24 April 2015

Nauplion's Bavarian remnants

This is the front door of Bettina Schinas' house, opposite. Ag. Giorgios. The door was imported from Trieste, probably just after 1830 -- apparently all the best new houses had doors from Trieste. Bettina and her husband Konstantinos rented the house from Andreas Miaoulis for 1834-35, before they moved to Athens with the Bavarian court.  It is a splendidly carved door.

Photo, Brigitte Eckert, 2010.
Another view of Bettina's house. This deterioration cannot be blamed on the economic crisis. It takes a long time for a house like this to disintegrate. But this house is a significant element in Nauplion's heritage, and it is a disappointment and a shame that no one seems to find it important. Bettina wrote wonderful letters to her family from this house, describing Nauplion and the people she met --Kolettis, Miaoulis, Petro-Bey Mavromichaelis -- and later wrote wonderful letters about Athens. Brigitte Eckert made extensive translations from the letters so Surprised by Time could publish them.

If you stand facing the bus station, and take the first corner to your right, you will come almost immediately to the door with these elegant lion heads (there is a small cafe). Below the lion heads are panels of exceptional carving – swags of leaves and little monster heads on either side of a shell, and then below that, a deeply-inset panel with the head of a Bavarian Green Man. 

 The condition of this door has been developing for a long time: it is not a casualty of the economic crisis.  But the disregard of Nauplion for such an exceptional work of art is another example of the carelessness demonstrated, for example, towards the Venetian staircase and gate to Akro-Nauplion.  I would imagine that there is a lot of experience in Bavaria where preservation and restoration of wood carvings are concerned, and some of the ill feelings of the economic crisis might well be relieved by a Bavarian mission to help restore this shared heritage.

The grandest of the surviving Bavarian houses is just up the street if you take the first left when you are facing the bus station.  Here a classical-style Bavarian door has been built accommodated to the contemporary Greek stonework. The house belonged to the Count von Armansperg, First Minister to the King.  

Photo, Brigitte Eckert, 2010.

This was the first house in Nauplion to have a piano.  Bettina wrote about going to a party there.
"I must report about the evening at the Armanspergs. Beautiful rooms nicely decorated, filled with all kinds of people, diplomats, officers, dressed in Bavarian uniforms, as palikaria or French; also the ladies dressed French or Greek. The countess in mourning because of the Duke von Altenburg’s death. She received me very kindly, complaining there would be no dancing because of the death. The daughters very pretty, very modest and polite, offered me conversation as they noticed I didn’t know anybody. The older played the piano later very skillful. The many rooms were crowded -- tea, ice cream, lemonades were offered. When the Countess saw me speaking with Kolettis, (I was standing up because he is so tall) she came and offered us 2 chairs next to each other so we could speak seated; the daughter played the piano, so we stopped our conversation." 

Photos, DW, November 2014.

17 April 2015

On vacation: Virgin empress of the seas

Elizabeth I, the “sieve” portrait. Quentin Metsys the Younger, 1583. 

Pinacotecta Nazionale di Siena.

I have become addicted to Wolf Hall, the novels and the TV production, so I have been finding Tudor portraits as a way of filling up the gap until the next book. The finest of all the Elizabeth portraits is, I think, this one known as the “sieve” portrait. It incorporates two Elizabethan themes: Empress of the Seas, and Virgin Queen.

Her position as Virgin Queen is shown as a representation of the Vestal Virgin, Tuccia, who carried a sieve of water from the Tiber to the Temple of Vesta to prove her chastity. The translucence of the flowing water shown at the bottom of the sieve is echoed in the astoundingly beautiful translucent sea-green globe.

The themes of virginity and empire are brought together in the medallions on the column in back, although with some literary freedom, in the story of Aeneas who foreswore marriage in order to found an empire.

The column is continued by the columns behind Elizabeth and the colors appear again on the courtiers on whom she has turned her back. The patron of this portrait is thought to be her close companion, Sir Christopher Hatton, who may be the third of the background men. He is accompanied by a page who wears a white hind, Hatton's emblem.

10 April 2015

The doctor and his patient

Demetrios Pepagomenos was the second of the four speakers at Cleofe's memorial. I have written about these monodies at other times, in detail about those by Bessarion, the last speaker, and George Gemistos Plethon, the first. (The order of the speakers has to be deduced: Plethon was the oldest and certainly of the highest status of the four, Bessarion the youngest and, being a monk, of the lowest status. Cheilas probably has to follow Pepagomenos as he makes a comment about him.)

