History of Macedonia 1354-1833

A. Vacalopoulos


IV. The troubled state of Macedonia in the 15th century


5. The situation in Macedonia in the second half of the 15th century


 __1_   —   __2_   —   __3_


1. After the final capture of Véroia (1448-1449) and Thasos (1459) there follows an obscure period in the history of Macedonia. Amid what scanty historical details survive, we find mention of the sojourn of the Serbian princess and step-mother of Mehmed II, Maro, at Éziova (Dáphni) near Nigríta, where she had been given some property (see fig. 37) [2].


The first detailed information we have about Macedonia comes from a reliable witness, Giovanni Maria degli Angiollelo, who had been taken prisoner in 1470 at the capture of Chalcis by Mehmed II. On his journey north to Macedonia in the doleful company of his fellow-



2. See E. G. Stratis, Ἱστορία τῆς πόλεως Σερρῶν, Serres 1926, pp. 77-79. See also F. Babinger, Witwensitz und Sterbeplatz der Sultanin Mara, ΕΕΒΣ 23 (1953 ) pp. 240-244, where more recent bibliography may be found.





prisoners, he arrived at the castle of Platamón, whence he could see the Thermaïc Gulf (though not Thessalonica, as he affirms) [1].


The Turks had not destroyed this fortress as they had the other medieval castles, doubtless because of its military significance. It commanded a crucial pass leading from Macedonia into Thessaly and vice-versa and the protection that it afforded the inhabitants of the region from piratical raids must not be overlooked. But the most important reason of all was that the castle of Platamón was vital to the Turks if they were to maintain full control of the region as a whole and be able to defend it against the hostile inhabitants of Olympus [2].



Fig. 37. The Tower of Lady Maro in the village of Dáphni, near Nigríta

Fig. 37. The Tower of Lady Maro in the village of Dáphni, near Nigríta.



Continuing his journey northwards, Angiollelo reached Kítros with its salt-works, where he spent the night. From there he passed through the Axiós (Vardar) region, where the Turks had brought over some steeds of select strains from Asia Minor, since the place was very suitable for horse-rearing. Crossing the river and the plain, he reached Thessalonica, which he found well-fortified. In the market he saw plenty of food and a variety of merchandise, especially of leather and wool. Within the city he came across the tomb of St. Dominic (he means St. Demetrius) from which dripped myrrh ('oily liquid') that did good to various sick people.


He passed through Sérres [3], where a Palaeologus — one of the city's dignitaries and brother of Mezih Pasha — had as ziamet the village of Karlíkovo in the neighbourhood of Zíchna [4]. Proceeding south-east-



1. See Mertzios, Μνημεῖα, pp. 200-201. As regards the personage of Angiollelo, see in G. I. Arvanitides, J. M. Angiollelo, Περιηγητὴς καὶ ἱστορικὸς 1452-1525), «Ὁ Βιβλιόϕιλος» 12 (1958) 3-6.


2. Vacalopoulos, Τὸ κάστρο τοῦ Πλαταμώνα, «Μακεδονικὰ» 1 (1940) 64-65.


3. Mertzios, ibid., pp. 201-202.


4. Turkish sources, vol. 13, pp. 477-479.





wards from Sérres in the direction of Philippi, Angiollelo gleaned a good deal of information about the monastic society and the monks' way of life on Mount Athos [1].


Passing through Philippi, Angiollelo takes the opportunity to describe in simple terms the ancient ruins of the disctrict, and mentions some traditions about Alexander the Great which are still very much alive today. These are linked with the well-known monument of G. Vibius Quartus,



Fig. 38. The Monastery of Eikosiphoenissa

Fig. 38. The Monastery of Eikosiphoenissa.



mentioned earlier on [2]. Over the centuries the country-people used to scrape at this square monument (as they still do today) and collect the marble dust. This was mixed with water and given to pregnant women, so that they might produce valiant children like Alexander the Great [3]. Philippi had once been 'the fortress of Sire Alexander the Great', as wrote the Cypriot abbot of the neighbouring monastery of Eikosiphoenissa (see fig. 38) in a letter to the Duke of Savoy, Charles Emmanuel, in



1. Mertzios, Μνημεῖα, pp. 201-203.


2. Mertzios, ibid., p. 203.


3. See G. Bakalakis, Ἀπὸ τὴ ζωντανὴ ϕυλλάδα τοῦ Μ. Ἀλεξάνδρου, «Μακεδονικὸν Ἡμερολόγιον» Ν. Σϕενδόνη, 1939, pp. 97-98.





1632 [1]. In addition, Angiollelo saw at various points on the plain of Philippi a number of ancient monuments, which were larger than those to be found in the Italian cities of his day [2]: a significant fact that attests to the wealth of antiquities to be found in the neighbourhood of Philippi and their relatively good state of preservation up to 1470.


