Friday, December 11, 2015

Pontian woman costumes

The costume belongs typologically in the costumes with kavadi. The main garment is "jerkin" or "zoupounas", which was established as a terminology for the entire costume.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Hellenic History | The Fall of Constantinople - 00 years Oppression Part 1.

The Greek Revolution of 1821 was a nation's triumph, a romantic story of heroic action. It was a tragedy, a miracle, a myth.

As Sultan Mehmet II captured Constantinople in Tuesday 29 May 1453, marked the end of Hellenism or Romiosini (Romania). Greeks (Hellenes) who in ancient times, developed the best civilisation with names as Platon, Socrates, Aristotle, Hyppocrates, Diogenes, Herodotus, Thoukidides, were now slaves. Greeks (Romaeoi), who in middle ages with the glorious Eastern Empire protected the Christianity and the Greek Civilisation from barbarians with names as Nicephorus Phocas, Basil II Bulgaroctonus, Alexius Comnenus, were now in disgrace. Minor Asia the birthplace of philosophy, Athina the birthplace of Democracy, Constantinople the center of Orthodoxy, Macedonia the birthplace of Alexander the Great, Sparta the homeland of Leonidas were polluted by the presence of the asian savages.
After the conquest of Byzantine Empire, Mehmet II forsaw that his christian subjects would help to organise his huge state. Commerce, practical arts, administration, science were unknown to ottomans whose only care was the war. So he appointed Georgios Yennadhios as Patriarch in Constantinople and leader of all Greeks (Romaeoi) while he was guaranteed personal inviolability, freedom of movement and exemption from taxes. The Greek Orthodox Church survived, and it was this Church who preserved the traditions and the greek language and since Language means Nation, according to Adhamantios Korais, it was the Orthodox Church who preserved the national identity of Greeks.
Ottoman occupation was very harsh for christians and meant not only the destruction on the grounds of thousands monasteries, churches, monuments, burning of documents, manuscripts, icons but also meant heavy taxation for non muslim subjects, hard work on the fields and illiteracy. Many christians became muslims to be saved from the cruel behavior from the state. A century after the fall of Constantinople a professor from Tubingen, Martin Crusius, on a visit to Greece lamented: 'In all Greece studies nowhere flourish. They have no public academies or professors, except for the most trivial schools in which the boys are taught to read the Horologion, the Psalter and other books which are used in the lithurgy. But amongst the priests and monks those who really understand these books are very few indeed. Historian Thanasis Petsalis - Diomidis wrote: 'In 1630 there isn't not even a single organized school in Greece. Only one exists in Constantinople and this is the Patriarchical School.' Patriarch Kyrillos, in 1628 imported a press machine from Great Britain to print books in the greek language, but after only two years of function, the machine was destroyed by the janissaries. Church remained in close touch with the people, and taught, many times in secret, the boys the language of their fathers. Everybody in Greece knows the rhyme, that boys sung when, secretly in night were going to secret schools krufa scholia to be educated:

"Fengaraki mo lampro - Little moon, so bright and cool

fegge mou na perpato - Light me on my way to school

na pigaino sto scholio - Where to study I am free

na matheno grammata - And God's word is taught to me.

grammata spoudasmata tou theou ta pragmata"

One burden unbearable for non muslim subjects was the heavy taxation. Greek peasants worked as tenants on land owned by an individual landlord or the state and they had to pay taxes for the products they produced. Also Sultan guaranteed their lives for a year as long as they paid the harach, the poll tax to the central government while a major part of their taxes was seized by the corrupted civil servants. The most glaring example of a local potentate was Ali Pasha of Ioannina, who increased his private estates at the expense of the long-suffering peasants. He used to put pressure on the villagers to sell to him by driving them into debt at high interest rates through extraordinary exactions, and also by quartering his Albanian soldiers in their houses. When the peasants could no longer pay their debts, Ali made the village his chiftlik and the villagers in effect his serfs. In 1821, Ali controlled 915 chiftliks. So Greeks fled many to Europe, others to the mountains where they became brigands klephtesDeserted villages became a common sight inside Ottoman Empire.

Another burden, memory of which still smoulders in the greek national consciousness, was the turkish system of devschirme: the forcible conscription of young men and their removal to Istanbul to join the imperial service, especially in a military role as janissaries. ThePaidomazoma turned the young christians to fanatic muslim soldiers. After a long and specialized training, these children became the Sultan's most loyal vassals. He had the right over their life. They also constituted the most competent army, not only within the Empire, but in the whole of Europe. Also, beautiful christian girls were taken by force to the harems of the commanders pashas. Ali Pasha had thousands of women in his harems. He had dozens of spies, who searched for beautiful boys and girls. It is not an exaggeration to say that the modern turks are greeks islamized. In 1705 the official sent to Naoussa of Macedonia to draft new janissaries, was killed, while the crowd shouted their resistance to giving up their sons. The infidel parents were beheaded and their severed heads were displayed in the city before sent to the governor of Thessalonika. According to historian Paparighopoulos 1 million boys were transformed to Janissaries during the dark years of ottoman occupation.

Greeks, during ottoman occupation had tried many revolts, but without success, because they were local and not properly organized. Immediately, after the fall of Constantinople, Peloponness revolted, in 1463. Patra, Mystras, Korinthos were temporarily liberated. Greeks counted on the venetian help, or any european help but actually Europeans didn't help the local people to ged rid of their oppressors. Nevertheless Mani remained autonomous during turkish rule. Revolts took place also in Macedonia, Epirus, Crete. Suli also remained autonomous and Sfakia of Crete the same. The mountains, where klephtes lived, were always free:

"Ego veziri den psifo, pasha den proskinao-I don't care for vezirs and I don't kowtow pashas"
"Pasha eho to ntoufeki mou, veziri to spathi mou.- My gun is my pasha and my sword is my vezir"

Also in 1571, when turkish fleet was defeated in the Lepando (Nafpaktos) naval battle, greeks again in many places revolted against the oppressor.Dionysios Skulosophos bishop of Thesally revolted in 17th century and almost managed to conquer Ioannina. He failed and he was skinned alive.His friend Serafeim, bishop of Fanari, refused to become muslim and was tortured to death. The last important insurrections took place in Peloponness in 1769, when Russians promised to help, but they sent the brothers Orloffs with only 1000 russian soldiers and a few ships. Greeks this time trusted Russians but in vain. Turkoalbanians suppressed the revolution and deserted many cities and villages. And the same happened in 1790 with the revolt of Lampros Katsonis. After the French Revolution in 1789, Hellenes transferred their hopes to Napoleon Bonaparte.But soon they knew that they were alone, and only with their own forces they would throw the opressor away.