The Greek Experience Under Ottoman Rule
June 23-24, 2007
Hosted by Thera Foundation Petros M. Nomikos

Konstantina Andrianopoulou, Social Policies and National Mission: The case of First World War Orthodox Christian Orphans in Istanbul.

In my paper I will attempt to examine aspects of the social policies that the Orthodox community in Istanbul adopted during the Entente occupation era (1918-1922). In particular, my paper will focus on the case of Orthodox Christian orphans from the First World War and the relief policies that the community adopted. The basic archival material used for this paper consists of handwritten notes* that the person in charge of these orphans kept in Istanbul in 1921 after interviews he had with the children.

The specific material is interesting first of all because of its very nature: these notes constitute actually a corpus of several children’s personal stories, which allows us to embrace methodologically notions and concepts of history of childhood. Secondly, it offers us a wide range of information; information concerning both the era –1921–, the place –Istanbul–, the conditions and the children themselves, coming almost exclusively from the lower social strata, which is exactly the part of society we have difficulties in approaching due to lack of sources. Through their stories issues such as inter-communal relations (among Rums, Armenians and Muslims), role of religion and changing of religion (since most of these children were found in Muslim households and were converted to Islam or were taken by the Armenians) during the war period present special interest and will be examined or at least pinpointed in my presentation.

I will also try to analyze my material and place it in a general framework of Ottoman social history with special reference to policies and practices of late Ottoman ‘welfare’ state.

On a second level, I will approach the specific topic focusing on social and political aspects of the Greek Orthodox community in Istanbul. I will attempt to make a short overview of the role, the place and the nature of social policies and philanthropy in the orthodox community in Istanbul and their connection to particular –prevailing at that era– ideologies, social models and perceptions. Of course special reference will be made to the ways in which the head of the community treated its orphans, the importance it accorded to this group of its members and the discourse expressed concerning them.

I will also try to examine the specific topic under the light of the ideology of nationalism. In a period when in occupied Istanbul Greek nationalism was in its heyday the `rescuing` of Orthodox Christian orphans acquires a definite dimension of national-religious duty. It also acquires a numerical dimension in the sense that the Greek Orthodox community of Istanbul tries to prove and legitimize its predominance vis-à-vis the other communities-millets not only ideologically, economically and culturally but also demographically, evoking the cruel reality of numbers.

*I consulted the above mentioned archival material from the Communal Archives of the Rum community in Istanbul (‘Anthemios’) kept in University of Athens, Department of Methodology, History and Theory Sciences.

Evdoxios Doxiadis, Sexual Crimes and Improprieties in Late Ottoman Greece

Sexual crime and sexual improprieties in Ottoman Greece has been a neglected field of study, primarily due to the lack of sources. Unlike much of contemporary, and even earlier, Europe and much of the rest of the Ottoman world where such cases quickly found themselves in front of a judge or kadi, in Ottoman Greece cases of prostitution, adultery, unlawful fornication, or even rape have been rare thus far. By examining a variety of material, however, such as wills, dowry contracts, private correspondence, as well as the correspondence and decisions of the local authorities, we can at least extrapolate some idea regarding the concerns and behavior of the the notables in Ottoman Greece who often doubled as executive and judicial authorities.

The Ottoman judicial system, as well as the administrative one, was characterized by a remarkable diversity which allowed significant autonomy to religious and regional communities. In the Aegean, as in many other parts of Greece, this diversity led to the emergence, and often dominance, of communal executive bodies and courts, usually under the control of local notables. These bodies based their decisions upon customary laws that had their origins in the Byzantine-Roman tradition but which had evolved and changed significantly over the centuries. Few of these laws were codified before the late eighteenth century, thus allowing great flexibility in the rulings of the communal courts and councils. Sexual crime was of course clearly described by Canon as well as by Roman law and included nearly all acts not leading to procreating within a lawfully conducted marriage. The notables and even the population at large, however, do not appear very concerned with applying the penalties, or even persecuting many technically illegal activities. Practices like the infamous “kepinio”, a form of unlawful marriage of limited time duration, though denounced by the Orthodox Church, endured as did the institution of “syggria” in Mani, a form of bigamy. From the cases examined in this paper it becomes evident that the notables were quite willing to tolerate what was generally deemed as immoral behavior for years and even decades, allowing families to deal with such issues by themselves. Dowry contracts and especially wills show that illegitimate children were not rare, nor were cases of what could be prostitution or perhaps concubinage, despite the efforts of parents to control the sexual behavior of their offspring.

