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MACEDONIA

ETHNOGRAPHICAL MAP of MACEDONIA

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Meihuen & Co.

MACEDONIA

ITS RACES AND THEIR FUTURE

By

H. N. BRAILSFORD

AUTHOR OF "THE BROOM OF THE WAR-GOD '

WITH PHOTOGRAPHS AND TWO MAPS

METHUEN & CO.

36 ESSEX STREET W.C.

LONDON

First- Published in J()o6

TO

MY MOTHER AND FATHER

PREFACE

/^NCE during the occupation of Thessaly I watched a

^-'^

Turkish trooper playing in the outskirts of Larissa with

some httle Greek children.

Ragged, unkempt, unsoldierly,

he seemed a typical Asiatic. His complexion was swarthy,

his nose curved and his curly beard set at that curious angle

which one associates with Assyrian bas-reliefs. He may have come of the same stock which followed Darius when

the East made its first assault upon European liberties.

But the children saw in him only a kindly playmate. They were completely at their ease with him, fearless and con-

fident as they might have been with some great gentle dog.

He too was happy, a mere child of

nature, a soldier by

compulsion and a conqueror by accident. He lifted a little

girl upon his shoulder that she might pluck the blossoms of

a hawthorn tree.

For a moment one almost forgot the

barbaric notes of the military band rehearsing its tuneless

hymns of conquest and of triumph in the square hard by. But suddenly across the road there appeared the indignant

form of a Greek mother.

She stood in the doorway of

"the Cafe of Byron and Independence," and a shrill voice

called the little girl by name.

" Eleftheria, Eleftheria," it

shouted, and the golden head of little

" Freedom " slid

down from the Turk's shoulder. In the harsh accents of

tongue, with words that were a war-cry at

a scolding

Marathon, the mother explained that patriotic children do

not play with barbarians. The Turk slouched

disappointed

away, and little " Freedom " gazed wistfully after him. The

baptism of revolt had set an impassable barrier between

them.

X

PREFACE

The memory of this scene comes back to me when I ask

myself whether I have succeeded in writing a fair book about the Macedonian question. My sympathies and my

friendships are not all on one side. The Turk in his shabby

uniform, responsive only to primitive ideals of loyalty and

honour, simple, courageous, dignified, and poor, is often

a more attractive and picturesque object than the little

huckster in European clothes who has called his cafe after

Byron. But it is my weakness that I cannot hear the name

of Freedom unmoved, even when it comes from the shrill

throat of a Greek mother. All one's aesthetic impulses cry out on behalf of the Mohamedan with his easy, incompetent

nature, his indifference to abstractions, his aloofness from

the busy ugliness of the modern world. But there come

crises in the development of Eastern affairs when one can

no longer dally with these romantic preferences.

The

Macedonian insurrection of 1903 failed in its immediate object, but it created a tension which can only be relieved by the liberation of these miserable provinces. At such a

moment it is irrelevant to remember that the Turks have

their personal graces and their private virtues. We are

concerned with them only as a governing race a primitive

Asiatic people with gaps in

their vocabularies.

their minds and lacunct in

The creed of the rulers is " Islam "

{i.e., obedience, resignation). Their subjects baptize their

children " Freedom." With all the tolerance in the world

we can only say that such an arrangement is hopeless. If it

were the subject race which believed in resignation and

the victors in freedom, one might expect some measure of

happiness. Reverse the position and the results can only

be squalor, anarchy, and misery.

My main object is to explain, with what detail is necessary,

the nature of Turkish rule as it affects the peasantry of

Macedonia. The strife between the Christian races, the

rivalry of competing empires, the devastation caused in

one form or another by the idea of nationality all this is

interesting, but incomparably less important than the daily

sufferings of the villagers who endure in patient obscurity.

It matters very little whether a village which was originally

PREFACE

xi

neither Greek nor Bulgarian nor Servian is

bribed or

persuaded or terrorised into joining one of these national

parties. But it does matter profoundly that it should be

freed from the oppression of its landlord, its tax-farmer, and

the local brigand chief.

I have tried, so far as a European can, to judge both

Christians and Turks as tolerantly as possible, remembering

the divergence which exists between the standards of the

In a land where the peasant

Balkans and of Europe.

ploughs with a rifle on his back, where his rulers govern

by virtue of their ability to massacre upon occasion, where

Christian Bishops are commonly supposed to organise

political murders, life has but a relative value, and assassina-

tion no more than a relative guilt.

There is little to choose

in bloody-mindedness between any of the Balkan races

they are all what centuries of Asiatic rule have made them.

