27 October 2009

22 October 2009

ΣΥΛΛΟΓΟΣ ΠΟΝΤΙΩΝ ΦΟΙΤΗΤΩΝ Ν. ΛΑΡΙΣΑΣ - ΣΑΒΒΑΤΟ 7 ΝΟΕΜΒΡΙΟΥ 2009








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ΣΥΝΕΔΡΙΟ ΕΘΝΙΚΗΣ ΑΥΤΟΓΝΩΣΙΑΣ ΑΡΤΑ 30, 31 ΟΚΤΩΒΡΙΟΥ – 1 ΝΟΕΜΒΡΙΟΥ 2009



15ο ΠΑΝΕΛΛΗΝΙΟ ΣΥΝΕΔΡΙΟ ΠΟΝΤΙΑΚΩΝ ΣΥΛΛΟΓΩΝ ΓΙΑ ΤΗΝ ΕΘΝΙΚΗ ΑΥΤΟΓΝΩΣΙΑ
30, 31 ΟΚΤΩΒΡΙΟΥ – 1 ΝΟΕΜΒΡΙΟΥ 2009
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ΔΕΛΤΙΟ ΤΥΠΟΥ
ΣΥΝΕΔΡΙΟ ΕΘΝΙΚΗΣ ΑΥΤΟΓΝΩΣΙΑΣ
ΑΡΤΑ 30, 31 ΟΚΤΩΒΡΙΟΥ – 1 ΝΟΕΜΒΡΙΟΥ


Άρτα 20-10-2009

Η Πανελλήνια Ομοσπονδία Ποντιακών Σωματείων, επί 14 συνεχή χρόνια μαζί με τα Ποντιακά Σωματεία και σε συνεργασία με τις κατά τόπους Νομαρχίες και Δήμους, διοργανώνει Πανελλήνια Συνέδρια για την Εθνική Αυτογνωσία, με την συμμετοχή Ποντιακών Συλλόγων απ΄ όλη την Ελλάδα και διακεκριμένων επιστημόνων και πολιτικών με αξιόλογες εισηγήσεις.

Τα μέχρι τώρα συνέδρια τα οποία πραγματοποιήθηκαν σε διάφορες πόλεις της Ελλάδας (Φλώρινα, Σέρρες, Κατερίνη, Καβάλα, Αθήνα, Πειραιάς, Ζάλογγο, Θεσσαλονίκη, Χαλκιδική, Ν. Ορεστιάδα κ.α.) σημείωσαν τεράστια επιτυχία ενώ ιδιαίτερο ενδιαφέρον και απήχηση είχαν οι εισηγήσεις και τα πορίσματά των.

Συνεχίζοντας και φέτος την επιτυχημένη τους πορεία και διαδρομή στο χωροχρόνο τα συνέδρια Εθνικής Αυτογνωσίας πορεύονται στην Άρτα, όπου ο Ποντιακός Σύλλογος Βίλγας «ΟΙ ΠΡΟΣΦΥΓΕΣ» και τα σωματεία Σύλλογος Μικρασιατών & Ποντίων Ν. Πρέβεζας, Ποντιακός Εκπολιτιστικός Σύλλογος Ν. Κερασούντας, Εξωραϊστικός Εκπολιτιστικός Σύλλογος Ν. Σαμψούντας, Ποντιακός Σύλλογος Γυναικών Ν. Σαμψούντας και Ποντιακός Πολιτιστικός Σύλλογος Αγίου Νικολάου Βόνιτσας, διοργανώνουν το 15ο Πανελλήνιο Συνέδριο Ποντιακών Συλλόγων για την Εθνική Αυτογνωσία.

Το Συνέδριο θα πραγματοποιηθεί στην αίθουσα του ξενοδοχείου «ARTA PALACE», από 30 Οκτωβρίου έως 1 Νοεμβρίου 2009, μετά από πρόταση του Ποντιακού Συλλόγου Βίγλας «Οι Πρόσφυγες», με Πρόεδρο της Οργανωτικής Επιτροπής τον Νομάρχη Άρτας κ. Γεώργιο Παπαβασιλείου και Πρόεδρο Οργανωτικής Επιτροπής Επί Τιμή τον Συντονιστή Περιφέρειας ΣΑΕ χωρών πρώην ΕΣΣΔ και Βουλευτή Κρατικής Δούμα της Ρωσικής Ομοσπονδίας κ. Ιβάν Σαββίδη.

Το Συνέδριο είναι αφιερωμένο στην μνήμη του Ποντιακής καταγωγής Εθνομάρτυρα Μητροπολίτη Κορυτσάς & Πρεμετής Φώτιο Καλπίδη, ο οποίος υπήρξε το πρώτο θύμα του Μακεδονικού αγώνα.

Με αφορμή το γεγονός ότι για το 2009 η Ελλάδα έχει αναλάβει την Προεδρία του Παγκοσμίου Φόρουμ για την Μετανάστευση και την Ανάπτυξη, η Οργανωτική Επιτροπή αποφάσισε ανάμεσα στις θεματικές του Συνεδρίου, να υπάρξουν και κάποιες οι οποίες θα είναι αφιερωμένες στον Απόδημο Ελληνισμό.

Το 15ο Πανελλήνιο Συνέδριο αναμένεται να παρακολουθήσουν περισσότεροι από 600 αντιπρόσωποι ποντιακών σωματείων απ΄ όλη τη χώρα, ενώ διακεκριμένοι επιστήμονες και πολιτικοί θα αναφερθούν στη θεματική του συνεδρίου.

Η θεματική του συνεδρίου είναι:
«ΕΝΙΑΙΟΣ ΚΑΙ ΑΔΙΑΣΠΑΣΤΟΣ ΕΛΛΗΝΙΣΜΟΣ»

Οι εισηγητές του συνεδρίου είναι:
Χρήστος Ανδρεάδης
Φιλόλογος - Ιστορικός
Θέμα: «Ο Κορυτσάς & Πρεμετής Φώτιος Καλπίδης ο Πόντιος ιεράρχης-πρώτο θύμα του Μακεδονικού Αγώνα»

Ευστάθιος Πελαγίδης
Καθηγητής Πανεπιστημίου Δυτικής Μακεδονίας - Ιστορίας
Θέμα: «Η συμβολή των προσφύγων στην αναγέννηση της Ελλάδος 1923 και εξής»

Ευτυχία Βουτυρά
Αναπλ. Καθηγήτρια Τμήμα Βαλκανικών, Σλαβικών και Ανατολικών Σπουδών Πανεπιστημίου Μακεδονίας
Θέμα: «Απόγονοι της Μικρασιατικής Προσφυγιάς: Ζητήματα και πολιτικές ένταξης των ‘Ρωσοποντίων’ στην σύγχρονη Ελλάδα»

Κωνσταντίνος Κονταξής
Επίκουρος Καθηγητής Λαογραφίας Πανεπιστημίου Δυτικής Μακεδονίας
Θέμα: «Το δημοτικό τραγούδι του γεφυριού της Άρτας σε ποντιακή παραλλαγή και παραλλαγή του ελλαδικού χώρου: ομοιότητες και διαφορές»

Νικόλαος Λυγερός
Καθηγητής Πανεπιστημίου
Θέμα: «Ο απόδημος Ελληνισμός ως μνήμη μέλλοντος της προσφυγιάς»

Μπεντρός Χαλατζιάν
Μέλος Αρμενικής Εθνικής Επιτροπής-Εκπρόσωπος τύπου
Θέμα: «Αρμενική Γενοκτονία: Το έγκλημα και η πορεία προς την εθνική δικαίωση»

Ευστάθιος Ταξίδης
Δάσκαλος-Δημοσιογράφος
Θέμα: «ΓΕΝΟΚΤΟΝΙΑ ΤΟΥ ΠΟΝΤΙΑΚΟΥ ΕΛΛΗΝΙΣΜΟΥ
Πραγματικότητα και μύθος, σφάλματα και επισημάνσεις»

Το συνέδριο πραγματοποιείται σε συνδιοργάνωση: με την Νομαρχιακή Αυτοδιοίκηση Άρτας, το Δήμο Αρταίων, το Δήμο Αμβρακικού, την Τ.Ε.Δ.Κ. Ν. Άρτας, την Τ.Ε.Δ.Κ. Ν. Πρεβέζης, το Δήμο Φιλιππιάδας και τελεί υπό την αιγίδα του Ιερού Ιδρύματος «Παναγία Σουμελά».