Continuing south-eastwards, Angiollelo came across a mountain side sloping down towards the sea and called 'Kavála'. There was a pass at this point, where two uninhabited castles stood, the one up on the mountain and the other near the sea. In between these two castles there appear to have been some very beautiful gardens with numerous fruit-trees in days gone by; but now the gardens were neglected and produced fruit no longer [3]. There can be no doubt that these estates, together with the castles, had belonged to Byzantine Christopolis, which by this time lay in ruins.


There were many corsairs in those parts, who attacked and plundered the passers-by [4]. In fact, the coast around Kavála was a crucial but vulnerable spot, for the only caravan-route from the Morea to Constantinople passed that point [5]. Even as late as 1519, the site of Kavála was deserted [6]. The remains of Christopolis were observed towards the close of the century, in June 1591, by the Venetian Gabriele Cavazza, who was accompanying as secretary the noble, Lorenzo Bernardo, on a journey to Constantinople. Looking north-wards, Cavazza could make out a number of towers and a wall up on a mountain; the remains, he was told, of an old city which once stood there [7].



2. Throughout the Macedonian countryside the inhabitants were suffering considerable hardsbips. Right from the onset, the Turkish yoke was particularly heavy here. As in Thessaly, the establishment of thousands of Turkish colonists — the 'descendants of the conqueror' (Evlâdi Fatihan) — was bound to make life exceedingly difficult for the indigenous inhabitants. In addition they were subject to the va-



1. Fr. Miklosich - Ios. Müller, Acta et diplomata graeca medii aevi sacra et profana, Vienna 1864, vol. 3, p. 274.


2. Mertzios, Μνημεῖα, p. 203.


3. Mertzios, ibid., p. 203. K. Skaltsas' book, Ἱστορία τῆς Καβάλλας, Kavalla 1930, is an amateurish work without any scholastic worth.


4. Mertzios, ibid., p. 203.


5. Mertzios, ibid., p. 203. See also pp. 168, 170.     6. Mertzios, ibid., p. 117.     7. Mertzios, ibid., p. 139.





rious arbitrary acts of a tyrannical government: the humiliating prohibitions, the crushing taxation and forced labour, the illtreatment, imprisonments and executions, the outrages committed in defiance of the strict notions on morality held by its subjects. All this and other secondary factors besides, combined to crush, down to the ultimate degree, every instinct of self-preservation and every feeling of honour and freedom. Generally speaking, it was the abuses of power on the part of various local authorities that constituted the principal defect of Turkish administration, and it remained so throughout the centuries.


Inevitably, the situation provoked a reaction on the part of the inhabitants, particularly those of the mountain areas. The dwellers of the Olympus region were seemingly the most dangerous, for we find the Turks instituting the first Macedonian armatolik in those parts towards the end of the 15th century, the second to be formed in Greek lands after the armatolik of Agrapha. The first captain of this armatolik of Olympus was called Kara-Michael [1], according to the Phanariot scholar of the early 19th century, Jacob Rizos Neroulos, who possibly drew his information from Turkish sources. This is the first we hear of this particular 'armatolos' and we know nothing more about him. Doubtless he was a former klepht. The nick-name Kara (Turkish 'black') reveals the terror he must have spread by his raids on the Turkish population until he was recognised as an 'armatolos' of Olympus.


Despite the institution of the armatolik of Olympus, law and order was by no means imposed upon the region. The klephts developed their activity and found shelter in the countless natural hide-outs which the mountains afforded. There is an actual mention of klephts existing on Mount Olympus at the beginning of the 16th century in the 'Life' of St. Dionysius. When the saint was building the monastery of the Holy Trinity and creating monastic cells, 'metochia', and mills thereabouts, some of the villagers of Litochoro denounced him to the Turkish 'local lord'. They told him that a hermit, without asking his permission, was erecting a monastery up on Olympus, where klephts might congregate, with consequent danger to the inhabitants round about [2]. The accusation was probably true. It was only to be expected that Greek klephts