There were, however, occasions where the communal authorities asserted their authority over the sexual behavior of individuals in the community, and acted quickly and decisively in matters of sexual crime or sexual improprieties. These few cases present us with an insight into the concerns of these notables. Under certain circumstances sexual misbehavior could threaten the peace and even the cohesion of the community and in extreme cases it could invite the involvement of outside authorities, infringing upon the autonomy and power of the notables. As a result these notables, whether secular or religious, were quick to act in order to preempt such developments, but only when such behavior threatened to escalate and disrupt the community.  When such behavior crossed the boundaries of private behavior and became a public concern, however, the notables were swift to act in order to diffuse the situation, and in order to assert their own authority and power over the community.

Merih Erol, Musicological Debates and Ideological Concerns of Constantinopolitan Greeks in the early 20th Century: "Ecclesiastical Music Society of Constantinople"  

In the second half of the 19th century, the learned groups of the Greek-Orthodox community of Constantinople started to found philological, philanthropical, theatrical, and music societies. The new community regulations of 1862 increased the role of the lay members in the affairs of the community. Besides, a redemptive, nationalist discourse which was being articulated at the University of Athens was disseminated by its graduates who returned back to Constantinople or to their hometowns in Asia Minor. Hellenic Literary Society of Constantinople emerged in 1861 as the first example of a coalition between the economic and the intellectual Greek elites. Not much later, a music society was founded in Pera in 1863 by almost the same intellectual elite group and also with a considerable participation of the prominent church psalters of Constantinople. In the 1860s and 70s, the monuments of the ancient Greek heritage, for instance the ancient Greek drama, stood at the center of the intellectual curiosity and of the cultural identification question of the Greek elites. On the other hand, the musicological theoretical questions which motivated the erudite psalters were not new. But while in the past century the practical liturgical needs concerning the transmission of the musical knowledge had produced efforts to prepare a complete theory of the ecclesiastical music, in the course of the 1880s and 1890s the music of the Nation began to be discussed in the framework of a discourse of continuity. We should also point out that many German and French scholars were writing treatises trying to explain the modal system and the intervals of the Greek-orthodox liturgical music which always brought up the question of a relationship with the ancient Greek modes.

In 1898, when the last ecclesiastical music society was founded by the initiative of the Patriarch Konstantinos V, there was the obvious weight of the musicians or the church chanters that is, people who were able to handle the literature of the European musicology and also who saw themselves as the guardians of the particular style of liturgical chanting which was established since the 18th century in the Patriarchate of Constantinople. On the other hand, among the church psalters since the 1830s there was a long tradition of writing music books explaining the modal system not only of the ecclesiastical but also of the lay music which was shared by the other ethno-religious peoples of the Empire. The titles of these books indicate that the Ottoman Greeks were celebrating the ancient Greece as the cultural source of the contemporary civilization. Yet, it is only in the course of the later decades of the century that a seamless thread of continuity linking the ancient Greek, Byzantine and contemporary Greek musics tried to be proved with the tools of a scientific musical discourse. I believe that the published lectures given by the members of the Ecclesiastical Music Society of Constantinople (1898-1922) which I will use as sources for my presentation, are very useful for our understanding of the Greek nationalist discourse which was articulated through the musicological discussions at the turn of the century.

John-Paul Ghobrial, News from Constantinople: Greek Popular Interest in “High” Ottoman Politics

My dissertation explores the sorts of rumor, news, and political gossip exchanged by the residents of Constantinople in the eighteenth century.  For the Princeton workshop, “The Greek Experience under Ottoman Rule,” I would like to focus on how news related to Ottoman politics circulated amongst a Greek following.1  I intend to do this using one of two methods, both of which I think represent viable ways forward to understanding the Greek experience under Ottoman rule.

The first approach is to draw on Greek folk songs and poetry as a way of assessing how Greeks tuned in to so-called “high” Ottoman politics.  The study of Greek folklore represents a huge field within itself, but few attempts have been made to mine songs and poems for information about Ottoman politics.  This is surprising given that many poems concentrate on various dimensions of Ottoman political life.2  Meanwhile, historians of other societies have demonstrated the value of folklore in understanding larger historical trends.3  Although Greek folklore is too often left to specialists in the realm of cultural or literary studies, Ottoman historians have much to gain from taking such songs more seriously.

