Δευτέρα, 31 Οκτωβρίου 2011

ONE DAY OF A TURKISH MERCHANT'S FAMILY IN ATHENS IN 1759

  The below presented story has been compiled by a group of teachers and pupils of the 1st High School of Halandri, Athens, in the context of a cooperation programme with a relevant school in Izmir, Turkey, during the schoolyear 2010-2011. The scope of this effort has been to represent the city of Athens at the second half of the 18th century, based on our knowledge of that period, by narrating snapshots of the life of a Turkish merchant’s family who lived in it. We chose this particular year firstly because at that time the relationship between the two communities was harmonious and secondly because an incident that happened in that year united both Turks and Greeks who took action against the Turkish governor of the city.
  The numbers refer to the uploaded presentation on: http://www.slideshare.net/iperrakis


ONE DAY OF A TURKISH MERCHANT’S FAMILY IN ATHENS IN 1759 1.

1st PART

We are in Athens 2 in the mid-eighteenth century A.D 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.
Little 9 tile-roofed houses 10 among palm trees and cypresses, 11 fountains 12, 13 numerous mosques 14 with domes nested by storks, 15 minarets and 16 lots of scattered little churches make the look of the town during the Ottoman period. 17 On the Akropolis resides 18 Disdaris, the Turkish Fortress Governor, as well as the Turkish soldiers and their families 19 in the 200 houses, existing in it.
The market 20, Pazar, is the most important mercantile and governing centre held by the men and is situated in the Lower Town, which has a population of approximately 10,000 people. Every day Greeks and Turks gather there and, apart from trading, they spend their day sitting under the shadow of picturesque trailing vines discussing about work and the current matters of the city.
The market lays from 21 “Aerides”, the ancient Kyrristos’s Clocktower, and 22 Medrese, the Religious School, to the 23 still existing western wall of Hadrian’s Library 24 and the roads surrounding 25 the Monastery of Pantanassa (nowadays Monastiraki). It consists of 26 the Wheat Market, the Upper and the 27 Lower Market. There are shops in the area, mosques, churches, 28 the Turkish Governor’s house 29 (Voevodalık) 30, the seat of the Greek local Self-Administration (Kouseyio), the Customs (Duana), the court (Katılık), coffee houses, 31 baths, 32 inns and the 33 upper class residences 34.
Despite the economic development of the Greek-populated areas of the Ottoman Empire, starting in the 18th century and featured by the development of significant small industries and trade (mainly wheat), the economy of Athens remains mainly agricultural. Trading is practised mostly by exchanging agricultural products from the countryside around and the nearby villages. Crushed wheat (bulgur) is the most popular product, but Turks and wealthy Greeks consume even more luxurious products as well.
In these social-economic conditions, on the 27th of April 1759 at the orders of the new Voevod 35 (governor) of the city Moustafa Ağa Tzistarakis the seventeenth, 36 still standing at that time column of the 37 Olympic Zeus’s Temple was blown up. The temple 38 used to be the most important religious edifice in the Lower Town at Hadrian’s era. It had initially a hundred and fourteen columns, most of which it had lost in the previous centuries 39. The reason for the blow-up of the column was Voevoda’s wish to use the best quality lime for the mortar of the new mosque walls, 40 which he was building next to the so called Lower Fountain and bore his name. The execution of Voevodas’s idea incited a general outcry. It made such impression that the incident was inscribed on a column of the temple: “1759 April the 27th he brought the column down”.
This incident brought an immediate reaction from the official Turkish side. The pasha of Evripos (nowadays Khalkida), based on an old law forbidding the destruction of ancient monuments belonging to the Sultan’s sacred person, started blackmailing Tzistarakis. In order to keep him quiet Tzistarakis bribed him with 8,000 piastres shared in 16 purses.
During the whole Ottoman period the relations of the pashas of Evripos and the Voevodas of Athens were rather tense. As a result, despite the bribery Tzistarakis faced the law and was banished from Athens so that people’s anger was appeased.
In the same period the population of Athens was decimated by plague. It had been spread by a traveller from Crete, when the ship he was aboard had to moor Porto Leone, nowadays Piraeus, due to heavy seas.
At that time people used to believe that 41 a misfortune had been buried underneath each column and if this fell, a misfortune was revealed. The coincidence of the spread of the plague with the blow-up of the column made people assign their misfortune to Tzistarakis’s vandalism.
The truth is that in the 18th century the plague was widely spread in the Greek peninsula in the Ottoman Empire. The economic development and the demographic rise facilitated the spread of the disease, the symptoms of which were terrible headaches, vertigo, high fever, rash and hallucination. It attacked people of any class, sex or age, while the mortality rate varied. People tried to interpret the mortal epidemic guided by superstitions or by the belief that God punished them for their sins.
Our story deals with 42 Abidin Ayanoglu’s family, a 52-year-old Turkish merchant of spice and herbs, who lives in Athens in April 1759. His big family consists of: his mother Gülistan (72 years old), his wife Sevim (40 years old), his sons Civan (22),Mystafa (21 ), Barış(20), Duyal (17), Mohamed (16), Kenan (13), Ahmet (10) and his daughters Bedia (21), Aysu (18), Gül (7), Melis (6) and the newborn Ahu (40 days old).
They live 43 in a spacious house in the city centre next to 44 Ibrahim’s teke, lodged in the almost intact ancient Andronikos Kyrristo’s Clocktower, an eight-side tower made from Pentelian marble. It was situated near 45 the Wheat Market, in the area of the ancient Roman Agora, which was then buried under the houses. The family runs a big spice and herbs shop 46 in the Lower Market.
It is a typical Ramadan day. For muslims Ramadan is the most important period of the year. It is the ninth month of the Muslim calendar, during which, according to the Muslim tradition, the Koran was given to people so that their lives will be guided by its rules. During that month Muslims abstain stricktly from any kind of food, water or other materialistic pleasures from sunrise to sunset. It is a period for praying, good deeds, spiritualism, but also for self-discipline, self-restraint and generosity. It ends with a three-day celebration called Bayram. In a way, it resembles the christian Lent.
And there the story begins….
The sun hadn’t risen yet. The rooms, along one side of the yard one next to the other, were still quiet. Only Sevim, assisted by her eldest daughter Bedia, was preparing breakfast in the kitchen in the basement. 47 The sofra, the low table, was full of any sort of tasty foods in big quantities, such as dates, milk, cerial, cheese, bread, yoghurt, fruit and eggs. They had to eat well to stand the all-day-long fast.
After greeting each other they started talking about the matters of the day with a widespread feeling of worry in the air.

