Ali Pasha of Ioannina

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Ali Pasha
Ali Tepelena
Ali Pasha
Ali Pasha at the Lake of Butrint, by Louis Dupré
Pasha of Yanina
In office
Personal details
Tepelena, Sanjak of Delvina, Ottoman Empire
DiedJanuary 24, 1822(1822-01-24) (aged 81–82)
Ioannina, Pashalik of Yanina, Ottoman Empire
Spouse(s)Emine (daughter of Kaplan Pasha of Gjirokastër)
(m. 1808)
RelationsMehmed (grandson), Ismail (grandson), Muhtar Bey (grandfather), Mustafa Yussuf (great grandfather), Fikret İşmen Kaygı (descendant) Husein Pasha (descendant) Fatma Hikmet İşmen (descendant)
Parent(s)Veli Bey and Hamko
Nickname(s)"Aslan" (Turkish: Lion)
"Lion of Yannina"[1]
Military service

Ali Pasha or Ali Pasha of Tepelena (Albanian: Ali Tepelena; 1740 – January 24, 1822), commonly known as Ali Pasha of Ioannina, was an Albanian ruler who served as Ottoman pasha of the Pashalik of Yanina, a large part of western Rumelia, which under his rule acquired a high degree of autonomy and even managed to stay de facto independent. The capital of the Pashalik was Ioannina, which along with Tepelena were Ali's headquarters.[2] Conceiving his territory in increasingly independent terms, Ali Pasha's correspondence and foreign Western correspondence frequently refer to the territories under Ali's control as "Albania",[3] which by Ali's definition included central and southern Albania, and parts of mainland Greece; in particular, most of the district of Epirus and the western parts of Thessaly and Macedonia.[4] He managed to stretch his control over the sanjaks of Yanina, Delvina, Vlora and Berat, Elbasan, Ohrid and Monastir, Görice, and Tirhala. Ali was granted the Sanjak of Tirhala in 1787, and he delegated in 1788 its government to his second born Veli Pasha, who also became Pasha of the Morea Eyalet in 1807. Ali's eldest son Muhtar Pasha was granted the Sanjak of Karli-Eli and the Sanjak of Eğriboz in 1792, stretching for the first time Ali's control down to Livadia and the Gulf of Corinth, except Attica. Muhtar Pasha also became governor of the Sanjak of Ohrid in 1796–7 and of the Sanjak of Vlora and Berat in 1810.[5][6]

Ali first appears in historical accounts as the leader of a band of Albanian brigands who became involved in many confrontations with Ottoman state officials in Albania and Epirus. He joined the administrative-military apparatus of the Ottoman Empire, holding various posts until 1788 when he was appointed pasha, ruler of the sanjak of Ioannina. His diplomatic and administrative skills, his interest in modernist ideas and concepts, his popular Muslim piety, his respect towards other religions, his suppression of banditry, his vengefulness and harshness in imposing law and order, and his looting practices towards persons and communities in order to increase his proceeds caused both the admiration and the criticism of his contemporaries, as well as an ongoing controversy among historians regarding his personality. As his influence grew, his involvement in Ottoman politics increased culminating in his active opposition to the ongoing Ottoman military reforms. After being declared a rebel in 1820, he was captured and killed in 1822 at the age of 81 or 82, after a successful military campaign against his forces. In Western literature, Ali Pasha became the personification of an "oriental despot".[1]


Ali Pasha was variously referred to as of Tepelena, of Ioannina/Janina/Yannina or the Lion of Yannina. His native name was Albanian: Ali Tepelena, and he was referred to as Ali Pashë Tepelena or Ali Pasha i Janinës; and in other local languages as Aromanian: Ali Pãshelu; Greek: Αλή Πασάς Τεπελενλής Ali Pasas Tepelenlis or Αλή Πασάς των Ιωαννίνων Ali Pasas ton Ioanninon (Ali Pasha of Ioannina); and Turkish: Tepedelenli Ali Paşa (Ottoman Turkish: تپه‌دلنلي علي پاشا).[1]

