Karaferye (Veroia) in the 1790s: How much can the Kadi Sicilleri tell us?

Antonis Anastasopoulos
Karaferye (today Veroia)

The 1790s were in Karaferye not a time of revolutionary changes, but, when examined as part of a long continuum, they contributed to breeding phenomena that were later to fully develop and dominate the early part of the nineteenth century (to name but a few: rise of nationalism, revolts and revolutions for national liberation, state reforms, issues of orientation and identity)

Antonis Anastasopoulos*, ‘Karaferye (Veroia) in the 1790s: How Much Can the Kadı Sicilleri Tell Us?’, in Antonis Anastasopoulos & Elias Kolovos (eds), Ottoman Rule and the Balkans, 1760-1850: Conflict, Transformation, Adaptation. Proceedings of an International Conference Held in Rethymno, Greece, 13-14 December 2003, Rethymno: University of Crete  – Department of History and Archaeology, 2007, 45-59.

 

 

For many Ottomanist and non-Ottomanist students of the Ottoman period, the 1790s represent a time of turbulence and a precursor to Westernising modernity, even if for different reasons. From a strict Ottomanist point of view, the reform programme of the Nizam-1 Cedid and ‘conservative’ reaction to it are the highlights of this decade.1 For a national Balkan historiography, such as the Greek, on the other hand, the 1790s are important as the aftermath to the French Revolution. The Revolution by itself, as well as through propaganda activity actively undertaken by French agents and sympathisers in the Ottoman lands, gave fresh impetus to the movement known as the ‘Modern Greek Enlightenment’ and its adherents,and eventually contributed to the national ‘awakening’ of the Balkan peoples and their breaking away from the Ottoman Empire; like the reforms introduced by the Ottoman government, so the rationalist ideas of the Enlightenment annoyed and provoked reaction among ‘conservative’ Christian circles.3 Thus, if we may put it in rather sketchy terms, both on the Muslim and the non-Muslim sides, the closing decade of the eighteenth century saw forces representing a new Western-oriented spirit striving against traditionalists.

* Department of History and Archaeology, University of Crete.
1 J. Shaw’s Between Old and New: The Ottoman Empire under Sultan Selim III, 1789-1807, Cambridge, Mass. 1971 is still the standard textbook for this period, rich in information but old-fashioned in its approach.
2 On the Modern Greek Enlightenment, see T. Dimaras, Neohellenikos Diaphotismos [Modern Greek Enlighten- ment], 3rd ed., Athens 1983. On pp. 1 and 5-6 Dimaras defines Modern Greek Enlightenment as an optimistic intel- lectual tendency (but not a proper philosophical system), marked by faith in the power of reason, in the ability of humankind to evolve and achieve happiness, in progress, in education and religious tolerance, as well as in the di- gnity of all human beings. Modern Greek Enlightenment extends over the last decades of the eighteenth and theearly decades of the nineteenth century, that is, roughly over the period from 1774 to 1821.
3 According to Philippos Iliou, the 1790s were marked by the first big crisis caused by the reaction of the Greek Orthodox Church to Enlightenment (P. Iliou, Koinonikoi agones kai Diaphotismos: he periptose tes Smyrnes (1819) [Social Struggles and Enlightenment: The Case of Smyrna (1819)], Athens 1986, 41 67).

 

 

Obviously, these two developments, namely the Nizam-1 Cedid and the spread of the philosophical and political ideas of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution, did not occur in two separate worlds; they were phenomena which – no matter how imperfect or shallow one may argue that their impact or understanding was – concurrently affected the Balkan provinces of the Ottoman Empire, which are our particular point of reference in this paper. However, one may be led to think otherwise, since they are often studied independently of one another.4 Leaving this point aside for the time being, we will first proceed to an overview of the major phenomena of the 1790s.

The 1790s started with the Ottomans fighting against the Russians and the Austrians in the Bal- kans and ended with the Ottomans fighting to ward their traditional ally, France, off Egypt with the assistance of Britain and their former and future enemy, Russia.5 However, the 1790s are thought of today as an important landmark in Ottoman history not really for the wars against the Austrians, the Russians or the French, but because of the accession of the reforming Sultan Selim III (1789-1807) to the throne. The advent of the thirteenth century of the Muslim era coincided with a new sovereign who introduced the nizam-5 cedid, the new order army, in 1794.6 Selim’s ini- tiative was the most significant reforming attempt to that day (and was later interpreted as the culmination of traditional reform and a precursor to the sweeping reforms of the Tanzimat era), but did not emerge out of thin air.7 On the one hand, it responded to an urgent and alarming pro-

4 There are several studies of the impact of the French Revolution on the Ottoman Empire, but most of them are either restricted to diplomatic contacts and the impact of the Revolution on Istanbul or focus on the Muslim elite and inhabitants of the Empire or refer to the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; see, for instance, Lewis, The Emergence of Modern Turkey, London 1963, 53-72, as well as the collections of articles in RMMM, 52-53 (1989) and CEMOTI, 12 (1991). Gérard Groc admits that concrete information about the reception of the French Revolution in major Ottoman urban centres other than Istanbul is scarce (G. Groc, ‘Les premiers contacts de l’Empire ottoman avec le message de la Révolution Française (1789-1798)’, CEMOTI, 12 [1991], 21).
5 Shaw, Between Old and New, 21-68, 262-82; Z. Karal, Selim III’ün hatt-5 humayunlar5 [The Imperial Rescripts of Selim III], Ankara 1942, 23-80. See I. K. Vasdravellis (ed.), Historika Archeia Makedonias. B . Archeion Veroias-Naouses 1598-1886 [Historical Archives of Macedonia. II. Archive of Veroia – Naoussa, 1598-1886], Thessaloniki 1954, 249, no. 254 (28 March 1799) for a decree announcing the alliance between the Ottoman Empire and Russia, and Lewis, Emergence, 67 for an anti-French proclamation.
6 The term nizam-1 cedid is used to describe both the new-style army formally introduced in 1794 and the whole re- form programme of Selim III inaugurated in 1792 (E. Karal, Selim III’ün hat-ti hümayunlar5 – Nizam-1 Cedit – 1789-1807 [The Imperial Rescripts of Selim III, Nizam-1 Cedid, 1789-1807], 2nd reprint, Ankara 1988, 29; EI2, vol. 9, s.v. ‘Selim III’, 133 [V. Aksan]). According to Karal, the French Revolution provided the source of inspiration for the term (Karal, Hat-ti hümayunlari – Nizam-1 Cedit, 88; see also Shaw, Between Old and New, 98). The nizam-1 cedid army was really established in 1792, even though it was officially proclaimed in 1794 (ibid., 127-31).
7 For the notion of traditional reform, see Shaw, History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey. Volume I: Empire of the Gazis: The Rise and Decline of the Ottoman Empire, 1280-1808, Cambridge 1976, 169ff.