ΤΟ ΓΡΑΦΕΙΟ ΤΥΠΟΥ & ΔΗΜΟΣΙΩΝ ΣΧΕΣΕΩΝ


ΔΙΟΡΓΑΝΩΣΗ
ΠΟΝΤΙΑΚΟΣ ΣΥΛΛΟΓΟΣ ΒΙΓΛΑΣ «ΟΙ ΠΡΟΣΦΥΓΕΣ»
ΣΕ ΣΥΝΕΡΓΑΣΙΑ ΜΕ: ΠΑΝΕΛΛΗΝΙΑ ΟΜΟΣΠΟΝΔΙΑ ΠΟΝΤΙΑΚΩΝ ΣΩΜΑΤΕΙΩΝ
ΔΙΕΥΘΥΝΣΗ ΟΡΓΑΝΩΤΙΚΗΣ ΕΠΙΤΡΟΠΗΣ
Αντιγονιδών 19 τ.κ. 546 30, Θεσσαλονίκη
ΤΗΛ. 2310/548526, 543611, FAX 548922, E-mail: pops_1972@yahoo.gr



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ΜΙΛΗΣΑΝ ΠΡΙΝ ΑΠΟ ΧΡΟΝΙΑ...ΤΩΡΑ ΜΠΟΡΟΥΝ Ν' ΑΚΟΥΣΤΟΥΝ

Οι Αφανείς «Ιστορικοί» του Πόντου και της Μικράς Ασίας Έρχονται στο Ράδιο Ακρίτες στη Θεσσαλονίκη (102,3 FM)



Στο Ιστορικό Αρχείο Προσφυγικού Ελληνισμού του Δήμου Καλαμαριάς. Επάνω σειρά: Αλέξανδρος Καστρινάκης, υποψήφιος διδάκτωρ, Ελένη Ιωαννίδου, Ιστορικός, Αφροδίτη Ζαμανίδου, εθελόντρια από τον σύλλογο Ποντίων Φοιτητών Πανεπιστημίου Θεσσαλονίκης, Θέα Χάλο, Συγγραφέας. Ιδρύτρια και Πρόεδρος του Ιδρύματος Ποντιακής Κληρονομιάς Σάνο Θεμία Χάλο, Λήδα Ασλανίδου, φοιτήτρια από το Σώμα Εθελοντών του Κολεγίου Ανατόλια. Κάτω σειρά: Ειρήνη Τελλίδου, Υπάλληλος Πληροφοριών, Μαρία Πϊτσου, Ιστορικός, Μαρία Καζαντζίδου, Ιστορικός.

Για χρόνια το Ιστορικό Αρχείο Προσφυγικού Ελληνισμού του Δήμου Καλαμαριάς («Αρχείο») έχει συγκεντρώσει, καταγράψει και διατηρήσει πιστά τις μνήμες Ελλήνων διασωθέντων στο Πόντο και σ’ άλλα μέρη της Μικράς Ασίας, συμπεριλαμβανομένων της Κωνσταντινούπολης και Θράκης. Σύμφωνα με την ιστορικό του Αρχείου, Ελένη Ιωαννίδου «ορισμένα έγγραφα έχουν δημιουργηθεί χρησιμοποιώντας υλικό αρχείου και περιστασιακά ιστορικοί προσέρχονται στο κέντρο για έρευνα».

Τώρα, για πρώτη φορά, αποσπάσματα από 1,500 ηχογραφήσεις διασωθέντων θα παρουσιαστούν στο κοινό σε μια εξαιρετική ραδιοφωνική παραγωγή του Ράδιο Ακρίτες. Κατόπιν ιδέας της Θέα Χάλο (Thea Halo), συγγραφέας του «Ούτε το Όνομα Μου» και ιδρύτριας και προέδρου του Ιδρύματος Ποντιακής Κληρονομιάς Σάνο Θεμία Χάλο (Sano Themia Halo Pontian Heritage Foundation), η παραγωγή ονομάζεται Έργο Μνήμης του Πόντου και της Μικράς Ασίας.

Το Έργο Μνήμης θα παρουσιάζει σε επανάληψη αποσπάσματα διάρκειας 3 έως 4 λεπτών από το Αρχείο στο Ράδιο Ακρίτες κατά την διάρκεια της εβδομάδας. Κάθε εβδομάδα μια νέα φωνή θα ακούγεται δίνοντας μια σύντομη περιγραφή της ζωής στον Πόντο και άλλα μέρη της Μικράς Ασίας. Κάποιες φορές εύθυμες, άλλες περιπετειώδεις και άλλοτε δραματικές, αυτές οι αυτούσιες αναφορές σίγουρα θα αγγίξουν τις καρδιές και τα αισθήματα των ακροατών.



Ο Θεόδωρος Παχατουρίδης, για παράδειγμα, από το Σουπρασάν του Καυκάσου μας λεει πως χρησιμοποιούσαν φαρμακευτικά βότανα για να αντιμετωπίζουν ασθένειες και πως ένας Τούρκος του έδειξε πώς να θεραπεύσει ένας μέλος της οικογένειας του. Η Μαρία Τσιπλακίδου-Μαυρίδου από το Σοχούμ, Ακάπα, Άγιος Κωνσταντίνος μας αφηγείται ένα τολμηρό επεισόδιο κατά την διάρκεια του οποίου μια Πόντια μαγείρισσα βοηθάει συγχωριανούς της να κλέψουν οπλισμό από Τούρκους στρατιώτες. Σε ένα άλλο επεισόδιο η Μαρία μας αφηγείται την τραγική ανεύρεση ποντιόπουλων κοριτσιών που, αφού βιάστηκαν και δολοφονήθηκαν, αφέθηκαν εγκαταλελειμμένα σ’ ένα ορεινό πέρασμα.

Ο Αλεξάντερ Σολτζενίτσιν έγραψε: «Κάθε ιστορική περίοδος παράγει το μέρισμα της σε κατ’ άλλα αφανή άτομα που έχουν το προσόν να διατηρούν το παρελθόν». Η δις Χάλο σημείωσε «Όπως η μητέρα μου, Σάνο ‘Θεμία’ Χάλο, αυτοί οι αφανείς ‘ιστορικοί’ έχουν δώσει ένα μοναδικό δώρο με τις μνήμες τους. Είναι στο χέρι μας και στις επερχόμενες γενεές να εκμεταλλευτούν αυτά τα δώρα.»

Η δις Χάλο είπε ότι ήταν απαραίτητο να συμμετέχουν πολλοί ώστε να υλοποιηθεί αυτό τα εγχείρημα και ο ενθουσιασμός που εκφράστηκε από κάθε συμμετέχοντα ήταν πραγματικά ενθαρρυντικός. Η δις Χάλο ανέφερε χαρακτηριστικά ότι σκεφτόταν το Έργο Μνήμης μια Παρασκευή και αμέσως μετά ο Θεοδόσιος Κυριακίδης, υποψήφιος διδάκτωρ και Συντονιστής της Παμποντιακής Νεολαίας Περιφέρειας Θεσσαλονίκης, προθυμοποιήθηκε να επικοινωνήσει με την διδα Ιωαννίδου, διευθύντρια του Αρχείου, και τον κ. Παύλο Γαλεγαλίδης, Διευθυντή του Ράδιο Ακρίτες. Κατόπιν συγκάλεσε την Παμποντιακή Νεολαία για να ζητήσει εθελοντές. Η Αφροδίτη Ζαμανίδου, η οποία καταλαβαίνει ποντιακά, ήταν η πρώτη εθελόντρια από τον Σύλλογο Ποντίων Φοιτητών και Σπουδαστών Θεσσαλονίκης. Η δις Χάλο στη συνέχεια παρουσίασε την πρόταση της στην Εύα Βαρέλλας Κανέλλης, Διευθύντρια του Αμερικανικού Κολεγίου Ανατόλια. Η δις Κανέλλης πρότεινε την σπουδάστρια Λήδα Ασλανίδου του προγράμματος International Baccalaureate, η οποία με ενθουσιασμό δέχθηκε και υπήρξε η πρώτη εθελόντρια μαθήτρια από το Σώμα Εθελοντών του Κολεγίου Ανατόλια.
Με ολοκληρωμένη την πρόταση, ο κ. Αλέξανδρος Καστρινάκης προθυμοποιήθηκε να μεταφέρει την διδα Χάλο και τους εθελοντές φοιτητές αρχικά στο Αρχείο, όπου τα πρώτα αποσπάσματα επιλέχθηκαν και κατόπιν στο Ράδιο Ακρίτες όπου έγινε η παραγωγή του πρώτου μέρους. Τέσσερις μόλις ημέρες μετά την σύλληψη της ιδέας, το πρώτο επεισόδιο του Έργου Μνήμης του Πόντου και Μικράς Ασίας είχε ολοκληρωθεί και ήταν έτοιμο να προβληθεί και ταυτόχρονα η δις Χάλο και οι εθελόντριες της ετοίμασαν ένα σύστημα επιλογής των μελλοντικών επεισοδίων.
«Αυτή η προσπάθεια καταδεικνύει πως είναι εφικτό ταλαντούχα άτομα να μετατρέπουν μια σκέψη σε πραγματικότητα» είπε η δις Χάλο. «Όλα είναι εφικτά αν έχουμε το όραμα και τη θέληση. Μέσα σε λίγες ώρες πραγματικού παραγωγικού χρόνου, έχουμε στήσει ένα βήμα για να ακούγονται οι διασωθέντες, οι οποίοι περίμεναν για πολύ χρόνο. Επιθυμία μας είναι τα επεισόδια του Έργου Μνήμης να ακούγονται από πολλούς σταθμούς σε όλη την Ελλάδα και στην συνέχεια στην Ευρώπη και την Αμερική.»

