Ottoman Greece

Most of the areas which today are within modern Greece's borders were at some point in the past a part of the Ottoman Empire. This period of Ottoman rule in Greece, lasting from the mid-15th century until the successful Greek War of Independence that broke out in 1821 and the proclamation of the First Hellenic Republic in 1822 (preceded by the creation of the autonomous Septinsular Republic in 1800), is known in Greek as Tourkokratia (Greek: Τουρκοκρατία, "Turkish rule"; English: "Turkocracy").[1] Some regions, however, like the Ionian islands, various temporary Venetian possessions of the Stato da Mar, or Mani peninsula in Peloponnese did not become part of the Ottoman administration, although the latter was under Ottoman suzerainty.

The Eastern Roman Empire, the remnant of the ancient Roman Empire which ruled most of the Greek-speaking world for over 1100 years, had been fatally weakened since the sacking of Constantinople by the Latin Crusaders in 1204.

The Ottoman advance into Greece was preceded by victory over the Serbs to its north. First, the Ottomans won the Battle of Maritsa in 1371. The Serb forces were then led by the King Vukašin of Serbia, the father of Prince Marko and the co-ruler of the last emperor from the Serbian Nemanjic dynasty. This was followed by another Ottoman draw in the 1389 Battle of Kosovo.

With no further threat by the Serbs and the subsequent Byzantine civil wars, the Ottomans besieged and took Constantinople in 1453 and then advanced southwards into Greece, capturing Athens in 1458. The Greeks held out in the Peloponnese until 1460, and the Venetians and Genoese clung to some of the islands, but by the early 16th century all of mainland Greece and most of the Aegean islands were in Ottoman hands, excluding several port cities still held by the Venetians (Nafplio, Monemvasia, Parga and Methone the most important of them). The mountains of Greece were largely untouched, and were a refuge for Greeks who desired to flee Ottoman rule and engage in guerrilla warfare.[2]

The Cyclades islands, in the middle of the Aegean, were officially annexed by the Ottomans in 1579, although they were under vassal status since the 1530s. Cyprus fell in 1571, and the Venetians retained Crete until 1669. The Ionian Islands were never ruled by the Ottomans, with the exception of Kefalonia (from 1479 to 1481 and from 1485 to 1500), and remained under the rule of the Republic of Venice. It was in the Ionian Islands where modern Greek statehood was born, with the creation of the Republic of the Seven Islands in 1800.

Ottoman Greece was a multiethnic society. However, the modern Western notion of multiculturalism, although at first glance appears to correspond to the system of millets, is considered to be incompatible with the Ottoman system.[3] The Greeks with the one hand were given some privileges and freedom; with the other they were exposed to a tyranny deriving from the malpractices of its administrative personnel over which the central government had only remote and incomplete control.[4] Despite losing their political independence, the Greeks remained dominant in the fields of commerce and business. The consolidation of Ottoman power in the 15th and 16th centuries rendered the Mediterranean safe for Greek shipping, and Greek shipowners became the maritime carriers of the Empire, making tremendous profits.[5] After the Ottoman defeat at the Battle of Lepanto however, Greek ships often became the target of vicious attacks by Catholic (especially Spanish and Maltese) pirates.[5]

This period of Ottoman rule had a profound impact in Greek society, as new elites emerged. The Greek land-owning aristocracy that traditionally dominated the Byzantine Empire suffered a tragic fate, and was almost completely destroyed. The new leading class in Ottoman Greece were the prokritoi[6] (πρόκριτοι in Greek) called kocabaşis by the Ottomans. The prokritoi were essentially bureaucrats and tax collectors, and gained a negative reputation for corruption and nepotism. On the other hand, the Phanariots became prominent in the imperial capital of Constantinople as businessmen and diplomats, and the Greek Orthodox Church and the Ecumenical Patriarch rose to great power under the Sultan's protection, gaining religious control over the entire Orthodox population of the Empire, Greek, Αlbanian-speaking, Latin-speaking and Slavic.

Ottoman expansion

After the fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans in 1453, the Despotate of the Morea was the last remnant of the Byzantine Empire to hold out against the Ottomans. However, it fell to the Ottomans in 1460, completing the conquest of mainland Greece.[7]

While most of mainland Greece and the Aegean islands was under Ottoman control by the end of the 15th century, Cyprus and Crete remained Venetian territory and did not fall to the Ottomans until 1571 and 1670 respectively. The only part of the Greek-speaking world that escaped Ottoman rule was the Ionian Islands, which remained Venetian until 1797. Corfu withstood three major sieges in 1537, 1571 and 1716 all of which resulted in the repulsion of the Ottomans.

Other areas that remained part of the Venetian Stato da Màr include Nafplio and Monemvasia until 1540, the Duchy of the Archipelago, centered on the islands of Naxos and Paros until 1579, Sifnos until 1617 and Tinos until 1715.

Zonaro GatesofConst

Sultan Muhhamad II's entry into Constantinople

Battle of Preveza (1538)

The "Battle of Preveza" (1538) by Ohannes Umed Behzad

Battle of Lepanto 1571

The "Battle of Lepanto" (1571) prevented the Ottomans from expanding further

Vue du siege de Candie en 1669

Siege of Candia (1648-1669)

Ottoman rule

Empèri Otoman - Expansion territòriala de 1307 a 1683
A map of the territorial expansion of the Ottoman Empire from 1307 to 1683.

The consolidation of Ottoman rule was followed by two distinct trends of Greek migration. The first entailed Greek intellectuals, such as Basilios Bessarion, Georgius Plethon Gemistos and Marcos Mousouros, migrating to other parts of Western Europe and influencing the advent of the Renaissance (though the large scale migration of Greeks to other parts of Europe, most notably Italian university cities, began far earlier, following the Crusader capture of Constantinople[8]). This trend had also effect on the creation of the modern Greek diaspora.

