The Albanians: History of the Greek Revolution

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The Albanians: History of the Greek Revolution

Post  Leka on Sat Feb 21, 2009 9:37 am

History of the Greek Revolution
By George Finlay


Published by W. Blackwood and sons, 1861

Original from the University of Michigan


CHAPTER II THE ALBANIANS
PLUTARCH Phaeton was the first who reigned in Albania after the Deluge and he came into Epirus with the Pelasgians



EXTENT OF COUNTRY OCCUPIED BY THE ALBANIAN RACE IN GREECE ALBANIAN MUSSULMANS OF LALLA AND BARDUNIA CHRISTIAN ALBANIANS OF THE DERVENOKHORIA HYDRA AND SFETZAS CHARACTER AND CIVIL INSTITUTIONS OF THE HYDRIOTS THE ALBANIANS FORM A DISTINCT BRANCH OF THE INDO GERMANIC RACE GUEGHS AND TOSKS CHARACTER MANNERS AND SOCIAL CONDITION OF THE ALBANIANS ADMINISTRATIVE DIVISIONS MILITARY INFLUENCE GAINED BY THE ALBANIANS DURING THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY IN GREECE AFTER THE YEAR 1770 POLICY OF ALI PASHA OF Jo ANNINA SULIOTS THE MOST REMARKABLE TRIBE OF ORTHODOX ALBANIANS THEIR RISE AND SOCIAL CONDITION REPEATEDLY ATTACKED BY ALI PASHA LAST WAR THE PRIEST SAMUEL TREACHERY OF SULIOTS CAPITULATION OF SULI FATE OF SULIOTS





THE Albanian race occupies no inconsiderable portion of ancient Greece In the Greek kingdom it numbers about 200,000 souls chiefly cultivators
of the soil though a part forms the most enterprising maritime population of modern Greece Some Albanian colonies settled in Greece before it was conquered by the Ottoman Turks and within the greater part of the limits occupied by the Albanians at the present day the Greeks have been as completely expelled as the Celtic race in England by the Saxon 1 Albanian colonists now occupy all Attica and Me garish with the exception of the towns of Athens and Megara where they form only a portion of the population They possess the greater part of Boeotia and a small portion of Locris near Talanta The southern part of Eubcea and the northern part of Andros the whole of Salamis and a part of Egina are peopled by Albanians In the Peloponnesus they are still more numerous They occupy the whole of Corinthia and Argolis extending themselves into the northern part of Arcadia and the eastern part of Achaia In Laconia they inhabit the slopes of Taygetus called Bardunia which extend to the plain of Helos and crossing the Eurotas they occupy a large district around Monem vasia to the south of the Tzakonians and to the north of a small Greek population which dwells near Cape Malea in the district called Vatika In the western part of the peninsula they occupied a considerable part of the mountains which extend from Lalla to the northeastern corner of Messenia south of the Neda Besides these largsettlements there are some smaller clusters of Albanian villages to the north of Karitena and in the mountains between the Bay of Navarin and the Gulf of Coron The islands of Hydra and Spetzas were entirely peopled by Albanians The extent of country occupied by the Albanian race is more clearly displayed in a colored map than by the most minute description Marathon Platsea Leuctra Salamis Mantinea Ira and Olympia are now inhabited by Albanians and not by Greeks Even in the streets of Athens though it has been for more than a quarter of a century the capital of a Greek kingdom the Albanian language is still heard among the children playing in the streets near the temple of Theseus and the arch of Hadrian Not more than a tenth of the Albanian population settled in Greece professed the Mohammedan religion The most warlike tribes were those of Lalla Bardunia and Carystos in Eubcea


The Albanian Mussulmans of Lalla occupied a healthy and agreeable situation in an elevated plain on Mount Phloe Their scattered habitations formed a great
village rather than a town. The principal men dwelt in towers capable of defense Lalla contained upwards of 3000 inhabitants and about 400 were well armed and well mounted The district of Bardunia took its name from a Byzantine castle high up on the slope of Taygetus near the sources of the river of Passava It
comprised the south eastern declivities of the mountain which run out into a broad ridge overlooking the lower valley of the Eurotas and extending almost to
the sea coast near Marathonisi For three centuries this district was possessed by Albanians who were without any tradition concerning the period at which their ancestors had colonized the country or embraced Mohammedanism It may perhaps be inferred from this ignorance that the Barduniots expelled the Sclavonian population which the Byzantine writers tell us occupied this district at the time of the Turkish conquest and that they embraced Mohammedanism to become landlords instead of peasants. The Barduniots dwelt in fortified towers dispersed over the country and both their situation and their valour enabled them to restrain the forays of the Mani ats in the rich plains of Laconia The exactions of the Barduniot agas were nevertheless often found to be almost as intolerable as the depredations of the Greeks of Mania The whole population was able to arm about 2500 men Between forty and fifty families held a superior
rank in consequence of their large landed possessions. The armatoli were not the only Christians in the Ottoman empire who were authorized to bear arms Several Albanian communities in Greece though entirely composed of Christians received this privilege from the sultan The inhabitants of Megaris who occupied five large villages called Dervenokhoria were particularly favoured by the Porte The care of guarding the passes over Mounts Cithseron and Geranion which lead to the Isthmus of Corinth was in trusted to them and they were relieved from several taxes on the condition that they should furnish a body of armed men constantly on duty The number of armed men in the five villages amounted to about 2000. The most influential though not the most numerous portion of the Albanian population in Greece consisted of the ship-owners and sailors of Hydra and Spetzas and of the boatmen of Poros Kastri and Kranidi The island of Hydra contained nearly twenty thousand inhabitants of pure Albanian race before the Greek Evolution It is a long ridge of limestone rocks with only a few acres of soil capable of cultivation The town is situated near the middle of the island on the channel which separates it from Argolis Seen from the sea it presents a noble aspect forming an amphitheatre of white house’s rising one above the other round a small creek which can hardly be used as a port The houses cling like swallows nests to the sides of a barren mountain which towers far above them and whose summit is crowned by a monastery of St Elias The streets are narrow crooked unpaved lanes but the smallest dwellings are built of stone and near the sea some large and solidly constructed houses give the place an imposing aspect In these houses the wealthy primates of Hydra resided at the breaking out of the Revolution They lived like most Albanians a frugal and it may even be said a penurious life In their dress their education and their character indeed there was very little difference between the primate the captain and the common sailor of Hydra. The rich Hydriot usually displayed his wealth in erecting a large building near the sea which served as a dwelling for his family and a warehouse for his goods In some of the rooms the sails and cordage of his ships were stored in others he lived The Hydriots of every rank displayed the peculiar character of the Albanian race They were proud insolent turbulent and greedy of gain The primates were jealous and exacting the people rude and violent. But both possessed some sterling virtues and they were distinguished from the Greeks by their love of truth and by the honesty with which they fulfilled their engagements there were no traders in the Levant who paid more punctually than the merchants and no sailors who took better care of ship and cargo than the mariners of Hydra. The civil government conceded by the sultan and protected by the captain pasha was entirely in the hands of the ship-owners and retired captains who formed a class of capitalists About the year 1730 when the Albanian colony established itself in the then deserted island in order to escape the exactions of the pasha of the Morea the local administration of the small trading community was in trusted to three elders called in the Albanian dialect plekjeria who were chosen by the people The annual tribute paid to the sultan amounted to 200 piaster’s a sum at that time not equal to 30 sterling When the islanders grew richer and more numerous the number of elders was gradually increased until it reached twelve. But the new settlers never acquired the full rights of the original colonists and the government became an oligarchy which indeed appears to be the type to which political society tends among the Albanians The twelve elders were chosen by the capitalists and formed a municipal council divided into three sections composed of four members Each section acted for four months and met daily to transact business with the governor or head of the police who was a primate of the island named by the captain pasha and commonly
called the Bey.

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Re: The Albanians: History of the Greek Revolution

Post  Leka on Sat Feb 21, 2009 9:43 am

The celebrated capitan pasha Kutchuk Hussein who was a steady protector of the Hydriots and Spetziots was the first who appointed a governor to act as the sultan's representative at Hydra He did so at the request of the Hydriots who found their municipal authorities unable to restrain the turbulence of rival factions or to bring murderers to justice The family of Konduriottis was one of the most ancient and most distinguished in the island It was founded by the younger son of an Albanian peasant of the dervenokhorion of Kundura who settled as a boatman shortly after the expulsion of the Venetians from the Morea and before Hydra received the colony which formed a regular community Lazaros Konduriottis was the head of the family during the Greek Revolution At his marriage his father was assassinated by the bravo of a rival family Old Konduriottis saw Kolodemo whom he knew to be an assassin approaching him covertly during the ceremony Suspecting his design he placed a stool before his body holding it in his hand The murderer however advanced so close that old Konduriottis was forced to hold him at bay with the stool and endeavour to push him towards the door Kolodemo was in danger of being baffled but by stooping down he contrived to stab his enemy with a long knife in the belly and to escape leaving the weapon in the wound This assassination caused the Hydriots to petition the sultan to send a governor with the power of life and death Kutchuck Hussein named a Hydriot called Bulgaris as the first governor in the year 1802 Bulgaris had served with the capitan pasha in the Othoman fleet as quartermaster of the Christian seamen The authority of the Christian bey was not however sufficient to control the turbulence of his countrymen and assassination was never completely suppressed 1 Hydra paid no direct taxes to the sultan but it was obliged to furnish a contingent of two hundred and fifty able bodied seamen to the Othoman fleet and to pay them from the local treasury The expense of this contingent amounted to 16,000 dollars annually Besides this sum about 4000 dollars were annually expended in presents to the capitan pasha to the Greek dragoman of the fleet and to several officials employed at the admiralty and dockyard at Constantinople To raise these sums a tax of five per cent was imposed by the local administration on the gains of every Hydriot and some custom duties were levied at the port The condition of Spetzas was very similar to that of Hydra The population was smaller the proportion of small capitalists was greater and the local administration was more democratic A considerable portion of the coasting trade in the Archipelago was in the hands of the Albanians of Poros Kastri and Kranidi who possessed many decked boats Over this maritime population the Hydriots and Spetziots exercised supremacy.

ALBANIAN RACE
Such was the position of the Albanian race in Greece where its settlements were comparatively modern In its native regions its political importance and moral influence had been constantly increasing during the latter half of the last century and it had attained the acme of its power at the commencement of the Greek Eevolution In Albania a considerable proportion of the population had embraced the Mohammedan religion but the Albanian Mussulmans were detested by Osmanlees and hated by the Greeks Their religion was hardly a matter of conscience with the majority They were less bigoted than the Turks and less superstitious than the Greeks Their avarice was however insatiable and for gold an Albanian Mussulman would willingly serve a Christian master or a Christian Albanian a Mussulman chief even if the service was to be rendered in deeds of blood The Albanian forms a distinct race among the nations of Europe They have been supposed by some to be the representatives of the Pelasgians They call themselves Shkipetar Some suppose them to have occupied the regions they now inhabit before the days of Homer and that they are the lineal descendants of the race to which the ancient Epirots and Macedo nians belonged as cognate tribes Alexander the Great must according to these archaeologists have spoken an ancient Albanian dialect at his riotous banquets with his Macedonian officers The researches of modern philology have established beyond question that the Albanian language is an early offset from the Sanscrit and that its grammar was complete at as old a date as the oldest Greek dialect. Nearly the same boundary separates the Hellenic from the non Hellenic population at the pre ITT1 sent day as in ancient times Thucydides calls the Amphilochians who dwelt at the head of the Gulf of Arta barbarians Strabo says that one race inhabited the whole country from the Acroceraunian Mountains to the borders of Thessaly and to the plain of Pela gonia under the name of Epirots or Macedonians for both spoke the same language 1 Ancient Epirus was filled with Greek colonies and the Greek race is now more numerous than the Albanian in the region immediately to the north of the Gulf of Arta But on the other hand one fifth of modern Greece is at present inhabited by Albanian colonists The inhabitants of Albania of the Shkipetar race consist of two distinct branches the Gueghs who dwell to the north of the valley of the Skumbi and the line of the Via Egnatia That great artery of Roman life now forms a desolate line of separation bet ween the Gueghs and the Tosks The dialects of these two branches are said not to differ more in their grammar than the Scotch of Ayrshire and the English of Somersetshire yet a Guegh and a Tosk are unintelligible to one another at their first meeting Both branches are subdivided into several tribes Among the Gueghs several Catholic tribes retain their semi independence and uphold the Papal supremacy alike against the Mohammedan Gueghs and their northern neighbours the fierce orthodox freemen of Montenegro The Mirdites are considered the most warlike of the Christians They are all Catholics and boast that they are the descendants of the companions and soldiers of Skanderbeg.