 

 

blem, that is, repeated lack of effectiveness of the Ottoman troops on the battlefield. On the other hand, its foundations lay on long-term phenomena that had been building up for decades, such as coming to terms with the idea of adopting Western practices and organisational methods both in everyday life and in the army despite resistance from the so-called ‘conservative’ circles and interest groups, such as large sections of the janissaries and the ulema.

The 1790s were, however, much more than the mere introduction of a military innovation. They were also marked by other phenomena and events that established themselves as important features of Ottoman life in the decades which followed: one was further intensification of contacts with the West both at state and social level, as is demonstrated, for instance, by the establishment of the first permanent Ottoman embassies abroad and the closer incorporation of Ottoman commerce into world commerce.8 Contact with the ideas of the Age of Enlightenment and the French Revolution resulted in the dissemination of new political and cultural ideas in the Balkans, as evidenced by the political vision of Rhigas Velestinlisand other works of this period, which often expressed their discontent with several aspects of the Ottoman system of administration.10 Another significant phenomenon of the 1790s was the struggle between the Ottoman government and another form of centrifugal forces, that is, powerful ayan warlords, best exemplified in Osman

8 On the Ottoman embassies of the reign of Selim III, see Naff, ‘Reform and the Conduct of Ottoman Diplomacy in the Reign of Selim III, 1789-1807’, JAOS, 83 (1963), 303-06. See also E. Kuran, Avrupa’da Osmanli ikamet elçiliklerinin kurulu[u ve ilk elçilerin siyasi faâliyetleri, 1793-1821 [The Establishment of Permanent Ottoman Embassies in Europe and Political Activities of the First Ambassadors, 1793-1821], Ankara 1968, esp. 13- 46; F. R. Unat, Osmanli sefirleri ve sefaretnameleri [Ottoman Embassies and Ambassadorial Reports], Ankara 1968, 168-81; M. A. Yalçinkaya, ‘Ismail Ferruh Efendi’nin Londra büyükelçili$i ve siyas= faaliyetleri (1797- 1800)’ Ismail Ferruh Efendi as Ambassador in London and his Political Activities (1797-1800)], in K. Çiçek (ed.), Pax Ottomana: Studies in Memoriam Prof. Dr. Nejat Göyünç, Haarlem-Ankara 2001, 381-407. On commerce, see the overview given by B. McGowan, ‘The Age of the Ayans, 1699-1812’, in H. Inalc5k with D. Quataert (eds), An Economic and Social History of the Ottoman Empire, Cambridge 1994, 724-39, as well as R. Kasaba, The Ottoman Empire and the World Economy: The Nineteenth Century, Albany 1988, 18-23.
9 There is extensive bibliography on From among the scholarly production of the last few years, one may consult P. Kitromilidis, Regas Velestinles: theoria kai praxe [Rhigas Velestinlis: Theory and Action], Athens 1998, in conjunction with the remarks in his ‘Epistemonikes proypotheseis tes meletes tou Rega’ [Presuppositions of Critical Scholarship on Rhigas], in M. Efthymiou and D. Contogeorgis (eds), Time ston Rega Velestinle/Homage to Rhigas Velestinlis, [Athens] 2002, 45-56; A. I. Manesis, ‘He politike ideologia tou Rega’ [Rhigas’s Political Ideology], in Efthymiou and Contogeorgis (eds), Time ston Rega Velestinle, 13-33; C. M. Woodhouse, Rhigas Velestinlis: The Proto-Martyr of the Greek Revolution, Limni Evias 1995. For a brief survey of older bibliography, see Kitromilidis, Regas, 15 n. 1, and the other works cited here.
10 See, for instance, a report written in 1796 as well as the comments by the editor: I. Asdrachas, ‘Pragmatikotetes apo ton helleniko IH´ aiona’ [Realities from the Greek Eighteenth Century], in Stathmoi pros te nea hellenike koinonia [Milestones Towards Modern Greek Society], Athens 1965, 1-47. The existence of such a text is very interesting for our purposes because its author probably lived in Istife (Gk. Thiva), that is, in a town which, similar to Karaferye, our case study, was not a major cultural or commercial centre.

 

 

Pazvantoglu of Vidin.11 Tepedelenli Ali Pasa, who was methodically expanding his authority in the 1790s, was another such figure with a heavy impact on life in the Balkans in the early decades of the nineteenth century.12

The 1790s also witnessed attempts at centralisation and increased efficacy of the state mechanism. These attempts had mixed results, depending as always on the ability of the state to make local societies, their leadership but also its own agents respect and implement the provisions of its decrees.13 One such attempt with an impact on Ottoman provinces was the creation of the so-called Grain Administration (zahire nezareti) in 1793. This was a special agency with its own treasury; its aim was to guarantee the proper supply of Istanbul with cereals and to supervise both the supply system and the bread market in the capital.14

Another special treasury was set up by Selim III in order to meet the cost of building a new army. This treasury was appropriately called the New Fund (irad-1 cedid hazinesi); several sources of income were accumulated under its umbrella.15 At the same time, Selim and his advisors tried to increase state income in general and to put state finances into better shape, partly through clo- ser inspection of accounts.

