In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

346 Reviews Eftihia D. Liata, H ΣÎ-ϕιφος κατά την Τουϕκοκϕατία (17ος-19ος αι.). Athens: Research and Educational Foundation of the Commercial Bank of Greece. 1987. Pp. 232. This book is one of a series of studies on modern Greek history published by the Research and Educational Foundation of the Commercial Bank of Greece. The Foundation funds research projects or the revision of doctoral dissertations with the purpose of producing a series of elegantly published books on the modern economic and social history of Greece. The series, which consists of ten studies published between 1985 and 1987, reflects the high quality of scholarship in Greek historiography in recent years. Of the two main currents in this corpus of work, one tending towards broader theoretical analyses and the second focusing upon narrower concerns, Liata's study is representative of the latter. Her book is concerned with the Ottoman period in the history of Serifos, an island described in the introduction as one of the more marginal and insignificant of the Cyclades. Her primary purpose is to present a description of the main axes around which life revolved in this particular island. The structure of the book reflects the author's concern to provide a general overview of Serifos' social and economic history. Following a brief introduction, the study divides into five short chapters. They deal, in turn, with the social demography of the island; the communal system of government; the system of taxation; land distribution and cultivation; and the production and marketing of agricultural goods. There is a three-page conclusion and a relatively large section of appendices that include original documents, cadastral information and lists of inhabitants' names. The main text includes 30 tables and often lengthy footnotes. It is a thoroughly researched study. While Liata focuses on processing factual information, she is not unaware of the more general theoretical questions being asked and working hypotheses being tested against the history of this period. Indeed, she states in the introduction that she hopes to address those questions if only by providing limited observations regarding the framework of inquiry developed by Spyros Asdrachas, a leading Greek economic historian (who directed part of Liata's research and to whom this book is dedicated). Asdrachas' framework explores the functions of community organizations , the scope of local self-government allowed by the Ottoman system, the impact of taxation on local communities, the local economy 's monetarization and subsequent demographic change, relations between social strata, and the economic and political activities of the Reviews 347 notable class. Liata admits that the scarcity of empirical information on Serifos between the 17th and 19th centuries impeded her efforts to address these issues in a satisfactory manner. The bulk of what documentary evidence she was able to locate came from the archives of a monastery on the island and, to a lesser extent, the archives of the local community organization. This considerable material, combined with the few existing secondary sources, nevertheless proved insufficient for the author to use to test any of the current general working hypotheses and arguments. Instead, the course of Liata's inquiry follows the contours of the available empirical material. But there is barely enough information to justify the inclusion of certain sections. The available material is too thin for meaningful discussion of some issues raised by the author. For example, despite the author's recognition of the importance of the role of the island's communal organization, the chapter on this subject is relatively short, reflecting the paucity of data. The chapter on the production and marketing of goods also suffers from a scarcity of information. In contrast, the chapters on taxation and land distribution and cultivation based on the cadastral registers found in the local monastery, are by far the strongest points of the study. The author's determination to present a comprehensive examination of several aspects of Serifos' social history seems to have gotten in the way of a more detailed investigation into some of the interesting findings yielded by her research. The dominance of the monastery in the island's economic life, as compared to the influence of the community notables, for example. Studies of Ottoman Greece that focus on the more commercially advanced regions have...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 346-348
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.