The Tosks who dwell to the south of the Skumbi are the neighbours of the Greeks The Albanian colonies in Greece are all composed of Tosks This branch is divided into three great tribes which are again subdivided into many septs the Toskides proper the Lyapides and the Tchamides The Toskides are generally Mussulmans but among the Lyapides and the Tchamides several septs of orthodox Christians retained the privilege of bearing arms even to the time of Ali of Joannina The Albanian aristocracy embraced Mohammedanism in the fifteenth century but a considerable portion of the people did not apostatise until the end of the seventeenth century Their conversion was caused by their desire to escape the tribute of Christian children which compelled them to furnish recruits to the corps of janissaries and to the slaves of the sultan's household As among the Greeks apostacy was common among the higher classes at the time of the first irruptions of the Othomans and a large proportion of the Albanian chiefs retained their property by changing their religion Some of the Albanian beys however claim descent from the Otho man Turks who accompanied Sultan Bayezid I and Murad II in their expeditions and there can be no doubt that Mohammed II made some grants of lands and conceded high offices in Albania to several Turks But in most cases the claim to Turkish descent rests only on a tradition that the ancestor of the present bey received a sanjak or some military fief from one of the sultans already mentioned and in nine cases out of ten these grants were the rewards of apostacy not of previous service Like the Byzantine nobles at the time of conquest the morality of the Albanian chiefs was such that they were not likely to become more wicked by becoming Mussulmans Their change of religion was little more than a change of name and their marriage with three additional wives The ties of family and tribe existed without modification and they attest that the chieftains and the people of Albania have a common origin.

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Re: The Albanians: History of the Greek Revolution

Post  Leka on Sat Feb 21, 2009 9:43 am

The whole of Albania from the Gulf of Arta to the Lake of Skodra is divided into innumerable lateral valleys by rugged mountains which render the communications so difficult as to confine trade to a few lines of transport The agricultural population is thinly scattered in these valleys and as in most parts of Turkey those who cultivate the soil even when they are Mussulmans are considered as forming an inferior grade of society But there is nothing to prevent the peasant since he is free from adopting a military life and rising to wealth and power In general however the soil is cultivated from generation to generation by the same families and for centuries it has been cultivated with the same routine From each yoke of land zevgari the landlord receives a rent paid in produce The peculiarities of Albanian society are most marked in the manner of life among those who are the proprietors of the soil All of this class consider that they are born to carry arms The great landlords are captains and leaders The peasant proprietors are soldiers or brigands Landlords whether large or small possess flocks which supply them with milk cheese and wool olive trees which furnish them with olives and oil and fruit trees which enable them to vary their diet Every landlord who was rich enough to lay up considerable supplies in his storehouses expended them in maintaining as many armed followers as possible and if his relations were numerous and his phara or clan warlike he became a chieftain of some political importance Every Albanian who can avoid working for his livelihood goes constantly armed so that whenever the central authority was weak bloody feuds were prevalent And at the commencement of the present century anarchy appeared to be the normal condition of Albanian society Gueghs Tosks tribes septs pharas towns and villages were engaged in unceasing hostilities open wars were waged and extensive alliances were formed in defiance of the power of the pashas and of the authority of the sultan Most of the towns were divided into clusters of houses called makhalas generally separated from one another by ravines Each makhala was inhabited by a phara which was a social division resembling a clan but usually smaller The warlike habits of the Albanians were displayed even in their town life Large houses stood apart surrounded by walled enclosures flanked by small towers Within these feeble imitations of feudal castles there was always a well stocked magazine of provisions Richly caparisoned steeds occupied the court during the day lean muscular and greedy eyed soldiers covered with embroidered dresses and ornamented arms lounged at the gate and from an open gallery the proprietor watched the movements of his neighbours smoking his long tchi bouk amidst his select friends The wealthy chieftain lived like his warlike followers His only luxuries were more splendid arms finer horses and a longer pipe His pride was in a numerous band of well armed attendants The Christian population of Albania diminished from age to age The anarchy that prevailed during the latter half of the eighteenth century drove many to apostacy and many into exile Colonies of Albanian Christians had emigrated to the kingdom of Naples in the fifteenth century and these emigrants were recruited in the sixteenth by numbers who fled from the burden of severe taxation the exaction of unpaid labour and the terrible tribute of Christian children So many Christians sold their property that the sultans were alarmed at the diminution of the capitation tax and the difficulty of finding the necessary recruits for the janissaries and the bostangees This commenced so early that Suleiman the Magnificent enacted that no Christian proprietor should be allowed to sell his land if the sale tended to diminish these sources of the Othoman power If a rayah disposed of his land or ceased to cultivate it the spahi or timariot of the village was authorised to grant it to another family for cultivation. But no laws can arrest the progress of depopulation as the history of the Roman empire testifies Emigration continued and when emigration was impossible apostacy increased At the commencement of the present century even the Greek clergy admitted that Mohammedanism was rapidly extending in parts of Albania which had previously adhered steadfastly to the Christian faith The administrative divisions of Albania have varied at different periods of Othoman history but the positions of Skodra Berat and Joannina have rendered these cities the residence of pashas to whom the rulers of the districts of Elbassan Dukadjin Del vino and Tchamuria have generally been subordinate These three pashaliks have been held by viziers or pashas of the highest rank Many districts Mohammedan Catholic and orthodox enjoyed a recognised local semi independence protected by the sultan Any common interest united pharas makhalas towns communities and beys in hostile array against a pasha and even against the authority of the sultan But when no danger existed of any external attack on their privileges local feuds and intestine wars revived as fiercely as ever The power and influence of the Albanians steadily increased in the Othoman empire In the East the sword alone commands popular respect and political influence During the last century as the turbulence of the janissaries increased and their military value declined the Albanians rose in consideration and power In every province of European Turkey the Othoman race seemed to decline in courage as well as in wealth and number The Albanians everywhere seized the military power when it escaped from the hands of the Turks Every pasha enrolled a guard of Albanian mercenaries in order to intimidate the ayans and Turkish landlords in his pashalik The tendency of the Othoman government towards centralisation had already commenced though it still remained almost imperceptible amidst the existing anarchy The Albanian mercenaries were used as instruments to advance this centralisation and the power they attained being more apparent than the end for which they were employed even the Turks who have always affected military tastes and habits became imitators of the Albanians At the commencement this century the Greeks from day to day feared the Turks less and the Albanians more The history of the Greek Revolution would often be obscure unless the importance of the Albanian element which pervaded military society in the Othoman empire is fully appreciated A trifling but striking mark of the high position which the Albanians gained was exhibited by the general adoption of dress Though a strong antipathy to the Albanians had been always felt by the Othoman Turks towards the end of the last century they began to pay an involuntary homage to the warlike reputation of the Albanian mercenaries It became then not uncommon in Greece and Macedonia to see the children of the proudest Osmanlees dressed in the fustinello or white kilt of the Tosks Subsequently when Veli Pasha the second son of Ali of Joannina governed the Morea 1 even young Greeks of rank ventured to assume this dress particularly when travelling as it afforded them an opportunity of wearing arms The Greek armatoli and the Christians employed as police guards even in the Morea also wore this dress but it was the fame of the Albanians for the military reputation of the armatoli was then on the decline and that of the Suliots on the ascendant which induced the modern Greeks to adopt the Albanian kilt as their national costume It is in consequence of this admiration of Albanianism that the court of King Otho assumes its melo dramatic aspect and glitters in tawdry tinsel mimicry of the rich and splendid garb which arrested the attention of Childe Harold in the galleries of the palace of Tepelin but the calico fustinello hangs round the legs of the Greeks like a paper petticoat while the white kilt of the Tosk formed of a strong product of native looms fell in the graceful folds of antique drapery The relations of Mussulman and Christian Albanians were much more friendly than the relations of Albanians and Turks The Albanian unlike the Greek felt the bonds of nationality stronger than those of religion The hostile feelings with which he regarded the Othomans originated in the tyranny of Turkish pashas and the avarice of Turkish voevodes cadis and moolahs Against the oppression of these aliens the natives whether Mussulmans or Christians had for many generations acted in common.

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Re: The Albanians: History of the Greek Revolution

Post  Leka on Sat Feb 21, 2009 9:44 am

On the other hand where orthodox Albanians and Greeks dwelt together as in a considerable portion of southern Epirus their common lot as Christians exposed them to the same exactions and effaced the distinction of race The obstinacy of the Albanian and the cunning of the Greek were employed for the same object and exhibited themselves more as individual peculiarities than as national characteristics The power of the Albanians in Greece was greatly increased by the employment of a large body to suppress the insurrection excited by the Russians in 1770 Large bodies of Albanian mercenaries maintained themselves for nine years in a state of merely nominal dependence on the pasha of the province levying contributions from Turks and Greeks alike and setting the authority of the sultan at defiance They were at last defeated near Tripolitza by Hassan Ghazi the great captain pasha and almost exterminated but fresh bands of Albanians were again poured into the Morea by the sultan during the Russian war in 1 78 7 for it was well known that the Greeks regarded these rapacious mountaineers with far greater terror than Turkish troops It was at this time that Ali Pasha became dervendji and about the same period all the pashas in European Turkey greatly augmented the number of Albanian mercenaries in their service This demand for Albanian soldiers which had gone on increasing for at least two generations gave a considerable impulse to population and so many of these mercenaries returned to their native villages enriched by foreign service that a visible improvement took place in the wellbeing of the people about the time Ali was appointed to the pashalik of Joannina The policy of Ali Pasha was to centralise all power in his own hands He followed the plans of his predecessors Suleiman and Kurd in depressing the armatoli and he commenced a series of measures tending to weaken the influence of the Othoman Turks holding property in those parts of Greece and Macedonia subjected to his authority His immediate object was to weaken the power of the sultan its direct result was to improve the position of the Greek race for much of the authority previously exercised by the Othomans in civil and fiscal business passed into the hands of the Greeks and not into those of the Mussulman Albanians whose military authority Ali was constantly extending The Turks in Greece and Macedonia were a haughty ignorant and lazy race but as spahis timariots or janissaries they were affiliated with the most influential classes in the Othoman empire and Ali did not venture to attack them openly Their pride of race as well as their personal interests rendered them the irreconcilable enemies of the independent authority which he desired to establish He therefore carried on an incessant war against them but he conducted this warfare as a series of personal affairs He strove to conceal his general policy but he spared no secret intrigue to gain his ends and often resorted to assassination as the speediest and most effectual means He usually commenced his operations against his enemies by what Bentham calls vituperative personalities and by imputing bad designs as a proof of bad character he generally succeeded in fomenting family quarrels for Turks are childishly credulous He also encouraged the Greeks to complain of acts of injustice and then as the representative of the sultan's despotism he judged the accused If no other means could be found he accused powerful beys of treasonable conduct pretending that they held secret communications with the rebel pashas then proscribed by the Porte or with bands of klephts who were as much a domestic institution in his pashalik as they have since been in King Otho's kingdom In this way he rarely failed to obtain a warrant from the sultan sanctioning the execution of his enemy By pursuing this policy steadily for more than a quarter of a century most of the Osmanlees in Thessaly were impoverished and several of the principal families ruined The towns everywhere showed signs of decay the best houses in the Turkish quarters were often tenanted by Greek or Vallach traders or occupied by Albanian officers While the wealth and numbers of the Turkish race diminished Ali took care to invest his own Albanian followers with the military authority he wrung from the hands of the Osmanlees but the increasing influence of the Albanian race during the early part of the present century was not confined to the increase in the numbers and power of the Mussulman soldiery nor to the augmentation of the commercial enterprise of the maritime population of Hydra and Spetzas Several warlike Christian tribes still retained the privilege of bearing arms in Albania In northern Albania these tribes were Catholic but in southern Albania they were orthodox and among the orthodox the Suliots were pre eminent for their warlike qualities even among the warlike population by which they were surrounded

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Re: The Albanians: History of the Greek Revolution