Pepagomenos was a doctor specializing in gout. We do not have an absolute statement that he was Cleofe's doctor, but there is enough evidence to allow us to deduce it. For example, in his monody he said, “There is need for all of us, and for myself especially, to let our voices loose in the intensity of our suffering.” I read that as a comment on his sense of involvement in, if not responsibility for her death. Later he spoke of “the body of our holy queen, so well-formed, so harmonious as to bring future happiness to the race.” As the daughter of an obstetrician, I read that as saying her body was suited for child-bearing, and so something he would be the only man, other than her husband, in a position to know.

But when Cleofe died at noon on Good Friday, she had been fasting for nearly forty days, and there is strong evidence to suggest that she would have followed the most severe fast. She spent nights standing in prayer. She had, unintentionally, prepared her body for a massive hemorrhage. Pepagomenos called it a cataclysm, a deluge over the whole race – ἄλλον τινὰ καταχλυσμὸν τοῦ γένους παντὸς, and said it had come on suddenly. Bessarion also refers to blood, saying that her husband (like Zeus) had wept tears of blood (and, like Zeus, at the loss of a son in addition to his wife).

I think the dead child was a son, because Pepagomenos said this birth was to have been such an even that “all good and decent things might come to settle not only among us present here but among all the entire race . . . that there might be skipping and dancing . . . the singing of festival chants, the display of general happiness.”

All the best for us came,” he said to her – sometimes he spoke to the assembled mourners, and sometimes to Cleofe – “with your settling among us. . . . But now everything goes the other way.” He mentions first her husband, “our holy ruler,” and then “her dear daughter . . . all her blood relations, her servants and cities.” Pepagomenos speaks of her daughter three different times, and then again of the loss to her subjects.

He becomes more specific about her subjects: “But the bellies of the poor mourn especially the hands of our queen, which worked as it were to one purpose throughout her life, to nourish those in want, not merely through instruction, and through those of others', as might have been expected of such a queen, but themselves performing the service of cookery, collecting wood from wherever they had to, and lighting the fire, even roasting the food of the poor over it and serving it to them, nourishing them daily, taking no account of the heat of the fire, the intense burden of the smoke, and the inescapable duration of this service. This is an exceptional description. It was conventional for Renaissance and Byzantine ladies of good families to feed the poor, but nowhere, I think, do we learn that they carried firewood and cooked in the smoke.  Though I do wonder where she had learned to cook.  All the speakers spoke of Cleofe's character: Pepagomenos spoke more than the others of what she actually did in her life.

He specified other groups whom she nurtured: “The orphaned children of her household mourn her, who acted as a mother to all, sharing out to each of them what was right, and neglecting nothing of their care; she made it possible for the women to live together with husbands and men with wives, to act openly and to practice another way of life, something that had in many periods over the years been neglected. but was rightly and properly fostered during the reign of our most holy queen, with all attention and concern, as one might say. Widows, too mourn their protector, and strangers the source of consolation from which they often benefited--- all, in short, for whom she offered a respite from loss.”

It is possible that Pepagomenos himself knew the pain of losing a wife. The cleaving of the one flesh that is a marriage was an easy topos for the Byzantines, but he went further: “The cleaving apart of a bodily union brings the unbearable pain of an amputation when a mother dies in childbirth. This, more than anything else makes the pain of the cut intense and presents the suffering as ever new in the eyes of the husband, and becomes an inexhaustible fuel for the fire, always displaying the newness of the loss, and never ceasing. But the severing of spiritual attachment has an intense bite and makes the pain even more unbearable, inasmuch as it is carried on in the the present life, while the former pain, although it is, so to speak, undying, continues to be associated with that material, though now lost, companionship.

He went on to raise topics that might have been considered better unmentioned and, as with Plethon and Bessarion, the frankness of subjects towards their ruler is striking. There were aspects of the earlier relationship between Cleofe and Theodoros that nearly led to his rejection of her, and we might wonder if Theodoros had been repenting to Pepagomenos of his stubborness. “When the time was right, even before your marriage, you lighted the brand of self-mastery with a little spark and disregarding paternal pride, canceling maternal agreements, the petitioning of your sisters, and the native innovations in religion of your homeland, you were pliant in everything to your husband and lord, putting this before all else, to follow his beliefs throughout your life and to practice them as fully as you were able. (Had she confided to Pepagomenos the real facts of her "conversion"?) All of this scorches him the more intensely and causes greater agony as he thinks of what consolation, aid and assistance against this greater and more final loss he has lost.”

