They are probably the descendants of the earliest Aryan immigrants, who were represented in historical times by the kindred Illyrians, Macedonians and Epirots; the Macedonians and Epirots are believed by Hahn to have formed the core of the pre-Hellenic Tyrrheno-Pelasgian population which inhabited the southern portion of the peninsula and extended its limits to Thrace and Italy.
According to Hahn it is a participial from shkyipoij, " I understand," signifying "he who knows" the native language; others interpret it with less probability as "the rock-dweller," from shkep, shkip, N.
It has afforded an attractive study to philologists, amongst whom may be mentioned Malte-Brun, Leake, Xylander, Hahn, Miklosich and G.
An alphabet of fifty-two letters, some presenting ancient Phoenician and Cretan forms, was found by Hahn in partial use at Elbassan and Tirana; its antiquity, however, has not been established.
"Cyclopean" structures were discovered by Hahn at Kretzunista, Arinista, and other sites in the district of Argyrokastro; the walls, partly "Cyclopean," of an ancient city (perhaps Bullis) are visible at Gradisti on the Viossa.
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