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The Movement for Greek Independence 1770–1821: A collection by Richard Clogg

By Richard Clogg

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Extra info for The Movement for Greek Independence 1770–1821: A collection of documents

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Fifteen years ago it still enjoyed the self-government which it obtained by capitulation with Mahomet II, when he had conquered Albania; the imperial [khrysovoulon] which he granted to the Agrafiotes on that occasion they assert to be still in existence in the Fanari at Constantinople. Every year there were chosen by ballot an archon and five or six assessors, forming a council, which had the power of inflicting capital punishment. A Christian captain with 200 men and a Mahometan Albanian with 300, kept the police of the district, and ensured the safety of the roads, under the direction of the archons.

Internal dissensions, both in individual and between neighbouring villages, have been a leading cause, to which may be added the natural advantages of the northern or Thessalian side of Agrafa over the southern or Aetolian, giving rise to an assumption of superiority by the former portion of the people, and sometimes to positive ill-usage on their part towards the latter. Meantime the pursuit of Greek and Albanian robbers has given Aly as Dereventli a pretext for entering the country with his troops; while steadily pursuing his object of permanently establishing his own Albanians as guardians of the police of the district, in the room of the armatoli employed by the Agrafiotes, he has encroached on their privileges, fomented their jealousies, and raised contributions upon them.

He was in other respects also a reformer, as he succeeded in persuading the women of Zagori to lay aside a great shapeless head-dress, similar to those of some of the Aegean islands, for a simple kerchief. He fell a martyr to his zeal, having been put to death in 1780 by Kurt Pasha. It is probably rather a consequence of the Vezir's indifference to the distant consequences of his measures and with a view to some supposed immediate advantage, than with any better feeling, that he has always encouraged education among the Greeks.

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