Ελληνική ιστορία και προϊστορία

Ελληνική ιστορία και προϊστορία
Ελληνική ιστορία και προϊστορία

Τετάρτη, 1 Φεβρουαρίου 2017

The ten (10) unknown tribes of modern Greece and their culture (Part 1)

The linguistic varieties of Modern Greek can be classified along two principal dimensions. First, there is a long tradition of sociolectal variation between the natural, popular spoken language on the one hand and archaizing, learned written forms on the other. Second, there is regional variation between dialects. The competition between the popular and the learned registers, culminated in the struggle between Dimotiki (Demotic Greek) and Katharevousa during the 19th and 20th centuries. As for regional dialects, variation within the bulk of dialects of present-day Greece is not particularly strong, except for a number of outlying, highly divergent dialects spoken by isolated communities. The first systematic scholarly treatment of the modern Greek dialects took place after the middle of the 19th century, mainly thanks to the work of the prominent Greek linguist Georgios Hadjidakis. The absence of descriptive accounts of the speech of individual regions made the efforts of the researchers of the 19th century more difficult. Therefore, the dialects' forms are known to us only during their last phase (from the middle of the 19th century, and until the panhellenic dominance of the Standard Modern Greek). Spoken modern vernacular Greek can be divided into various geographical varieties. There are a small number of highly divergent, outlying varieties spoken by relatively isolated communities, and a broader range of mainstream dialects less divergent from each other and from Standard Modern Greek, which cover most of the linguistic area of present-day Greece and Cyprus. Native Greek scholarship traditionally distinguishes between "dialects " proper (διάλεκτος), i.e. strongly marked, distinctive varieties, and mere "idioms" (ιδίωμα), less markedly distinguished sub-varieties of a language. In this sense, the term "dialect" is often reserved to only the main outlying forms listed in the next section (Tsakonian, Pontic, Cappadocian and Italiot Greek), whereas the bulk of the mainstream spoken varieties of present-day Greece are classified as "idioms". However, most English-speaking linguists tend to refer to them as "dialects", emphasising degrees of variation only when necessary. The geographical varieties of Greek are divided into three main groups, Northern, Semi-Northern and Southern, based on whether they make synizesis and vowel elision.
1) The Maniots or Maniates are the inhabitants of the Mani Peninsula, Laconia, in the southern Peloponnese, Greece. They were also formerly known as Mainotes and the peninsula as Maina. Maniots are described as descendants of the ancient Dorian population of the Peloponnese and as such related to the ancient Spartans. The terrain is mountainous and inaccessible (many Mani villages could be accessed only by sea), and the regional name "Mani" is thought to have meant originally "dry" or "barren". The name "Maniot" is a derivative meaning "of Mani". In the early modern period, Maniots had a reputation as fierce and proudly independent warriors, who practice piracy and fierce blood feuds. For the most part, the Maniots lived in fortified villages (and "house-towers") where they defended their lands against the armies of William II Villehardouin and later against those of the Ottomans. The surnames of the Maniots uniformly end in "eas" in what is now the Messenian("outer" or northwestern) part of Mani, "-akos" or "-akis" in what is now the Laconian("inner" or southwestern and eastern) part of Mani and the occasional "-oggonas". Last names ending in "-akis" are actually regarded as the oldest in Mani, but they were slowly substituted by names ending in "-akos," which has led to the common misconception that the ending "-akis" is of Cretan origin. The ending "-akis" has Byzantine origin "-akios." The Maniot dialect of Modern Greek has several archaic properties that distinguishes it from most mainstream varieties. One of them, shared with the highly divergent Tsakonian as well as with the old dialects spoken around Athens until the 19th century, is the divergent treatment of historical /y/ (written <υ>). Although this sound merged to /i/ everywhere else, these dialects have /u/ instead. These varieties are thought to be relic areas of a previously larger areal dialect group that used to share these features and was later divided by the penetration of Arvanitika settlement in much of its area in the late Middle Ages. Other features of the Maniot dialect include the palatalization of velar consonants, i.e. the realization of /k, ɡ, x, ɣ/ as ([tɕ, dʑ] or [ɕ, ʑ] before /i, e, j/. This feature is shared with many southern dialects of Greek, especially Cretan. Maniots, known for their martial qualities, were the very first to join the Greek liberation movement and their contribution proved to be pivotal. The society called the Filiki Eteria sent their representatives Perrevos and Chrisospathis to organize the Maniots. On March 17, 1821, 12,000 Maniots gathered in the church of the Taxiarchs (Archangels) of the town of Areopolis and declared war against the Ottoman Empire, preceding the rest of Greece by about a week. Their flag was white with a blue cross in the center. Atop the flag was the motto "Victory or death". The Maniots were responsible for writing "Victory" and not "Freedom" on their banner, since Mani was always free. At the bottom of the flag was an ancient Spartan inscription, "With the shield or on the shield." The inhabitants of Mani claim to be direct descendants of the ancient Spartans and are therefore more Greek than the average Greeks. According to their story, after the Romans took over Laconia, many of the Spartan citizens who were loyal to the Spartan laws of Lycurgus decided to go to the Spartan mountains of Mani with the rest of the Spartans rather than be in Achean or, later, Roman service. Kassis claims that Maniots rarely mated with non-Maniots until the 20th century. Mani became a refuge during the 4th century when the Barbarian invasions started in Europe. When the Avars and Slavs invaded the Peloponnese, many Greek refugees fled to Mani since the invaders could not infiltrate the mountainous terrain. According to Constantine Porphyrogenitus, the Maniots were not conquered by the Slavs and were descended from the ancient 'Romaioi'. Historian David Howarth states: The only Greeks that have had an unbroken descent were the few small clans like the Maniotes who were so fierce, and lived so far up the mountain, that invaders left them alone.
