ethnic group

The Arvanites (Greek: Αρβανίτες) are a bilingual Greek people speaking both the Greek language and a dialect of the Albanian language called Arvanitika.[2][3][4] They moved from the regions of northern Epirus and central Albania to the Greek peninsula during the Middle Ages.[4] The Arvanites settled as farmers and soldiers (stradioti) getting land as payment for their work.[4] They were organized into clans called fares (Greek: φάρες), or sogia (Arvanitika: σόjτε),[4] and their culture was Byzantine Greek.[5] They fought in the Greek revolution of 1821 against the Ottoman Empire and its allies.[6] The name Arvanites, or Arnauts, was also used to describe Greeks from Roumeli, Albanians (Shqiptarët), Bulgarians and Serbs who all served as bodyguards for royals.[7]

Total population
c. 150,000 (Arvanite-speakers)[1]
Arvanitika, Greek
Related ethnic groups
Other Albanian-speaking peoples
(most notably Tosk Albanians)



  1. Lewis 2009
  2. Tsitsipis 2004, p. 57.
  3. Karastathis 2014.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Eleutherios 2012.
  5. Alatis & Staczek 1985, p. 69: "From the very beginning, when the Arvanítes moved south in the peninsula into what is now Greece, their south Tosk culture must have differed little from that of their late Byzantine neighbours the Greeks; their belief system must already have been largely that of Orthodoxy."
  6. Thomas 1832, Volume I, pp. 141–142.
  7. Thomas 1832, Volume I, p. 95: "Included under the generic name of Arnauts, it was recruited from Roumeliote Greeks, Albanians, Bulgarians and Servians, who acted as body-guards to the princes, the great functionaries, and even the simple Boyards."


  • Alatis, James E.; Staczek, John J., eds. (1985). Perspectives on Bilingualism and Bilingual Education. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press.
  • Eleutherios, Alexakis; Koutras, Nikolaos (trans.) (2012). "Arvanites in Boeotia". Encyclopedia of the Hellenic World. Athens: Foundation of the Hellenic World.
  • Karastathis, Kostas V. (2014). Έλληνες απο το Αρβανόν [Greeks from Arvanon] (in Greek). Athens: Athos. ISBN 9789604951420.
  • Konstantas, Gregory; Philippides, Daniel (1970) [1791]. Γεωγραφία Νεωτερική περί της Ελλάδος [On the New Geography of Greece] (in Greek). Athens: Hermes.
  • Lewis, Paul M., ed. (2009). "Albanian, Arvanitika". Ethnologue: Languages of the World (16th Edition). Dallas, Texas: SIL International.
  • Thomas, Gordon (1832). History of the Greek Revolution. Vol. I. Edinburgh: William Blackwood.
  • Tsitsipis, Lukas D. "A Phenomenological View of Language Shift". Collegium Antropologicum. 28 (Supplemental 1): 55–62.