The second entailed Greeks leaving the plains of the Greek peninsula and resettling in the mountains, where the rugged landscape made it hard for the Ottomans to establish either military or administrative presence.[9]


Rumelia map
Map of "Rumelia" in 1801. Almost all the Balkan peninsula was called "land of the Romans" by the Ottomans

The Sultan sat at the apex of the government of the Ottoman Empire. Although he had the trappings of an absolute ruler, he was actually bound by tradition and convention.[10] These restrictions imposed by tradition were mainly of a religious nature. Indeed, the Qur'an was the main restriction on absolute rule by the sultan and in this way, the Qur'an served as a "constitution."[10]

Ottoman rule of the provinces was characterized by two main functions. The local administrators within the provinces were to maintain a military establishment and to collect taxes.[11] The military establishment was feudal in character.[11] The Sultan's cavalry were allotted land, either large allotments or small allotments based on the rank of the individual cavalryman. All non-Muslims were forbidden to ride a horse which made traveling more difficult.[11] The Ottomans divided Greece into six sanjaks, each ruled by a Sanjakbey accountable to the Sultan, who established his capital in Constantinople in 1453.

Dodwell Pherae
"The Hyperian Fountain at Pherae", Edward Dodwell, 1821.
View of the Phanarion quarter, the historical centre of the Greek community of Constantinople in Ottoman times, ca. 1900

The conquered land was parceled out to Ottoman soldiers, who held it as feudal fiefs (timars and ziamets) directly under the Sultan's authority. This land could not be sold or inherited, but reverted to the Sultan's possession when the fief-holder (timariot) died.[11] During their life-times they served as cavalrymen in the Sultan's army, living well on the proceeds of their estates with the land being tilled largely by peasants.[11] Many Ottoman timariots were descended from the pre-Ottoman Christian nobility, and shifted their allegiance to the Ottomans following the conquest of the Balkans. Conversion to Islam was not a requirement, and as late as the fifteenth century many timariots were known to be Christian, although their numbers gradually decreased over time.[12]

The Ottomans basically installed this feudal system right over the top of the existing system of peasant tenure. The peasantry remained in possession of their own land and their tenure over their plot of land remained hereditary and inalienable.[11] Nor was any military service ever imposed on the peasant by the Ottoman government. All non-Muslims were in theory forbidden from carrying arms, but this was ignored. Indeed, in regions such as Crete, almost every man carried arms.

Greek Christian families were, however, subject to a system of brutal forced conscription known as the devshirme. The Ottomans required that male children from Christian peasant villages be conscripted and enrolled in the corps of Janissaries for military training in the Sultan's army.[11] Such recruitment was sporadic, and the proportion of children conscripted varied from region to region. The practice largely came to an end by the middle of the seventeenth century.

Under the Ottoman system of government, Greek society was at the same time fostered and restricted. With one hand the Turkish regime gave privileges and freedom to its subject people; with the other it imposed a tyranny deriving from the malpractices of its administrative personnel over which it exercised only remote and incomplete control. In fact the “rayahs” were downtrodden and exposed to the vagaries of Turkish administration and sometimes to the Greek landlords. The term rayah came to denote an underprivileged, tax-ridden and socially inferior population.[13]


Graeco-Ottoman banner
The Greek ship Panagia tis Ydras, built 1793, flying the Greco-Ottoman flag.
Greek merchant 16th century
Engraving of a Greek merchant (16th century)

The economic situation of the majority of Greece deteriorated heavily during the Ottoman era of the country. Life became ruralized and militarized. Heavy burdens of taxation were placed on the Christian population, and many Greeks were reduced to subsistence farming whereas during prior eras the region had been heavily developed and urbanized. The exception to this rule was in Constantinople and the Venetian-held Ionian islands, where many Greeks lived in prosperity.[14]

After about 1600, the Ottomans resorted to military rule in parts of Greece, which provoked further resistance, and also led to economic dislocation and accelerated population decline. Ottoman landholdings, previously fiefs held directly from the Sultan, became hereditary estates (chifliks), which could be sold or bequeathed to heirs. The new class of Ottoman landlords reduced the hitherto free Greek farmers to serfdom, leading to depopulation of the plains, and to the flight of many people to the mountains, in order to escape poverty.


The Sultan regarded the Ecumenical Patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church as the leader of all Orthodox, Greeks or not, within the empire. The Patriarch was accountable to the Sultan for the good behavior of the Orthodox population, and in exchange he was given wide powers over the Orthodox communities, including the non-Greek Slavic peoples. The Patriarch controlled the courts and the schools, as well as the Church, throughout the Greek communities of the empire. This made Orthodox priests, together with the local magnates, called Prokritoi or Dimogerontes, the effective rulers of Greek towns and cities. Some Greek towns, such as Athens and Rhodes, retained municipal self-government, while others were put under Ottoman governors. Several areas, such as the Mani Peninsula in the Peloponnese, and parts of Crete (Sfakia) and Epirus, remained virtually independent. During the frequent Ottoman–Venetian Wars, the Greeks sided with the Venetians against the Ottomans, with a few exceptions.[15] The Orthodox Church assisted greatly in the preservation of the Greek heritage, and adherence to the Greek Orthodox faith became increasingly a mark of Greek nationality.