I once discussed the Belgrade murders with an " educated"

Turk,

commands in European Turkey, and connected by marriage

with the Imperial family. He showed his enlightenment

by wearing tweeds and discarding his fez at meals, and he

talked a smattering of almost every European tongue save English. He was, of course, profoundly shocked by the

murder of a King and Queen, and I happened to remark

that the crime after all was quite unnecessary. " It would

He was a Pasha occupying one of the chief military

have been so easy," said I, *' to arrest them quietly and ferry

them over the Danube into exile."

" Yes," said he, " it was

very stupid. The civilised thing to do would have been to imprison them, and then quietly, when every one had

forgotten about them, to give them poison.

a barbarous act ! "

In a land

Yes.

It was

where the code of the more

enlightened rulers is to murder with elegance and some

regard for propriety, one must not apply the moral standards

of London or Paris to the conduct of their revolted

serfs.

The reader will expect some little explanation of the

is the

fruit of some live journeys to the Near East, including two

circumstances in which this book was written.

It

xii

PREFACE

visits to Macedonia. The latter of these was particularly instructive. I spent five months of the winter of 1903-4 in

the province of Monastir after the Bulgarian rising, acting,

with Lady Thompson, Miss Durham and my wife, on behalf

of the British Relief Fund.

My work brought me into

constant touch with people of every race. Going about

among the devastated villages, examining their resources,

assessing their needs, and listening to their complaints, I

had opportunities which rarely come to the European tra-

veller for learning something of the realities of their daily

life. One of the many languages of Macedonia was already

familiar to me, and previous experiences in Crete

had

initiated me into some of the mysteries of the Turkish

system.

We had

at

every turn

to

reckon with

the

prejudices of the administration, and learned much of its

workings in our effort to carry on

business of relieving its victims.

the rather delicate

Finally, though our

object was purely philanthropic, and though we eschewed

politics and sought to help men of all races and creeds

alike, we did not escape the suspicions and the enmities

which thrive in an atmosphere of falsehood and intrigue.

To avoid the politics of the country one had first to study

them.

I have not in this book attempted to give any

account of the relief work, but it is none the less necessary

to explain that it provided a large part of the experience on

which the book is based.

I should like to express here something of the gratitude

which I feel to the courtesy and sympathy of the European residents in Macedonia who allowed me to draw upon their

experience and information. 1 could hardly exaggerate my

debt towards His Majesty's consuls, Mr. W. L. Graves, Mr.

James McGregor, and Mr. R. Fontana, and with them I

would mention the Rev. Lewis

Haskell, and Father Lucien Proy, of the American and

Bond, the Rev.

E.

B.

French Missions.

The kindness of some

of the repre-

sentatives of other European Powers, notably M. Steeg,

M. Choublier, Herr Muthsam, and M. Toukholka, was the

more welcome as to them I was a stranger.

It would, I

fear, be indiscreet to mention by name the many natives of

PREFACE

xiii

Macedonia, Moslems as well as Christians, from whom I received both hospitality and assistance.

Portions of two chapters have appeared in the Forinightly

Review and the Manchester Guardian, and I am indebted to

their editors for permission to make use of them.

It is to

the Manchester Guardian's keen and sympathetic interest

in the peoples of the Near East, that I owe most of my

opportunities of travel in Turkey.

Some of the photographs in this book have been most

generously given to me by Mr. Bertram Christian, Mr. Henry W. Nevinson, and Major Salmon,

To my wife, who shared our travels, performed alone at

Ochrida the most arduous and painful of the tasks which

fell to us in the work of relief, helped me by her clear

and

tolerant judgment to form my views of the country, and

gave me her aid in writing this book, a public acknow-

ledgment of my whole debt of gratitude would be either

irreticent or inadequate.

Hami'stead,

December, 1905

TABLE OF CONTENTS

CHAPTER I

CHARACTERISTICS OF TURKISH RULE

The Growth of the Turkish Bureaucracy

.

.

.

.

PAGE

4

The Doubtful Benefits of European Influence :

Superficial Imitation of Civilisation, 9.

the Powers, 15

Ineffectual Interference of

The Turkish System of Ascendancy :

Limited Idea of the State, 20.

25. The Economic Basis, 26

Race and Religion, 22. Fanaticism

Types of Turkish Sentiment .

Absence of Civil Order : Illustrations Neglect of the Rural Districts

The Meaning of Fear in Macedonia .

