30 April 2013

Mapping the territory, Part One

Detail from 17thC icon of Ag. Menas

Istituto Ellenico, Venice

In March 1489, Petro Charzia, Antonio Varda, and Zuan Palamida, all of Meronada, (perhaps not the three men in the icon above) made a description of the lands and landholders of the casali of Sisani and Nicolizi. The men are identified as vetrani, veterans or respected older residents who can remember land over time. The sites of Meronada, Sisani, and Nicolizi are unknown to me, but because of the mention of the casal of Griso, I am envisioning the general area as west of Koroni (there was a Grisi about where the Grizokampos that I find on GoogleMaps is now).  

Dimitri Cutrulli, the captain of Meronada, brought them their orders for the survey from the "magnificent and generous rettori and most worthy provedditori" of Koroni, that is, from Antonio Venier and Domenico Bembo, and Ianni Stachlo wrote down the legal recordIt is probably not essential to remember these names: it is essential to remember that we have this fragment of witness to their existence and their work.

There are several definitions of casali: think of them as small clusters of houses of people who are mostly paroikoi.  Small, because of needing not to walk too far to work the land. Casali are often named for, say, the head of the family.  Nicolizi may have been named for the stasio** of papa Theodoro Nicolizi who is now dead and whose property is in the hands of Marco Gambrullia.
The first lines give the main landholders.  Marco and Theofilato Gambrullia and Nicola Roditi are the largest, each owing 35 perperi a year.* After them are Anastassi Chithirioti for 11 perperi,  Anastassi Stassopulo for 10 perperi, and Papa Nichita Stassopulo for 15 perperi. Nothing in the list tells us how much land they had, but most of the other properties are located in relation to those of the top five.

The list is not perfectly made, and it is sometimes difficult to identify owners, but we have a detailed description of the countryside and an extraordinary number of place-names. When it lists adjacent landholdings, it tends to list them in the order of E, W, N, S. I imagine a surveyor with good aerial maps and software could make up a map recognizable to the landholders.   Here are some sample entries:

* Anastassi Stassopulo owes for his vineyard at the place called Astavara 1/2 measure of must.  The vineyard borders on a mountain on the east, on the west it borders with Nicola da Ceria, on the north it borders on the public road, on the south it borders on the public road.

* The lake where they wash the linen, called Linovrochio.  After this lake is a place called Santa Barbara.  He pays every year 6 perperi

* A field after Santa Barbara, Stamati Castriti holds one mozada that borders on the east with Papa Nichita Stassopulo, on the west with the public road, on the north with Dimitri Condo, on the south with the field of the Signoria, which Papa Nichita holds as abandoned land of Patea . . . [someone] owes 10 perperi.

* At Linovrochio, a field of 6 octave.  On the east it borders with Papa Nichita, on the north with Petrochili, on the south with Stamati Castriti's woodland and grazing lands.

* At Loganito a field of 1 octava.  It borders with Zorzi Deneto, that is with his olives.

* At S. Herini, a field of 1 1/2 mozada.  It borders on the east with the ruined houses of the late Cardolemi, on the west with the well of Loganito.

* At Frangata, olives and a field of 5 octave.  On the east it borders with the field of the church, on the west with Xeropotamo, on the south with the public road. 

To be continued with a second document, this listing the property of one individual.

* Based on the monetary equivalents Bartolomeo Minio gave 8 years earlier: 1 ducat was the equivalent of 13 perperi & 10 soldi di tornese, while 20 soldi equalled 1 perpero.

** Stasio = the holding of a paroikos, usually a house and nearby land. 
* * * * * * * * *
I am indebted to Konstantina Papakosma for these documents, which I am glad to make available to anyone else.  The originals are found in the Venetian archives, ASVe, Avogaria di Commun, Miscellanea Civil, b. 145, f. 17 et seq.

I would be indebted to anyone who could tell me about octave and mozade.