1. Jac. Rizos Neroulos, Histoire moderne de la Grèce, Geneva 1828, p. 50.


2. Ἀκολουθία τοῦ ὁσίου καὶ θεοϕόρου πατρὸς ἡμῶν Διονυσίου τοῦ ἐν τῷ Ὁλύμπῳ τῆς Θετταλίας ἐκλάμψαντος, τοῦ Νέου ἀσκητοῦ, Greek printing-house of Constantinople, 1816, p. 23.





would have frequented the monastery of this monk, who led his hermit's life in these wild and remote surroundings, and who was, as we shall presently see, a man of intense Greek consciousness. Olympus was for Macedonia— and indeed for Thessaly too — what Agrapha was for Western Greece. Its centuries-old klephtik tradition combined with its fame from ancient days exalted it to the level of a symbol of freedom; it had become the 'sacred mount of the klephts'. Its prestige was further magnified by the muse of folk-poetry. The klephts attributed wonderous life-giving properties to its air, its snows, its crystal springs. Indeed, Mount Olympus was a kind of klephts' paradise where they recovered from their hard struggle against the Turks, and where wounds healed of themselves [1] and the sick 'became strong' [2].


The folk-poet has Olympus say:


Forty-two peaks have I, and sixty-two springs;

For each spring there is a standard, for each branch α klepht.


and again, one of the klephts recounting his deeds asserts:


At Loúro and Xerómero an armatolos I proved

At Hâsia and on Olympus twelve years a klepht;

Sixty ağas I slew, burning their villages and all;

As for the number of Turks and Albanians whom I dispatched,

Well, they're many many, numbered they cannot be.

Yet my turn, too, has come: in battle I had to fall [3].


During those first centuries of Turkish rule, there must have been many celebrated klephts in action on Olympus, about whom we know nothing today. Perhaps some day the Turkish archives will reveal the exploits of these doughty fighters. At all events, indicative of the resistance and the difficulties encountered from that quarter is the fact that in 1537 Sultan Suleyman I divided Greece into fifteen armatoliks, five of which pertained to Western and Central Macedonia. These were the armatoliks of Véroia, Sérvia, Elassón, Grevená and Meliá [4].


The intolerable bondage of those years bred champions not just of freedom but of faith as well. In fact, the struggle which the inhabit-



1. Heuzey, Le mont Olympe, p. 139.


2. Fauriel, Chants populaires, vol. 1, p. 32.


3. Fauriel, ibid., vol. 1, p. 38. See also Α. Ν. Oekonomides, Τραγούδια τοῦ Ὀλύμπου, Athens 1881, p. 9. Klephtic songs from Olympus are also found on pages 13-14, 15 ff., 33-34.


4. Aravantinos, Χρονογραϕία Ἠπείρου, vol. 1, p. 194.





ants waged bore a duel character. After the persecutions of the Roman emperors, this period of enslavement was the most critical that Eastern Christianity had ever lived through. The resistance of the Greeks is well demonstrated by the willing sacrifice of countless individuals when they were faced with the dilemma of accepting Islam or death. The era of persecutions was thus repeated a second time; but Orthodoxy received fresh life with the sacrifice of the New Martyrs, as Nicodemus of Athos (1749-1809) observed some centuries later when he wrote "With these New Martyrs the whole Orthodox faith was renewed" [1]. The life-giving tree of Faith and Liberty was watered by their blood throughout that endless series of tribulations.


Macedonia was certainly not lacking in New Martyrs: men like Cyril, who met his death upon a burning pyre in front of the church of St. Constantine and Helen in the Square of the Hippodrome at Thessalonica (well-known to this day); so too Manoles Bostanzoglu of Sérres [2], Kyranna of Ossa, etc; while the New Martyrs who died without their lives being recorded are legion.


The Christians were supported in this struggle for their faith by a number of venerable monks, famed for their holiness, who also withdrew to the Macedonian mountains like countless others. Their purpose was to provide, by their ascetic and pious lives, models of the virtuous life for other Christians to follow, and thus to demonstrate the way of Christ, the way of Salvation, entreating God for the restoration of their innocence and His pity, that he might in due course heed their prayers for deliverance from the harshness of their bondage.