Post  Leka on Sat Feb 21, 2009 9:45 am

The Suliots were a branch of the Tchamides one of the three great divisions of the Tosks The constitution of their community deserves notice The Suliots inhabited a district consisting of steep ranges of bare and precipitous mountains overlooking the course of the Acheron that river uniting with the Cocytus in its lower course forms a marshy lake and renders the country at its mouth so unhealthy that it was considered the shortest road to the realms beyond the
grave In the immediate vicinity of Suli the moun tains afford only a scanty pasture for goats but when they ascend broad ridges spread out covered with oaks and when they rise still higher their loftier summits protrude in rocky peaks above forests of pine The strength of Suli lay in the difficulty of approaching it with a large body of men and of attacking well trained riflemen in stone buildings without ar o tillery The deep and dark ravine of the Acheron renders Suli inaccessible in front The lair of the Suliots lies imbedded in a lateral valley covered by two rocky hills where a confluent joins the black waters of the Acheron The approach is by a gorge lower down called Kleisura which separates the mountain fastnesses from the fertile plains Under the Byzantine emperors it appears that the rich and well watered soil of the lower valleys maintained a numerous population The district was once a bishop's see whose cathedral church stood near the entrance of the Kleisura At present the former population is represented by the Mussulman proprietors of Paramythia and Margariti When Sultan Murad II conquered Joannina the whole country to the shores of the Ionian Sea submitted to Mussulman domination The territory afterwards occupied by the Suliots was granted as a military fief to a timariot who resided at Joannina Christian liberty and Suliot independence were in this district the growth of later years For centuries the Christians paid haratch and the tribute of their children The anarchy that prevailed during the victorious campaigns of the Venetians under Morosini and the cession of the Morea by the treaty of Car lovitz in 1699 compelled many Christians to form armed companies for their protection against lawless bands of brigands As the orthodox Greeks were at that time generally as little disposed to oppose the sultan's government as they were to unite with the Catholic Venetians the pashas of Albania and northern Greece favoured the military ardour of the orthodox communities Some of the companies of armed Christians which have been confounded with the ancient armatoli date only from this period and the community of the Suliots cannot be traced to an earlier origin In the year 1730 the number of Suliot families which enjoyed the privilege of bearing arms was estimated at one hundred The precise year when the right was officially recognised by the pasha of Joan nina is not known The armed Suliot were the guards of a small Christian district over which they exercised the authority of feudal superiors Their own property was small but they formed a military caste and despised all labour as much as the proudest Mussulman The soil in the richest portion of their territory was cultivated by peasants who were of the Greek race The name of Suliots was reserved for the Albanian warriors who ruled and protected the agricultural population like the ancient Spartans The peasants were distinguished by the name of the village in which they dwelt Anarchy prevailed in the greater part of southern Albania during the early part of the eighteenth century and many Christians of the tribe of the Tchamides sought refuge from the Suliot community Its protection prevented the Mussulman communities in the neighbourhood from encroaching on the rights of any Christians who acknowledged themselves its vassals But about the middle of the century they extended this protection so far as to become involved in feuds with their Mussulman neighbours The hostilities which ensued induced the Suliots to recruit their force by admitting every daring and active young Christian of the tribe of the Tchamides to serve in their ranks If any of these volunteers distinguished himself by his courage and was fortunate enough to gain booty as well as honour he was admitted a member of the Suliot community and allowed to marry a maiden of Suli In this way the community increased in numbers and in power It was favoured by the sultan's government as a check on the lawless independence of the Mussulman communities of Paramythia and Mar gariti and it was supplied with arms and ammunition and encouraged to defend its independence by the Venetian governors of Parga and Previsa Many attacks were made on Suli by the Mussulman agas of the vicinity but they were always repulsed with such success that the Suliots gradually acquired the reputation of being the best warriors among the warlike Tosks The state of Suli now became an epitome of the state of Albania The community was divided into pharas The chiefs of the pharas formed alliances abroad in order to increase their influence at home and the pharas were sometimes involved in civil broils The assistance of the principal pharas was often solicited and richly remunerated by the neighbouring Mussulmans in their private feuds The Suliot leaders like the other Albanian chiefs of pharas collected as many armed followers as possible but their revenues were scanty and the constitution of the Suliot community was democratic so that the only way to reward followers was to make successful forays on the lands of those neighbours who refused to purchase immunity from depredation Like most highlanders who dwell on barren mountains overlooking fertile plains they levied contributions with unsparing rapacity when ever they could do so with impunity Depredation they honoured with the name of war and war they considered to be the only honourable occupation for a true Suliot The poverty of this territory which the Suliots held in property and their numbers compared with the revenues of the district over which their protection extended rendered it impossible for them to subsist in idleness without plundering their neighbours When Ali Pasha assumed the government of Joan nina in the year 1788 many complaints were made of the lawless conduct of the Suliots Shortly before his nomination they had pushed their forays into the plain of Joannina and rendered themselves so unpopular that Ali deemed they were not likely to find any allies In pursuance of his policy of centralising all power in his own hands he resolved to destroy all the independent communities in his pashalik whether Mussulman or Christian Prudence required him to commence with the Christians and circumstances appeared to favour his operations against the Suliots But when he attacked them all their neighbours were alarmed recent injuries were forgiven and new alliances were formed Mussulman beys and the Venetian governors of Parga and Previsa supplied them secretly with aid and the first attacks of Ali on their territory were repulsed without much difficulty The intrigues of Russian agents drew the attention of the sultan to the affairs of Suli in 1792 and Selim III ordered Ali to renew his attacks on a spot which was now looked on at the Porte as a nest of treason as well as a nursery of brigandage Russia having abandoned her orthodox partisans at the peace of Yassi Ali again attacked the Suliots Their power was now so great that Suli formed a little republic Upwards of sixty villages and hamlets inhabited by Christian peasants paid tribute to the Suliots That tribute it is true consisted only of a small portion of the produce of the soil The Suliot territory at this time extended over all the mountain district on both sides of the Acheron as far as the western bank of the Charadra But the community of Suliots consisted of only 450 families divided into nineteen pharas or unions of families The military force did not exceed 1500 men Local disputes were violent among the chiefs of the pharas and the inextinguishable jealousies of Albanian society had caused the Suliots to divide their habitations into four distinct villages or mak halas called Kako Suli Kiapha Avariko and Samon eva The name of Kako Suli recalls that of Kakoilion in the Odyssey It was a name of terror in Albania as well as of hate and evil omen.

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Re: The Albanians: History of the Greek Revolution

Post  Leka on Sat Feb 21, 2009 9:46 am

The attack of Ali on Suli in the year 1792 failed completely His numbers enabled him to force the Kleisura from the south and to gain temporary possession of Kako Suli by assault But the troops of the pasha were unable to keep the position they had won and their loss in the vain attempt was so severe that in retreating from the village they abandoned all their advanced positions in the valley Many beys were deserted by their followers others quitted Ali's camp and the desertion became so general that he himself returned hastily to Joannina His hostilities lasted only three weeks but the activity and daring displayed by the Suliots in the incessant skirmishing which they carried on added greatly to their military reputation Unfortunately their confidence in their own powers became from this time so overweening that they pursued a more selfish policy than before They began to fancy that their alliance was a matter of importance to the Emperor of Russia and the Republic of Venice and they exercised their authority over the Christians in their territory with increased severity and plundered their Mussulman neighbours with greater rapacity In the mean time the power of Ali increased steadily He seized the wealth of many rich agas he murdered many powerful beys and he reduced several independent communities to subjection In the spring of 1798 he gained possession of the territory of one of the Christian communities from which the Albanian regiments in the Neapolitan service had drawn their recruits Ali surprised Nivitza on the coast of Chimara with the assistance of the French general who commanded at Corfu in the most treacherous manner and when he gained possession of the place he put all the inhabitants to the sword with his usual cruelty In the autumn of the same year he repaid the French for the criminal concessions they had made to win his favour by obeying the sultan's orders and driving them from their possessions in the south of Epirus After defeating their forces at Nicopolis he compelled them to surrender the fortresses of Previsa and Vonitza Ali once more turned his arms against the Suliots whose intrigues with Russia and France had excited the indignation of the sultan and the alarm of the Mussulman population of southern Albania He now employed secret treachery as a more effectual means of victory than open hostility The rivalries and dissensions of the pharas enabled him to gain over several chiefs who entered his service as mercenary soldiers He also contrived to seize and retain several members of the Suliot families who opposed his schemes as hostages at Joannina Photo Djavella the most powerful Suliot became his partisan and George Botzaris with all his phara entered his service and was employed to guard the lands of the Mussulman and Christian cultivators of the soil lying between the Suliot territory and the plain of Joannina from the forays of their countrymen By this defection the community lost the services of seventy families and of about a hundred good soldiers.
Hostilities were commenced in 1799 George Botz aris commenced operations by attacking the advanced post of his countrymen at Redovuni with a body of two hundred Christian troops in Ali's service but he was completely defeated and died shortly after As usual in similar cases of treachery and sudden death report said that he was poisoned Report however said that most of the deaths in the dominions of Ali Pasha at this time were caused by poison so that if these reports deserve credit the trade in deleterious drugs must have formed a flourishing branch of commerce in the pashalik of Joannina Treason is contagious and Ali did everything in his power to propagate the contagion He made high offers to most of the Suliot chiefs but his faithlessness was too notorious for him to gain many partisans At last he addressed himself to the whole community He declared that he was resolved to repress all depredations and as it was difficult for the Suliots to obtain the means of subsistence in their mountains he invited them to emigrate to fertile lands which he offered to cede to them If they refused his offer he threatened them with implacable hatred incessant hostilities and inevitable extermination To the chiefs of the pharas he made secret offers of money and pensions to those who would quit Suli His offers were rejected for it was evident that his object was only to sow dissension among the people and prevent the chiefs from acting cordially together
The experience Ali had gained by his defeat in 1792 prevented his making any attempt to storm the stronghold of the Suliots a second time During 1799 and 1800 he confined his operations to circumscribing the forays of the Suliots by occupying a number of strong positions which he fortified with care In this way he succeeded in shutting them up within narrow limits The Suliots at this time were unpopular and neither the Christian cultivators of the soil nor the Greeks in general showed much sympathy with their cause Indeed many Greek captains of armatoli served against them in the army of Ali In the summer of 1801 hunger began to be severely felt at Suli and numbers of women and children were removed to Parga from whence they were conveyed to Corfu which was then occupied by the Russians by whom they were well received To prevent further communications with Parga which was now the only friendly spot in Epirus the pasha strengthened his posts to the westward and to deprive the Suliots of all hope of assistance from the orthodox he induced the Greek clergy to declare against them Ignatius the metropolitan of Arta wrote a circular to his clergy forbidding the Christians in his diocese affording the Suliots any assistance under pain of excommunication Ali himself dictated a letter to the bishop of Paramythia in the name of his superior the metropolitan of Joannina ordering him to employ all his spiritual influence against the Suliots as a predatory and rebellious tribe 1 The final struggle took place in 1803 The sultan supposed not without some reason that Ali connived at the prolongation of the war for it seemed impossible that the Suliots could have resisted the power of the pasha of Joannina for more than four years if that power had been vigorously employed Information having been transmitted to Constantinople that the Suliots had procured considerable supplies of ammunition from French ships the Porte sent peremptory

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Re: The Albanians: History of the Greek Revolution

Post  Leka on Sat Feb 21, 2009 9:46 am

orders to Ali to press the siege of Suli with greater activity Hitherto the Suliots attended by their wives had often passed through the lines of the besieging force during the night and plundered distant villages The booty and provisions obtained in these expeditions were carried back by the women who were accustomed to transport heavy burdens on their shoulders over paths impracticable to mules New posts and additional vigilance cut off this resource The hero of Suli was a priest named Samuel who had assumed the strange cognomen of The Last Judgment It was said that he was an Albanian from the northern part of the island of Andros but he appears to have concealed his origin for a hero in the East must be surrounded with a halo of mystery though Samuel may have wished to erase from his memory everything connected with the past in order to devote his soul to the contest with the Mussulmans which he considered to be his chief duty on earth He was an enthusiast in his mission and as he was doing the work of Christ he cared little for the excommunication of servile Greek bishops The Suliots who generally regarded every stranger with suspicion received Samuel when he first came among them as a mysterious guest with respect and awe At last in the hour of peril they elected him though a priest and a stranger to be their military chief Religious fervour was the pervading impulse of his soul His virtue as a man his valour as a soldier his prudence when the interest of the community was concerned and his utter abnegation of every selfish object caused him to be generally recognised by the soldiers of all the pharas as the common chief without any formal election His personal conduct remained unchanged by the rank accorded to him and except in the council and the field he was still the simple priest As he never assumed any superiority over the chiefs of the pharas his influence excited no jealousy On the 3d of September 1803 the troops of Ali gained possession of the village of Kakosuli in consequence of the treachery of Pylio Gousi who admitted two hundred Mussulman Albanians into his house and barn during the night Gousi sold his country for the paltry sum of twelve purses then equal to about 300 sterling which was paid to him by Veli Pasha Ali's second son who conducted the siege The traitor pretended that his object was to obtain the release of his son in law who was retained by Ali as a prisoner at Joannina He considered affection to his own family an apology for treason to his country but he took care to receive its price in money About the same time another Suliot named Koutzonika also deserted the cause of his countrymen The defence of the Suliot territory was now hopeless One of the two hills which cover the approach to the ravine of Suli called Bira had been abandoned by the pharas of Zervas two months before the treason of Gousi Treachery placed the besiegers in possession of Kakosuli and Avariko The second hill called Kughni and the village of Kiapha were the only strongholds left to the Suliots Samuel had charge of the magazines on Kughni and the position was defended by three hundred families The men guarded the accessible paths posted behind low parapets of stone called meteris and the women carried water and provisions to these intrench ments under the fire of the besiegers who treated them as combatants The number of women slain and wounded during the defence of Kughni was consequently proportionably great The little garrison dug holes in the ground under the shelter of rocks and these holes when roofed with pine trees thick layers of branches and well beaten earth formed a tolerable protection from the feeble artillery of the pasha's army Ali was extremely anxious to secure the persons of several Suliot chiefs The indulgence of his revenge was one of his greatest pleasures He therefore ordered Veli to treat with Photo Djavella determined if he could find an opportunity of seizing any of the Suliot chiefs to violate the treaty which his son might have concluded A capitulation was signed on the 12th of December 1803 by which the Suliots surrendered Kughni and Kiapha to Veli Pasha and Djavella Drako and Zerva with their pharas were allowed to retire to Parga Ali in the mean time sent orders to place an ambuscade on the road to Parga and seize the Suliot chiefs but the agas of Paramythia and some of the armatoli in Veli's army hearing of the movement sent secret warning to the Suliots who by a rapid march and a sudden change of route at the point of danger baffled the treacherous designs of the pasha Samuel refused to trast to any capitulation with Ali or his sons whom he knew no oath could bind The fall of Suli seemed to terminate his mission When the Suliots had quitted the hill of Kughni he retired into the powder magazine with a lighted match declaring that no infidel should ever employ ammunition intrusted to his care against Christians and he perished in the explosion.