Sevim: Big fuss in the market yesterday. I heard a lot of accusations against the new Voevoda! What’s going on?
Abidin: What did you hear?
Sevim: Well, a lot of people accused him for the deaths from the disease. Yesterday, Ayse’s son died in her hands. And your cousin’s daughter Gül is very ill. There’s a sick person in every house. What a disaster!
Abidin: Things are really serious, indeed! Yesterday I was at Mr Logothetis’s home talking about all that. The Christians are very upset.
Sevim: Them, what do they say, them? The day before yesterday I met Mrs Thodora in the market crying. Her eldest son Spyros was seriously ill. She was afraid he would pass away. Actually, is it all Tzistarakis’s fault? Do you remember? We were so happy when he came a few months ago! What do they blame him for? I haven’t understood.
Abidin: Did you notice the new mosque 48, which is being built up the Lower Fountain?
Sevim: Evet! Ne güzel! A real jewel in the market!
Abidin: That’s the source of our misfortune!
Sevim: The mosque? What are you talking about? Allah forgive us!
Abidin: I didn’t mean the mosque itself! What are you talking about? Listen to me. At Tzistarakis’s order they have blown up one of the big ancient columns, over there 49 where the Arabs have their so called mosque. He wanted to get good quality lime for the mosque he is building at the market.
Sevim: What’s that….! However, I do not understand the connection between this and the plague.
Abidin: It is said that when an ancient column falls down the misfortune that was hidden under it comes to the surface. So, people consider Tzistarakis responsible for the disease and both the Turks and the Greeks are blaming him.
Sevim: Vah, vah!I’m afraid this is going to turn out badly. I worry about Barış. How are things 50 at Medrese, where he boards? How are the students? Are they all well? I think that if one gets ill, he can easily infect the rest.
Civan: Don’t worry, anneciğim! Yesterday, on my way to open the shop I met their teacher, Orhan Bey, and he reassured me they are all well. Of course, he was very upset too, and he thought that Allah punishes us because we don’t follow the Koran. It is true that few Muslims resist the temptation and they openly drink rakı or wine together with the Christians. Few even say their everyday prayer regularly. However, after the misfortune, mosques are getting full again and people have turned themselves to Allah again.
Abidin: That’s true! Everybody’s worried. In the shop there’s an increase in demand for therapeutic herbs.
Sevim: Right, everybody’s talking about the misfortune in the market. That’s why, kids, you have to be very careful. Don’t go near people who look ill.
Aysu: Anne haklı, we have to be careful.
Gül: Mum, shall Melis and I go playing?
Sevim: Finish with your breakfast first, then you can go (mum says patting her head). Bedia and Aysu, you must eat well to stand the fast till the evening.
The girls: Tamam annecik!
Abidin: You, Civan, get ready, as you must open the shop after the morning prayer.
Civan: Tabii, fakat daha erken, baba.
Sevim: Duyal, Kenan, Mohamed and Ahmet, you’d better stay off the Koran school for a few days until things clear up. Let’s keep the evil far from us, especially from our little Ahu.
The boys: Do you mean we’re free after the morning prayer?
Sevim: Evet, hadi git, git!

So, after breakfast, father, Civan, Mohamed, Ahmet, Duyal and Kenan walked 51 through the arched arcade to the yard with the big pool in the middle and made for 52 Fethiye camii nearby for the morning prayer. Gül and Melis run for playing out of the gate.

Sevim: Bedia and Aysu stay in the basement, please, to clean up after breakfast. Clean up carefully, please.
The girls: Tamam, don’t worry, annecik!
Sevim: I’ll go to the upper floor to clean up the bedrooms, after I look after Ahu. When you are done we’ll go down to the cellars. I need your help to tidy up and take some olive oil out of the big earthenware jar. Luckily, it’s full.