Ancestry and early life[edit]

The statue of Ali Pasha in Tepelenë

Ali Pasha was born into the Albanian Meçohysaj clan; they were Christian Albanians who embraced Islam in the Ottoman period. The family was attributed a legendary ancestry as descendants of a Mevlevi dervish named Nazif who migrated from Konya to Tepelene through Kütahya, and Ali himself would make similar claims to strangers and Ottoman Turks in order to claim legitimacy to landholdings.[7][1][8][9] Nonetheless, this tradition is unfounded, as Ali's family was of local Albanian origin.[1][10][11]

They had achieved some stature by the 17th century; Ali's great-grandfather, Mustafa Yussuf from the Gjirokastër region, was a notable brigand, warrior and clan chieftain who eventually obtained the title of bey and possibly official recognition as the deputy governor of Tepelena. Ali's grandfather, Muhtar Bey, was also a bandit chieftain who fought both for and against the Ottoman Turks.[12] Muhtar had died during the 1716 siege of Corfu.[1] Ali's father, Veli Bey, was a local ruler of Tepelena.[13]

Ali himself was born in Beçisht, although some claim that he was born in the adjacent town of Tepelena.[7][8][13] Ali's father, Veli Bey, was involved in a rivalry with his cousin, Islam Bey, who was also a local ruler.[1] Islam Bey was appointed mutasarrıf of Delvinë in 1752, but Veli Bey managed to kill him and thereby succeed his cousin as mutasarrıf in 1762.[1] Veli Bey was assassinated shortly after when Ali was ten, and Ali was brought up by his mother, Chamko (or Hanko/Hamko), who originally hailed from Konitsa.[8][1]

Ali's mother Hamko was forced to take control of Veli's band in order to retain her family's position. She was said to have poisoned Ali's half-brother (along with the boy's mother) in order to secure Ali's inheritance. She had a great impact on Ali's personality, and Ali deeply respected her. Hamko arranged a marriage between Ali and Emine, the daughter of the Kaplan Pasha of Gjirokastër. Eventually, the villages surrounding Tepelena formed a confederacy against Hamko and forced the woman and her family out of the town; she was later ambushed and defeated by the men of Hormovë and Kardhiq, two Christian and Muslim Albanian villages respectively. Hamko and Ali's sister were captured by the men of Kardhiq, raped and then humiliated by being forced to walk through the streets with a man on her back. From then on, Hamko would instil a desire for revenge in Ali, who would avenge his mother by massacring the inhabitants of Kardhiq in his later years.[14][15]

Ali would have two sons with Emine, the daughter of Kaplan Pasha of Gjirokastër. The first would be Muhtar Pasha, and the second would be Veli Pasha. Ali's youngest son, Selim, would be born to a slave much later in 1802. Both of his sons with Emine would be married to the daughters of Ibrahim Pasha of Berat. When Ali gained power, Ali's sister, Shainitza, was married off to Sulejman of Gjirokastër; Sulejman's family came from Libohovë in Zagoria, where Ali built a fortified seraglio as his sister's dowry. One claim suggests that she was first married to Sulejman's brother, also called Ali, but he died or was murdered by Sulejman with Ali Pasha's permission. Shainitza's third son, Adem, would become the governor of Libohovë, and her daughter from her first marriage was married to Veli Bey of Këlcyrë.[16]


Portrait of Ali Pasha, drawn by Charles Robert Cockerell (published in 1820), based on Thomas Smart Hughes' travels in Albania in 1813.[17]