The district of Véroia became an important centre of monastic life during this period. It was from the monastery of the Most Venerable Forerunner that a second hermit named Antony came and, in the 15th century — after the fall of Constantinople —, made his way to the 'Wilderness' (the nearby mountain) to spend fifty years of his life in a cave, just like his namesake the famous St. Antony. There he lived on herbs and mortified his tempestuous passions and the temptations of the flesh by the power of the spirit. After his death, other monks follow-



1. Νικόδημου τοῦ Ἁγιορείτου, Νέον Μαρτυρολόγιον, ἤτοι μαρτύρια τῶν νεοϕανῶν μαρτύρων τῶν μετὰ τὴν ἅλωσιν τῆς Κωνσταντινουπόλεως κατὰ διαϕόρους καιροὺς καὶ τόπους μαρτυρησάντων, 3rd edit., Athens 1961, p. 10. Note also on the same page: «Οἱ νεοϕανεῖς οὗτοι μάρτυρες ἐνδυναμώνουσιν ἐν ταυτῷ, καὶ ἀναθάλλουσι, καὶ ἀνακαινίζουσι τὴν ἀδυνατισμένην, τὴν μεμαραμένην καὶ τὴν γηραλέαν πίστιν τῶν τωρινῶν χριστιανῶν».


2. Vacalopoulos, Ἱστορία, vol. 1, p. 141, vol. 2, pp. 204-206.





ed his example in seeking solitude on the mountain and founding a hermitage in his name. In addition, there was a church built in Véroia which bore his name [1]. We might mention as a further example Theophanes



Fig. 39. Saint Dionysius of Olympus

Fig. 39. Saint Dionysius of Olympus.



the Docheiarite, a monk of Yánnina, who went to live as a hermit at the same retreat as his nephew. He must have lived at the end of the 16th



1. See Ἀκολουθία τοῦ ὁσίου καὶ θεοϕόρου πατρὸς ἡμῶν Ἀντωνίου τοῦ νέου καὶ θαυματουργοῦ τοῦ ἐν τῇ σκήτη Βεροίας ἀσκήσαντος, 3rd edit., Thessalonica 1894, pp. 13-16. Various details about the saint's life may also be found in G. Chionides, Ὁ ὅσιος Ἀντώνιος ὁ Νέος ἐκ τῆς Μακεδονικῆς Βεροίας. Βάσει ἀνεκδότων βυζαντινῶν ἐγγράϕων καὶ λανθανόντων στοιχείων, Véroia 1965.





century, or at the beginning of the 17th at the latest [1]. It was Theophanes who built the monastery of the 'lncorporeal' at Náousa [2].


Another leading light in the Véroia region was the saintly Dionysius (see fig. 39). It was he, one may recall, who was accused of building a monastery on Olympus to provide refuge for the klephts. This report, which shows up Dionysius as a true champion of the national cause, need not surprise us; it tallies with an earlier report concerning the period when he was a monk in the monastery of Philotheou. He had succeeded in making this monastery, hitherto dominated by Bulgarian monks, into a 'Romaïc' (i.e. Greek) one, and its Ritual likewise. (For his pains he narrowly escaped being killed by the Bulgarians [3]). Later on, he came to the monastery of the 'Most Venerable Forerunner'. He reconstructed its nave (actually taking a hand in the work himself), reorganized the monks' way of life [4], and strengthened the monastic movement throughout the district as a whole [5]. He declined the metropolitan see of Véroia, which the chief burghers, out of respect, wished to bestow on him [6]. Dionysius subsequently withdrew to Olympus to found the famous monastery of the Holy Trinity, where he passed the larger part of his life,



1. Ἀκολουθία τοῦ ὁσίου καὶ θεοϕόρου πατρὸς ἡμῶν Θεοϕάνους τοῦ νέου, ἀσκητοῦ καὶ θαυματουργοῦ, τοῦ ἀσκήσαντος ἐν τῷ ὄρει τῆς περιϕήμου πόλεως Ναούσης, τοῦ ἐξ Ἰωαννίνων, Venice 1764, p. 33. I am adopting this dating, taking into account the account we find in the ῾Ἀκολουθία τοῦ ὁσίου' of the punishment of a renegade from Véroia who caused the monastery some loss in 1681 and made off with the saint's skull ( ibid., pp. 43-46). See G. Chionides' interesting study, Ὁ ὅσιος Θεοϕάνης ὁ νέος, «Μακεδονικὰ» 8 (1968-1969) 223-238.


2. Ἀκολουθία ὁσίου Θεοϕάνους τοῦ νέου, p. 34.


