Το Σιδηρόκαστρο και η Σέρρες το 1806

Το Σιδηρόκαστρο και η Σέρρες το 1806 στο βιβλίο "Travels in Northern Greece, vol. III" του William Martin Leake που  εκδόθηκε το 1835.

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«Travels in Northern Greece, vol. III» του βρετανού στρατιωτικού Ουίλιαμ Μάρτιν Λικ (William Martin Leake), ο οποίος επισκέφτηκε τις Σέρρες στα πλαίσια ενός αρκετά μεγάλου ταξιδιού το φθινόπωρο του 1806, ενώ το βιβλίο του εκδόθηκε μόλις το 1835 (σελ.182 επ.). 
Υπάρχουν πολλές αναφορές στο Σιδηρόκαστρο και στην Σέρρες.
Μας μιλάει για το Σιδηρόκαστρο και το που βρήσκετε σε σχέση με τις άλλες περιοχές, γενικά αναφέρει το Σιδηρόκαστρο 15 φορές,ως Demirissar (iron castle).
Ήταν 8 Νοεμβρίου 1806. Στις 4.15΄ το πρωί, τουρκική ώρα, ο στρατιωτικός βρέθηκε έξω από το μικρό τουρκικό χωριό Αλιμπασά(Alybassá) ή Αλιμπασιάτης (Alibassiátes), όπου -κατά την περιγραφή του- «το έδαφος είναι καλυμμένο από σπασμένα κεραμικά και κομμάτια κτιρίων, που σηματοδοτούν την αρχή της Αμφίπολης.
Στην άκρη του δρόμου, όπως και σ’ ένα παρακείμενο χωράφι, υπάρχουν αρκετέςπέτρες, όμως δεν έχουν ορατές επιγραφές πάνω τους, τουλάχιστον σε όσες εξέτασα. Το έδαφος μοιάζει να είναι γεμάτο τάφους. Ορισμένα απομεινάρια από τους τοίχους της Αμφίπολης
είναι ορατά στην αριστερή άκρη του λόφου».
Εκείνη την εποχή η Αμφίπολη ήταν γνωστή ως Μάρμαρα, ενώ στη περιοχή δέσποζε το Νεοχώρι, στο οποίο κατοικούσαν σαράντα ελληνικές οικογένειες. Το Νεοχώρι στηριζόταν οικονομικά «στην κερδοφόρα αλιεία των χελιών του Στρυμόνα, που θαυμάζονταν από τους αρχαίους για το μέγεθος και το λίπος τους και θεωρούνταν
ισάξια με τα χέλια της λίμνης Κωπαΐδας»· αλιεύονταν «σ’ ένα φράγμα, που διαπερνάει τη ροή του ποταμού μισό μίλι κάτω από τη γέφυρα του Νεοχωρίου και χρησιμοποιείται τόσο γι’ αυτόν το σκοπό όσο και ως μύλος. Αν δεν υπήρχε αυτή η τεχνητή κατασκευή, το ποτάμι-παρότι ορμητικό- θα ήταν πλεύσιμο προς το Νεοχώρι και τη λίμνη [σ.σ. του Αχινού]». Ο μύλος ανήκε στη μονή Παντοκράτορος του Αγίου Όρους, όμως τα πολύτιμα αλιεύματα βρίσκονταν στην κυριότητα του Σουλτάνου. Το απόγευμα της 9ης Νοεμβρίου ύστερα από ταξίδι 3 ωρών και 20 λεπτών υπό διαρκή βροχόπτωση, ο Λικ έφτασε στο χωριό Ταχινός (ή Αχινός), όπου συνάντησε «έναν πολιτισμένο ηλικιωμένο αγά, το ακριβώς αντίθετο εκείνου στο Νεοχώρι, παρότι και οι δύο είναι Αλβανοί». Σύμφωνα με το βρετανό στρατιωτικό, «Μεγάλο μέρος της επιτυχίας και των ανέσεων ενός ταξιδιώτη σε κάθε μέρος της Τουρκίας εξαρτάται από το χαρακτήρα των τοπικών αρχόντων που συναντά, όπως και από τυχαίες συνθήκες. Δεν θα είχα συναντήσει καμιά δυσκολία στην Αμφίπολη, αν είχα φτάσει εκεί ερχόμενος από τις Σέρρες έχοντας μαζί μου ένα γράμμα του Ιμπραήμ μπέη, η εξουσία του οποίου δεν αμφισβητείται ούτε στη Ζίχνη ούτε στη Δράμα και κρατάει σε τάξη τους αγροίκους άρχοντες των γύρω περιοχών, οι οποίοι δεν χάνουν την ευκαιρία να καταπιέσουν με το σκληρότερο τρόπο τους Χριστιανούς υπηκόους τους».
