The national conscience of the Byzantine people developed greatly after the Fall of Constantinople by the Latins in 1204. When they lost their glare, their splendor, their power and their wealth, it was then that they realized, through the hostility and the jealousy of the foreigners and especially through the destruction of Constantinople, that they were a separate and lonely nation, which had to fight all alone in order to survive. The multicultural city of Byzantium started to collapse because of the uncontrolled influx of other nations from the West, the North and the East. In 1204 the Greeks found out that they were all alone and felt foreigners even in their own country. Later, they would be under Latin and Turkish rule, they would be cut off from the national centre of Constantinople and they would be obliged to live as
under a social and political regime that was completely foreign an hostile towards the Byzantine tradition and the local principles. Especially Asia Minor, which was the birthplace of the Christian Religion and the backbone of the Byzantine Empire, was totally altered by the Ottoman immigrants, who gradually turned into conquerors, exterminating both the indigenous residents and the every single cultural element they came across. The conquerors finally triumphed and in this way the policy of the extermination, the destruction and the genocide committed against the local population was vindicated, as always happens in the long History of Man, which is written by the winner.
The situation was different depending on the regime dominating each time. However, the fate of the Greek people, actually of both the Sultan and the Latin rulers, was equally deplorable. The primary factor that influenced the relationships between the indigenous and the conquerors was the difference in their doctrine as well as the undisguised violation of the Orthodox religious rights by the Turks. In 1453, after the Fall of Constantinople, the Greeks were shocked because they were deprived of their beloved city and they were left disoriented. Despite the difficulties, they managed to maintain their national spirit and their desire for independence during the centuries of their slavery.
The Greeks were under double occupation. That of the Ottoman and the Latin one. The enslaved Greek people had repeatedly tried to ally with the Venetians against the Turks but they resulted in finding out that the Westerners abandoned them in their own luck when they felt that their interests dictated them to do so. Of course, part of the enslaved Greek nation praised the Muslim religion in order to placate the Sultan or even worse some of them converted to Islam in order to lead a more decent life, free of fear or uncertainty. The great historian Kritovoulos from Imvros, the Cretan George Trapezountios and the first Patriarchate Gennadius were the first Greeks who compromised with the Turkish rule and served the conquerors faithfully.
There were many Greeks however, who did not manage to bear the barbaric presence of the Turks, that’s why they decided to leave their homeland and travel abroad to Western Europe and Russia. Vissarion from Trapezounta, Isidoros from Peloponnese, Ianos Laskaris and Arsenios Apostolis were some of those who escaped to the West and dedicated their whole life to their effort to persuade the European leaders and the Pope to organize a crusade with the aim of liberating the Christian land. With their constant appeals and steps the apostles of the liberty managed: a) to keep alive the memory of a nation that was in danger of complete oblivion, b) to successfully relate the glorious past of the Greeks with their present deplorable fate and c) to associate the danger existing for the West because of the Ottoman expansionism with the need for their national restoration. Michael Apostolis urged The German Emperor Frederick the Third to restore the Greek nation to its old glorious post. The Pope Pios the Second, influenced by his friend Vissarion, wrote to many European leaders calling them to participate in a crusade to force the infidels out.
When the next year the Christian fleet gathered in Agona, the Pope arrived also there but he was near to death and he excalaimed : “So far I have lacked in ships but now they will be missing me.” When the Pope died, the fleet was disbanded. In 1494, the last emperor’s nephew, Andrew Palaiologos, assigned the rights of the Byzantine throne to the king of France, while the poet Michael Tarxaniotis,joined the army in the expeditionary force of the king, who declared that he would expel the Ottomans from the Greek Land. However, neither Charles nor anyone else ever managed to organize a crusade against muslims. Europeans didn’t manage or didn’t intend to help the Greeks who had the same religion as them.
The simple illiterate Greek people kept the hope of liberation and the vision of recovering Constantinople alive through various legends and prophecies. The last emperor of Constantinople had remained petrified under the “Golden Gate”, through which all the winner emperors entered the city after a successful expedition. When the hour has struck, he will rise up, he will be given his sword by the God and he will chase the conquerors until he reaches the “Red Apple Tree” , the point they had started from many years ago. Konstantinos the XI became the symbol of the desires and hopes of all Greeks.
Wars between Venetians and Ottomans (1462-1499)
The first wars between the Ottomans and the European forces started after the Fall of Constantinople in 1453.
Up to that point, Europe, and mainly its powerful representative, Venice, followed a defensive policy towards
the ottoman expansionism, trying to keep both its ports and its commercial privileges on the Byzantine land.
On the other hand, the Ottomans were trying to expel the Christians, that is, the infidels from the places they
had conquered with their sword. It was a question of prestige but also of obligation, because of their holy
war (jihad), to eliminate every single Christian power from the Ottoman territory. By the 16th century,
the Turks had supremacy over the Venetians because the Venetians did not have either the necessary
number of soldiers or the money needed to have long war disputes. On the contrary, the Ottomans
could afford to cover all the needs of a long lasting war due to their powerful state and their inexhaustible
sources of both soldiers and sailors.
The battlefields were primarily situated in the land of the old Greek Empire which was inhabited by Greeks, who were under either Venetian or Turkish yoke. Most of them were on the side of those who had the same religious faith as them and they were trying to rebel against the Asian conquerors, hoping that the Venetians would come as liberators from the Turkish yoke. Of course, there were a lot of cases that the Greeks, especially the clergy, supported the Ottomans, because the Latin Missionaries openly pressed towards changing the doctrine of the Orthodox subjects.
The first decisive conflict between the Venetians and the Ottomans took place in 1462, when the Turkish fleet, under the command of the renegade vizier Mahmut pasha, departed from Kallipoli, besieged Mytilene of Gettilusi and easily conquered it when 5000 defenders, especially Catalan soldiers and Knights of Rhodes capitulated. The Turks however, having violated the treaty, proceeded to savage attacks and enslavement of 10000 citizens of Mytilene, who were carried to Constantinople as slaves. The official war declaration on the part of the Venetians took place in 1463, when they reinforced Skederbei (George Kastrioti) in Albania and mainly their own possessions in Moreas. In the Peloponnese they recruited Greek and Albanian irregular troops called "stradioti", but they didn't have the means to maintain them contrary to the Ottoman soldiers, who were numerous, disciplined and perfectly organized. Some of the Greek leaders who were recruited by La Serenissima (Republic of Venice) were Michael Rallis, Korkodeilos Kladas, Nikolaos Graitzas, Isaakios Rallis - Laskaris, Peter Bouas, Nikolaos Pagomenos etc. Among the rebels of that period were Graitzas Palaiologos, who had successfully defended the Castle of Salmeniko in Aigio (Vostitsa) and Mehmet II had told about him that he was the braviest Greek in Moreas.