26 April 2013

On Vacation: A Mistra song from Evliya

 Gentile Bellini, Turkish Woman, ca. 1480.

A song collected by Evliya Çelebi in the late summer of 1668, included in the Mistra section of the Seyatahatname.   Evliya wrote a transliteration of the Greek in Arabic script.  The transliteration into the Latin and Greek alphabets, and the translation are by Pierre MacKay.

Evliya's transcription is remarkable, in part, because Arabic script does not permit the consonant clusters so common in Greek.

Kla pste ma tia mou, kla pse te, na ka me te mia vri si,
na rthi sto dil be ra ki mou, na tou ge mi si pi kri
ti e his mav ri ko ra ka, kin ta fte ra sou mav ra,
ki ne tav ga sou me la na, kin ta pou lia sou mav ra?
an e his po no stin kar dia, e la na klem' an ta ma.  

Weep my eyes, oh weep, and make a fountain
that may flow to my lover and fill him with sorrow.
What ails you, black crow, that your feathers are so black?
that your eggs too are black and your chicks black?
If you have trouble in your heart, come let us weep together .

κλάψτε ματιά μου, κλάψετε, νὰ κάμετε μιὰ βρύση.
ν’ἄρθη στὸ ντιλμπεράκι μου, νά του γεμίση πίκρα,
τί ἔχεις μαύpη κόρακα, κ’εἶν’ τὰ φτερά σου μαῦρα,
κ’εἶναι τ’αὐγά σου μελανά, κ’εἶν’ τὰ πουλιά σου μαῦρα;
ἂν ἔχεις πόνο στὴν καρδιὰ, ἔλα νὰ κλαίμ' αντάμα.

19 April 2013

The dog of Venice

In a graduate class on Venetian history, a young man was discussing the role of the "Dog of Venice." He was a Navy SEAL, and we admired him too much to smile, or to embarrass him with a correction.  But I have cherished that Dog of Venice, and was utterly delighted when Pierre MacKay said, But that is what the Ottomans called the lion!

Correspondents have sent me references, which Pierre MacKay translated.  Claudia Römer sent a passage from Evliya Çelebi SN VIII 309b about Candia in 1668:
First of all, Kanye means dog-house in the Italian Frankish language, because the Venetian Franks who worship a two winged dog named San Marco, dedicated it to San Marco the dog under the name Kanye.
Then from Gülçin Tunalı, from Mahmud Efendi in Tarih-i Medinet'ül- Hukema, 48b, ca. 1700:

They treated this dog with great respect and reverence. When the dog died they buried it and built a shrine and temple over it.  Over the door of the shrine they depicted the dog and revered it.  And not satisfied with this level of honor, everyone to the best of his ability made an image of the dog out of silver and gold and placed it on the house as a blessing.  Rich and poor, small and great, each to the extent of his means, expended them for the making of a gold, silver, copper or brass image of the dog.  And still, today, Venetian infidels love no animal as much as they do the dog.
Robert Dankoff comments that Evliya (SN.IX257b15) called the Venetian ducat the kelbiuruş = the dog ducat.

So here are some dogs of Venice:

An unexpected lion of S. Marco on a 17th C crucifix at the Pantokrator on Mt. Athos.  

End of ceiling beam, Ag. Paraskevi, Halkis, ca. 1270.











Nauplion ca. 1470

 Nauplion, ca. 1700 & 2009

The finest lion of all, Halkis.


12 April 2013

The leading men of the Morea

Detail, Klontzas, Passion

The earliest documentary evidence for Krokodylos Kladas seems to be a letter from Jacopo Barbarigo of 25 July 1465. It is true that Sphrantzes wrote about him in terms of 1460, but Sphrantzes was writing after 1472 when he became a monk.

Barbarigo was provveditor general of the Italian troops in the Morea for a year of the Ottoman-Venetian war. Eighty-seven of his letters survive, written betwen 5 June 1465 and mid-March 1466, and they can be found starting on page 1 of volume 6 of Sathas here.