As a rule, the Ottomans did not require the Greeks to become Muslims, although many did so on a superficial level in order to avert the socioeconomic hardships of Ottoman rule[16] or because of the alleged corruption of the Greek clergy.[17] The regions of Greece which had the largest concentrations of Ottoman Greek Muslims were Macedonia, notably the Vallaades, neighboring Epirus, and Crete (see Cretan Muslims). Under the millet logic, Greek Muslims, despite often retaining elements of their Greek culture and language, were classified simply as "Muslim", although most Greek Orthodox Christians deemed them to have "turned-Turk" and therefore saw them as traitors to their original ethno-religious communities.[18]

Some Greeks either became New Martyrs, such as Saint Efraim the Neo-Martyr or Saint Demetrios the Neo-martyr while others became Crypto-Christians (Greek Muslims who were secret practitioners of the Greek Orthodox faith) in order to avoid heavy taxes and at the same time express their identity by maintaining their secret ties to the Greek Orthodox Church. Crypto-Christians officially ran the risk of being killed if they were caught practicing a non-Muslim religion once they converted to Islam. There were also instances of Greeks from theocratic or Byzantine nobility embracing Islam such as John Tzelepes Komnenos and Misac Palaeologos Pasha.[18]

Treatment of Christian subjects varied greatly under the rule of the Ottoman Sultans. Bayezid I, according to a Byzantine historian, freely admitted Christians into his society while trying to grow his empire, in the early Ottoman period. Later, although the Turkish ruler attempted to pacify the local population with a restoration of peacetime rule of law, the Christian population also became subject to special taxes and the tribute of Christian children to the Ottoman state to feed the ranks of the Janissary corps. t[19] Violent persecutions of Christians did nevertheless take place under the reign of Selim I (1512-1520), known as Selim the Grim, who attempted to stamp out Christianity from the Ottoman Empire. Selim ordered the confiscation of all Christian churches, and while this order was later rescinded, Christians were heavily persecuted during his era.[20]

Taxation and the "tribute of children"

A Muslim Greek Mamluk (Louis Dupré, oil on canvas, 1825)

Greeks paid a land tax and a heavy tax on trade, the latter taking advantage of the wealthy Greeks to fill the state coffers.[21] Greeks, like other Christians, were also made to pay the jizya, or Islamic poll-tax which all non-Muslims in the empire were forced to pay instead of the Zakat that Muslims must pay as part of the 5 pillars of Islam. Failure to pay the jizya could result in the pledge of protection of the Christian's life and property becoming void, facing the alternatives of conversion; enslavement or death.[22]

Like in the rest of the Ottoman Empire, Greeks had to carry a receipt certifying their payment of jizya at all times or be subject to imprisonment. Most Greeks did not have to serve in the Sultan's army, but the young boys that were taken away and converted to Islam were made to serve in the Ottoman military. In addition, girls were taken in order to serve as odalisques in harems.[23][24]

These practices are called the "tribute of children" (devshirmeh) (in Greek παιδομάζωμα paidomazoma, meaning "child gathering"), whereby every Christian community was required to give one son in five to be raised as a Muslim and enrolled in the corps of Janissaries, elite units of the Ottoman army. There was much resistance to this. For example, Greek folklore tells of mothers crippling their sons to avoid their abduction. Nevertheless, entrance into the corps (accompanied by conversion to Islam) offered Greek boys the opportunity to advance as high as governor or even Grand Vizier.

Opposition of the Greek populace to taxing or paidomazoma resulted in grave consequences. For example, in 1705 an Ottoman official was sent from Naoussa in Macedonia to search and conscript new Janissaries and was killed by Greek rebels who resisted the burden of the devshirmeh. The rebels were subsequently beheaded and their severed heads were displayed in the city of Thessaloniki.[25] In some cases, it was greatly feared as Greek families would often have to relinquish their own sons who would convert and return later as their oppressors. In other cases, the families bribed the officers to ensure that their children got a better life as a government officer.[26]

Influence to tradition

After the 16th century, many Greek folk songs (dimotika) were produced and inspired from the way of life of the Greek people, brigands and the armed conflicts during the centuries of Ottoman rule. Klephtic songs (Greek: Κλέφτικα τραγούδια), or ballads, are a subgenre of the Greek folk music genre and are thematically oriented on the life of the klephts.[27] Prominent conflicts were immortalised in several folk tales and songs, such as the epic ballad To tragoudi tou Daskalogianni of 1786, about the resistance warfare under Daskalogiannis.[28]

Emergence of Greek nationalism

Leonardos Philaras - 1595-1673
Leonardos Philaras (c. 1595 – 1673) was a Greek scholar born in Athens,[29] and an early supporter of Greek liberation from Ottoman rule, spending much of his career in persuading Western European intellectuals to support Greek Independence.[30]
Rigas Feraios, intellectual and forerunner of the Greek War of Independence

Over the course of the eighteenth century Ottoman landholdings, previously fiefs held directly from the Sultan, became hereditary estates (chifliks), which could be sold or bequeathed to heirs. The new class of Ottoman landlords reduced the hitherto free Greek peasants to serfdom, leading to further poverty and depopulation in the plains.

On the other hand, the position of educated and privileged Greeks within the Ottoman Empire improved greatly in the 17th and 18th centuries.[31] From the late 1600s Greeks began to fill some of the highest and most important offices of the Ottoman state. The Phanariotes, a class of wealthy Greeks who lived in the Phanar district of Constantinople, became increasingly powerful. Their travels to Western Europe as merchants or diplomats brought them into contact with advanced ideas of liberalism and nationalism, and it was among the Phanariotes that the modern Greek nationalist movement was born. Many Greek merchants and travelers were influenced by the ideas of the French revolution and a new Age of Greek Enlightenment was initiated at the beginning of the 19th century in many Ottoman-ruled Greek cities and towns.

