History of Macedonia 1354-1833

A. Vacalopoulos


XIV. Macedonia in the time of Ali Pasha (end of 18th century to the beginning of 19th)


2. Southern or Lower Macedonia


(a) The spread of Ali Pasha's dominion



 __1_   —   __2_   —   __3_   —   __4_   —   __5_


1. In the time of Ali Pasha conditions in Southern Macedonia were no better than those in the north, and the Albanian despot had his adherents in all the large towns.


Taking into account the historical material at our disposal, it seems most likely that support for Ali Pasha came mainly from the wealthy peasants and merchants. Such men found themselves permanently settled in their native towns and villages, and were thus not a little anxious





about their property. By their affected loyalty to the Albanian they hoped to weather the storm and survive reasonably unscathed. There were, of course, others of an ambitious, adventurous, or downright vicious temperament, who became the unashamed adherents of Ali in a bid to exploit the current situation for their own advancement. Upon the latter were dependent a number of ordinary people for reasons mainly economic; while there were a number, entirely without principles, who readily submitted to being their tools.


It was unfortunate that many who had been suceessful in their enterprises abroad and who had returned to their native towns to enjoy the fortunes they had amassed, found that after their sojourn in the more civilised countries of Europe they could not endure the disturbed conditions prevalent in these parts of Macedonia. Hence they chose to return to and settle permanently in the more congenial surroundings of their adopted countries. Macedonia — and particularly its western and central parts — was thus denied the development of a strong urban class. The province's economic, cultural and social development was severely disrupted in as much as the urban class — the principal channel of liberal ideas — was at the mercy of bandits and of the petty despots and tyrants, whether Turkish or Albanian, who bled white the wealthy manufacturers and merchants.


Allied with the bourgeoisie were the industrialists who shared their liberal outlook, and the mass of the populace who bore the brunt of the troubled conditions. These three elements, then (and there were no hard and fast divisions between them) constituted the opposition party: they condemned the acts of violence and longed for the re-establishment of the Sultan's authority, centering all their hopes upon him.


Ali's activities were extended to the smaller towns and villages as well. Over virtually the whole of Rumeli — with the exception of Thessalomagnesia, which constituted the personal property of the Sultana Asma — Greek notables were appointed subject to Ali's approval [1]. The Albanian's involvement in the internal administration of the various districts resulted in a rekindling of old feuds and rivalries. Even in the mountain villages there was no respite from oppression and danger to life, property and honour. The 'Zoupánia' — that is to say Zoupáni, Konstándjiko (Avyerinós), Libóchovo (Vrachoplayiá), Miralí, Krimíni, Mirasan, Svília, Mayér and Bórsia — which had been



1. Lioufis, Ἱστορία τῆς Κοζάνης, p. 67.





hitherto κεϕαλοχώρια, i. e. semi-autonomous villages with quite a respectable community life, suffered untold hardships after Ali's appointment as paşa of Yánnina. They lost their privileges and declined to the status of mere çiftliks. In other words, they suffered a fate no better than the villages on the plains. Nor was Bantskó any more fortunate: it was turned into a çiftlik divided between two of Ali's bülükbaşis, Yusuf Hadji, a councellor of Grevená, and his brother, Kaber. At a later date their sons 'destroyed' the village entirely, because its inhabitants had not taken kindly to having to recognise them as the new holders of the çiftlik. To achieve their ends tbey had oppressed and mistreated the farmers unmercifully. Hence the majority of the inhabitants had abandoned the cultivation of their fields, sold their animaJs and farming utensils, and moved away with their entire families. There were some, however, who went off elsewhere themselves but left their families behind amidst wretched conditions. This much we learn from the title deeds of Bantskó, published in 1836 (i.e. 15 years after Ali Pasha's death) by Hadji Ibrahim, curator of the estate records in the prefecture. The latter issued an order that the unfortunate villagers were to return to their abandoned farms. In a similar fashion, the inhabitants of the Zoupánia recovered, through a ferman, the privileges they had enjoyed in former times [1].


There were good number of villages, too, in other parts of Macedonia which lost their freedom to become estates of Ali Pasha [2]. And even in the towns the situation was far from pleasant. By and large, the peasants tended to look for security in the more distant cities. This is, in fact, one of the reasons for the increase in the population of the towns of Central and more especially of Eastern Macedonia at this period. Thus Thessalonica possessed 60.000 inhabitants; Édessa, 12.000; Véroia, 8.000; Yenitsá, 6.000; Sérres, 30.000; and Kavála, 3.000 [3].


In contrast, the Greek population of Grevená (see fig. 161), Siátista and Kozáni were decreasing [4]. When Pouqueville visited Grevená, it had 150 houses built of clay. Α torrent — it had water only when it



1. See Kalinderis, Σημειώματα ἱστορικά, pp. 52-58. On these çiftliks of Ali see Sp. P. Aravantinos, Ἱστορία Ἀλῆ Πασᾶ τοῦ Τεηελενλῆ, συγγραϕεῖσα ἐπὶ τῇ βάσει ἀνεκδότου ἔργου τοῦ Παναγιώτου Ἀραβαντινοῦ, Athens 1895, p. 608. On Ali's rapacious tendencies see pp. ix, 237 ff.


