Available at Kyriakidis Publishers click here

Sam Topalidis has written this well-referenced book in order to spread knowledge on Pontic Greeks, i.e. Greeks from Pontos (north-east corner of Anatolia adjacent the Black Sea) to English readers.  To date, most of the information about this unique group has been written in Greek. 

The book is divided into sections covering Pontic history, Pontic society/culture, Pontic Greek family histories and Pontic musical instruments.  The section on Pontic history covers chapters on when the Greeks colonised Pontos, the history of the largest towns of Trabzon and Samsun, the Theoskepastos monastery, the Pontic Greek dialect and on the Crypto-Christians. 

Information written in English on Pontic culture is scarce and the hope is this book will help to disseminate this knowledge before it is forgotten.  There are chapters on funeral rituals, weddings, Easter celebrations and the origin of Greek and Turkish surnames.  There are many similarities with such cultural activities maintained by other Greeks, but the isolation of Pontic Greeks has created a unique culture. 

The chapters on four family histories are deeply moving as they describe personal trials of life and death that Pontic Greek families had to endure in order to survive.  Their stories are written in the context of the history of the time. 

The chapters devoted to musical instruments cover the kemenche (Pontic lyra), daouli (double-headed drum) and the tsabouna/toulum (bagpipe with one pipe).  These instruments are played at celebrations by both Pontic Greeks and Pontic Turks. 

Pontic history is rarely mentioned in school curriculums.  This study is an important contribution to an often neglected part of Greek history.  It provides an account of the long history of Greeks in Anatolia including the Population Exchange in the early 20th century.

 

 

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