Author Topic: Pomaki – The Muslim Greeks of Thrace (Pomaks according to the Greek's aspect)  (Read 18455 times)

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Offline bogutevolu

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Pomaki – The Muslim Greeks of Thrace


A hot issue that concerns the society of Northern  Greece is the existence of a tribe called pomaki and their relation to the rest of the population.

We meet them living in harmony especially in Thrace and in countries such as Serbia , Bulgaria , Turkey .

They are individuals of usually medium height with white or reddish skin colour and blue brown eyes, clever and hardworking, who possess their own schools, accepted by the Greek Government and learn the modern Greek language and culture along with their own.

The older generation is busy cultivating tabaco,breeding animals, working as builders or waiters. They maintain through the everyday life the traditional uniforms, the morals and customs of their ancestors. The new generation follows the cultural waves of our times with occasional mixed marriages, a strong education and a way of life adjusted to the Greek, Serbian, Bulgarian or Turkish standards.

Tradition and history present pomaki as Christians, who bent to the barbaric attitude of the Ottomans and changed their religion. In specific, in the mountainous village Pahni of Thrace, the inhabitants talk about their Christian roots. There is a story of the “ rock of the girls” according to which the young ladies of the village fell from the specific rock, choosing death to the muslim religion. However, the majority of pomaki nowadays are Muslims.


The Historic Background


Pomaki belong to the Indo-European tribe and in antiquity they were called Agrianes. They settled down at the area of Thrace before the 6th century B.C and soon obtained the greek identity due to the colonization of Thrace by the Southern Greeks during the period 600-356 B.C.

They followed the political beliefs of Philip, Alexander the Great and their successors (356-146 B.C) and with Alexander the Great as their leader, they contributed to the establishment of the Greek Empire in Europe , Asia , Africa .

During the Roman Period, 146-330 A.D they lived free like shepherds. Between 330 and 1453 A.D the government passed to the christian hands and Byzantium obtained a mainly greek character. Pomaki followed the greek standards and lived quietly as greek citizens. The prosperity of those times soon came to an end with the presence of the Bulgarians.

The Bulgarians, Asian and Mongolian tribes, settled at the area of Dunavis and aimed through successive efforts to get access to the Aegean . In 1325 A.D Andronikos the Third the younger, emperor of the Byzantium , did not manage to set the Bulgarians to flee from Philippoupolis and in 1344 A.D Andronikos and tsar Alexander signed a treaty. From that moment onwards, they officially obsess the area around Philippoulis, where lived and still live many pomaki. There followed a language influence by the Bulgarian language,which lasted up to the Turkish conquest.

The Turkish nations, tribes that descended from Mongolia , passed today’s Turkey , moved towards Persia , where they became muslims, influenced by the Arabs. The period 1281-1326 A.D, leader of the Turks was Othman, after whom Ottomans are called. Ottomans fight, conquer and maltreat in order to spread the faith of Mohamed. Until 1368 A.D they conquer the Balkans and put pressure on pomaki,who were christians,to become muslims.Slaughter

and violence were the main reasons that lead them to change their religion. Cruelty stopped with today’s contribution of the borders according to the treaty of Lozani in 1923 A.D. The above treaty protects the rights of muslim minorities in Thrace and not of ethnic minorities as Turkey claims.

Therefore, based on the above chronicle we realize that Pomaki nowadays are not Serbs, Bulgarians or Turks by ancestorship but by choice. Those, however, who live in Thrace today are certainly Greeks, who unfortunately bent and continue to bend to the Turkish propaganda.


Primary Sources

·        Herodotus, Book IV, (Agrianes are presented as a tribe of Thrace )

·       Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War Chapter VIII, (Agrianes as a tribe of Thrace )

·       Arrian 4.4.6-7, (Agrianes fight as members of Alexander the Great’s army against the Scythians)

·       Livy’s History of Rome, Book 44.12, ( Agrianes and Illyrians fight against the Romans to protect Thessaloniki )


Further Reading

Theoharidis P.D, Pomakoi oi Mousoulmanoi tns Rodopns, Xanthi, 1995.

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Offline Dobrev

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The Agrianes according to the ancient historians.