2. See Aravantinos, ibid., pp. 606-608. See also Vasdravellis, Ἱστορικά..., «Μακεδονικὰ» 3 (1953-1955) 135-136.


3. Beaujour, Tableau, vol. 1, pp. 128-129.


4. Beaujour, Voyage, p. 195.





rained — divided the town into two districts. Twenty-five years before the Frenchman visited it, Grevená had more than 2.000 families. They had obliterated each other in the civil strife waged by the ağas. When Ali finally got his hands on Grevená, he found little more than ruins and graves. For some reason or other the Christians who had managed to survive this period of anarchy inhabited the upper portion of the town. Here stood the humble cathedral church and a Greek school, which functioned under the protection of the metropolitan.



Fig. 161. Grevená

Fig. 161. Grevená.

(A. T. B. Wace - M. S. Thompson, The Nomads of the Balkans, London 1914, plate IV)



Since the lower part of the town, inhabited by Turks, was in standing water, Pouqueville was obliged to go about on horseback when making his formal visits to the Turkish officials (the mütesellim and the kadı). Later on, he proceeds to tell us about the Bishop of Grevená, Bartholomew. "A martyr all the days of his life, out of love for his flock he sacrificed his life in the unhealthy climate of Grevená. He assured me that there was not one person of 50 years or over in the town — so destructive are the fevers in those parts. 'Very soon', he said, 'I shall be following my brothers: I have not yet completed 40 years (his beard was white). Just a little time to go! I cannot bring myself to abandon them, even though I am offered many advantages elsewhere'. 'Can one tear oneself away from one's wife?' he added, looking at the cathedral. He wished, in his forbearance, to draw a veil over the bad habits of the Turks — their overindulgence in wine — assuring me that they were





obliged to make use of alchoholic drinks so as not to die of exhaustion. Later on he painted a dreadful picture of the mortality and the polluted air..." [1].


For all this, Greek learning continued to be fostered at Grevená as well as in the nearby monastery of Spelaeon, which possessed quite a respectable library. In 1815 John Pantazis of Zagóri, a pupil of Balanos, was teaching in the town along with Christos Grevenitis, who taught up till 1820. At a later date Gennadios, Metropolitan of Grevená, was to take a leading part in the towns's educational activities [2].


The beautiful region between Grevená and Sérvia now presented a dismal picture. Its population had steadily diminished through constant emigration, and the area was now quite deserted [3].


Wealthy Siátista, the famed 'ϕλουροχώρι', also suffered at the hands of Albanians. In 1784 it was attacked by the Moslem Albanians, Gavoyatso and Veïtsi, and the Christian Albanian, Stamoulis [4].


At Kozáni, too, the situation was anything but satisfactory during the latter part of the 18th century. In 1765 there was a good deal of dissatisfaction amongst the townsfolk at the way the funds of the 'Κοινὸν Σχολεῖον' were being misused by the merchants' representatives [5]. In 1776 the Bishop, Ignatius, and his protosyngellos, Kallinicus, were charged with a variety of missdemeanours [6]. Differences between private individuals assumed considerable proportions, giving rise to rivalries and bitter hatred [7]. The general unrest served, inevitably, to widen the split between the town's two rival factions: that of Rousis Kontorousis, a tool of Ali Pasha, and of George Avliotis, who took the people's side [8].


At first Kontorousis' faction wielded little influence, since Ali Pasha was not as yet powerful enough to essay any open interference



1. Pouqueville, Voyage, 2, pp. 495-500. For folkloric and historical material on Grevená see T. Soutzoukis, Μία σκιαγραϕία τῶν Γρεβενῶν, «Μακεδονικὸν Ἡμερολόγιον» 4 (1928) 324-330.


2. Paranikas, Σχεδίασμα, p. 56.


3. Britanski Dokumenti za istorijata na Makedonskiot narod, pod redakcija na Hristo Antonov -Poljanski, vol. 1 (1797-1839), «Arhiv na Makedonija», Skopje 1968, p. 196.


4. Vacalopoulos, Δυτικόμακεδόνες ἀπόδημοι, pp. 26-27, 41, where there is bibliography.


5. Lioufis, Ἱστορία τῆς Κοζάνης, pp. 58-59.


6. Ibid., p. 60.      7. Ibid., p. 61.      8. Ibid., p. 61.





in the city's internal affairs. Besides, being the personal property of the Sultana, Kozáni enjoyed a number of privileges [1]. However, around the year 1780 Avliotis fled to Pest in fear of his life, after his agents had butchered the protosyngéllos, Kallinikos [2]. Kontorousis was thus left as sole master of the city. He was now free to tyrannize his opponents with impunity, backed by the city's Albanian voyvoda, who was likewise one of Ali's men [3]. Α large number of families adhering to Avliotis were forced to quit the city.