Karaferye (Veroia in Greek), seat of a kad1, was a rather small provincial town lying some 75 kilometres west-north-west of the district’s (sancak) administrative centre, Salonica. Felix Beaujour, who served as the French consul in Salonica, estimated on the basis of cizye receipts, military recruiting rolls and corn consumption that Karaferye’s population amounted to around 8,000 inhabitants in the 1790s.16 According to another contemporaneous source, a Geography published in Greek in 1791, Karaferye was an old, big town, seat of a metropolitan, inhabited by more Chri-

11 R. Sadat, ‘Âyân and Asa: The Transformation of the Bektashi Corps in the 18th Century’, Muslim World, 63 (1973), 206-19; R. Zens, ‘Pasvanoglu Osman Pasa and the Pasalik of Belgrade, 1791-1807’, IJTS, 8/1 & 2 (2002), 89-104. Cf. the papers of Gradeva and Tlili Sellaouti in this volume.
12 E. Fleming, The Muslim Bonaparte: Diplomacy and Orientalism in Ali Pasha’s Greece, Princeton 1999.
13 See examples in Shaw, Between Old and New, 117, 120, 126-27, 133-34, 171,
14 Güran, ‘The State Role in the Grain Supply of Istanbul: The Grain Administration, 1793-1839’, IJTS, 3/1 (1984- 85), 27-41.
15 Cezar, Osmanli maliyesinde bunalim ve degi[im dönemi (XVIII.yy dan Tanzimat’a mali tarih) [The Period of Depression and Change in Ottoman Finances (Financial History from the Eighteenth Century to the Tanzimat)], [Istanbul] 1986, 155-207.
16 Beaujour, A View of the Commerce of Greece, Formed after an Annual Average, from 1787 to 1797, trans. T. Hartwell Horne, London 1800, 82-86. Beaujour estimated that the ratio of city dwellers to peasants in south-we- stern Macedonia and Thessaly was 1 to 3. Concerning the accuracy of his estimate, he himself pointed out that the data of Ottoman registers should be used cautiously (ibid., 82).

 

 

stians than Turks (sic), renowned for its towels (peskir), which were distributed all over the Ottoman territories and in many other places, too.17

What is the reflection of the brief textbook overview given in the previous section on Karaferye of the 1790s? How was life in this Balkan region affected by the administrative innovations and ideological developments of this period? Owing to the survival of the kadi sicilleri of the town of Karaferye, it is admittedly much easier to discern reflections of the former rather than of the latter. Kadi sicilleri (hereafter sicils), the registers of the Islamic court of justice, where incoming orders were also copied, are expected to reflect social and economic conditions in the Ottoman provinces, the local balance of power as well as relations between centre and periphery, and have been extensively – and fruitfully – used as a source for Ottoman history for several decades now.18 For instance, the sicils of Karaferye reflect the war conditions of the 1790s: one of the very first surviving entries from the 1790s refers to the dispatch of pioneers (beldaran) to the imperial army for the war against the Austrians and the Russians (Nemçe ve Moskov seferleriyçün),19 while seve- ral entries of 1798 and 1799 refer to the French invasion to Egypt.20

The sicils of Karaferye from the 1790s have survived in a very rudimentary state, as they amount to only 81 pages in total; very few come from 1790 and the rest cover the years from 1794 to 1796 and from 1798 to 1799. Even though it would be desirable to have many more sicil folios at our disposal, the existing material provides sufficient evidence concerning the situation in the region in the 1790s. In this paper I will restrict myself to the mid-1790s, and discussion of the si- cil material will revolve around two basic questions. One is what the general picture given by the sicils is. The other is whether echoes of the reforming spirit of the 1790s can be found in them.

Generally speaking, the sicil of 1794-96 does not seem to significantly differ from the registers of the preceding decades in terms of contents; I do not imply that all sicil volumes are identical, but that the main categories of entries found in the sicils of the second half of the eighte-

17 Philippidis and G. Konstantas, Geographia neoterike: peri tes Hellados [Modern Geography: On Greece], ed. A. Koumarianou, Athens 1970, 140
18 There is a multitude of studies based on sicil For a list of studies published from the 1950s up to 1996, one may consult EI2, s.v. ‘Sidjill: 3. In Ottoman Administrative Usage’ (S. Faroqhi).
19 Karaferye Sicil (hereafter KS) 100/page 2/entry 2 (30 April 1790). The sicils of Karaferye are kept at the Imathia branch of the General State Archives of Greece in Veroia.
20 Vasdravellis, Historika Archeia, 243-45, no. 250 (29 July 1798); 246-48, no. 252 (23 December 1798); 248-49, 253 (9 March 1799); 249, no. 254 (28 March 1799). The fact that the imdad for the Muslim year 1214 was defined as hazariye (instead of seferiye) in a decree of the divan of Salonica may be an indication of the distance which in fact separated the sancak from the theatre of war (KS 102/467/1 [11 June 1799]). The emphasis on religion in decrees about the French invasion of Egypt is by no means surprising and continues a very long state tradition, but may be seen, on the ideological level, as one indication – even if incidental in nature – of why, at a time of growing pressure from Christian powers and dissemination of nationalist ideals in the Balkans, non-Muslims felt increasingly estranged from the great Islamic empire whose subjects they were.