Στην πόλη των Σερρών ο Ουίλιαμ Μάρτιν Λικ έφτασε την επομένη, πρώτη μέρα του Ραμαζανιού, η έναρξη του οποίου συνοδευόταν από πυροβολισμούς κατά τη δύση του ηλίου και από φωταγώγηση των μιναρέδων. Πώς όμως οι Σέρρες έμοιαζαν στα μάτια του; Στη σελίδα 200 του βιβλίου διαβάζουμε:
«[...] Από απόσταση η πόλη έχει μια πολύ επιβλητική εμφάνιση. Οι ασπρισμένοι τοίχοι της, συνοδευόμενοι από πύργους σε μακρινές μεταξύ τους αποστάσεις με περιφέρεια άνω των τριών μιλίων, πέρα από την πόλη εγκλείουν ένα μεγάλο χώρο καταλαμβανόμενο από κήπους, ακόμη και από βοσκοτόπια στα οποία βόσκουν βοοειδή. [...] Τα σπίτια είναι τυπικής τουρκικής κατασκευής, δηλαδή το κάτω μέρος των τοίχων είναι κατασκευασμένο από τούβλα και το πάνω μέρος από ξύλο. Οι δρόμοι, κατά το σύνηθες, είναι βρώμικοι και κακοστρωμένοι, όμως έχουν το πλεονέκτημα ότι ποτίζονται από ρυάκια προερχόμενα από το γειτονικό βουνό κι έτσι οι κήποι, που υπάρχουν σχεδόν σε κάθε σπίτι, είναι συνέχεια πράσινοι».
Ο Λικ δεν παρέλειψε να κάνει αναφορές στον πανίσχυρο Ισμαήλ μπέη, «έναν από τους πλουσιότερους και πιο ισχυρούς υπηκόους του Σουλτάνου... [ο οποίος] υπακούει στις εντολές της Πύλης κατά το δοκούν, προσποιούμενος πάντα μεγάλη υποταγή».
Η εξουσία του εκτεινόταν σε μια μεγάλη γεωγραφική έκταση, που έφτανε μέχρι τη Φιλιππούπολη και τη Σόφια στα βόρεια, το Ιστίμπ (σήμερα Στιπ) στα δυτικά και την Γκιουμουρτζίνα (Κομοτηνή) στα ανατολικά, ώστε ο Λικ τον συνέκρινε με τον Αλή πασά της Ηπείρου -με τη διαφορά ότι ο Ισμαήλ μπέης δεν διέθετε «τη σκληρότητα, την μπαμπεσιά και την ανικανοποίητη πλεονεξία» του Αλή.
Δυο αντιφατικές παρατηρήσεις του συγγραφέα ως προς το πρόσωπο του Ισμαήλ μπέη ήταν ότι ενώ αυτός αντιμετώπιζε τους Χριστιανούς «περιφρονητικά και με τη συνηθισμένη σκληρότητα του πλέον υπερόπτη Μουσουλμάνου», εκείνοι φέρονταν να τον θεωρούν «δίκαιο [και] περιποιητικό διοικητή, οι εκβιασμοί του οποίου είναι συγκριτικά μετριοπαθείς»!
Το παλάτι του βρισκόταν στο δυτικό τμήμα της πόλης των Σερρών, ωστόσο το 1806 ο Ισμαήλ μπέης είχε αποσυρθεί στα κτήματά του στο Αντά τσιφλίκι (ιδιοκτησίας του). Την πραγματική εξουσία ασκούσε ο μεγαλύτερος από τους τέσσερις γιούς του, ο Γιουσούφ πασάς. Βέβαια τη διοίκηση της ελληνικής κοινότητας των Σερρών ασκούσαν κατά βάση ο μητροπολίτης και οι Έλληνες πρόκριτοι, επικεφαλής των οποίων ήταν ο έμπορος Ματάκος Δημητρίου.
Δύο από τους κατοίκους της πόλης ήταν ο γαλλικής καταγωγής έμπορος Σπόντη, ο οποίος ήταν και πρόξενος διαφόρων χωρών, καθώς επίσης κι ένας γιατρός από τα Ιωάννινα, που αναφέρεται απλά ως «δρ. Π». Αυτός ο τελευταίος «είχε υπηρετήσει για κάποιο διάστημα ως χειρουργός στο γαλλικό στρατό της Ιταλίας υπό τον
Βοναπάρτη, την τελευταία στιγμή γλίτωσε τη θανατική ποινή από τον Αλή [πασά] στην Πρέβεζα κατά την επιστροφή του, ήταν παρών στην πολιορκία του Σουλίου από τον Βελή πασά, ενώ υπήρξε αυτόπτης μάρτυρας του ηρωισμού της Χάιδως και οκτώ Σουλιωτών, οι οποίοι μπήκαν μεταμφιεσμένοι στο αλβανικό στρατόπεδο μέσα στη νύχτα και, όταν τους ανακάλυψαν το επόμενο πρωί, υποχώρησαν με τέτοια γενναιότητα και τάξη, ώστε σκότωσαν ή τραυμάτισαν 20 Αλβανούς χωρίς να τραυματιστούν».