The situation grew worse as the years went by. Writing in 1790 to the Patriarch, the citizens of Kozáni bemoaned the frightful situation caused by the crushing taxes that had been imposed upon the city. They were anxious to hear comforting news, whether there is any hope of peace, "seeing that we have been weighed down beyond endurance and are exhausted, having everyday to give to outsiders what we are unable to give and do not owe". They speak of dwelling in a place rife with confusion and disorder, living like sheep amongst wolves (meaning thereby the bands of Moslem Albanians that encircled the district, and perhaps, too, the Yürüks who lived in the vicinity of Kozáni). In despair they end their letter: "our hearts weep for the wretched plight of our community. To what lamentable and pitiful a condition have we sunk, the sad remnants of once famous, but now most wretched Kozáni—ceaselessly assaulted and with never any consolation. Those who once watched over and developed this community have all departed: some have been taken off by death, others have fled for safety with their wives and children to other dominions. We, their servants, are at a loss to know how to act, for the entire burden has fallen upon us. Unable to face the daily and overwhelming imposts, we are in danger of falling into utter despair, and scattering hither and thither" [4].


In 1795 Avliotis returned to Kozáni (see fig. 162), accompanied by a governor acting in the name of the Sultan. He threw Kontorousis and his family into prison, and seized his property; and carried out a check on the financial accounts of the community [5]. The Voyvoda was biding



1. Λιούϕης, Ἱστορία τῆς Κοζάνης, p. 69.


2. Lioufis, ibid., pp. 61-62.


3. See Lioufis, ibid., p. 70 and especially pp. 71-72, where there is a letter from the bishop Theophilus to the metropolitan of Thessalonica at Constantinople.


4. M. Ath. Kalinderis, Τὰ λυτὰ ἔγγραϕα τῆς δημοτικῆς βιβλιοθήκης Κοζάνης (1676-1808), Thessalonica 1951, p. 106.


5. Lioufis, ibid., pp. 69-70. See also pp. 71-72, where there is the letter of Theophilus.





his time, however, and on St. Thomas' Sunday, when he knew that the Turkish Kâhya was out of town, he gave orders to his Albanians to attack Avliotis, the Kocabaşı. Seven Christians were killed in the clash [1]. The conflict widened as the rest of the Christians ran to their compatriots' assistance. In the end the Rumeli valisi, who had his headquarters at Monastir, intervened and sent orders that the Voyvoda should be arrested and sent to Monastir for having been the cause of the disturb-



Fig. 162. Kozani

Fig. 162. Kozani.



ance. The Albanians, who had never expected things to turn out like this, threatened the citizens of Kozáni with revenge, whereupon many of the city notables fled in terror to various Macedonian cities, like Véroia and Sérres [2]. Even the Metropolitan, Theophilus, who had apparently been in sympathy with Avliotis [3], was obliged to seek refuge at Sérvia [4], the other main ecclesiastical seat of the province (though at the beginning of the 19th century it had only 500 Greek houses and a few Turkish ones [5]).


The situation went from bad to worse after Rousis managed to



1. Lioufis, Ἱστορία τῆς Κοζάνης, p. 73.


2. Lioufis, ibid., pp. 73-74.


3. Ibid., p. 75.


4. Leake, Travels, 3, p. 299. Lioufis, ibid., p. 74.


5. Leake, ibid., 3, pp. 330-333.





escape from prison and flee to Yánnina. Ali Pasha provided him with a considerable force to enable him to regain control over Kozáni, and in May 1797 he succeeded in this endeavour. Avliotis was killed in the fighting along with three of his adherents, though a few managed to escape. Now sole master of the city, Kontorousis hanged 16 of his opponents. But, not surprisingly, his despotic disposition and his acts of wanton savagery aroused the hatred of the inhabitants. It was not long before he came under Ali's suspicion and thereafter fell gradually into obscurity. His place was taken by Ioannis Stinou, another of Ali's agents [1].


These upheavals perceptibly reduced the hitherto lively commercial traffic of Kozáni. Repercussions were to be felt in every sphere of the town's activities, both financial and intellectual. During the period between 1797 and 1803, when Kontorousis' tyrannical sway came to an end, the school at Kozáni had ceased to function [2]. Many merchants, exasperated by these disturbances and by Ali Pasha's interference in the town's internal affairs, went off in despair to establish themselvea permanently in Hungary [3].



2. Kastoriá together with many of its surrounding villages suffered similar damage. It is reported that in 1802, while on his way to Monastir with a large army in pursuit of brigands and rebels, Ali Pasha, took the opportunity of collecting money from the inhabitants of the region about Kastoriá [4], particularly that area which lies today within the Jugoslav frontier [5]. It was as a direct result of this that the town incurred extensive debts in its struggle to keep its schools going and to meet the costs of billeting the various troops, and so on [6].


At this period Kastoriá was a town of 7.000 to 8.000 inhabitants, Greeks and Turks. It was built on a peninsula which jutted forth into the lake of the same name, and was surrounded with walls [7]. According to a document of the period, it was under the military jurisdiction of the Rumeli Paşa, who had his headquarters at Monastir, and under the ecclesiastical authority of the bishop of Kastoriá. The region was fairly



1. Lioufis, Ἱστορία τῆς Κοζάνης, pp. 75-77.


2. Ibid., p. 78.


3. Leake, Travels, 3, p. 299.


4. Tsamisis, Καστοριά, p. 48.


5. See Turkish Documents, 1 (1800-1803) 110-112.


6. Tsamisis, ibid., pp. 41-42.


7. Beaujour, Voyage, vol. 1, p. 195.





mountainous, irregular, and rich in vegetation. Its extensive forests provided the inhabitants with the wood they needed and there was pasture to provide grazing for a fair number of cattle. Fruit-trees did well, too, but their cereal crops were not ample for their needs. The majority of the male inhabitants spent periods in other European countries or served as joiners, builders or pedlars in different parts of the Ottoman Empire. "Of the villages above Kastoriá a few are inhabited by Turks, but most by Christians. The villages below, that is to say south of Kastoriá are inhabited by Christian Greeks, and some to the west by Vlachs" [1]. The people were in the main well-built and strong. The Turks were very good soldiers, the best in Macedonia. "Without doubt, the Turkish soldiers of Macedonia are the most handsome in Greece", wrote Beaujour [2].