53 Muezzin had already started calling people for the morning prayer from the high minaret, when Abidin and his sons arrived  at the Fethiye camii nearby, commonly known as the Wheat Market mosque 54.
The yearly sales and purchases of products were made at the Wheat Market. The main entrance 55 was Pazaroporta, the ancient Doric Gate of Athena the Leader, standing intact among the houses next to 56 the French Consul’s house. In the Antiquity 57 it was the beginning of an impressive road linking the classical period Agora to the newer Roman one.
Abidin glanced 58 at the central dome with the four tiled segmented domes around it and nodded to his sons to enter the yard of the mosque. They all proceeded to the fountain in the yard and after taking their shoes off they washed their hands, their face and feet. They stepped 59 to the arcade, "the rebat ", with its five low domes supported by four columns. Once more they admired 60 the decoration of the entrance with the marble sculptured frame of the door.
Eventually, 61 they entered the large square chamber laid with nice carpets of Islamic art. Four columns supported the dome. Two rows of windows 62 let plenty of light enter the chamber. The top row of arched windows was smaller.
The believers were turned to 63 a conche in the eastern wall, the mihrab, pointing to Mecca, the sacred town. All the walls, especially the mihrab, were decorated with arabesques and embossed with hygrophilous plants.
Soon, Abidin and his sons prayed like everybody else following the Muezzin’s ritual. Eventually they whispered their personal prayers to Allah asking for good health for them and their family, for good luck with their jobs and studies and recovery from the plague.

2nd PART 1

2 Medrese, the Islamic religious school, where students, the so called softads, boarded, popped up behind Fethiye camii where the father and his sons prayed with its distinctive tiny hemispherical domes and the numerous chimneys.
The religious students at Medrese had also gathered 3 in the small mosque in the north-eastern corner of the complex for the morning prayer. 4 They all sat around their teacher Ohran Bey on the thick carpets next to the mihrab and started reciting rhythmically quotations from the Koran under the guidance of their teacher.
Then in a short break, they gathered 5 in the big yard under the plane tree to exchange the news.

Kemal: Barış, I’ve just heard your aunt passed away. My condolences!
Barış: What can we do, Kemal? My father and her brother are desperate. All homes suffer from this disease.
Kelem: Please stop talking about that!
Kemal: Niçin Kelem? What’s wrong?
Kelem: Oh, Allah! I found out just yesterday that my father is seriously ill and I am really worried.
Barış: What are you talking about? Allah bless him!
Kelem: Teşekkür ederim, Barış. Let’s drop the subject, though, because the more I think about it the more worried I get. I think the bad news is coming in any minute.
Barış: I think you are right.
Kemal: I forgot to congratulate you on your little daughter’s name giving.
Barış: Teşekkür ederim! Congratulations on your sister’s wedding. Best wishes for the new couple and the forthcoming children.
Kelem: Let’s go! Ohran Bey is calling us!
Orhan Bey: Gelin, oğlular, let’s get started!
Religious students: Geliyoruz, Bey efendi!
Kelem: Sir, did you hear about the plague in the town?
Orhan Bey: Kelem, oğlum, life is full of trouble, that’s why we must thank Allah for all he offers to us every day. We cannot avoid kismet. That’s why we must keep our chins up! Let’s continue our lessons now!

In the meantime 6, after doing the housework for some time, mother and her daughters went out 7 in the yard to check that the young ones were playing quietly. Mother sent Bedia and Aysu to fetch water 8 from the fountain in the Wheat Market, a bit further away.

Sevim: Girls, you must fetch water from the fountain.
Bedia: Tamam, annecik!
Sevim: Get the jugs next to the door. And don’t break them, please!
Aysu: Don’t be afraid, annecik, we’ll be careful.

Eventually, the girls, who were rather dissatisfied for leaving their cosy home, made their way to the fountain following their mother’s orders.
On their way they bumped into their friend 9 Maria getting out 10 from the little church of Agia Sotira, next to the market gate. They joined together and started chatting.

Bedia: I’m so glad to see you, Maria! I haven’t heard from you for three days.
Maria: It’s a disaster, Bedia! My brother Markos has been ill for the last three days. I’m so scared! I lit a candle in the church for him . I wouldn’t like to lose him….
Aysu: OΘεός είναι μεγάλος, Μαρία! As your father and brothers say, it’s all Tzistarakis’s fault. Since he started building the new mosque the plague has been killing our families.
Maria: God knows what the reason is and God may save us! Mum keeps reading prayers every day kneeling in front of Virgin Mary and Aghios Panteleimon’s icons with a lit candle.

11 Out of the market gate, at the elaborated and busy Chora fountain, farmers carrying their crops stopped to water their animals. There, just opposite Aghia Sotira’s church they met Eleni, Maria’s family friend. 12 They took a break from their hard day having an interesting conversation. 13 Anyway, getting water supplies meant for all the women of the town social meeting and getting informed.