Note. Law Courts and Finance

CHAPTER II

28

30

32

36

40

VILLAGE LIFE IN MACEDONIA

Industry and External Conditions of the Villagers Tithes and Taxes

Rural Guards

Differences in Prosperity of Villages .

Brigandage. Migratory Labour.

The Land Question

Family Budgets. Food and Clothing.

The Daily Round of Petty Tyranny .

xv

42

45

47

48

51

55

7

XVI

TABLE OF CONTENTS

CHAPTER III

THE ORTHODOX CHUKCH

Attachment of the Peasants to the Churches

The Church the one possible PoUtical Organisation

Power of the Bishops .

.

.

.

.

Secularisation of Religion

.

.

.

.

Absence of Heresy.

Fatalistic Idea of God.

Indifference to Conduct.

Position of Priests

Religious Feuds really Racial Conflicts

Catholicism in the Balkans Note. Protestant Missions

CHAPTER IV

THE RACES OF MACEDOXI.^

Description of a Macedonian Town

Mixed Racial Origin of Moslems

Gipsies

Jews

The Dounme

.

The Towns not Typical of Macedonia

Albanian Immigration into Macedonia

History of Macedonian Races

Disappearance of Greek and Latin Culture

Causes of Early Decay

of Greek influence.

The Coming of the Slavs, 94.

Origin of the

PAGE

59

6i

63

66

71

73

74

76

80

81

82

84

86

88

91

Bulgars, 95. The Bulgarian Empires, 96. Servian Empire, 97.

Eclipse of the Slav Races after the Turkish Conquest Are the Macedonians Serbs or Bulgars ?

National Propagandas :

.

.

.

99

lOI

Reasons for Servian Failure, 103. Weakness of Greek Claims, 105.

Notes. Physical Conformation and Climate

Means of Communication

.

.

.

.

CHAPTER V

THE BULGARIAN MOVEMENT

First Impressions of the Bulgarian Character

The Treaty of San Stcfano

Formation of the Insurgent Committee

Democratic Attitude. Careful Organisation.

The Committee in Bulgaria .

.

108

109

Ill

114

115

118

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Ideal of a neutral Autonomy .

Early Struggles with the Turks Terrorism and Feud with the Greeks General Tzoncheff's Raid

The Salonica Outrages Hilmi Pasha's Measures of Repression

Incidents at Mogilki and Smerdesh.

The General Rising of 1903 in Monastir

The General Rising of 1903 in Thrace

The Sufferings of the Non-Combatants

The Psycholog)' of the Bulgarians

Note. The Rival Committees

CHAPTER VI

THE VLACHS

Typical Village of Pisoderi

Place of the Vlachs in the Economy of Macedonia The Vlach Language ,

History of the Vlachs Women the Conservative Force in the East

Weakening of the Greek Connection

The Roumanian Propaganda .

Feud with the Greeks

.

.

,

CHAPTER VII

THE GREEKS

Castoria and its Archbishop .

Grounds of Greek Claim to Macedonia

" Bulgarophone Greeks " What is " Hellenism"?

Vulgar and Literary Greek

The Greek Alliance with the Turks .

Conduct of the Greek Bands . Contrast between Cretans and Macedonians

Note.

A -

Greek Statistics

xvu

HAGK

121

124

129

134

135

138

148

156

158

166

171

173

177

179

180

181

185

187

189

191

194

199

201

204

209

213

218

219

XVlll

TABLE OF CONTENTS

CHAPTER VIII

THK ALBANIANS

The Albanian Character

.

.

.

.

Language and History :

 

Sciinderbeg, 231. Ali Pasha, 232.

 

Customs and Feudalism

 

Religion

Reasons for Conversion to Islam, 240. The Bektashis, 243.

Koritza and the Language Movement Prizrend and the Reforms

 

" Old Servia

"

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

The Future

PAGE

.221

235

239

248

262

-274

277

Greek and Servian Claims, 278. Austrian and Italian Ambitions, 282. Albanian Pretenders (note), 286.

Prospects of Autonomy Note. Letter from an Albanian Officer

CHAPTER IX

THE PROBLEM OF REFORM

Revival of the Macedonian Question in 1902

Policy of Austria

Policy of Russia

Hilmi Pasha and the First Reforms

The Miirzsteg Programme

.

.

.

285

288

290

293

296

300

305

The Gendarmerie Scheme, 306. Financial Control, 30Q.

Failure to Pacify Macedonia . Arguments against Partition of Macedonia between Austria and

.

.

.

.

Russia

Sketch of a Scheme for International Control

Conclusion

.