The first victories were achieved by Korkodeilos Kladas in Mani and by Michael Rallis in the Achaean castles in Santameri, Voumero, Oleno and Chelidoni. Later the Venetians under the command of Bertoldo d´Este, took control of Argos and Isthmos and they fortified the wall of Examilion. Unfortunately, they didn't manage to seize the fort of Akrokorinth. That's why when the army of Mahmout pasha and Omer Bey appeared, both the stradioti (soldiers) and the the Venetians panicked and they had a hasty retreat while Bertoldo himself was killed. Now there were no obstacles for the Turks who were free to surge into Akronauplia plundering and burning the surrounding villages. They found no resistance on their way to Leontari in Arcadia and they threatened to plunder Messinia, which was the rampart of the revolution. Venice helped a lot and appointed Malatesta as a Commander-in-chief who managed to recover some castles in Mistra and Mani. After that incident, Malatesta abandoned Morea (Peloponnese) without having any other successes, taking with him the bones of Georgios Gemistos, which he placed in Rimini, in a monument which still exists. After Malatesta, Giacomo Barbarigo was appointed as the leader of the operations. He tried to besiege Patras but his attempts failed and he was killed in Saravali, and his body was impaled. The unfortunate Greeks, who were captured, were horribly tortured before killed, according to the testimony of the chronicler called Theothoros Spandonis (Spandougino). Michael Rallis and the Metropolitan Neofitos were impaled while Markos - Epiphanios Kladas was flayed alive.
In 1468 George Kastriotis died. He fought all alone against a whole empire and he became the National Hero of Albania.
During the next year (1469), the Venetian admiral de Canal plundered the coasts of Thrace and Macedonia and slaughtered
the people found there. The captives were taken to Chalkis (Negroponte), where the incident was celebrated in drummings
and illuminations. The poor inhabitants of Chalkis would pay for the mistakes made by the Venetian admiral. In June
of 1470, great Turkish forces consisting of 300 ships manned with Greek oarsmen and Greek islamized Mahmut
Pasha left Kallipolis and made his way to Chalkis while at the same time there were land forces of 70000 fighters
directed by the Sultan himself Mehmed II. The town was defended by Venetian soldiers, Cretan archers
under the command of Constantine Hortatzis, Dalmatians and Peloponnese soldiers while they still had important help coming from the population of the town, even from the women and the children of the area. The town fell after the betrayal of the Dalmatian Thomas Schiavo and the Ottomans, who had suffered a lot of losses,
conquered the town on July 12, 1470. For the next three days the town of the 30000 inhabitants was
converted to slaughterhouse. Every man over the age of 10 was slaughtered or impaled or flayed alive. The
Venetian bailo Eritzo was sawn alive. His daughter was killed by the sultan himself in his tent, where a
group of women had gathered, since they had failed to satisfy the Sultan's needs. The Venetian de Canal,
who had caused the destruction of Chalkis, did nothing to help the town. Republica Veneta chose Peter
Motsenigo as its new commander, who arrested his predecessor and took him chained to Venice.
During the next years the Venetians confined to raids against Turkish ports of Asia Minor and to lootings of
Turkish villages in Cyclades. In cooperation with the Knights of Rhodes, they conquered even Smyrni and the
prisoners were taken to Methoni by Mocenigo in October of 1472. Mehmed didn't react forcefully because he
was occupied with Ouzoun Hasan in the eastern part, who was in contact with the Venetians and raided against
Cilicia, Pontus and Armenia. He even helped Alexios Komnenos, the nephew of the last emperor of Trapezounta, to
recapture the town unsuccessfully, though. In 1473 seven brave Italian mariners having Antonello as their leader, made
an audacious night raid against the Turkish navy yard in Kallipoli, where they managed to cause important damages.
However, they were arrested and sent to Constantinople where, after being tortured, they were impaled. In 1477
Suleiman Pasha tried to conquer Lepanto' castle but he failed. At that period the Venetian fleet, being guided by
the admiral called Antonios Loredanos, was fighting in the Aegean Sea and they had to face the Turkish navy very
often. It was at that period that the the legend of Maroula from Limnos arose. According to it, Maroula, after her father
was killed during the Turkish siege of Limnos, took his sword, she was disguised as a man and she encouraged her
compatriots leading them to a great victory. From 1473 to 1489, the Venetians managed to gradually undertake the
control over Cyprus, having been significantly helped towards that direction by the queen of Cyprus Aikaterini Kornarou. They kept the island for about 100 years.
In 1479, the Venetian envoy, the Jewish Giovanni Dario made an agreement for peace between the two involved partners. Venice got the worst of that bargain since they were obliged to assign the land they possessed and pay an annual deposit of 100000 doukata to the Sultan. However, the greatest benefit for the Venetians was the fact that Cyprus was kept under their domination. The Sultan was now free to punish the impudent knights of Rhodes, whose state was an obstacle to his empire. In 1480, he sent the islamized Greek traitor called Mezih Palaiologos together with the traitors Sofiano and Meligalo, accompanied by thousands of soldiers, to siege Rhodes. The Great Magistrate Pierre d'Aubusson, despite his age, fought bravely in the front line encouraging both the brave knights and the local people to go on.
Mezih Pasha failed in all respects since he didn’t manage to conquer not even the fortified Halicarnassus (Petronium) and he decided to leave allowing the knights to continue fighting against the Turks. At the same time, Venice considered the attitude of the European partners to be treacherous as they didn’t help while Venice was attacking the Turkish forces, so Venetians encouraged Mohammed II to capture Kato Italia since it belonged to the Greek Empire, thus now it could be under Turkish rule. Gendik Ahmet was sent by Mohammed to conquer Ydrounta (Otranto) in the province of Apoulia terrifying Europe, especially the king of Napoli, Ferdinando the A´. However, fate was for the Venetians because Mohammed died (1481) and his successors started a civil war among them, making Ahmet to evacuate Otranto.