 

 

enth century remain more or less the same throughout, even if actual content and distribution vary depending on the particular events, needs and developments of a given year. As in earlier years, incoming orders alternate with lists of local expenses to be distributed among the population of the region (masarif-i vilayet defterleri) and other entries. Several of these entries refer to tax issues, such as tax collection and tax farming, but there are also entries about debts, either personal or communal, some of them actually being related to taxation. A particular form of taxation, for which a number of entries survive, is the obligatory sale of cereals for the needs of the population of Istanbul (mubayaa). Another group of entries concerns brigandage and action to be taken against brigands. Other entries refer to the appointment of officials, such as governors of the sancak of Salonica. A few entries have to do with timars: allocation, subletting, and one about a timar holder complaining to higher authorities that the villagers had not paid tithe in three years. Finally, as is typical of the surviving Karaferye sicils of the late eighteenth century, there are very few entries which relate to what theoretically constituted the bulk of everyday activity of the court of justice, that is, litigations, as well as registrations of such events as real estate transactions, the fixing of market prices, the distribution of the estates of the deceased among their heirs, and conversions to Islam.21

However, if we turn to a closer investigation of the contents of particular sicil entries of 1794- 96, we will discover reflections of the administrative reforms of the 1790s. For instance, a sultanic decree that was received by the Karaferye court of justice on 9 October 1795 and copied in the kadi’s register does reflect the spirit of the new era. This decree referred to issues concerning the proper collection of the tax on alcoholic liquors, the so-called rüsum-i zecriye (or zecriye resmi).22 After setting the rate of the tax at 2 paras per okka for wine and 4 paras for raki and other drinks and allowing a tax-exempt quantity for own use by non-Muslims only, a great deal of emphasis was placed on and space dedicated to following the proper accounting procedure and preventing embezzlement. The collectors (âmil) were required to compile detailed inventories of their daily activity; these inventories should include the details of those selling spirits, the quantity taxed, as well as the place of origin and the destination of the vendors. Depending on the distance of the region from Istanbul a copy of the inventory was to be sent daily or weekly or monthly or at least once every two or three months to the capital for inspection. The collector was also required to compile a final register with the total of the tax revenue at the end of the year and submit it for inspection by the principal collector (muhassil), a tax-farmer, who had to verify the register’s accuracy locally. If the tax revenue from a particular region was found to be below a set rate (40 kises=20,000 gurus), a 10% fine was to be imposed on the collector’s salary and expense allowan-

21 B. A. Ergene, Local Court, Provincial Society and Justice in the Ottoman Empire: Legal Practice and Dispute Resolution in Çankir and Kastamonu (1652-1744), Leiden-Boston 2003, 33-43 and n. 5.
22 For this tax, see Cezar, Osmanli maliyesinde bunalim, 183-86.

 

 

If the tax revenue was found to be above the expected rate, a cash bonus would be paid to the collector (25 guru[ per kise). After this procedure had been completed and the due amount of mo- ney had been paid to the state, the result of the inspection would be registered locally and a copy would be given to the collector. In the event of the collector being found to have embezzled money, then punishment would be severe, ranging from dismissal and confiscation of his property for the simpler cases to execution for more sinister tax collectors. Before instructing the local colle- ctor in Karaferye to start collection for the Muslim year 1210, another part of the decree was de- dicated to stressing that no one was to be exempted from the tax regardless of their status and pla- ce of residence.23

The reason for citing this decree in some detail is that I find it to be quite characteristic of the spirit of Selim’s reforms. For one thing, it is stated in it that collection of the tax on alcoholic liquors is arranged in accordance with the terms of the new order (nizam-i cedid). More importantly, however, it exemplifies the administrative tendency towards stricter state control by means of all the checks imposed on the tax collector.

Manifestations of reform inroads upon the life of Karaferye as well as of the co-existence of old and new forms which was, according to some, one of the reasons for the eventual dethronement of Selim III, can in fact be detected in several categories of entries. Timars, one of the core institutions of the so-called ‘classic Ottoman administrative system’, still existed in the late eighte- enth century, even though they were moribund. An entry dated 1 March 1795 referred to farming out a number of vacant timars in the region of Karaferye. Farming out timar revenue was by no means a novelty of the 1790s; on the contrary, it had been going on for centuries.24 What was a touch of novelty was the fact that the particular timars in Karaferye were farmed out by the irad- i cedid to which they had been transferred by sultanic decree.25 The procedure was like the far- ming out of any other sort of revenue: Timur Hasan, the tax-farmer, signed a promissory note (deyn temessü$ü) and took control of the timars’ revenues for one full year starting in March and ending in February. The decree contains a remarkable contradistinction between the new law (kanun-i cedid), according to which the timars were farmed out,26 and the old law (kanun-i kadim), according to which Timur Hasan was entitled to enjoy their revenues, on condition of respecting the rights of the reaya.27

23 KS 101/36/2 (June-July 1795; the exact date of issue is illegible).
24 T. Darling, Revenue-Raising and Legitimacy: Tax Collection and Finance Administration in the Ottoman Empire 1560-1660, Leiden-New York-Köln 1996, 123-36, 139-40. See also H. Inalcik, ‘Military and Fiscal Transformation in the Ottoman Empire, 1600-1700’, ArchOtt, 6 (1980), 327-33.
25 Cezar, Osmanl5 maliyesinde bunal5m, 174-83; Shaw, Between Old and New, 120, 125, 129.
26 Selim issued a decree about the reform of the timar system (timar kanunu) in 1791/92 (Cezar, Osmanl5 maliyesin- de bunalim, 177).
27 KS 101/22/2 (1 March 1795).

 

 

This kind of blending between old and new forms is evident throughout the sicil. One can find recurrent references to the nizam-i cedid and the irad-i cedid in entries which otherwise may not differ from older ones in their general outlook. As noted above, the tendency towards closer inspection of the financial affairs of the district by the imperial centre must have been another observable change for the society of Karaferye, or at least its leadership. A reflection of this tendency may also be found in the periodic registers which contained the communal expenses of the region and their distribution among the local population. State inspection of these registers antedated Selim III, but it seems that there was an (abortive?) attempt at a more rigorous application of this measure during the 1790s.28 The presence in Karaferye of a state inspector whose task was to check local registers of distribution of the tax burden must have been a living reminder of this centralising tendency.29