Twice Barbarigo gives distinct lists of the men who he says are the leading men of the Morea – homini da conto, zentilhomini, i molti principali, le persone de i condition. Combining the two lists, in their spelling, we get:
Petro Bua
Alexio Bua
Gini Bua Protostrator, Isaac Paraspondylos
Michali Rallis “principal homo de questa Amorea”
Michali Rallis Drimi dal Granzas [Graitzes]
Peregrino Busichi & his brother
Matheo Sfranzi [Sphrantzes]
Epiphani & Corcondilo Clada

A few other names can be collected from various Barbarigo letters:
Comes Glava
Comes Comnino
Comes Megara
Nikolaos Boccali and brother
Manoli Clada
5 Manessi kapetanioi
Silas and Zorzi Busichi, principali de Busichi
Ioannis Menaia

 The three counts are not from the Morea,  Komninos and Glava are brothers, from the north side of the gulf of Corinth, and I suppose the Count of Megara is from Megara. They all seem to disappear from the records.
Barbarigo calls the men on his lists stratioti, and says that their support will guarantee general Moreote support for the Venetian effort.  He also calls all the Albanian and Greek horsemen stratioti: stratioti was the general Venetian term for the non-Italian soldiers with horses.  In his first letter he says, "Isti paesani sint potentiores gentibus Italicis" -- "These peasants are more effective than the Italians."  The stratioti had certain advantages: their dress and horses were better suited to the climate and the terrain, they already knew the mountain routes, and their numbers had not been debilitated by plague.

Within two months of Sigismondo Malatesta's arrival in the Morea in August 1464 as commander of "crusade" forces against the Turks, 1500 of his 7000 soldiers were dead of the plague, peste, they had brought from Ancona, and by the end of the year only 2,500 remained. He and many of the living were ill. Between October and December, they had walked from Methoni to Mistra to Nauplion, then back across Laconia to Messenia, a formidable mechanism for transmitting plague, and famine, across the heart of the Morea. Plague not only kills, but it leaves survivors physically debilitated and depressed, and sometimes blinded. A number of Barbarigo's letters describe Malatesta's profound depression, as well as his physical weakness.  Barbarigo reported massive losses in the Italian companies – more than 200 dead out of a company of 500, 200 out of 400. The Ottoman army was also severely affected, and whatever original number Omar-Bey was supposed to have had – 3,000 or 8,000 – it was down to 1500 in June 1465.  

Stratioti were auxiliary forces in 1463, and the provveditor of 1464 was directed not to hire them, but  the losses to plague made them essential.  We see Barbarigo trying to persuade the Venetian senate to allow him to give provisioni - pronias -- to the leading men so they would be available.  These provisioni were, for the most part, in cash rather than land, although landholdings can be tracked in the letters. A number of these are the landholdings that were later lost in the Kladas revolt. There was a problem with the cash provisioni, however, in that Venice had not sent out any actual cash for two years, and we find most of these men paying their own soldiers and financing the Venetian effort themselves.

One of the things we see in Barbarigo with Kladas, Rallis, Bua, and the others is the change of the archon class to a military class, from a landholding and sometimes-fighting culture, to a culture of mercenary soldiers.  In the next generation -- Petro Bua's nephew Mercurio is the most famous example -- some of them become condottieri.   In the five years since the final surrenders of 1460, nearly a whole class, with the exception of those on Barbarigo's lists, essentially disappears from the records. Some of those on Barbarigo's list had gone to Corfu with Thomas in 1460, and had returned for the war.  Some were killed in the fighting of 1460.  Two or three were executed.  Quite a few were exported, as Doukas says:   
After taking all of the Peloponnesos, the tyrant installed his own administrators and governors. Returning to Adrianople, he took with him Demetrios and his entire household, the palace officials and wealthy nobles from Achaia and Lakedaimonia and the remaining provinces. 
Certainly some were assimilated into the Ottoman system: Kladas nearly was, except that the "crusade" against the Turks was said to be going to put Thomas Palaiologos on the throne of the Eastern Empire, and that would be centered at Mistra.  Kladas had been loyal to Thomas till the end, and after he escaped from Mani and his failed revolt, he joined Thomas' son.  