Greek nationalism was also stimulated by agents of Catherine the Great, the Orthodox ruler of the Russian Empire, who hoped to acquire Ottoman territory, including Constantinople itself, by inciting a Christian rebellion against the Ottomans. However, during the Russian-Ottoman War which broke out in 1768, the Greeks did not rebel, disillusioning their Russian patrons. The Treaty of Kuchuk-Kainarji (1774) gave Russia the right to make "representations" to the Sultan in defense of his Orthodox subjects, and the Russians began to interfere regularly in the internal affairs of the Ottoman Empire. This, combined with the new ideas let loose by the French Revolution of 1789, began to reconnect the Greeks with the outside world and led to the development of an active nationalist movement, one of the most progressive of the time.

Greece was peripherally involved in the Napoleonic Wars, but one episode had important consequences. When the French under Napoleon Bonaparte seized Venice in 1797, they also acquired the Ionian Islands, thus ending the four hundredth year of Venetian rule over the Ionian Islands.[32][33] The islands were elevated to the status of a French dependency called the Septinsular Republic, which possessed local autonomy. This was the first time Greeks had governed themselves since the fall of Trebizond in 1461.

Among those who held office in the islands was John Capodistria, destined to become independent Greece's first head of state. By the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815, Greece had re-emerged from its centuries of isolation. British and French writers and artists began to visit the country, and wealthy Europeans began to collect Greek antiquities. These "philhellenes" were to play an important role in mobilizing support for Greek independence.

Uprisings before 1821

Battle of Chios (1770), by Ivan Aivazovsky (1848)
Battle of Chios (Chesma), during the Orlov Revolt, by Ivan Aivazovsky (1848)

Greeks in various places of the Greek peninsula would at times rise up against Ottoman rule, mainly while taking advantage of wars the Ottoman Empire would engage in. Those uprisings were of mixed scale and impact. During the Ottoman–Venetian War (1463–1479), the Maniot Kladas brothers, Krokodelos and Epifani, were leading bands of stratioti on behalf of Venice against the Turks in Southern Peloponnese. They put Vardounia and their lands into Venetian possession, for which Epifani then acted as governor.[34]

The success of the battle by the Holy League in 1571 triggered uprisings in places of the peninsula such as Epirus, Phocis (recorded in the Chronicle of Galaxeidi) and the Peloponnese, led by the Melissinos brothers and others. All of these revolts were crushed by the following year.[35] Short-term revolts of local level occurred throughout the region such as the ones led by metropolian bishop Dionysius the Philosopher in Thessaly (1600) and Epirus (1611).[36]

During the Cretan War (1645–1669), the Maniots would aid Francesco Morosini and the Venetians in the Peloponnese.[37] Greek irregulars also aided the Venetians through the Morean War in their operations on the Ionian Sea and Peloponnese.[38]

A major uprising during that period was the Orlov Revolt (Greek: Ορλωφικά) which took place during the Russo-Turkish War (1768–1774) and triggered armed unrest in both the Greek mainland and the islands.[39] In 1778, a Greek fleet of seventy vessels assembled by Lambros Katsonis which harassed the Turkish squadrons in the Aegean sea, captured the island of Kastelorizo and engaged the Turkish fleet in naval battles until 1790.[40][41]

Greek War of Independence

"The destruction of the Ottoman flagship by Kanaris" by Nikiphoros Lytras.

A secret Greek nationalist organization called the "Friendly Society" or "Company of Friends" (Filiki Eteria) was formed in Odessa in 1814. The members of the organization planned a rebellion with the support of wealthy Greek exile communities in Britain and the United States. They also gained support from sympathizers in Western Europe, as well as covert assistance from Russia. The organization secured Capodistria, who became Russian Foreign Minister after leaving the Ionian Islands, as the leader of the planned revolt. On March 25 (now Greek Independence Day) 1821, the Orthodox Bishop Germanos of Patras proclaimed a national uprising.[42][43] The Ottomans, in retaliation orchestrated the Constantinople massacre of 1821 and similar pogrom in Smyrna[44]

Simultaneous risings were planned across Greece, including in Macedonia, Crete, and Cyprus. With the initial advantage of surprise, aided by Ottoman inefficiency and the Ottomans' fight against Ali Pasha of Tepelen, the Greeks succeeded in capturing the Peloponnese and some other areas. Some of the first Greek actions were taken against unarmed Ottoman settlements, with about 40% of Turkish and Albanian Muslim residents of the Peloponnese killed outright, and the rest fleeing the area or being deported.[45]

The Ottomans recovered, and retaliated in turn with savagery, massacring the Greek population of Chios and other towns. This worked to their disadvantage by provoking further sympathy for the Greeks in Britain and France. The Greeks were unable to establish a strong government in the areas they controlled, and fell to fighting amongst themselves. Inconclusive fighting between Greeks and Ottomans continued until 1825 when the Sultan sent a powerful fleet and army from Egypt under Ibrahim Pasha to suppress the revolution, promising to him the Peloponese.

The atrocities that accompanied this expedition, together with sympathy aroused by the death of the poet and leading philhellene Lord Byron at Messolongi in 1824, eventually led the Great Powers to intervene. In October 1827, the British, French and Russian fleets, on the initiative of local commanders but with the tacit approval of their governments destroyed the Ottoman fleet at the Battle of Navarino. This was the decisive moment in the war of independence.

In October 1828, the French landed troops in the Peloponnese to evacuate it from Ibrahim's army. Under their protection, the Greeks were able to regroup and form a new government. They then advanced to seize as much territory as possible before the Western powers imposed a ceasefire.

A conference in London in March 1829 proposed an independent Greek state with a northern frontier running from Arta to Volos, and including only Euboia and the Cyclades among the islands. The Greeks were disappointed at these restricted frontiers, but were in no position to resist the will of Britain, France and Russia, who had contributed mightily to Greek independence. By the Convention of May 11, 1832, Greece was finally recognized as a sovereign state.

