The History of Greece Under Othoman and Venetian Domination

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 18.12.2016 - 382 sivua
Most of the areas which today are within Greece's borders were at some point in the past a part of the Ottoman Empire. This period of Ottoman rule in Greece, lasting from mid-15th century until the successful Greek War of Independence that broke out in 1821 and the establishment of the modern Greek state in 1832, is known in Greek as Tourkokratia. Some regions, however, like the Ionian Islands, various temporary Venetian possessions of the Stato da Mar, or Mani peninsula in Peloponese did not become part of the Ottoman administration, although the latter was under Ottoman suzerainty. The Byzantine Empire, the remnant of the ancient Roman Empire which ruled most of the Greek speaking world for over 1100 years, had been fatally weakened since the sacking of Constantinople by the Latin Crusaders in 1204. The Ottoman advance into Greece was preceded by victory over the Serbs to its north. First the Ottomans won the Battle of Marista in 1371. The Serb forces where then led by the King Vukasin-Mrnjavcevic, the father of Prince Marko and the co-ruler of the last emperor from the Serbian Nemanjic dynasty. This was followed by another Ottoman victory in the 1389 Battle of Kosovo. With no further threat by the Serbs, and the subsequent Byzantine Civil Wars, the Ottoman's captured Constantinople in 1453 and advanced southwards into Greece, capturing Athens in 1458. The Greeks held out in the Peloponeese until 1460 and the Venetians and Genoese clung to some of the islands, but by 1500 most of the plains and islands of Greece were in Ottoman hands. The mountains of Greece were largely untouched, and were a refuge for Greeks who desired to flee Ottoman rule and engage in brigandry. Cyprus fell in 1571, and the Venetians retained Crete until 1669. The Ionian Islands were only briefly ruled by the Ottomans and remained primarily under the rule of the Republic of Venice. Ottoman Greece was a multiethnic society as apart from Greeks and Turks, there were many Jews, Italians (especially Venetians), Armenians, Serbs, Albanians, Roma (Gypsies), Bulgarians, etc. However, the modern Western notion of multiculturalism is considered to be incompatible with the Ottoman system. The Greeks with the one hand were given some privileges and freedom, with the other they were exposed to tyranny deriving from the malpractices of its administrative personnel over which the central government had only remote and incomplete control. Despite losing their political independence, the Greeks remained dominant in the fields of commerce and business. The consolidation of Ottoman power in the 15th and 16th centuries rendered the Mediterranean safe for Greek shipping, and the Greek ship owners became the maritime carriers of the Empire, making tremendous profits. After the Ottoman defeat at the Battle of Lepanto, however, Greek ships often became the target of vicious attacks by Catholic pirates. This period of Ottoman rule had a profound impact in Greek society. The Greek land-owning aristocracy that traditionally dominated the Byzantine Empire suffered a tragic fate, and was almost completely destroyed. The new leading class were the prokritoi. The prokritoi were essentially bureaucrats and tax collectors and gained a negative reputation for corruption and nepotism. On the other hand, the Phanariots became prominent in the imperial capital of Constantinople as business men and diplomats, and the Greek Orthodox Church and the Ecumenical Patriarch rose to great power under the Sultan's protection, gaining religious control over the entire Orthodox population of the Empire, Greek and Slavic.

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