"Travels in Northern Greece, vol. III" του William Martin Leake


ΑΠΟΣΠΑΣΜΑΤΑ ΑΠΌ ΤΟ ΒΙΒΛΙΟ
PAGE Mount Cynthus , Olympium - Rheneia - Mýkono , Myconus- Skyro , Scyrus - Port Achilleium - Skánghero - Scopelus , Scia- thus , Halonesus , Icus - Aistráti 69 CHAPTER XXIV . MACEDONIA . Monasteries near the southern extremity of Athos - Arrival at Xeropotámi - Other monasteries on the southern side of the Peninsula Town of Karyés - Ivíron - Filótheo - Mylopótamo - -Lavra - Karakálo - Stavronikíta - Pandokrátora - Vatopédhi -Ancient Inscriptions - Siménu — Khilandári — Próvlaka— Isthmus of Acte - Sane - Canal of Xerxes - Erissó , Acanthus— Ancient cities of Acte , Sithonia , and Pallene ..... 114 CHAPTER XXV . MACEDONIA . Stratóni , Stratoniceia - Nízvoro - Mines of lead and silver- Lybjádha - Kafkaná - Caprus - Stavros , Stageirus - Gulf of Posidium , plain Syleus , lake Bolbe , Aulon , Arethusa , Bromis- cus - Argilus - Ferry of Strymon - Eion - Orfaná , Phagres- Neokhóri - Amphipolis - Lake Cercinitis - Inscription - Battle of Amphipolis - Capture of Amphipolis by Brasidas - Takhynó -Serres , Sirrhæ ― Inhabitants of the Strymonic plain , & c . .. 158 
CHAPTER XXV. 
MACEDONIA. 
Stratoni, Strafoniceia — ‘Nizvoro — Mines of lead and silver — 
Lybjadha — Kafkaiia — Caprus — Sta^ros, Stageirus — Gulf of 
Posldium, plain Syleus, lake Bolhe, Aulon^ Atclhusa^ Brimiis- 
cus — Argilus — Ferry of Strymon — Eioji — Orfana, Phogres — 
Neokhori, Amphipolis — Lake Ccrcinilis — Inscription — Baltic 
of AmjMpolis — Capture of Amphipolis by Brasidas — Takhyno 
— Serres, Sirrhee — Inhabitants of the Strymonic plain, &c. 


at the head of whom is the bishop of Erissos, one of the suffragans of the metropolitan of Thessalonica, and styled also bishop of 'Aghion Oros ; the other by Turks, and the residence of Rustem Aga, who,
as Madem 'Agasi, has the direction of the neighbouring silver mines, together with the governmentof twelve eleftherokhoria in the Chalcidic peninsula, which from this union of the Mukata are named the Sidherokapsika, or Mademokhoria. Notlong since Rustem was nearly expelled from his post by the united complaints of all the villages under his government, but having, by the powerful support of Ibrahim Bey of Serres, his patron, overcome all difficulties, as well at Saloniki as at Constantinople, he revenged himself upon the
Greek Proestds of Nizvoro, who was instigator of the combination against him, by putting himinto a well, and keeping him there till he hadgradually extorted all his property, when he cut