When the Ottomans finally granted the Greeks their independence, a multi-power treaty was formally established in 1830. Capodistria, who had been Greece's unrecognized head of state since 1828, was assassinated by the Mavromichalis family in October 1831. To prevent further experiments in republican government, the Great Powers, especially Russia, insisted that Greece be a monarchy, and the Bavarian Prince Otto, was chosen to be its first king.

See also


  1. ^ Bruce Merry, Encyclopedia of Modern Greek Literature, oTurkocracy, p. 442.
  2. ^ World and Its Peoples. Marshall Cavendish. 2009. p. 1478. ISBN 0-7614-7902-3. The klephts were descendants of Greeks who fled into the mountains to avoid the Turks in the fifteenth century and who remained active as brigands into the nineteenth century.
  3. ^ Maurus Reinkowski, “Ottoman “Multiculturalism”? The Example of the Confessional System in Lebanon”. Lecture , Istanbul, 1997. Edited by the Orient-Institut der Deutschen Morgenlandischen Gesellschaft, Beirut,1999, pp. 15, 16.
  4. ^ Douglas Dakin, The Greek Struggle for Independence, 1821-1833. University of California Press, p. 16.
  5. ^ a b
  6. ^ Clogg, 2002
  7. ^ "Greece During the Byzantine Period: The Peloponnese advances". Online Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved 28 April 2012.
  8. ^ Treadgold, Warren. History of Byzantine State and Society. Stanford University Press, 1997.
  9. ^ Vacalopoulos, p. 45. "The Greeks never lost their desire to escape from the heavy hand of the Turks, bad government, the impressment of their children, the increasingly heavy taxation, and the sundry caprices of the conqueror. Indeed, anyone studying the last two centuries of Byzantine rule cannot help being struck by the propensity of the Greeks to flee misfortune. The routes they chiefly took were: first, to the predominantly Greek territories, which were either still free or Frankish-controlled (that is to say, the Venetian fortresses in the Despotate of Morea, as well as in the Aegean and Ionian Islands) or else to Italy and the West generally; second, to remote mountain districts in the interior where the conqueror's yoke was not yet felt."
  10. ^ a b Woodhouse, C. M. (1998). Modern Greece: A Short History. London: Faber & Faber Pub. p. 100. ISBN 978-0571197941.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g C. M. Woodhouse, Modern Greece: A Short History, p. 101.
  12. ^ Lowry, Heath (2003). The Nature of the Early Ottoman State. Albany: SUNY Press. pp. 90–2. ISBN 0-7914-5636-6.
  13. ^ Douglas Dakin, 1973, p. 16.
  14. ^ Michał Bzinkowski, Eleuthería ē Thánatos!: The idea of freedom in modern Greek poetry during the war of independence in 19th century. Dionysios Solomos’ “Hymn to Liberty”
  15. ^ For example, during the Ottoman conquest of the Morea in 1715, local Greeks supplied the Ottomans and refused to join the Venetian army due to feared future reprisals by the Ottomans. (Stavrianos, L.S. The Balkans since 1453, p. 181).
  16. ^ Crypto-Christians of the Trabzon Region of Pontos
  17. ^ The preaching of Islam: a history of the propagation of the Muslim faith By Sir Thomas Walker Arnold, pg. 143
  18. ^ a b The preaching of Islam: a history of the propagation of the Muslim faith By Sir Thomas Walker Arnold, pg. 137-138
  19. ^ The preaching of Islam: a history of the propagation of the Muslim faith By Sir Thomas Walker Arnold, pg. 128
  20. ^ Paroulakis, p. 11.
  21. ^ Douglas Dakin,the Greek struggle for independence, 1972
  22. ^ James E. Lindsay Daily life in the medieval Islamic world, (Greenwood Publishing Group, 2005) p.121
  23. ^ Waterfield, Robert (2005). Athens: A History, From Ancient Ideal To Modern City. Basic Books. p. 285. ISBN 0-465-09063-X.
  24. ^ Madeline C. Zilfi Women and slavery in the late Ottoman Empire Cambridge University Press, 2010
  25. ^ Vasdravellis, I. Οι Μακεδόνες κατά την Επανάστασιν του 1821 (The Macedonians during the Revolution of 1821), 3rd improved edition, Thessaloniki: Society of Macedonian Studies, 1967.
  26. ^ Shaw, p. 114.
  27. ^ Mittheilungen aus der Geschichte und Dichtung der Neu-Griechen. Zweiter Band. Coblenz: Jacob Hölscher. 1825.
  28. ^ Roderick Beaton Folk Poetry of Modern Greece 248 pages Publisher: Cambridge University Press (May 20, 2004) ISBN 0-521-60420-6 ISBN 978-0521604208
  29. ^ Hutton, James (1946). The Greek anthology in France and in the Latin writers of the Netherlands to the year 1800 Volume 28. Cornell University Press. p. 188. OCLC 3305912. LEONARD PHILARAS or VILLERET (c. 1595–1673) Philaras was born in Athens of good family and spent his childhood there. His youth was passed in Rome, where he was educated, and his manhood
  30. ^ Merry, Bruce (2004). Encyclopedia of modern Greek literature. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 442. ISBN 0-313-30813-6. Leonardos Filaras (1595–1673) devoted much of his career to coaxing Western European intellectuals to support Greek liberation. Two letters from Milton (1608–1674) attest Filaras’s patriotic crusade.
  31. ^ Eric Hobsbawm, The Age of Revolution: Europe 1789-1848, Part 1, Chapter 7, II, pp. 140–142.
  32. ^ Davy, John (1842). Notes and observations on the Ionian Islands and Malta. Smith, Elder. pp. 27–28.
  33. ^ American Baptist Foreign Mission Society (1848). The Missionary magazine. American Baptist Missionary Union. p. 25.
  34. ^ Longnon, J. 1949. Chronique de Morée: Livre de la conqueste de la princée de l’Amorée, 1204-1305. Paris.
  35. ^ Απόστολου Βακαλόπουλου, Ιστορία του Νέου Ελληνισμού, Γ’ τομ., Θεσσαλονίκη 1968
  36. ^ Joseph von Hammer-Purgstall: Geschichte des osmanischen Reiches: Bd. 1574-1623, p. 442; note a. "Prete scorticato, la pelle sua piena di paglia portata in Constantinopoli con molte teste dei figli d'Albanesi, che avevano intelligenza colli Spagnoli"[1]
  37. ^ Setton, Kenneth Meyer (1991), Venice, Austria, and the Turks in the Seventeenth Century, DIANE Publishing p189
  38. ^ Finlay, George (1856). The History of Greece under Othoman and Venetian Domination. London: William Blackwood and Sons. p 210-3
  39. ^ George Childs Kohn (Editor) Dictionary of Wars Archived 2013-11-09 at the Wayback Machine 650 pages ISBN 1-57958-204-4 ISBN 978-1579582043 Page 155
  40. ^ Finley, The history of Greece under Othman and Venetian Domination, 1856 pp. 330-334
  41. ^ Dakin, Douglas The Greek Struggle for Independence, 1821–1833, University of California Press, (1973) pp. 26–27
  42. ^ "Greek Independence Day". Retrieved 2009-09-09. The Greek revolt was precipitated on March 25, 1821, when Bishop Germanos of Patras raised the flag of revolution over the Monastery of Agia Lavra in the Peloponnese. The cry “Freedom or Death” became the motto of the revolution. The Greeks experienced early successes on the battlefield, including the capture of Athens in June 1822, but infighting ensued.
  43. ^ McManners, John (2001). The Oxford illustrated history of Christianity. Oxford University Press. pp. 521–524. ISBN 0-19-285439-9. The Greek uprising and the church. Bishop Germanos of old Patras blesses the Greek banner at the outset of the national revolt against the Ottomans on 25 March 1821. The solemnity of the scene was enhanced two decades later in this painting by T. Vryzakis….The fact that one of the Greek bishops, Germanos of Old Patras, had enthusiastically blessed the Greek uprising at the onset (25 March 1821) and had thereby helped to unleash a holy war, was not to gain the church a satisfactory, let alone a dominant, role in the new order of things.
  44. ^ Prousis, Theophilus C., "Smyrna in 1821: A Russian View" (1992). History Faculty Publications. 16, pp. 145, 146
  45. ^ Jelavich, p. 217.


