by the Ottomans in 1461, survived under circumstances similar to those that prevailed in the Balkans.
Under Ottoman rule the monasteries of Mount Athos continued their life fairly undisturbed. If they received no more imperial donations, at least the Ottoman sultans confirmed them in possession of most of their landed properties and granted them privileges ensuring favourable taxation. Private individuals continued to make donations to the various monasteries, which took the form both of landed property and of cash and precious objects. Among them were distinguished personalities such as the voevody of Wallachia.5 The fascination exercised by this most venerated of religious centres extended to those of humbler origin, who made donations of some importance. A case worth mentioning is that of the monastery of Kavallarea, situated in Venetian Crete, which was bequeathed by its abbot to the Athonite monastery of Dionysiou in 1555.6 Donations to the monasteries of Athos multiplied during the period of the Ottoman expansion in the Balkans, because, as we shall see, they were favoured by prevailing circumstances. Therefore, Mount Athos continued to flourish economically under its new masters and remained a centre of education, culture and spiritual life.
It benefited from the understanding it developed with the early Ottoman rulers. This was apparently in place even before their conquest of Macedonia, if we are to believe an Athonite tradition which has the support of scattered pieces of historical evidence. This claims that in the days of Sultan Orkhan (1326-62) monks living on Mount Athos, disheartened by the destructive civil wars taking place in Byzantium, came to the conclusion that Constantinople would soon fall to the Ottomans. They therefore sent envoys to the Ottoman capital of Bursa (Prousa), seeking the sultan's protection. Orkhan, in return, graciously complied, confirmed them in possession of their landed properties, and granted them further privileges. When under Murad I (1362-89) the Ottomans moved their capital from Bursa to Edirne (Adrianople), the monks of Mount Athos again sent envoys in order to obtain a new confirmation. Although no surviving Ottoman documents corroborate this tradition, it preserves the interesting detail that the original documents issued by Orkhan in Bursa were stored in the chancery and the monks were later able to obtain
5 P. S. Nasturel, 'Le Mont Athos et ses premiers contacts avec la Principauté de Valachie', Bulletin, Association Internationale d'Etudes du Sud-Est Européen 1 (1963), 31-8; Nasturel, 'Aperçu critique des rapports de la Valachie et du Mont Athos des origines au debut du XVIe siècle', Revue des Etudes Sud-Est Europeennes 2 (1964), 93-126.
6 P. NikolopoulosandN. Oikonomides, "Iepà Mov-q Aiovuaiou, KaTaÀoyosToû apxEÎou', ZûmjsiKTa 1 (1966), 291, no. 97.
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