about the same distance from the sea, the hills 
which border the plain on the eastern side, termi- 
nate in a point higher than the part of the ridge 
behind it, divided into terraces, and having a flat 
summit, with some appearances of art, but I search 
in vain for any unequivocal remains of antiquity 
on it. Along the side of the mountain, of which 
this height is the termination, stand several Turkish 
villages, forming a district called Orfana, belong- 
ino; to the Serres kiizasi. The Turks of Orfana 
are descendants of those Osmanhs who came into 
this country with the predecessors of Mahomet II. 
and who, like those of Thessaly, are called by the 
Greeks KoviaptSec. or Iconians, a name which re- 
calls to memory the most ancient capital of the 
Turkish power in Asia Minor. They occupy a 
large portion of the cultivated mountains of Mace- 
donia, and some parts of the plains distant from 
the large towns. Around the latter the lands are 
generally tjiftliks belonging to Turkish inhabitants 
of the towns, which are farmed by Christians. The 
Koniaridhes, on the contrary, cultivate their own 
lands, and seem to be the only Turks in Europe 
who do not consider agricultural labour a degrada- 
tion. As at Orfana, they generally occupy dis- 
tricts of small villages, each of which has its sepa- 
rate appellation besides that of the district. These 
people, though all armed, are peaceably disposed, 
attached to their landed property, and seldom 
seek their fortune at court or obey the summons 
of the Porte for foreign wars. Hence it is rare to 
hear of any of them attaining to high station, 
though Mehmet Ab, the present Pasha of Egypt,
who belonged to an agricultural family of the 
neighbourhood of-Kavala, is an illustrious excep- 
tion. His uncle, who was governor of that town, 
having fallen a victim to the arts of his enemies, 
Mehmet All, deprived of this support, was induced 
to seek his fortune in Egypt, at the head of a 
small number of followers. The Yuruks, who in 
Asia live a wanihering life, like the Kurds and 
Turkomans, as their name implies ', have become 
more sedentarv in Macedonia and Thrace, where 
they have villages, and have become cultivators. 
Those in the Pashalik of Salonlki have a chief 
called the Yuruk Bey, who resides in that city. 
Their principal abodes are in the districts of 
Gurnertzlna, Drama, Nevrokopo, Serres, Stru- 
mitza, Radhovitzi, Tikfis, Karadagh. 

From the height above-mentioned, which lies 
to the left of the direct road, I proceed, over open 
downs covered with corn-fields, to one of the vil- 
lages of Orfana, situated at an hour and a half 
fi’om the ferry, in a hollow betw^een two heights 
watered by a small stream, which flows directly 
to the sea. The village contains fifty or sixty 
houses, all Turkish except those of five or six 
Greek shopkeepers. Although not the largest of 
the makhalas of Orfana, it is more especially 
known by that name as being a post station on the 
great road from Greece to Constantinople. Above 
maritime plain, and at 4 mount the heights which 
advance from Mount Pangteum to form the strait. 
At 4.15, below the little Turkish village of Aly- 
bassa, or, as the Greeks call it, Alibassiates, the 
ground is covered with broken pottery and frag- 
ments of buildings, which mark the beginning of 
the site of AmphipoUs. On the road side, as well 
as in an adjacent field, are several sori of stone, 
but without any inscriptions now visible on them, 
at least on any of those which 1 examined. The 
ground appears to be full of sepulchres. Here 
some remains of the walls of Amphipolis are visible 
on the crest of the hill to the left. 

Before us, at the same time, opens a fine view 
of the Strymonic lake mentioned by Thucydides, 
and by Arrian named Ccrcinitis', together with 
the extensive plains of Serres and Zikhna extend- 
ing thirty miles from west to east, along the foot 
of a range of lofty mountains. To the southward 
this great valley is inclosed by the parallel ridge 
of Pirnari, or Pangamm, and by the mountain of 
'Orsova and Vrasta, which is separated only from 
Pirnari by the pass of Amphipolis, and of which 
we followed the southern foot from the site of Bro- 
miscus, along the shore of the Strymonic gulf. To 
the westward this great ridge is prolonged nearly 
to Saloniki, but at one third of the distance thither 
sends forth a branch of equal height to the north- 
west, which incloses the western side of the Stry- 
monic valley,— so that fhese extensive plains are en- 
tirely surrounded by mountains, with the exception 

and there was formerly a village of that name'. 
Neokhdri, as the word implies, is of recent con- 
struction. It is inhabited by forty Greek families, 
and is included in the district of Zikhna, a town 
situated between Dhriima and Serres, at the foot 
of the great mountain which borders the Strymonic 
plains to the northward. Neokhdri seems chiefly 
to owe its existence to the profitable fishery of those 
Sti'ymoniaii eels^ which were celebrated among the 
ancients for their size and fatness, and were con- 
sidered not inferior to the eels of the lake Copais. 
They are caught at a dam which crosses the stream 
half a mile below the bridge of Neokhdri, and which 
serves as well for this purpose as for a mill-head. 
Were it not for this artificial impediment, the river, 
although rapid, would be navigable to Neokhdri 
and into the lake. The mill belongs .to the con- 
vent of Pandokratora on Mount Athos, but the 
fishery, since it has become valuable, has been 
claimed by the Sultan, and is now farmed by Feta 
Bey of Zikhna, whose deputy I find at the mill, 
counting the fish as they are caught. Some thou- 
sands of eels had just been taken, many of which 
Amphipolis was probably in this state when Philip 
besieged and tooh it. 

