The chronicle of Serres

The chronicle of Serres was written by the priest Synadinos who lived in Serres during the first half of 17th century. We know very few things about Papasynadinos. He was born in the village Melenikitsi,10 km northern of Serres,where he settled in 1615. He became priest in 1622 and he started to write his chronicle in 1642,when he sought refuge in his village due to the deadly plague that hit the whole Ottoman empire since 1641. We don’t know the date of his death,but it was for sure not prior to 1646,since his name is mentioned in a document of the monastery of St John the Baptist near Serres dating from that year. The chronicle covers the years 1598-1642 and it resembles the Byzantine chronicles. It’s written in colloquial language.Papasynadinos uses many Turkish loanwords that were in the vernacular of the regional dialect of Serres at that time and many dialectical peculiarities as well. It’s considered as a source of valuable informations for the life of the enslaved Greeks during the Ottoman time, their relations with the Ottomans and all the oppresion and acts of violence they suffered by the later. We can find also informations for the function of the institutions of the local self-government in Greece under Ottoman rule and the organization of the Orthodox church. The author uses the Byzantine calendar that was introduced by the Sixth Ecumenical Council of Constantinople and numbers the years from the beginning of the world (date of creation) or 5508 BC. The chronicle was discovered by Spyridon Lambros in the monastery of Koutloumousion in Mt. Athos in the last years of 19th century.

A copied page from Papasynadinos’ original manuscript
which is kept today in the Athonite monastery of Koutloumousion

It starts with a <Thrinos> (lament) for the capture of Constantinople by the Ottomans, a very popular topic for Greek folk poetry in the first years of post-Byzantine era.Some scholars doubt whether Papasynadinos was the real author of this <thrinos> ,due to the many differences between it and the main text of the chronicle.There is also a close morphological affinity between this <thrinos> and the one that wrote in 1618 the bishop of Myres (in Asia Minor) Mathaeus (it was published in 1672).…/page_039.html

We can see in this <thrinos> that the ethnic names <Romei> and <Hellenes> were used interchangeably by Papasynadinos(or the real author) while the Greeks never applied the name <Romeos> to the other Christian nations of the Balkans:

The chronicle was studied even by Turkish historians,since it is a good first hand account of the Ottoman administration in the Balkans.The pages below are from <The Ottomans and the Balkans> by Fikret Adanır and Suraiya Faroqhi,2002:…l=el#PPA196,M1

Very interesting that the Turks applied the ethnic name <Rum> only to the Greeks.

And here we see that the Greeks never called <Romei> the Bulgarians,Serbs and other Christian nations of the Balkans,instead they had their own ethnic names.Below is the Greek text:

Some other pages of the chronicle:

A Greek named Patrulas was burnt alive due to the false accusation of a Turk whom he had saved from death in Romania some years ago:

The execution of another Greek by impaling is described here.The Turks offered him the option to save his life if he converted to Islam but he refused.

A forceful conversion to Islam:

Another Greek murdered by a Turk:

The infamous <pedomazoma> (the recruiting of children as janissaries) :

A Greek was hanged due to false accusations:

Another Greek who was hanged refused to convert to Islam in order to save himself:

The term Macedonia was not unknown to the Greeks of Macedonia at that time:

It’s also remarkable that Papasynadinos’ native village was in early 20th century Slavophone as some other villages in the vicinity that are mentioned in his chronicle.It seems that at Papasynadinos time the inhabitants were still Hellenophones,since he mentions the Greek surnames of their inhabitants,like Skarlatos,Dimos and furthermore some of them were accomodated in the regional Greek dialect,like Gerakoudis,Mavroudis.So the question is when and how these people lost their Greek language?

By Kostas68

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