Γνωρίζοντας ότι κάποιοι σταθμοί ίσως αρνηθούν να παρουσιάσουν τα επεισόδια εάν αυτά πιστωνόταν στο όνομα κάποιου άλλου σταθμού, ο κ. Γαλεγαλίδης πολύ γενναιόδωρα προσφέρθηκε να αποσύρει το όνομα του Ράδιο Ακρίτες από τις παραγωγές εάν κάτι τέτοιο θα ενθάρρυνε άλλους σταθμούς να παρουσιάσουν το έργο.
«Νοιώθω ότι αυτά τα προγράμματα είναι πολύ σπουδαία» είπε ο κ. Γαλεγαλίδης. «Αυτές οι φωνές θα πρέπει να ακουστούν από όσο το δυνατό πιο πολλά άτομα και η πίστωση της παραγωγής σε ένα σταθμό δεν θα έπρεπε να σταθεί εμπόδιο σε αυτή την πορεία.»



Το Έργο Μνήμης παρουσιάζεται υπό την αιγίδα του Ιδρύματος Ποντιακής Κληρονομιάς Σάνο Θεμία Χάλο. «Είναι ένα καλό πρώτο βήμα για το Ίδρυμα στην Ελλάδα» πρόσθεσε η δις Χάλο. «Είναι μια ευκαιρία συνδρομής στην κληρονομιά, όσο αναμένουμε για το οικόπεδο στο Άγιο Αντώνιο, Βασιλικά, που μας έχουν υποσχεθεί όπου το Ίδρυμα θα ανεγείρει το Μουσείο Ποντιακής Κοινότητας και Ερευνητικό Κέντρο.»

Το πρώτο επεισόδιο θα βγει στον αέρα τη Πέμπτη, 22 Οκτωβρίου στις 8:00 μμ στο πρόγραμμα του Συλλόγου Ποντίων Φοιτητών και Σπουδαστών Θεσσαλονίκης. Παρακολουθείστε για επαναλήψεις κατά την διάρκεια της εβδομάδας. Κάθε εβδομάδα νέες αφηγήσεις διασωθέντων από τον Πόντοι και την Μικρά Ασία θα παρουσιάζονται. Παρόλα που όλα τα επεισόδια θα είναι στα νέα ελληνικά, κάποια επεισόδια θα είναι και στην ποντιακή διάλεκτο.





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Development of the Greek Pontic Dialect - Sam Topalidis


Development of the Pontic Greek Dialect

Sam Topalidis 2009

History of the Greek Language



According to Encyclopaedia Britannica (2005), the form of Greek written and spoken today evolved in four phases; Ancient Greek, Koine (also called Hellenistic Greek), Byzantine Greek and Modern Greek. [Others may consider there were no breaks in the continuous historical development of the Greek language.]

Encyclopaedia Britannica (2005) states Ancient Greek is divided into Mycenaean Greek (14th–13th century BC) and Archaic and Classical Greek (8th–4th century BC), which date from the adoption of the alphabet. The development of five letters to signify vowel sounds was the principal innovation of the Greek alphabet.

The language of the Archaic and Classical periods consisted of a number of dialects as a result of the Dorian invasions [which began around 1100 BC] of Greece and later of overseas Greek colonisations. These dialects comprised a West group (including Doric), an Aeolic group, an Ionic-Attic group, and an Arcade-Cypriot group.

Koine was spoken from the 4th century BC to the 4th century AD and it arose from the establishment of Alexander the Great's empire. Its main basis was the Attic dialect, with some Ionic features. Koine unified the formerly fragmented local dialects and simplified Greek grammar in the course of its expansion throughout the non-Greek-speaking areas of the Hellenised world. The Atticists, who urged that the Classical language be used for all writing, dismissed Koine as ‘impure’. Their suggestion was adopted, and thus the written form, known as Byzantine Greek (5th–15th century AD), stayed rooted in the Attic tradition while the spoken language continued to develop. A chasm between the written and spoken languages opened and gradually widened. [Mackridge (1985), states Greek became the official language of the Byzantine Empire in the 6th century AD.]

Modern Greek ‘could be considered’ to date from the 15th century and is of two kinds. One includes all the local dialects. The other is Standard Modern Greek, which is the official written and spoken language of Greece. Standard Modern Greek emerged from the convergence of two historical varieties of modern Greek - Demotic, which was understood by almost everyone; and Katharevousa, the ‘pure’, archaizing written language used in administration and other areas of public life. In 1976, Demotic was declared the official language of the state, replacing Katharevousa in government documents, newspapers and education.

Distribution of Pontic Greek in Asia Minor

The north-east corner of Asia Minor, which borders the Black Sea (see Map 1), is known as the Pontos. Greeks colonised this region from the 7th century BC and lived there until the last Christian was forcibly expelled in 1923. These Pontic Greeks spoke a dialect called Pontic Greek.

Mackridge (2007) in Topalidis (2007) states that:
Pontic Greek is a dialect of the Greek language that is largely derived, like almost all the other modern Greek dialects, from the Koine (common) Greek of Hellenistic and Roman times (4th century BC – 4th century AD). It probably began to become markedly distinct from the rest of the modern Greek dialects after the Seljuk invasions of Asia Minor [in the 11th century AD], which split Pontus from the other regions of the Byzantine Empire. However, some older features of the Greek language that disappeared from other Greek dialects were retained in Pontic, while some innovations seem to have taken place in Pontic under the influence of other Greek dialects even after the medieval period. In its vocabulary, Pontic has been influenced by Persian and Caucasian languages, and in recent centuries it has taken on a large number of loanwords from Turkish.

Mackridge (1991) states that when Pontic Greeks moved into Russian speaking areas, Pontic Greek also acquired a large number of Russian words. He also states that although many Pontic Greeks believe their language stems from the ancient Ionic dialect, the linguist Hatzidakis (1892 and 1930) demonstrated that only a couple of undoubtedly Ionic words could be found in Pontic Greek.

The Greek linguist Triandafyllidis (1981 [1938], p. 290) in Nicholas (1999) divided Pontic Greek into three groups. ‘Oinountiac in the western, non-contiguous part of the Pontos from Inepolis to Oinoe. Trapezuntiac on the eastern shore of the Pontos, from Kerasounta [Giresun] to Ophis [Of], Chaldiot was spoken in the Chaldia region, south of the eastern shore, and including Gumushane and its surrounding villages, as well as the southern mining colonies and the coastal town of Kotyora [Ordu]. Dawkins (1937) established that the printed Pontic of Rostov on Don (see Map 1) is also Chaldiot. Nicholas (1999) agrees with Papadopoulos (1955) who limits himself to a two-way distinction between Oinountiac and Trapezuntiac-Chaldiot, given that Oinountiac tends to pattern more closely with mainstream Greek. Nicholas refers to these two variants as Western and Eastern Pontic.

Hionides (1996) believes that the Pontic dialect remained so remote from the other modern Greek idioms that to the ear of the rest of Greece, it sounds like a foreign language.