Theodoros had apparently insisted that she change her style of dress as well as convert, things directly opposed to the agreements he had made for the marriage. “The wearing of clothes outside our habits of dress, beyond our temperament and sense of what, so to speak, is naturally required, was a matter of her unmaterial and spiritual nature, one unassociated with worldly passion or any kind of bodily necessity, because she aimed, in her unconcern with such matters, at what seemed to her always to be a more perfect order and self-governance. Not that there might ever be perfection more perfect than perfection, or that clothing will change character, but nonetheless, there was some length of time before the end, when, unless she was constrained by official ceremonies, she wore the fashion of those who live monastically, so that what was earlier unappreciated by outsiders, was now obvious to all.”

Toward the end of his monody, Pepagomenos embarked on a series of thirteen “O”s: "O dwelling-place of virtues . . . O all those dreams . . . O charms of that holiest body . . . O lady, death loved you . . . O terrible and lightless day.”  These Os formed a transition from the main body of his monody to his conclusion, addressed directly to her, speaking to her as the representative of all of them there listening: 

You, most divine, pious and holy queen, who have made this translation only under the instructions of God. . . you have flown from us through the approval of the almighty . . . Do not withdraw into this new world but, even before us, watch over our most holy despot of the Romans, your co-worker utterly cast down by so great strife, and by the onslaught of disasters, brought on him by your death. For you were the best co-worker -- συνεργόν --urging him toward the good, and consoling him for what was incurable, a good counselor, a guide for action, and a harbor for all that is good, and all of this is gone, flown away with you. (Here it is clear that Pepagomenos had read the poem Theodoros had written for her in which he had called her his ξυνεργὸς, his co-worker, though in the poem I have preferred “fellow poet.”)

This was not a good thing, and not how it should have been. Οὐ καλῶς μὲν οὐδ’ ὡς ἐχρῆν γέγονε δ’ οὖν.

It would be in your power, either with your prayers to the divine, as you stand immediately beside God, to alleviate the distress of our ruler, and through this the misfortune of the entire Roman people---you can do this, I know, with a mere nod of assent-- δύνασαι γὰρ τοϋτ’, εὖ οἶδα, εἰ κατανεύσειας μόνον -- or to leave us to mourn and lament throughout life, as long as the sun sends its rays over the earth.”

This is astounding: he has put Cleofe in the position of the Panagia, and has given her the nod – and so the authority – of Zeus.

Pierre MacKay made the translation. Greek text available at http://nauplion.net/CL-Pepagomenos (3).pdf

03 April 2015

The Goat

Basilissa of the Tsavelas herd, Karitena, 1987.

We tend to think of “the” scapegoat, but in the original Leviticus text, there are two goats involved in the purification ritual for the Day of Atonement:

He must cast lots over the two goats, one to be for the Lord and the other for Azazel. He must present the goat on which the lot for the Lord has fallen and deal with it as a purification-offering; but the goat on which the lot for Azazel has fallen is to be made to stand alive before the Lord for expiation to be made over it, before it is driven away into the wilderness to Azazel. Lev. 16: 8-10. 

Azazel” is variously translated as “precipice” or “scapegoat”. The LXX translates it as tragos apopomaion or “goat sent out.” Some Jewish teachings regard Azazel as a demon of the wilderness. I am not going to get into Jewish or Christian theology here, or the scapegoat in various cultures. I have no religious point to make. I want to look at the Biblical pattern that presents variations on the theme of the pairing of sacrifice/altar and wilderness.  

Genesis 4 gives the story of Cain and Abel, brothers, a story in which the original killer – Abel who sacrifices on an altar -- is slain, and Cain is to wander. But Cain is to be protected. Seven-fold vengeance will be exacted from anyone harming Cain.

Genesis 21 gives another story of brothers, Ishmael and Isaac. This story has more characters, is more complex, as you would expect from a story with women. Ishmael is sent out with his mother to wander in the wilderness. Isaac is to be sacrificed. Both are saved by angels.

Then there is Jesus who is killed – the Gospels vary in their interpretation of sacrifice, and Judas who goes out to die. Matthew 27 and Acts 1 give slightly different accounts of the death of Judas, but they both involve a field, and hanging. In all four Gospels and Acts, the Day of Atonement is involved in the narratives, which brings us back to Leviticus where both goats presumably die. All the narratives bring Jesus back to life, but the original ending of the oldest, Mark, ends in fear.

What does this pairing of altar/sacrifice and wilderness mean?

