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From «Pax Ottomanica» to «Pax Europaea»

The growth and decline of a Greek village’s micro-economy

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Dimitrios Konstadakopulos

The macroeconomic development of south-eastern Europe has been profoundly affected not only by the region’s major historical events – for example, liberation from the Ottoman Empire, the outbreak of civil wars, and the birth of new nations – but also by global events, such as the world-wide conflicts of the twentieth century, and the recent transnational processes of globalisation and European integration. The rationale of this book is to employ a comprehensive micro-history – that is, the history of one particular community: in this case, the village of Tsamantas, in north-western Greece – as a means of providing a detailed picture that will permit extrapolation to a wider context. Situated in one of the most isolated parts of the region of Epirus, Tsamantas has a complex history and a rich folk culture. At times, it has been a textbook example of how decision-making within a community can impact upon the success of the local economy. Its inhabitants have been rational problem-solvers, with a sense of what is in their family’s best interests, rather than passive victims of circumstance, and their choices at critical points in the village’s history have resulted either in growth or decline. The author focuses his groundbreaking analysis on these choices, drawing upon publications, archived materials, and illuminating oral accounts of local events.
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Chapter 2: Tradition and Culture of Tsamantas through the Eyes of Nikolaos Nitsos

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← 30 | 31 → CHAPTER 2

Tradition and Culture of Tsamantas through the Eyes of Nikolaos Nitsos

The publication in Athens in 1926 of Monograph on the Epirot Village of Tsamantas, by Nikolaos Nitsos, put in print the first substantial study of a community in the mountains of north-west Epirus, opening a window onto life in this remote corner of the country. With its wealth of detailed information on the village – soon to play a major role in modern Greek history – it was the inspiration for the present volume and by far the author’s most important source. The monograph ran to 400 pages and was a work of erudition. Nitsos, in the words of one of his reviewers (Soulis, 1927: 315–316), had produced ‘a remarkable publication’, contributing significantly to our understanding of the region’s history and to the preservation of its folklore. However, the book’s success was short-lived – not helped by the fact that it was written in katharevousa – and it sank without trace, to be forgotten for more than half a century. Then, in the early 1990s, a member of the Athens-based St Dimitrios Brotherhood of Tsamantas found a copy of the original edition in the capital’s famous flea market at Monastiraki and donated it to the Brotherhood. A decision was made to finance the publication of a second edition, thus rescuing from oblivion an important piece of scholarly work. The new edition appeared in 1992, with a preface by Nikos Skopas – an educationalist from Tsamantas...

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