Mubayaa was another procedure that was affected by the policies of Selim III, and imperial decrees about it bear the marks of reform. For instance, two major innovations of the 1790s, that is, the purchase of cereals at market price (rayic) and not from the kaza as a whole but directly from specifically named notables and officials who were big landowners, tax-farmers of the tithe and granary owners (ashab-i alaka ve asar ve erbab-i çift ve ziraat [or çiftlik] ve enbar),30 are reflected in two surviving decrees of 1795.31 Moreover, one of these two decrees is very lengthy, which seems to be a general tendency of the 1790s, and rather elaborate about procedural issues as far as securing the proper dispatch and sale of cereals is concerned.32 Finally, those familiar with state hierarchy may not have failed to notice that the superintendent of cereals (zahire naziri) had now been awarded the prestigious rank of Third Treasurer of the Imperial Treasury (sikk-i salis), which was an expression of the increased concern of the state for the provision of Istanbul with cereals.33

28 Özkaya, Osmanli mparatorlu$u’nda âyânlik [The Institution of Ayanship in the Ottoman Empire], Ankara 1994, 259, 262-65, 280-81; H. Inalcik, ‘Centralization and Decentralization in Ottoman Administration’, in T. Naff and R. Owen (eds), Studies in Eighteenth Century Islamic History, Carbondale 1977, 51.
29 KS 101/9 (13 June 1795). This inspector’s title is cited as “dergâh-i muallâm gediklülerinden kaza-i mezbur tevzi- at defatiri naziri” in a decree addressed to him (KS 101/43/2 [31/1-9/2/1796]). This latter entry has been translated into Greek by Vasdravellis, Historika Archeia, 240-42, 248. For reaction to the appointment of such an official, see Özkaya, âyânlik, 293.
30 Güran, ‘The State Role in the Grain Supply’, 30-31. The author remarks that “rayic purchasing was begun only after the foundation of the Grain Administration” (ibid., 30), but then refers to decrees which were issued prior to its establishment and dealt with rayic purchase of cereals (ibid., 31 20 and 21; 33 n. 30).
31 KS 101/27 (9-17 July 1795); KS 101/33 (5-14 September 1795). Even though most of the cereals were to be provi- ded by specific individuals, certain quantities were allocated to the people of Sidrekapsi and Karaferye collectively
32 According to KS 101/27, smuggling and mixing of mubayaa wheat with other cereals, such as barley, rye, straw, and wild oats, were two of the problems facing the state
33 Shaw, Between Old and New, 175-76. This official and his rank were cited in both

 

 

Where do these observations lead to in terms of the impact of the Nizam-i Cedid on a Balkan region such as Karaferye? Karaferye sicil entries suggest that not long after the promulgation of Selim’s innovations, the new administrative spirit reached the Balkan provinces through imperial decrees of a mostly financial and fiscal nature. On the other hand, nowhere is to be seen a radical departure from older forms as was to be the case in the middle of the nineteenth century with the much broader Tanzimat reforms.34 It is undeniable that at least certain circles in Karaferye must have wondered what exactly this new thing, the Nizam-i Cedid, was, but they must not have felt that their life was seriously upset.35 The registers for the distribution of local expenses and taxation provide some indication as to this: as seems to be the case in other regions too, even though the regular register was inspected by the state agent, another register of the same year concerning the payment of fees to the governor of Salonica contained no reference whatsoever to the new regime.36 Even if inspection of the regular register was indeed very rigorous, what prevented local notables from transferring illegal exactions to the other register?37

Undoubtedly, a more systematic examination of the Karaferye sicils of the 1790s will lead to further elaboration of the picture concerning the effect of the Nizam-i Cedid on the region. But if sicils are a valuable source for the study of administrative reform as such, what about its possible impact on the mentality of Ottoman subjects, and what about other contemporaneous phenomena, such as the impact of the Enlightenment on Karaferye? Changes in mentality and ideological currents are intangible, but this does not mean that they do not leave any marks behind. It is very doubtful though that these can be found in court records; it is much more likely to trace them where research on the Enlightenment has focused and still focuses, that is, in the publications of scholars, merchants and revolutionaries, in the dissemination of books and pamphlets, in memoirs, in letters, in architecture, decoration and other forms of material culture.

34 In fact, the extension of the authority of Tepedelenli Ali Pa[a to the district of Karaferye in the last few years of the eighteenth century (1798) may have proved for the region a much more critical change than the Nizam-i Cedit
35 See, in this context, Shaw’s concluding remarks concerning the limitations of Selim’s concept of reform (Shaw, Between Old and New, 405-07). See also how the report of 1796 (n. 10 above) describes the situation in Thiva concerning continuing fiscal oppression of the local population (P. Christopoulos, ‘He peri ton Korinthiakon perioche kata ta tele tou IH´ aionos’ [The Area around the Corinthian Gulf in the Late Eighteenth Century], EHSM, 3 [1971-72], 457-60).
36 KS 101/20 (16 July 1795).
37 Cf. M. Ç. Uluçay, 18 ve 19. Yüzy5llarda Saruhan’da e[k5yal5k ve halk hareketleri [Brigandage and Popular Movements in Saruhan in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries], Istanbul 1955, 53-55.

 

 

Paschalis Kitromilidis, a specialist in the Modern Greek Enlightenment, has suggested that the social roots of “revolutionary mentality” in the Balkans were “slender”,38 but it is reasonable to assume that news about the French Revolution had reached a town such as Karaferye, given the activities (such as the planting of ‘trees of liberty’) of French agents and sympathisers in Istanbul and elsewhere.39 Even if we suppose – for the sake of our argument – that the people of Karafe- rye had no knowledge whatsoever of the dramatic events in France, is there any chance of them being unaware of the struggle between the Church and the ‘philosophers’, given the various pam- phlets and books published and circulated by both sides?40 Even if we admit that it might have been so for lack of concrete evidence, it is beyond any doubt that the inhabitants of Karaferye heard about the French invasion to Egypt, since state decrees about the event were received by the local court of justice, while the Orthodox Patriarchate also issued anti-French encyclicals.41 As a matter of fact, a true propaganda war broke out in 1798; the Ottomans, the Russians, the French, the British, the Orthodox Patriarchate, as well as private individuals sympathising with (or working for) one or the other side, were involved in it.42

Even though scattered and few in number, still there are some pieces of information which