27 March 2015

The Dynatoi in the Morea, 1400-1460

This is an entry for people who like lists.  Over the last several years I have collected all the names I can find of the dynatoi in the Morea, nearly 200 of them.   I wrote about this earlier. As you will see, I haven't completed tidying up the sources, and I have been adding and subtracting names as I try to refine my idea of dynatos.  The late Palaiologean administration was intensely inbred and conservative as you will see from the names. I do not include the names of kapetanioi  or Greek kefali after 1460, nor do I include the few Greek names from Venetian territories who are called archons.  These are all from the despotates. Google's software did not maintain my tidy columns, but perhaps you will find the names interesting.  People who don't like long lists of Greek names should perhaps stop reading here.

Angelos dead physician Mazaris 91 1416
Argyropoulos Ioannis emissary to Milan for Thomas PP4.247

Asan Ioannis Doukas Angelos Palaiologos Rallis Laskaris Tornikes Philanthropenos Megaspilion
Asan Ioannis/Giovanni elected in Albanian revolt [1453]
Asan Mathaios Palaiologos kefali Corinth for Demetrios PP4.265

Avouris Andreas Patras Ger.VI.19
Avouris Nikolaos Patras PP4.231. Ger.VI.22 [1440]
Basilikos Ioannis oikios, Constantine PP4.13
Basilopoulos Antonio Patras Ger.VI.19
Bessarion Basileios monk Mistra [1430s]

Bokhales Demetrios land bro. Nik Sath
Bokhales Manuel kefali Gardiki, escaped to Corfù Sphr. XL [1460]
Bokhales Theodoros blinded by Thomas Musachia 331

Bua Petro archon list 1454 list
Chalkokaïdis Ioannis Patras. Notary, chancellor for Thomas Ger.VI.25 [1456]

Chalkokondyles George fa. of Laonikos Cyr V ]1447]
Chalkokondyles Laonikos gifted young Athenian/Mistra Cyr V [1447]

Chandakenos Ioannis diakonos Ag. D, Mistra Z 2.318
Chatzikis Manuel Laskaris official for Constantine Mistra fresco [1445]
Cheilas Nikeforos Prinkeps Mistra monody [1433] [1448] [1452]
Christophoros officer in Frankish town near Koroni Cyr C
Christophoros metropolitan Koroni [1439]
Demetrios hegemon Nauplion letter from Amiroutzes
Demetropoulos Konstantinos landholder near Aigion #5345
Dermokaïtes Demetrios Palaiologos strategos Patras PP4.231 Pal #141 [1440]
Diplovatatzos archon list 1454 list
Dokeianos Ioannis Mistra Z 2.316
Dositheos metropolitan Monemvasia Z 2.278 [ca.1431]
Doukas Nikephoros Palaiologos Malakes owned medical ms Mazaris n90.3, 90
Doxas kefali Kalavryta, flayed Sphr. XL [1460]
Eleavourkos archon, fought Manuel, esc. to Nauplion Mazaris
Erastopoulos Theodoros Patras for Thomas Ger.VI.21 [1438]

Eudaimonoioannes Ioannis mesazon in Morea for Constantine Sphr. XXVII #6221
Eudaimonoioannes daughter married Mathaios Asan #6221
Eudaimonoioannes Nikolaos emissary for Manuel/fa of Ioannis #6223 [d. 1423] S 1.117 Th 1757
Eudaimonoioannes protostrator SM 4 f.2, Thiriet #2835.

Eugenikos Ioannis Mistra PP

Frangopoulina landholder, Vresthena & Chelidovouni #91772
Frangopoulos archon list 1454 list
Frangopoulos Demetrios landholder, Vresthena #91772 [1456]
Frangopoulos Leon protostrator, kefali Androusa Sphr.XVI. [1428]
Frangopoulos Ioannis protostrator, generali mou, stratopedarchos Marinescu 136. PP4 .. Eun.
Frangopoulos Manuel Th 1744 {1429]

Gemistos Andronikos oikios Demetrios, son of G.
Gemistos Demetrios oikios Demetrios, son of G.
Gemistos George oikios John, Th; judge PP4.173

George stratopedarches for Constantine, Karyopolis Cyr V
Gides Thomas Palaiologos Patras Sphr. XLVII [1460]
Georgios metropolitan Veligosti Z 2.284

Graitzas Andreas Palaiologos [unclear -Mouchli Ch 10: 51 Pal #181
Graitzas Constantine Palaiologos Salmenikon Pal #180
Graitzas Theodoros Palaiologos Venice son of Andreas Pal #181 [d. 1511]

Gregoras Demetrios Mamonas tower at Prinikon from Const. Z 2.200
Iagros Markos Palaiologos stratopedarchos, amb. to V Sath. 1.90
Isakios sebastos tzaousios, Geraki Philippides-Braat #83
Isidoros Bishop Monemvasia, Cardinal of Russia [1412-30] Eug. letter

