|Nikos Kararas, To Sevdikioi|
THE NAME OF THE VILLAGE
Location and climate
Inner view of the village
Mahalas and sokaks
Toponyms and countryside
HISTORICAL EVOLUTION OF THE VILLAGE
The previous inhabitants
The Fotiadis family
The Foskolos family
The Chaniotis family
The Kyriakidis family
The Chappas family
The Mavroudis family
European inhabitants of Sevdikioi
The beautiful women of Sevdikioi
PRODUCTION AND PROFESSIONS
The St John Theologus
The St John Baptist
School of agriculture
LIFE IN THE VILLAGE
The mens’ and womens’ dresses
The Apokries (carnival)
Holy Week and Easter
The marriage ceremony
Customs of religious worship
The ‘fides’ (a kind of pasta soup)
The ‘fouskoti’ (a kind of loaf)
Words and phrases
The battle of Kefalani square
Captain Andreas and his blackmails
The hanging of Kostas Theofanakis
The life of the refugees
SEVDIKIOI AFTER THE CATASTROPHY
INDEX OF MAIN NAMES
TABLE OF PICTURES
|TABLE OF ILLUSTRATIONS|
|1. The Fotiadis mansion as Headquarters of the 1st Greek
2. The inner facade of Fotiadis mansion (1920)
3. Dimitrios Fotiadis
4. Aikaterini D. Fotiadi, i “kera” (=lady)
5. In the Fotiadis garden
6. The Patriarch Sofronios of Alexandria, guest of Fotiadis family
7. Pavlos Foskolos
8. The mason stoa “Melis” in the Foskolos garden
9. Lambros Chaniotis
10. Ioannis Kyriakidis or Kyriakakis
11. Nikolaos Emm. Chappas
12. The family crest of de Hochepied
13. the centre of the reception hall of the de Hochepied mansion
14. Modern (1964) view of the de Hochpied mansion
15. Inner façade of the van Lennep – Arlaud mansion
16. Eftichia G. Fotiadis
17. Aglaia Il. Simitopoulos
18. Easter celebrations at Sevdikioi (1906)
19. Another celebration of Easter Monday at the village’s railway station
20. N. Plastiras among Sevdikialides (=men from Sevdikioi) at New York
21. Sevdikioi in 1678
22. Topographic plan of Sevdikioi at 1920
23. Map of the Sevdikioi area
The ‘Madama’ of Smyrna
The story of the Levantine Marie Dunant
(Translated from the book ‘To Sevdiköy’ by Nikos Kararas, ‘Enosis Smyrnaion’ Editions, Athens 1964)
Marie Dunant was the daughter of Jacques Dunant and Anne Arlaud, the widow of Samuel Crawley. She was married in 1763 to Count Daniel Jean, Count and Baron of Hochepied, Consul of the Netherlands at Smyrna. She lived a wealthy life in Sevdiköy, followed by an army of servants. She had a strong personality in Smyrna and was dominant over the agricultural area of Sevdiköy. Her reputation was still present until Smyrna’s last days . In fact, a whole neighborhood there, the ‘Madama’’s Hani (=inn), where the goldsmith workshops were located, belong to her.
The following story draws a vivid picture of this woman’s personality, character and influence, who through her charming beauty and her excellent mind played an important role in the local Sevdiköy history and in Smyrna’s history as a whole:
The Pashas were extremely attracted to the rare charm of the Consul’s wife. She came from a distant place, Harlem, the region of tulips, and lived in the rural village that was famous for its forests and its provoking name, the village of love (sevda=love). Full of romanticism, she got rid of her European clothes and wore the precious Turkish garments. Her gentle self-respect and her haughty style irresistibly drew all the looks. At the same time she was friendly, flirtatious and good looking. Yet, she was a respectable mother, for she had many children. Inside her house, were twenty two paintings of European artists that depicted her surrounded by her children and her black nannies.
For everybody else she was ‘the grand lady’ or ‘Madama’. She spoke eight different languages as fluently as her own mother tongue. Her expressions were so gracious and witty that it was impossible to get bored in discussions with her. Many argued that she was a witch and that she carried magic potions, because they could not figure out how she could surprise even the most educated men who asked her opinion on politics and commerce.
The Aga [head man] of Smyrna in particular admired her a lot. He did not hesitate to ask her about the most sensitive issue and always followed her advice. Many times the Aga was a guest in her house and took the most serious decisions between a smile and a bite of flavored locum [Turkish delight].
