Re: Secret Schools...Do you believe they really existed? -Nah! The Ottomans never even conquered the Christian lands of the Balkans !!!

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Posted by William on July 30, 2001 at 00:31:55:

In Reply to: Secret Schools...Do you believe they really existed? posted by Elizabeth on July 28, 2001 at 18:29:37:

: I find this subject interesting:

: Did the Orthodox church really have secret schools teaching the Greek language while under Ottoman occupation? Yes or no?

: If yes...can you prove that Ottoman rule always included assimilation into the dominant language via wiping out the minority language? (I find this assertion curious as it goes against everything I was taught in college about the Ottomans)

: How do you explain the fact that other Ottoman controlled regions don't speak Turkish either?

: Did they also have "secret schools"?

: If no...What purpose does this myth serve?


Dear Elizabeth:

You are right - the "kryfa scholia" (secret schools) never existed; they are the creation of the imagination of clerics (in spite of the subject of krifa scholia having been written about in many documents from the era by Hellenes and non-Hellenes alike).

In addition, there was no such thing as paidomazoma of over 2,000,000 Christian (exclusively) males between the 16th and the 18th centuries; the myth of the Janissaries intois also a creation of the Christian clergy.

The Ottomans didn't force their language on anyone; that's why all of their conquered subjects are fond of the memory of the Ottoman tenure in their lands; some examples ? Sure, the Egyptians (a predominantly Muslim nation); the Serbs, the Croats, the Albanians, the Romanians, the Armenians, and countless others amongst us - all willingly converted to Islam - not because of the dreaded head-tax imposed by local Ottoman leaders but because they wanted to also become assimilated.

As an Australian student of history (not a drop of Greek blood in me, by the way), I cannot, I stress!!!! CANNOT believe that Elizabeth has ever taken the time to study the issue of the secret schools in the survival of the Greek language at a time when only a couple of hundred thousand Hellenes could still understand some element of the Hellenic tongue; were these schools not in existence, the only people who could still speak the language would be the Cretans, the Fanariotes (Constantinople-based Hellenes) and some Pontian Greeks.

In the future, perhaps someone else can take the time to write more about figures such as St. Kosmas who essentially saved the Hellenic language from going extinct. As a convert to Orthodoxy, I feel I have learned more about these important modern Greek (and Christian) heroes than some of the nominal (genetically) Greeks who visit this wonderful bulletin board to burn bridges rather than to build them.


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