  • Finkel, Caroline. Osman's Dream: The Story of the Ottoman Empire, 1300-1923. New York: Basic Books, 2005. ISBN 978-0-465-02396-7.
  • Hobsbawm, Eric John. The Age of Revolution. New American Library, 1962. ISBN 0-451-62720-2.
  • Jelavich, Barbara. History of the Balkans, 18th and 19th Centuries. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1983. ISBN 0-521-27458-3.
  • Paroulakis, Peter H. The Greek War of Independence. Hellenic International Press, 1984.
  • Shaw, Stanford. History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey: Volume I. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977.
  • Vacalopoulos, Apostolis. The Greek Nation, 1453–1669. Rutgers University Press, 1976.

External links

Andreas Londos

Andreas Londos (Greek: Ανδρέας Λόντος, 1786–1846) was a Greek military leader and politician. Born in Vostitsa in 1786, he was initiated into the Filiki Eteria in 1818 and was one of the first military leaders to raise the banner of revolt in the Peloponnese during the Greek War of Independence.

On 26 January 1821, under the ruse of a land dispute between landowners, Londos and other leading landowners, primates and bishops of the Filiki Eteria, including Andreas Zaimis and Germanos of Patras, met Papaflessas at the Monastery of Archangels Michael and Gabriel in Vostitsa to discuss plans for an uprising against the Turks. At first skeptical of Papaflessas's rhetoric for general uprising, Londos and the other leaders eventually raised the banner of independence on 10 March 1821 at the monastery of Agia Lavra after the Bey of Tripoli imprisoned and threatened to execute several leading Greek Bishops.

On 23 March 1821, he and 400 Greek fighters marched on Vostitsa. Hearing rumours of a general insurrection, the Turks fled across the Gulf of Corinth and took refuge at Amfissa. The Greeks captured the town without a fight. Leaving 200 men as a garrison, Londos then marched on Patras to join the siege of the city's fortress.In July 1822, at Akrata, a force of Greek fighters under Londos, Zaimis and Petimezas surrounded and attacked a group of 4000 Turks marching to Patras after their defeat by Nikitaras at Dervenakia. Only a few Turks were lucky to escape when Yusuf Pasha sent ships to take them to Patras.Andreas Londos, with his friend and ally Andreas Zaimis, were later embroiled in the political intrigues surrounding the claims of two factions to legitimacy of government. At first siding with the government (then led by Georgios Kountouriotis), Londos later joined the Peloponnesian leaders against the government of Ioannis Kolettis, and was subsequently on the losing side of the civil war of 1824.Following Greek independence, he became involved in the September 3 Movement that finally secured a constitution for the people of Greece.

Eyalet of Adrianople

The Eyalet of Adrianople or Edirne or Çirmen (Ottoman Turkish: ایالت ادرنه; Eyālet-i Edirne‎) was constituted from parts of the eyalets of Silistra and Rumelia in 1826.