38 M. Kitromilidis, He Gallike Epanastase kai he notioanatolike Europe [The French Revolution and Southeastern Europe], Athens 2000, 46-47, 133-34. Y. Cezar puts forward a similar argument in his ‘Osmanli Imparatorlusu’nun çasda[la[ma sürecinde Selim III dönemi: Nizâm-i Cedid reformlari’ [The Period of Selim III in the Process of Modernisation of the Ottoman Empire: The Nizam-i Cedid Reforms], in J.-L. Bacqué-Grammont and Eldem (eds), De la Révolution française à la Turquie d’Atatürk: La modernisation politique et sociale. Les lettres, les sciences et les arts. Actes des Colloques d’Istanbul (10-12 mai 1989), Istanbul-Paris 1990, 57-70, esp. 57-63 Viewed as a whole, the contributions in this volume seem to confirm the view that the ideas of the French Revolution truly had an impact on the Muslim elite of the Ottoman Empire only in the course of the nineteenth century, and not in its early decades either.
39 Kitromilidis, Gallike Epanastase, 33-40; Groc, ‘Premiers contacts’, 21-34, 37; Shaw, Between Old and New, 197-98
40 As Kitromilidis notes, even conservative, traditionalist propaganda against the Enlightenment and the French Revolution contributed to the propagation of the new revolutionary ideas, as it was formulated by necessity in a modernist context and unwittingly advertised the names and ideas of its opponents (Kitromilidis, Gallike Epanastase, 80-82).
41 Greek translations of decrees concerning the French invasion can be found in Vasdravellis, Historika Archeia (see above, 20); cf. Karal, Selim III’ün hatt-i humayunlar5 (1942), 50-52. Excerpts from patriarchal encyclicals have been published in Historia tou hellenikou ethnous [History of the Greek Nation], vol. 11, Athens 1975, 449.
42 Even though state and church were primarily concerned for those areas that were more exposed to the French ‘menace’, e., the western Balkans, the Peloponnese, the Aegean islands, and Crete (Lewis, Emergence, 65), several decrees and encyclicals were dispatched all over and reached (or must have reached) Karaferye. A useful overview of pro- and anti-French propaganda from the 1790s can be found in L. Vranousis, ‘Agnosta patriotika phylla- dia kai anekdota keimena tes epoches tou Rega kai tou Korae. He philogallike kai he antigallike propaganda’ [Unknown Patriotic Pamphlets and Unpublished Texts from the Time of Rhigas and Korais. Pro- and Anti-French Propaganda], Epeteris tou Mesaionikou Archeiou (Akademia Athinon), 15-16 (1965-66), 125-330.

 

 

suggest that Karaferye Christians in fact were not impervious to the social and ideological developments and struggles of the late eighteenth century. For instance, the Bishop of Campania, Theophilos,43 a liberal scholar acquainted with the ideas of the Enlightenment, passed through Karaferye in 1773 and the local teacher Stamatios Bekellidis composed an epigram in his honour on this occasion.44 Furthermore, the surviving correspondence of Theophilos demonstrates that he had contacts from and in Karaferye, and that he once asked the Metropolitan of Karaferye to find him lodging for the duration of a short stay in the town.45 The epigram of Bekellidis is in itself an indication that there existed in the town literate men familiar with classical culture, since it was composed in a language and style drawing on ancient Greek models. Besides, Esprit Marie Cousinéry remarked that he was entertained in Karaferye by a certain “Békéla”, who was knowledgeable in scholarly Greek (“savant dans la langue grecque littérale”); the French diplomat and numismatist does not specifically cite when this happened, but it most likely was before 1793.46 This Békéla must have been a relative of Bekellidis. At least one member of the same family was a merchant who settled in Hungary. Merchants often were promoters of learning and indeed Békéla was a superintendent (ephoros) of the Greek school of Pest and sponsored the publication of books.47 There is some information on books for which this Békéla and others from Karaferye

43 The Diocese of Campania was situated in the plain between Salonica and Veroia
44 On Theophilos, see S. Ginis (ed.), Nomikon poiethen kai syntachthen eis haplen phrasin hypo tou panierota- tou ellogimotatou episkopou Kampanias kyriou kyriou Theophilou tou ex Ioanninon (1788) [Law Book Composed and Arranged in the Common Language by his Most Erudite Holiness the Bishop of Campania Theophilos of Ioannina (1788)], Thessaloniki 1960, é´-êç´; the epigram was published by S. Efstratiadis, ‘Ho Kampanias The- ophilos ho ex Ioanninon’ [Theophilos of Ioannina, Bishop of Campania], Epeirotika Chronika, 2 (1927), 72. A ca- talogue of books that Theophilos must have consulted in the course of his life can be found in D. S. Ginis, ‘He vivliotheke tou Theophilou Kampanias (ho pneumatikos kosmos henos phileleutherou despote)’ [The Library of Theophilos, Bishop of Campania (The Intellectual World of a Liberal Bishop)], Ho Eranistes, 1 (1963), 33-40.
45 A. Kalinderis, Ta lyta eggrapha tes Demotikes Vivliothekes Kozanes 1676-1808 [The Unbound Documents of the Municipal Library of Kozani, 1676-1808], Thessaloniki 1951, 62-63, 71-72, but also 60-61, 126; Efstratiadis, ‘Kampanias Theophilos’, 70, 76-77, 246, 256, 259, 261-62; V. A. Mystakidis, ‘Theophilou Kampanias erga kai hemerai’ [Works and Days of Theophilos, Bishop of Campania], Theologia, 7 (1929), 54-55, 116-17, 119-20. The- ophilos also sent a petition to the Metropolitan of Salonica on behalf of a monk in Karaferye (Efstratiadis, ‘Kampanias Theophilos’, 258). Theophilos and two of his correspondents, Daniel, Metropolitan of Karaferye, and Theophilos, the Veroiot Metropolitan of Servia and Kozani, were contacted by a Russian agent in 1789 in the context of the war between the Ottomans and the Russians (Historia tou hellenikou ethnous, vol. 11, 91).
46 M. Cousinéry, Voyage dans la Macédoine, vol. 1, Paris 1831, 68. Compare with three eighteenth-century Greek inscriptions of a stilted linguistic style published by T. Papazotos, He Veroia kai hoi naoi tes (11os-18os ai.) [Ve- roia and its Churches (Eleventh-Eighteenth Centuries)], Athens 1994, 89, 147-49, 156-57. However, most eighteenth-century Greek inscriptions from Veroia are brief and contain spelling mistakes. We may note here that Papa- zotos discerns in some eighteenth-century church frescoes and icons, concepts and styles that in his view announce the Greek Enlightenment (ibid., 231-32, 295-96).
47 C. Chionidis, ‘He ek Veroias katagomene oikogeneia Vikela’ [The Vikelas Family of Veroia], Makedonika,7 (1966-67), 213.