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Re: The Albanians: History of the Greek Revolution

Post  Leka on Sat Feb 21, 2009 9:47 am

The selfish Suliots who had concluded separate treaties with Ali Pasha Botzaris Koutzonika and Palaska obtained nothing but disgrace by abandoning their countrymen They had taken up their residence at Zalongo under a promise of protection but AH as soon as he gained possession of Kiapha sent a body of troops to attack them by surprise About one hundred and fifty persons were seized and reduced to the condition of slaves Twenty five men were killed defending themselves and six men and twenty two women threw themselves over a precipice behind the village to avoid falling into the hands of their inhuman persecutor Albanian soldiers on returning to Joan nina declared that they saw several young women throw their children from the rock and then spring down themselves The bodies of four children were found below Botzaris succeeded in collecting together about two hundred persons and the resistance he and his companions offered to their assailants enabled this body to escape The soldiers of Ali were not so bloody minded as the pasha After some skirmishing Botzaris was allowed to retire with the women and children to Parga But the cruelty of Ali was insatiable He ordered Suliot families who were living dispersed in different places to be murdered and he sent seventy families who had surrendered at the commencement of hostilities and whom he had treated with kindness until Suli capitulated to inhabit the most unhealthy spots in his pashalik The Suliots who escaped to Parga passed over into the Ionian Islands where they were hospitably received by the Russians Many entered the Russian service but when the treaty of Tilsit transferred the possession of the Ionian Islands to France most of the Suliots passed from the Russian into the French service Only a few who like Palaskas were unpopular for their conduct during the fall of Suli quitted Corfu with the Russians
Ali Pasha constructed a strong fort at Kiapha and converted the church of St Donatos the patron saint of Suli into a mosque A few Mussulman Albanians from the pasha's native town of Tepelin were established as guards of the district instead of the Suliots The Christian peasants returned to cultivate the soil and for several years they found the agents of the pasha less exacting and rapacious masters than the proud and needy Suliots The only Christian communities in southern Albania which now preserved the right of bearing arms were the inhabitants of some mountain villages amidst the barren rocks of Chimara Such was the position of the orthodox Christians of the Albanian race in the pashalik of Joannina when Ali Pasha was declared a rebel by Sultan Mahmud.

The treachery of Botzaris and Koutzonika is mentioned in a popular song on the fall of Suli
Heaven's curse on you 0 Botzaris
And you too Koutzonika
Sad was the work you did
This summer

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Re: The Albanians: History of the Greek Revolution

Post  Leka on Sat Feb 21, 2009 9:47 am

CHAPTER III SULTAN MAHMUD AND ALI PASHA OF JOANNINA



Tyranny must be Though to the tyrant thereby no excuse Paradise Regained xii 95 CHARACTER or SULTAN MAHMUD STATE OF THE OTHOMAN EMPIRE ALI PASHA OF JOANNINA ALI'S CRUELTY ANECDOTE OF EUPHROSYNE ANECDOTES op THE BISHOP OF GREVENA AND OF IGNATIUS METROPOLITAN OF ABTA DESTRUCTION OF KHORMOVO AND OF QARDHIKI SULTAN MAHMUD ALARMED AT ALl's POWER ALl'S ATTEMPT TO ASSASSINATE ISMAEL PASHA BEY Ail DECLARED A REBEL PLANS AND FORCES OF ALI SULTAN'S MEANS OF ATTACK ALI CONVOKES A DIVAN BOTH BELLIGERENTS APPEAL TO THE GREEKS OPERATIONS AGAINST ALI HE is DESERTED BY HIS SONS RECALL OF THE SULIOTS TO ALBANIA THEY JOIN ALI KHUBSHID NAMED SERASKIER CONDITION OF THE SULIOTS ON THEIR RETURN THEIR MILITARY SYSTEM OPERATIONS IN 1821 CONDUCT OF KHUBSHID BEFORE JOANNINA COMPARED WITH THAT OF PHILIP V OF MACEDON SULIOTS JOIN THE CAUSE OF THE GREEKS MISSION OF TAHIR ABBAS TO THE GREEKS DEATH OF ALL IN the year 1820 the Othoman empire seemed to be on the eve of dissolution Ali Pasha was in open rebellion at the head of a warlike nation and with reasonable hope of establishing an independent throne in Albania An insurrection of the Greeks was also awaited with some anxiety by almost every Christian in the Levant excepting the English consuls Sultan Mahmud II then ruled Turkey He ascended the throne in the year 1808 in his twenty fifth year after a series of revolutions at Constantinople caused by the attempts of his cousin Sultan Selim III to reform the public administration and introduce military discipline in the corps of janissaries Selim who was dethroned in 1807 had neither energy nor talent His successor Mustapha IV lost his crown and life after murdering his cousin Selim in order to retain them by a revolution that seated his younger brother Mahmud on the throne Mahmud II had reigned twelve years yet few of his subjects were acquainted with his personal character The fate of his cousin and brother warned him of the danger in attempting to reform the abuses which if they remained unreformed would inevitably cause the dissolution of the Othoman empire at no very distant day Mahmud revolved the condition of his empire and the difficulties of his own position constantly in his mind and he persuaded himself that in order to restore vigour to his empire it was necessary to begin by centralising all power in his own hands His own prudence and the seclusion of the serai enabled him to conceal his ambitious projects while the iron firmness of his character enabled him to perfect the design which for years he was compelled to keep in abeyance The personal appearance of Mahmud may be known to many from the numerous portraits which represent it with tolerable accuracy His face was sallow and his beard naturally dark wras artificially stained of a shining black His expression was that of sombre melancholy rather than of stern severity it was repellent though not offensive There was however something so artificial in his whole appearance in public that a physiognomist might have been baffled by the unvarying mask with which Othoman etiquette clothes a sultan's countenance He was of middle stature but as like most Turks he had short legs he appeared tall when on horseback or when seated Sultan Mahmud was long deemed a cruel and bloodthirsty tyrant and death was for many years the lightest punishment he ever inflicted It was said that he ordered all the females of his brother's harem to be thrown into the Bosphorus and few travellers entered the court of the serai without seeing a head or a pile of ears and noses exposed in the niches at the gate Dead bodies hanging from shop fronts or stretched across the pathway of a narrow street were sights of daily occurrence and proved that the sultan was indifferent to human suffering and regardless of human life Yet he was really neither cruel nor bloodthirsty The terrible punishments he inflicted were the result of habit and policy not of passion When his absolute power was firmly established he ceased to inflict the cruel punishments which he had employed as a means of intimidation The administration of his latter years was comparatively mild Now certainly innate cruelty could not after long indulgence have assumed the mask of humanity but policy may render a prince either cruel or merciful as he deems it expedient for his purpose The fact is that Mahnmd though he possessed little sympathy with humanity restrained and ultimately subdued the Oriental ferocity which had from time immemorial formed a characteristic of the government of the Sublime Porte When we count the num ber of lives sacrificed by public executions in the early years of his reign it must not be forgotten that the power of life and death was then vested not only in the grand vizier and the provincial pashas but was also intrusted to the governors of petty fortresses and to the captains of single frigates Sultan Mahmud was a thoughtful stern and obstinate man whose strongest characteristic was an inflexible will not violent passions The restraint with which he long suppressed his feelings and the patience with which he waited for opportunities of carrying his plans into execution misled many acute observers into the belief that he was a weak prince Ali Pasha of Joannina was one of those who mistook the character of his master Few European statesmen in 1820 believed that it was possible to arrest the decline of the Othoman empire many expected its immediate dissolution Yet some competent authorities asserted that the reorganisation of the sultan's administration was not an impracticable enterprise in the hands of an able and energetic sultan and that its success would restore strength to the Othoman empire 1 Both foreign relations and internal affairs however presented great difficulties to a reformer Turkey was not comprehended in the general system of territorial guarantees established by the treaty of Vienna This circumstance favoured the Russians in their schemes of aggrandisement and the Greeks in their projects of revolution The Mussulman population of European Turkey was visibly declining both in wealth and number This decline commenced when the Othomans ceased to recruit their ranks with tribute children slaves captured in war and apostates By some inexplicable social law a dominant race almost invariably consumes life and riches more rapidly than it supplies them In the Avide extended empire of the sultan the whole military service was performed by the Mussulmans and in all foreign wars and domestic hostilities the loss always fell heaviest on the Turkish race The prejudices of a warlike people prevented the Othomans from engaging in those occupations in which wealth is most securely accumulated and if they were not entirely an aristocratic class they were invariably a privileged caste of the population.

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Re: The Albanians: History of the Greek Revolution

Post  Leka on Sat Feb 21, 2009 9:48 am

The long duration of the Othoman empire in Europe is a historical marvel No other government ever combined so much political wisdom with so great a mass of social corruption Taxation was always op pressive to the agricultural population justice was corrupt so that in these two departments the Mussulmans suffered as much from the vices of the administration as the Christians Yet with all its defects the sultan's government retained hostile races and rival religions in daily intercourse without dangerous collisions and ruled subject nations for generations without goading them to rebellion Its peculiar feature was that it always remained disconnected from every nation and race in its dominions The sway of the sultan was not politically more closely identified with the supremacy of the Turkish than of the Arabic race The theory of the government even as late as the year 1820 was that Sultan Mahmud was the despotic master of the empire and that viziers and pashas exercised their authority in his name as his household slaves The empire seemed to be perishing from tyranny and weakness Its tyranny had produced universal discontent and among the Christians an eager desire to throw off its yoke Its weakness invited ambitious pashas and lawless tribes to live in open rebellion In some provinces the sultan's authority was lost Algiers Tunis and Tripoli were virtually independent Egypt had been so under the Mamelukes and under Mohammed Ali its allegiance was still doubtful Syria Servia Bosnia and a part of Bulgaria had been recently in a state of revolt The Curds of Armenia and the Arabs of Mesopotamia paid the sultan only a nominal allegiance Ali Pasha of Joannina had long acted as an independent vassal and had been treated as a sovereign both by France and England Many Dere beys whose castles commanded only a single valley claimed a kind of feudal independence on the ground that they held their lands from the time of the Seljuk empire in Asia Minor on the tenure of military service alone The janissaries and the ulema in Constantinople were not more loyal than the feudal chieftains in the distant provinces Anarchy and rebellion prognosticated the fall of the empire as inevitable to statesmen Omens and prophecies were cited as evidence that the fall was near by the people The Greeks revived the prophecies which their ancestors had repeated when the Belgian Baldwin became master of Constantinople and was proclaimed Emperor of the East Alexander I of Russia was theflavus Rex and the Turks represented the corrupted Greeks of the Byzantine empire The voice of nations attributed to Ali Pasha of Jo annina the energy and talent which Sultan Mahmud was supposed to want His policy had increased the power of the Albanian race and to the careless observer it appeared to rest on the firm adherence of a warlike nation The Greeks were thriving in his dominions and appeared satisfied with his government Political speculators proclaimed that his independence would soon be established by a successful rebellion Ali was a type of the Albanian character With all his energy and activity he was a mere savage He was borne forward to power by circumstances whose current he followed but which he was unable to control or guide As a ruler he exhibited the qualities of an astute Albanian chieftain corrupted by exercising the despotic authority of a Turkish pasha The ancestors of Ali were Christians who embraced Mohammedanism in the fifteenth century though to Osmanlees and strangers he sometimes pretended that he was descended from a Turk of Brusa who had received a zeamet from Sultan Bayazid I To his native clansmen he made no such boast His family dwelt at Tebelin a small town composed of a cluster of forti fied houses inhabited by wealthy Mussulman landed proprietors The agas of Tebelin enjoyed a degree of local independence which was maintained by something like a regular municipal organisation But the intense selfishness of the Albanian race broke out in frequent quarrels and kept the place always on the verge of anarchy The great grandfather of Ali Mutza Yussuf 1 raised himself to considerable power by his personal valour From him the phara of which he was the chieftain assumed the name of Mutzochusats In Albania it is worthy of remark that as in Greece in the time of Homer no genealogy is carried by name beyond the great grandfather of the most distinguished man Mukhtar Bey the son and successor of Mutza was slain at the siege of Corfu fighting against Schulem burg Veli the third son of Mukhtar was accused of poisoning his two elder brothers to secure the chieftainship Perhaps he poisoned himself for like his brothers he died young Ali the infant son of Veli was left to the care of his mother whose relationship to Kurd Pasha of Berat a powerful Albanian chieftain secured protection to the infant.