2) Tsakonia or the Tsakonian region refers to the area in the eastern Peloponnese where the Tsakonian language is spoken. It is not a formally defined political entity of the modern Greek state, being more akin to such vague regional constructions as "Dixie" in the United States or the "West Country" in England. In his Brief Grammar of the Tsakonian Dialect published in 1951, Prof. Thanasis Costakis defines Tsakonia as the area from the town of Agios Andreas in Kynouria south to Leonidio and Tyros and inland as far as Kastanitsa and Sitaina, but asserts that in former times the Tsakonian-speaking area extended as far as Cape Malea in eastern Laconia. The principal town in Tsakonia at this time was Prastos, which benefited from a special trading privilege granted by the authorities in Constantinople. Prastos was burned by Ibrahim Pasha in the Greek War of Independence and was abandoned, with many of its residents fleeing to the area around Leonidio and Tyros or other spots on the Argolic Gulf. Some early commentators seem to have confused the speech of Maniot dialect speakers with true Tsakonian, demonstrating the flexible nature of the term. The actual Tsakonian speech community has shrunk greatly since Brief Grammarwas published, but the area delineated by Costakis is still considered "Tsakonia" due to the preservation of certain cultural traits such as the Tsakonian dance and unique folk costumes. The Tsakonians historically speak the Tsakonian dialect and have certain peculiar cultural traditions, such as the Tsakonian dance. Today, the dialect is critically endangered. The term Tsakonas or Tzakonas first emerges in the writings of Byzantine chroniclers who derive the ethnonym from a corruption of Lakonas, a Laconian/Lacedaemonian (Spartan), a reference to the Doric roots of the Tsakonian language and the people's relatively late conversion to Christianity and practice of traditional Hellenic customs. According to the Byzantine historian George Pachymeres, some Tsakonians were resettled by the Byzantine emperor Michael VII Ducas in Propontis. They lived in the villages of Vatka and Havoutsi, where the Gösen River (Aesepus) empties into the sea. However, based on the preservation of features common to both Propontis and the Peloponnesian dialects, Prof. Thanasis Costakis thinks that the date of settlement must have been several centuries later. Tsakonians in later time were known for their masonry skills; many were also shepherds. A common practice was for a small crew of men under a mastora to leave their village after the feast of Saint Demetrius and to return at Easter. They would travel as far as Attica doing repairs and white-washing houses. The Tsakonian village of Kastanitsa was known for its chestnuts and derives its name from the Greek word for the nut.
