An image of an ancient bas-relief is circulating on Albanian-speaking social networks, where the word “Besa” appears to be written in Greek letters. The verification of “Faktoje” revealed that the image is manipulated and there is no such inscription on the original monument.
An image that appears to show an ancient bas-relief on which “BESA” is written is being shared again in Albanian-speaking online spaces.
The image that is circulating on the Internet
This image seems to have been circulating on Facebook pages since at least 2019 , which have a patriotic orientation or post about the culture, traditions, and history of the Albanian people.
These pages have excitedly posted the above image trying to ‘prove’ the antiquity of the Albanian language and customs, such as the concept of faith.
However, a search using the image search engine Google Reverse Image Search reveals that this image is, in fact, a manipulation.
The original bas-relief , which is located in the Acropolis Museum in Athens, does not contain the inscription “BESA”.
The original bas-relief
The stone stele on which the bas-relief is carved was found in 1876-77 in the Acropolis. The bas-relief shows the goddess Athena (right) shaking the hand of a man, whose identity remains disputed. The text is written in the Attic alphabet , and refers to the treasurers (treasure holders) who served Athena and other gods during the years 398-397 BC, so it has nothing to do with the concept of faith. The bas-relief is estimated to be from 397-6 BCE.
The intentions of those who have been distributing this manipulated image as a document of the antiquity of Albanian customs are admirable. Hopefully, disproving its authenticity will redirect their efforts to researching and disseminating authentic documents.
For example, the Statutes of Shkodra , a self-governing normative code of Shkodra under Venetian rule during the first half of the 14th century until 1479, the year of the Ottoman conquest. In this document, written in a Venetian dialect, some academics have traced the Albanian concept of ‘besa’ to the single word of purely Albanian origin “besare”.