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familiar archontic patronymics that recur in the Venetian document of 1425
include Hyaleas,111 Laskaris, Tarchaneiotes, Angelos, and possibly Gazes as
well as Pezos. The cross-references between the names listed in Appendices
108 Laiou-Thomadakis, “Byzantine economy,” 220 and n. 26; Balard, Romanie g´noise, vol. ii, p. 758;
e
Hunger, Chortasmenos, pp. 127“9.
109 Facsimile reproduction of the document in Mertzios, Mnhme±a, following p. 48 (ASV, SM, reg. 55,
fos. 139ff.); cf. pp. 49“52.
110 The document concerning the Thessalonian embassy of 1429 to Venice has also been reproduced
in facsimile by Mertzios, Mnhme±a, following p. 73 (ASV, SM, reg. 57, fos. 129ff.); cf. pp. 85“6. It
states only that John Rhadenos (Zuan Radino) was in Venice at this time. His name is brought up in
connection with a request for ¬nancial assistance he made on behalf of his son-in-law, one Doukas
Lathras (Ducha Lathra), who had recently come to Thessalonike after some years of residence under
Turkish domination in or near Kastoria, where he possessed many castles and villages. Incidentally
Doukas Lathras had a mother and a brother who both lived in Venetian Corfu, yet he and some
other relatives of his chose to station themselves in Thessalonike, likewise under the protection
of Venice. Because Lathras was highly skilled in military matters and had won great fame for his
valor, the Venetian Senate granted him in 1429 a monthly salary of 300 aspra, the equivalent of
approximately 21 hyperpyra (cf. Bertel`, Numismatique byzantine, pp. 88“9).
e
111 This name appears in the document three times as “Jalca” (nos. 2, 9, 16 in Appendix II below),
which must be a misreading for Jalea, i.e. Hyaleas, on the part of the Venetian scribe, who probably
copied the names from a list. Cf. Jacoby, “Thessalonique,” 308, n. 29. It is also feasible that “Falca”
83
Byzantine Thessalonike (1382“1387 and 1403“1423)
I and II thus indicate that a signi¬cant proportion of the Greek “nobles and
small nobles” to whom the Venetians paid salaries for their participation
in the defense of Thessalonike against the Ottomans came from the same
families, and in some cases were the very same individuals, as those who
served as archontes prior to the Venetian takeover. This con¬rms, then,
a statement made by Symeon that in 1423 the Despot Andronikos had
agreed to the cession of Thessalonike to Venice, acting in response to the
counsel of “those who shared governmental functions with him” and “the
very magnates of our body politic” “ in other words, the archontes.112
In conclusion, this survey of Byzantine Thessalonike has revealed that
almost all the inhabitants of the city from the common people to members
of the highest levels of society were negatively affected by the persistent
Ottoman sieges and attacks. Consequently some people ¬‚ed from the
city, while the majority who stayed behind became divided over their
political preferences as they sought different ways to relieve their hardships.
Despite occasional overlaps in the views of people belonging to different
strata of Thessalonian society, the political divisions generally followed
the social divisions of the city™s population. The poorer people, on the
whole, opted for the peace that could be achieved by means of surrender
to the Ottomans. By contrast, the archontes and most members of the
Thessalonian aristocracy with whom the common people were in social
con¬‚ict took an aggressive stance towards the Ottomans, and during the
period of Venetian rule many of them fought against the Ottomans in
the service and pay of Venice. It is conceivable that the widespread misery
which affected nearly everyone helped to some extent to reduce the acute
social and economic differentiation characteristic of Thessalonike™s social
structure. Nevertheless, the same circumstances simultaneously created
opportunities for certain groups or individuals who either found ways of
pro¬ting from other people™s hardships or else succeeded in multiplying
their assets through investments in foreign commercial markets. Hence,
the impoverishment of the majority of Thessalonians existed side by side
with the enrichment of a small minority. This lay at the root of the internal
dissensions of the period which, in turn, played a role in determining the
city™s fate before the enemy.
and “Milca” (nos. 8 and 15, respectively, in Appendix II below) represent further corruptions of
“Jalca” caused by the scribe™s carelessness and unfamiliarity with Greek names.
112 Symeon“Balfour, p. 55, lines 20“1: “ . . . o¬ sÆn –ke©nwƒ d• t¦v ˆrcontik¦v mo©rav . . . kaª aÉtoª d•
o¬ t¦v polite©av ¡m¤n pr¤toi . . .” For an analogous identi¬cation of the Greek archontes of the
Morea as gentiles hombres, gentil homme grec, or nobiles in the different versions of the Chronicle
of the Morea, see D. Jacoby, “Les archontes grecs et la f´odalit´ en Mor´e franque,” TM 2 (1967),
e e e
468, n. 240.
chapter 5

Thessalonike under foreign rule




the ¬rst ottoman domination (1387“1403)
Following the surrender of Thessalonike in April 1387, the Ottoman forces
that entered the city no doubt caused a certain amount of commotion and
disarray, arousing alarm and apprehension among some of the citizens at
least.1 Yet, as the immediate turmoil and upheaval subsided, things seem
to have returned to a normal state. According to an enkomion of the city™s
future archbishop Gabriel (1397“1416/17) which some scholars attribute to
Makarios Makres, the Ottomans treated the inhabitants of Thessalonike
in an unexpectedly kind and gentle manner during the early 1390s. While
Gabriel™s encomiast formulaically ascribes this to the continued protection
of the city by Saint Demetrios rather than to the policy and actions of the
Ottomans themselves, he indicates nonetheless that the Ottoman domina-
tion was not as severe as some Thessalonians had expected.2 It is also clear
from Isidore Glabas™ two homilies of 1393 (discussed above, chapter 4) that
Ottoman rule did not lead to profound changes in the administrative and
social structure of Thessalonike. The city maintained a semi-autonomous
status, and the task of administration remained in the hands of the local

1 Symeon of Thessalonike, writing about four decades after the events of 1387, states that the Ottomans,
despite “their foul oaths,” seized many churches and monasteries, insulted and mistreated the citizens,
took some as captives, and subjected the rest to taxation. He also adds that a large number of Christians
perished, some physically, others spiritually (i.e. by converting to Islam), while some managed to ¬‚ee
from the city in order to escape the exactions of the Turks. Yet Symeon notes as well that those who
were not so concerned with spiritual matters did not object to the city™s capture by the Ottomans:
Symeon“Balfour, pp. 42“3. As the editor of this text has pointed out, Symeon™s account of 1387,
particularly what he writes concerning the seizure of churches and monasteries, is highly exaggerated
and overstated. Such a large-scale Islamization of Christian buildings is not mentioned in any other
source (the only reported cases being those of the monasteries of Prodromos and Saint Athanasios),
and it is evident that Symeon™s underlying objective was “to paint the Turkish occupation of 1387“
1403 as a disastrous period to which no right-minded person could possibly wish to return by again
capitulating to the ˜godless™.” See Balfour™s comments on pp. 113 (n. 48), 251“3.
2 Makar©ou to“ Makr¦ suggr†mmata, ed. Argyriou, pp. 112“13 (= Syndika-Laourda, “ ¬EgkÛmion
e«v Gabrižl,” 363).

84
85
Thessalonike under foreign rule
Greek magistrates. Consequently, some of the social tensions and civil dis-
cords from the Byzantine period, in particular the con¬‚icts between the
common people and the archontes, were perpetuated through the years of
the ¬rst Ottoman domination.3
Isidore informs us that the common people of Thessalonike, who were on
the verge of rising up in rebellion against the archontes in 1393, grumbled in
particular because of a payment they were obliged to present to their rulers.4
Although in the present context this reference to a payment might bring
to mind the customary tribute (harac) which the Ottomans demanded
from their non-Muslim subjects, the text states explicitly that the money
in question was distributed to the archontes. Considering, however, that the
latter had always been paid from sums collected among the citizens,5 the
reason for the disgruntlement of the populace calls for further investigation.
Despite Isidore™s vague language, the fact that he describes the hardships
endured by the archontes during their embassies to the Ottoman court
just before he mentions the disputed payment suggests that he may be
referring to a new charge imposed upon the citizens for ¬nancing these
trips and perhaps also for compensating the archontes for their extra services
in dealing with the Turkish authorities. Although Isidore thinks that the
money demanded was negligible and that everyone including the archontes
themselves had to pay it, the common people who threatened the rule
of the archontes for this reason evidently found it far too burdensome,
especially in addition to the harac which they must have been paying to
the Ottomans.6


3 See above, ch. 4, pp. 77“9. 4 Isidore“Laourdas, Homily IV, pp. 58“9; Homily V, p. 64.
5 Tafrali, Thessalonique, p. 77 and n. 6.
6 Cf. ibid., pp. 78“9. It is almost certain that Thessalonians were subject to harac at this time. One of
the clauses of the Byzantine“Ottoman treaty of 1403 states that all former tribute paid to the Turks
was to be received thereafter by the Byzantine emperor: Dennis, “Byzantine“Turkish treaty of 1403,”
78. Manuel II™s prostagma to Boullotes (Sept. 1404) con¬rms that the emperor was to receive 1/ of the
3
harac “as it was received at the time of Emir Bayezid Beg”: Grhg»riov ¾ PalamŽv 2 (1918), 451“2.
Symeon of Thessalonike seems to suggest, moreover, that the Ottomans immediately following their
entry into the city in 1387 subjected the Thessalonians to harac: see note 1 above. Cf. Ostrogorski,
´
“Etat tributaire,” 49“58; N. Oikonomid`s, “Le haradj dans l™Empire byzantin du XVe si`cle,” Actes
e e
´
du Ier Congr`s International des Etudes Balkaniques et Sud-Est Europ´ennes, vol. iii (So¬a, 1969),
e e
pp. 682“3. Unfortunately, we possess no numerical data on the tribute liability of Thessalonians
during the ¬rst Ottoman domination. Later in the ¬fteenth century (c. 1411“23), an annual sum
of 100,000 aspers may have been yielded to the Ottomans as harac for Thessalonike, but this is a
controversial issue: see M. Spremi´, “Haraˇ soluna u XV veku,” ZRVI 10 (1967), 187“95; Matschke,
c c
Ankara, pp. 65, 70“5. To get an idea of how the harac obligation might have further af¬‚icted destitute
Thessalonians in 1393, see Kydones“Loenertz, vol. ii, no. 442 (date: 1391), where it is stated that even
the poor in Constantinople would have to be taxed as a new measure to meet the heavy tribute
demanded by the Ottomans.
86 Thessalonike
Thus the lower classes who had surrendered to the enemy, expecting
their condition to improve through the establishment of external peace,
were disappointed in some ways. Nonetheless, Ottoman rule did provide
certain bene¬ts and privileges to the city™s inhabitants. In his two sermons
delivered in 1393 Isidore points out that the Sultan (i.e. Bayezid I, who had
ascended the Ottoman throne during the second year after Thessalonike™s
surrender) granted to the city considerable “gifts,” greater than any which
the Thessalonians could have hoped for.7 The encomiast of Isidore™s succes-
sor, Gabriel, notes that from 1397 onwards, through the efforts of their new
archbishop, the citizens of Thessalonike continued to receive “great gifts”
from Bayezid I that brought about “a more endurable slavery.”8 Anagnos-
tes, too, refers to “grand gifts” bestowed upon the Thessalonians by the
generosity of Bayezid I.9 Unfortunately, none of the sources specify what
these “gifts” were. Yet indirect evidence is available on the policy pursued
by the Ottomans in some other incidents of surrender later in the ¬fteenth
century, from which inferences may be drawn with regard to Thessalonike.
For instance, the terms of conditional surrender (amanname) offered in
1430 to the city of Ioannina by Sinan Pasa, the Ottoman beylerbeyi of
¸
Rumeli, were as follows: “I swear to you . . . that you shall have no fear,
either from enslavement, or from the taking of your children, or from
the destruction of the churches, nor shall we build any mosques, but the
bells of your churches shall ring as has been the custom.”10 On the other
hand, the concessions granted to the Genoese colony at Galata (Pera),
which surrendered to Sultan Mehmed II in 1453, included the following
items: “ . . . let them retain their possessions . . . their wives, children and
prisoners at their own disposal . . . They shall pay neither commercium nor
kharadj . . . They shall be permitted to retain their churches and . . . never
will I on any account carry off their children or any young man for the
Janissary corps.”11 The question is, of course, which of these concessions