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Re: The Albanians: History of the Greek Revolution

Post  Leka on Sat Feb 21, 2009 9:48 am

The young Ali grew up in lawless habits Sheep stealing involved him in local feuds and falling into the hands of an injured neighbour he was only saved from death by the interference of Kurd Pasha He then entered the sultan's service and was employed by Kurd as a guard of the dervens He was brave and active restless in mind and body and utterly destitute of all moral and religious feeling but his good humour made him popular among his companions and he displayed affection to the members of his family and gratitude to his friends As he grew older and rose in power he became like most Albanians habitually false and regarding cunning as a proof of capacity his conversation with strangers was usually intended to mislead the listeners During his long and brilliant career his personal interests or passions were the sole guides of his conduct Within the circle of Albanian life his experience was complete for he rose gradually from the position of a petty chieftain to the rank of a powerful prince yet his moral and political vision seems never to have been enlarged for at his greatest elevation selfishness obscured his intellect and avarice neutralised his political sagacity His ambition in some cases was the result of his physical activity Ali like every Albanian or Greek who has risen to great power by his own exertions ascribed his success solely to his own ability and his self conceit persuaded him that his own talents were an infallible resource in every emergency He thought that he could deceive all men and that nobody could deceive him and as usually happens with men of this frame of mind he overlooked those impediments which did not lie directly in his path As an Albanian a pasha and a Mohammedan he was often swayed by different interests hence his conduct was full of contradictions At times he acted with excessive audacity at times with extreme timidity By turns he was mild and cruel tolerant and tyrannical but his avarice never slept and to gratify it there was no crime which he was not constantly ready to perpetrate The boasted ability of Ali was displayed in subduing the Albanians cheating the Othoman government and ruling the Greeks His skill as the head of the police in his dominions gave strangers a favourable opinion of his talents as a sovereign He found knowledge useful in his servants he therefore favoured education His household at Joannina had all the pomp and cir cumstance of an Eastern court but it had no feature more remarkable than a number of young pages engaged in study The children of Albanian Mussulmans might be seen in one antechamber reading the Koran with a learned Osmanlee while in another room an equal number of young Christians might be seen studying Hellenic grammar with a Greek priest Under Ali's government Joannina became the literary capital of the Greek nation for he protected laymen who rebelled against the patriarch and synod of Constantinople as well as priests who intrigued against the sultan Colleges libraries and schools flourished and enjoyed independent endowments He ostentatiously recommended all teachers to pay great attention to the morals of their pupils and in his conversation with Greek bishops he dwelt with a cynic simplicity on the importance of religious principles showing that he valued them as a kind of insurance against dishonesty and a means of diminishing financial peculation Greek being the literary language of southern Albania was studied by Mussulmans as well as Christians Poems and songs as well as letters and accounts were written by Mohammedans in Greek and many were circulated in manuscript Unfortunately no collection of Mohammedan songs and poems has been published

The cruelty of Ali excited horror in civilised Europe but it extorted admiration from his barbarous subjects. The greatest compliment they could pay him was to praise his cruelty to his face Persons still living have seen him listen with complacency to flattery embodied in an enumeration of his acts of direst cruelty and shuddered at his low demoniacal laugh when his Greek secretaries reminded him how he had hung one man impaled another and tortured a third Lord Byron might well say that With a bloody hand He ruled a nation turbulent and bold One of his most wanton acts of cruelty has been much celebrated and the circumstances which attended it deserve to be recorded as affording a characteristic trait of Ali and of his government A Greek lady of Joannina excited the jealousy ol Ali's daughter in law the wife of his eldest son Mukh tar Euphrosyue was the niece of Gabriel the archbishop of Joannina but she had neglected the study of the lives of the saints and turned her attention to the naughty reading in the Greek classics She possessed great beauty and singularly attractive manners In an evil hour her classic tastes led her to revive the elegance and wickedness of the ancient hetairai and for a time her graceful manners concealed her graceless conduct Her husband visited Venice fearing Ali's designs on his purse and disliking the attentions of Mukhtar to his wife During his prolonged absence the house of the fair Euphrosyne became the resort of the educated and wealthy young men of Joannina and she received private visits and rich presents from Mukhtar Pasha without much effort to conceal the disgraceful connection This conduct caused much scandal and it was said that married ladies whose husbands were not so far distant as Euphrosyne's imitated her behaviour A storm of indignation arose among Christian husbands and Mussulman wives. The complaints of Mukhtar's wife were at last made a pretext for punishment but report said that Ali sought revenge because he had been an unsuccessful lover. His vices were notorious. Childe Harold remarked-
"Yon hoary lengthening beard I'll suits the passions that belong to youth"

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Re: The Albanians: History of the Greek Revolution

Post  Leka on Sat Feb 21, 2009 9:49 am

Men said that the hoary beard attempted to conceal its evil passions under a veil of public duty It was resolved to eradicate the great social evil of Joannina by some effectual measure of reform Ali decided on a general massacre of the culprits and never was cruelty perpetrated with more ruthless deliberation or greater barbarity Ali was in the habit of dining with his subjects at their own houses when he wished to confer on them an extraordinary mark of favour He signified to Nicholas Yanko whose wife was one of the proscribed his intention to honour him with a visit The men dine alone in Eastern lands. After dinner the great pasha requested that the lady of the house might present his coffee in order to receive his thanks for the entertainment When she approached he addressed her in his usual style of conversation with Greek females mixing kindness with playful sarcasm Rising after his coffee he ordered the attendants in waiting to invite several ladies whose conduct if not virtuous had certainly not been scandalous to visit Yanko's wife at her house Ali proceeded to the house of Euphrosyne attended by a few guards and walking suddenly into her presence made a motion with his hand which served as a signal for carrying off the victim who was conveyed to Yanko's house much more astonished than alarmed Ali rode on to his palace and engaged in his usual employments The ladies of the party assembled at Yanko's were soon discomposed by having an equal number of females of the very lowest order in Joannina thrust into the room by policemen In a few minutes the whole party was hurried off to the church of St Nicholas Yanko's patron saint at the northern extremity of the lake There the unfortunate culprits were informed that they were condemned to death by the pasha The wealthier were at first not much frightened for Ali's avarice was so notorious that they believed their relations would either voluntarily ransom their lives or be compelled to do so The worst punishment they feared was imprisonment in the convents on the islands of the lake Morning had dawned before the party reached the church of St Nicholas and Mohammedan customs require that the execution of a sentence of death on females by drowning must be carried into effect while the sun is below the horizon For twenty hours ladies of rank and women of the lowest class remained huddled together trembling at times with the fear of death and at others confident with delusive hopes of life At sunset a violent storm swept the stirface of the lake and it was midnight before they were embarked in small boats and carried to the middle of the lake There they were thrown overboard without being tied up in sacks according to the Mussulman formality in executing a similar sentence Most of the victims submitted to their fate with calm resignation sinking without an audible word or with a short prayer but some resisted to the utmost with piercing shrieks and one whose hands got loose clung to the side of the boat and could only be plunged under water by horrid violence When all was finished the police guards watched silently in the boats until morning dawned they then hastened to inform the pasha that his orders had been faithfully executed. One of the policemen present who had witnessed many a horrid deed of torture declared long after that the scene almost de prived him of his senses at the time and that for years the voices of the dying women were constantly echoing in his ears and their faces rising before his eyes at midnight Several days elapsed before all the bodies were found and buried In this instance Ali's cruelty excited extreme loathing among the Christian population Seventeen females had perished and public feeling was so strong that their funerals were attended by crowds Yet none of their relations had made an effort to save them and the husbands of more than one were accused of being privy to the pasha's design Ali when he saw the violence of public indignation thought it prudent to apologise for his severity by declaring that he would have pardoned all those who could have found an intercessor and that he deemed his victims deserved death since no one spoke a word in their favour This was mere hypocrisy he knew the selfishness of his subjects The beautiful Euphrosyne was twenty eight years of age Being the niece of an archbishop the orthodox cherished her memory with affection as if she had been a martyr instead of viewing her conduct with reprobation and her fate with pity But public feeling expresses itself before public opinion is formed The cruel fate of the elegant Euphrosyne awakened sympathy but her sixteen fellow sufferers died almost unpitied though many of them were less blamable Several songs were composed on the subject of her death which were repeated over all Greece
Ali's habitual exhibition of cunning and sagacity was considered as a display of political wisdom His artifice allured the intellects of the subtile Greeks and the fancy of the enthusiastic Albanians Colonel Leake who was several years the diplomatic agent of the British government at his court recounts an anecdote which proves that he was unable to lay aside his habits of deceit even when his good nature prompted him to do an act of kindness Not long ago he almost frightened to death the Bishop of Grevena a mild and timid man by a proceeding meant to increase the bishop's authority Being about to visit Grevena he ordered the bishop to prepare the episcopal palace for his reception but instead of proceeding there went to another lodging pretending to believe that the bishop had so ordered it Having sent for the unfortunate holy man of Grevena he assumed an air of extreme anger ordered the bishop to prison and issued a proclamation that all persons having complaints against him should make a statement of their grievances Nobody having appeared the vizier sent for the bishop next day and congratulated him on the proof that he had no enemies and that he governed his flock with kindness 1 Another anecdote deserves notice because it illustrates the manner in which the Greek bishops in his dominions served as instruments of his avarice Having observed that the bishops possessed more authority than his tax gatherers he resolved to employ them in

I told you Eupkrosyne dear
The ring oh do not take
All the news will quickly hear
He'll drown you in the lake

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Re: The Albanians: History of the Greek Revolution

Post  Leka on Sat Feb 21, 2009 9:49 am

collecting his revenues He began the experiment by obliging the celebrated Ignatius metropolitan of Arta who afterwards escaped to Italy and resided at Pisa to become the tax gatherer of his diocese The orders given to the bishop were severe and he used little forbearance in his eagerness to win the pasha's favour This severity caused many quarrels without bringing an increase of revenue Disturbances occurred and Ali was compelled to listen to the complaints of the sufferers As soon as the bishop had paid all the money he had collected into the pasha's treasury Ali decided that a remission of taxation ought to be made to the amount of 2000 sterling The claimants compelled the bishop to refund the money but Ali retained the fruits of his extortion It has been already mentioned that Ali was elevated to the rank of devendji pasha in the year 1787 The pashalik of Thessaly was united with that office His activity obtained for him the pashalik of Joannina in addition to his other commands in the following year His instructions required him to destroy the authority still possessed by the Christian armatoli whose sympathies with Russia disquieted the Porte and Ali carried out the views of the Othoman government with zeal and vigour At this period a strong feeling in favour of increasing the direct authority of the sultan in the provinces had arisen both among Mussulmans and Christians It was thought that the central government would restrain the exactions of the local pashas and repress the feudal anarchy of the hereditary beys Ali took advantage of this feeling to curtail privileges of armatoli ayans and Mussulman and Christian communities alike His firmness of purpose soon consolidated his authority both in Epirus and Thessaly for at this early period of his career justice and equity were words constantly on his lips and they appeared to direct his conduct The armatoli had latterly become grievous oppressors of the peasantry The ayans had always been the tyrants of the Christian population The communities were powerless except to increase the general anarchy Ali constituted himself the redresser of wrongs and he succeeded in establishing a degree of order which had not previously prevailed Under the pretext of securing equal justice to all he compelled every district which enjoyed the right of maintaining Greek armatoli to receive a garrison of Mussulman Albanians while in those districts where the Turkish landlords were all powerful he placed detachments of armatoli to protect the cultivators of the soil His energy secured to the people a larger share of the fruits of their industry than they had previously enjoyed so that they willingly submitted to the contributions he compelled them to pay for his protection His exactions were chiefly directed against the rich and as he seldom allowed his agents to plunder with impunity he was spoken of as a hard man but a just pasha The sultan supported Ali's plan of centralising all power in his own hands as long as it was evident that he was only the sultan's viceroy The boldest beys were drawn into hostilities and then overwhelmed with forces prepared in secret for their destruction The wrary were assassinated or poisoned These murders generally removed men as cruel and treacherous as Ali who as the destroyer of a legion of tyrants was considered a benefactor by a suffering people In the year 1796 he began to exhibit the ferocity of his character in its darkest colours Khormovo was a Christian township situated high up in the mountains between the rivers Aoussa and Dryno and not far from their junction The inhabitants were dangerous brigands and it was said that for several generations they waylaid travellers under the guidance of their priest A hollow tree in the pass near the bridge of Tebelin was long shown to travellers as the place of concealment of this orthodox priphti 1 from whence he uttered his oracular decisions concerning the fate of those who were plundered If the unfortunate prisoner was a Turk he was hung on the tree if a Greek in the service of the pasha or the sultan he was drowned in the river but if an Albanian he was generally allowed to escape on payment of a ransom The Christians of Khormovo maintained their lawless independence by means of a close alliance with the Mussulmans of Gardhiki a powerful community in the mountains to the south of the Dryno Nearly thirty years had elapsed since the mother and sister of Ali had been seized in a civil war between the people of Khormovo and Gardhiki and the phara of the Mutza chats The ladies were treated with the grossest indignity and they instilled into the breast of Ali their own rancorous longing for revenge An occasion at last occurred of punishing the children for their fathers crime The territory of Khormovo was laid waste the inhabitants shot down the son of the priest was roasted alive and a Greek poem by a Mussulman recounts with Oriental ferocity all the details of the tortures inflicted by Ali's soldiers on their unhappy prisoners 2 The cruelty with which a Christian community was treated made very little impression and was soon forgotten After a further interval of sixteen years a new catastrophe struck all men with amazement and horror.
The Mussulmans of Gardhiki were a powerful body and their alliance with the inhabitants of Arghyro kastro enabled them to escape Ali's vengeance for forty five years The cause of his anger was generally forgotten and never mentioned Demir Dost the principal aga of Gardhiki was a brave and honourable man who had aided Ali in subduing Khormovo Ali having determined to deprive the communities of Arghyrokastro and Gardhiki of the local privileges which their alliance had hitherto enabled them to maintain marched against them in person The peasantry declared in his favour and Demir Dost and sixty agas of Gardhiki were admitted to conclude a capitulation which permitted them to retain their property and their territorial rights on the condition that they should reside at Joannina until the new civil and fiscal officers of the pasha were established in the district After the departure of the agas the pasha summoned the people of Gardhiki to meet him at the Khan of Valiare on the right bank of the Dryno below Arghyrokastro which is situated on the left bank The pasha's agents declared that he wished to enrol a strong body of Gardhikiots in his service and no better lure could be held out to attract the Albanian Mussulmans who scorn to cultivate their lands if they can gain their living by military service Gardhiki also like most Albanian communities had been long in the habit of sending mercenaries to every pashalik in the Othoman empire The hope of becoming the instruments of Ali's power rendered the common people careless of the loss of a troubled independence from which only the chieftains of the pharas derived any profit On the 27th of March 1812 about 670 Gardhikiots sat down to eat their mid day meal in the Khan of Valiare and in the large quadrangular court adjoining.
Athanasios Vaias a Christian high in Ali's favour was ready with a band of soldiers who mounted on the walls of the enclosure occupied the towers at its angles and closed the gates They opened a sudden fire of musketry on their unsuspecting victims and it is said that two hundred fell at the first volley The soldiers then raised diabolical shouts in order to overpower the shrieks of the wounded and the dying and kept up a continual fire without intermission for an hour and a half until not a limb moved in the quadrangle and the Khan was enveloped in flames The survivors after the first volley had vainly attempted to climb the wall and force the gates The murderer had prepared the means of baffling every effort of despair Ali had not ventured to intrust many of his officers with the secret of the premeditated massacre and the firing created some confusion among his troops but he diverted the attention of the Mussulmans who might have been inclined to favour the escape of the Gardhikiots by a proclamation that the plunder of Gardhiki was granted to the soldiers When plunder is to be gained neither Albanians nor armatoli feel any sentiments of patriotism or humanity.

