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By Mark Mazower

Salonica, positioned in northern Greece, used to be lengthy a desirable crossroads city of alternative religions and ethnicities, the place Egyptian retailers, Spanish Jews, Orthodox Greeks, Sufi dervishes, and Albanian brigands all rubbed shoulders. Tensions occasionally flared, yet tolerance mostly prevailed until eventually the 20th century whilst the Greek military marched in, Muslims have been pressured out, and the Nazis deported and killed the Jews. because the acclaimed historian Mark Mazower follows the city’s population via plague, invasion, famine, and the disastrous 20th century, he resurrects a desirable and vanished international.

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Why, St. Dimitrios, do you fail us and abandon us thoroughly? are you able to now not see the multitude of hardships, temptations and bills that crowd upon us? are you able to no longer see our disgrace and shame as our enemies trample upon us, the impious jeer at us, the Saracens mock us, and everyone laughs at us? 39 The small measurement of the surviving Orthodox inhabitants, its loss of wealth, and the consistent erosion of its energy left none in any doubt of its plight. The Byzantine students who had made its highbrow existence so bright fled abroad—Theodoros Gazis to Italy, Andronikos Kallistos finishing up in London—where they helped hand down classical Greek texts to eu humanists. in the urban, whereas rabbinical scholarship flourished, the flame of Christian studying flickered tenuously throughout the eighteenth century. Such highbrow and religious discussions as have been happening in the empire have been happening within the monasteries of Mount Athos itself, within the capital, or within the Danubian Principalities to the north. Salonica—the “mother of Orthodoxy”—became a backwater. brilliant neighborhood Christian boys often ended up being schooled in other places. it really is scarcely a twist of fate that one of many best-known works to were composed through a sixteenth-century student from town, the cleric Damaskinos Stouditis (1500–1580), was once a set of non secular texts positioned into uncomplicated language for using unlearned monks. Stouditis himself were proficient in Istanbul. forty First one of the temptations that stricken its Christians, after all, used to be Islam itself. through the wealthy 16th century, specifically, many bad younger villagers flocked into the town from the mountains, and those novices quickly shaped a really huge a part of the neighborhood Christian inhabitants. a few of them, discovering themselves adrift and liable to the hazards dealing with these faraway from domestic, switched over for the sake of higher protection. different converts have been Christian boys apprenticed to Muslim craftsmen, or women who had entered Muslim families as household servants: in either instances the industrial strength of the employers lead the way to conversion. yet this used to be a dramatic step on the better of occasions and one that laid the person open to unrestrained feedback from his relations and neighborhood. rather few Christians (or Jews) with households in Salonica seem to have deserted their religion. to pass judgement on from the mid-eighteenth century, that is while the 1st facts turned on hand, the final numbers of converts weren't great—perhaps ten circumstances a yr within the urban and its hinterland. forty-one on the other hand, Orthodox clerics have been constantly deeply apprehensive approximately this. A monk referred to as Nikanor (1491–1549) travelled within the villages to the west of town, urging the population to stick real to Christ: “by his candy precepts and the shining instance of his virtuous conduct,” we're informed via his hagiographer, “he was once capable of carry many in Christ’s religion” ahead of retiring to the solitude of an inaccessible cave excessive above the Aliakmon River. Nikanor additionally outfitted a monastery within sight, and in his will instructed the priests to chorus from begging for alms with out permission, to not combine with these of “another religion” and to prevent looking justice in Turkish courts, conditions which recommend the level to which clergymen and different pious Christians have been frequently interacting with the Ottoman specialists in a single means or one other.

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