The castle of Ali Pasha at Butrint

Castle of Ali Pasha, Butrint, Albania

From gateway to defence line.

Butrint, ancient Buthrotum, on the Albanian coast (Figure 1), was an important stopping-point in the central Mediterranean sea route that ran through the Straits of Corfu, retaining its status as a port until the later Middle Ages (Hodges et al. 2004; Hodges 2008). In the early modern period Butrint almost vanished as a town, although it remained a significant stronghold for Venetian interests in the area, organised from Corfu. Corfiot Venetians exploited Butrint and its surrounding environment primarily for its fisheries and other natural resources, whilst its natural geography on a low promontory provided an ideal first line of defence against the Ottomans (Soustal in Hodges et al. 2004: 25-6; Davies 2006; Crowson 2007: 14-17). At the same time, the Venetian occupation enabled Butrint to remain in contact with the wide range of Mediterranean links of the Venetian Empire, as pottery found at the site shows (Vroom in Hodges et al. 2004: 278-92; Vroom 2005).

However, Venetian dominion was not undisputed. The Ottomans made several attempts to take over the area and use it as a platform from which to attack Corfu (Soustal in Hodges et al. 2004: 26; Davies 2006). Nevertheless, the Venetians held sway over Butrint until their downfall at the hands of Napoleon in 1797. The French then took over the Ionian Islands and Venice's erstwhile mainland outposts. The Pasha of Ioannina, and actual ruler of Albania and Epirus at that time, Ali Pasha of Tepelena, outwitted the French and was able to swiftly conquer and claim rule over the former Venetian positions in little time.

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Authors: Jose C. Carvajal, Ana Palanco & Nevila Molla

Article and Image Source: http://antiquity.ac.uk/

Keywords: Ali Pasha,Castle,Butrint,Albania,Venetian,Ottoman



Jose C. Carvajal, Ana Palanco & Nevila Molla

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