Δευτέρα, 9 Μαΐου 2011

The battle-slaughter (of Aromanians from Grevena region) in Filluria (1854) and their exits in the middle of 19th century.

The Crimean War (October 1853-February 1856) was an armed conflict between the Russian Empire on the one hand, and the United Kingdom, France, Ottoman Empire and the kingdom of Sardinia on the other side. The conflict, where the major European powers at that time participated, was the result of their interest for the exploitation of the Middle East as the Ottoman Empire was in decline. The battles took place mainly on the Crimean peninsula, but there were less intensive campaigns in western Turkey, the Baltic Sea, the Pacific Ocean and the White Sea.
   It is remembered as a war of error logistics and strategic nature. In terms of technology, it was the first that introduced many technological innovations. Typically, it was the first conflict that the warring made extensive use of rail and telegraph. It was also the first time that war was recorded in detail by the media of the time.
   The causes that led to the Crimean War can be found in the aspirations of the Great Forces to acquire a direct or even indirect control over strategic areas in the Middle East, especially in the Holy Land. In 1851 Napoleon III of France sent an embassy to the Ottoman Empire to recognize the suzerainty of France to the Holy Land. At the same time Russia wanted to impose as a protector of all Orthodox Christians living in the Ottoman Empire and gain more direct role in their cases.
    The events of this war even affected the new established Greek state. The leaders of Athens, trying to take advantage of the political and military events, roused the Christian inhabitants of Thessaly, Epirus and southern Macedonia, hoping that they could expand the borders of Greece, which was small and its frontiers were from Pagasitikos to Amvrakikos bay. The revolutionary movement was characterized by lack of proper organization and support from the European Forces. So, the Turks were able to defuse the movement almost at birth. One of the supporters of the revolution was Ziakas Theodoros, a descendant of the family of fighters (armatoli) in the region of Grevena and close associate of the Aromanians in the region. As the rebel movements seemed to have occurred in the spring of 1854, the ‘falkaria’ (groups of people with their cattle and live hoods) from the various semi-nomadic villages along the northern Pindos in Thessaly were still in their winter settlements (pastures). Through the revolutionary turmoil, on May 20, 1854, a large number of ‘falkaria’ had gathered near Fyllouria region, close to the village of Karpero (Deskati of Grevena), on their way to the mountain villages. Among them there were ‘falkaria’ from Samarina, Perivoli, Avdella, Smixi, Fourka, Grammousta and Aetomilitsa. The Aromanian ‘falkaria’ with their families, livelihoods and their numerous flocks camped in Fyllouria didn’t know the evolution of warfare and were afraid to move during that degraded condition. The Turks, led by Mehmet Aga from Grevena, with troops consisting mainly of Turkish soldiers from Anatolia, found the Aromanians in their camps. The Turks, treated them as rebels, as many of them had been, tried to obtain large sums of money, by force. The attack against the gathered Aromanian ‘falkaria’ seemed to be in diversion to the simultaneous T.Ziakas’ action. In the famous battle of Fyllouria that took place there, the Aromanian ‘falkaria’ were in great disaster, although they strongly opposed. The destruction was so great that the proverbial expression «it became of Fyllouria" came to be equivalent of the great disruption and destruction.
   After the battle of t Fyllouria, the decimated Aromanian ‘falkaria’ scattered to be saved. Some of them managed eventually to reach their villages, while others spread and took different directions. Many people from Perivoli (Exarchou’s, Makri’s ‘falkaria) returned to their winter settlements in Thessaly and mounted to their village after the end of the revolution. The destruction of people from Avdela (Vasdeki’s falkari’) was certainly serious enough and immediately later or within the next few years there are new waves of exit (in Western and Eastern Macedonia) from the village. People from Samarina and Avdela went to Vlasti, Namata, Sisani, Klisoura, Siatista, Eratira and Tsotili. Some small groups from Avdela also went to the new settlements of their relatives on mount Vermion and increased their population. At the same time and  during those events, about 20 families from Smixi, following the chief shepherd(‘tseliga’) Tsalera, settled in  Xirolivado initially and later in Kato Vermio.
   Except for the Aromanians, some small groups of ‘Koupatsiaris’* people seemed to follow those wave of exits after the events of 1854. During 19th century, in some villages of ‘Koupatsiaris’ people, there was growth of cattle breading, according the standards of the semi-nomadic Aromanian villages of Grevena. Ziakas’ activity, who was himself ‘Koupatsiaris’ should have brought into difficult situation   several ‘Koupatsiaris’ families, mostly nomadic cattlemen, who were forced to move in Aromanian  settlements of Western Macedonia, ( Askio , Siniatsiko  Vlasti, Namata  Sisani and Eratira ..
   During the same period, some ‘Koupatsiaris’ families were found to Vermio, particularly in position ‘Tsarkoviani’ (now village Mikri Santa). These settlers, known by the name Tsiamitros (and other families), came from villages Tsouriaka (Aetia) and Polineri. Gradually, these families have developed close links with Aromanians of Vermion and it was difficult to distinguish each other. Because of intermarriage and trade relations of Aromanian from Vermion and ‘Koupatsiaris’ people, they (‘Koupatsiaris’) were found, later, in Xirolivado and Kato Vermio.
(Sources: Wikipedia, The Cathedrals and the dispersion of the Vlachs Volume 2, A. Koukoudis).
*Group of people who lived close to Aromanians but in lower altitude (500-800 m

Original text by John Tsiamitros
translation in English by him, too. 

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