Ispanos Nikolaos Mani PP4.15 [1440]
Ispanos Petros Mani PP4.15 [1440]
Ispanos Theodoros Mani PP4.15 [1440]

Ioachim metropolitan Patras Z 2.291 [early 15th]

Kantakouzenos Constantine son of I; kefali Vostitza for Con Cyr C [1447] [Count Pal/Lat.] #81
Kantakouzenos George Palaiologos (Sachatai) grandson of Matthaios PP4 . . . [1431] K#67
Kantakouzenos Ioannis Palaiologos kefali Corinth for Constantine Cyr V [1447] Sphr. XXVII [1446] #80
Kantakouzenos Manuel (Ghin) pseudespotes son of George #83
Kantakouzenos Thomas Cyr I [1444]

Kavakes archon list 1454 list
Kavakes Andreas V. gov for Mani Sathas 4:37 [1478]
Kavakes Demetrios Rallis Mistra, copyist to Italy Z 2.214
Kavakes Manuel S 1.126 [1422]
Kavakes Michael grant of property from Thomas PP4.239

Kladas Krokondylos(2) surr. Ag. Georgios, received Elos Sphr. XL [1460]
Kladas Thomas landholder, Mani Sathas 5.33
[Krokondylos Karitena Philippides-Braat #90]
Krokondylos opposed Manuel II Mazaris

Lampoudios kefali Astros [1407]
Lampoudios Mathaios sebastos Morea, then Florence Z 2.320

Laskaris Alexios Eug. letter
Laskaris Alexios Philanthropenos kefali Patras/informed Const. emp. Sph. XVII [1429] XXVII [1446]XXIX [1448]
Laskaris Athanasios oikeios; Venice, Ferrara for Asan/Dem PP4.266 [1450?]
Laskaris Demetrios Asan kefali Corinth for Constantine, Mouchli Cyr #1 [1444 Cor.,1445 M]
Laskaris Ioannis to Venice? Th 1362 [1410]
Lazaros first secretary to Thomas Sphr XXXVIII [1458]
Leodorikes Ch9.9 [1460]

Leontaris Andronikos Iorga 3.265 [1451] SM4m f68r
Leontaris Bochalis rebelled, blinded Chalk. 8.36.
Leontaris Demetrios Laskaris battle of Echinades encomium [1428]
Leontaris Demetrios Laskaris grandson of/ letter from Bessarion Z 2.334
Leontaris Manuel Bryennios Kyriakides [1438]

Liminetis Nicholaos notary, Mistra Z 2.318
Loukanes Nikeforas Corinth, surr. to Mehmed Sphr XXXVIII [1458] d.1460
Malachies metropolitan Corinth Z 2.295 [1446/7]
Malakes Nikeforas Doukas Palaiologos (Chalivoureas) dr at Mistra Mazaris 65 Pal #190 [1415]

Mamonas Demetrios Gregoras Prinkipas from Constantine PP4.17
Mamonas Gregory Palaiologos Monemvasia, bro.-in-law Sphrantzes Sph. V Pal #163 [d. 1407]
Mamonas wife of GP sister of Sphrantzes Sph. V
Mamonas Paul fa. of Gregory megas doux? Loenertz short chron.

Markos metropolitan of Corinth, raised with Sph Sph. XXVI
Matthaios Bishop, Gortynia Philippides-Braat #87 1427/8
Mavropapas archon list 1454 list

Melikes Manuel Rallis bridge at Karitena Philippides-Braat #89 1439/40
Melikes Helene Asanina Palaiologina wife of MRM Philippides-Braat #89
Melikes Matthaios Asan Palaiologos Rallis arg.l for Mantinea Z 2.201 Sath. 5.35

Melissinos Nicholaos son of Nik Z 2.112
Melissinos Nikephoros protostrator, kefali Androusa Z 2.112

Matthaios metropolitan of Lakedaomon Z 2.286 [ThII]
Methodios metropolitan Lakedaimon F/F Z.2.286 [1439]
Michael sakellarios, musician, Mistra Isidore 22 n.d.
Moschos Demetrios scholar Mazaris n70.9
Moschopoulos Ioannis Th1115 [1405]
Moulgarios kefali Sikyon Ch7.27 [1446]
Neapolites Nicholaos notary, then judge, Patras Ger. 216, 226 [1430/40]
Neilos metropolitan Lakedaimon Tito 294 {1409]
Nikon metropolitan Vresthena Philippides-Braat #81

Padiates Andronikos Laskaris kefali, Androusa under Const. Sphr. XVII.3 1429
Padiates Alexios Laskaris kefali, Vostitza under Const. Sph. XVII.3 1429