 

 

subscribed in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, but this is scarce.48 Finally, we do know that there were local merchants under foreign protection in Karaferye, which presumably presupposed and entailed some form of contact with the West;49 on the other hand, there is hardly any systematic information on late eighteenth-century domestic architecture in connection with the rise of a Christian bourgeoisie.50

Karaferye was neither a big urban centre nor a junction, while very little is currently known about the social, economic and intellectual conditions in the town and its countryside during the eighteenth century. The point in evoking its case in the context of a paper that seeks to locate the imprint of the Nizam-i Cedid and Greek Enlightenment on the Balkans is that it is comparable to several other little-studied towns in this part of the Empire with mixed populations of Muslims and non- Muslims. Having made this remark, I should make clear that I by no means suggest that the study of a Balkan region in the 1790s is or should be exhausted in the study of the impact that the Nizam-i Cedid and the Enlightenment had on it. The reason I have chosen to focus on these two phenomena is only because of their emblematic character as dominant themes of what schematically might be called ‘Ottomanist’ and ‘national Greek’ historiographies, which form the point of reference for the last section of this paper.

Undoubtedly, in recent decades national historiographies have begun to take the Ottoman context into consideration; Ottomanists, on the other hand, have moved beyond the study of the state and its institutions towards analysing Ottoman society and economy. However, a lot still needs to be accomplished. For instance, where do the realities of what has been called the Age of Greek Enlightenment by Greek historiography and the period of the Nizam-i Cedid by Ottomanists meet

48 Myaris has compiled a list of subscribers from Six titles and eight subscribers (two metropolitans) are recorded for the period 1792-1807. Three persons subscribed to one title of interest in 1797 (a “Thesaurus of Grammar”), the other book published in the 1790s being a religious one. Subscribers from Karaferye subscribed between 1804 and 1807 for a book on Logic, Metaphysics and Ethics, Thucydides’ Peloponnesian War edited by Neophytos Doukas, a History of Greece and a book on mathematics and natural science. It is noticeable, though, that most of the eight subscribers did not reside in Karaferye (G. K. Myaris, ‘Syndrometes vivlion apo ten Veroia kai te Naousa metaxy 1758 kai 1839’ [Book Subscribers from Veroia and Naoussa, 1758-1839], Makedonikon hemerologion Sphendone, 70 [1995], 245-46). As was to be expected, the number of publications and subscribers increased significantly from about 1805 onwards.
49 Anastasopoulos, ‘Building Alliances: A Christian Merchant in Eighteenth-Century Karaferye’, Oriente Moder- no, 25/1 n.s. (2006), 65-75.
50 Kalogirou, Hellenike paradosiake architektonike: Veroia [Greek Traditional Architecture: Veroia], Athens 1989, 19, 36; N. Moutsopoulos, He laïke architektonike tes Veroias/The Popular Architecture of Verria, Athens 1967.

 

 

in historical writing? This paper does not purport to be exhaustive or conclusive, but aims at suggesting research possibilities that have not been fully exploited yet.

Admittedly, sometimes incompatibility between national Balkan historiographies and Ottomanist approaches to the same period and area seems to originate in differences in the nature and purposes of available sources. For example, the Karaferye sicils of the 1790s give very limited information on non-Muslims: they are presented as traditional imperial subjects, whose activity was more or less limited to paying taxes and following their traditional daily routine (with all its hic- cups, including brigand attacks, to which we will soon turn our attention). On the other hand, non- Ottoman sources of the same period suggest that even though Christian communities remained traditional in their outlook, they exhibited willingness to accept new ideas and practices.

The case of Tasos Karatasos could be cited here as another local instance of discrepancy between Ottoman and non-Ottoman sources. Karatasos, who was a renowned martolos of Karaferye and its region, and one of the principal defenders of Asustos (Naoussa) against Tepedelenli

Ali Pasa, according to Greek sources and scholarship,51 could be one of the “Asustos people” (Asustos kasabasi ahalileri ehl-i zimmetden iken) whom Ottoman authorities praised for attacking brigands, but treated as anonymous subjects, not being keen on identifying them by name.52

More interaction between different historiographical fields is a prerequisite to overcoming the particularities of the source material in order to be able to view a town such as Karaferye as a whole rather than as the place of residence of two distinct, unrelated socio-religious groups, Muslims and Christians even if it is ultimately demonstrated that Christians took little notice of the Nizam-i Cedid reforms53 and Muslims were not really interested in the French Revolution and its ideas, or that there was limited ideological interaction between the two groups (or as far as other relevant pursuits were concerned).

