Greece Ethnography Part II

Greece Ethnography 2

The Albanians are silversmiths, the Jews for the most part silk weavers; the Greeks who have returned to their country from Asia Minor are especially involved in the manufacture of fine oriental knotted carpets, an industry they transported to Europe. Even the city clothes, of oriental style, shoes, dark cloth or velvet jackets with applied gold embroidery or with silver trimmings, are manufactured and sold by natives, who have been dedicated to this industry since ancient times.. L’ textile art is carried out by women who, in addition to spinning, dedicate themselves to weaving colorful fabrics of cotton and silk and, in communities that traditionally deal with such works, adorn handkerchiefs and shawls with exquisite embroidery. The weaving in the islands of the Ionian and Aegean seas is particularly varied, where, due to frequent contacts with the Levant and Venice, the influence of foreign art has been most affected. Various items of indigenous female costume are also of domestic manufacture, such as Fr. ex. embroidered shirts, aprons woven in various colors (Attica and elsewhere), embroidered handkerchiefs, belts, etc.

The traditional male costume follows the oriental fashion; of ancient Frankish style is perhaps the male moleskin skirt (fustanella) that comes out of the short bodice and under which very high trousers are worn that reach much higher than the waist. Many very ancient traits still retained the social life. Blood vengeance is still practiced among the residents of Maina (Mánē), in the Peloponnese, residing in fortified towers like the Albanians, and among the Sfachioti of Crete, the revenge of blood is still practiced; according to tradition, the wedding took place here, as in the southern Slavs, with the kidnapping of the bride by the friends of the groom. The segregation of women and girls is not to be considered to have originated in the Turkish period; instead it represents, like so many other uses, customs and concepts, a remnant of the life forms of ancient Greece. The spring festivals and the dramatic representations of the Epirus and Thrace, in which both young men and girls take part; in Thrace death and rebirth are represented by individuals disguised as animals, which is reminiscent of ancient popular cults. Reminiscences of classical Greek antiquity are also observed in popular music, fairy tales and legends.

Religion and language are, above all others, the moral elements that bring together people, so different in origin, in a unity of nation. The Greek Orthodox church, which became independent, with the political independence of the nation, from the patriarchate of Constantinople, is a national church, and as such creates a very close bond between the citizens (see Orthodox, church). And the language then, above all (see below), not only serves as a link to the residents of old Greece, but has served to maintain the bonds that firmly hold together the Greeks all of the eastern Mediterranean.

The relative ethnic unity of the Greek state within the old borders appeared deeply disturbed after the acquisition of the new territories. Greek Epirus and Macedon, as they have poorly defined topographical boundaries, presented a great mixture of races. The number of Aromuni increased, and not all of them Greekized, especially in the northernmost area of ​​the Pindus, on the slopes of Olympus, near the Castoria basin, and between Lake Ostrovo and Campania; the Albanians grew up, and these too were not all Greekized, especially in coastal Epirus; including, in addition to numerous smaller villages, three large areas of Turchi: on the plateau of Ostrovo, between Vardar and Struma, between Struma and Mesta; including, in the basins of the last two rivers, compact masses of Bulgarians; and in Campania, and then through Ostrovo to Lake Prespa, an almost continuous population of Macedonian Slavs. Not that the areas of diffusion of these dispersed peoples are always well defined, on the contrary we must more than anything else speak of areas of prevalence of one or the other. Prevalence that can also be very strong in the mountainous areas and in the countryside, but almost always very limited in the centers, in the larger of which Jews, Levantines, Asians, Western Europeans are also added, to increase the confusion of races and languages.

The ethnic unity was however partially recomposed with the exchange of populations that began in 1921-22 between Greece and Turkey and which lasted until 1929. Compact nuclei of Christian Greeks had already lived along the western coasts of Turkey for a long time., especially in the vicinity of Rhodes and in Cappadocia (around 2 million in all); they were largely farmers and shepherds and kept their traditions and customs intact, not mixing with the Turkish population at all. Already at the beginning of the century. XX the Turkish government had come in the determination to rebuild Ottoman unity by getting rid of Greek and Armenian Christians. During the World War the Armenians were largely deported to Mesopotamia; in 1919-20 many Greeks from the district of Trebizond were sent to the Bitlis mountains and exterminated there. The defeat of the Greek army in 1922 then caused almost all the Greeks to flee from the East, mostly taking refuge in Macedonia (250,000 in the district of Thessaloniki) and in western Thrace. Thus the question of the Christian populations of Turkey had almost defined itself, but in the peace negotiations the Turkish government still asked for the expulsion of the remaining Christians and the repatriation of the Mohammedans residing in Greece. This request was granted in the Treaty of Lausanne (1923). The effects of the exchange were disastrous at first. For the Greek government, which was in the critical post-war period, it was not easy to provide for the needs of 1.1 million people (1,500,000 were about the Greeks who returned, 353,000 the Mohammedans who left) who arrived in bad conditions;

Greece Ethnography 2