1. The Geography of Strabo
Fragm 37-40
The country beyond the Strymon which borders upon the sea and includes the parts about Datum is occupied by Odomantes, Edoni and Bisaltae some of whom are an indigenous people the others came from Macedonia and were under the government of Rhesus. Above Amphipolis live the Bisaltae, extending to the city Heraclea (Sintica) they occupy a fertile valley through which passes the Strymon which rises among the Agrianes near Rhodope. Near the Agrianes is situated Parorbelia of Macedonia In the interior in a valley which commences at Idomene are situated Callipolis Orthopolis Philipopolis and Garescus. Among the Bisaltae proceeding up the river Strymon is situated Berga, a village distant from Amphipolis about 200 stadia. Proceeding northwards from Heraclea and to the narrows through which the Strymon flows keeping the river on the right, first on the left are Paeonia and the parts about Dobera, then on the right are the mountains Haemus and Rhodope with the adjacent parts. On this side of the Strymon close upon the river is Scotussa near the lake Bolbe is Arethusa; the inhabitants above the lake are chiefly Mygdones. Not only is the course of the Axius through Paeonia but that of the Strymon also for it rises among the Agrianes, passes through the territory of the Maedi and Sinti, and discharges itself between the Bisaltae and Odomantes. E
37. The source of the river Strymon is among the Agrianes near Rhodope EPIT
38.The Paeonians according to some were a dependent colony of the Phrygians, according to others they were an independent settlement. Paeonia it is said extended to Pelagonia and Pieria. Pelagonia is said to have been formerly called Orestia; and Asteropieus one of the chiefs from Paeonia who went to Troy to have been called with great probability the son of Pelagon and the Paeonians themselves to have been called Pelagones E
39. The Asteropseus in Homer son of Pelegon we are told was of Paeonia in Macedonia: whence "Son of Pelegon" for the Paeonians were called Pelagones. Epit.
40. As the paeanismus, or singing of the Thracian Paean was called by the Greeks, in imitation of a wellknown note in the paean, so the Pelagones were called Titanes. E.

2. According to Herodotus

Agrianes - A river of the East part of Thrace. It cannot be determined where it rises, all that we know is that it waters the country between Salmydesus, Selybria, Perinthus, and Bisanthe; and that it falls into the Hebrus after receiving the Contadesdus. The Agrianes were not near this river.
Agrianes. One of the many Paeonian tribes, and the most North. Their territory begins North near the place where mount Scomuius joins mount Rhodope and extends South to that of the Graei.

Thracia. A country of Europe of vast extent: its boundries in the time of Herodotus were, North - the Ister, NE the same river towards its mouth in the Euxine sea, SE the Propontis, S the Hellespont and Aegean sea, E the Euxine sea, W Mygdonia, Macedonia, Pelagonia, and mount Boras, and advancing N Illyria.
Its principal mountaint are Haemus, extending E to the Euxine sea, and W to mount Scomius; Pangaeus, which extends to the sea near Abdera, and comprises the Pieres, the country called Phyllis, the Doberes, The Paeoplae, and joins mount Scomius in the country of the Agrianes, and meets Orbelus.
Its chief rivers are, the Ister, Atlas, Tibisis, Athrys, Noes, Artanes, Scius, Angrus, Bregus, Artiscus, &c.
Thrace was occupied by a great number of nations, the Getae, Crobyzi, Triballi, Tilataei of Thucydides, the Agrianes, Paeoplae, Doberes, Odomanti, Edoni, Cicones, Pieres, Dersaei, Bistones, Trausi, Odrysi, Scyrmiades, Nepsaei.

The Agrianians are regarded with probability as the inhabitants of the upper valley of Strymon (Gatterer, p.114; Leake p.210). The notices in Thucydides, Strabo and Stephen (ad voc Agriai) agree with such a position. They continued independent to the time of Alexander, when thei king Langarus, made his submission (Arrian, Exp. Al, i. 5). Afterwards in Alexander`s army they formed about the most important portion of his light troops.

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Offline Dobrev

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1. According to Herodotus

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2, Ortelius, Thraciae Veteris Typus, 1590
- The river Agrianes (modern-day Arda)

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