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Re: The Albanians: History of the Greek Revolution

Post  Leka on Sat Feb 21, 2009 9:50 am

All the troops whom Ali distrusted and wished to withdraw from the scene of the massacre were soon on their march up the mountain The town of Gardhiki was sacked the houses were plundered in regular succession in order to insure to all a fair share of the booty the women and children were carried off and reduced to slavery in direct violation of the Mohammedan law and all the fortified houses of the agas were burned to the ground Demir Dost and the sixty agas who had retired to Joan nina were murdered at the same time by Ali's order As soon as he had perpetrated this act of treachery and blood Ali returned to Joannina from whence he issued orders for the murder of every Gardhikiot who had escaped the massacre at the Khan and the sack of the town But this cruelty exceeded the limits of human wickedness and his orders were disobeyed even by his own sons who concealed many of his intended victims The deliberate extermination of a Mussulman community of eight hundred families was an act of atrocity that roused the indignation of every Mohammedan and from that day Ali was accursed in the opinion of all true believers The deserted habitations blackened with fire the desecrated mosques with their ruined minarets the Mohammedan women and children weeping in slavery cried loudly for vengeance Yet Ali in his intense selfishness thought so much of the wrongs of his mother and his sister and so little of the sufferings of thousands of innocent individuals that he boasted of his wickedness and commemorated his infamy in an inscription over the gateway of the Khan of Valiare The entrance was walled up The bones were left unburied in the court and a marble tablet informed the passer by in both Turkish and Greek that Ali was proud of the vengeance which he had inflicted on the enemies of his house A curious poem in Greek consisting of sixty four verses was circulated in manuscript which was said to be an exact copy of the inscription and to have been read over repeatedly to the pasha It is a strange production in the form of a conversation between the Khan and the dead bodies The building asks for information concerning the cause of their death The dead bodies reply that fifty years ago they had burned Ali's house and destroyed his clan and they add For this he slew us here he razed our town and ordered it to remain for ever desolate for he is a just man In conclusion Ali speaks a few warning words in his own person I do not wish to do another similar act of severity so let no man molest my house.


Ali's power at last alarmed Sultan Mahmud was labouring night and day to circumscribe the authority of his pashas and great vassals He had hitherto made but slow progress in establishing his system of centralisiug but he had prepared the Porte for pursuing his policy with success He availed himself of the universal indignation manifested at the murder of the Gardhikiots to diminish the power of Ali The first step was to deprive Veli Ali's second son of the pashalik of the Morea in August 1812 and send him to rule the insignificant pashalik of Larissa Public opinion which had favoured Ali in his plans of centralisation at the expense of beys and communes now favoured the projects of Sultan Mahmud at the expense of Ali The Porte could alone afford protection against local tyranny the sultan seemed to be the only authority in the Othoman empire who had a direct interest in enforcing an equitable administration of justice every other authority seemed to derive a profit from injustice Ali remained insensible to the change which had taken place in public opinion since he first attained the rank of pasha This is not wonderful for the ambassadors of the European powers at Constantinople and their consuls in the provinces were as blind to the increasing power of centralisation as the Albanian pasha The prudence of Sultan Mahmud was generally mistaken for weakness and at the court of Joannina it was the fashion to speak of the anarchy and corruption that prevailed in the empire with great freedom and of the dismemberment of Turkey as a probable event The adroit flattery of Greek sycophants the impolitic intrigues of European diplomatic agents and the general improvement in the condition of the people under his government induced Ali to believe that the hour had arrived when he might act as independent sovereign of Epirus with perfect security Yet he had reached the JT A edge of a precipice and the vicissitudes of a long and eventful life rich in social and political changes had exhibited its lessons of experience in vain He fell pursuing the course of selfish criminal gratification which he had often combined with the measures which raised him to power In the year 1819 Sultan Mahmud took advantage of the numerous complaints against the lavish expenditure and illegal extortions of Veli to remove him from the government of Larissa to the still more insignificant pashalik of Lepanto Ali saw clearly that the object was to circumscribe his power but he attributed the measure to the influence of Ismael Pasho bey his active personal enemy and not to the deep policy of Sultan Mahmud All his malicious passions were roused and he resolved to strike a blow that would destroy his enemy and intimidate his sovereign Ismael Pasho bey was an Albanian of family and wealth allied to Ali's house by blood He had served the pasha of Joannina in youth with much devotion but some cause of mutual distrust arose and Ismael contrived to have his services transferred to Veli when Ali's unworthy son was named pasha of the Morea in 1807

The hatred of Ali increased but Ismael warned in time fled to save his life For some years he escaped notice but finding that Ali's agents had discovered his place of residence he removed to Constantinople vhere he believed no assassin would venture to attack him openly By attaching himself to the Ulema frequenting the mosques with assiduity and transacting the business of every Albanian who had any affair before the divan he acquired some influence and was named capidjee pasha In the month of February 1820 three Albanians made an attempt to assassinate Ismael Pasho bey at noon in the streets of Constantinople They were arrested and finding that their victim was only slightly wounded they expected to save their lives by confession They declared that they had been sent by Ali pasha of Joannina who had assured them that in case of success several members of the divan were prepared to protect them from punishment This insinuation that Ali possessed an overwhelming influence in the divan offended Sultan Mahmud deeply.

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Re: The Albanians: History of the Greek Revolution

Post  Leka on Sat Feb 21, 2009 9:51 am

The assassins were immediately executed and Ali was pronounced guilty of high treason The traitor was summoned to present himself as a suppliant before the Sublime Porte within forty days The pashalik of Joannina was conferred on Ismael Pasho The period granted for repentance elapsed and the new pasha was ordered to march against the rebel While Ali was pursuing his course of wickedness he was acting as an instrument in the hands of Providence to advance the social progress of the Greeks Indeed the career of this celebrated man with all his power and wickedness would hardly have merited a place in history had circumstances not rendered him the herald of the Greek Revolution The scenes of his eventful life produced very little direct change either in the political condition of the Othoman empire or of the Albanian nation When Ali received the news of his condemnation he was fully prepared to resist the sultan's authority and his military arrangements for the defence of his pashalik were well planned He had long revolved projects of rebellion in his mind and the time appeared favourable for asserting his independence The power of national feelings in upholding thrones and overthrowing dynasties was the theme of general discussion A national revolution had just broken out in Spain which was expected to produce great political chanp es in r OIO Europe Ali was told by his political advisers that an appeal to the nationality of the Albanians and Greeks would induce them to unite in emancipating themselves from the Othoman domination and expose their lives and fortunes for his cause He was liberal therefore of promises He talked of constitutions and representative assemblies with as much fluency and as little sincerity as the kings of Spain Naples and Sardinia He promised rewards to his troops who believed in nothing but payments in coined money and he invited the Greeks to co operate with him in resisting the sultan little foreseeing the consequences of his encouragement The soldiers of Ali were habituated to mountain warfare and were intimately acquainted with every ravine and pass in the range of Mount Pindus Every path that afforded ingress into Southern Albania from Macedonia and Thessaly was fortified sufficiently to resist Othoman infantry A camp was formed to support every point which could be assailed and easy communications were insured with the central magazines at Joannina by means of the lake In everything the army of Ali appeared far superior to any force the sultan could bring against him The dispositions adopted for the defence of Southern Albania were the result of a long meditated plan of resistance From the north Ali's dominions were exposed to an attack by Mustai pasha of Skodra at the head of the Mussulman Gueghs and Catholic Mirdits who were as good soldiers in mountain warfare as the Tosks and the armatoli But Mustai was like Ali an Albanian and his career had been so similar that he was not likely to view the ruin of his fellow pasha with favour particularly as they had never been involved in any personal contests of importance Ali had also secured several friends among the chieftains in the north and he apprehended little danger from that quarter The task of opposing the Skodra pasha was intrusted to Ali's eldest son Mukhtar pasha of Berat but the right of Mukhtar's line of defence was exposed to be turned by a Turkish army assembled at Monastir under the command of the Romely Valessi which could penetrate into Albania by the pass of Devol and thus unite with the Gueghs Mustai was the first of Ali's assailants who took the field He advanced as far as Durazzo without meeting any opposition but after he had occupied Elbassan he was recalled to the north by some movements among his unquiet neighbours the Montenegrins or he made their movements a pretext for retreating in order to paralyse the advance of the Romely Valessi whom he had no desire to see established in the valley of the river of Berat The direct line of approach for an army advancing to attack Joannina from the east is by the pass of Metzovo Two great roads one from Macedonia by the valley of the Indjee kara sou and the other from Thessaly by the valley of the Salamvria converge at this pass and two powerful armies may be simultaneously prepared to force the passage and maintained in its immediate vicinity by supplies from the fertile districts of Anaselitza Grevena and Trikkala To protect this pass an army of 15,000 men was encamped on the eastern slopes of Paleovani between the sources of the Viosa and the river of Arta It was commanded by Omer Vrioni an Albanian chieftain who had acquired considerable reputation as a soldier and great wealth by his military service in Egypt during the troubled times which preceded the consolidation of Mohammed Ali's authority.



The Albanian camp was established near the position occupied by Philip V of Macedon after his defeat by Flamininus at the Fauces Antigonenses or Kleisura of the Viosa and where he lingered a few days doubting whether he ought to march into Thessaly or fall back on Macedonia 1 To the south of the pass of Metzovo there is another pass leading from Thessaly into the valley of the Aspro potamos called Portais or the gates of Trikkala and there are several mountain paths farther south by which light troops may march from the upper valley of the Sperchius and the head waters of the Megdova by the valley of the Aspropotamos into the valley of the river of Arta and thus gain an entrance into the plain of Joaunina But the country through which these roads pass is intersected by successive ranges of high mountains and deep valleys besides being occupied by Christian armatoli and by the indigenous robbers of Mount Kotziaka Ali committed the defence of the passes to the south of Metzovo to many local chieftains Albanians and Greeks Mussulmans and Christians The greatest danger to which he was exposed lay in the facility of landing troops on the southern coast of Epirus Previsa was the key of his maritime defences and he intrusted its command to Veli his second son who fled from Lepanto on the first approach of a Turkish force.

