By Gregory Jusdanis
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Extra info for Belated Modernity and Aesthetic Culture: Inventing National Literature
24 D FROM EMPIRE TO NATION-STATE The scholars Daniil Filippidis (1755-1832) and Grigorios Konstantas (1758-1844) in their influential volume, Yeografia Neoteriki (1791) also addressed the political chaos and economic decay of the empire struggling to maintain authority over a huge territory and multiethnic population. They blamed the discontent of the Greeks on the absence of law and reliable structures for commercial interchange. Many Greeks, particularly the wealthy, they argued, fearing for their lives and property, flee to neighboring countries where "laws are sovereign and rights of life and property are sovereign" (1988: 116).
The Ottomans, however, introduced a new social structure cutting across ethnic and religious affiliations. They organized people horizontally into millets and vertically into social estates according to vocation (Karpat 1973: 113). The four major estates were: a) military men and dignitaries; b) religious leaders, scholars, cultural figures, and scribes; c) merchants and craftsmen; d) peasants. The majority of subjects were peasants who were assured hereditary rights to till lots in the timars (fiefs) as long as they paid a tax to the local notable (Stavrianos 1963: 16-17).
They blamed the discontent of the Greeks on the absence of law and reliable structures for commercial interchange. Many Greeks, particularly the wealthy, they argued, fearing for their lives and property, flee to neighboring countries where "laws are sovereign and rights of life and property are sovereign" (1988: 116). Conditions in the empire are not conducive to trade: "What heights of commerce do you expect in a place where the sea teems with pirates, and the land is full of klefts and thieves.