The only remains of antiquity in Neokhori be- 
sides the inscription at the fountain, are many 
scattered blocks of ancient workmanship, and 
some mnemata, of which one is adorned with 
figures in low relief, and two others have names 
only upon them ; there is also a plain Doric 
triglyph between metopes, which is said to have 
been brought from the Bezestein, a place so called 
on the summit of the hill, and where arc some frag- 
ments similar to those in the village. If the 
tiiglyph belonged to the temple of Minerva, it 
was probably of small dimensions. 

In the afternoon of November 9, I proceed in 
3 hours and 20 minutes to Takhynos ', the rain 
falling continually. At (J.IO, Turkish time, we 
cross the bridge of the Strymon, which is 300 
yards long ; then leaving the lake at some distance 
on the right, pass over downs which are connected 
with the mountains on the left, pass at 7.20 
through a large Greek village called Kutzos ^ ; 
at 8.25 leave Pulutro ^ a quarter of a mile on the 
right, and half an hour before arriving atTakhyno 
turn out of the direct road to the right. Takhyno, 
which is in the district of Serres, stands on the 
edge of the lake, opposite to the last falls of the 
northern range of mountains, upon the lower de- 
clivity of which is situated the town of Zikhna : 
there are several boats upon the lake engaged in 
fishing for carp, tench, and eels. A mile or two 
higher up it terminates in marshy ground, through 
which the river flows to join it ; Thucydides has ac- 
curately described this lake by the words ro XifivwSec 
Tov Erpvjuovog \ as being in fact nothing more than 
an enlargement of the river, varying in size ac- 
cording to the season of the year, but never 
reduced to that of the river only, according to 
its dimensions above and below the lake. Besides 
the Strymon, the Angitas contributes to the inun- 
dation as well as some other smaller streams from 
the mountains on either side. I find a civil old 
Aga at Takhyno, the reverse of him of Neokhori, 
though both are Albanians, but they take their 
tone from their chiefs ; so much do the traveller’s 
success and comforts in every part of Turkey 
depend upon the individual character of the chief- 
tains whom he encounters, and upon accidental 
circumstances. I should have found no difficulty 
at Amphipolis, if I had proceeded thither from 
Serres with a letter from Ibrahim Bey, whose 
authority is not disputed either in Zikhna or 
Dhrama, and serves to keep in some order the 
savage chieftains around him, who lose no oppor- 
tunity of exercising the cruelest oppression on 
their Christian fellow subjects. The kaza of Zikhna, 
which is here separated by the lake from that 
of Serres, contains 70 or 80 villages ; the largest 
are Ziliakhova, already mentioned, and Lukovikia 
on the side of Mount Pirnari, above Alibassates. 

Nov. 10. — From Takhyno to Serres. Setting 
out at 2.40 Turkish, we coast the marshy ground 
at the head of the lake, then follow the right bank 
of the Stnjmon along the center of the plain, for 
2j- hours, until having arrived nearly abreast of 
Serres we turn eastward towards the town, cross 
the river at 5.55, over a new wooden bridge a 
mile below a large tjiftlik of Ismail Bey, called 
the Adda tjiftlik, where he has lately built a 
Serai, and at 7 enter the gate of Serres. Our 
})ace, though with Menzil horses, has been slow', 
on account of the mudd}'^ state of the roads after 
the late rains. The Ramazan begins this even- 
ing, and is introduced, as usual, with firing of 
musquets at sunset, follow'ed by an illumination 
of all the minarets. 

Nov. 11. — Serres stands in the widest part of 
the great Stnjmonic plain, on the last slope of the 
range of mountains which bounds it tc the north- 
east. At a distance the town has a very imposing 
appearance ; its whitened walls, flanked by towers 
at distant intervals, being not less than three miles 
in circumference ; but they enclose, besides the 
tow'n, a large space occupied by gardens, and even 
by meadow's, in which cattle are now grazing ; 
and the walls themselves are nothing better than 
a thin fabric of unburnt bricks. The houses are 
of the ordinary Turkish construction, that is to 
say, the lower part of the walls is of masonry, 
and the upper of wood : the streets, as usual, are 
crooked and ill-paved, but they have the advantage 
of being watered by streams originating in the ad- 
jacent mountain, and serving to maintain in con- 
stant verdure the gardens which are attached to 
almost every house. The population is estimated 
at 15,000 Turks, 5000 Greeks and Bulgarians, 
and a few families of Jews. 

