Of these cognate races, which are described by the Greek writers as barbarous or non-Hellenic, the Illyrians and Epirots, he thinks, were respectively the progenitors of the Ghegs, or northern, and the Tosks, or southern, Albanians.
Fragment 3) describes as forming the boundary between the Illyrians and Epirots, practically corresponds with the course of the Shkumb, which now separates the Ghegs and the Tosks.
The Albanians, both Ghegs and Tosks, call themselves Shkiipetar, and their land Shkiipenia or Shkiiperia, the former being the Gheg, the latter the Tosk form of the word.
The only genuine division of the Albanian race is that of Ghegs and Tosks; the Liaps, who inhabit the district between the Viossa and the sea, and the Tshams or Chams, who occupy the coast-land south of the Kalamas, are subdivisions of the Tosk family.
The name Gheg (Gege-a) is not adopted by the Ghegs themselves, being regarded as a nickname; the designation Tosk (Toske-a) is restricted by the Tosks to the inhabitants of a small region north of the lower Viossa (Toskeria).
The Ghegs especially, notwithstanding their fierce and lawless character, their superstition, ignorance and predatory propensities, possess some noteworthy qualities rarely found in eastern Europe: simple, brave, faithful, and sometimes capable of devoted attachment, these wild mountaineers make excellent soldiers and trustworthy retainers; they have long furnished a bodyguard to the sultan and, like the Tosks, are much employed as kavasses and attendants at foreign embassies and consulates in the East.
A truce (bessa, literally "faith," "pledge"), either temporary or permanent, is sometimes arranged by mediation, or among the Ghegs, by the intervention of the clergy; a general bessa has occasionally been proclaimed by special irade of the sultan, the restoration of peace being celebrated with elaborate ceremonies.
The costume of the Tosks differs from that of the Ghegs; its distinctive feature is the white plaited linen fustanella or petticoat, which has been adopted by the Greeks; the Ghegs wear trews of white or crimson native cloth adorned with black braid, and a short, close-fitting jacket, which in the case of wealthy persons is embellished with gold lace.
Of the Christian population (about 600,000), some 110,000 are Roman Catholic Ghegs, some 90,000 are Orthodox Tosks, and some 400,000 are Orthodox Sla y s, Greeks and Vlachs.
The Roman Catholic Ghegs appear to have abandoned the Eastern for the Western Church in the middle of the 13th century.
In the absence of literary culture the Albanian dialects, as might be expected, are widely divergent; the limits of the two principal dialects correspond with the racial boundaries of the Ghegs and Tosks, who understand each other with difficulty; the Albanians in Greece and Italy have also separate dialects.
In writing Albanian the Latin character is employed by the Ghegs, the Greek by the Tosks; neither alphabet suffices to represent the manifold sounds of the language, and various supplementary letters or distinguishing signs are necessary.