Maria: Hello, Eleni! How are you? You have met with the girls, haven’t you?
Eleni: Of course I have! Hello, girls! Maria, how’s your brother, Marcos? What did the doctor say?
Maria: We have to careful and pray a lot. Good food is also necessary. When he visited two days ago he spoke very seriously using words that scare me.
Aysu: Such as what?
Maria: I’m not sure… He brought several strange medicines. He feared high fever and shivering.
Bedia: Don’t you tell me…. Yesterday I was scared because I shivered but my mother reassured me that it was nothing to worry about.
Maria: Don’t let bad thoughts cross your mind.
Eleni: Anyway, my granny said that herbs are the best medication. She advised me to throw some roots and some angelica seeds in the food. According to a rumour, she said, an angel revealed to a monk its therapeutic qualities against the plague.
Bedia: There’s something new to learn! Aysu, lütfen remind me to buy some angelica when we get to the market.
Aysu: Tabii! Let’s go now or we won’t make it! It’s for the preparations for the name-giving of our little Ahu today. You are coming, aren’t you?
Eleni and Maria: Tabii, geleceğiz! We can’t be missing!
Eleni: Can you hand me this jug, Maria?
Maria: There!
Bedia: Aysu, will you collect our jugs, too? I’m sorry, girls, time’s pushing!
Eleni and Maria: We understand… See you in the evening!

Finally, when the two young ladies went back home with their jugs filled with water they finished the housework left together with their mother. They decided to go to the Hamam. They would relax a bit there after all this tiredness.
In the meantime, Abidin and his eldest son Civan made for Katı’s konak, the Turkish Judge, on the corner of nowadays called Pandrosou and Mnisikleous streets.
14 Entering the mansion they admired the famous wooden curved wainscots and the elaborately crafted doors. They had a meeting with Katı and several Turkish notables.

Abidin: Gün aydın, Katı!
Katı: İyi günler!
Abidin: What’s going to happen with this disease?
Mustafa: Right, our family has been suffering for a long time.
Katı: Has your family been attacked by the disease, too?
Abidin: Maalesef! It hasn’t been two weeks since my poor sister passed away.
Katı: Oh, I didn’t know that! My condolences! I’m not any better either! I cannot recover since my wife’s burial yesterday. I’ve been lying in the next room and crying. What a disaster!
Mustafa: Well, every family has been attacked by the deathly disease. What do you think, gentlemen?
Omar (Turkish notable): Without ignoring the significance of the matter, I think we have to be concerned with Tzistarakis’s action.
Nazım (Turkish notable): I agree with Omar Bey. Apart from causing the Greek’s outcry the blow up of the column is an insult to the Sultan.
Katı: I think you are right , gentlemen. I know there is an old law forbidding the destruction of the ancient monuments which belong to Pat shah.
Onur (Turkish notable): We are here to protest and ask you to spread our protests to the pasha.
Abidin: The pasha must deal with the case and make the turmoil stop despite the accusations and protests against Tzistarakis.
Katı: That’s what I intend to do. I’ll inform the Pasha of Evripos, whose authority Athens is for, with no delay so that he deals with the matter.
Notables, Abidin, Mustafa: May Allah gives you health, Bey efendi.

The day went on and people had started gathering in the Upper and the 15 Lower Market. 16 The Upper one was located from 17 the so called little steps to 18 the eastern end of the ancient Hadrian’s Library, whereas 19 the Lower one from the little stairs to 20 the Lower Fountain.
Abidin together with Oman, an eminent member of the Turkish community, walked through 21 the Lower Market.

Abidin: Onur, have you been by the columns lately 22, where the Arabs’ open mosque is?
Onur: Hayır, but why are you asking?
Abidin: It’s been a week now that those Arabs have beenpraying with yells every day at this time in their so called mosque asking Allah to pity us.
Onur: What else can they do? They try to help in their own little way so that Allah mercies us.
Abidin: How awesome, really! My sister passed away two weeks ago. You can’t imagine how sad I was! We loved each other so much! Allah, why did this disaster strike us?
Onur: Everybody blames this Tzistarakis. We must do something about it! Every day each one of us loses a relative. You might have heard that my cousin Ibrahim was buried a few days ago.
Abidin: We have to find a solution together with the Christians, otherwise we’ll all die soon.

In the meantime Civan had already opened 23 the family shop in the Market. Soon after he had just finished tidying a new cargo of therapeutic herbs delivered in the morning, an old customer entered the shop.

Civan: Καλημέρα κύριεΜιχάλη!
Michail: Καλημέρα, Civan!
Civan: Τι θα θέλατε;
Michail: I’d like an oka of caper. I heard it’s got therapeutic qualities. My son and wife have got infected with this disease.
Civan: Ο Θεός να σας βοηθήσει! Oh, Allah, Allah! My aunt had been struggling with high fever and shivers before she died two weeks ago. Let it stay away from you.

Meanwhile, another customer, Mr Christos enters the shop.