The surrounding plain is very fertile, and besides 
yielding abundant harvests of cotton, wheat, barley 
and maize, contains extensive pastures now peopled 
with oxen, horses and sheep. No part of the land 
is neglected, and the district, in its general ap- 
pearance, is not inferior to any part of Europe ; 
though probably neither the agricultural economy 
nor the condition of the people, would bear a close 
inspection. To the north-westward, the plain ex- 
tends about 4 hours to Demirissar (iron castle), 
which occupies a position similar to that of Serres, 
but nearer to the left bank of the Strymon, just 
where it issues from the mountains. A little above 
the ravines of Demirissar the Strymon receives its 
principal tributary, from Strumitza to the right, 
and a smaller contribution on the opposite bank 
from Meleniko, a large Greek town, 6 hours from 
Demirissar to the north. The sources of the river 
are in the highest ridges of Rhodope around Dup- 
nitza and Ghiustendil. To the Greeks and Bul- 
garians the river is known by the name of Struma, 
to the Turks by the very common appellation of 
Karasu, or Black River. 

The lower Strymonic valley, which extends from 
Demirissar to 'Anghista and the site of Amphipolis, 
is the greatest of the Macedonian plains, next to 
that which borders the head of the Thermaic Gulf, 
and if we add to it the levels watered by the tribu- 
taries of the Strymon, anciently constituting the 
Angitas, the entire extent is not inferior in magni- 
tude and fertility to those plains of Lower Macedonia. 
A large portion of that part which is in the district 
of Serres, is the private property of Ismail Bey and 
his family, one of the richest and most powerful 
subjects of the Sultan, if he can be called a subject 
who is absolute here, and obeys only such of the 
orders of the Porte as he thinks fit, always, however, 
with a great show of submission. Besides his 
landed property he is engaged in commerce, and 
derives great profits from his farm of the imperial 
revenues. He has been rapidly increasing in 
power during the last ten years, and his authority 
now extends northward to the borders of Sofia and 
Felibe \ to the westward to Istib inclusive, and to 
the eastward as far as Gumurdjhia inclusive. His 
troops are now fighting with Emin Aga of Ilas- 
kiuy beyond Gumurdjina, whom he will probably 
soon reduce. To the southward and w'estward the 
summits of the mountains which border the plain, 
separate his dominions from the district of Saloniki. 
His forces do not amount to more than 2000 in 
constant pay, who are chiefly Albanians, but upon 
occasion he might easily raise 10,000. When he 
builds a new palace, or repairs a road, or builds a 
bridge, the villages furnish the materials and 
labour, so that his household and troops are his 
principal expences. Deficient in the extraordinary 
talents of Aly Pasha, lie is said to be free from his 
cruelty, perfidy, and insatiable rapacity. Though 
he never conceals his contempt of Christians, and 
treats them with the usual harshness of the most 
haughty Mussulman, he is spoken of by the 
Christians themselves as a just, attentive governor, 
and whose extortions are comparatively moderate. 
Hence his territory presents a more prosperous 
appearance than any part of Aly Pasha’s. The 
culture of cotton being very advantageous to him, 
he is anxious to encourage its exportation, in which 
he is himself engaged, and hence the Greek mer- 
chants of Serres, who carry on an extensive trade 
with Vienna, enjoy sufficient protection, though 
personally they are often ignominiously treated 
by him. 

As to the rayahs in general, it is sufficient to 
mention one of the labours and exactions imposed 
upon them, to show their condition even under a 
governor who has the reputation of being indulgent. 
Every village is bound to deliver the Bey’s tithe of 
the cotton in a state fit for immediate exportation, 
that is to say, cleared of the seeds and husks, 
instead of supplying it as it comes from the field ; 
and even to make good the loss of weight caused by 
the abstraction of the seeds, by the addition of an 
equal weight of cleared cotton. The Turks justify 
this oppression, by alleging that it is customary in 
all cotton districts ; the only kind of answer they 
ever deign to give, when they are the strongest. 