Map 1 The Black Sea (King 2004, p. xvii)

Pontic Greek Dialect in Of

Dawkins (1937) states the most archaic form of Pontic Greek survived among the Moslems of Of (east of Trabzon, see Map 1). Hionides (1996) states Pontic Greek is spoken by the Turkish people of the provinces of Of and Tonya [south-west of Trabzon]. In 1985, he counted eight villages in the province of Tonya, 21 villages in the province of Of and five villages in the province of Surmene where the Turkish population spoke Pontic Greek. He also mentions that many Turks in Trabzon also fluently spoke Pontic Greek. However, Asan (1996) states that 60 villages in the Trabzon region with 40 of these villages in the Of region speak Pontic Greek.

Mackridge (n.d.) at: www.omerasan.com/eng/home.html accessed on 28 December 2008, describes Ömer Asan’s important 1996 work:
ever since their conversion to Islam, the Greek-speaking Pontic Muslims have not been exposed to any other kind of Greek than their own; nor did they have much close contact even with their Christian neighbours in Pontus. This means that their speech has preserved many archaic features that have now almost or completely disappeared from the Pontic spoken in Greece. (It should be said that their speech has also lost a large number of words that have been replaced by items of Turkish origin.) Ömer Asan's village, like the village where I have carried out my own linguistic fieldwork, is situated in the district of Of, east of Trebizond, which is home to the largest concentration of Greek-speakers in Pontus today. The Of district is the easternmost area in which Greek has been continuously spoken without interruption since ancient times. If Pontic is a peripheral dialect of Greek, then the sub-dialect of Of is a peripheral version of Pontic. Like most peripheral dialects, the speech of Of preserves an exceptional number of ancient words and grammatical features. For this reason the study of the sub-dialect of Of can throw fascinating light on the historical development of the Greek language.

… it has been fascinating to compare the vocabulary and grammar of Çoruh, as he [Asan] records them, with the linguistic material that I and others have collected from other villages in the Of district and from other parts of Pontus both before and after 1922. The variety in vocabulary and grammar between one village and another just a few miles away is extraordinary, and we would ideally like to have such a study of every Greek-speaking village in Pontus.

Ömer Asan’s article, ‘Trabzon Greek: a language without a tongue’ at: www.omerasan.com/eng/home.html accessed on 27 June 2009 (updated 2005), states that:
it was in the Greek language [Pontic Greek] that the inhabitants of the Solaki Valley [near Of] (apart from the late comers) were introduced to Islam and in which the imams in question were educated. … Actually, there is no more natural and logical a way of learning any sort of unfamiliar thought, doctrine or religion than through the mother tongue.

… Of the various Greek dialects in existence at the present day, Trabzon Greek, the language closest to ancient Greek … has been sacrificed to religious, national and political intrigue and impotence. Although there is no prohibition of any kind in place, Trabzon Greek, labelled by religious bigots as a ‘giaour’ [outside the Islamic faith] language, by nationalists as an ‘enemy’ language and by bureaucrats and politicians as a ‘separatist’ language, has the misfortune of being listed at the head of merely local, not national, languages.

Asan’s (1996) ‘courageous’ work in Turkish on the culture of a minority group has been criticised in Turkey, where the government prefers to pasteurise its cultural past. Asan should be congratulated, not condemned for his work. We should all embrace and respect our cultural diversity as an essential part of our identity.

Revithiadou and Spyropoulos (2006) have also studied Pontic Greek spoken by people from Of who had settled in the village of Nea Trapezounta in northern Greece. Drettas (1999) in Bortone (2009) estimated that 300,000 people in Greece speak Pontic Greek.

Romayka

Bortone (2009) states Muslim Pontic Greek spoken around the villages of Of, has no history, especially for its speakers. They have no written records and many of their speakers do not even know that the language is related to Greek. Some do not know which parts of their speech is Turkish and which is their local ‘other language’. Many call it Romayka, but never Pondiaká or Eliniká. Romayka is not formally taught and has no standard of any kind.

Bortone (2009) states that many Pontic Muslims report that they did not learn Turkish until they went to school. He also believes that Romayka will probably ultimately disappear. Interesting to note, from an email I received from a Trabzon local, that in 2008, five and six year olds in a school in a village of the town of Hayrat, near Of, were observed by their teacher to speak Pontic Greek (Romayka) as their native tongue.

Bortone (2009, p.83) states,
Greek peripheral dialects have archaic traits; but the Greek of the Of region has traits lost everywhere else.
… we would do well to emphasize the archaic nature of Romayka, if only because of the implicit irony: its archaic character is due to the very fact that Romayka has been isolated from the Greek tradition.

Pontic Greek in the Soviet Union

Pontic Greeks had been emigrating to the Soviet Union, including Georgia, in significant numbers from the 18th century.

The first census of Imperial Russia, based solely on the criteria of language, suggested that 186,925 Greek-speaking Greeks (105,169 in the southern Caucasus) lived within the borders of the empire in 1897 (Agtzidis (1997) in Sideri (2006)).

Dawkins (1937) states the number of Greek speakers in Russia was considerable. Correspondence he received from Professor Semenov of Rostov on Don (see Map 1) stated that there were 60,000 Greeks at Mariupol (south-eastern part of Ukraine, on the coastal region of the Sea of Azov) and 100,000 at Rostov on Don (the latter all speaking Pontic Greek). Sergievsky (1934) believes there were around 97,000 Mariupol Greeks, of whom some 82,000 spoke Greek. Mackridge (1991) states the Greek dialect spoken by the Mariupol Greeks differs markedly from Pontic Greek, though the two may be distantly related.

Dawkins (1937) states the Pontic Greek dialect of the Gumushane district (south of Trabzon) agrees with the Greek of Rostov on Don. He believes the great mass of the Rostov population came over to Russia from this district in the Pontos.

At the time of the October Revolution in Russia, Karpozilos (1999) estimated that the Pontic population in Russia to have been more than 350,000 concentrated in 34 urban centres and in about 287 villages. He also states that between the two World Wars in Southern Russia and Caucasus that it was a serious issue in which form of Greek would books and Newspapers be written. Formal Greek (Katharevousa), Demotic Greek or Pontic Greek. Karpozilos (1999, p. 148) states:
to raise the Pontic dialect to the level of a language for the Greek minority posed great problems. The dialect had never been systematically written; it had a rather limited vocabulary that lacked the words and idioms to convey abstract and sophisticated ideas; it also lacked the proper words for several new political and social concepts. …

In schools, it was agreed that the children should be taught demotic Greek, but for the instruction of the masses it was thought best to use both dialects - in newspapers, pamphlets and various other publications. This important decision was taken … on 10 May 1926.

Joseph (2003) states, in the 1970 Soviet census, 336,869 citizens claimed Greek ethnicity but only 39%, gave Greek as their native language. In the 1979 census, 344,000 declared Greek as their ethnic status. Hionides (1996) was of the view most of these 344,000 spoke Pontic Greek.

Conclusion

As human beings first, and nationalists a distant second, we should embrace our cultural history and revel in its diversity and not pasteurise it for the benefit of national conformity. With this embrace, we can also learn to respect other people's languages and cultures.

The history of Pontic Greek (and how it probably began to become markedly distinct from the other Greek dialects from 11th century AD) and the Greek language is fascinating and should be documented and studied.

Will Pontic Greek continue to be spoken? Bortone (2009) believes Pontic Greek spoken in the Pontos in Asia Minor today will probably disappear. The challenge is to keep the Pontic Greek dialect alive. The more recent work of researchers like Emeritus Professor Peter Mackridge, Assistant Professor Pietro Bortone, Dr Theofanis Malkidis, Ömer Asan, Dr Anthi Revithiadou and Dr Vassilios Spyropoulos have increased our knowledge of the dialect.

Pontic Greek is still spoken today in Asia Minor, and by the Pontic diaspora in Greece and at least in countries like Georgia, Russia, Ukraine, Germany, Canada, Australia and the USA. Drettas (1999) estimated 300,000 speakers exist in Greece. Who could estimate how many Pontic Greek speakers actually exist worldwide today? Are you one of them?



References

Agtzidis, V 1997, Parefxinios diaspora. I Ellenikes egkatastasis stis vorioanatolikes periokhes tou Efxinou Pontou, [in Greek, Black Sea diaspora. The Greek settlements in the northeastern Black Sea], Kiriakidis Brothers, Thessaloniki, Greece.