3. See Ἀκολουθία τοῦ ὁσίου Διονυσίου, Greek printing-house of Constantinople 1816, p. 23. Gennadius, Metropolitan of Thessalonica, in his study Ἡ ἱερὰ πατριαρχικὴ καὶ σταυροπηγιακὴ μονὴ τοῦ Ἁγ. Διονυσίου τοῦ ἐν Ὀλύμπῳ, Thessalonica 1917, p. 18, notes that some of the saint's letters are still preserved in the monastery of Philotheou. One might also mark another detail so typical of the vigorous Greek consciousnese that prevailed during this period: in May 1501 the patriarch Joachim I forbade, by a synodic decree, that the Greek monastery of Koutloumousiou should be called Bulgarian (M. I. Gedeon, Πατριαρχικαὶ Ἐϕημερίδες, Athens 1936, p. 13).


4. Ἀκολουθία τοῦ ὁσίου καὶ θεοϕόρου πατρὸς ἡμῶν Διονυσίου, τοῦ ἐν τῷ Ὀλύμπῳ ὄρει τῆς Θετταλίας ἐκλάμψαντος, τοῦ νέου ἀσκητοῦ, Thessalonica 1928, p. 35.


5. Ἀκολουθία ὁσίου Διονυσίου, ibid., p. 38.


6. Ἀκολουθία ὁσίου Διονυσίου, Greek printing-house of Constantinople, p. 23. For a list of metropolitans from 1607-1809, see S. Stamoulis, Συμβολὴ εἰς τὸν κατάλογον ἐπισκόπων Βέροιας καὶ Ναούσης, ΕΜΑ 12 (1962) 46-48. See also pp. 51-56. See list of metropolitans also in G. Chionides, Σύντομη ἱστορία τοῦ χριστιανισμοῦ εἰς τὴν περιοχὴν Βέροιας, Véroia 1961, pp. 25-28.





with the exception of a brief period which he spent in a monastery that he founded himself in the neighbourhood of Zagorá in Pelion. He maintained an unbroken contact with this monastery [1] as long as he lived, as too with the monastery of the Most Venerable Forerunner [2]. Dionysius also had close spiritual ties with St. Nikanor of Thessalonica, the founder of the monastery of Závorda in Western Macedonia [3], whom we shall be discussing presently. The little chapel of Litóchoro, which stands at its eastern end and is completely covered by frescoes, must date from the time of St. Dionysius; it may even have some connection with him.


St. Dionysius travelled throught many towns and villages of Macedonia (Kastoriá, Kítros and Kateríni in particular) [4] and of Thessaly (Rapsáni and Zagorá), founding churches wherever he went. Their names, however, are not recorded [5]. Only in the 1816 publication of the Saint's life, emanating from the Oecumenical Patriarchate, do we find it recorded that he built the church of the Prophet Elias and that of the Transfiguration of Christ on a peak of Mount Olympus, and the church of St. Lazarus in one of the numerous cave-built monasteries of that area, where he was wont to go and pray, and where he eventually died and was buried [6].


St. Nikanor (1491-1549) [7] also worked with great zeal and considerable success in the more remote areas of Macedonia. In his wanderings from his own city of Thessalonica into Western Macedonia, he would teach the Christians, as he passed from village to village like another Apostle, to "guard in uprightness their faith". This preaching of his — so necessary after the fall of Constantinople, when the number of conversions to Islam had swollen to considerable proportions — proved



1. Ἀκολουθία ὁσίου Διονυσίου, Thessalonica, pp. 39 ff., 50 ff. This monastery, for whose entire construction Dionysius was responsible, was no doubt the monastery of Survia at Pelion (Μέγας Συναξαριστὴς Σεπτεμβρίου, pp. 364-365. See also on this subject D. Sisilianos, Ἡ Μακρυνίτσα καὶ τὸ Πήλιον, Ἱστορία - Μνημεῖα - Ἐπιγραϕαί, Athens 1939, pp. 146-149).


2. See Ἀκολουθία ὁσίου Διονυσίου, Thessalonica, pp. 35-39.


3. See D. Ι. Toliopoulos, Ἀκολουθία τοῦ ὁσίου καὶ Θεοϕόρου πατρὸς ἡμῶν Νικάνορος τοῦ Θαυματουργοῦ, τοῦ ἐν τῷ Καλλιστράτου ὄρει ἀσκήσαντος, Kozani 1953 (edited D. Gavanas), pp. 36, 39-40.


4. Ἀκολουθία ὁσίου Διονυσίου, Printing-house of Constantinople, p. 23.