At that period the centre of the war disputes was Moreas. The two brothers of konstantinos Palaiologos, Dimitrios and Thomas, did not come up to the circumstances and they did not prevent the invasion of Turks in Peloponnese. On the contrary, only some chieftains resisted and fought against the Turks. One of them was Korkodeilos Kladas. When the Venetians made peace with the Turks, they offered Mani to the Turks. That was considered by the Greeks to be very insulting, that is why they chased tourmarches and soubasides and they occupied the castles of Trigofilo, Oitylo, Kastania etc. Some military veterans such as Theodoros Bouas and Mexas Bozikis decided to help Kladas. In order to cause confusion in the relations between the Venetians and the Turks, they raised both flags together, the one with the two-headed eagle and the one with the lion of Saint Marcus. Of course, the Venetians got upset,and after they sent envoys to the Sublime Port to testify that they had nothing to do with the incident, they arrested the family members of the heads of the revolutionaries, while at the same time, they put a price on Kladas’ head.
In January of 1480, the Turks were made to intervene. Military forces led by Suleiman and Ali Boumiko,
invaded in Mani burning and looting everything. However, Kladas managed to entrap and destroy the forces
of Boumiko in the passes of Oitylo, making him retreat to Sparta. New forces, consisting of 10000 janissaries
being under the control of Ahmet, invaded in Mani and attacked Kladas in Kastania. The intrepid warrior took
refuge in Porto Kayio, where he was taken by 3 galleys of Neapoli and in April, 1480, he took resort to Italy.
Ferdinand received him with honours and one month later, Kladas was sent to North Epirus, where he joined
his forces with Skederbei’s son forces that is, Ioannis Kastriotis and they liberated Chimara. In Avlona,
Suleiman Pasha together with 3000 soldiers tried unsuccesully to recapture Chimara but he was trounced
by the Greeks and he was arrested as captive. Chimara remained free for the next ten years until 1492,
when great Turkish forces devastated the area, took thousands of the inhabitants of Epirus prisoners and
carried them to the slave markets of the East.
The enslaved Greeks had a period of peace and quietness for almost two decades due to the civil controversy between
the two sons of Mohammed, Bayezid II and his elder brother Gem. The confrontation of the two brothers shook the
whole empire but the Franks did not manage to take advantage of it. Gem was defeated in the battle of Geni Shechir
in June 1481 and after having wandered around the mountains of Cilicia, being chased, he asked for asylum from the
Great Magistrate of Rhodes Pierre d'Aubusson. His attempts to persuade the Europeans, so as to start a crusade with
Gem taking the lead against his brother Bayezid the second, proved to be in vain. Eventually, the young Ottoman was
sent to Rome, where The Pope Alexander ,who was in contact with Bayezid, acting dishonestly, imprisoned him.
In the meanwhile, Charles VIII had ascended the throne of France. In 1494, he led a campaign against Italy where
he proclaimed that the ulterior purpose of his was the liberation of Greece and his coronation as the king of the Greeks.
"Il subjugera les italiens, et passera de-la mer, Entrera puis dedans la Grece ou par sa vaillance proesse
Sera nomme le roi des Grecs."
However, the Pope’s treasonous attitude, who poisoned Gem, prevented Charles from organising a coalition against the Turks.
Venice was also against him because they accused him of making revolutionary attempts starting from Epirus, and the leaders of
these attempts were the Catholic archbishop Firmiano, the nephew of the last emperor, Andrew Palaiologos and Constantine
Arianitis. It was totally ironic the fact that the rumours about a forthcoming crusade had instilled panic to the Turkish guards,
according to the Venetian Admiral Grimani’s report. Most of them were dispelled only when the Venetian fleet appeared.
Charles, having to face the hostile behaviour of the Christian members of Europe, relinquished his attempts and returned to
France. The enslaved Greeks, together with the Albanias, felt disappointed for one more time and had to cope with the cruel
preventive drastic steps of the "Sublime Porte" taken in Epirus and Albania. It is worth mentioning the official act, signed in
Rome, between Andreas Palaiologos and Charles VIII, concerning the succession to the throne of the Byzantine Empire in
case Charles’ expedition succeeded: "On Saturday, 6 February 1494, in St Peter’s church, Andreas Palaiologos, Despot of
Romania (Greece), announced that due to his uncle’s death, he himself would be the legal heir of the Empire of Constantinople,
since Konstantinos Palaiologos was childless. He also said that, since he was living in exile, abandoned by all Christian leaders,
he would grant to the French monarch Charles, who was undefeated, all the rights of both the Empire of Constantinople and that
of the Empire of Trapezounta."
Wars between Venetians and Ottomans (1499-1503)
Bayezid II, having eliminated his brother Cem, who was the main rival of the throne, reviewed the tolerance he had shown so far towards the Venetians. In July 1499, a powerful Turkish fleet, led by Captain Daoud Pasha, appeared in the west of Peloponnese. The Sultan himself carried his armies and his artillery towards Sterea Hellas. The Venetian Fleet Admiral Grimanis, who was patrolling round the Ionian Sea, was reinforced with ships which were under Loderanos’ command. The sea battle between the two powerful fleets took place in the open sea of Cape Pope (Cape of Araxos) and although Loderanos attacked with his flagship against the famous corsair Barack, Grimanis avoided helping him. On the two ships of the above mentioned men a fire broke out and as a result the two brave mariners lost their lives together with their crews.
Grimanis, who was malicious and cunning, retreated leaving the entrance to the Corinthian gulf unguarded and permitting thus, the Ottoman Fleet to enter and block one of the most important ports of the area, that of Lepanto. Bayezid’s army had already arrived in the area. The terrified notables of Lepanto, Ioannis Mouskos, Loisos Drakopoulos and Dimitrios Monazis persuaded the Venetian commander Moro to deliver up the city. The Venetias lost their most important commercial centre and executed Moro, who was found to be guilty, with public hanging. Meanwhile, Bayezid II had two castles built in the entrance of the Corinthian gulf, (Rio and Antirrio) and called them “Minor Dardanelles” just before leaving for spending winter in Adrianoupolis.
The next summer, a very powerful ottoman navy appeared, under the command of Daoud Pasha and the ex pirate Kemal in Methoni. Bayezid II, being the head of the land forces, was already in Leontari, and had problems with the stradioti (Greek mercenaries), who were led by Georgios Ralli, Nikolaos Renesi and Nikolaos Menagia.The siege lasted for one month and on the 10th of August 1500, Methoni suddenly surrendered, when some of its defenders left a part of the wall unattended and went to celebrate the entrance of four Venetian galleys in the blocked part of the port after having broken the exclusion. A three day pillage followed and according to the narration of an anonymous Greek historian, the commander, the bishop, the leaders and one third of the residents were slaughtered while the rest were captured and were sold in the slave markets of ottoman empire.