Asan, O 1996, Pontos kültürü (in Turkish), Baski Istanbul, Belge Yayinlari.

Bortone, P 2009, ‘Greek with no models, history, or standard: Muslim Pontic Greek’, in Standard languages and language standards: Greek, past and present, (eds) A. Georgakopoulou and M. Silk, Publication 12 of the Centre for Hellenic Studies, King’s College London, Ashgate, Surrey UK, pp. 67-89.

Dawkins, RM 1937, ‘The Pontic dialect of modern Greek in Asia Minor and Russia’, Transactions of the Philological Society, pp. 15-52.

Drettas, G 1999, ‘To ελληνο-ποντιακó διαλεκτικó σύνολο’, [in Greek] in Χριστίδης, A.-Φ. et al. (eds) Διαλεκτικοί θύλακοι της ελληνικής γλώσσας, Athens, pp. 15-24.

Hatzidakis, GN 1892, Einleitung in die neugriechische Grammatik, [in German] Breitkopf & Hartel, Leipzig.

Hatzidakis, 1930, ‘Einiges über das pontische Griechisch’, [in German] Byzantinisch-Neugriechische Jahrbücher, no. 7, pp. 383-7.

Hionides, C 1996, The Greek Pontians of the Black Sea, Boston, Massachusetts.

Joseph, BD 2003, ‘Some reflections on Greek in a Slavic context, in both academia and the real world, with an overview of Greek in the former Soviet Union’, in Balkan and Slavic Linguistics, in Honour of the 40th Anniversary of the Department of Slavic and east European Languages and Literatures (Ohio State Working papers in Slavic Studies 2) ed. by D. Collins & A. Sims (2003), Columbus Ohio State University, pp. 93-101.

Karpozilos, A 1999, ‘The Greeks in Russia’, in The Greek Diaspora in the twentieth century, (ed. Clogg), St Martins Press, New York, pp. 137-57.

King, C 2004, The Black Sea: a history, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Mackridge, P 1985, The modern Greek language- a descriptive analysis of standard modern Greek, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Mackridge, P 1991, ‘The Pontic dialect: a corrupt version of ancient Greek?’, Journal of Refugee Studies, vol. 4, no. 4, pp. 335-9.

Mackridge, P 2007, Personal email.

Nicholas, N 1999, The story of pu: the grammaticalisation in space and time of a modern Greek complementiser, PhD thesis, University of Melbourne, Australia.

Papadopoulos, AA 1955, Ιστορική Γραμματική της Ποντικής Διαλέκτου (in Greek, Historical Grammar of the Pontic Dialect), The Committee for Pontic Studies, Athens, supplement 1.

Revithiadou, A and ‘Ofitika Pontic: a report on the dialect and its people’,
Spyropoulos, V 2006, e-posted paper at: www.revithiadou.gr/files/reports_on_dialects/Report_OP.pdf viewed June 2009.

Sergievsky, 1934, ‘The Mariupol Greek dialects: an attempt at a brief description’, Bulletin de l’ Académie des Sciences de l’ U.R.S.S., Classe des sciences sociales, no. 7.

Sideri, E 2006, The Greeks of the former Soviet Republic of Georgia: memories and practices of diaspora, unpublished PhD thesis, Department of Social Anthropology, School of Oriental & African Studies, University of London.

Topalidis, S 2007, A Pontic Greek History, Canberra, Australia. (Available by emailing author at: sam.topalidis@bigpond.com).

Triandafyllidis, M 1981, Νεοελληνική Γραμματική: Ιστορική Εισαγωγή, (in Greek,
(1938), Modern Greek Grammar: Historical Introduction), Salonika, Aristotle University.

I warmly thank Assistant Professor Pietro Bortone for sending me an early copy of his 2009 paper.


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Formation of the First Greek Settlements in the Pontos - Sam Topalidis



Formation of the First Greek Settlements in the Pontos

Sam Topalidis

The Pontos

According to Liddell and Scott’s An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon, the word Pontos stands for the sea, especially the open sea. In time, the word Pontos became associated with the north-eastern portion of Asia Minor that borders the Black Sea (see Map 1).1 The Greeks first called the Black Sea, Aξεινος πóντος (inhospitable, unfriendly pontos), but later it was called Εϋξεινος πóντος (hospitable pontos) when they became aware of its wealth in the lands around it.2

The ancient name Πóντος Εϋξείνος, has the distinguishing characteristics of a hybrid name, part Greek and part Iranian. The Greeks took both parts to be Hellenic, but they also recognised an earlier form, which they took to mean its opposite, ‘inhospitable’ (äξεινος i.e. axenos). However, after studies in the early 20th century, it has become generally accepted that axenos was itself a borrowing into Greek from an Iranian root αχšαēnα meaning dark.3

The Greeks appear to have known about the Black Sea as early as the 13th century BC. This view is based on early Greek legends such as Jason and the Argonauts who set out to find the Golden Fleece in Colchis (modern Georgia, see Map 1). The earliest Greek trade with the lands around the Black Sea was reflected in the Greek legends about the origin of iron.4



Map 1: Miletos and its colonies on the Pontic coast (Hionides 1996, p. 35)
Also, the mythical Amazons were believed to have lived in northern Asia Minor, at the mouth of the Thermodon (Terme) river, although an alternative version states they lived on the Tanais (Don) river in southern Russia.5

Miletos colonising the Pontos

In the late 11th-10th century BC the Ionians (and subsequently the Dorians and Aeolians) migrated from mainland Greece and settled in the Aegean islands and the western coast of Asia Minor (Ionia), where they founded 12 cities.6 Ancient written sources seldom mention reasons for Greek colonisation, but where they do, the emphasis is always on forced emigration and conflict.7

An obvious example of forced migration is from Ionia, a very wealthy region where Miletos (see Map 1) was the main city. From the second half of the 7th century BC, its eastern neighbour, Lydia, expanded taking Ionian territory. At this time, Ionia began sending out its first colonies. In addition, from the middle of the 6th century BC, the Achaemenid Empire began to conquer Ionian territory and then, in the wake of the Ionian revolt in 449-494 BC, laid it waste. There was a shortage of land and food, but this was not from overpopulation, but from a loss of resources to a conquering foe and external difficulties provoked internal tension between different political groups, especially in Miletos.8

In the Natural History of Pliny the Elder, Miletos was supposed to have founded 90 colonies on the Pontos and the Propontis. This, is an exaggeration, but it proves the fame of Miletos as the pioneer of colonisation in the Black Sea.9 However, Miletos was the principal coloniser of the Black Sea, founding its first colonies there in the last third/end of the 7th century BC.10

The territory of Miletos was almost completely lacking in mineral ores. However, the south Pontic region was well endowed in these ores. In relation to commodities such as copper, gold and iron, there were alternative sources in the Mediterranean, yet it was the Black Sea that Miletos appeared to colonise so intensively. Likewise, grain could be sourced from a number of regions, of which the Black Sea was only one. Perhaps, like grain, in times of crisis, metals were too important to rely on a single supply source. Other commodities which the Black Sea region may have traded in, included timber (and charcoal), fish and slaves. However, all these items are archaeologically ‘invisible’.11

A slightly contrary view states the Black Sea was not rich in metals, as has been supposed, and that the Milesian colonies had access to plenty of natural resources close to home. Also, in the Pontos the Greeks did not plant crops known to the locals, instead they planted familiar crops, which they brought with them.7

Sinope to Amisos (Samsun)

In the written historical sources, it is unclear exactly when the Greeks appeared on the southern Black Sea coast. However, Greek pottery from the Halys valley (between Sinope and Amisos, see Map 1) proves the Greeks had contacts there long before the foundation of the coastal cities. Iron Age settlements testify to significant cultural exchange in the late Archaic period (Archaic period c. 750–550 BC). Sites along the Halys basin yielding Greek pottery and architectural terracottas apparently show that the Greeks paid special attention here. The reason was due to this valley’s abundant resources such as red pigments and other minerals.12

The Milesians drove out from Sinope the weakened Leukosyroi. Sinope then conquered land from the natives to the east for her colonists.13 The Greek settlers in Sinope and Amisos had to deal with the indigenous population from the beginning of their colonial activities, since their survival depended on access to the native territory to obtain agricultural products, valuable minerals and metals. The presence of local pottery in Sinope and Amisos suggests that the native Syrians and Cappadocians respectively formed a part of the populations there. These cities may have been founded over the already existing settlements or they could have received people from the surrounding area.12