Hiring stratioti made language problems for Barbarigo, and he needed to find people to serve as paymasters and record-keepers who could write and speak Greek.  And he had to persuade Venice to provide salaries for them.  He  found a Venetian, an Andrea Corner, who had served his predecessor as an interpreter and secretary, and a Zuane da Ponte.  He thought he should pay Andrea 5-6 ducats a month (there were 10 months in the pay-year) but there was no documentation authorizing pay.  So he found a boy who could stay in his tent, and decided to pay him by skimming the stratioti pay, but since the stratioti were not getting any pay, it was all theoretical.

05 April 2013


Idealized city walls, Pantanassa, Mistra

I have been trying to get a portrait of the cities of the Morea in the fifteenth century.  City, in this case, indicates the presence of walls, the position of bishop who may reside elsewhere, a market, craftsmen, some kind of local administration with a governor or his representative, and possibly a few foreign merchants or their agents. One can make no assumptions about size or architecture.

The port cities -- Patras, Clarenza, Corinth, Kalamata, Methoni, Koroni, Nauplion -- were small and shabby (possibly Monemvasia was an exception early in the century), and the interior cities -- Mistras, Mouchli, Leontari, Longaniko, Nykli, Mostenitza, Andravida, Chalandritsa -- were small. As a comparison, fifteenth-century Italy -- admittedly the most urbanized area of Europe -- had more than 90 cities with a population of 5000 or more. In the Morea, none is likely to have had more than 2000. 

A Latin memo of 1437 reported that the Morea had 30 cities, 200 of the strongest fortifications, and 400 villages: this was propaganda to encourage aid for Greece and cannot be used for court evidence. Pero Tafur, seeing Corinth in the 1430s, said that it was much depopulated. In the Ottoman cadaster of 1460-1463 it had 392 households, or about 1400 people, making it the largest city in the cadaster which represented between 1/3 and 1/2 of the population of the Morea. The other "large" cities in the cadaster were Vumero with 242 households, Ag. Georgios with 242, and Leondari with 204. All of them were larger than Argos with 115 households in 1450, fewer than 200 households a generation later in 1480.  (I have been using 4.2 as a multiplier for households to get the population.)

Tafur reported Clarenza depopulated, though it had apparently been a small city at best: in the 1390s it had only 300 households. Tafur was there in 1437 and there was some rebuilding and refortification just after 1441. Mistra is unlikely to have had as many as 2000 people within the walls on that steep hillside -- Tito Papamastorakis thinks only 1000 after comparing maps of the excavations with Venetian maps of 1700 and the population then of under 1100 -- and it was a heavily masculinized city primarily of monasteries and church administration.    The former Frankish capital of Andravida had 36 inhabitants. In 1460 Mouchli and three outlying villages accounted for 105 households, or fewer than 500 people.

Minio suggests an unprepossessing Nauplion -- "the best house that I could manage, considering the condition of the place."
Casola found Methoni with its 2000 inhabitants shabby, the houses of wood, the cathedral impoverished, and said that, "in the finest and widest street there, the houses appeared to be shut up for the most part, and when I stood in the market place I did not see many people." Even late Byzantine Athens had grain fields within the city walls, and in 1395 was said to have been a town of 1000 houses. If so, it was larger than anything in the Morea -- except, again, Monemvasia. Fortifications were often mud-brick and rubble, like the city wall of Argos, or the outer wall of Nauplion at the Ottoman attack in 1463. 

It is a depressing image of the Morea, but one could hardly expect better of cities in a culture whose archons occupied themselves by raiding
the food resources of other cities.  The Ottoman raids are blamed for much, but they cannot bear all the blame here. 

 Idealized city from the Kariye Djami