The Kastriotis were a noble Albanian family in the middle Ages. The Kastrioti dynasty originally hailed from the Mati region, situated in North Albania. The family itself was roman-catholic (as the majority of all Albanians were at that time) and had good relations to the Republic of Venice, the Kingdom of Naples and the Papacy.

The first notable member of the Kastriotis was Pal Kastrioti who fought with his Albanian knights on the side of the other Christian Balkan armys in the battle of Kosovo (1389) against the Ottomans. He did not survive the battle. His son Gjon Kastrioti († 1442) , father of Skanderbeg, migrated to the castle of Kruja, where he was proclaimed prince of the city and the region surrounding it. Gjergj Kastrioti Skanderbeg (1405-1468) (youngest son of Gjon) was the most famous member of the Kastrioti, today he is the national heroe of Albania. He united and defended Albania for 25 years against the Ottoman Empire. He was even titled "Athleta Christi" ("Defender of Christianity") by Pope Pius II. He devoted his life into fighting against Ottoman imperialism and keeping the Albanian freedom. After his death his descendants fled to the lands in Italy, which Skanderbeg had gained from the Kingdom of Naples for his heroic fight against Ottomans defending Albania and the rest of Europe. The word Kastrioti derives from the Albanian toponym "kastrati", an Albanian tribe and mountain in North Albania where the Kastrioti family had its origin.

The coat of arms of the Kastrioti was a black double headed eagle. This symbol was inspired by the Byzantine war flag. When Skanderbeg united the Albanian princes in order to defend Albania from the Ottomans he firstly used the black double headed eagle on a red background as war flag. Because of his big fame and status as national heroe of all Albanians, Albania use Skanderbeg's war flag as national flag. But the black double headed eagle on the national flag of Albania has 25 feathers. That is a symbol for the 25 successfull battles of Skanderbeg against the Ottoman armys.

Descendants of the Kastrioti

Gjon II (Giovanni, son of Skanderbeg, Count of Soleto, Signore di Monte Sant’Angelo and San Giovanni Rotondo in the Kingdom of Naples) married the Serbian noble Irene Brankovich and had 4 children:

*Co(n)stantino (bishop of Isernia 1498, † 1500)
*Ferrante (duke of San Pietro in Galatina, † 1561)
*Maria († 1569)
*Gjergj (fought from 1499-1501 on the side of the Republic of Venice in Albania, † 1540)

ome members of the Kastrioti

* Gjon Kastrioti - father of Gjergj (Skanderbeg)
* Gjergj Kastrioti - Albanian national heroe.
* Staniša Kastrioti - brother of Gjergj (killed during a battle)
* Giovanni (Gjon) Kastrioti II - son of Gjergj Kastrioti (Skanderbeg)
* Hamza Kastrioti - nephew of Gjergj Kastrioti (son of Staniša), Janissary in Ottoman army, later converted back to Roman-Catholic Christianity.


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