Pagomenos archon list 1454 list

Palaiologina dau George Kant/wife Nic. Pal #87 [?1460]
Palaiologina Aikaterina wife of Thomas
Palaiologina Hypomone nun at Peplinitza PP4.239
Palaiologina Kleope Malatesta wife of Theodoros II [d.1433]
Palaiologina Theodora wife of Constantine [d.1429]
Palaiologina Theodora Asanina wife of Demetrios
Palaiologos Christoforos Asan Iorga 2.8 [1438]
Palaiologos Constantine despot
Palaiologos Demetrios despot
Palaiologos George fa-in-law of Bokhales. mesazon PLP 21447
Palaiologos Helena Asan m. Manuel Rallis Melikes
Palaiologos Ioannis kefali Mani for Constantine Cyr 5 Pal #164
Palaiologos Ioannis Kantakuzenos Patras for Thomas/Constantine Ger. VI.21 [1438]
Palaiologos Manuel/Nikolaos handed Monemvasia to V #88
Palaiologos Manuel buried at Brontocheion [d.1423]
Palaiologos Manuel phrourarch Monemvasia-Pope Pal #183 [1460]
Palaiologos Michael kefali of Vassilicata for Constantine Ger. VI.17 [1430]
Palaiologos Theodoros II despot
Palaiologos Thomas despot

Paraspondylos Isaak protostrator Sathas 5: 34 [1466]
Paraspondylos Zoe sister, wife of Demetrios Palaiologos

Pepagomenos Demetrios doctor monody [1433]
Pepagomenos George son of Demetrios Eugenikos letter [1436?]
Pepagomenos Nikolaos son of Demetrios Eugenikos letters [1436?]

Philanthropenos archon list 1454 list
Philanthropenos Alexios Laskaris kefali Vostitza, kefali Patras Z 2.332 [1437/8]
Philanthropenos George
Philanthropenos Manuel cousin Man.II, amb. to V Th. 1758 [1420]

Plousiadenos Ioannis metropolitan Methoni Z 2.280 [14792-50]
Proinokokokas defender of Kastritzi, flayed Sphr. XL: 5.
Prosphonematikos Joseph letter to Demetrios PP4.211 [1450?]
Pyropoula wife of Thomas
Pyropoulos Thomas oikios Constantine PP4.14

Rallis prisoner of Carlo Tocco Tocco3633
Rallis Monemvasia PLP #24099
Rallis Andronikos Palaiologos emigre Taranto moved to Methoni, Corfù [1469]
Rallis George Palaiologos emigre Taranto Sphr XXXIX Pal #195 [1458]
Rallis Ioannis built mill on V territory [1430]
Rallis Ioannis Oises carries message to Milan, pope for Th. PP4.242 [1460] Sphr. XLI
Rallis Manuel Oises archon list, kefali Androusa 1454 list
Rallis Michael Oises fought with Venetians, impaled Sphr XLIII [1466]
Rallis Paul emigre Taranto Pal #195
Rallis Thomas landowner; attacked Sphrantzes Sphr. XIX
Raoulaina wife of George/dau. George Kantakuzenos #86 [?1460]

Rhosatas Ioannis Patras PP4.231 [1445] Sph. XIX [1429]
Sarantaris Antonios hegoumen, Artokosta, Kynouria Philippides-Braat #85
Sebastopoulos Nikolaos protostrator for Thomas Sphr. XXXIX [1458]
Serapion monk at Mistra Eugenikos, PLP#25169.

[Sgouromalles] archon list 1454 list]
Sgouromalles Mathaios Palaiologos surr Karitaina, bro. wife of Loukanes Z 2.215 Sphr XL [1460] Pal #177

Solianos son of George stratopedarchos Karopolis, Mani Cyr V
Sophapoulos Nikolaos land, Mani Sath. 7.XIII

Sophianos archon list 1454 list
Sophianos Manuel emigre to England [same?] Harris 1467
Sophianos Manuel Asan carries message to Mantua for Thomas PP4.238

Spanopoulos Constantine landowner, Patras Ger. VI.16
Spanopoulos Ioannes Patras Ger.VI.19

Sphrantzes Alexios son of G & H, died 8/1448 Sphr. XXVIII
Sphrantzes George kefali Patras, Elos, Mistra Sphr. XVI.7 1428/9
Sphrantzes Helene Palaiologos Tzamplakon Sphr. XXIV [1438] Pal #126

Souliardos Michael Ag. Moni/Areia Z 2.304 [1489]
Stamatelos son of Patras, wounded by Sphrantzes Sph. XVII
Tarchianotes Ioannis Mistra -- w. Bessarion in Rome Harris [ca. 1458]
Trivolis Demetrios copyist Mistra Z 2.21

Tzamplakon Ioannes Palaiologos carries message from Florence to Thomas PP4.246 [1455]
Tzamplakon Kavallarios oikios of Manuel, senator Mazaris 10
Tzamplakon Kyonides with Thomas against Demetrios Sphr XXXIX:5.