In the plain beyond the left bank of the Aliákmon lay Anaselítsa (Lapsísta), which was, as we have seen, settled in the 14th century by Christian colonists who later turned Mohammedan. When Pouqueville visited it (at the beginning of the 19th century), it was the home of a mere 1.000 to 1.200 Mohammedans, most of whom were beys, passing their days in hunting, feasting and carousing in a manner reminiscent of the feudal lords of western Europe [3]. To the west of Anaselítsa were Kastanochória, set on a picturesque ridge which runs roughly south-east from Vóion to the banks of the Aliákmon [4].


Between Kastoriá and Édessa were various villages known as salcı [5]. The inhabitants supplied Thessalonica and indeed the whole of Macedonia with timber for building, transporting it by river [6].



3. In 1798 Ali Pasha of Yánnina made himself master of the lovely town of Édessa. Pouqueville relates that he had taken the village of Tevo (Karydiá), favourably placed at the beginning of the trade route running from Édessa to Thessalonica and terminating at Monastir [7].



1. Kalinderis, Γραπτὰ μνημεῖα, p. 24. For detailed descriptions of the villages around Kastoriá see Pouqueville, Voyage, vol. 1, pp. 11-68. See also Beaujour, Voyage, vol. 1, p. 203.


2. Beaujour, ibid., vol. 1, p. 203.


3. Pouqueville, ibid., 2, pp. 509-514. See also A. Valvi, Geography, trans. K. Koumas, Vienna 1839, p. 140.


4. On Kastanochória see the interesting study by Panayiotides, Καστανοχώρια, «Μακεδονικὸν Ἡμερολόγιον» 4 (1911) 133-143.


5. salcı = the builder or operator of a ferry.


6. Anonymous, Descrizione della Macedonia, «Fundgruben des Orients» 5 (1816).


7. Pouqueville, Voyage, 2nd edit., vol. 3, p. 96. Also Leake, Travels, 3, pp. 278-279.





Édessa numbered at this time 500 Greek and 1.500 Turkish houses; of the latter a great number had passed into Greek possession. There stood five or six mosques in the town (see fig. 163). Leake admired the bisbop's palace standing beside the cathedral. It was built on the sum-



Fig. 163. Yeni Cami at Édessa

Fig. 163. Yeni Cami at Édessa.

(Photo G. I. Kioutoutskas)



mit of a rock tbat towered above the plain and commanded a view right across the lowlands as far as Mount Chortiátis and the Thermaïc Gulf. On the weekly market-day (usually Sunday in Greek lands) peasants would come from Sari Göl, Árnissa (Ostrovo) and Flórina to sell their





farm produce and buy manufactured goods. The chief products of Édessa were silk and fruit (jujubes [1], apricots, plums and grapes) [2].


The countryside around Édessa was most attractive: waterfalls, luxuriant vegetation, and beautiful views in every direction [3]. There were still numerous ruins of churches in evidence, which demonstrated, according to Leake, the importance the town had enjoyed in the Byzantine period [4].


In Édessa and its environs there lived, in addition to Greeks and Jews [5], a slavic-speaking population which spoke also Turkish. They were engaged in the cultivation of tobacco and in silk-worm culture. Leake refers to them as Bulgars — as does Cousinéry a little time later — and says that they live in the villages around Édessa, and do not in the main speak Greek [6]. Cousinéry says of them that they were easily assimilated by the Greeks, especially in the towns, where there were bishops and schools. They were eager for Greek education and Greek civilization, for which they had an especial respect. Their admiration for all things Greek, said Cousinéry, reached such a point that they wished to be called Greeks. Even his naïve companion, Apostolis, boasts that he is more Greek than Bulgarian [7]. This, however, means that they had Greek consciousness, a thing which Cousinéry did not understand, taking as he did their language as his criterion of nationality, not their feelings or their leanings. This question is well grasped by Beaujour, on the other hand, who writes that the inhabitants of Édessa are Greeks and Turks [8].


The bishop of Édessa or Vodená came under the jurisdiction of the archbishop of Ohrid, which by 1767 had lost with its independence nearly all its old authority [9]. The bishops were Greeks; but they had to learn Bulgarian in order to maintain close relations with their flock [10].



1. jujubes: the fruit of the tree Zizyphus jujuba. They are about the size of an acorn and contain a delicious white pulp and a large stone. They be eaten fresh, cooked, preserved or dried.