3) Arvanites are a bilingual population group in Greece who traditionally speak Arvanitika, a ancient dialect of the Albanian language along with Greek. They settled in Greece during the late Middle Ages and were the dominant population element of some regions of the Peloponnese and Attica until the 19th century. Arvanites today self-identify as Greeks and do not consider themselves to belong to Albania or the Albanian nation. They call themselves Arvanites and Arbëror . The Arvanite communities in northwestern Greece call themselves Shqiptar (used by Albanians). Arvanitika is in a state of attrition due to language shift towards Greek and large-scale internal migration to the cities and subsequent intermingling of the population during the 20th century. Arvanites in Greece originated from Arbanitai, Greek orthodox albanophones  settlers who moved south at different times between the 13th and 16th century from the region Arvanon or Arvana, a region in what is today modern Albania and later Principality of Arbanon, an autonomous principality within the Byzantine Empire until 1204 and from 1205 within the Byzantine Despotate of Epirus. During the Greek War of Independence, many Arvanites played an important role on fighting on the Greek side against the Ottomans, often as national Greek heroes. With the formation of modern nations and nation-states in the Balkans, Arvanites have come to be regarded as an integral part of the Greek nation. In 1899, leading representatives of the Arvanites in Greece, among them are the descendants of the independence heroes, published a manifesto calling their fellow friends Albanians, outside Greece's borders, to join in the creation of a common Albanian-Greek state. During the 20th century, after the creation of the Albanian nation-state, Arvanites in Greece have come to dissociate themselves much more strongly from the Albanians, stressing instead their national self-identification as Greeks. Regions with a strong traditional presence of Arvanites are found mainly in a compact area in southeastern Greece, namely across Attica, southern Boeotia, the north-east of the Peloponnese, the south of the island of Euboea, the north of the island of Andros, and several islands of the Saronic Gulf including Salamis. In parts of this area they formed a solid majority until about 1900. Within Attica, parts of the capital Athens and its suburbs were Arvanitic until the late 19th century. There are also settlements in some other parts of the Peloponnese, and in Phthiotis (Livanates, Malesina, Martino villages).
4) Vlachs is a historical term used for Eastern Romance-speaking peoples in the Balkans and Eastern Europe; it is also an exonym used to refer to several modern peoples from the population in present-day Romania and Moldova, the southern Balkan Peninsula and south and west of the Danube. The Aromanians are an ethnic group native to the southern Balkans, traditionally living in northern and central Greece, central and southern Albania, the FYROM, and south-western Bulgaria. Especially in Greece, the term Vlachs is widespread, but this term is internationally used to encompass all Romance-speaking peoples of the Balkans and Tatra Mountains regions, including Romanians. "Vlach" is a blanket term covering several modern peoples descending from the Latinized population of the Balkans and Central-Eastern Europe. The Aromanians speak the Aromanian language, a Latin-derived language similar to Romanian, which has many slightly varying dialects of its own. It descends from the Vulgar Latin spoken by the Paleo-Balkan peoples subsequent to their Romanization. It is a mix of domestic and Latin language with additional influences from other surrounding languages of the Balkans, such as Bulgarian, Greek, FYROM, and Albanian. In Greece, Aromanians are not recognised as an ethnic but as a linguistic minority and, like the Arvanites, have been indistinguishable in many respects from other Greeks since the 19th century. Although Greek Aromanians would differentiate themselves from native Greek speakers when speaking in Aromanian, most still consider themselves part of the broader Greek nation (Elini, Hellenes), which also encompasses other linguistic minorities such as the Arvanites or the Slavic speakers of Greek Macedonia. Greek Aromanians have long been associated with the Greek national state, actively participated in the Greek Struggle for Independence, and have obtained very important positions in government. Aromanians have been very influential in Greek politics, business and the army. Revolutionary Rigas Feraios, Prime Minister Ioannis Kolettis,billionaires and benefactors Evangelos Zappas and Konstantinos Zappas, Field Marshal and later Prime Minister Alexandros Papagos, and conservative politician Evangelos Averoff were all Aromanians. It is difficult to estimate the exact number of Aromanians in Greece today. The Treaty of Lausanne of 1923 estimated their number between 150,000 and 200,000, but the last two censuses to differentiate between Christian minority groups, in 1940 and 1951, showed 26,750 and 22,736 Vlachs respectively. Estimates on the number of Aromanians in Greece range between 40,000 and 300,000. Thede Kahl estimates the total number of people with Aromanian origin who still understand the language as no more than 300,000, with the number of fluent speakers under 100,000. The majority of the Aromanian population lives in northern and central Greece; Epirus, Macedonia and Thessaly. The main areas inhabited by these populations are the Pindus Mountains, around the mountains of Olympus and Vermion, and around the Prespa Lakes near the border with Albania and FYROM. Some Aromanians can still be found in isolated rural settlements such as Samarina (San Marina), Perivoli (Pirivoli) and Smixi. There are also Aromanians (Vlachs) in towns and cities such as Ioannina (Eninaor Ianina), Metsovo (Aminciu), Veria, Katerini, and Thessaloniki (Sãruna).