The Bey has four sons, of whom the eldest, 
Yussuf, carries on all the active business of the 
government *, while his father enjoys a rather in- 
dolent retirement at the Adda tjiftlik. The Greek 

’ This is the same Yussuf afterwards surrendered Varna, 
Pasha who distinguished him- in the year 1828, to the Rus- 
self in the Greek insurrection sians. 
as Governor of 'Epakto, and 
community is governed with very little interference 
from the Bey, by the Greek metropolitan bishop, 
and the archons, of whom the chief is a Greek 
merchant, Matako Dhimitrlu, whose brother is 
established at Saloniki. Another merchant, named 
Sponty, who acts as consul for several nations, is 
of a French family long settled in Candia, and here 
I again meet a Dr. P. of loiinnina, who after having 
served for some time as surgeon in the French 
army of Italy under Bonaparte, narrowly escaped 
being put to death by Aly at Prevyza on his return : 
he attended Vcly Pasha in the siege of Suli, and 
was eye-witness to the heroism of the woman 
Khaidho, and eight Suliotes, who came disguised 
into the middle of the Albanian camp in the night, 
and when discovered the next morning, retreated 
with such bravery and conduct as to k’ll or wound 
20 Albanians in the retreat, without receiving a 
hurt. 

The bishop is denominated o "EtppMv, and the 
modern name Serres is the Romaic third case of 
the same word’ ; but though Scrrse was already 
the form about the fifth century, as appears from 
Hierocles, Sirrha or Sirrhae was the more ancient 
orthography, and that which obtained at least until 
the division of the empire, as we learn from an 
inscription now placed at the door of the metro- 
politan church, where it is said to have been 
found. It is a memorial in honour of one Tiberius 
Claudius Diogenes, of the Roman tribe Quirina. 
The forms of some of the letters, and the siglae by 
exchange their agricultural produce for manufac- 
tures both foreign and domestic, but that to which 
the natives of a great part of European Turkey 
resort to obtain raw cotton, for internal consump- 
tion, as well as for the manufacture of yarn, which 
they sell in Hungary and Poland. In favourable 
years, the Frank and Greek merchants settled here 
send not less than 30 or 40,000 bales of cotton 
to Germany by the caravans, and in return supply 
the Turks with cloths, stuffs, and other European 
manufactures, but cloth and raw cotton are the 
basis of the trade. 

The principal roads leading from Serres, besides 
that of Orfana, by which I came, are, 1. To 
Kavala, by Ziklma and Dhrama. 2. To Nevro- 
kopo, directly across the great range of the moun- 
tains, which extend northward from Serres to 
Meleniko and Nevrokopo, and eastward towards 
Dhrama ; the circuitous route to Nevrokopo, how- 
ever, is often preferred, especially in the winter, 
passing through Zikhna, and falling into the route 
from Dhrama to Nevrokopo. 3. The northern 
road. This leads to Demirissar along the foot 
of the mountain of Serres, and near Demirissar 
enters the derveni, through which that river 
issues from the mountains. Beyond the pass, 
the road branches to Meleniko to the right, and 
to Strumitza to the left. 4. To Doghiran ; this 
road crosses the mountain which rises from the 
western side of the plain of Serres, by a pass 
which is seen from the city, bearing by compass 
N. 63 W. 5, 6. There are two routes to Salonlki, 
the more direct crossing the range of mountains 
MACEDONIA. 


Ancient Geography of the Strymonic Plain and surrounding 
Mountains — Battle of Philippi — Nigrita — Sokho — Klisali — 
Lakes — Langaza — Khaivat — Saloniki — Antiquities, Popula- 
tion, &c. 

Although Stephanus distinguishes the Siris which 
gave name to the Siro-paeones, from Sirrha, they 
were assuredly one and the same place, for that 
the Siro-paeones inhabited the banks of the Stry- 
inon is clear from Herodotus’, and that they did 
not dwell above the derveni of Demirissar may 
also be inferred from the historian, when he states, 
that Xerxes left a part of his sick at Siris in his 
retreat to the Hellespont* ; for it is not conceivable 
that a place could have been chosen for that pur- 
pose, so far and inconveniently removed from the 
direct route of the army, as any position above 
the Straits of Demirissar would have been. The 
same inference may be drawn from Livy, who 
relates that P. .^milius Paullus, after his victory 
at Pydna, received at Sirae a deputation from Per- 
seus who had retired to Samothrace®. As Sirae is 
‘ Herodot. 1. 5, c. 13, 15, 98. * L. 8, c. 115. 
here described by Livy as a city of the Odoman- 
tice, it seems evident iliat the Odomanti bordered 
on the Siro-Paeones, and that in the reign of 
Perseus they were in possession of this city 
The Odomanti, therefore, probably occupied the 
great mountain which extends along the north- 
eastern side of the lower Strymonic plain from 
about Meleiiiko and Demirissar nearly to Panymim, 
their vicinity to which latter mountain is rendered 
probable by their having been ooe of the throe 
tribes who worked its mines, the two others hav- 
ing been the Pieres and Satrse the former of 
whom dwelt on the southern side of the moun- 
tain, the latter to the eastward of it. It was 
very natural that Megabyzus should have subdued 
the Siropjcones, who possessed the most fertile and 
exposed part of the Strymonic plain while the 
Odomanti, who were secure in a higher situation, 
and still more the Agrianes, who dwelt at the sources 
of the Strymon, were able to avoid or resist him, 
as well as the Doberes, and the other Pa3ones of 
Mount Pangaeum, and the amphibious inhabitants 
of the lake Prasias 