5. Ἀκολουθία ὁσίου Διονυσίου, Thessalonica, pp. 42 ff.


6. Ἀκολουθία ὁσίου Διονυσίου, Printing-house of Constantinople, p. 24.


7. For the dates of his birth and death, see G. T. Lyritzis, Ὁ ὅσιος Νικάνωρ καὶ τὸ μοναστήρι του, Kozani 1962, pp. 6, 14. See also some interesting details about his iconography on pp. 26-27.





of great effect: "Many he made firm in their Christian faith by his most enthralling teaching and the fine example afforded by his own virtuous conduct" [1]. The saint (see fig. 40) built the monastery of the Transfig-



Fig. 40. Saint Modestus and Saint Nikanor

Fig. 40. Saint Modestus and Saint Nikanor.

(Photo L. Syndika-Laourda)



uration (see fig. 40) in 1534 on Mt. Konivó (called Mt. Kallístraton in his biography) [2] on the left bank of the Aliákmon. Towards the end of his life, he withdrew to live as a hermit in a hollow cavern of an enor-



1. Toliopoulos, Ἀκολουθία ὁσίου Νικάνορος, p. 32.


2. Ν. P. Deliales, Ἡ διαθήκη τοῦ ὁσίου Νικάνορος τοῦ Θεσσαλονικέως, «Μακεδονικὰ» 4 (1955-1960) 416. For a description of the monastery and hermitage, see Lyritzes, ibid., pp. 28 ff.





mous and unscaleable cliff, which towers up above the raging whirlpools of the Aliákmon.



3. While the simple inhabitants and the monks of Macedonia were striving, in whatever way they could, to cope with the rigours of en-



Fig. 41. The monastery of Závorda (the catholicon)

Fig. 41. The monastery of Závorda (the catholicon).



slavement and to put up some active or passive resistance to the conqueror, the intellectuals were struggling to save what they could from the catastrophe, battling in every sphere for the survival of 'τὸ γένος' (the race). The first patriarch after the Fall, for instance, Gennadius Scholarius (see fig. 42), had withdrawn to the monastery of the Venerable





Forerunner outside Sérres (see fig. 43), where he followed with anguish the plight of what little survived of the Byzantine empire. In that winter of 1457-1458, whilst the Sultan Mehmed II was making preparations for a campaign against the despots Thomas and Demetrius Palaeologus of the Morea and was passing, maybe, through Sérres, Gennadius uttered from amidst his peaceful surroundings a fervent prayer to God for



Fig. 42. The Patriarch Gennadius

Fig. 42. The Patriarch Gennadius.

(I. Hakkı Uzunçarsılı, Osmanlı Tarıhı, Ankara 1949, vol. 2, fig. II)



the preservation of that forlorn centre of Greek freedom: "ἐπιτρόπευσον ἡμῶν καὶ τῆσδε τῆς μικρᾶς κληρουχίας, ἄριστε κυβερνῆτα . . . Κυβέρνησον τοίνυν τὰς πόλεις ταύτας καὶ ἡμᾶς σὺν αὐταῖς, ἀντὶ πατρίδος καὶ πάσης ἀρχῆς τῷ ταλαιπώρῳ ἡμῶν γένει καταλειϕθείσας, αἰώνιε καὶ μεγαλοδύναμε καὶ σοϕώτατε κυβερνῆτα εἰς λιμένα σωτηρίας" [1].



1. See Lampros, Παλαιολόγεια, 2, pp. 152-157, 158-160. See also Vacalopoulos, Ἱστορία, vol. 1, pp. 278-279. The opinion of Lampros ( ibid., 2, pp. xvi-xvii) and of K. Amantos (Σχέσεις Ἑλλήνων καὶ Τούρκων ἀπὸ τοῦ ἑνδεκάτου αἰῶνος μέχρι τοῦ 1821, τ. Α'. Οἱ πόλεμοι τῶν Τούρκων πρὸς κατάληψιν τῶν ἑλληνικῶν χωρῶν, 1071-1571, Athens 1955, p. 138), that these two texts date from the beginning of 1454, a little after Gennadius' accession to the patriarchal throne, is refuted by the phrase in the prayer «ἀλλὰ καὶ πρὸ μικροῦ τὸ πονηρὸν τοῦτο τῶν Ἰλλυριῶν ἔθνος... δυνάμει ἀδοκήτῳ ἐπελθούσῃ ἐκόλασας" (Lampros, ibid., 2, p. 159), since it presupposes the crushing of the insurrection of the Albanians, which had been accomplished by the end of 1454.