2. Leake, Travels, 3, pp. 273-274.


3. Leake, ibid., 3, pp. 274-276.


4. Leake, ibid., 3, pp. 273.


5. Greeks and Jews of Édessa and Véroia are accused, in 1793, of forging sequins (Mertzios, Μνημεῖα, pp. 457-458).


6. Leake, ibid., 3, pp. 272-273.


7. Cousinéry, Voyage, 1, p. 76.


8. Beaujour, Voyage militaire, 1, p. 273.


9. Leake, ibid., 3, p. 273.


10. Cousinéry, Voyage, 1, p. 77.





In Édessa, as in the other regions of Macedonia, the priests had undertaken the task of educating the young. At first they used the church grounds for this purpose; later on special school-buildings were erected. In 1764 we find teaching there, amongst others, Amphilochios Paraskevas, later to be headmaster at Náousa, and the monk Konstantinos, a pupil of Evgenios Voulgaris, afterwards headmaster of the school at Kozáni. An important event in the town's intellectual development was the foundation in 1782 of aschool with the name of "Hellenomouseion", an institution which owed its upkeep to the gifts of rich inhabitants of Édessa. An example was set by Hadji Parisis, a notable of the town, who donated lands, the produce of which could be used to assure the salary of the schoolmaster (300 kuruş) and the other expenses of the Hellenomouseion [1]. Ancient Greek authors had a place on the school's syllabus. The Patriarchate, in response to an initiative by the townspeople, supported the school's activities with an edict requesting the assistance of all inhabitants towards increasing the school's funds and promoting its efficient working [2]. The first teacher of the Hellenomouseion was Ioannis (called Daskaloyannis), who taught for just three years [3]. The school functioned regularly until the outbreak of the Greek War of Independence in 1821; and resumed its work after the conflict [4]. An elemontary primary school also functioned, filling a complementary role. This was the so-called "Κοινὸν Σχολεῖον" (Elementary School), maintained by the contributions and gifts of the inhabitants [5].


Such, then, was the state of Édessa at the time when it was captured by Ali Pasha. Using it as a base, he proceeded to make a lightning attack on Véroia, where he installed a garrison and compelled the inhabitants to pay him tribute, even though the town was actually in the province of the Paşa of Thessalonica. This meant that the unfortunate citizens of Véroia found themselves paying the taxes of two paşas, as well as enduring the exactions of Ali's officers [6]. The beys and the Paşa of Thessalonica could not, or rather would not, oppose this occupation, which continued until the tyrant's death. They were afraid that if they provoked



1. Stouyannakis, Ἔδεσσα, pp. 242-243.


2. Evangelides, Ἡ παιδεία ἐπὶ τουρκοκρατίας, vol. 1, pp. 107-108. See also Stouyannakis, ibid., pp. 243-244.


3. Stouyannakis, ibid., p. 244.


4. Evangelides, ibid., vol. 1, p. 108.


5. Stouyannakis, ibid., pp. 244-247.


6. Cousinéry, Voyage, 1, p. 71. See also Leake, Travels, 3, p. 294,





his anger he would extend his sway as far as the plain of Thessalonica, where they had their estates [1].


Véroia numbered at this time 18.000 to 20.000 persons, Greeks and Turks [2]. The Jews were few in number. It was the Greek element which predominated in the town [3]. Built on one of the foothills of Vérmion, Véroia was beautifully situated, with panoramic views over the plain of Thessalonica. Its picturesque position amid abundant streams and vegetation (see fig. 164), coupled with the fertility of the surrounding countryside, made it one of the most remarkable and delightful towns



Fig. 164. Old houses of Véroia on the side of the ravine

Fig. 164. Old houses of Véroia on the side of the ravine.

(Leonhard Schultze Jena, Makedonien, Jena 1927, plate 2, opposite p. 17)



in Macedonia, if not of Roumeli generally. Véroia had close commercial ties with Thessalonica. It was well known for the manufacture of white face- and bath-towels of wool, which were prized above similar products made elsewhere; they were best known by the Turkish name mahrama, and were conveyed to the capital and to other large cities of the Empire [4]. Among the richest Greek inhabitants is mentioned the name of one Vikelas, who was an English beratlı [5]. His mansion was standing until fairly recently (see fig. 165).



1. Cousinéry, Voyage, 1, p. 73.


2. Cousinéry, ibid., 1, p. 69.


3. Lascaris, Salonique, p. 28.


4. Lascaris, ibid., p. 28. See also Cousinéry, ibid., vol. 1, p. 69. See detailed account of the produce and the town's economic importance in Leake, Travels, 3, p. 291.


5. Cousinéry, ibid., vol. 1, p. 69.





At this period there were 300 Greek villages in the countryside around Véroia; but their population had begun to decline, owing to continual emigration to Asia Minor in consequence of Ali Pasha's oppressions [1]. Thus the Greek element grew weaker in some areas, and it is possible that Slavs moved in.



Fig. 165. Outer door of the mansion of Vikelas (Kanakis) at Véroia

Fig. 165. Outer door of the mansion of Vikelas (Kanakis) at Véroia.