For my purposes, Greek popular songs had two important functions.  First, the songs acted as a way of spreading news and information about political events.  Secondly, the lyrics themselves reveal an intimate knowledge of Ottoman political realities on the part of everyday people. The songs offer glimpses of a world that is much different from that described by official literary sources produced by Ottoman elites in the state.

In the presentation, I will draw on European translations of popular songs recorded in the nineteenth century with the following goals in mind.4  First, I will describe the mechanics of the songs and how they functioned in the spread of news.  Secondly, I will draw on a handful of songs as windows into specific political events that took place in the Ottoman world.  Finally, I will assess the extent to which such songs reflect realities of Ottoman political life and, in doing so, I will suggest that the study of folk songs offers one indicator of what Greeks might have known about “high” politics.  At the same time, I will caution against using the songs as a simple reflection of Ottoman realities.  Rather, the Greek songs provide an important indicator of the way in which Greeks imagined the political world in which they lived.

The second approach, which draws on the first, is to take a single news-event and track it as it travels through the Greek community in a variety of media.  This approach is more archival in nature and, therefore, research into the spread of news about single events remains challenging.  Still, through consular reports, travelogues, and the production of songs, it is possible to trace specific events such as news of the final conquest of Crete, the signing of the Treaty of Karlowitz in 1699, and news of the Patrona Halil rebellion in 1730.  While such events were imperial in nature, they impacted upon the lives of many communities under Ottoman rule.

In general, the presentation will highlight how news events (whether articulated through songs or other media) connected Greeks in the Ottoman world.  Such news events were not always necessarily “Greek news,” yet they attracted the attention of large followings and played a formative role in the Greek experience under Ottoman rule.

1 I use the term “following” to designate a group of individuals united primarily by their common interest in a specific news-item.  This is preferable to the use of the term “public” which implies a level of homogeneity within a group that did not necessarily exist.  The point here is to emphasize that different sorts of people could be interested in the same piece of news.
2 In one collection recorded in the nineteenth century, a handful of poems describe political events and personalities in the Ottoman world with such titles: The Sack of Adrianople, The Capture of Constantinople, The Child-Tax, The Sea-fight and the Captive, Seraphim of Phanari, The Slave, Satir Bey, The Capture of Larissa and Tirnavo, and Suleiman Pashina.
3 Robert Darnton’s The Great Cat Massacre and Other Episodes in French Cultural History (New York: Basic Books, 1984) makes a good case for the use of folklore by historians.
4 These collections include John Stuart-Glennie’s Greek Folk-Songs from the Ottoman Provinces of Northern Hellas (London, 1888); Legrand's Recueil de Poèmes historiques(1877) and Chansons populaires grecques(1876); Marcellus’s Chants du Peuple en Grèce(1851); and Sheridan’s The Songs of Greece (1826).

Mathieu Grenet, Entangled Allegiances. A Study in the Definition of a Civic Identity among the Ottoman Greeks in Marseilles (1780-1840)

If “the Greek experience under Ottoman rule” has recently become a major topic of historical investigation, it may seem more than ever necessary to consider this experience beyond the frontiers of the Ottoman Empire itself, taking into account the communities of the Greek diaspora that provide us with a highly interesting and suggestive transnational context. Challenging the two stereotypes of “the Turk” and “the Greek” as the two main components of these communities (and thus questioning a traditional approach of ethnicity and nationality), a third image emerges from our material: the one of a proper Ottoman identity that partially encompasses the ethnic and religious issues on behalf of a more civic definition of the self, a definition that in the Greek case will be radically questioned by the emergence of the Neohellenic State during the late 1820’s and early 1830’s. Until then, Greeks of the diaspora may well have been considered “as being under the Porte’s yoke rather than as being its subjects”1, they were anyway regarded as Ottoman citizens by the officials of their host societies, and thus had to cope with this civic identity.