When the Sultan entered the town, he stood before a Christian temple and after his command to turn it into a mosque, he said: “Due to the bravery of Veilervei Sina pasha and the dashing assault of the janissaries, God gave me this town. The first janissary that climbed up the walls appointed him flampouriari (flag bearer) and gave him 80000 ducats. Koroni surrendered immediately and the commander of Pylos Charles Kontarini did not dare to raise any resistance. The control of Moreas was taken away from the Venetians except for Monemvasia and Nauplio.
After that,there were some joint efforts by both the Venetians and the Spanish. In Spain, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabelle reigned and they had managed to send the Moors away from the European territories. They had also great aspirations to prevail over the Greek peninsula. That’s why they had sent fleet, commanded by Petro Navarro and Gonzalo Fernadez de Cordoba, to help the joint attempts of the Christians against the “infidels”. However, apart from the conquest of the islands of St. Mavra (Lefkada) and Cephalonia, the united Christian Fleet did not manage to achieve anything important and they just commited looting around the coastal areas of Calchidice and Asia Minor. In 1503, La Serenissima signed a treaty of peace with the Sublime Porte. The Sultan was the winner for one more time while the Latins were deprived of many of their possessions in Greece. Actually, both sides were suffering economically due to the consecutive wars and especially La Serenissima because it had lost not only the trade centres of Methoni, Koroni and Lepanto (Nafpaktos) but also the important commercial role it had played so far since the Portuguese and the Spanish discoveries opened new trade routes.
As for the Greek side is concerned, all those battles meant even further decrease of their population because of the massacres and the forced movements of the Greek people towards the Ionian Islands that were under Venetian occupation. Especially, Peloponnese and Epirus were made to enter a period of endless poverty and wretchedness. Turkish settlers came and occupied Greek regions and they sent the local Greek people away from their ancestral homes, impairing thus the social structure and the cultural tradition of those areas. Churches were desecrated or turned into mosques, ancient monuments were destroyed or despoiled, Christians became Muslims in order to avoid humiliation and slavery. The country, that was the birthplace of democracy and human dignity, was deluged with slave markets and impoverished the value of human life. The country, that had the richest inhabitants, while being an empire, was now filled with ragged slaves. That country used to have educated people, who taught sciences to the rest of the world but now its inhabitants were ignorant and illiterate.
The palaces and the mansions were replaced by shacks and slums. The Pandidakterion and the universities of Constantinople fell silent. The archaic Greek language, used by the last emperor, turned into wretched frankoarvanitoromeiki language. The children of the philosophers, the mathematicians, the theologians, the historians and of all the educated people became servants, slaves in the galleys and in the farms. They became rayahs (animals) in other words. While the Europeans were inspired by the texts of the Byzantine scholars and were introducing The Renaissance, the Greeks were struggling to maintain their national identity and their recollections of the glorious past alive through legends, traditions, folk music and through the books of Psalms. The Greeks, who called the people living outside their empire barbarians and despised them, were now looking up to them, desperately asking for help, especially from the Franks. The girls were violently taken away from their parents and were led to the harems, where they were dishonored by the agas, while the boys were led to the Janissaries’ camps, where they were trained how to fight against their parents’ faith and religion. The descendants of the proud Spartans were bending their heads down when an aga passed by them. The emperors of Constantinople, who were considered to be superior to any other governors and inspired awe and respect, were succeeded by servile Phanariotes, who were in dread of even hearing the Sultan’s name. The period of the 16th century is considered to be the darkest one in the history of our country.
Suleiman I’s conquests
The Pope Leo I, urged by Markos Mousouros, persuaded the kings of Poland, Great Britain and Germany to start a crusade against the muslims. His attempt failed and while the European leaders spent their time arguing with each other, the Turks conquered Syria in 1516 and Egypt in 1517. These turkish conquests created new trade centres in the Middle East, undermining thus, the Italian exclusive trade. This action offered the right conditions for the development of great trade activities on behalf of non-muslim population such as the Armenians, the Greeks and the Jews, who had meanwhile come from Spain.
Suleiman the Magnificent (1520-1566) started implementing a new programme of conquests having as his first target the kingdom of Knights in Rhodes. In June 1522, 300 Turkish war ships, under the command of Moustafa vizier, made their way towards Rhodes. At the same time, the Sultan himself led 100000 of men through land. The great magister, abandoned by the rest Christian leaders, managed to gather just 5000 warriors including Cretans, Venetians and local residents of Rhodes.
On August 1st, beylerbey Agiaz pasha attacked the bastion that was defended by German knights. (The Knights of Rhodes consisted of Europeans of different nationalities, who had gathered in Rhodes after having been evicted from Jerusalem.) The tunnels made by the besiegers were successfully neutralized by the Venetian mechanic Martinego and the first assault of the enemies failed. Later, the English bastion was captured by the Turks but the Knights’ counterattack repulsed them again. On September 24th, the Ottomans were ready for a new assault. The Sultan himself climbed up a hill so as to watch the progress of the attack. However, the bravery of the knights along with the help of the local people resulted in another ottoman defeat. The wrathful Sultan deposed and imprisoned Agiaz pasha and while he was thinking of leaving Rhodes, a traitor called Amaral, urged him to continue his efforts since the besieged were hopeless and desperate. On December 22nd, in 1522, the council of the Knights surrendered the city achieving however, some favourable terms for the knights and the citizens. The great Magister met the Sultan, kissed his hand and left together with his warriors. After wandering around the Mediterranean, the knights of Rhodes settled in Malta.
The ottoman army was successful in the north too. Belgrade, Moldova and Wallachia were conquered by the Turks, while in 1526 the king of Hungary was killed during a decisive battle near Mohacs, which resulted in a new victory on the part of the Ottomans again. Austria’s territory was claimed at the same time by both the Voivode of Transylvania, Zapolya, and the Archduke of Austria, Ferdinand I. Zapolya turned to Suleiman for help, who, taking advantage of his future imperialistic plans concerning the west, attacked Austria. In 1529, the Ottoman bayrak with the cresent on it, was waving just outside the Austrian walls, causing fright to all European rulers. Fortunately, Vienna did not surrender in the end. Ferdinand, having the support of his brother, Charles V, who was the emperor of Holy Roman Empire, defended his country successfully, along with the harsh weather conditions, which made Suleiman retreat to Belgrade.