Christos: Civan, is there a herb suitable for fever? My wife has been in bed for the last two days with high fever and shivers. I’m really concerned about her.
Michail: Καλημέρα χρήστο! Has the disease attacked your home, too? You’d better buy caper. I heard from a friend who’s a doctor that caper helps a lot.
Christos: Γειά σου Μιχάλη! Excuse me, I didn’t notice you in my condition! Thank you for the advice. Civan, half an oka of caper, please.
Civan: Hemen Hristos! Here’s the caper you both asked for!
Christos: Σευχαριστώ Civan! Allahaısmarladık!
Michael: Ben de teşekkür ederim, Civan!
Civan: Güle güle!

After the market Abidin and several Turkish notables made for the nearby Kouseyio, the seat of the Greek local Self-Administration, where the heads of the christian community were waiting for them to talk about the hot subject of those days. They all met 24 at Abidin’s home, went past 25 Ibrahim’s Teke on the left, the ancient Kyrristos’s water clocktower. A few years ago, 26 some strange Dervishes had settled there; 27 they chanted verses from the Koran and were respected by the whole neighbourhood.
28 Walking down the road they took a short stop 29 in front of the elaborated gate of Medrese, opposite Fethiye camii. Abidin’s eyes fell 30 on the founder’s inscription. 31 Mehmet Fahri 38 years ago provided the money for the construction of this wonderful building where his son Barış and the second generation of religious students studied. Here, the imam of Fethiye camii taught the sacred Koran, which he explained to them so well every Friday. He remembered it getting built when he was a fourteen year old teenager; he was so impressed… His teenage eyes were charmed 32 by the tall chimneys and 33 the elaborate ornaments of its façade.
Taking the turn on the right he could see 34 the dome of the “Megali Panagia” (the great church of Virgin Mary) in the centre of the market. He was impressed by its tall dome. It reminded him of 35 the dome of the nearby Fethiye Camii, which wasn’t as tall of course. Although he had passed by thrice, it was the first time he noticed that.
A few years ago he was blessed enough to do the Hajj, the pilgrim to 36 Mecca, which is every single Muslim’s dream. There in Arabia, the roofs of the mosques are flat 37, while theirs, here, are fairly similar to the old christian churches in the time of the Roman kings. 38 Their domes 39, 40 the “refat” at the entrance with its tiny elegant little domes, 41 even the way the walls had been built with small pieces of tiles in between the stones resembled the Greek churches. You sometimes think that both churches and mosques have been built by the same builders.
Once he entered a church to have a look. 42 The place with the numerous hanging oil lamps looked familiar to him; it reminded him of their own mosques. He just could not understand why the Christians entered their churches with their shoes on and 43 why they painted all these faces on the walls.
As he was thinking about all these he saw a big group of sad Christians getting out 44 of the church. 45 They had obviously a funeral. He thought of his sister who had passed away two weeks ago. He felt both a deep sorrow in his heart remembering her and sympathetic to the Christians as well. Pain brings people together, no matter what their religion is, he thought.
Kouseyio 46, the Greek Elders’ Board was a little farther down. The Greek notables welcomed them warmly. They felt as close as brothers. There was plenty of natural light getting in through the tiny picturesque windows. The others had already sat ready for the prearranged meeting; 47 the Elders, the Notables, the Commissars and the Secretary. The sovereigns and the abbots were all there to discuss Tzistarakis’s case, which bothered the whole town. The Elder Theofilos was the first to start.

Theofilos: As it was decided last Sunday, when the Elders met with the Bishop, both the Greeks and the Turks are determined to fight together against Tzistarakis so that they come to a solution. Do you agree?
Abidin: Undisputedly! Tzistarakis is cunning. We have to act fast and cautiously. Two days ago I was having business with a close person to the Pasha of Evripos. He confided in me that Tzistarakis tried to bribe the Pasha to keep him silent.
Theofilos: I don’t believe that Tzistarakis would be able to get away with it so easily. The Pasha of Evripos is a clever man. I don’t think he will forgive him.
Orestis (a Greek notable): Everybody is against him. I suggest that an analytical record of the deaths should be made, so as to calculate the size of the disaster and forward it to the Pasha. We will all sign, both Muslims and Christians. He cannot ignore this.
Abidin: That’s a good idea. The problem has become great. It’s not that I lost my precious sister. This man is ridiculous. He hasn’t respected a town, whose monuments, people from all over Europe come to visit. We still keep a vivid record of our Patisah 48 Mohamed the Fatih’svisit to our town. He came to visit the ancient sights. We feel they’re ours, just like you do. What a man they sent to govern us! He blew the column up to make lime for his mosque!!!
Theofilos: I’m glad to hear you speak like this, Abidin. I have always thought high of you and I’m pleased to find out that you are as sensitive about the monuments as we are. I think that if the Pasha of Evripos wants to, he can remove him from his post. Kate confided has just informed me about an old sultan’s protecting the antiquities of our great country. If you agree we can write a report to the Pasha of Evripos describing the situation in detail.
Abidin: Φυσικά! Συμφωνούμε απόλυτα! And for this reason we must take action at once!

After the end of the meeting Orestis and Abidin, who were close friends, continued the conversation in private.

Orestis: Do you really believe that we’ll be able to get this ridiculous man punished?
Abidin: What can we say? We’ll do our best. Anyway, there’s a big outcry and people won’t let be.