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Re: The Albanians: History of the Greek Revolution

Post  Leka on Sat Feb 21, 2009 9:51 am

When the sultan proclaimed Ali a traitor and named Isrnael Pasho his successor the imperial authority was almost nominal in many provinces of the Othoman empire and Mahmud had no army ready to enforce his authority The janissaries at Constantinople were as little under his control as the mercenaries of distant pashas But no man then living had studied the condition of the Othoman empire or knew so well the strength and weakness of his own authority as Sultan Mahmud He alone understood how far he could make use of the instrumentality of rival pashas to destroy the rebel without allowing them to increase their own power His systematic measures for strengthening the authority of the central administration for reforming the Othoman government and arresting the decline of the empire on the brink of destruction were then as little suspected as the firm and daring character of the man who planned them The sultan intrusted the chief command of the army destined to attack Ali from the east to Ismael the new pasha of Joannina No person appeared likely to rally the discontented Albanians to his standard with so much certainty and no one could be selected with whom it was more difficult for Ali to treat Several pashas were ordered to assemble all their timariots and holders of military fiefs and take the field with Ismael The Othoman army was slowly collected and it formed a motley assembly without order and without artillery Each pasha moved forward as he mustered his followers with a separate commissariat and a separate military chest The daily rations and daily pay of the soldier differed in different divisions of the army Ismael was really only the nominal commander in chief He was not a soldier and had he been an experienced officer he could have done little to enforce order in the forces he commanded Ali knew that his government was unpopular but he acted under the usual delusion of princes who consider that they are necessary to the order of society He considered himself the natural chief of the Tosks and he believed that he could easily become the political head of the Greeks He had heard so much lately of constitutions and political assemblies that he expected to create a strong national feeling in his favour L c by promising the Greeks a constitution and convoking the Albanian chieftains in a national assembly though he had formed no very clear idea of what was meant by a constitution or what a national assembly really was His Greek secretaries however assured him that it would be easy to raise the Greeks in arms against the sultan and his Mussulman councillors declared that every Albanian was ready to support him as their sovereign To make himself a national monarch in opposition to the Oriental despotism of the sultan he convoked a divan to consider the question of raising supplies that being the only means of assembling Albanian agas and Greek bishops in one assembly without violating Mussulman usages and offending Mohammedan pride The divan met and Ali addressed the assembly in Greek He condescended to explain the motives which induced him to resist the sultan's authority He pretended that he was persecuted by the viziers of the Porte because he supported the interests of the Albanians against the Osmanlees and protected the Christians against ruinous exactions He invited all present to urge their countrymen to support him and his officers in the approaching hostilities and assured them that their interests would suffer as much as his own if the Othoman army penetrated beyond the passes The assembled Mussulmans were either his partisans or his creatures They testified their approbation of his discourse with the humility of Eastern ceremony Each bey repeated gravely in succession with emphatic solemnity some trite compliment or pronounced with the air of having made a great discovery Our lord the vizier speaks well we are the slaves of his highness Even Ali felt that the scene was ridiculous for he knew that the same words would be uttered in the same tone to his enemy Ismael should he ever succeed in entering Joannina The Greeks remained silent They felt no inclination to support the tyranny of Ali It is certain that at this time the existence of an organised plan for proclaiming the Greeks an independent nation was not known to the clergy and primates of Northern Greece and Epirus Though the Philip Hetairia had made great progress in enrolling proselytes in Constantinople the Morea and the Ionian Islands it had not succeeded in Joannina and among the armatoli Greek historians tell us that the terror inspired by Ali Pasha's government prevented the apostles of the hetairia from visiting his dominions 1 But that is certainly not the whole truth Many agents of the hetairia travelled through Epirus but they were deterred from attempting to make proselytes from fear of treachery on the part of their countrymen They found that both the bishops and the primates were too closely identified with Ali's administration and derived too great profits from acting as his political and financial agents to feel disposed to plot against his authority The fear of betraying the schemes of the hetairia to false friends was stronger than the fear of Ali's cruelty The hetairists were partisans of Russia and the Romeliat Greeks did not generally connect their patriotic aspirations with Russian projects They moreover generally despised the class of men who travelled as apostles of the hetairia Suleiman Pasha who had succeeded Veli in the government of Larissa was invested by the sultan with the office of dervendji when Ali was proclaimed a rebel On assuming the official direction of the armatoli and publishing the firman proscribing Ali he invited all the sultan's faithful subjects to take up arms against the traitor A circular was addressed to all Mussulmans to those Christian communities which retained the privilege of keeping armed guards and particularly to the captains of armatoli inviting them to expel the adherents of Ali Pasha from their districts.


The Greek text of this circular assumed the form of a proclamation calling on the Christians to take up arms for their own protection It is said to have differed materially from the Turkish copy and the pasha's Greek secretary Anagnostes was supposed to have availed himself of the opportunity in order to assist the designs of the hetairists Circumstances favoured the Greeks. The number of armed Christians in the mountains of Thessaly and Epirus was great and both the belligerents felt the importance of gaming their assistance Several bands of Christian troops remained attached to Ali's cause Odysseus whom he particularly favoured and who had been a page in his household was intrusted with the chief command at Livadea Stour nari was stationed in Valtos Varnakioti in Xerromero Andreas Hyskos in Agrapha and Zongas was sent to harass the communications of the Othoman army But as early as the month of June 1820 several bodies of armatoli had joined the sultan's forces or had taken military possession of their capitanliks and expelled the Albanian Mussulmans who remained faithful to Ali For some time the Othoman authorities encouraged these enterprises.

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Re: The Albanians: History of the Greek Revolution

Post  Leka on Sat Feb 21, 2009 9:52 am

The armed Christians however knowing that they had nothing to gain by a decided victory either of the Turks or the Albanians showed a disposition to remain neutral as soon as they had expelled the Mussulmans and their attitude awakened the suspicion of the Porte The sultan was alarmed and fearing some collusion with the rebel he degraded Suleiman and soon after put him to death Mohammed Dramali was named his successor and ordered to occupy all the passes leading from Thessaly into Epirus In the mean time the main body of the Othoman army under Ismael advanced to Kalabak The left wing under Pehlevan Baba of Eutshuk who was named pasha of Lepanto in place of Veli descended into Greece Pehlevan had distinguished himself as a leader of light cavalry on the banks of the Danube in the last war with Russia He now marched at the head of the same active and disorderly troops through Thermopylae to Livadea from which he drove Odysseus Veli fled from Lepanto and Pehlevan occupied all Etolia and Acarnania without opposition penetrated through the pass of Makry noro which is a western Thermopyla and fixed his headquarters at Arta Ali's defences were thus turned and the road into the plain of Joaunina was open to the Othoman army. The summer was far advanced before the grand army commenced its operations but its first movements were crowned with great success Instead of attempting to force the pass of Metzovo which Omer Vrioni was prepared to defend Ismael sent a body of Albanians to seize the portais or gates of Trikkala This corps occupied the bridge of Koraki took possession of the pass of Pentepegadhia and opened communications with Pehlevan Other detachments occupied the upper valley of the Aspropotamos and the valley of the river of Arta where their arrival was welcomed by the native population which consists of Zinzar Vallachs 1 Omer Vrioni finding that his position was turned instead of falling back on Joanniua and concentrating Ali's army in order to give battle to Ismael in the plain treated with the Othoman comrnander in chief to obtain advancement for himself by deserting the rebel He was promised the pashalik of Berat then held by Ali's eldest son Mukhtar The army under his orders which was encamped on Paleovani dispersed Many of the soldiers returned to their native villages to watch the progress of hostilities before choosing their side Others immediately took service with Ismael Joannina was now besieged Ali had barely time to burn the city in order to prevent his enemy finding cover in the houses The citadel which is separated from the city by a wet ditch was well furnished with artillery military stores and provisions The garrison amounted to six thousand men Ali possessed an armed flotilla on the lake which secured his communications with the mountains to the north He expected to be able to cut off the supplies of the Othoman army and compel Ismael to raise the siege before the arrival of his heavy artillery The cowardice and treachery of his sons frustrated his plans A division of the Othoman fleet arrived off the Albanian coast during the summer and as soon as Pehle van occupied Arta the Capitana bey besieged Previsa Veli possessed ample means of defending the place but he was a coward Ismael had been his friend in youth Veli received promises of pardon and was ordered to treat with the Capitana bey He opened negotiations by pleading his filial obedience as an apology for his rebellion and offered to surrender Previsa with all its stores on being allowed to carry off his own wealth and receiving the promise of a pashalik to which he might retire without degradation Ismael ratified these terms and Veli removed with his harem on board the Othoman fleet Both Ismael and Veli were subsequently put to death by the sultan's orders.

Mukhtar who had abandoned Berat to fortify himself in Arghyrokastro soon followed his brother's example He was not destitute of courage but he was bribed to desert his father by a promise of the pashalik of Ku taieh In quitting Albania he persuaded his youngest brother Salik to accompany him The surrender of Previsa Berat and Arghyrokastro enabled Ismael to obtain supplies of every kind but the communications between his camp and the fleet were so difficult and so ill managed that heavy guns and ammunition were brought up very slowly His rear was often attacked by the partisans of Ali and being compelled to look out for allies among the Albanians he remembered the glorious exploits of the Suliots and their implacable hatred to Ali Sultan Mahmud authorised him to put them again in possession of Suli and the Capitana bey was instructed to treat with them The Suliots had now lived as exiles at Corfu for seventeen years eating the bread of charity bestowed on them in turns by the Russians the French and the English as each became the masters of the Ionian Islands The proposals of the Capitana bey were soon accepted the Suliots crossed over into Albania and received Ismael's authority to invest the fort of Kiapha which Ali had constructed to command Suli The fort was garrisoned by Mussulman Albanians faithful to Ali The numbers of the Suliots were not sufficient to blockade it closely and the Otho nian commander in chief neglected to furnish them with rations In a short time they were in a starving state and to obtain the means of subsistence began to levy contributions on the Christian peasantry in the pashalik of Joannina who had submitted to the sultan Ismael forgetting his own neglect was offended at their depredations in his pashalik Personally he was a bigot and not inclined to favour the establishment of an independent tribe of Christians in the vicinity of his capital The Mussulmans of Margariti and Paramy thia who had submitted to his authority warned him against the danger of allowing the Suliots to gain possession of the strong fort of Kiapha He felt the force of their reasoning as much as he wished to secure the assistance of the Suliots and hoping to gain time he ordered them to join his army before Joannina promising them both pay and rations with which he could not easily supply them in Suli.

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Re: The Albanians: History of the Greek Revolution