One day, terror was spread in the village among the poor Madama’s protégés and above all the unfortunate Christians and the Turkish land workers, for they were ordered to leave their houses without any compensation and notice. The beautiful foreigner send her people to find out what was going on and they informed her that a powerful Bey had the idea to demolish a whole mahala [neighborhood] and establish there his stables for his Arabian horses. The poor ones in vain protested to the Aga and asked from the Consuls to intervene on their behalf. Even the muezzin [Muslim prayer caller] raised his voice during the prayer in vain too.
The terrible day of the notice arrived. The Muslims were crying on their doorsteps, the Christians were cursing the Consuls for their indifference, for no-one dared to protest again, in fear of a greater misfortune.
Suddenly, the women thought of Madama. They ran and begged her to mediate to the Pasha. The Grand Lady first sent her people to the Bey to ask on her behalf to recall his order, but he did not even accept to meet with them. Immediately, the golden-red carriage of Madama was prepared and she along with her guards on horseback leading the procession, she grandiosely traveled to Smyrna and deeply grieved presented herself to the Konak [government house]. The entire city, astonished by this magnificent demonstration on a very hot day, thought that something extraordinary was happening and awaited…
She was received by the chief eunuch of the Pasha by kissing the earth before looking to her face and then led her to the private divan of his master. They sat comfortably on the silky cushions, the sorbets, the rose sugars and the coffees were served, all typical of such an occasion. Finally, Madama managed to speak. She complained that the Bey did not show the appropriate respect to her and asked from the Pasha to step in. He smiled, kissed the fine hand taken out of the glove and requested from his guest to allow him to go out for a while so that he could give the necessary orders. When he returned, he assured her that her protégées would remain peaceful in their homes. They chatted for quite a while about various issues and the hearing came to an end. The fine hand was kissed again by the Aga, the chief eunuch bowed again towards the earth and the golden carriage rolled noisily on the cobbled road.
At Sevdiköy the sun had not risen yet. Outside Madama’s house such a crowd of people had gathered that the guards could not push them back. The bustle reached the Lady’s bed-chamber, and she, curious and impatient as she was, stood up in order to find out herself what was going on. In front of her balcony saw under a tree a human body with a bruised face hanging from a loop tied round the neck. It was the Bey!
On the same day, an emissary of the Aga asked to see her and handed a document on his master’s behalf. He wrote that “she was always the rose of his preference”, that he broke the thorn that separated him from the rose bush and that this rose bush, meaning the farm of the hanged Bey, from now on will belong to the most beautiful of all roses.
The Madama died on the 27th of November 1801.
Notes:1 -Translation kindly provided by Athens based Smyrna/Izmir enthusiast, Achilleas Chatziconstantinou.
2- Further information relating to the de Hochepied family is available in this book segment of ‘Family Records - A record of the origin and history of the Giraud and Whittall families of Turkey’, by Edmund H. Giraud, 1934, viewable here:
3- Further information on the past of Seydikeuy and the involvement there with a botanical garden of an eminent botanist of the time and Consul of the Levant Company in Smyrna (1703-16), William Sherard, penned by Evely L. Kalças, viewable here: and from Garden History, IV no. 3 (1976): J. Harvey, ‘Turkey as a source of Garden Plants’.
4- The author on a recently published book on the history of Seydiköy, ‘Geçmişten Günümüze Seydiköy - Gaziemir Belediyesi, 2006’ - Ercan Çokbankir has given permission for the publishing of a pair of images concerning the Van Lennep family of that village, viewable here:
5- Clues to the economic success of some of the Van Lennep family members is provided in the book by Jan Schmidt ‘From Anatolia to Indonesia: Opium Trade and the Dutch Community of Izmir, (1820-1940). Istanbul: Nederlands Historisch-Archaeologisch Instituut, 1998’ which states on p.87, ‘One of the outstandig Dutch trading houses in Izmir, both in the 18th and the 19th centuries, was that which was led by three generations of Van Lenneps. The first Van Lennep to setle in Izmir was David George (1712-1797). During his long life, David managed to become the uncrowned king of the Dutch colony and his house was the rendezvous of the best society of Smyrna as the traveller Mathieu Dumas reported in 1784. David van Lennep probably arrived in Izmir in 1731 in the company of Philippe de la Fontaine, whose family had old trade contacts with the Levant. David married a Dutch woman. Anna Maria Leidstar, daughter of a Dutch Levantine Merchant, and the couple had eleven children: four sons, among whom was the eldest Jacob (1769-1855), and seven daughters. Prosperity enabled David to maintain a house in Seydiköy.’
6- An article penned in 2009 on the Levantine heritage of Seydiköy, viewable here: