HISTORY AND CULTURE OF GREEKS
FROM PONTOS BLACK SEA
By Sam Topalidis
Kyriakidis Publishers 2019.
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Let's be honest. the majority of written material about the historic region of Pontos and its Greek population is written in Greek. With that in mind, Sam Topalidis has produced the following well-referenced volume to enhance the public's understanding of a region steeped in Greek history and culture.
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.
PART A - PONTIC HISTORY
1. Who are the Greeks from Pontos
2. Formation of the Greek settlements in Pontos
3. A history of Trabzon
4. A history of Samsun
5. The Panayia Theoskepastos Monastery, Trabzon
6. The development and current state of the Pontic Greek dialect
7. Cryptochristians in Pontos
PART B - PONTIC SOCIETY AND CULTURE
8. Greek funeral rituals
9. Greek weddings
10. Greek Easter celebrations
11. Origin of Greek and Turkish surnames
PART C - PONTIC GREEK FAMILY HISTORIES
12. Sofia Dimarchos
13. Sophie Kiriakidis
14. Sotiris and Aglaia, Moratidis
15. Sam Topliadis
Part D - PONTIC MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS
16. The Daouli drum
17. The Tsabuna (tulum) bagpipe, what is its future
18. The Kemence (Pontic lyra)
PART E - CONCLUSIONS AND REFERENCES
19. Where to from here?