While it endured, the tiny Greek state of Mystrá was a great consolation to the Greeks wherever they might be. In the calm of that Macedonian monastery, Gennadius gradually recovered from the shattering events he had lived through, to compose his finest theological works. These writings survive in his own hand to this day [1].



Fig. 43. Monastery of St. John the Baptist at Sérres

Fig. 43. Monastery of St. John the Baptist at Sérres.

(L. Schulze Jena, Makedonien Landschafts- und Kulturbilder, Jena 1927, Plate XIII)



The literary men of Macedonia experienced great difficulty in living in this stifling atmosphere, and for this reason a number of them emigrated to the West, where the cultural and social environment enabled them to live as free men and devote themselves to their writing. The best known of these was the Thessalonian, Theodore Gazes, who after the loss of his homeland went to Italy and through his teaching contributed in no small way to the spread of Greek letters in the West, where Manuel Chrysoloras had prepared the ground a few years previously. Another possible Thessalonian to flee to Italy was Andronicus Callistus († 1486), who taught Greek there with great success. True and fervent patriot as he was, Callistus was one of those literary Greek emigrés who endeavoured by their words and their deeds to stimulate the concern and sympathy of the powerful figures of the day on behalf of the enslaved Greek people [2]. Matthew Kamariotes was another true son of



1. See Vacalopoulos, Ἱστορία, vol. 2, p. 152.


2. Vacalopoulos, History of Thessaloniki, p. 81.





Thessalonica: he became perhaps the first head-teacher of the Patriarchal School of Constantinople [1].


Despite the dispersal of literary men, the age-old tradition of classical learning was not interrupted at Thessalonica. This is borne out by an inscription over the tomb of a celebrated Thessalonian, Lukas Spantounes († 1481), which is composed in ancient Greek and in iambic trime-



Fig. 44. The monument of Lukas Spantounes

Fig. 44. The monument of Lukas Spantounes.

(Diehl - Le Tourneau - Saladin, Monuments, p. 85)



ters. It can be seen on his tomb of an Italian design in the church of St. Demetrius, on the left as one enters the main church (see fig. 44). It is not known who composed this inscriptıon, or whether he was a scholar of Thessalonica or from elsewhere. But whichever the case may be, the



1. A. Biedl, Matthaeus Camariotes. Specimen prosopographiae byzantinae, BZ 35 (1935) 337.





existence of the inscription witnesses to the cultivation of Greek letters, or at any rate to an enduring love for them. We know virtually nothing about Loukas Spantounes except that he belonged to an old and notable Byzantine family and appears to have held a position of importance in the Greek community of Thessalonica during the years that followed the city's downfall [1]. Descendants of Loukas Spantounes, it was said at Thessalonica about the middle of the last century, were living at Péra [2]. Characteristic of the Thessalonians' love of culture at this time is the fact that sometime before 1494 they invited the celebrated scholar, John Moschos, to come from Corcyra to teach in their city [3]. The intellectuals of Thessalonica were in possession of some noteworthy manuscripts, as we learn from John Lascaris [4], who passed through Thessalonica at the end of the 15th century and bought some manuscripts from the relatives of Matthew Lascaris (who had just died), from Manuel Lascaris (both these men were probably distant relatives of his), and from Demetrius Sgouropoulos. One can imagine the endless discussions that John Lascaris must have had with these two literary gentlemen on his favourite topic, the emancipation of the Greeks and the other Balkan peoples. In an atmosphere charged with suffering and woe, his enslaved compatriots will have talked with him for hours on end about their interminable night of bondage. What other theme could have been dearer to the heart of the nostalgic Lascaris? He had not abandoned hope, despite all his vain appeals to the powers of the West: to Charles VIII of France, to Maximilian I of Germany, to Pope Julius II and later Pope Leo X. Though now an old man of eighty, he still had the courage to turn to the all-powerful Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor, and urge him to make an expedition against the East.


There is, incidentally, a rather unimposing piece of verse addressed



1. For various details concerning the editions of the inscription and the discussions of the problems it presents, see N. P. Papageorgiou, Μνημεῖα τῆς ἐν Θεσσαλονίκῃ λατρείας τοῦ μεγάλομάρτυρος Ἁγίου Δημητρίου, ΒΖ 17 (1908) 364-367.