According to Xenophon (c. 400 BC) Miletos founded Sinope. Sinope in turn founded Trapezous (Trabzon), Amisos (Samsun), Kotyora (Ordu) and Kerasous (Giresun) (see Map 1).14

The Pontic coastline provides very few natural harbours, with the notable exception of Sinope. Its harbour, and its rocky peninsula provided a naturally strong defensive site with a rolling hinterland stretching some 30 km to the south, which provided ample arable and pastoral land to support the city.15

There are inconsistencies between archaeological research of the Black Sea region and dates of its colonisation based on ancient literary sources. For example, archaeological excavation in Sinope has so far produced nothing earlier than the late 7th century BC.16 Sinope’s foundation date is quite confused in written sources. According to legend, it was founded in about 756 BC, but it was destroyed by the Cimmerians and refounded by Milesians in about 631 BC. (A critical re-evaluation of the written sources in the light of archaeological material is needed, as archaeologically researchers are not able to distinguish a Cimmerian culture.) Sinope had little access to trade links with central Anatolia. Its main orientation was towards the rest of the Black Sea.17

Little is known of Sinope after its colonisation until it was under a tyrant, Timesileos, who was driven out c. 436 BC by Athenian intervention under Pericles. A contingent of 600 men was sent there to consolidate Athenian influence and democracy.18

Amisos was founded around 564 BC on the site of modern Samsun. Ancient authors permit two interpretations: a purely Milesian foundation, or a joint foundation by Phocaea and Miletos. The archaeological evidence from Amisos just adds to the confusion. No proper excavation of the settlement has been conducted because of modern overbuilding.19 Amisos had intensive links with central Anatolia and looked more inland than across the Black Sea.20

The city of Amisos, constituted an emporium for the produce of the plateau. The low barrier of hills to the south of it rises only to a thousand metres. The hills come down to the sea for a short distance on either side of Amisos and then, on the eastern side, the coast opens up into a wide plain formed by the deltas of the Iris and the smaller river Thermodon (Terme).21

Amisos lies 165 km east of Sinope. It possessed no fine harbour; nor was it near the mouth of any major river. Its main assets were iron, probably traded from the Chalybes. Its lands produced olives, some local silver from the Pontic mountains, and the overland route across the so-called isthmus of Asia, which led to Tarsos.22

Kotyora (Ordu)

Kotyora is similar in pattern to the other Greek settlements. It stands at the head of an inland route with two wide deltas to the east, which provides ample food supplies, and its sheltered beaches are overlooked by an acropolis.23 Xenophon (c. 400 BC) stayed outside the walls of Kotyora for 45 days. Xenophon states Kotyora had a governor appointed by Sinope and was in the territory of the Tibareni.14

Kerasous (Giresun)

Kerasous’ great rocky peninsula provides with Sinope the best defensive site along the coast. As a harbour and anchorage, it has little to recommend it. The hinterland of Kerasous does not offer extensive arable and pastoral lands, which extend around the towns further westward. It seemed likely therefore, that defense was the prime consideration for the choice of Kerasous as a site. Possibly the historical importance of the town was largely due to it serving as the outlet for the alum exports from Koloneia (Şebinkarahisar)24 located 220 km to the southeast.

Xenophon (c. 400 BC) visited Kerasous for 10 days with his Greek army of 8,600 soldiers. Xenophon stated Sinope had taken away the land from its natives and given the land to their colonists for which Kerasous paid Sinope regular tribute. The food in the houses of the Mossynoeci, at Kerasous, consisted of loaves of bread, corn, pickled dolphin, dolphin fat, chestnuts and wine.14

Trapezous (Trabzon)

The Armenian version of Eusebius (Eusebii Chronicorum Libri Duo, ed. A Schoene, Berlin, 1866) provides a date for the founding of Trapezous of 757/6 BC, which is wrong. Eusebius was actually referring to another city in the Propontis.25 (According to the Catholic Encyclopaedia Online 1999, Eusebius Pamphili was a Greek Christian writer born about 260 AD who became the bishop of Caesarea in Palestine.)

In 400 BC, Xenophon with his Greek Army of 10,000 soldiers visited Trapezous, an inhabited Greek city, for about 30 days and stated that it was a colony of Sinope. The people of Trapezous gave Xenophon’s army presents of oxen, barley and wine.14

From Xenophon’s text, The Persian Expedition, several indigenous peoples who lived near Trapezous in 400 BC can be identified. These indigenous peoples included the Taochi (north of Erzurum), the Chalybes (around Gumushane), the Scytheni (further west), the Macrones (behind Trapezous) and assorted Colchian tribes at the coast.26

Conclusion

The Archaic Greek colonies along the southern Black Sea coast were quite small and often situated on peninsulas. If these initial sites have not survived, the main reason could be due to the rise in sea level. Along the Black Sea coast the sea level has risen several times in antiquity, and it has risen by a further three to four metres since the first century CE.27

Our current knowledge about major Greek cities and local peoples, mainly in the Archaic period (c. 750–550 BC) along the southern coast of the Black Sea includes, not many Greek cities were established in this large area, due to the local geography and the unfriendliness of many local peoples. Also, archeologically, we do not know much about these Greek cities, primarily because they have been built over by modern towns and cities, modern road construction and reclamation works, which have destroyed what, had survived until now.28


References

1 Hionides, C 1996, The Greek Pontians of the Black Sea, Boston, Massachusetts, p. 31.

2 Danov, CM 1979, ‘The ancient Greeks and the Black Sea’, 12th Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies, Birmingham, 18-20 March 1978, Archeion Pontou [Archives of Pontos], vol. 35, Athens, p. 156.

3 Avram, A, Hind, J & Tsetskhladze, G 2004, ‘The Black Sea area’, in An inventory of archaic and classical poleis: An investigation conducted by the Copenhagen Polis Centre for the Danish National Research Foundation, (eds MH Hansen, and TH Nielsen), Oxford University Press, Oxford, p. 924.

4 Danov, CM 1979, p. 159.

5 King, C 2004, The Black Sea: a history, Oxford University Press, Oxford, p. 26.

6 Tsetskhladze, GR 2006, ‘Revisiting ancient Greek colonisation’, in Greek,colonisation. An account of Greek colonies and other settlements overseas, (ed. GR Tsetskhladze), vol. 1, Leiden, Boston, p. xxiii.

7 Tsetskhladze, GR 2006, p. xxix.

8 Tsetskhladze, GR 2006, p. xxx.

9 Danov, CM 1979, p. 161.

10 Tsetskhladze, GR 2006, p. lxvi.

11 Greaves, A 2007, ‘Milesians in the Black Sea: trade, settlement and religion’, in The Black Sea in antiquity: regional and interregional economic exchanges, Black Sea Studies, 6, The Danish National Research Foundation’s Centre for Black Sea Studies, (eds V Gabrielsen & J Lund), Aarhus University Press, Aarhus, p. 11.

12 Summerer, L 2007, ‘Greeks and natives on the southern Black Sea coast in antiquity’, in The Black Sea: past, present and future, Proceedings of the International, Interdisciplinary Conference, Istanbul, 14-16 October 2004, (eds G Erkut and S Mitchell), British Institute at Ankara Monograph 42, British Institute at Ankara, London, p. 35.

13 Avram, A, Hind, J & Tsetskhladze, G 2004, p. 927.

14 Xenophon, 400 BC, The Persian Expedition, (translated by Rex Warner), Penguin Classics, London.

15 Bryer, A and Winfield, D 1985, The Byzantine monuments and topography of the Pontos, vol. I, Dumbarton Oaks Research Library & Collection, Harvard University, Washington D.C., p. 7

16 Tsetskhladze, GR 2006, p. xxxiii.

17 Tsetskhladze, GR 2007, ‘Greeks and locals in the southern Black Sea, littoral: a re-examination’ in Greeks between east and west: essays in Greek literature and history in memory of David Asheri, (eds G. Herman and I. Shatzman), The Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Jerusalem, pp. 165-7.

18 Avram, A, Hind, J & Tsetskhladze, G 2004, p. 961.

19 Tsetskhladze, GR 2007, pp. 168-9.

20 Tsetskhladze, GR 2007, p. 173.

21 Bryer, A and Winfield, D 1985, p. 8.

22 Avram, A, Hind, J & Tsetskhladze, G 2004, p. 954.

23 Bryer, A and Winfield, D 1985, p. 120.

24 Bryer, A and Winfield, D 1985, p. 9.

25 Avram, A, Hind, J & Tsetskhladze, G 2004, p. 964.

26 Nişanyan, S & Nişanyan, M 2001, Black Sea: a traveller’s handbook for northern Turkey, 3rd edn, Infognomon, Athens, p. 11.

