copies of them.7 Even if no such copies have been found, it points to continuing contacts between Mount Athos and the Ottoman court.
The motif of this story appears in more than one narrative dealing with the early relations between the Ottoman Sultans and Orthodox monks in the Balkans. It is found, for example, in the chronicle of Yazicioglu Ali, written in the early fifteenth century There it is connected not with the monks of Athos, but with those of the Prodromos monastery, near Serres. They were even more perspicacious than the monks of Athos, for they had foreseen the Ottoman conquest as far back as the days of Orkhan's father Osman, the eponymous founder of the Ottoman state! They travelled to his court and begged for his protection, which they obtained in the shape of a decree from him.8 But this is pure legend, for in the days of Osman Ottoman power was limited to the frontiers of Bithynia and the likelihood of contacts with a monastery near Serres is so remote as to be impossible. By the reign of his grandson, Sultan Murad I, it was quite another matter. By then the Ottomans were established in Thrace, whichbecame their base for raids against Macedonia. It was in these circumstances that the monks of the Prodromos monastery first established relations with the Ottomans, as is shown by a document of the year 1372-73 granted to them by Murad I. This document seems to be the first one issued by a sultan for the Prodromos monastery because there is no mention in it that Murad I was followingthe example of his father or grandfather in favouring the monastery, which was the normal practice of the Ottoman chancery. When, for example, Murad's grandsons, Musa Celebi and Mehmed Celebi, made grants to the monastery, they made it clear that they were confirming the privileges granted by their grandfather to the monastery.9
We have another example of this practice in the confirmation of the grant of a timar near Thessalonike made in 1386 by Murad I. It specified that the original grant had been made by Murad's father Orkhan to the present holder's father. The man in question came from a noble Serbian family, which had close connections with the Athonite monastery of St Paul.10 This in itself offers additional support for the belief that already in the days of Orhkan relations
7 G. Smyrnakes, To Äyiov'Opos (Athens: Hetaireia 'Hellenismos', 1903), 109.
8 P. Wittek, 'Zu einigen frühosmanischen Urkunden (vi)', Wiener Zeitschrift für die Kunde des Morgenlandes 58 (1962), 197. The story of Yazicioglu Ali is repeated by the seventeenth-century Ottoman historian, Mtineccimbashi.
9 E. A. Zachariadou, 'Early Ottoman documents of the Prodromos Monastery', SüdostForschungen 28 (1969), 1-12.
10 H.-G. Majer, 'Some remarks on the document of Murad I from the monastery of St Paul on Mount Athos (1386)', in Mount Athos in the I4th-i6th Centuries [AOwviKa ÜOmJBKTa 4] (Athens: Institute for Byzantine Research, 1997), 33-9.
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