2. Walker, Through Macedonia, p. 44.


3. See Α. Moustoxydes, Ἰωάννης, Γεώργιος καὶ Δημήτριος Μόσχοι, «Ἑλληνομνήμων» 1 (1843) 386. On the subject of John and George Moschos as bibliographers, see S. Lampros, Λακεδαιμόνιοι βιβλιογράϕοι καὶ κτήτορες κωδίκων κατὰ τοὺς μέσους αἰῶνας καὶ ἑπὶ Τουρκοκρατίας, ΝΕ 4 (1907) 347-348, where the relevant bibliography can be found. See also Ém. Legrand, Bibliographie hellénique, ou description raisonnée des ouvrages publiés en grec par des Grecs au XV e et XV Ie siècles, Paris 1885, vol. 1, p. LXXXVIII.


4. Vacalopoulos, Ἱστορία, vol. 1, p. 330,





to Charles V, which lists the Macedonians amongst the Greeks who would readily enlist beneath the French king's banner:


Ἐκεῖ καὶ τῶν Μακεδονῶν γένος καὶ τῶν Κερκύρας,

ὁμοῦ σὺν τῶν Δορραχυνῶν τῆς μάχης καὶ τῆς σπείρας,

σκεδὸν εἰπεῖν, πετώμενοι ἥξονσι προσκυνῆσαι

πάντες τὴν βασιλείαν σου δουλωτικῶς ἐκεῖσε [1].


In areas where there were sizeable Moslem communities, the despairing Macedonians grouped themselves in specific localities, usually around the one or more small churches (see fig. 45) disdained by the Turks, and



Fig. 45. The church of Jesus our Savour in Thessalonica

Fig. 45. The church of Jesus our Savour in Thessalonica.



in this way managed to preserve their cohesion and nationality. Α new class of wealthy men, who had acquired fortunes from trade or were descendants of old Byzantine families, would contribute to the upkeep of these churches and to the repair and reconstruction of others. To this class probably belonged the 'most honourable archon, Sire Comnenos Calocratas' from Veroia, who bore the cost of rebuilding the church of St. Nicholas in 1566, as is recorded in an inscription inside the main doorway [2].



1. G. T. Zoras, Ἰωάννου Ἀξαγιώλου διήγηαις συνοπτικὴ Καρόλου τοῦ Ε', Athens 1964, p. 102.


2. Stamoulis, Συμβολὴ, ΕΜΑ 12 (1962) 49-50. See also Ζ. Ν. Tsirpanlis, Κωνσταντῖνος Καλοκρατᾶς (1589 - 17ος αἰ.), «Μακεδονικὰ» 9 (1969) 266-276.





Gathered round the churches, the Christian settlements constituted veritable isles of safety in a turbulent ocean of bondage and barbarism. This was particularly so in the large towns like Thessalonica. Up to just before 1912, the principal districts inhabited by Greeks were as follows: Áyios Menás, Ayía Theodóra, Gregory Palamás, Néa Panayía, Áyios Konstantínos, Ypapantí, Panagoúda, Panayía Déxia, Áyios Atha-



Fig. 46. Arch of Galerius

Fig. 46. Arch of Galerius.

(M. E. M. Cousinéry, Voyage dans la Macédoine, vol. 1, Paris, 1831, facing page 28)



násios, Áyios Nikólaos, Lagoudianí, and the Monastery of Vlataeon. It can be seen from this that in the area around the Arch of Galerius (Kamára) (see fig. 46) and the Hippodrome — that is to say, the central and south-eastern parts of the city — there was formed a solid nucleus of Greek settlements [1], where right up to recent times houses survived that were built in the genuine, traditional style of Byzantine civil architecture (see figs. 47, 48, 49).


It was in places such as these that the spark of Greek-Christian edu-



1. Vacalopoulos, History of Thessaloniki, pp. 80-81.





Fig. 47. Old house in Thessalonica wiih typical Byzantine architectural features Fig. 48. Old house in Thessalonica wiih typical Byzantine architectural features


Fig. 49. Old house in Thessalonica wiih typical Byzantine architectural features

Figs. 47, 48,49. Old houses in Thessalonica wiih typical Byzantine architectural features.






cation and culture was kept alive. There can be no doubt that elementary schools were functioning in at least the more important towns of Macedonia during the 15th century, as was the case in Constantinople [1].



1. See Vacalopoulos, Ἱστορία, vol. 2, p. 221.


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