Saturday, April 10, 2010

Book Review: Kanun

I read a mimeographed copy of this, so I have no citation for it. Anyway, it's the Kanuni lek dukagjinit, in English it's called the Kanun.

It's traditional Albanian highland law. The introduction says that it is a good representative of traditional law throughout the Balkans and the Caucasus as well. Which reinforces my theory that mountains are bad for you.

It also reinforces my theory that the present is a good time to be alive.

The mistreatment of women, the blood feuds, the strict code of honor (a footnote says that people had been killed over violations of dining arrangements). There is little in here to like (though my father in law, who is a minister, did like the respect and privileges given to priests).

Some of the laws are so outlandish as to be funny (you can move a road by extending your garden, but you can't get rid of the road completely). Some of them are just odd (the bellwether goat). And some the bloodthirsty among us see fit (you punish your errant son by not allowing him to have any weapons).

Anyway, if you have a desire to read a manual on how to become a Godfather, this is a good place to start. And if you leave an unpleasant comments, I shall fine you 500 grosh, and you shall have to buy me some raki.



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