Abstract detail

Title The “archontes” of Athens and their relations with Ottoman officials (late 18th-early 19th c.)

During the whole of the Ottoman period, Athens steadily remained the largest city of the region of Sterea Ellada and one of the ten biggest in the South Balkans. Whereas its fate after the Ottoman withdrawal and its transformation into the capital of the Greek state has attracted the interest of many researchers, the description and documentation of its Ottoman past has been neglected. The society of Athens under Ottoman rule was divided in 4 groups with the árchontes (notables) at the top. As town councillors, the árchontes managed the community’s resources, directed public works, judged cases between Christians and they were responsible for all the obligations of the community towards the Ottoman authorities, especially the collection of the taxes. Within Ottoman studies the role of the local notables in the centre-periphery relations has not gone unnoticed, although the focus has been primarily on the Muslim notables (ayan), whereas their non-Muslim peers, árchontes and kodjábashis, have been rather neglected. Conversely, in the Greek historiography there have always been references to the local notables that represented the Christian population to the Ottoman authorities. This paper will revolve around two issues. One is the inclusion of non-Muslim provincial notables, such as the Athenian ones, in the historiography about elites in the Ottoman Empire and the second is the examination of the Athenian notables’ function and their relations with the Ottoman officials.

Primary author
Katerina Stathi