7 Isidore“Laourdas, Homilies IV and V, pp. 55“65, esp. 56“7.
8 Makar©ou to“ Makr¦ suggr†mmata, ed. Argyriou, pp. 115“17 (= Syndika-Laourda, “ ¬EgkÛmion
e«v Gabrižl,” 366“7).
9 Anagnostes“Tsaras, p. 60.
10 Sp. Vryonis, Jr., “Isidore Glabas and the Turkish devshirme,” Speculum 31/3 (1956), 440. Text in Sp.
Lampros, “ <H —llhnikŸ Þv –p©shmov gl¤ssa t¤n soult†nwn,” NE 5 (1908), 62“4 (= MM,
vol. iii, pp. 282“3; with the wrong date 1431). For a similar amanname sent to the citizens of
Ioannina during the same year (1430) by Sultan Murad II, see K. Amantos, “ <H ˆnagnÛrisiv Ëp¼
t¤n mwameqan¤n qrhskeutik¤n kaª politik¤n dikaiwm†twn t¤n cristian¤n kaª ¾ ¾rism¼v
to“ Sin‡n PasŽ,” ¬Hpeirwtik‡ Cronik† 5 (1930), 207“8 (= Lampros, NE 5 [1908], 57“61). Cf.
Delilbasi, “Selˆnik ve Yanya™da Osmanl± egemenli˜ i,” 94“8.
¸ a g
11 Vryonis, “Glabas and the devshirme,” 440“1. Text in E. Dalleggio d™Alessio, “Le texte grec du trait´
e
conclu par les G´nois de Galata avec Mehmet II le 1er Juin 1453,” «Ellhnik† 11 (1939), 119“23.
e
87
Thessalonike under foreign rule
were applied to the citizens of Thessalonike in the context of the “gifts”
they received following their surrender in 1387 or later, during the early
part of the reign of Bayezid I (r. 1389“1402). As far as the payment of harac
is concerned, the Thessalonians do not seem to have been exempt from it
at least during part, if not all, of Bayezid™s reign.12 Similarly, the exemption
from the collection of child-tribute (devsirme) may have been a “gift” that
¸
was perhaps in effect from 1387 to 1394/5, but certainly not afterwards,
since during the winter of 1395 Isidore Glabas delivered his well-known
sermon entitled “Homily Concerning the Seizure of the Children by the
Decree of the Emir.”13 Thus, on the positive side we are essentially left
with the recognition of religious freedom, as well as the grant of a number
of political and economic privileges which will be discussed below. It was
certainly in order to maintain Orthodoxy and to secure such privileges that
Isidore, shortly after the surrender of the city, advised the Thessalonians to
be obedient to their new masters, the Ottomans, “in all temporal things.”
Isidore insisted that henceforth the Greek community ought to dedicate
all its efforts to preserving Orthodoxy unstained and prevent the “¬‚awless
religion” from being betrayed.14
With regard to political privileges, the relegation of administrative func-
tions to local Greek magistrates and the semi-autonomous status accorded
to Thessalonike in the early years of the ¬rst Ottoman domination have
already been mentioned. It is possible, albeit dif¬cult to prove, that the
Ottomans, besides granting such collective privileges, also promised polit-
ical favors to particular individuals shortly before or around the time of the
city™s surrender. Admittedly, all our evidence for this is indirect, occurring
either in the context of Thessalonike at a later date or in the context of
Constantinople. Symeon, writing about a popular agitation for surrender
to the Ottomans that broke out in Thessalonike in the early 1420s, informs
us that the lower classes were supported by some “prominent men” (o¬
doko“ntev) who were seeking, besides material interests, political power
under Ottoman authority: “Their concern was . . . to lack none of the
things which . . . turn men into magnates and put them in authority and
12 See note 6 above.
13 “ ¬IsidÛrou ¾mil©a perª t¦v ‰rpag¦v t¤n pa©dwn,” ed. Laourdas, 389“98. For a discussion and
partial translation of this interesting text, see Vryonis, “Glabas and the devshirme,” 433“43. A full
English translation is now available by A. C. Hero, “The ¬rst Byzantine eyewitness account of the
Ottoman institution of devsirme: the homily of Isidore of Thessalonike concerning the ˜Seizure of
¸
the Children™,” in TO ELLHNIKON. Studies in Honor of Speros Vryonis, Jr., vol. i, ed. J. S. Langdon
et al. (New Rochelle, 1993), pp. 135“43. The whole tenor of Isidore™s homily, delivered on February
28, 1395, suggests that the collection of child-tribute was a new and recent practice in Thessalonike,
rather than one applied since the commencement of the Ottoman regime in 1387.
14 Isidore“Lampros, Letter 8, pp. 389“90.
88 Thessalonike
provide them with a horse and a cloak.”15 Symeon supplies us also with a
concrete example that does not involve a Thessalonian but is nonetheless
revealing because of the light it sheds on the ways in which the Ottomans
instilled hopes and expectations in the minds of the Byzantines. This is
the case of the aforementioned general who arrived from Constantinople
to provide assistance to Thessalonike in 1422/3:
The envoys of the enemy approached the city and made a show of willingness
to come to terms. They had a conversation with the general, in which, as is the
immemorial custom of the godless, they led him astray; he should remain in
the city, said they, and thus a peace settlement would be made with him, but
the Despot should depart, otherwise they would go on blockading the city.16
Symeon does not explicitly state it, but in the course of their negotiations
with the Byzantine general the Ottomans may well have promised him the

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