Special attention will thus be given to a new material recently found both in Turkey, Greece and France, and which will allow me to approach from close the attempts of these diaspora Greeks of Marseilles to define their own civic identity: besides the archives of the Ottoman and Greek consulates in Marseilles, I will thus examine a series of French official reports, as well as other internal papers of the Greek community of Marseilles2. Ultimately, I will articulate my analysis around the study of three cases in which we can see a clear conflict between the different identities and allegiances among the Greeks in Marseilles: first, the fight that opposed in 1798 a Greek trader to the Ottoman consul, himself being a Greek; second, the series of petitions addressed by the Greek-Orthodox to the Marseillese authorities; third and last, the two affairs that torn apart the community in 1825 and 1835, obliging the Greek to take sides between a wealthy Chiot trader accused of having “betrayed the nation”, and an orthodox priest claiming the jurisdiction over the community.

Throughout the thorough study of these three cases I thus intend to bring to light in my paper the way diaspora Greeks coped day after day with their “entangled allegiances”, and how these were in turn a resource and an obstacle. Between conflicts, negotiations and advantages, what will thus emerge from this analysis is a more subtle and complex picture of the Greek community of Marseilles, and a reflection on how the conclusions of such a case-study can be extended to the larger scale of the whole of the Greek diaspora.

1 Paris, Archives du Ministères des Affaires Etrangères, Correspondance Commerciale Odessa, vol. I, f° 228, Letter from Consul Mure [Odessa] to the French Minister of Foreign Affairs (28 décembre 1809) : « Les Grecs sont considérés plutôt sous le joug de la Porte que comme ses sujets. »
2 Most of the material on which I intend to base my study are coming from the following archives : Istanbul: Başbakanlık Osmanlı Arşivleri ; Athens: Geniko Archeio tou Kratous and Istoriko Archeio Ypourgeiou Exoterikon ; Marseilles: Archives Municipales ; Paris: Archives Nationales de France.

Antonis Hadjikyriacou, Accumulating Wealth and Power in Ottoman Cyprus: The Case of Dragoman Hadjigeorgakis Kornesios, C. 1779-1809

Hadjigeorgakis Kornesios appears as one of the most intriguing power holders in the Ottoman history of Cyprus. During his office as Dragoman of the Palace (Saray Tercümanı) he dominated a period of transformations on the island and emerged as perhaps the leading figure in the local Ottoman elite, overshadowing the power of the Muhassıl and Archbishop until his execution in Istanbul in 1809. Despite the fact that Hadjigeorgakis has attracted the attention of many historians, the overwhelming majority of accounts focus on the political aspects of his career, while for traditional Greek-Cypriot historiography he remains, alongside the victims of the 1821 executions in Cyprus, the quintessential example of ‘national martyrdom’. Leaving these limitations aside, his case is particularly enlightening for understanding the economic means by which an individual could rise to such a position of prominence. Conceptualizing the processes with which Hadjigeorgakis rose to, and maintained, power can facilitate our understanding of economic and financial relations, the functioning of the economy, and the concentration of wealth on the island.

Drawing from a range of sources, including Ottoman official reports, Church economic registers, and consular correspondence, the proposed paper will examine the mechanisms of economic power, means of accumulation of wealth, the constitution and functioning of financial networks, as well as the economic opportunities enjoyed by officials at the highest echelons of the island administration. As Dragoman, Hadjigeorgakis had acquired a great fortune and a complex network of patrons and allies in Istanbul, providing him with political support and access to centres of power. In Cyprus, he was situated at the core of his own economic network, with activities ranging from speculative monopolistic price-fixing of goods, international trade, massive land-ownership, money-lending, ship-ownership, and tax-collecting. According to documents relating to the confiscation of his inheritance (muhallefat), the amount of his property exceeded half a million kuruş at the time of his death in 1809.

The execution of Hadjigeorgakis (perhaps not unrelated to the reconfiguration of power in Istanbul, the end of the Nizam-i Cedid, and the accession of Mahmud II) left a vacuum of power in Cyprus. Filling this gap was indeed no simple business and, perhaps unsurprisingly, it was the Church of Cyprus that was endowed with the Dragoman’s administrative and political functions and privileges. However, the manner in which this transfer took place will be dealt with in the paper, as it is indicative of the mechanisms of power at play as well as the financial stakes.

The examination of these issues provides us with an important insight into the functioning of the economy and politics of power in Ottoman Cyprus. What is more, the economic opportunities of those situated at the upper echelons of society and the high concentration of wealth are of particular interest, and might be helpful in understanding the functioning of island societies.