The two friends said goodbye and their ways split.
Meanwhile, the women in Abidin’s house were getting ready for the nearby Ambit Efendi hamam. According to the Koran, cleanliness is a necessary element of sacred glory. Apart from cleanliness Hamam was part of women’s social life. Conversations about political and social issues as well as matches took place there.
Sevim and her daughters took clean clothes and set off. On the way the mother warned her daughters to keep quiet as she would be talking with her friends.
When they arrived they got into the changing room, the reception room. 49 They got clean towels, the kese,a hard tool made of cloth and salvers for the bath. They put on the special clogs and taking plenty of soap they passed to the second room with the moderate temperature so that the body got used to the heat 50.
Sevim approached her friends Acelya, Burcak, Deniz and Afroditi. They all proceeded 51 to the main bath 52, the hot room. They glanced at the water basins and the big marble bench in the middle of the place, where servants massaged the naked women. 53 The beams penetrating through 54 the numerous openings on the elegant domes above with the hot steam from the running water at the bowls created a very soothing atmosphere. After the bath the women started talking... 55

Sevim: Acelya, we haven’t seen you for over a week. There must have been a serious reason to keep you from coming.
Acelya: Maalesef! The disaster has struck our home, too. Ece, my sister in law, fell ill and lost her poor husband five days ago. We were the only ones to stand by her.
Burcak: I hope that stays away from us!
Aphroditi: Though, after what has happened with him, Tzistarakis, the evil annihilates all families.
Sevim: As far as I have understood a meeting was held today, so as to find a way of persecuting him. 
Deniz: They will do right by doing so! We can’t stand such people going unpunished and besides being ruled by them!

By talking time passed quickly and the five women having finished their bath they put on a linen dress and passed to the special room for self-treatment, where they used to do depilation or to put henna on their hair, hands and feet. On the same time they continued their discussion.

Sevim: We are also in the same situation. Not even two weeks have passed since Emine, my husband’s sister has passed away.
Acelya: Please don’t talk about such matters, because I get frightened.
Aphroditi: I can’t be talking about such issues any more!
Burcak: Let’s drop the subject. Have you heard about Fatime’s Camii? Since she ran away with that tobacco merchant her life has changed. She lives so comfortably that she has her own private Hamam with a dressing room, toilets, luke-warm water rooms and a depilation room as well.
Sevim: What can we do? Some have got everything!
Deniz: Let’s be happy with what we’ve got. Allah is great!

After their bath was completed they went back home. Sevim was the first to go and say goobye.

Sevim: Now I’m going to finish with the name-giving preparations. I hope we see you in the evening.
Girls: Tabii!

3rd PART 1

At the same time Duyal, Mohamed, Kenan and Ahmet, free from the Koran School took a walk up to the castle to visit their friend Abdullah, who lived in there with his father Bülent, a military man, and his mother Günder.
They walked along the central road, which linked the trading centre of the town to 2 the paved street leading to the castle. 3 They went past the Lion watchtower and found themselves at the northwestern side of the castle. They walked up 4 to the church of Aghioi Apostoloi at Marmara. It was located at 5 the ancient spring of Klepsydra, which still supplied all the houses of the castle with water, and went past 6 the three caves in the rock. In the Antiquity they were dedicated to the ancient Greek deities of Zeus, Apollo and Pan and later 7, a christian monk lived his ascetic life in there. Then they proceeded 8 towards the castle.
They kept walking to get west 9, passing by 10 Hussein Efendi’s teke and 11 the vast muslim cemetery. They came under 12 the ancient ruined Propylaia, which 13, flanked by a high watchtower, were built up with walls 14 in order to protect the only access to the castle. They reached the small yard, which opened in front of 15 the guards’ gate.
After the control by the guards they made 16 for 17 the interior of the castle and Abdullah’s home 18. It was one of 19 the two hundred houses built in the area, in front the ruins 20 of the fabulous Ismaindi camii, the ancient Parthenon, and between it and 21 the elegant edifice of Erechtheion, 22 which adorned the rock to the left.
Ismaindi camii was a gorgeous mosque 23, as some very old people still remembered clearly. It was the jewel of the town 24, which, according to their narrations, even the famous 25 Mohamed the Conqueror had come to admire. It’s a pity it was destroyed about seventy years before 26. What a destruction that was! Almost the whole town was brought down then! The sieges of the castle by the Venetian, the destruction of the town and 27 the blow up of the mosque in 1687 have been printed in the memory of the elderly, who recalled those incidents with horror. The children had heard these stories and the view 28 of the ancient temple ruins, which had once been 29 a christian church 30, made them sad. Now 31 in the middle of the ruined ancient temple 32 a small mosque was built 33 some years after the 34 liberation of the city from the Venetians.
Günder’s voice, who was sweeping the yard, made them stop thinking.

