Historiography of Ottoman Europe

The Ottoman state and its Orthodox Christian subjects

The legitimistic discourse in the seventeenth-century 'Chronicle of Serres' in a new perspective
Todorova, Olga | URL
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Article in Journal
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This article discusses a relatively understudied aspect of the Balkan mentality and political culture during the period preceding the birth of modern Balkan nationalisms. Its subject is Orthodox legitimism, that is, the loyalist attitude of Christian subjects of the Ottoman empire towards the central Ottoman authorities. Legitimism is analyzed here in the light of the so-called Chronicle of Serres, composed by Synadinos, a Greek Orthodox priest, born in 1600. The first part of the present study attempts to systematize the more prominent manifestations of 'Orthodox legitimism' reflected in the chronicle of Synadinos. The second part tries to identify the conceptual matrix in the chronicle, on the basis of which the legitimism professed by Synadinos was constructed. The idea, supported in the second part, is that the legitimist message of the priest from Serres largely overlaps with another, specifically Islamic, concept—that of 'justice' (adalet), a cornerstone for the doctrine of state governance in the Ottoman empire. The fact, that a Balkan Orthodox priest was able to 'internalize' so well the adalet-theory, is viewed in this article not only as evidence for the effectiveness of state propaganda on the Orthodox subjects of the Ottoman empire but also as a signal for the as yet inadequate state of study of the communication channels between Christians and Muslims in the Ottoman Balkans.
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