Ayşe Ozil, Some Issues with Respect to the Legal Corporate Identity of the Greek Orthodox Communities in the Late Ottoman Period

For the non-Muslim communities of the Ottoman Empire, the issue of corporate identity and its official recognition by Ottoman law was problematic. This suggests that the concept of ‘community’ defined as a group of people of the same ethno-religious background was put into question with respect to the Ottoman legal structure. The Greek Orthodox (Rum) population of the empire was functioning as local communities in certain areas such as administration or taxation. However, they did not have an official legal identity as corporate bodies. Basically, there was a discord between the legal situation and the practice.

The Greek historiography has mentioned this incongruity in studies of administrative and economic/fiscal issues. Yet scholars touched upon the question of legal acknowledgement as an introductory or a cautionary note. They did not build a necessary connection to the areas where they observed a communal existence. At the same time the incongruity was not historically specified. It became a generalized statement which appeared for the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. On the whole, legal corporate status was not problematised as an issue in itself.      

This paper will attempt to historicize this problem and demonstrate when and how the issue of legal corporate personality mattered for the Greek Orthodox people. There was a particular junction in the late 19th and early 20th centuries when the Ottoman legal-administrative mechanism struggled against the official acknowledgement of their juristic identity. The problem appeared in relation to the proprietorship of common property embodied in the religious and educational institutions. Hence the question will be traced through church/school buildings and land, an area which was perceived by both the Greek Orthodox administrations and the Ottoman state as communal par excellence.

What the direct local experience tells us with respect to the issue is that the acknowledgement of ‘community’ either by the Ottoman state or the Greek Orthodox people cannot be taken for granted and was definitely far from certain. It is this struggle for the community that will be laid out in this paper. This will be situated in its historical context when the Greek Orthodox people felt a need to guarantee their common properties vis-à-vis possibilities of confiscation in an era of modern codification and de-localisation. The question of legal identity emerges as a vital issue which was strictly related to communal existence and continuity. At the same time, I will try to demonstrate whether and if so, how the problem of recognition of corporate personality corresponded to what was happening in practice. What were the connections or disconnections between the law and the practice from the point of view of both the Ottoman state and the Greek Orthodox people?     

In an examination of the issues and problems with respect to the legal corporate identity of the Greek Orthodox communities, the main primary sources of this study are the registers of the community administrative councils (demogerontia) of small towns in north-western Asia Minor, Ottoman imperial decrees as regards to church/school (re)construction in the same area as well as Ottoman legislation which relates to corporate identity.

Eirini Renieri, Greeks and Armenians: Intercommunal Relations in the Vilayet of Adana (mid 19th – early 20th)

The scholar researching the vilayet of Adana is invariably confronted by a number of different “images” which, although referring to the same region, appear to be describing different realities, as epitomized in the use of different terms. The historical and geographical term “Cilicia,” for example, with its references mostly to the Hellenistic and Roman periods, satisfied the perspective of foreign travelers, who laid greater emphasis on the archaeological remains. This was also the term used by the non-Muslim, local population (Armenians, Greek Orthodox, etc.) to describe itself. The Greek Orthodox were the “Greeks of Cilicia” who, after the population exchange (1924), transported their own reality with them to Greece, in which, although they may not have been absent, all the other populations played a marginal role. For the local Armenian population, the region’s glorious past referred to the “Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia,” during the 12th to 14th centuries. Above all, however, the key issue was that of the displacements and slaughters of the first quarter of the 20th century, the final phase of the Armenian Question. This trauma monopolized their own experiences to such a degree that almost no other aspect of life can fit. By contrast, the term “Cukurova,” which is preferred primarily although not exclusively by contemporary Turkish scholars, refers to the geographical region that was directly linked to the European economy, emphasizing its strong economic growth and modernization in the 19th century.