27 Tsetskhladze, GR 2007, p. 177.

28 Tsetskhladze, GR 2007, p. 194.


I wish to thank Professor Tsetskhladze for kindly sending me some of his archaeological papers on the Black Sea.


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Crypto-Christians of the Trabzon Region of Pontos - Sam Topalidis



Crypto-Christians of the Trabzon Region of Pontos

Sam Topalidis



Who were the crypto-Christians?

The crypto-Christians (also called cryphi, klosti, Stavriotes, Kromledes) were Christian Greeks who due to the Muslim persecution against Christians publicly declared themselves Muslims. However, in secret, they upheld their Greek language, customs and Christian religious practices.1

Crypto-Christians were not polygamists and they were married in a Christian as well as a Muslim ceremony. The Christian marriage ceremony was often conducted in a rock-hewn house or one underground. When one of them died, a Christian funeral took place as well as the usual Muslim one. Up to the mid 19th century their Christian ceremonies were conducted with great care, but by the early 1900s as long as the men registered themselves as Muslims (thus available for military service), nobody asked whether they were Christian or Muslim at heart.2

Greek authors gave some curious details of the secret Christian rites of Greeks in the Trabzon district (see Map 1). Crypto-Christians followed the Orthodox fasts. Their children were baptised, and bore both a Christian and Muslim name for secret and public use respectively. They never allowed their daughters to marry Muslims, but the men did take Muslim wives. In the latter case, the Christian marriage was conducted in secret, in one of the monasteries. If pressure was required, the bridegroom threatened to leave his bride.3


Map 1: Map of Pontos (Bryer and Winfield 1985, p. 2)
Historical perspective

The first reference to crypto-Christians in the Trabzon region comes from an American missionary in 1833, followed by W.J. Hamilton in 1836 and two French travellers in 1840. (Between 1796 and 1832, none of the 25 western travellers, who left a record and passed through this region, mentioned crypto-Christians.)4

During the century after 1461, Trabzon became a ‘Muslim’ town; partly by influx of Muslims, partly by deportation of Christians, but largely through conversion. (There were considerable financial benefits in converting to Islam.) According to Ottoman tax registers [tahrir defters] in 1520 (59 years after the fall of Trabzon to the Ottoman Turks), Trabzon was still 86% Christian. However, by 1583, it was 54% Muslim, with still 77% Greek speaking.5

Greek historians maintain that, like Of (a village 45 km east of Trabzon) and the Greek-speaking Muslim Oflus, the Greeks of Tonya (42 km south-west of Trabzon) converted to Islam in the late 17th century. However, in the case of Tonya there is no popular explanation of why this happened. The notion is plausible, for in the late 17th century, Christian Greeks in the Pontos experienced considerable pressure on their faith. In the case of Of, we now know there was no mass conversion and the Muslims may simply have overtaken the Christians by natural increase.6

Even after conversion to Islam, some people around Trabzon, as reported in the 1890s, did not forget their Christian roots. There were whole villages on this seaboard whose inhabitants were Muslim, and would resent being called anything else; yet their Greek origin was believed both by history and by some of their traditions. For example, Surmene and Of, two considerable villages (35 km and 45 km east of Trabzon respectively), hold to certain customs, which connect them with the Christian faith. Under the stress of illness, the image of Madonna is suspended above the sickbed; the sufferer sips the forbidden wine from the old cup of the Communion, which still remains a treasured object, much as they might be puzzled to tell you why.7

A little earlier, in 1879, it was estimated that out of 10-12,000 families from Of, 8-10,000 families spoke Greek but only 192 families were Christian.8

Impact of the Tanzimat reforms and Hatt-i Humayun

The Tanzimat was a period of legislation and reform that modernised Ottoman state and society, and brought greater state participation in Ottoman society during 1839-76.9 In 1843, a new penal code was introduced, which recognised equality of Muslims and non-Muslims. One year later, the death penalty for renouncing Islam, a provision of the şeriat, [Muslim religious law] was abolished.10 This abolition was a crucial event.

On 18 February 1856, a new reform charter, the Imperial Rescript (Hatt-i Humayun), was promulgated by the Sultan. This Rescript; prepared under strong pressure from foreign powers, laid down the equality of all Ottoman subjects irrespective of religion.11 The Hatt-i Humayun allowed people to report their true religion in public without punishment. Not all crypto-Christians professed their faith after 1856. The revelation continued up to 1910.12

On 14 May 1856, Petros Sideropoulos, the first Kromniot [from the Kromni area, south of Trabzon] crypto-Christian declared his Orthodoxy in Trabzon. On 15 July 1857, the Kromni (KPOMNH at 39036′E 40034′N in Map 2) crypto-Christians presented a petition to the pasha and western consuls in Trabzon (appealing for protection) on behalf of 55,755 inhabitants of 58 settlements, of whom 52% were claimed to be open Christians, 31% [17,260] Kromniot (crypto-Christians) and 17% Muslims.4 Some crypto-Christians who declared for Orthodoxy after 1856 may have had Muslim ancestors and many were registered for military service.13

In relation to the military reforms under the Tanzimat, from 1845, conscription was officially introduced in most areas of the Ottoman Empire. Christians were now allowed to serve within the army, but as this was expected to create tensions, they were soon able to pay a special tax instead (in lieu of military service), which they largely preferred. Muslims, too, could evade conscription by payment, but this was very steep for most.14

After the Hatt-i-Humayun, in towns, districts and villages where the whole population was of the same religion, they could repair, according to their original plan, buildings of religious worship, schools, hospitals, and cemeteries. The plans of these buildings, in the case of new construction, would after approval by the Patriarchs or heads of communities, be able to be submitted to the Ottoman Government, which would decide if they could be constructed. Each sect, in localities where there were no other religious denominations was free to practice its religion in public. In towns, districts and villages where different sects were present, each community, inhabiting a distinct quarter, had equal right to repair and improve its churches, hospitals, schools, and cemeteries. Each sect was free to exercise its religion.15

Prior to the Hatt-i Humayun, old Christian churches were allowed to be repaired only in some areas, but no new churches were allowed to be built. However, after 1856, in areas where there were Ottoman Muslims, Christian celebrations were not allowed in public, nor were


Map 2: Map of Matsouka, south of Trabzon (Zerzilidis 1959, p. 160)16
bells allowed to be rung. Bells were allowed to be rung in areas where mostly Christians lived.17 Presumably where bells were not allowed to be rung, the churches may have hung a slab of wood horizontally and the priest would hit it with a piece of wood.

Impact of the economic conditions of Gumushane on the
crypto-Christians

Gumushane, about 65 km south of Trabzon, was established in the 1590s. Its Greek name of Argyropolis appears to have been derived around 1846. The silver mining economy of old Gumushane declined in 1829 (the silver mines were abandoned in the 1850s) and the emergence of the crypto-Christians of Kromni, Stavri (at 39030’E 40036’N in Map 2) and Santa (40 km SSE of Trabzon) after 1856 are related. In the case of Chaldia (covering Kromni, Stavri and villages further south) at least, the phenomenon of crypto-Christianity arose largely from the peculiar economic and administrative context of the period 1829-56.18

Pontic crypto-Christians only entered their ‘twilight’ world after 1829 and were reluctant to re-emerge in the ‘sunlight’ after 1856. This was to do with the silver-mining and smelting economy of Gumushane. From 1654-1841 both the mining concessionaries (archimetallourgoi) and a new metropolis of Chaldia were in Greek hands, principally the dynasty of Phytianos – which was to provide miners and bishops all over Anatolia and the Caucasus, and a patriarch of Antioch.4

The mines were the property of the Sultan and under state supervision with all precious metals supposed to be sent to Constantinople. (Without doubt, much precious metal was concealed or smuggled.) However, the mines around Gumushane were effectively controlled by the archimetallourgoi, who was invariably a Greek, with the skilled labour also monopolised by Greeks. This situation, by one probably unreliable tradition goes back to the patronage of Maria of Libera (Gülbahar), Pontic Greek wife of Sultan Bayazid II (1481-1512), gave the Greeks of the area a peculiar economic position and considerable tax privileges.19