.

IXDEX

311

315

-321

332

337

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

The Main Street, Ochrida . "A Desert swept by a Hurricane" The Village of

.

.

.

.

Zagoritchani after the rising in 1903

A Poor Village of the Plains. (Near Ochrida) .

Peasants from a rich Village.

(Uskub)

.

Peasants from a poor Village. (Ochrida)

A prosperous Bulgarian Village among the Hills

(Brusnik, near Monastir) Peasants Weaving near Ochrida

To face p.

31

36

42

48

48

50

53

Ancient Church of St. Sophia (Ochrida), now a Dilapi

dated Mosque .

Bulgarian Monastery near Ochrida Monastery of Sveti Naoum, Lake Ochrida Ochrida from the Lake

Mosque at Monastir

The Main Street, Monastir .

On the Shore of Lake Ochrida

Mediaeval Castle at Ochrida

Tchakalaroff, Commander of the Southern Insurgent

Corps.

1903

Taken during the Occupation of Klissoura,

An Insurgent Band in the Rising of 1903

Tchakalaroff's Staff during the Insurrection. He is seated on the Reader's left The Ruins of Zagoritchani after the Insurrection

Ruins of Mokreni after the Rising

Turkish Soldiers in a Burned Church Temporary Hut among the Ruins, Zagoritchani .

A Home in Ruins, Djupanishta, 1903

Temporary Chapel, erected, after the burning of their

Village, by the Peasants of Lokov

60

68

68

76

79

79

99

99

145

148

150

159

163

163

164

164

171

XX

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

A Peasant Cart

A Typical Turkish Bridge

The Greek Archbishop of Castoria gracing a Turkish

Review. Next him stands the Turkish Caimakam,

and further to the right, the MiUtary Commandant .

An Albanian Landscape (on the road from Ochrida to

Elbasan)

.

.

.

.

.

.

Servian Peasants at Ferizovitch

.

.

.

.

 

.

.

Moslem Tj'pes. Uskub Market-place . A Bulgarian Village near Ochrida a year

after the

Insurrection, showing how little had been done to

repair the devastation. (October, 1904)

.

.

A Village Conclave in the Ochrida District

.

.

MAPS

Ethnographical Map of Macedonia

.

.

.

Turkey in Europe and Neighbouring States

 

.

.

To face p. ly^

 

173

193

,,221

 

262

 

262

312

326

Frontispiece

To face p. 336

MACEDONIA

CHAPTER I

CHARACTERISTICS OF TURKISH RULE

npHAT

nothing changes in the East is a commonplace

which threatens to become tyrannical. Assuredly

there is something in the spirit of the East which is singu-

larly kindly to survivals and anachronisms. The centuries

do not follow one another. They coexist.

There is no

lopping of withered customs, no burial of dead ideas. Nor

is it the Turks alone who betray this genial conservatism.

The t ypic al Slav village, isolated without teacher or priest

in some narrow and lofty glen, leads its own imperturbable

life, guided Jby^the piety of traditions which date from pagan

It hears strange rumours of a railway which has

times.

invaded the legendary plain beyond its mountains. But

the world of innovation lies outside its experience. Salgnica,

with its busy streets, its cosmopolitan crowds, its steamships,

and its markets, is still a foreign climate, whose strange air the hillmen fear to breathe. But the Turks^ who in Europe

at least are seldom a village people, are in externals by no

means so conservative as they were. They are a race of

townsfolk, whose ideal is beginning to be the garish squalor

and the restless pleasures of such places as Constantinople

and Salonica.

Sit beside a group of young officers, who

are chatting over their coffee and cigarettes in a frequented

resort, and amid the strange gutturals of their Mongolian

I speech some borrowed words of French, incessantly re-

i peated, are sure to arrest the ear.

It will be cheinin

de fer,

2

MACEDONIA

and then perhaps cafe cJinntant, but the phrase which seems to strike a keynote is fin de siecle. Nothing is altered,

perhaps, in spirit. Yet on the surface Turkey has changed within the brief space of a century, and nothing in Turkey

has changed more profoundly than its government. We

are accustomed to view the creation of the younger Balkan

States purely from the European standpoint as a revival of nationalism, and as the resultant of a long chain of ideal

causes in which the French Revolution played a large part.

But the wars and rebellions which founded the modern

kingdoms of Greece, Servia, and Roumania owed their suc-

cess in great part to local conditions. The first decades of

the nineteenth century seemed as though they must bring

about the collapse of the Turkish Empire, no<