Post  Leka on Sat Feb 21, 2009 9:52 am

The starving Suliots were compelled to obey but as their only object in returning to Albania had been to regain possession of their native mountains they considered themselves cheated by the pasha and henceforward they regarded all Ismael's conduct with distrust They found that they were stationed in the most exposed situation and when Ali's forces sallied out to attack them in overwhelming numbers the Othoman troops in the nearest quarters came slowly to their assistance In this difficult position they owed their safety to their own vigilance and valour They adopted every precaution to guard against a surprise either from friend or foe and their military precautions justified the reputation they had long enjoyed of being the best soldiers in Albania In the month of October 1820 Ismael opened his fire on the fortress of Litharitza which forms an acropolis to Joannina but the heavy guns and mortars which he had transported from Previsa were so ill managed that the casemated batteries of the besieged suffered little while the guns of the fortress enfiladed the whole site of the ruined city and impeded the approaches of the Turks against the citadel of the lake which was the centre of Ali's strength and from which he frequently made desperate sallies on his enemy The military incapacity of Ismael and his unfitness for the office of seraskier became daily more apparent He had dispersed the fine army of Omer Vrioni and gained possession of Previsa without difficulty he expected to conquer Joannina as easily Instead therefore of pushing the siege with vigour he devoted his whole attention to the measures which he considered most likely to render his pashalik profitable to himself His care was confined to his own territory and his general negligence enabled the partisans of Ali to attack his convoys and permitted the cavalry of Peh levan and the Gueghs of Dramali to plunder the country in every direction The villages on the great roads in Epirus Thessaly and Northern Greece were deserted by their inhabitants Ali well informed of all that was passing watched the progress of the siege without alarm He was still ignorant of the character of Sultan Mahmud and did not suspect that he was the real antagonist who was playing the game against him The Suliots felt that they were treated with scorn Their rations were bad and they received no pay Ismael and many Mussulmans in Albania and Greece entertained a suspicion that the Greeks were plotting an insurrection in concert with Russia to assist Ali and he was so imprudent as to display his ill will to all classes of Christians Ali took advantage of his rival's imprudence with his usual sagacity Long conversations were carried on during the night between the Suliots and his Albanians The Suliots told their grievances the Albanians expressed sympathy and boasted of their advantages A formal negotiation was opened and it terminated in the Suliots forming an alliance with Ali whom they had long regarded as their bitterest enemy The critical position in which both parties were placed forced them to cast a veil over the past The Suliots regained possession of their native rocks Ali resigned the proudest conquest of his long career He abandoned the policy of his government to save his life He promised to put the Suliots in possession of his fort at Kiapha they engaged to join his partisans and fall on the rear of the sultan's army Hostages were given for both sides were suspicious and looked with some anxiety to the result of their strange alliance About midnight on the 12th of December 1820 the Suliots suddenly quitted the seraskier's camp before Joannina and marched rapidly towards Suli by the road to Variadhes A week after Murto Tshiali Ali's faithful adherent put them in possession of Kiapha with all its military stores and provisions He also paid a sum of money to each of the chiefs of pharas in order to enable them to take the field In January 1821 the Suliots formed a junction with a corps of fifteen hundred Mussulman Albanians under the command of three chieftains devoted to Ali of high military reputation Seliktar Poda the sword bearer Muhurdar Besiari the seal bearer and Tahir Abbas a bey of great personal influence It was necessary for the Suliots to re establish their authority over the Christian villages which had formerly paid them tribute or black mail otherwise they must have remained always dependent on Ali Pasha for their subsistence The Othoman authorities already occupied several posts in the Suliot territory The Suliot chiefs and their Mussulman allies resolved to make these positions their first object of attack Two months were consumed in this operation After some severe skirmishing Devitzana and Variadhes which command the two roads leading from Suli to Joannina and Lelova and Kauza which open an issue into the plains of Arta and Previsa were conquered But in the mean time Ali's position had grown much worse The severity of the winter had not as he expected forced Ismael to raise the siege and he had himself fallen into a trap he had prepared for his enemy Letters which he had written to the Seliktar Poda and the Suliots concerting measures for a combined attack on the Othoman camp fell into the hands of Omer Vrioni They were answered as if they had arrived safely at their destination and the garrisons both of Litharitza and the citadel were induced to make a sortie which led them so far into the Othomaii camp that it was with great difficulty they effected their retreat leaving half their number dead on the field This defeat took place on the 7th of February 1821 and from that day Ali was compelled to act cautiously on the defensive Sultan Mahmud saw that the conduct of the pashas before Joannina was compromising the success of the campaign He punished the incapacity of Ismael and the insubordination of Pehlevan by removing them from their commands Pehlevan was immediately condemned to death Ismael was sent to defend Arta in a subordinate position and Khurshid Pasha of the Morea a sagacious veteran replaced him as seraskier before Joannina 1 Ismael's misconduct when Arta was attacked by the Suliots the Albanians and the Greek armatoli in the month of November 1821 caused him to be exiled to Demotika where he was decapitated Khurshid assumed the command of the Othoman army at the beginning of the month of March 1821 The Greek Re volution broke out in the Morea shortly after and both the fate of Ali Pasha and the fortunes of the Suliots became subordinate episodes in the military operations of Sultan Mahmud's reign.
The Suliots henceforth derive their historical importance from their connection with the great national struggle of the Greeks Their characteristics as an Albanian tribe were gradually lost after they were finally expelled from Suli by Sultan Mahmud's officers and became dependent for their existence on their pay as Greek soldiers But their condition when they returned from Corfu to regain possession of their native mountains deserves to be recorded since it marks the great transition of society in Southern Albania during the first quarter of the present century During sixteen years of exile the Suliots were thrown into close connection with the modern Greeks Their communal organisation remained in abeyance but their absence changed the condition of the Christian peasantry who had lived under their protection Many of the cultivators of the soil found themselves better off as the tenants of Ali Pasha than they had been as the vassals of the Suliots and when they returned they found the inhabitants of the villages in their former territory unwilling to become again the agricultural serfs of the Suliot confederacy.

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Re: The Albanians: History of the Greek Revolution

Post  Leka on Sat Feb 21, 2009 9:53 am

The Suliot warriors also were so reduced in number that they were compelled to seek recruits from among the Christian peasants in order to counterbalance the strength of the Albanian Mussulmans with whom they were forced to act It was therefore absolutely necessary to give the Suliot community a new constitution This was done The subject villages sent deputies to a general council and every soldier enrolled under a Suliot chief was admitted to the privileges of a native warrior This circumstance was considered an event of great social importance in Albanian society It separated the Suliots from the great family of the Tchamidhes and overthrew the organisation of the pharas It is not easy for strangers to understand the change which this revolution produced They cannot estimate the violence of the pride of class among the Albanians nor the strength of local patriotism or prejudice among the Suliots In the month of March 1821 when the Revolution broke out in the Morea the Suliots knew nothing of the Philike Hetai ria and cared nothing for the independence of the Greeks yet Greek ideas had already produced a change in the political civilisation of this rude tribe of Albanians The principles of civil equality and of the brotherhood of all the orthodox had been imprinted on their minds They were made to feel that they were citizens and Christians as well as Suliots They were drawn into the vortex of the Greek Revolution without their forming any preconceived design to aid the Greeks just as they had been led by circumstances to aid their enemy Ali Pasha But once engaged in the cause they embarked in it with their usual vehemence and formed the van of its warriors sacrificing their beloved Suli and abandoning all the traditions of their race to join the modern Greeks and assume the name of Hellenes The intellectual progress of the Suliots in civil affairs under the influence of Greek ideas contrasts strangely with their obstinate rejection of the military lessons taught them by the Russians the French and the English who placed the power of discipline and science in war constantly before their eyes The legions of Napoleon and the regiments of England showed them the secret of rendering small bodies of well trained soldiers a match for hosts of undisciplined troops but they refused to learn the lesson They deliberately rejected the advantages they might have derived from discipline and tactics because no Suliot would diminish his self importance The spirit of personal independence which made every individual Suliot pay only a limited obedience to the chief of his phara rendered the chiefs of the pharas unwilling to obey a commander in chief so that a Suliot army of 700 men was a kind of Polish diet Unfortunately for the Greeks the brilliant courage of the Suliots induced the unwarlike leaders of the Revolution to overrate the value of the Albanian system of warfare The Greeks had taught the Suliots some valuable social lessons the Suliots in return taught the Greeks to adopt the military barbarism of the Albanians to despise the restraints of discipline and to depreciate the value of the tactics and science of civilised nations Their lessons entailed many calamities on Greece during the revolutionary war The Suliots had some reasons for adopting their system in defending their own mountains against the pashas of Joannina which were inapplicable to the defence of Greece against the Turks.

The nature of the Suliot territory serrated with deep ravines converging at acute angles forced the Suliots to guard several passes Their numbers were small so that their enemies were enabled to attack many points with overwhelming numbers To meet this danger it was necessary to adopt some system of defensive warfare by which a few men could effectually check the advance of a large body They obtained this result by selecting positions commanding those passes which their assailants could not avoid In these passes a few men were posted in such a manner as to be concealed from the approaching enemy but so disposed that each Suliot occupied a station overlooking the same portion of the road A concentrated fire was thus brought to bear on the gorge of the pass Every shot was expected to prove mortal The military science of the Suliot captains was displayed in the selection of these positions and in disposing the men who occupied them The great art was by a sudden fire to encumber the narrowest part of the pass with the dead and wounded It was also necessary for every man to have a second rifle ready in order to prevent the enemy from availing himself of numbers and rushing forward to storm the Suliot position A perfect knowledge of the ground the eye of an eagle the activity of a goat and the heart of a hero were required to make a perfect Suliot warrior It has often happened that a band of twenty five Suliots has arrested several hundred men until their countrymen could arrive in numbers sufficient to throw themselves in the rear of the enemy and capture his baggage When circumstances rendered retreat unavoidable it was an important part of the tactics of the Suliots to abandon their position simultaneously and remove unperceived into some new position equally suited for defence In these operations each warrior watched the movements of his companions as carefully as those of the enemy for it was as great a fault to remain too long in a position as to abandon it too soon A wound received by unnecessary exposure was at Suli as disgraceful as an act of military disobedience No soldier was entitled to compromise the public safety to win personal glory This species of defensive warfare required great powers of endurance and a facility of moving unperceived among stones and stunted brushwood which could only be acquired by long habit An active youth becomes a good regular soldier in six months but as many years were spent in exercising a Suliot warrior before he was admitted to take his place in a chosen band appointed to defend an important pass Every man was there called upon to perform the part of a cautious general as well as of a daring soldier The system of attack practised by the Mussulman Albanians bore great similarity to these defensive tactics The assailants dispersed in an extended semicircle round the point of attack and crept forward covering themselves with every irregularity in the ground The first object was to ascertain the exact position and the numbers of the enemy the second to outflank him The first approach was usually made during the night and before the grey mist of the morning rendered objects visible to any eyes but those of Albanian marksmen a volley was often poured on the sentinels who looked up cautiously to examine the ground or the two parties were already mingled together and forced to engage hand to hand It has been mentioned that when the Suliots were joined by the Mussulman Albanians in Ali's interest they were compelled to attack the Othoman posts in order to expel them from the Suliot territory Many of their allies had fought against them in 1803 but this circumstance only increased the mutual emulation Tahir Abbas and the Muhurdar were not men to yield the palm of valour to Botzaris and Djiavellas Though the posts of Bogonitza Lelova Variadhes and Toskesi were defended by strong bodies of Gueghs they were stormed one after the other A curious story is told of the manner in which the Suliots gained possession of Variadhes 1 That position was occupied by about a thousand Gueghs and Scla vonian Mussulmans from Macedonia The only well was without the Turkish lines though completely under cover of their fire Five Suliots crept to this well during a dark night and let down into it a dead body and a pig cut up in quarters In spite of the silence they maintained the Turks suspected that somebody was attempting to draw water and wounded two Suliots with their fire In the morning the Mussulmans discovered what their enemies had done They reproached the Christians with carrying on war dishonourably and of using unlawful weapons The Suliots replied The well is in our country and if you don t like the water you can find many good springs in the territories of Ismael the seraskier After some disputing the Turks were compelled to accept the terms offered by the Suliots and retreat to the camp before Joannina Khurshid Pasha who replaced Ismael as seraskier assumed the government of the Morea in the month of November 1820 The state of Greece already caused some alarm at Constantinople but the rebellion of Ali was considered the real source of danger and the conquest of Joannina was therefore the first object of the sultan's care As soon as Khurshid reported that there was no immediate cause of alarm in his pashalik he was ordered to leave a kehaya at Tripolitza and take the command of the army before Joannina On his arrival he found the Othoman army thoroughly disorganised and he set to work with energy to remedy the evils created by his predecessor's misconduct Nothing astonished him so much as the military strength which the armatoli had assumed in the confusion He perceived that though the armed Christians had generally ranged themselves under the banner of the sultan's seraskier they were employed in strengthening their own position not in weakening that of Ali Pasha's followers.

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Re: The Albanians: History of the Greek Revolution

Post  Leka on Sat Feb 21, 2009 9:54 am

His first business was to reorganise his troops increase his numbers and collect supplies of ammunition and provisions preparatory to attacking Joannina with vigour While thus engaged he was astounded by the news that all the Morea the islands and a great part of continental Greece had suddenly taken up arms and that his communications with his pashalik were cut off both by land and sea During the whole of the summer of 1821 his operations were 1 completely paralysed but he wisely determined to keep Ali closely besieged and to redouble his exertions to destroy the great rebel There can be no doubt that this was the most prudent resolution he could adopt in the choice of difficulties which was offered him The conduct of Khurshid has been severely blamed by some military critics They consider his torpidity while the Greeks gained possession of Acarnania and Etolia a proof of his incapacity But it must be remembered that when the Greek Revolution broke out his army did not exceed twenty thousand and a part of his force consisted of Christian armatoli on whom he could no longer depend He was compelled to maintain the blockade of Joannina to oppose the progress of Ali's partisans and of the Suliots in Epirus to keep open his communications with Arta and Previsa and to garrison the pass of Metzovo while he could not summon a single man to his assistance from Thessaly or Macedon lest he should be cut off from his magazines at Larissa and Thessalonica and from direct communication with Constantinople Those who depreciate Khurshid's military talents observe that his camp before Joannina was only eighteen hours march from the pass of Makrynoros that Arta and Previsa were occupied by Othoman garrisons and that Bekir Djokador the gambler who was governor of Previsa commanded the Gulf of Arta with the flotilla under his orders It is argued that by landing a body of troops at Karavaserai the pass of Makrynoros might be turned and a body of troops marched to Vrachori in nine hours The fertile plains of Acarnania would have enabled the Othoman cavalry to render good service by confining the Greek armatoli to the hills and thus communications might always have been kept open with Lepanto and Patras.

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Re: The Albanians: History of the Greek Revolution

Post  Leka on Sat Feb 21, 2009 9:59 am

Tani do te sjelle dhe nje citim tjeter qe me pelqeu shume, nuk ashte per Shqiptaret por per ardhacaket tone te dashure "greket"
citimi vjen nga i njejti liber ne faqen 13/14


The primates in Greece formed a substitute for an aristocracy The real aristocracy of the Greek nation was exterminated by the Othoman conquest Its members were either slain by the Turks driven into exile or induced to embrace Mohammedanism Several apostates of distinguished Greek families obtained high rank in the sultan's service Mohammed II deliberately put to death every Greek who exercised any political influence as the simplest mode of establishing tranquillity in Greece and the torpid condition of Greek society for several generations attests the wisdom of his satanic policy The patronage of the Othoman government gradually created a Greek aristocracy of administrative agents and tax gatherers This aristocracy consisted of the phanariots at Constantinople and the codga bashees or primates in Greece. The moral and political position of this class has been well described by calling them a "kind of Christian Turks"

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Re: The Albanians: History of the Greek Revolution

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