While the main body of the Turkish army was in the north, the inhabitants of Rhodes including Chrysoloras, Ioannes Stratigopoulos and Nicolaos Kantakouzenos together with some cryptochristian janissaries, tried to persuade the Knights of Rhodes to send back fleet in order to reoccupy the island. In order to achieve their goal, metropolitan Efthimios sent a letter to the Pope (1528), describing the degradation and the tortures the Greeks were suffering every day, so as to make him help their effort. However, the West did not try to claim Rhodes back, the conspiracy was revealed and the Turks executed all the conspirators including the metropolitan himself.
Charles V in a military diversion organized a navy coalition aiming mainly at Peloponnese so as to remove the ottoman pressure in central Europe. The navy consisted of Genoese, Spanish and Papal ships as well as of galleys belonging to the Knights of Malta. The leader of this coalition was Andreas Doria, an important Genovese nobleman, while the Christian forces included Italians, Spanish, German and of course Greeks and Albanian “stradioti”. On September 21, in 1532, Koroni was occupied by the Christian army. 700 spahi (ottoman cavalry), sent as reinforcements, were killed in an ambush. The heads of their leaders were placed on spears outside the city walls. During the siege some Greek veterans such as Theodoros Bohalis and Theodoros Voskitis were killed. The command of the city was assigned to a spanish guard of 2000 men, under the leadership of Hieronymous Mendosa. Doria moved to the north and in October he conquered Patras and later on, the castles of Rio and Antirio, where the Christians, especially the Greeks, slaughtered the defenders of the two castles, according to a narration of an envoy of the French king, Francis I. Doria passed to Cephalonia an then he came back to Italy as the winner. The revolution did not expand in Morias (Peloponnese) because the Greeks knew that the European interests would change, thus, they would be left alone and helpless among the Turks. Only the fearless Epirotes of Himara revolted again to the conquerors.
The next summer, the Sublime Porte sent a great number of land forces which arrived in Messinia on April, in 1533. At
the same time, a fleet of 80 ottoman ships under Loyfti bey blockaded the port of Koroni. Meanwhile, “Grecci estratiotas”
coming from the families Manesis, Katogites, Varvates, Strategos and Romanos entered the town, while the Spanish Rodrigo
de Machicao took command of the city’s defence. Doria’s naval forces came to help the besieged and they managed to send
the Turkish fleet away in the sea. During August, the Christian fleet departed for Italy, leaving thus the defenders alone having
to face both intensive siege as well as hunger and pestilence, all of which resulted in the besieged being depopulated. Despite
their difficulties, they were carrying out assaults trying to get food and one of the most risky night assault was the one in
Androusa, where they killed 1000 janissaries that were stationed there. They also burned the stables and the warehouses
of ammunitions. Unfortunately, brave Machicao was killed by a bullet on his head. Christians retreated and buried their
fearless Spanish warrior with honours. Finally, in March 1534, Charles the V sent some ships which received both
Koroni’s population and the garrison driving them to South Italy. There, they joined the rest of their compatriots
(Grecanoi) and they formed a powerful community which managed to reserve their Greek culture and spirit for about 3
centuries. It was then that they were forced to change their religion and become Catholics under the pressure of the
catholic priests that Vatican had sent.
During the next two years Souleiman performed two impressive actions. He reached an agreement with the king of France in 1535, while he appointed as admiral of the imperial fleet the notorious pirate called Hairedin, widely known as Barbarossa. The name Hairedin came from the Greek name Christos, since he was Greek in origin, specifically from the island of Lesvos, but he turned to be a muslim together with his brother Aris, Ourouz in Turkish. They became two extremely dangerous pirates, who slaughtered Christians for the sake of Islam. They fought in the Aegean Sea, in North Africa as well as everywhere round the Mediterranean, while in Tunis, Ourouz got killed by the Spanish. In 1535,Barbarossa disembarked in Apoulia, where he performed a lot of frightening attacks, completely destroying Reggio di Calabria transferring this way, the war with the Latins in their own territory.
In 1537, Souleiman started new attacks through land, reaching thus north Epirus, while Barbarossa, being the leader of a powerful fleet, met him in Avlona (Vlore). Their objectives were to land in Apoulia and to smash the rebels of Himara. The inhabitants of Himara withdrew in the mountains and resorted to a guerilla warfare against the numerous imperial army. During a night invasion the brave chieftain Damianos reached outside the imperial tent and tried to set it on fire. Unfortunately, he was arrested and he was terribly tortured so as to reveal the positions of the revolutionaries. Finally, he was impaled.
While, Souleiman was officially declaring the war against Venice, he sent Barbarossa to devastate the coast of Apoulia and transfer thousands of prisoners from Brindisi to Avlona’s camp. Moreover, the Genovese admiral Doria was constantly fighting against the Turkish fleet, and had a great victory against them in the open sea of Preveza. On August 25th in 1537, the ottoman fleet entered Corfu, which was under Venetian control. 3000 thousands Venetians and Greek fighters tried to defend it. The ottoman soldiers of the Sultan went through Argyrokastron and Paramythia in order to reach Corfu. Since they arrived, they started looting villages and devastating the countryside. The local villagers were suffering, but Barbarossa failed to capture the fortress of Corfu, which resisted the attacks and in September 1537, the Ottomans left the island. However, the Venetians gave the fortresses of Vouthroto and Parga away to the Sultan.
Now it was the turn of the islanders of the Aegean Sea to suffer the dreadful raids of Barbarossa. The Aegean islands were under Frankish command. In October 1537, the island of Aigina was invaded and occupied and the rest of the islands such as Serifos, Ios, Astypalaia, Amorgos (Querin family), Paros (Sagredo family), Naxos (Crispo family), Mykonos and Andros surrendered consecutively. The great sufferings of the islanders were expressed through various Greek folk songs.
During that period, the commander of Morea Kashim Beis was ordered to besiege the last two Venetian fortresses of Peloponnese, Nafplio and Monemvasia. Kashim devastated the countryside of Nafplio and conquered the fortresses of Kastri (belonging to Palaiologos family) and Thermisi. Later on, he put up his tent outside the walls of Nafplio in order to start the siege (September 1537), which lasted 3 years, while at the same time other forces attacked Monemvasia. The two cities were defended mainly by the local Greek and Albanian fighters. The living conditions of the besieged were extremely difficult since they suffered from various epidemic diseases due to the infected drinking water and the hunger. Due to these serious problems, the men in the guards had to abandon their places in the bastions in order to get out in the countryside seeking for food and water. On April 5th, in 1538, 200 elite cavalrymen, under Venetian command, invaded the hill of Prophet Elias but unfortunately they were decimated together with their brave Italian commanders. All these incidents are supported by the narrative of Dorotheos, archbishop of Monemvasia, in relation to the siege of Nafplio.
