The Kanun

The Kanun or Doke is a set of traditional Albanian laws. The Kanun was primarily oral and only in the 20th century it was published in writing. The Kanun of Lekë Dukagjini (Kanuni i Lekë Dukagjinit) was codified in the 15th century. Six later variations eventually evolved:

The Old Kanun (Albanian: Kanun i vjetër);

The Kanun of Mirdita (Albanian: Kanuni i Mirditës);

The Kanun of Pukë (Albanian: Kanuni i Pukës);

The Kanun of Çermenikë (Albanian: Kanuni i Çermenikës);

The Kanun of Pope Julius (Albanian: Kanuni i Papa Zhulit);

The Kanun of Labëria (Albanian: Kanuni i Labërisë);

The Kanun of Skanderbeg (Albanian: Kanuni i Skënderbeut) also known as The Kanun of Arbëria (Albanian: Kanuni i Arbërisë).

The Kanun of Skanderbeg is the closest in similarity with the Kanun of Lekë Dukagjini, and the latter is usually the most known and is also regarded as a synonym of the word kanun. The Kanun of Lekë Dukagjini was developed by Lekë Dukagjini, who codified the existing customary laws. It has been used mostly in northern and central Albania and surrounding areas formerly in Yugoslavia where there is a large ethnic Albanian population; Montenegro, Kosovo and North Macedonia. It was first codified in the 15th century but the use of it has been outspread much earlier in time. It was used under that form until the 20th century and revived after the fall of the communist regime in the early 1990s.

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