Were the distinctions described above reflected in social reality? Did these people really live parallel lives that never crossed paths or did so only at specific historical moments? To what extent can ideological context, with its own dynamic, and memory overlook or fail to take into account other forms of social and economic co-existence? Based on the historical record of marriages and births as well as communal records of the local Greek-orthodox communities, and oral testimonies of the Greek refugees, my paper will explore questions relating to the intercommunal relations, positive or otherwise, of two different, ethno-religious communities, the Greek Orthodox and the Armenians who lived in this region. I shall attempt to identify the conditions of their relationship, the complexity of the factors that influenced them (local and broader), and demonstrate their historicity. A large proportion of this period is marked by processes that provided a new orientation for the collective consciences of the populations of the Ottoman Empire, who had co-existed for many centuries, putting into motion the mechanisms for a national ideology of identity, primarily through education. Of particular interest to explore is if the formation of the relations between the Greek Orthodox and Armenians of the vilayet of Adana involved policies that were formed in distant centres, such as the Greek state, and if they were influenced by the collaborations within and beyond the Ottoman Empire of Greek nationalist groups with Armenian revolutionary groups or, in addition, if conflicting interests from outside this specific region ultimately marked their intercommunal relations.

Nikos Sigalas, Millet as “Nation” in the Ottoman Literature of the 19th Century: A Critical Approach towards the Dominant Ethno-Religious Paradigm

The idea that the term millet means the various ethno-religious communities that played a particular role in the ‘social structure’ of the Ottoman Empire is a very persistent one in Ottoman Studies. After the critical approaches of Browde and Konortas, the validity of this position has been temporally restricted to the 2nd half of the 19th century, i.e. the period beginning with the Reform Decree (Islahat Fırmanı) of 1856.

Nevertheless, this paper will argue that the history of the concept millet is the reverse of what the aforementioned scholars have suggested. More specifically the term signified until the end of the 18th century the religious community. This meaning of the word originates from the Koran where the word millet means at the same time the religion and the community of the followers or descendants of a prophet or a religious leader, “millet-i Ibrahim” for instance. It is interesting to point out this coincidence between the sense of religion and this of community, dating from the beginnings of the Islamic era – due to the fact that the new religion made its appearance between two other monotheist antagonists, that seemed to deserve its recognition. In this sense the word is used for instance in the common expression din ü millet in the 17th and 18th centuries. From the end of 18th century the term millet starts to move from its traditional use towards a direct translation of the Western concept of nation. It is in this sense that it’s appears within numerous sources of this period, especially at the writings of ambassadors and young students who where send to study in the Western Europe. It is also in this sense that the word millet featuresat the Reform Decree (Islahat fermanı) of 1856, which referred to the religious communities of the empire by employing exclusively the term cemâat. The decree was an expression of the will of the Great Powers to defend the “rights of the Christian nations of the Empire”. It is in this sense that the term millet appears in the text of the famous Islahat fermanı, originally written in French an only translated in Ottoman-Turkish. This perception of the term millet is corroborated by its Greek translation as έθνος (nation) – whereas the adjective milli is translated in Greek as εθνικός (national). In this way, far from being the outcome of a “specifically ottoman” ethno-religious conception, in the 19th century the term millet reflects the gradual nationalization of the perception of the inhabitants of the Ottoman Empire. In addition, the paper aims at discussing the theoretical implications of each of the diverse approaches to the term millet that feature in the historiography of modernization and nationalism in the Ottoman Era.

Katerina Stathi, A Confrontation of Sources for the History of Athens in the late 18th Century

It is a common practice of the historiography about the Greek lands under Ottoman rule, to note the insignificance of Athens before being chosen as the capital of the newborn Greek state. However, the accounts of the time show that this impression is not founded. Indeed, during the whole of the Ottoman period, Athens not only remained a city, but also steadily remained the largest city of the region of Sterea Ellada; besides, it presented a significant urban expansion, outside its medieval limits. In the eve of the Greek revolution of 1821, it was listed among the first ten biggest cities of the South Balkans. It is worth noticing that, whereas the fate of Athens after the Ottoman withdrawal and its transformation into the capital of the young Greek state has attracted the interest of many researchers, the description and documentation of its Ottoman past has been neglected. Furthermore, most of the work that has been done concerning the history of Athens is based on non-Ottoman sources - mainly biographies, chronicles, consular reports and travelers’ accounts.

