Εξισλαμισμοί και εκχριστιανισμοί στην Πελοπόννησο από τα μέσα του 17ου αιώνα έως το 1716 : προβλήματα έρευνας, τα πρώτα συμπεράσματα

Γιώργος Β. Νικολάου

Abstract


This article studies religious conversion in the Peloponnese in the last
decades of the first period of Ottoman domination (c. 1650-85/87), the second
Venetian period (1685/87-1715), and the first two years of the second period of
Ottoman domination. It is an initial approach to a very complicated subject, a
study that examines, on the basis of published and unpublished documents, the
causes and extent of conversion firstly to Islam and secondly to Christianity,
as also any connections between these two opposing issues.
The study shows that conversion to Islam, at first relatively limited, increased
considerably in the mid-seventeenth century, particularly in the Gastouni
region in the north-west Peloponnese. The main reason was the rayahs ’
inability to cope with increasingly heavy taxation. During the Venetian period,
some 4,000 people converted to Christianity. Were they former Christians
or genuine Muslims? An examination of the converts’ names in unpublished
Venetian documents suggests that many of them in fact had originally
been Christians. It is no accident that half of these conversions took
place in Gastouni, formerly the heartland of conversion to Islam. According to
a document in the Ottoman Archive in Sofia, after the Ottomans returned in
1715 the Christian converts in Gastouni were forced to reconvert to Islam, and
Christian converts in Mistra were executed. Conversions to Islam are recorded
in Leondari and elsewhere. In anticipation of the publication of Ottoman sources, we may conclude,
with reservations, that the connection between conversions to Islam and Christianity in the Peloponnese during this period is a subject that merits
further study.

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