It was one of the first Ottoman provinces to become a vilayet after an administrative reform in 1865, and by 1867 it had been reformed into the Vilayet of Adrianople.

Germanos III of Old Patras

Germanos III of Old Patras (Greek: Παλαιών Πατρών Γερμανός Γʹ; 1771–1826), born Georgios Gotzias, was an Orthodox Metropolitan of Patras. He played in important role in the Greek Revolution of 1821, having diplomatic and political activity.

Germanos was born in Dimitsana, northwestern Arcadia, Peloponnese. Before his consecration as Metropolitan of Patras by Patriarch Gregory V, he had served as a priest and Protosyngellus in Smyrna.


The kodjabashis (Greek: κοτζαμπάσηδες, translit. kotzabasides; singular κοτζάμπασης, kotzabasis; Serbo-Croatian: kodžobaša, kodžabaša; from Turkish: kocabaṣı, hocabaṣı) were local Christian notables in parts of the Ottoman Balkans, most often referring to Ottoman Greece and especially the Peloponnese. They were also known in Greek as proestoi or prokritoi (προεστοί/πρόκριτοι, "primates") or demogerontes (δημογέροντες, "elders of the people"). In some places they were elected (such in the islands for example), but, especially in the Peloponnese, they soon became a hereditary oligarchy, who exercised considerable influence and held posts in the Ottoman administration.The title was also present in Ottoman Serbia and Bosnia, where it was known as starešina ("elder, chief") instead of the official Turkish name. The terms chorbaji (from Turkish çorbacı) and knez (a Slavic title) were also used for this type of primates, in Bulgaria and Serbia respectively.The equivalent of the kodjabashis in Orthodox villages was the mukhtar in Muslim villages, while mixed villages had both.During the Greek War of Independence, the antagonism between the Peloponnesian kodjabashis, who sought to retain their previous preponderance and power, and the military leaders drawn from the klephts, was one of the main driving forces behind the outbreak of the Greek civil wars of 1824–1825, in which the "aristocratic" faction comprising the kodjabashis, the wealthy shipowners of Hydra and the Phanariotes, prevailed.

Medieval Greece

Medieval Greece refers to geographic components of the area historically and modernly known as Greece, during the Middle Ages.

These include:

Byzantine Greece (Early to High Middle Ages)

Northern Greece under the First Bulgarian Empire

various High Medieval Crusader states ("Frankish Greece") and Byzantine splinter states:

Latin Empire

Kingdom of Thessalonica

Principality of Achaea

Duchy of Athens

Despotate of Epirus

Despotate of the Morea

Northern Greece under the Second Bulgarian Empire (Ivan Asen II of Bulgaria)

Ottoman Greece (Late Middle Ages)

Murat Reis the Elder

Murat Reis the Elder (Turkish: Koca Murat Reis; c. 1534–1609) was an Ottoman privateer and admiral, who served in the Ottoman Navy. He is regarded as one of the most important Barbary corsairs.

Nişancı Süleyman Pasha

Nişancı Süleyman Pasha (died 1715) was an 18th-century high-ranking Ottoman civil servant and grand vizier.

Süleyman Pasha was of Abazin origin. In 1705, he was appointed governor of Aleppo, then in Ottoman Syria. He also served on Euboea an island in Ottoman Greece and Cyprus. In 1709, he was promoted to the high post of a nişancı court reporter.

On 12 November 1712, he was appointed grand vizier. The main diplomatic problem during his office term was the fate of the King Charles XII of Sweden, who was residing in Ottoman lands after his defeat by the Russian forces in the Battle of Poltava (1709). When Charles XII refused to return to his country Sweden, Süleyman Pasha moved his residence from Bender in Ottoman Moldova to Didymoteicho in Ottoman Greece. But Ottoman Sultan Ahmet III (reigned 1703–1730) did not approve this policy towards a guest of the Empire.

On 4 April 1713, he was dismissed from the post of grand vizier. Although he was then appointed Kapudan Pasha, grand admiral, of the Ottoman Navy, he was accused of corruption, and in November 1713, he was exiled to the island Kos in Ottoman Greece. The next year, he was transferred to Rhodos, another Ottoman Greek island. In 1715, he was executed.

Orlov revolt

The Orlov revolt (Greek: Ορλωφικά, Ορλοφικά, Ορλώφεια) was a Greek uprising in the Peloponnese and later also in Crete that broke out in February 1770, following the arrival of Russian Admiral Alexey Orlov, commander of the Imperial Russian Navy during the Russo-Turkish War (1768–1774), to the Mani Peninsula. The revolt, a major precursor to the Greek War of Independence (which erupted in 1821), was part of Catherine the Great's so-called "Greek Plan" and was eventually suppressed by the Ottomans.

Pashalik of Yanina

The Pashalik of Yanina or Janina (1788–1822) was a subdivision of the Ottoman Empire centred on the region of Epirus and had a high degree of autonomy in the early 19th century under Ali Pasha, although it was never recognized as such by the Ottoman Empire. Its core was the Ioannina Eyalet, centred on the city of Ioannina in southern Epirus, but at its peak it comprised most of Albania and the western portions of Thessaly and Greek Macedonia in Northern Greece.


Saint Philothei of Athens, née Revoula Benizelos, (also known as Philotheia or Philothea) (Greek: Άγια Φιλοθέη η Αθηναία) (November 21, 1522 - February 19, 1589) was a Greek Orthodox religious sister, martyr and saint from Ottoman-era Greece.