Günder Hanım: Hoş geldiniz, buyurun, eve geliniz!
Duyal: İyi günler Günder Hanım! Nasılsınız? Is Abdullah evdemi? We haven’t seen him down town for several days. Is he all right?
Günder Hanım: Yes, for the time being. I kept him from the Koran school since the air is cleaner up here. I sent him on an errand to neighbours. How does it come and you aren’t at school at this time?
Mohamed: Our mother didn’t let us go, because of her fear of the plague. It has scattered in the Lower Town.
Günder Hanım: Anneniz haklı. We’re also worried here as lots of the castle residents went very ill and died. The cemetery 35 out of the town wall, where we bury the dead because of lack of space here, is almost full.
Douyal: The situation is really dramatic. We cannot hope for anything but Allah’s mercy.
Günder Hanım: Tabii!
Ahmet: Is Abdullah going to be late?
Günder Hanım: I don’t think so. You can wait for him though, for as long as you wish. Let me offer you a drink or something.
Kenan: Teşekkür ederiz. It doesn’t matter. Anyway, we didn’t really know if we would find him here.
Ahmet: Guys, we shouldn’t be late if we want to be on time for the midday’s prayer with our father in the mosque.
Mohamed: You are right Ahmet! We’d better go.
Günder Hanım: I ‘m not insisting because I don’t want you to be late. Regards to your parents and sisters!

The boys greeted and left. As they were going down from the Castle Kenan asked them to go to the south side in the country for a while to pick flowers for their mother. He knew how much their mother loved flowers. Although Ahmet was nagging that they would be late, they decided for their mother’s sake to go a little farther to the other side of the castle.
They came out of the fortification enclosure through 36 the southern gate, heading down towards 37 the south side of the rock. They passed by 38 the imposing ruins of the concert hall built by Herod Atticus that now were 39  part of the fortifiacations that defended the castle from south. Picking multi-coloured, sweet-smelling flowers they reached 40 the church of Panaghia Spiliotissa (Our Lady of the Cave). The church was built in a cave high on the rock on the same spot, where in the classical era Thrasyllo’s sponsoring monument stood. They saw two women 41 entering the church. Each woman was carrying a huge candle. They had learnt from their christian friends that mothers of sick children used to go to the church and pray to Virgin Mary in favour of their sick children; they also lit candles at the height of the ill child. They glanced at the interior of the church from the entrance 42 and quickened their step, because they were very late.
They could already hear the voices of the muezzins from the various mosques of the town calling the believers for the Friday midday prayer, which was the most important prayer of the week. Out of breath they arrived 43 at the Fethiye mosque, when the last to arrive believers were entering. They washed themselves hastily, while 44 Abidin was watching them from the refat.
When the imam’s preaching was over, the believers started leaving silent the big room and going through the narrow entrance to scatter in the yard of the shrine. It was then that Abidin noticed with pleasure his friend Turgut in the crowd accompanied by his two sons Kenan and Osman. He moved towards them and when he reached them he touched Turgut’s shoulder. He turned in surprise, saw Abidin and hugged him touched.

Turgut: Nasılsın Abidin? Are you alone? Where are your boys?
Abidin: Hepsi burada. There, they are next to the fountain, putting on their shoes.
Turgut: Oh! They are such fine boys, your sons! May Allah give them life and protect them from anything bad. What about the rest of the family, how are they? Are Sevim and the girls well?
Abidin: Hepsi iyiyiz, Turgut. How did you really find the imam’s words? His speech was very hard.
Turgut: Right you are! Tzistarakis’s action has provoked people.
Abidin: Besides, a lot of people have connected it with the plague.
Turgut: Oh, this disease has killed a lot. Do you think the plague attacked us because that greedy silly Tzistarakis blew up the column?
Abidin: Nobody knows how the plague scattered. Someone said it was scattered by a ship which moored at Porto Leone. Anyway, a lot of people buy herbs in the shop hoping to treat the symptoms.
Turgut: What can you do with the herbs? Lucky are some rich Christian neighbours who leave to the country. They say it’s safe there.
Abidin: Where can we go, Turgut? Our jobs are here. Shall we leave our homes that easily? Besides, what will be will be. This is Kismet.
Turgut: Allah save us! Let him keep the evil away from us.
Abidin: Allah is great! Let him protect our families! I’ll leave you now because we are getting ready for our little Ahu’s name-giving. You are coming tonight aren’t you?
Turgut: Tabii, geleceğim. Allahaısmarladık!

Walking down the street Abidin went through 45 the Market Gate (Pazaroporta), turned right and faced Logothetis’s tall fence. He went through 46 the narrow garden gate, bearing round nails.
47 It was a pretty yard and a beautiful garden with plenty running water in the middle. There was also a small well, where, according to the tradition, the family house Gods live. In a corner he noticed 48 a big ancient relief from the freeze of Parthenon.
Amazed by its beauty he glanced on the left of the yard 49 at the little church of Aghios Elissaios, which belonged to the Logothetis family. The high two storey mansion of the family was on the right.
When Logothetis 50 saw him knocking on the door welcomed him heartily. He led him to the upper floor and they sat 51 on the beautiful main “oda” to exchange their news.