The prisoners’ fate was dramatic, especially of those who were working in the galleys, pulling the row all day and all night long. A Czech diplomat, captured by the Turks, narrated the way he was treated in a galley: “The slave is chained on one of his legs and he is freed only when he is obliged to pull the row. Since it is scorching hot, he can’t row being dressed but only naked. So, his skin is sunburnt and looks like a browned pig. He eats only two pieces of hardtack and he is full of lice and bugs. His life is a real inferno. Anyone, who tries to escape, is severely punished through phalanx and has to remain tied in chains for ten months…”
In the meantime, in West Europe, during 1538, a new anti-Turkish alliance was created. The pope, Paul III, the German emperor, Charles V, his brother, Ferdinand of Austria and the doge of Venice signed “Santa Lega”, which supported the restoration of all the lost Venetian possessions as well as Charles’ enthronement in Constantinople, as the successor of the Eastern Empire’s throne. As soon as Souleiman I was informed about this Christian alliance, he sent Barbarossa to invade all the Venetian possessions in the Ionian Sea. The notorious pirate, on his way to his new mission, devastated the islands of Sporades. Fortunately, he failed to conquer Chania of Crete and he ended up in the Amvrakikos gulf, which was protected by the ottoman cannons of Preveza. On September 25th, in 1538, the two fleets met each other. The Muslim sailors proved to be braver than the Christian ones. Two Christian galleys were sank and two more were captured, while the Christian fleet was retreating back to Corfu, without daring to come out in the open sea again.
While the alliance had started with the best omens, bringing hope to enslaved Greeks, the disagreements between the Spanish and the Venetians, led the expedition to a total disaster. The crafty and devious Venetians were not favourable to the presence of the rest of the Europeans in their former possessions, the so called territories of Levante, which were actually Greek territories. That’s why they started having secret negotiations with the Sultan and they betrayed Peter Sekoylas, the Greek who had been sent by Charles V in the Peloponnese in order to organize revolutionary teams. Sekoulas was led to Constantinople and he was beheaded. Then, another treaty between the Turks and the Venetians was signed, on October 2, in 1540, according to which all the islands that had been occupied by Hairedin Barbarossa, as well as Nauplio and Monemvasia were delivered to the Ottoman empire. La Serenissima was obliged to pay 300,000 Venetian doukata, as a war compensation, but maintained the Ionian islands, Cythera and Cyprus. There was another wave of refugees from Nauplio and Monemvasia, who were forced to leave their homes in order to find shelter in Venice, Crete and Corfu. Peloponnese and other Greek provinces sufferred great devastation. However, Greek people resisted withstanding great losses. Those Greeks who lived in the west urged the European leaders to return with new forces and shake off the barbarian yoke.
Malta’s siege - 1566
The defeat in Malta was the only exception to Suleiman’s consecutive victories. Malta was defended by the the Knights of Rhodes, who had found themselves there just after the loss of Rhodes in 1522. The Grandmaster Jean Parisot de la Valette's organized perfectly the defence of the city. In May 1565, the ottoman army attacked the three forts (St. Angelo, St. Elmo, St. Michael) that protected the capital city. The attackers were 6500 janissaries, 9000 spahi, 20000 Turks and 20000 muslims from Algeria and Tripoli. The Ottoman fleet consisted of 300 ships loaded with dozens of cannons and supplies. The two generals of the siege were the old Moustafa pasha and the younger one Piali pasha. It was this age difference that made the two contradict each other. The Knights of Rhodes fought with courage and self sacrifice but their opponents fought in the same way, too. The castle in St. Elmo fell on June 23rd, after a brave battle on the part of the Christian defenders. Only five Knights left swimming while nine were
captured and tortured. Their heads were carried around the walls of St. Angelo. The Grandmaster Jean Parisot de la Valette's replied in the same way and sent the opponents’ heads as a present to the two pashas mentioned before. Ferocity and worthlessness of human life and dignity were the prominent characteristics of that era.
The Turks were preparing a final attack against the fort of St Michael, but their plans were made known to the Grandmaster Jean Parisot de la Valette's by Laskaris, a Greek officer of the Turkish army, who defected to the Knights of Rhodes. On July 15th, the howling janissaries and the spahi were successfully repulsed and the Christians got out of their forts slaughtering the Muslims and taking revenge on the dead fighters of St. Elmo. The reinforcment of 8000 perfectly trained Spanish soldiers from Sicily, led by Garcia De Toledo, brought the fatal stroke to the Ottoman army, who boarded their ships and retreated back to Constantinople. Thus, the Knights of Rhodes continued being the masters of Malta for almost two centuries, while two years later, the Grandmaster Jean Parisot de la Valette's would lay the foundation stone in the new capital city that would bear the name Valetta.
The next year Piali pasha arrived in Chios, which was under a Genovese trade company rule,
and demanded to receive the arrears from the tribute that the company had to pay to the Sultan.
Although the Mahona company promised to meet the requirements immediately, 10000 Turkish
soldiers arrived and occupied the rich island on April 1566. The 500 European citizens that were in
Chios were made slaves in the Turkish galleys. Piali pasha continued his course towards North Epirus,
where Albanians together with Greeks had killed the Sultan’s envoys that had come to kidnap children
for the ottoman army (devshirme). Then, they had attacked the Turkish guards. The unconquered rebels
in Epirus faced the imperial army with bravery and success, so Piali pasha humiliated, eturned to Constantinople in
autumn, in 1566.