5) The Sarakatsani are an ethnic Greek population subgroup, who were traditionally transhumant shepherds, native to Greece, with smaller presence in neighbouring Bulgaria, southern Albania and FYROM. Historically centered on the Pindus mountains and other mountain ranges of continental Greece, the vast majority of the Sarakatsani have currently abandoned the transhumant way of life and have been urbanised to a significant degree. Despite the silence of the classical and medieval writers, scholars argue that the Sarakatsani are a Greek people, possibly descended from pre-classical indigenous pastoralists, citing linguistic evidence and certain aspects of their traditional culture and socioeconomic organization. A popular theory, based on linguistics and material culture, suggests that the Sarakatsani are descended from the Dorians, who were isolated for centuries in the mountains. Their origins have been the subject of broad and permanent interest, resulting in several fieldwork studies by anthropologists among the Sarakatsani. Today, almost all Sarakatsani have abandoned their nomadic way of life and assimilated to mainstream modern Greek life, but there have been efforts to preserve their cultural heritage. The traditional Sarakatsani settlements, dress and costumes make them a distinct social and cultural group within the collective Greek heritage, and they are not considered among the Greeks to constitute an ethnic minority.Their distinctive folk arts consist of song, dance, and poetry, as well as decorative sculptures in wood and embroidery on their traditional costumes, which resemble the geometric art of pre-classical Greece. In medicine, they use a number of folk remedies including herbs, honey and lamb's blood. The Sarakatsani speak a northern Greek dialect, Sarakatsanika (Σαρακατσάνικα), which contains many archaic Greek elements that have not survived in other variants of modern Greek. Carsten Høeg states that there are no significant traces of foreign loan words in the Sarakatsani dialect, and that foreign elements are not found either phonetically or in the grammatical structure. Despite the fact that Sarakatsanika includes a few words related to pastoralism of Aromanian origin, the Aromanian influences on the Sarakatsani dialect are the result of recent contacts and economical dependencies between the two groups.
6) Slavic-speakers are a linguistic minority population in the northern Greek region of Macedonia, who are mostly concentrated in certain parts of the peripheries of West and Central Macedonia, adjacent to the territory of the FYROM. The language called "Slavic" in the context of Greece is generally called "Macedonian Slavic". Some members have formed their own emigrant communities in neighbouring countries, as well as further abroad. In today's Greece Slavophones theory is made up of those who reject any national identity, but have distinct regional ethnic identity, which they may call "indigenous" which might be understood as Slavomacedonian. They speak East South Slavic dialects that can be linguistically classified as either Macedonian or Bulgarian, but which are locally often referred to simply as "Slavic" or "the local language". People of Greek persuasion are sometimes called by the pejorative term "Grecomans" by the other side. Greek sources reject the use of the name "Macedonian" , will most often refer only to so-called "Slavophones" or "Slavophone Greeks". "Slavic-speakers" or "Slavophones" is also used. The exact number of the linguistic minority remaining in Greece today, together with its members' choice of ethnic identification, is difficult to ascertain; most maximum estimates range around 180,000-200,000. Grecoman is a pejorative term used in Bulgaria, FYROM, Romania and Albania to characterize Arvanitic-, Aromanian-, and Slavic-speaking  Greeks. The term generally means "pretending to be a Greek" and implies a non-Greek origin. Another meaning of the term is fanatic Greek. The term is considered highly offensive to the Greek people. The "Grecoman" is regarded as an ethnic Greek in Greece, but as Hellenized minorities in neighboring countries. Konstantinos Christou known as Kottas, was an insurgent greek patriot leader associated first with the pro-Bulgarian Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization and later with the pro-Greek irregular fighters during the Greek struggle for Macedonia. Christou was born in the village of Rulja in 1863 and was president (community leader) of Roulia, from 1893 to 1896. He began anti-Ottoman rebel activity in 1898, and then killed four local Ottoman officers. Later he became one of the first leaders of the Macedonian struggle. Kottas, a veteran klepht (brigand), kidnapped Petko Yanev, a Bulgarian seasonal worker recently returned from America, and tortured him and his family until he had extracted all the savings, which Yanev had brought. Yanev, however, complained vigorously to the vali Hilmi Pasha himself, and to foreign consuls. The British consul pressed the vali to act, and eventually Kottas was arrested by the Ottomans. He was executed by hanging in 1905 in Bitola. His last words before hanging, in his native Lower Prespa dialect, were "Zhivja Gritsja. Slovoda ili smrt!" ("Long Live Greece, Freedom or Death!"). The loss of Kottas was detrimental to the Greek movement. After his death, a lot of volunteers from free Greece came to Macedonia to participate in the struggle, beside the locals. He has surviving descendants in Greece today.

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