Logothetis: How glad I am to see you! Was the letter to the Pasha of Evripos, which we agreed about at Kouseyio in the morning, written?
Abidin: Evet, Katı yazdı. I think a trustworthy postman will deliver it tomorrow.
Logothetis: Is there something new to tell me?
Abidin: Tonight at seven it’s my little daughter’s Ahu name-giving. I am sorry to invite you the last minute but since my sister’s death I’ve lost my mind.
Logothetis: Don’t bother! Today you must be all happy. We’ll be really glad to come. You know how high we think of your family.
Abidin: Thank you for your love and appreciation. You know that I have always considered you as a very close friend. Maybe that was the reason you are the last person to invite.
Logothetis: No hard feelings! The times we live in are really difficult, so understanding and good will are absolutely necessary in our relationships.
Abidin: Aς ευχηθούμε το καλύτερο.

The moment Abidin was ready to leave he heard happy girls’ voices from the entrance of the big mansion. Aysu, Bedia 52 and Meropi 53, lord Logothetis’s beautiful daughter, suddenly appeared coming back from their walk. Aysu and Bedia were surprised finding their father there but they didn’t think that strange because they knew his friendship with lord Logothetis. They both were very important people in the Athenian society.
They greeted and then Meropi started narrating their wandering in the country. The girls wanted to pick up flowers, so they reached the north borders of the town where a very strange church stood. The church was dedicated to Saint John 54. The girls were impressed by the tall, thick pillar which was coming out from the roof of the church. The town was full of churches 55; somebody had told them that there were more than a hundred 56-65, but this one was the strangest they had ever seen. They were astonished by all these multi-coloured threads tied around the thick pillar. Especially Aysu, who loved nice things was enchanted by the grandeur of the big Corinthian pillar; it reminded her of another pillar which stood next to one of their mosques making people call that mosque “the mosque of the pillar”.
Meropi tried to explain to them all that. According to the Christian tradition, Saint John is the saint who cures all the patients suffering from serious diseases. So, depending on the disease they suffer from, the Christians tie a thread of a relative colour around the pillar in order to “tie” the disease, as they say. The threads were so many that nobody could count them. The thought of what these threads meant made Aysu numb. She remembered their aunt who had died recently.
The two girls were excited with the picturesque little church. It combined elements from the glorious past of the town in a pretty way, elements that can be discovered in every place all around the city 66- 73 and especially up in the castle 74, 75, with the touching christian tradition, as Meropi had explained to them.
Abidin 76 listened to his daughters talking so enthusiastically about their recent discovery with interest and hidden pride. After he had chatted with his friend Logothetis for a little more he said good bye and accompanied his daughters to their house. All of them had arranged to meet again in the afternoon.
A few hours later Abidin’s family gathered in his house to celebrate the name giving of their youngest member, Ahu. A lot of people, Muslims and Christians, had been invited, friends of Abidin’s sons and daughters, Sevim’s friends and a lot of his own friends. Lord Logothetis, who had come along with his family, was a notable figure among the crowd due to his graceful figure.
They all chatted in a friendly manner. They had left their sorrows behind for a moment and they waited for Hodja to start the ceremony. Little beautiful Ahu, who was sleeping in her grandmother Gülistan’s arms, was now the centre of attention.
The noise from the gate made them stop talking. It was clear that hodja had arrived.

Hodja: Peace to you all!
Abidin: Hoşgeldin, hodja! Let’s not waste time.

Hodja read the prayers first and then blessed the family and their guests. Gülistan, the grandmother, bent and murmured the girl’s name in the priest’s ear; he repeated it aloud in a clear voice three times and in this way the name’s giving celebration was over.
After the name’s giving celebration hodja advised the family to be careful with the little girl as the epidemic was spreading rapidly, and left.
The sun had set and all the family except Barış, who boarded at the medrese, sat at the table for the formal dinner, which is called Iftar 77. They were all fasting during the day and now that the sun had set they could at last taste the foods that Sevim, Ahu’s mother, had prepared. So after saying the prayers with the father of the family having the leading role they started eating.
They started with meat soup and roasted meat with potatoes, which softened their stomach after the day’s fast and they continued with a variety of tasty, spicy foods such as its pilaf, Beydi kebab, pastrami with crashed grain, lahmadjoun, giol borek ; they had halva and marzipan for dessert. The rich celebration dinner would finish with Turkish coffee for the adults.
As they were enjoying the tasty meal at the table they conversed vividly commenting on the news of the day that had passed.
Abidin narrated his meetings with the lords in Katıliki and Kouseyio. Civan and Abidin tried to convey to their listeners the images and the conversations from the buzzing market as vividly as they could.
The rest of the boys gave a detailed description of what they had seen in the walk to the castle enriching their narration with images of the beautiful spring country. In an outstanding position in the room there was a beautiful vase full of the flowers that Kenan and the girls had picked from the country for their mother.
The older girls narrated enthusiastically what they had seen and learnt during their ramble with Meropi in the country. Sevim with a hidden pride of her big, blessed family was, on one hand scolding Melis and Gül for not eating their food whereas she was trying, on the other hand, to tell the others what she had learnt from her friends in the bathhouse.
78 Little pretty Ahu, who had just got officially a name, was the person of honour and had everybody’s attention. The name giving ceremony had made everyone forget their sorrows, whereas the smile on the little face gave birth to hope.

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