From the same authority we may be justified in 
concluding, that the lake Prasias was the same 
afterwards called Circinitis, or the Strymonic lake, 
though it be contrary to the opinion of D’Anville, 
who identified the Prasias with the Bolhe, now the 
‘ Ptolemy (1. 3, c. 13.) places ’ Herodot. 1. 7, c. 1 12. 
Scotussa, which was at no great “ L. 5, c. IG. 
distance from Serres to the 
southward, in the Odomantice. 
Vravnitza, or river of Istib, which, next to the 
Mrigon, is the greatest of the tributaries of the 
Axius. 

Of the tribes on the Thracian frontier of Paeonia 
which were subject to Macedonia, as early at 
least as the reign of Philip, son of Ainyntas, 
I have already shown reasons for believing that 
the Odomanti occupied the whole of Mount Orbe- 
lus from above the Ste7ia of the Strymon near the 
modern Demirissar to Zikhna inclusive, where 
they confined on Mount Pangmmi. Thus their 
north-western portion lay to the right of Sitalces as 
he crossed Mount Cereine : and their general situ- 
ation accords with the description of Thucydides, 
according to whom they dwelt beyond the Strymon 
to the north ' ; that is to say, to the northward of the 
Lower Strymon, where alone the river has such an 
easterly course as can justify the historian's expres- 
sion. It is obsei'vable, that the PaiiEei, whom Thu- 
cydides couples with the Odomanti, are stated by 
Stephanus to have been a tribe of the Edones '^ 
These authorities agree, therefore, in confirming 
the situation of the Odomanti just indicated. 

Between Meleniko and Petritzi, above Demiris- 
sar and the Strymonic straits, the main branch of 
the Struma, or Strymon, is joined by a large tri- 
butary named Strumitza, npon which stands a town 
of the same name, situated a day's journey beyond 
Petritzi, in the road from Serres to Velesa. Stru- 
' Thucyd. 1.2, c. 101 ; 1. ■ Steplinn. in IJiii'tuoi.
on a mission to the Krai of Servia from the Em- 
peror Andronicus the elder : he relates, that after 
having travelled half a night and one day from a 
ferry of the Strymon, he arrived at Strumitza, a 
fortress so lofty that the men on the walls looked 
from the plain like birds *. 

Ptolemy, in assigning to the .ffistraei Doberus as 
well as Aistrajum, shows those two places to have 
been at no great distance from one another; which 
is true, on the supposition that Mstrceum or As- 
troeum, was at Strumitza, and Dobei'us near Dog- 
liiran Strymon, Struma, Astrseus, and Stru- 
mitza, seem to be all dialectic modifications of 


' Nicephor. Greg. 1. 8, c. 
11. Gregoras had been pre- 
ceptor of the children of Meto- 
chita, for which reason he was 
chosen by the Emperor for a 
mission, one of the objects of 
whicli was to persuade the 
widow of John Paleeologus, 
who was the Krai’s mother- in- 
law and the daughter of Meto- 
cliita, to return to Constanti- 
nople. Gregoras was accom- 
panied by one of the lady’s 
brothers. Of his journey as 
far as the Strymon he relates 
only that the country was at 
that moment deserted in con- 
sequence of an expected inva- 
sion of Scythians. And it 
seems in general to have been 
nearly in its present state. At 
Iho Strvmon, for instance, he 


found only a single ferry-boat, 
which required the greater part 
of the day to carry over his 
150 beasts of burthen. His 
place of crossing was probably 
near Demirissar, for had it 
been lower he could not have 
reached Strumitza at the end 
of the next day. The timidity 
and inexperience of the peda- 
gogue magnified the alarms 
and difficulties which he met 
with in prosecuting his journey 
during the greater part of the 
night through the forest beyond 
the Strymon, and which afford- 
ed him an opportunity of 
showing his learning by com- 
paring the darkness to the 
caverns of Taenarus and Tro- 
phonius. 
* Stephanus in 

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