It is certainly a basic requirement for the documentation of a study such as the present one, to make use of this kind of historical material. Nonetheless, recent research has proved how important (if not compulsory) is the use of Ottoman material for the substantiation and the understanding of the Greek experience of the Ottoman past. In this respect, my paper will consist in cross-checking two different kinds of sources: on the one hand, the Chronicle of Athens Enslaved by Panayis Skouzes, a quite reliable account of the Athenian life during the last quarter of the 18th century. It describes the period between 1775 and 1795, which was dominated by the figure of Hacı Ali Haseki, the voevoda of Athens. The story wants him to be granted the malikâne of Athens by Esma Sultan (sister of Sultan Selim III) and to rule Athens mercilessly and severely until he was deported and hanged after the protests of Athenians. On the other hand, a compilation of different documents such as imperial decrees, judicial and military records as well as land property registers referring to the ill-famed governor, from the Ottoman archives in Istanbul.

The combination of these sources will aim at tracing the interaction - cooperation and tension alike - between the urban Athenian notables and the local Ottoman officials. Furthermore it will help to examine the role of political and social mediators of the city, such as the clergy, in order to explore the power struggle inside Athens. The governing of the city, organized in terms of networks and parallel local hierarchies, will give interesting information about the efficiency of the Ottoman authority. The relations between the group of Ottoman dignitaries in Athens, as the executors of the orders coming from the Ottoman capital and the prominent Athenians can serve as a case study. What- at first sight- looks like a strictly local history will be actually an illustration of a city being included within a broader system of political dominance strategies established by the Ottoman Empire on the territories it subjugated.

Feryal Tansuğ, Greek and Turkish Communal Relations in Izmir between 1826-1864

İzmir became the most important port city for the export trade and the second in the import after the capital in the Ottoman Empire by the 19th century. In the give and take of center-periphery negotiations, İzmir played an important role in the transmission of western ideas to the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century. The central authority attempted to re-integrate İzmir into its administrative and political structure in this century in accordance with the centralizing or repressive modernizing Tanzimat reforms. However, Tanzimat reforms did not disturb social cohesion of İzmir, which the city produced in centuries with its local character and some peculiar dynamics. The state did not aim to mold social relations in İzmir, instead benefited from city’s already existed social-cultural and economic situation, which well suited to its modernization program. My study concerned with the nature of the communal relations and the level of the social interaction between the Greek and Turkish communities in İzmir during the modernizing Ottoman reforms, specifically between the years 1826 and 1864. Analyzing this subject requires understanding the social-cultural and economic dynamics of İzmir that played a crucial role in the formation of the social fabric of the city. In examining these issues, I considered various types of relations, like the impact of the Greek revolt (1821-1830) on the Greek-Turkish communal relations in İzmir, the relationship between the Ottoman state and the Greek community of İzmir during the Tanzimat period (1839-1876), the relationship between the new Greek state and Greek community of İzmir, and the impact of the modernizing –and centralizing– state regulations on the Greek community and the communal life in İzmir. I am most interested in the relations between Greek and Turkish community of the city. This paper focuses on that last aspect of İzmir’s Tanzimat and asks if the available Ottoman-Turkish record can support such a study.

The “court registers” (şer'iyye sicilleri) of İzmir provide a better insight into the debates on the use of urban space and inter communal interaction between the Greek and Turkish communities of the city.  When I am studying these registers, I shifted the data into historical information, which was possible by comprehending the terminology of these registers. Therefore, I based my analysis on the sicil terminology, like explanations of the concepts of icare-yi tavile, örfü belde gediği or zilyet, which helped us to see the long lasting property relations between the Ottoman Greeks and Turks. In addition to the court registers, the documents in the classifications of Ayniyat Defterleri, Meclis-i Vala’dan, which are the genuine registers of “orders,” (buyruldu) and correspondence of the “office of grand vizier” (sadaret), Bab-ı Ali Evrak Odası Sadaret Evrakı Mektubi Kalemi (A.MKT), and Bab-ı Ali Evrak Odası Sadaret Evrakı (A.DVN) in the Prime Ministry Ottoman Archives in Istanbul are other Ottoman-Turkish sources that I used in this study. The documents in these classifications indicate that the center while applying Tanzimat regulations, also continued to benefit from some pre-Tanzimat principles, such as müteselsil kefalet and adet-i belde, to control and provide social order in İzmir. In this paper, giving some typical examples from this material, I discuss how their content helped me to analyze the impact of the Ottoman reforms on the Greek community and the communal relations between the Greek and Turkish communities of İzmir in the age of modernization.