Cyprus's fall- 1571
Selim the Second ascended the throne of the Ottoman Empire in 1566 and handed the exploitation of the Cyclades (Paros, Naxos, Andros, Milos, Syros etc.) in the crafty Jewish merchant Joseph Naze. It was him who urged the Sultan to organise a military campaign against Cyprus in order to occupy the island since it constituded a threat to the passage of the ottoman trade ships from the newly obtained Egypt to the city of Constantinople. Cyprus was suffering under the Venetian occupation and the peasants were used as slaves by their Italian masters. This situation had led many villages to invite Selim in order to come and free them from their tyrants. The Venetians not only had they left the island without defence but they also paid the price of their deceitful policy that had followed during the European wars against the Ottomans and were left helpless by Spain in their effort to keep the control of their island. The Turks as usual moved swiftly and two armadas sailed from Kallipoli. The admiral of the first armada was Piali pasha and of the second one was Kapoudan Ali pasha. Land forces under the command of Lala Moustafa pasha, embarked from Karamania and reached Paphos and Limassol, where they met together with the huge fleet of 350 vessels guided by the two pashas. On July 1570, the green flags were waving along with the flags having the crescent on them outside the walls of the capital city of the island, Nicosia.
The responsibility for the defence of Nicosia was on the part of Venetian Dandolo Nikolaos, together with Cypriot Eugene Syglitikos or Rouchia, who had 3000 combatant men at their disposal. There is a part of the speech delivered by the Bishop of Paphos in the Church of Holy Wisdom (Agia Sofia) through which he was calling the Christians to fight for their faith and their country. In the meanwhile, the attackers were bombing the walls ceaselessly, they were digging burrows and they were cutting off any way of contact with the outside world. The defenders led by Ioannis Sozomenos, Kontos Rodakis and Andreas Kourtesis assaulted the enemies killing many of them, poisoning wells and destroying food storehouses. Everything was in vain, though. On September, 9 Moustafa pasha carried out his great raid and managed to invade the city through the openings in the walls. The awesome last moments the Greeks and Italians experienced are depicted in the narrative of Bishop Cyprianos’ chronicle (1788).
While La Serenissima showed unexplained inaction, the victorious Ottoman army camped outside Famagusta on December 17, 1570 and the fleet took over the port. Moustafa pasha sent messengers to the Arabian countries to declare a holy war (jihad) against the infidels and ask them to help in the siege of Famagusta, promising loot and slaves. The brave Italians Markantonios Bragadin and Hector Baglione were the commanders of the city, who successfully organized the defence of the city but unfortunately they were left helpless by the Christian powers. Also the Greek cavalry fought bravely but had great losses. In this way the two brothers Kontos and Peter Rontakis were killed. A part of the fleet returned to Constantinople due to winter and it is said that Rouchia’s daughter set fire on one of the ships that carried the most beautiful slaves for the Sultan, including the most impressive girl of Nicosia, so the harem of the Sultan was turned into ashes.
On April 1571, the fleet returned having a new Kapoudan pasha (admiral) and the siege from both the land and the sea was again unbearable. The heavy bombing and the undermining the walls destroyed large parts of the walls, but despite the continuous assaults, Bragadin and Baglione managed to throw back the enemies. However, it was very difficult to hold out because of the fatigue, thirst and hunger. On August 1st, they raised a white flag and surrendered. Pasha sent his Kechagia (officer) and discussed the terms according to which both the soldiers and the residents could leave the city. Although everything seemed to proceed peacefully, Moustafa pasha invited to his camp the two commanders with the men of their escort to honour them, as he said, for their bravery. The pasha asked the young Antonio Kouerini to stay in his camp but Bragadin objected to this proposal. The Turk found the excuse he needed and ordered the janissaries to arrest all his 350 guests, all of whom were beheaded before their commander’s eyes. The Venetian noble’s fate was worse than that of his soldiers. After, they had cut his nose and ears,
they tortured him and carried him around the whole army on a cow. Later on, a Jewish torturer, took over the
task to skinned his skin slowly and excruciatingly in the central square of Famagusta. They filled his skin with
straw and later they sent it to the Sultan. At the same time, the Turkish mob poured into the city and went on
to commit every type of brutality against the civilians. So started a long period of barbaric and brutal yoke which
lasted three centuries.
Lepanto's Seabattle - 1571
On May 1571, Pope Pios V, managed to bridge the gap between Spain and Venice and persuade the two sides to sign up “Sacra Liga Antiturca” and organize an offensive against the muslims. The assignment of the general command of the European forces was given to the Austrian Don Juan, who had received Greek representatives asking him to take over control in the occupied Greek peninsula. On September, 1571, the united Christian fleet sailed from Messina in Sicily. The king of Spain had offered 81 galleys and 30 frigates together with 7000 Spanish men, 6000 Germans and 5000 Italians. Venice offered 108 galleys, 6 galleass and 5000 infantry men. The Pope offered 12 fully equipped galleys, the Knights of Malta 4 and Genoa 11 galleys under the command of Gianandrea Doria, nephew of the famous Genovese admiral. The Venetian force included ships that had been equipped with money coming from the Greek citizens of La Serenissima in Crete. Peter Augoustinis, Andreas Callerges, Drakos Makres, George Gavras, Petros Bouas, Manousos Theotokopoulos (the painter’s brother) and many others contributed to the equipment of the Christian ships as well as to the financing of the mission.
The Turkish fleet that had already sailed from the naval base of Constantinople included 230 galleys. The general commander was Capoudan Mouezin Zante Ali pasha, while the commander of the infantry aboard, was Petraou pasha. They had the support of the notorious pirates Ouloutz Ali (renegade Italian) as well as Karakoza with Algerian crews. At the dawn of October 7 the two fleets met at Echinades, islets that lie at the mouth of the river Acheloos and started to approach each other slowly, while the crews were getting ready for the conflict it would follow. The rowers of most of the ships were Greek slaves, who moved as awkwardly as they could, in order to hinder the navigation of the boats and unfortunately were those who had the most losses as they were enchained and therefore, they were sunk together with the Turkish boats. The Ottomans had more combatant men who were equipped mainly with bows and scimitars. The European soldiers were equipped with arkevouzia, the primitive weapons of that period.
The left and the north flank, near the cape called Skrofa, was commanded by the old Venetian Agostino Barbarigo together with Antonio Da Kanale and Marco Querini. The right flank of the Turks which stood opposite them, was under the command of Mehmet Soulik Siroko, governor of Alexandria and Mehmet Beg. In the centre of the Christian fleet was situated Don Zouan’s galley "La reale".. He was surrounded by Venier, Doria and Markandono Kolona, the leader of the papist forces. Before starting the sea battle Don Juan boarded on a light boat and passed by the ships of the fleet trying to encourage his men who welcomed him cheering. At the same time priests were carrying the Crucified from bow to stern urging the crews to fight for their Christian Faith. At about 9 o’ clock Don Juan fired the first shot from his flag ship, calling the opponent admiral to come and face him up. The weather was on the Christian side since the light western breeze clearly favoured their ships.