Xanthopoulos Demetrios document from Demetrios Palaiologos #91772, Vranoussi 1980: 350
Xanthopoulos Ioannis document from Demetrios Palaiologos #91772, Vranoussi 1980: 350
Xanthopoulos Michael document from Demetrios Palaiologos #91772, Vranoussi 1980: 350

20 March 2015

"Go, said the bird, for the leaves were full of children."

Every spring I know less about what I am seeing, or, the ratio between what I know and what I am seeing is smaller. I had not before realized the mortality rate among crows. A crow could live 20 years and more, but few seem to survive past two years. These pictures I took last week at breakfast indicate one reason why, but it is one of the less common reasons.  At least fifty crows were mobbing an eagle that had one of theirs in its claws.

We had fewer crows than usual over the winter, and this spring there are only three I recognize. Washcrow and Her are not breeding this year, but they visit frequently, and spend time sitting companionably, apparently watching the two of us sitting companionably.  I have seen Washcrow for 4 years now, since he was brought to our feeder as a fledgling. One of last year's young -- I can't tell if it is Wow or Futhark -- talks to us frequently.  A handsome gleaming male I do not recognize comes to the feeder to collect food for his mate -- he will feed her for the three weeks of brooding, and then for the 5+ weeks until the young fledge.

There is great difficulty defending the crow feeder from the seagull, and the ground-feeding birds are at great risk from the neighbor's cat which usually lurks under our car. The Oregon juncos, normally ground feeders, have learned to graze at the squirrel and crow feeders, so they are safe. Sometimes ground means "ground," and sometimes ground means "flat" instead of "perch."

The raccoons discovered the crow feeder last year – it is on the porch outside my bedroom – so I have been leaving cracked corn and peanuts in shells for them. They come irregularly. There is a beautiful male, a very shy female with a tiny face, a pair of twins, a female with two young. Sometimes at night, in downtown Washington DC, and park-side Seattle, there is a horrible squealing shrieking noise. I identified that sound long ago as the sound of something being eaten, and would lie in bed feeling miserable when I heard it. Recently I discovered it is the sound made at the encounter of two raccoons who have not been previously introduced, and that it need not involve violence at all, though I think two were fighting Tuesday night.  I have also learned that raccoons are not particularly afraid of humans, or of us, and if one starts to leave from anxiety, s/he can be persuaded back: the soothing tones you use for babies and pets are equally successful with raccoons.

We keep a steady supply of black-capped chickadees who tell us when the feeder needs refilling, or when we are in the wrong area of the yard. There is a nest in the bathroom window frame, and in summer I can lie in the tub and listen to little scratchings and chirps. Chickadees can live up to 12 years, and I don't know if the same chickadees come back to the window frame  year after year, or if we have had dozens of residents since the house was built in 1905.

From 4 in the morning until after supper, the yard is full of small fragments of music. The birds are calling while the owls are still out, while I am talking to the raccoons. When the sun is up the sounds give the sense of showers of glitter. "Go, said the bird, for the leaves were full of children." I don't recognize all the calls, but we -- and the neighbors and the park --have robins and house finches and varied thrushes, song sparrows, Townsend's warblers, wrens, juncos, and now bush tits. The tits were absent all winter, but now they are back with dozens of babies, so small they look as if you could grab a dozen at a time. There are so many finger-sized pine siskins that the feeders have to be refilled every second day.

We have made a good start on a small plantation of meleagris where it can be admired from the sidewalk, and a hellebore garden in the damp under the nut tree in back. I have become enthralled with hellebores.

                               Other echoes
Inhabit the garden. Shall we follow?
Quick, said the bird, find them, find them,
Round the corner. Through the first gate,
Into our first world, shall we follow
The deception of the thrush? Into our first world.
                                                                   T.S.E. "Burnt Norton."

13 March 2015

A new Chalkokondyles

the concluding page of the 1318 Herodotos belonging to George Gemistos Plethon, 

used by Bessarion in 1436, belonging to Laonikos Chalkokondyles. 
The bottom, faded, inscription is the only surviving writing by Chalkokondyles.