From at least the mid-seventeenth century, the Greeks of Gumushane and the surrounding villages were exempt from normal taxes in return for working in the main branches of the industry; namely mining, smelting, and charcoal burning. Gumushane drew its charcoal from an area later to be identified with crypto-Christianity. These villages were excused the haraç, tribute which Christians paid in lieu of military service, thus losing a basic legal distinction as Christians. The crypto-Christians claimed their faith in 1856 only after the mines of Gumushane were abandoned. As they had never paid the haraç before they still demanded exemption, but mining service had ended and they were given the ‘privilege’ of military service instead. The argument dragged on into the 1860s.19

After 1829, it was a question whether the silver mines of Chaldia or the charcoal for smelting from Imera (Stavri /Kromni), were exhausted first. The most intensive crypto-Christian (and fewest Muslim living) areas in the petition presented in 1857 (by Kromniot crypto-Christians mentioned previously) had been economically dependent on silver-mining and charcoal burning for smelting. Smaller crypto-Christian elements were listed near alum mines to which the archimetallourgoi of Gumushane turned after 1829, when their own silver mines declined. Neither Professor Dawkins nor Hasluck (see ref 3) asked why crypto-Christians were keeping their identity secret in places where there were so few declared Muslims.4

The Orthodox church was more reluctant that the Ottoman state to recognise the situation after 1856. By 1863, the church’s solution was to combine the monastic exarchates of Sumela (ΣOYMEΛA 39039′E 40041′N in Map 2), Vazelon (BAZEΛΟN 39030′E 40045′N in Map 2) and Peristereota (ΠEPІΣΤEΡEOTA 39043′E 40047′N in Map 2) into its last Anatolian eparchy, Rhodopolis. According to the petition of 1857, the 14,525 inhabitants of the new diocese were 53% open Christian, 37% crypto-Christian and 10% Muslim. Here if their landlord was one of the three ruling abbots, from whom were the crypto-Christians keeping their identity secret?4

Palgrave (1826-88), the British consul in Trabzon, was first to observe that Ottoman mining and smelting service in the Pontos was in lieu of military service, so Kromniots carried arms (another obvious advantage) as Muslims but did not pay poll tax as Christians. With the decline of the mines after 1829, they clung to the best of both worlds.4




References

1 Hionides, C 1988, The Greek Pontos: mythology geography history civilization, Boston Massachusetts, p. 99.

2 Pears, E 1911, Turkey and its people, Methuen & Co Ltd, London, pp. 266-7.

3 Triantaphyllides, P 1866, People in Pontos, or Pontica, and some speeches by the same author, (in Greek), Athens, pp. 55-92, in Hasluck, FW 1929, Christianity and Islam under the Sultans, vol. II, Clarendon Press, Oxford, pp. 472-3.

4 Bryer, A 2006, R.M. Dawkins, F.W. Hasluck and the ‘Crypto-Christians’ of Trebizond, Paper delivered to British School at Athens.

5 Lowry, H 1977, The Ottoman Tahrir Defters [tax registers] as a source for urban demographic history: the case study of Trabzon ca. 1486-1583, unpublished PhD thesis, University of California, Los Angeles, excerpts used in Bryer, A 1991, ‘The Pontic Greeks before the diaspora’, Journal of Refugee Studies, vol. 4 (4) p. 319.

6 Bryer, A & Winfield, D 1985, The Byzantine monuments and topography of the Pontos, vol. I, Dumbarton Oaks Research Library & Collection, Harvard University, Washington D.C., p. 156.

7 Lynch, HFB 1901, Armenia: travels and studies, vol. 1, reprinted in two volumes in 1967, Khayats, Beirut, pp. 11-2.

8 Parcharides, I 1879, Στατιστική τής έπαρχίας Оφεως του νομου Τραπεζουντος, Παρνασσός, iii, pp. 224-32, quoted in Bryer, A 1968, ‘Churches east of Trebizond (the Santa district), Archeion Pontou, vol. 29 (2), p. 110, in Bryer et al 2002.

9 Shaw, SJ & Shaw, EK 2002, History of the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey, vol. II: reform, revolution, and republic: the rise of modern Turkey, 1808-1975, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, p. 55.

10 Zurcher, EJ 2004, Turkey: a modern history, 3rd edition, I.B. Tauris & Co Ltd, London, p. 61.

11 Lewis, B 2002, The emergence of modern Turkey, 3rd edition, Oxford University Press, NY, p. 116.

12 Andreadis, G 1995, The Cryptochristians: klostoi: those who returned, tenesur: those who changed, Kyriakidis Brothers, Thessaloniki, Greece, p. 84.

13 Bryer, A 1970a, ‘The Tourkokratia in the Pontos: some problems and preliminary conclusions’, Neo-Hellenika, vol. 1, p. 40.

14 Zurcher, EJ 2004, p. 57.

15 Shaw, SJ and Shaw, EK 2002, pp. 124-5.

16 Zerzilidis, G 1959, ‘Τοπωνυμικó της Άνω Ματσούκας’, (in Greek), Archeion Pontou, vol. 23, p. 160.

17 Fotiadis, K 2001, A translation of, The forced Islamization in Asia Minor and the cryptochristians of the Pontos (in Greek), Kiriakidis Bros, Thessaloniki, Greece, pp. 369-70.

18 Bryer, A 2002, ‘Introduction’, in The post-Byzantine monuments of the Pontos: a source book, (eds A. Bryer, D. Winfield, S. Balance & J Isaac) Variorum Collected Studies Series, Ashgate, Aldershot, Hampshire GB, p. xvii.

19 Bryer, 1970b, ‘Churches south of Trebizond’ in Archeion Pontou vol. 30, pp. 326-8 (in Bryer et al 2002).

I warmly thank Anthony Bryer OBE, Emeritus Professor of Byzantine Studies, University of Birmingham, for sending me a copy of his 2006 paper delivered to the British School at Athens, which I have quoted here. I also thank him for his cryptic reference to me in his paper. Bryer’s work is essential reading to those studying the history of the Pontos.


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05 October 2009

19th Convention, CD Premiere - 19ο Συνέδριο, Παρουσίαση CD


CD Premiere! ‘Pontos: from the past to our future’
Giannis Apazidis, Nikos Michailidis, Christos Tiktapanidis

Listen live!

Monday 5, October 2009 21:00 ( Montreal time)
Parakath Radio 1280am Montreal and www.cfmb.ca

Direct connection http://www.live365.com/cgi-bin/mini.cgi?station_name=cfmb&site=pro&tm=7488

CD Premiere and interviews with the musicians

You can send us messages and greetings live during the broadcast via our facebook profile

This recording was made specifically for the 19th Convention of the Pan-Pontian Federation USA – CANADA and produced by the Pontian Association of Montreal. It will circulate for the first time during October 8-11 in Montreal .

For more information on the Convention including the October 10 Gala (Dinner Dance) please visit www.efxinospontos.org.

We await you all and hope you enjoy listening!

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Παρουσίαση του νέου CD

'Πόντος : από το χθες στο αύριο'
Γιάννης Απαζίδης, Νίκος Μιχαηλίδης, Χρήστος Τικταπανίδης

Δευτέρα 5 Οκτωβρίου 21:00 (ώρα Μοντρεάλ)
Ράδιο Παρακάθ 1280am Μοντρεάλ και www.cfmb.ca

απευθείας σύνδεση http://www.live365.com/cgi-bin/mini.cgi?station_name=cfmb&site=pro&tm=7488

Παρουσίαση του CD και συνεντεύξεις με τους καλλιτέχνες

Κατά την διάρκεια του προγράμματος μπορείτε να στείλετε μηνύματα και χαιρετισμούς μέσων το facebook profile μας.

Η ηχογράφηση έγινε αποκλειστικά για το 19ο Συνέδριο της Παμποντιακής Ομοσπονδίας ΗΠΑ – ΚΑΝΑΔΑ. Το CD είναι παραγωγή το Συλλόγου Ποντίων Μοντρεάλ και θα κυκλοφορήσει για πρώτη φορά στο Σύνεδριο που θα λάβει χώρα από τις 8-11 Οκτωβρίου 2009 στο Μοντρεάλ.

Πληροφορίες για το συνέδριο και την χοροεσπερίδα της 10 Οκτωβρίου στο www.efxinospontos.org

Σας περιμένουμε όλους. Καλή ακρόαση.

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