Furthermore, there are several research issues that await a more open and meaningful appro- ach by both Ottomanist and non-Ottomanist historians. Brigandage is, I believe, one of them. This particular topic carried very special weight in Greek historiography for several decades and does

51 C. Chionidis, ‘Schediasma peri tou Gero-Karatasou kai tes oikogeneias tou’ [Preliminary Information about Gero-Karatasos and his Family], Makedonika, 9 (1969), 299; I. K. Vasdravellis, Hoi Makedones kata ten Epana- stasin tou 1821. Ekdosis trite me tas neas historikas pegas [Macedonians during the Revolution of 1821. Third Edition with the New Historical Sources], Thessaloniki 1967, 36, 45-46.
52 KS 101/22/1 (24 July 1795). According to Chionidis, Karatasos and his family lived in Dihalevri near A$ They moved to A$ustos around 1798 (Chionidis, ‘Schediasma’, 309-10).
53 J. Strauss, ‘Ottoman Rule Experienced and Remembered: Remarks on Some Local Greek Chronicles of the Tourkokratia’, in F. Adanir and S. Faroqhi (eds), The Ottomans and the Balkans: A Discussion of Historiography, Leiden-Boston-Köln 2002, 217-19, on how major political developments may be absent from local chronicles; observe a similar phenomenon in Christopoulos, ‘He peri ton Korinthiakon perioche’, 439-71 (nevertheless, maybe its references to “Το νεον ντατζιον” [new tax] are related to the fiscal measures of the Nizam-i Cedid).

 

 

to a lesser degree even today, as brigands have often sweepingly been treated as heralds of Greek independence and ascribed a concrete national identity and national motives.54 However, this picture changes when one studies the Ottoman sicils. For instance, the sicils of Karaferye demonstrate that brigandage was a perennial problem in the district, and groups of brigands occasionally upset local life and created a general feeling of insecurity beyond religious or ethnic boundaries.55 Most incoming decrees give us very little specific information on the exact activities and motives of brigands, who are usually referred to simply as “heyadid [ü] eskiya”, while only a few brigands mostly band leaders – are mentioned by Even though there were undoubtedly Christians among them,56several brigands whom we know by name were not Greek freedom fighters, as traditional Greek historiography would have them to be, but Muslim Albanians; Albanians were in fact often targeted by state decrees as agents of disorder and destabilisation.57 Thus, entries from 1794-95 refer to Albanian brigands who had established themselves in the countryside of Karafe- rye and attacked travellers,58 while after an attack on a village they even passed through the town of Karaferye along with their hostages.59 Sicils clearly are biased state documents with an interest in restoring order rather than in investigating the deeper roots of brigandage or exploring the motives of brigands, and thus one could argue that it is only natural that outlaws are usually depicted by Ottoman court records as common criminals devoid of any higher (let alone national) ideals. On the other hand, as examples from various times and places prove, this does not always preclude the possibility of sicil entries which provide evidence of brigands and outlaws whose mo-

54 This concept is epitomised in the textbook treatment of klephts and martoloses in His toria tou hellenikou ethnous, vol. 11, 417-22. It is interesting to juxtapose Historia’s (1975) and Stanford Shaw’s (1971) Shaw also speaks of brigands and bandits in the Balkans, but in a very different light: for him, bandit and brigand bands were primarily actors in the antagonism between the state and the provincial Muslim notables (Shaw, Between Old and New, 212, 227-28, 235-38, 242-46, 301-04).
55 Vasdravellis has published several sicil entries related to brigandage (Vasdravellis, Historika Archeia, passim).
56 See, for instance, KS 101/54/1 (24 August 1795).
57 See, for instance, Anastasopoulos, ‘Lighting the Flame of Disorder: Ayan Infighting and State Intervention in Ottoman Karaferye, 1758–59’, IJTS, 8/1 & 2 (2002), 83-84 (unfortunately this article was printed with mistakes: Thus, the first sentence of the second paragraph on p. 83 should read: “At this point the Ottoman authorities con- nected the problem in Karaferye with the issue of Albanian presence in the region”; the fifth sentence of the se- cond paragraph on p. 84 should read: “According to the document, Mustafa borrowed money from Hasan, transferred the debt to the population of the kaza by forcing them to sign notes of acceptance, then Hasan terrorized them for its repayment”; p. 84 n. 44: it is not “document no. 18” and “document no. 161” but “entry no. 18” and “entry no. 16”). See also F. F. Anscombe, ‘Albanians and “Mountain Bandits”’, in idem (ed.), The Ottoman Bal- kans, 1750-1830, Princeton 2005, 87-113.
58 KS 101/8 (25 October 1794). This entry has been translated into Greek by Vasdravellis, Historika Archeia, 233- 34, no.
59 KS 101/22/1 (24 July 1795). I assume that they are the same brigands as above, because they were heading to Karatas, where the Albanian brigands had established their This entry, too, has been translated into Greek by Vasdravellis, Historika Archeia, 236-37, no. 244.

 

 

tive was enmity towards the state and its agents; still, whether discontent with the established order goes hand in hand with ethnic or national consciousness is at best debatable.60

To conclude, closer interaction between Ottomanist and national Balkan historiographies will certainly result in a more balanced picture of the last decades of the eighteenth and the early decades of the nineteenth century, a crucial period, which still remains relatively obscure, at least for the southern Balkans. The 1790s were not a time of revolutionary changes, but, when examined as part of a long continuum, they contributed to breeding phenomena that were later to fully develop and dominate the early part of the nineteenth century (to name but a few: rise of nationalism, revolts and revolutions for national liberation, state reforms, issues of orientation and identity).61 Moreover, we should aim at also broadening our scope by fruitfully combining studies of the major phenomena of this period with case studies of particular Balkan regions, based on as wide a spectrum of sources as possible.

 

60 ibid, 112-14, nos 139-140 (25 April 1705-21 June 1705); S. Faroqhi, ‘The Life and Death of Outlaws in Çorum’, in I. Baldauf and S. Faroqhi with R. Veselý (eds), Armagan-Festschrift für Andreas Tietze, Prague 1994, 59-76; cf. Uluçay, Saruhan’da eskiyalik, 94.
61 Dimaras treated the decade 1791-1800 as a precursor to the phenomena that dominated the first two decades of the nineteenth century as far as Greek Orthodox society was concerned (Dimaras, Diaphotismos, 245-62, 246- 47). Dimaras focused on issues of ideology, culture, social etiquette, and fashion, and spoke of “phenomena that signalled modernity” in the period 1800-20.

Source: http://www.antonisanastasopoulos.eu/Publications/Anastasopoulos2007ii.pdf

Antonis Anastasopoulos  10. August 2017
Rubrik: Osmanisches Reich, Türkei

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