. Because of his work as director of the board of censorship of the Turkish Ministry of Education he uses his initials N.H.F. or N.H. to bypass restrictions for his publications.

1886: His most important poetry collection “Bagëti e Bujqësija” (Herds and Crops) is published in Bucharest. It describes his love for his mountain homeland and countryside and his dislike of city life. He publishes “E Këndimit Cunavet” (Reader for Boys) and several other text books in the Albanian language for the Albanian School in Korce. He also publishes “O Alithis pothos ton Skypetaron” (The True Desire of Albanians).

1887: Albanian schools are established in southeastern Albania and Frashëri decides that due to the declining state of the Ottoman Empire the best outcome for Albanians is a future annexation of Albania by Austria-Hungary. 

1890: He publishes his poetry collection “Luletë e Verësë” (The Flowers of Summer).

1894: He publishes his poetry collection “Parajsa dhe Fjala Fluturake” (Paradise and Winged Words) and the essay “Mësime” (Teachings).

1895: He publishes “Gjithësia” (Omneity). 

1896: He publishes “Fletore e Bektashinjët” (The Bektashi Notebook) which is religious in tone about the pantheistic Bektashi sect of Dervishes. Frashëri hopes that liberal Bektashi will one day become the new religion of Albania as it has roots in the Koran and the Holy Bible and could help promote unity among a religiously divided people.

1898: “Istori’ e Skenderbeut” (History of Skanderbeg) is published. It is an historical epic poem of over 11,000 verses probably written in 1895 which Frasheri thought his masterpiece. He also publishes “Qerbelaja” (Kerbela), a Shi’ite religious epic dealing with the Battle of Kerbela in Iraq in 680 A.D. 

1899: He publishes “Istori e Shqipërisë” (History of Albania) in Sofia. All in all, Naim Frashëri wrote a total of twenty-two works, fifteen in Albanian, four in Turkish, one in Persian and two in Greek. 

Naim Frashëri died on 20th October 1900 in Istanbul and was buried there but in the 1950s the Turkish government allowed his remains to be reburied in Albania.