Rumelia (Ottoman Turkish: روم ايلى‎, Rūm-ėli; Turkish: Rumeli), also known as Turkey in Europe, was the name of a historical region in Southeast Europe that was administered by the Ottoman Empire, mainly the Balkan Peninsula. Rumelia included the provinces of Thrace, Macedonia and Moesia, today's Bulgaria and Turkish Thrace, bounded to the north by the rivers Sava and Danube, west by the Adriatic coast, and south by the Morea. Owing to administrative changes between 1870 and 1875, the name ceased to correspond to any political division. Eastern Rumelia was constituted as an autonomous province of the Ottoman Empire by the Treaty of Berlin in 1878. Today, in Turkey, the word Trakya (Thrace) has mostly replaced Rumeli (Rumelia) when referring to the part of Turkey which is in Europe (provinces of Edirne, Kırklareli, Tekirdağ, the northern part of Çanakkale Province and the western part of Istanbul Province), though Rumelia remains in use in some historical contexts.

Sanjak of Drama

The Sanjak of Drama (Ottoman Turkish: Sancak-i/Liva-i Drama; Greek: λιβάς/σαντζάκι Δράμας) was a second-level Ottoman province (sanjak or liva) encompassing the region around the town of Drama (now in Greece) in eastern Macedonia.

The sanjak was formed as part of the Tanzimat reforms ca. 1846, from territory taken from various provinces; Drama itself belonged to the Sanjak of Siroz. The sanjak belonged to the Salonica Eyalet, after 1867 the Salonica Vilayet. In 1867–69, the Sanjak of Drama was merged back into the Sanjak of Siroz, was re-established and then temporarily abolished in 1872–73. In 1891, its territories east of the Nestos river became part of the Sanjak of Adrianople.

In 1912, the sanjak comprised six sub-provinces (kazas): Drama, Kavala, Sarışaban (Chrysoupoli), the island of Taşuz (Thasos) and Pravişte (Eleftheroupolis). The province was dissolved when occupied by Bulgarian troops in the First Balkan War, and in 1913, after the Second Balkan War, it became part of Greece

Sanjak of Gümülcine

The Sanjak of Gümülcine (Ottoman Turkish: Sancak-i Gümülcine, Greek: Υποδιοίκησις Γκιουμουλτζίνας, Bulgarian: Гюмюрджински санджак) was a second-level province (sanjak) of the Ottoman Empire in Thrace, forming part of the Adrianople Vilayet. Its capital was Gümülcine, modern Komotini in Greece.

Sanjak of Inebahti

The Sanjak of Inebahti or Aynabahti (Ottoman Turkish: Sancak-i/Liva-i İnebahtı/Aynabahtı; Greek: λιβάς/σαντζάκι Ναυπάκτου) was a second-level Ottoman province (sanjak or liva) encompassing the central parts of Continental Greece. Its name derives from its capital, Inebahti/Aynabahti, the Turkish name for Naupaktos, better known in English with its Italian name, Lepanto.

Sanjak of Kavala

The Sanjak of Kavala (Ottoman Turkish: Sancak-i/Liva-i Kavala; Greek: λιβάς/σαντζάκι Καβάλας) was a second-level Ottoman province (sanjak or liva) encompassing the region around the port town of Kavala (now in Greece) in eastern Macedonia.

Sanjak of Rhodes

The Sanjak of Rodos or Rhodes (Ottoman Turkish: Sancak-i/Liva-i Rodos; Greek: λιβάς/σαντζάκι Ρόδου) was a second-level Ottoman province (sanjak or liva) encompassing the Dodecanese or Southern Sporades islands, with Rhodes as its centre.

Sanjak of Siroz

The Sanjak of Siroz or Serres (Ottoman Turkish: Sancak-i/Liva-i Siroz; Greek: λιβάς/σαντζάκι Σερρών, Bulgarian: Серски Санджак) was a second-level Ottoman province (sanjak or liva) encompassing the region around the town of Serres (Turkish: Siroz, now in Greece) in central Macedonia.

Serres fell to the Ottoman Empire on 19 September 1383, and initially formed a fief of Evrenos Beg, who brought in Yörük settlers from Sarukhan. Although never rising to particular prominence within the Ottoman Empire, Serres became also the site of a mint from 1413/14 on. In the 18th and early 19th centuries, Serres was an autonomous beylik under a succession of derebeys, within the Sanjak of Salonica.Siroz became a regular province by 1846, during the Tanzimat reforms, as a sanjak of the Salonica Eyalet (later Salonica Vilayet), encompassing the towns of Drama, Melnik, Timurhisar (Sidirokastro), Nevrekop (Gotse Delchev) and Lissa. Drama was created as a separate sanjak centre shortly after, and by 1912, the last year of its existence, the sanjak of Serres encompassed the kazas of Serres proper, Zihne (Nea Zichni), Melnik, Razlik (Razlog), Petrich, Timurhisar (Sidirokastro), Djuma-i Bala (Blagoevgrad) and Nevrekop (Gotse Delchev). The province was dissolved when occupied by Bulgarian troops in the First Balkan War, and in 1913, after the Second Balkan War, the town of Serres and the southern half of the sanjak became part of Greece.

Treaty of Karlowitz

The Treaty of Karlowitz was signed on 26 January 1699 in Sremski Karlovci, in modern-day Serbia, concluding the Great Turkish War of 1683–1697 in which the Ottoman Empire had been defeated at the Battle of Zenta by the Holy League. It marks the end of Ottoman control in much of Central Europe, with their first major territorial losses after centuries of expansion, and established the Habsburg Monarchy as the dominant power in the region.

Treaty of Passarowitz

The Treaty of Passarowitz or Treaty of Požarevac was the peace treaty signed in Požarevac (Serbian Cyrillic: Пожаревац, German: Passarowitz), a town in the Ottoman Empire (modern Serbia), on 21 July 1718 between the Ottoman Empire on one side and Austria of the Habsburg Monarchy and the Republic of Venice on the other.

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