The intellectual world of Mistra mostly dissolved in the disorders of the Morea after 1453. George Gemistos Plethon died in 1454 (or 1452: there is disagreement, but 1454 suits my purposes better).  Chalkokondyles and his teacher Gemistos had had many conversations over the past few years comparing the progression and personalities of the Ottomans, with what Herodotos had to say about the Persians. After the Fall of the City, which surprised none of them, Gemistos told him it was his responsibility to write a new Herodotos to explain current events, and presented him with his own copy in which he had made correctionsAfter Gemistos died, Nikolaos Chalkokondyles, in his mid-20s, left Mistra, with the Herodotos . John Eugenikos left that year for Trebizond: perhaps Chalkokondyles took the opportunity to go with him and collect material on Trebizond. He ended up in Constantinople -- Eugenikos seems to have gone to Constantinople, and family members were in business there. 

This is what I imagine happened: we have no information one way or another, but there are a number of reasons to think he was writing in Constantinople.

Exhilarated by Gemistos' confidence, Chalkokondyles wrote at the end of the Herodotos – you can barely see it above on folio 340v – “[Belonging to] Laonikos the Athenian. It seems to me that the Greeks displayed a virtue greater than what is merely human, and that they made a demonstration of deeds such as to amaze us when we learn about them in our inquiries.  They were also fortunate to have a herald who himself did not fall far short in worth of the deeds themselves, I mean Herodotos of Halikarnassos, who recounted these events in the way in which each happened, in a manner akin to a divine procession." 

He was going to be the new herald, and he began: Laonikos the Athenian has written here the events that came to his attention during his lifetime, both those that he witnessed and those he heard about. . . . In my opinion, those events are in no way less worthy of being remembered than any that have ever taken place anywhere in the world. I am referring to the fall of the Greeks and the events surrounding the end of their realm, and to the rise of the Turks to great power, greater than that of any other powerful people to date.”

I have recently been delighted to acquire copies of Anthony Kaldellis' new two-volume translation of Chalkokondyles, and a third companion volume, A New Herodotos which is a gracefully-written analysis of what we can know about Chalkokondyles, his ideas, and his sources.  Kaldellis has wrestled with Chalkokondyles' murky prose -- if he was writing a new Herodotos, he was trying to use Thucycides' language -- and made it lucid. Working back and forth with these books has provoked my speculations.

It is the ending, though, that gives a memorable view of Chalkokondyles.  He had intended to write nine books, like Herodotos, and Book 9:78 has a sort of ending, one he would have improved had he had time to revise and clean up his text.  But August 1461 was not the end of the history of the Ottomans and the Greeks, and he kept writing. (He had also acquired good material on Vlad the Impaler he had to use.)  But the Histories sputter to an unplanned ending early in 1464 with the Ottoman-Venetian war, and the last several pages are a feverish jumble of remarkable fragments of information and errors.  Kaldellis comments in his notes, on the incoherence of the last sentences.  In these last pages we are watching Chalkokondyles forcing himself to write until he knows he has come to his end. His last sentence is a formal act of reverence to Thucydides.  He wrote:ταῦτα μὲν τοῦ χειμῶνος ἐς τὴν Πελοπόννησου ἐγένετο / That, then, was what was happening that winter in the Peloponessos." Thucydides had ended his third book:  “ταῦτα μὲν κατα τὸν χειμῶνα τοῦτον ἐγένετο . . .," and other books similarly.

It has been thought he died of plague but we don't know: plague arrived in the Morea in August 1464 and travelled north, although it is not reported in Constantinople until 1467. It could have been plague.  There is certainly an impression of the effects of  high fever on the mind. 

The manuscript of his book got into the hands of George Amiroutzes, who stuffed in a great deal more information about Trebizond than Chalkokondyles had found it necessary to include. (The first copy was made after Amiroutzes had finished.) This makes me wonder whether Chalkokondyles had heard about the incident in Florence (he himself would have been only about 7 then), an intense discussion between John VIII, Amiroutzes, Bessarion, and Isidore of Moscow who were supporters of Union, against Mark Eugenikos and Gemistos who opposed it. Amiroutzes berated Eugenikos so humiliatingly that Gemistos intervened, only to be shouted down. John said nothing to stop or reproach Amiroutzes, "nothing of solace" (πρὸς θεραπείαν) to Gemistos. Cyriaco of Ancona was at the Council of Union: he met young Chalkokondyles nine years later at Mistra when the boy was about 17. Already interested in history, Chalkokondyles showed him the ruins of ancient Sparta.

The manuscript of Herodotos you see above was in Rome in 1480, in the hands of the copyist Demetrios Rallis Kavakes who was from Mistra.