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101­ Slaves of the Sul­ tan Rus­ sian Ran­ som­ ing of Chris­ tian Cap­ tives dur­ ing the Greek Rev­ o­ lu­ tion, 1821–1830 Lu­ cien J. Frary The peo­ ple of Rus­ sian lands were in­ volved in the Cri­ mean Tatar and Ot­ to­ man slave trade from at least the sec­ ond half of the fif­ teenth cen­ tury.1 By the six­ teenth cen­ tury, Cri­ mean Ta­ tars, No­ gais, Kal­ myks, and Ka­ zakhs ­ raided Rus­ sian ter­ ri­ to­ ries an­ nu­ ally, with the goal of en­ slav­ ing as many Rus­ sians as they could take away. Dis­ putes over ran­ som­ prices, con­ flicts re­ gard­ ing fu­ gi­ tives, haz­ ard­ ous ex­ changes of ­ plunder and mil­ i­ tary cap­ tives, ban­ dit raids, and ter­ ri­ to­ rial ri­ val­ ries were com­ mon re­ al­ ities in the ­ shared ­ Russian-Ottoman fron­ tier.2 Com­ mer­ cial con­ nec­ tions and cul­ tural inter­ ac­ tions, in­ fused at times by re­ li­ gious an­ tag­ o­ nism, guar­ an­ teed close, if dis­ cor­ dant, con­ tacts ­ between the peo­ ple liv­ ing along the mar­ gins of em­ pires. De­ spite fresh inter­ est in bor­ der­ land stud­ ies and the rel­ a­ tively large lit­ er­ a­ ture de­ voted to the ­ RussianOttoman wars, the fates of the men and women cap­ tured and en­ slaved in the bor­ der­ land con­ flicts of the eigh­ teenth and nine­ teenth cen­ tury re­ main an un­ ex­ plored av­ e­ nue of schol­ ar­ ship.3 In­ deed, the study of war cap­ tives in gen­ eral is a ne­ glected field, not only in the con­ text of the East­ ern Ques­ tion but also in the his­ tory of the mod­ ern world be­ fore the 102 Lucien J. Frary twen­ ti­ eth cen­ tury. De­ tailed stud­ ies of the op­ er­ a­ tional, stra­ te­ gic, and dip­ lo­ matic as­ pects of the ­ Russian-Ottoman wars exist, but few Eu­ ro­ pean schol­ ars and Rus­ sian spe­ cial­ ists have at­ tempted to de­ ter­ mine the fate of war cap­ tives, even ­ though archi­ val ­ sources are per­ haps more ac­ cess­ ible to re­ search­ ers in Eu­ rope and Rus­ sia than to their Turk­ ish col­ leagues.4 This chap­ ter at­ tempts to un­ cover a small por­ tion of this ex­ pe­ ri­ ence, by fo­ cus­ ing on the Chris­ tians en­ slaved by Ot­ to­ mans dur­ ing the Greek Rev­ o­ lu­ tion and the Rus­ sian ­ Empire’s at­ tempt to re­ deem them.5 The Rus­ sian re­ sponse to the sec­ tar­ ian vi­ o­ lence that ac­ com­ pa­ nied the tak­ ing of ­ slaves is an im­ por­ tant sub­ theme of this chap­ ter. The vi­ o­ lence was so se­ vere that many Rus­ sian of­ fi­ cials de­ scribed the Ot­ to­ man re­ sponse to the Greek Rev­ o­ lu­ tion as a “war of ex­ ter­ mi­ na­ tion.” In the early ­ months of 1821, when the Sub­ lime Porte re­ ceived news of the Greek re­ volt, the Is­ lamic au­ thor­ ities ­ called on all faith­ ful Mus­ lims to ­ avenge the ac­ tions of the Chris­ tian in­ sur­ gents. Sub­ se­ quently, Ot­ to­ man sol­ diers ­ stormed the set­ tle­ ments of Or­ tho­ dox Chris­ tians through­ out the Ae­ gean Is­ lands, the Pel­ o­ pon­ nese, and the ­ Greek-speaking main­ land, cap­ tur­ ing, pil­ lag­ ing, and en­ slav­ ing en­ tire pop­ u­ la­ tions. Thou­ sands of the reaya (Ot­ to­ man ­ tax-paying sub­ jects) ended up as ­ slaves in Mus­ lim house­ holds and farms, where they began new lives as ser­ vants, la­ bor­ ers, and, in some cases, com­ pan­ ions of their Mus­ lim mas­ ters. Of ­ course, the en­ slave­ ment of pris­ on­ ers was in no re­ spect the monop­ oly of the Ot­ to­ mans. This prac­ tice was typ­ i­ cal and, at times, of­ fi­ cially sanc­ tioned by Eu­ ro­ pean pow­ ers, at least until the eigh­ teenth cen­ tury.6 Al­ though his­ to­ rians have often under­ scored the harsh re­ pres­ sion of the Ot­ to­ man...


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