Brothers Antonio and Ambrogio Bragadin, relatives of the flayed commander of Famagusta and
hungry for revenge against the Turks, were the first to attack the enemy fleet.
After three successful shots, they sank the first Ottoman galley leading thus Kapoudan
Ali pasha into great distress. While the Venetian galleys were causing damages to the Turkish ones,
Mehmet Scirocco threatened the flagship of Barbarigo, who was wounded in his eye when spahi jumped
into his boat. His nephew Kontarini came to help. While the fights were going on corps a corps, the
Christian rowers of the Scirocco flagship managed to break the chains and occupied the boat. The
Turkish ships were sinking one after the other and the Turkish fighters were killed in great numbers.
Those who managed to find the strength to swim towards the lagoon of Messolonghi were
slaughtered by the Greeks, who were watching the progress of the battles.
The centre of the Christian naval force, commanded by Don Juan, sailed against the enemy fleet and managed to destroy a lot of Turkish ships, including the flagship of Ali pasha. The Venetian admiral Venier, the Italian mercenary Markantonio Kolona and Giovanni Batista Kontarini rushed to give a helping hand to Don Juan. When Petraou pasha was wounded, Kolona took advantage of the occasion and he occupied his galley. Kapoudan pasha was killed so, the Europeans started to kill the Ottomans and their ships were sinking, unfortunately taking with them all the chained Christian rowers.
As far as the southern flank is concerned, the seabattle took place near the Cape of Pope (Araxos). Neither the Venetian Doria nor the pirate Ouloutz Ali fought passionately for the victory. The latter managed to capture the flagship of the Knights of Malta but later in the afternoon it was free to escape while the rest of the Christian ships were celebrating the great victory. The Ottoman fleet was totally destroyed. 30000 men were killed including the admiral Ali and 120 more ship governors. The Christian victory was celebrated across Europe, where there were praises in all the cathedrals. Don Juan was now a legend, while the famous Spanish author of “ Don Kihotes” Cervantes, was one of the soldiers that fought in the specific battle. Unfortunately the Europeans did not take advantage of this victory since they could not even enter the Sea of Propontis. The Sultan would later say: “ The Christians shaved my beard in Nafpaktos but I cut them their hand in Cyprus. The beard can grow again but the hand won’t.” Actually, the next year, he would manage to organise a very powerful fleet commanded again by Ouloutz Ali, while the Venetians would definitely loose Cyprus for ever.
The enthusiasm of the rayahs (Greek slaves), the promises of the Christian leaders and the rumors for the arrival of Venetian and Spanish troops urged the Greeks to make uncoordinated revolutions. They believed that the Christian Powers would carry on the military campaign after the great victory of the 7 October, 1571. The usual suspects, that is, the insubordinate Maniates as well as the population of Epirus were already in revolutionary unrest. The triumph in Nafpaktos urged them to expand their revolutionary attempts. The Chimariotes together with the Venetians and the Greeks, under the command of Mouzakis, Renesis, Mormoris, Kontokalis and Lantzas occupied Sopoto and the mountainous villages in Argyrokastro, Gardiki, Arta and Paramythia. With the help offered by the Venetian Venier and the Ionian fighters tried to conquer Lefkada but unfortunately they didn’t. In 1581 the Chimariotes turned to Pope Gregory 13th for help. Some years later, the rebel of Vonitsa Theodoros Bouas Grivas declared the revolution and slaughtered all the Turks in Vonitsa and Xiromero in just one night. The same happened in Arta with Poulios Drakos and Malamos, who then tried to move towards Ioannina but unfortunately they were captured and Theodoros Bouas and his brother Ginis Bouas were killed (1585).
The Chronicle of Galaxidi affirms the fact that after the destruction of the Turkish armada, the Greeks got the courage to rebel in a lot of areas. In Galaxidi, Lidoriki and Eratini the local people seized the arms and attacked the Turkish troops that were coming from Salona successfully. However, the fact that the Christian fleet did not keep its victorious efforts, the Greeks hesitated and their unity was lost. The Turkish bey asked the notables from the three rebellious towns to meet in Amfissa (Salona) in order to reconciliate and talk about peace. Actually, the leaders arrived at the bey’s residence, where according to the Chronicle, they were received with honours but, later in the night the bey commanded his men to capture the guests. All of them were beheaded apart from one person, who managed to escape the slaughter.
There were more serious attempts in Mani and in Achaia. In Patras, the victory of the Christians was celebrated with glorification hymns by Palaion Patron Germano A´. It was him together with the notables Dimitrio Germano, Sofiano, Karagianni and the citizens of Vostitsa (Aigio) that led the revolution against the Turks. However, treason on behalf of a resident of Aigio caused the immediate reaction of the enemies and the whole effort resulted in the defeat of the rebels and the capture of thousands of people, who were later sold as slaves in Constantinople. The bishop and the leaders of the revolt were tortured and then decapitated. Those who managed to escape the Turkish rage, found shelter in Mani, where there has started another revolution and by the help of the Venetian Marko Kouerini, the Christians had managed to occupy the fortress of Porto Kagio. The revolution was strengthened when official Venetian representations with arms arrived in Oitilo of Mani in 1571. Soon after the bishop of Epidaurus Makarios Melissinos (who was descended from the family of Komninos) arrived in Mani together with his brother
Theodoros and other notables and was put in charge of the rebels who besiege Turkish castles. Brothers Melissinoi
sent envoys in Europe asking for aid from our Christian allies. Unfortunately the conflicts between Spanish and the
Venetians caused serious problems to our liberation efforts since they cancelled the supply of the local rebels with
more arms and equipment leading thus, the Greek revolution in Peloponnese into disaster. The vicious Venetians again,
without any warning, signed a treaty with the Sultan (1573) leaving Spanish and the Pope alone in their war against the muslims.
The Venetians were called by the rest Europeans as traitors of the Christian Faith. The Venetian Council of the ten decided
secretly to assassinate the rebel Peter Lantzas, who was cooperating with Spanish, fortunately without any success.
Maniates sent another letter to the Pope, which is still kept in Vatican’s archive and which depicts the fact that these proud people never stopped fighting against the Turkish yoke and that those people who used to be literate, now they were completely illiterate. This can be shown through the misspellings, the absence of intonation and the lack of any form of syntactical structures contained in that letter. So, we can easily draw the conclusion that the citizens of the Ottoman State had no educational level at all.