Author Pauline Hager crafts an epic novel of the Ottoman Turkish Empire’s cruel subjugation of Greece from 1453 to 1829. Set in the year 1790 in the Taygetos Mountains of the Peloponnese peninsula, the story recounts the tale of eleven-year-old Giorgi and his family. Elite agents of the Ottoman Sultan’s Janissary Corps murder his parents and Giorgi longs for revenge. As a teenager, together with his younger brother, Yianni, they climb the high, craggy mountains, seeking to join forces with their childhood hero and guerrilla leader, Kapetan Zaharias, and his outlawed Greek freedom fighters. Ensconced in deep caves, they lived and trained to battle the Turks.
Below in the valleys, the peasants were overworked and overtaxed. Left to fend for themselves, they labored long hours in the fields to feed their families and pay their taxes. Since then Greeks learned to hide their income so they would not pay taxes to the Ottoman Empire. Unfortunately this habit was passed on until today. Under Turkish rule, Greece was mired in abject poverty. Other constraints preventing the Greeks from advancement were their deeply rooted, centuries-old Greek traditions. The peasants, especially the widows, were bound to them, crushing any glimmer of hope.
In 1821, the Greek peasants rebelled, and with the aid of The Greek Diaspora and The Great Powers of England, France, and Russia, the country gained her freedom with the Treaty of Adrianople, signed in 1829. The Turkish pashas ruled with a combination of laxity (change your Christian religion and pay no taxes) or by extortion (pay the right person and you are left alone.)
Today, Greek families pay over 1,500 Euros per year in bribes. A surgeon in a state hospital expects additional Euros from a family to perform surgery, in addition to what the state pays him. Tax collectors are notorious for collecting additional Euros from citizens to assure them their taxes are properly recorded, and so it goes in all aspects of daily living. Bribery is rampant in modern Greece, a carry-over from Ottoman rule.
About the book:
Title: Giorgi’s Greek Tragedy
Author: Pauline Hager
Publication Date: June 2010
13 digit ISBN # 978 0-7414-6034 9