(Ν. Κ. Moutsopoulos, Ἡ λαϊκὴ ἀρχιτεκτονικὴ τῆς Βεροίας. Athens 1967, plate 74)



4. Having imposed his authority of Édessa and Véroia, Ali Pasha started laying crafty schemes for the acquisition of the flourishing town of Náousa. With between three and four thousand inhabitants, nearly all Greeks, it was particularly famous then as now for its wine, which was for Macedonia what the wine of Burgundy is for France. Sold at double the price of other wines, it was widely drunk in Thessalonica and Sérres. Α good number of the inhabitants of Náousa were engaged in the goldsmith's trade or in commerce; and mention might be made of the manufacture of beautiful fabrics woven from a mixture of silk and cotton.



1. Pouqueville, Voyage, 3, p. 94.





Náousa came within the province of the Paşa of Thessalonica, but enjoyed self-government under a body of 8-10 town councillors. From time to time, however, one of them would supplant the rest to rule alone, as at Kozáni. Thus democracy would give way to dictatorship, a development encouraged by the prevailing unsettled conditions and the presence of powerful paşas — in this case Ali Pasha with his growing power; and civil disorders were bound to follow [1]. Two strong factions were formed in Náousa at the end of the 18th century. The more conservative, led by Mamantis (Dragatas), was composed of the richer citizens; the other, led by Zapheirakis, was backed by the military—that is, the armatoles—and was in close touch with their chiefs Karatasos and Gatsos [2].


Zapheirakis was of medium height, strongly built, and with bright, lively eyes. He was quick to anger, but even quicker to forget his rage. His winning ways charmed his friends, and quite often his enemies as well [3]. He had received a reasonably good education at the renowned Greek schools of Yánnina, in which he had studied for many years [4]. It is probable that the lives of ancient Greek generals had influenced him and encouraged him in his military inclinations [5].


The most libertarian spirits had, with the Armourers' Guild, taken Zapheirakis' side. He took especial care to keep in close touch with his followers, and honoured them in proportion to their worth. They used to go hunting together; and there grew up a sort of body-guard devoted to him and eager to satisfy his ambitions. And indeed, with their as-sistance he began to operate a policy of terrorism aimed at neutralising the powers of his adversaries, who thereupon sought the protection of Ali Pasha [6].


Ali was quick to profit from this situation. "The decline of this town", Leake shrewdly remarked in 1808, "and its subjection to Ali, which will be followed by the usual consequence of insatiable extortions,



1. Cousinéry, Voyage, vol. 1, pp. 72-73. Beaujour, Voyage, 1, p. 196. See also information in Leake, Travels, 3, p. 284, and about the town's products on p. 287. See, too, Pouqueville, Voyage, 3, p. 95.


2. Vasdravellis, Ἱστορικά..., «Μακεδονικὰ» 3 (1953-55) 135. For a picture of Mamantis see Stouyannakis, Νάουσα, pp. 142-143.


3. Philippides, Η ἐπανάστασις τῆς Ναούσης, pp. 31-32.


4. Vasdravellis, ibid., p. 135.


5. Ibid., p. 135.


6. Ibid., p. 135.





must be attributed to that spirit of discord which seldom fails to be the ruin of the Greeks whenever they underestimate it' [1].


Ali's first offensive failed, thanks to the inhabitants' spirited resistance [2] under the kocabaşi, Hadji-Cheimonas, and Delidemos, leader of the irregulars [3]. After this victory the townsfolk set to fortifying the town with a wall and a number of towers. The work was completed in three years (1795-1798) [4]. Thus, when at the end of 1798 Ali Pasha returned to the attack with a large force of Albanian irregulars, it was under experienced leaders and with even greater courage that the towns-men resisted and scattered their invaders in disorderly flight [5].


Nevertheless, since the Paşa of Thessalonica did not show any resistance to his plans but remained passive, Ali succeeded in imposing his authority on the district between the Aliákmon and Yenitsá, where most of the villages lost the right of private ownership and became an imlâk (public property). He also took the opportunity of annihilating a good number of undesirables in Yenitsá, Monastir, and Sari Göl [6].


After these events, the frightened townspeople of Náousa decided, by common consent of their notables, to send representatives with presents to Ali to negotiate the surrender of the town. Ali agreed with them as to the form of government, and appointed Zapheirakis head-man of the town, giving him a fine yataghan as a gift. Later, however, relations between Ali and Zapheirakis turned to deadly hatred as a result of the following incident. On a journey to Náousa, Ali's son Veli attempted to affront the honour of Zapheirakis' wife. Zapheirakis, beside himself at the grave insult that Veli had done him, stopped him outside Séli and shot at him, but without success. Ali, angry in his turn, sent in 1804 another army to pillage the town and carry off Zapheirakis and his family to Yánnina [7]. Once again the townsfolk offered an heroic resistance and held out for some four or five months against several thousand Albanians until lack of food and ammunitions compelled them finally to surrender upon terms. Zapheirakis with fifty trusted followers



1. Leake, Travels, p. 284.


2. See Philippides, Ἡ ἐπανάστασις τῆς Ναούσης, pp. 26-27.


3. For details see Stouyannakis, Νάουσα, pp. 70, 74.


4. Philippides, ibid., p. 27. For details see Stouyannakis, ibid., pp. 74-75. Pouqueville (Voyage, 3, p. 94) considers the fortification of Naousa to have taken place some 30-40 years before. His information is questionable.


5. Philippides, ibid., pp. 27-28. For details see Stouyannakis, ibid., pp. 75-85.


6. Stouyannakis, ibid., pp. 86-87.


7. Ibid., p. 87.





had secretly left the town some nights earlier and fled to Thessalonica by way of Yenitsá, leaving his family in Náousa. In Thessalonica he found protection at the British Consulate and later took refuge on Mount Athos [1]. Leake, however, who gives a different account of the affair [2], says that in 1808 he saw Zapheirakis and his 50 pallikars in Thessalonica [3].


Although Náousa had been surrendered upon terms, the Albanians and the Greek-speaking Vallahades who had marched with them, fell in their thirst for booty to rifling the richest houses and shops, and even the churches. Fortunately the Albanian Tahir Bey, cbief of Ali's police, intervened to prevent the looting from becoming general, and returned most of the loot to its owners [4]. Paso Bey, commander of the Turko-Albanian army, had Zapheirakis' wife and two children arrested and carried off with all their jewels and movable possessions to Yánnina. He hoped thereby to propitiate Ali Pasha, who was certain to be furious when he learnt of Zapheirakis' flight [5].


The memory of this siege is preserved in the folk-song called the Song of Náousa, which was still sung up until recent years:


Three birds sat above Karatási:

The one looked upon Vodena, the other towards Véroia,

The third, the smallest, keened a lament:

"Hold out, Náousa, poor Naousa, against Ali᾽s army,

As Yannina holds out winter and summer alike".

"How can I, forlorn, hold out, how can I endure?

᾽Tis not one day or two; His not three or five;

᾽Tis four months and fifteen days.

Come now, my wild Zapheiris, my Constantine, my Brakhos" [6].



1. Philippides, ibid., pp. 28-29. For greater detail see the account in Stouyannakis, ibid., pp. 87-118. Α somewhat different account of events is to be found in Cousinéry, Voyage, vol. 1, pp. 73-74, where a man named Vasileios (doubtless to be identified as Zapheirakis) takes refuge finally on Mount Athos and there loses his mind. But this item of information cannot be correct, for Zapheirakis took part in the insurrection of 1821. Pouqueville (Voyage, 3, pp. 94-95) says that the irregulars fromNáousa numbered as many as 4.000 and that siege lasted 10 months.


2. Leake, Travels, 3, pp. 285-286.


3. Leake, ibid., 3, p. 286.


4. For details see Stouyannakis, ibid., pp. 118-122.


5. Stouyannakis, ibid., pp. 123-125.


6. Philippides, ibid., pp. 29-30. Stouyannakis, ibid., p. 109, note 2.





These constant disturbances had disastrous consequences for the economic state of the region. "A few years ago", wrote Leake in December of 1808, "Náousa was one of the most flourishing towns in Northem Greece, and like Véroia, Siátista and Kastoriá, it had merchants who traded with Christian Europe as well as Turkey. But not one of these exists today" [1]. The atmosphere of insecurity which pervaded the whole region had induced them to settle permanently in other lands.


From Mount Athos, Zapheirakis explored every avenue to free his town from Ali's troops. He came to an understanding with some powerful Turkish beys of Thessalonica, and, taking letters of introduction from them to important persons at the Turkish court, proceeded to Constantinople. By means of various stratagems he succeeded in procuring the issue of a ferman commanding the withdrawal of Ali's garrison from Náousa, and forbidding his interference for the future in the town's internal business. From then on, Náousa was put under the jurisdiction of the kızlar ağası (chief eunuch of the seraglio), and a Turk was appointed governor. However, political power was in fact wielded by the Greek notables of the town, and military power by Karatasos, chief of irregular troops at Véroia [2]. The latter appears to have been put in charge of the local garrison, which was composed of local men [3].


And so, after an absence of twelve years, Zapheirakis returned to his home town, where he was accorded a brilliant welcome not only by the townspeople but also by the inhabitants of the villages and hamlets throughout the neighbourhood. He resumed the management of the town's public affairs until the War of Independence in 1822 [4]. He was, not surprisingly, quick to put his old political rival, Mamantis, in an embarrassing position by demanding payment of a debt of 33.000 kuruş. Finding it impossible to raise the money, Mamantis fled to Thesssalonica, where he sought sanctuary in his turn at the house of the British Consul. Similarly, many of his close colleagues made haste to remove themselves, as for example Antonakis the doctor, who found refuge in Yenitsá, and Tasos Tsiomis who removed to Kateríni [5].


Thus Zapheirakis was left in sole charge of public affairs, and he threw himself into the job with a will. He was much occupied in



1. Lëake, Travels, 3, pp. 284-285.


2. Philippides, ibid., pp. 30-31. See also Pouqueville, Voyage, 3, p. 95.


3. Pouqueville, ibid., 3, p. 95.


4. Philippides, ibid., pp. 31-32. Stouyannakis, ibid., pp. 128-138.


5. Vasdravellis, ibid., pp. 136-137.





building churches and schools, and in paving the streets of Náousa. He particularly encouraged the Guild of Armourers, which was at that time going through a very flourishing period. Arms from Náousa were famous for their beauty and durability. Zapheirakis' solicitude was felt no less by the youth of the town, whom he educated in accordance with the customs of the armatoles. With the help of hired instructors he trained them in the discus, the long jump, running, wrestling, and so on, as if he wanted to prepare them for a comming struggle [1].



5. At this precise period, that is, the beginning of the 19th century, Ali Pasha's territory, beginning in the area around Ohrid and Kastoriá [2], ran south and south-east as far as the village of Pyrgos (near Yennitsá) [3], and the foothills of Olympus, taking in Kateríni (at that time a town of 140 house-holds, mainly Greek, with a Turkish ağa as governor [4]) and reaching as far as Eleftherochóri (see map 13) [5]. The inhabitants of the narrow but fertile plain of Piería that spreads between Olympus and the sea grew mainly wheat [6]. But their living was far from easily got, so much did they suffer from Turkish exactions [7].


In form at least, Ali also ruled the massifs of Olympus, Piéria, Vérmion and Chásia; for the klephts of these regions had entered into relations with the Albanian and become armatoles in alliance with him, seeing that he had consolidated his position and could now make his power clearly felt. The monastery of the Holy Trinity on Olympus, which had been founded by St. Dionysius, continued to be, as in the past, the favourite hiding-place and sanctuary of the klephts. "Then", says Leake, "Ali turned the free villages into his çiftliks" [8]. Did all the mountain villages become çiftliks, or just some? Leake does not elucidate this question. But Aravantinos, who gives us a list of the çiftliks of Ali Pasha and his sons, mentions none in the region of Olympus [9]. The



1. Philippides, Ἡ ἐπανάστασις τῆς Ναούσης, pp. 31-33.


2. Holland, Travels, p. 309.


3. Stouyannakis, Ἔδεσσα, p. 249.


4. Clarke, Travels, vol. 2, pp. 316 ff. Holland puts the number of houses at Katerini as high as 400 (Travels, p. 305).


5. Clarke, ibid., p. 330, note 2.


6. Clarke, ibid., pp. 316-317. For further information on the hunting of pheasants in the area, etc., see Leake, Travels, 3, pp. 422-429.


7. Clarke, ibid., p. 323.


8. Leake, Travels, 3, p. 349.


9. Aravantinos, Ἱστορία τοῦ Ἀλῆ Πασᾶ, pp. 601-610.





villages of Olympus — and especially those that were Vlach-speaking — were occupied in this period with the weaving of very thick woollen textiles called σκουτιά, used for making shepherds' heavy cloaks [1].


In the places he captured Ali Pasha would install Albanian garrisons, who oppressed the inhabitants and made their lives a misery. It was useless to protest to the Turkish authorities in Thessalonica [2], for although Ali's continual advance was a cause of anxiety to the Vali of Thessalonica and the powerful landowners of the region, they avoided taking action against him, for they feared that he would eventually extend his power to the remaining parts of Macedonia and did not wish to provoke his ire. It may have been to expose the Paşa of Thessalonica and to impose his own mastery inside the Macedonian capital that Ali avoided taking full-scale repressive measures against the klephts around Olympus and the pirates in the Thermaïc Gulf [3].


Not surprisingly, many rayahs departed in despair to the relative safety of Eastern Macedonia; a stream which apparently continued to flow during the time of the Greek War of Independence. Thus, for example, there is a word-of-mouth tradition that many inhabitants of Litóchoro, Kokkinopló, Rapsáni, Kraniá, Ágrapha, Ambelákia, Kardítsa, Tríkala, Néveska (Nymphaíon), Vysoka (Ôssa), Liálova, Bérova, Náousa and so on, emigrated and settled permanently in Nigríta. The colonists took with them to their new home their various technical skills, in particular those of silk-worm culture and silk-weaving, which flourished there until the beginning of the 20th century [4]. This account is substantiated by such written sources as have survived. Thus a ferman of Sultan Mahmud II, of March 1816, reports that, according to information from Ali Pasha of Yánnina and from his son Vali, mutasarrıf (i.e. governor) of the sancak of Tríkala, about 800 natives of the kaza of Tríkala had taken refuge and settled in Thessalonica, Sérres, Zíchna, Gömulcina (Komotiní) and elswhere. The Sultan commands that they be compelled to return to their home towns, except those who have been



1. See details about this trade in Leake, Travels, 3, p. 335-337.


2. Stouyannakis, Ἔδεσσα, pp. 249-250.


3. J. H. S. Bartholdy, Voyage en Grèce, fait dans les années 1803 et 1804, Paris 1807, p. 105.


4. Damanis, Νιγρίτα - Σύρπα, «Μακεδονικὸν Ἡμερολόγιον» 1911, p. 122. See also a letter relating to the subject from Ambelákia and dated September 1812 (Ε. p. Georgiou, Νεώτερα στοιχεῖα περὶ τῆς Ἱστορίας καὶ συντροϕιάς τῶν Ἀμπελακίων, Athens 1950, p. 14).





more than ten years in their new homes [1]. Typically enough, the disastrous increase in this emigration ended by arousing the anxiety of Ali and his henchmen, the very ones who had been the cause of these upheavals in the first place.



1. Turkish Documents, 3 (1809-1817) 83.


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