In his early years, Ali distinguished himself as a bandit in the mountains.[13] Ali's growing reputation as a notorious bandit forced the Ottoman government to take action, and they authorised Ahmet Kurt Pasha of Berat to subdue him. He was eventually captured by Kurt, possibly twice but definitely in 1775 when it is known that Ali was actually employed in Kurt's service, due to a hostility that had arisen between the two upon Kurt's rejection of Ali's offer to marry Kurt's daughter, Miriem. Instead, Miriem would be married to Ibrahim Bey of Vlorë in 1765, and Ibrahim would later become Pasha of both Vlorë and Berat. As a result, Ibrahim and Ali also became rivals, and this rivalry continued until Ibrahim's death.[18] Ali affiliated himself with the Bektashi sect,[13] although he was not particularly anti-Christian or self-consciously Muslim and showed no favouritism to either group as a ruler.[19]

Venetian records indicate that Ali and his cousin, Islam Bey of Këlcyrë, were part of a force of 9,000 Muslim Albanians under Sulejman Çapari, the aga of Margariti, who were engaged in conflict with the Souliotes in 1772, and it is possible that Ali was also part of Ahmet Kurt Pasha's force in 1775 during Kurt's campaign against the Souliotes. The first military action in which Ali is confirmed to have participated in was Ahmet Kurt Pasha's conflict with Mehmed Pasha Bushati in 1776; Ali and his cousin Islam distinguished themselves during the subsequent engagements around Kavajë and Tirana, but Ali fell out with Kurt over the division of the spoils of war and resumed his life of banditry. In 1778, Ahmet Kurt Pasha was disgraced and dismissed as a result of the schemes employed by Mehmed 'Kalo' Pasha of Yanina, who then took over the Sanjak of Avlona. The guardianship of the mountain passes was bestowed upon a Turk from Thessaly known as Catalcali Haci Ali Pasha; the local Albanians did not like him, and so he appointed Ali Pasha – at this point Ali Bey – as his deputy to establish order amongst the Albanian brigands while Catalcali remained in his fortress in the distant Chalkis of Euboea.[20]

With this new Ottoman administrative position, Ali eliminated the military and civil officials appointed by Kurt in favour of his own men, and established a network between the leaders of Albanian bands and the captains of armatoli. Albanian fighters that refused to serve Ali were relocated to the Morea, where they could continue their occupation of plundering. Ali's new position also meant that he could orchestrate legitimate and illegitimate protection rackets that gave him enough resources to recruit mercenaries and set aside money for bribes. Around this time, Ali went to Missolonghi to collect a debt owed by Michaeles Avronites, a local sea captain who was originally from Cephallonia and therefore a Venetian subject. Ali arrived in the town with his Albanians as a show of force, and when he could not find Avronites, Ali seized a number of Venetian subjects, including the Venetian consul. They were released only after Missolonghi's leaders declared that they would pay the debt themselves, and Ali took 500 barrels of merchandise bound for the Ionian Islands as a guarantee, although these barrels were never returned to the people of Missolonghi. Similar intimidation tactics were used across Epirus by Ali, who although serving in this administrative position for only five months, managed to impose order and a systemic tax regime, as well as amass enormous personal wealth.[21]

Rivalry with Ahmet Kurt Pasha[edit]

In 1779, Ahmet Kurt Pasha had returned to power through intrigue and bribery of the Sublime Porte. Ali openly challenged Kurt in an effort to get the Porte to recognise that Ali had a stronger power-base. Ali marched an army of 2,000–3,000 Albanians through Thessaly, dispersing them along the journey to intimidate local towns and villages and to extract wealth from them. At Trikkala, Ali led his own detachment of 300 soldiers into the near-deserted town as many of the inhabitants had already fled upon his approach. Once a certain amount of protection money was peacefully extracted from the town, Ali and his men left and proceeded to Farsala, where he and Catalcali Haci (who was still Ali's superior) plotted against Ahmet Kurt Pasha.[22]

Ali's first action was to take the district of Acarnania, where his soldiers had already visited Missolonghi and yet again extracted more tributes from the citizens. Ali arrived with 4,000 men, occupying the regional capital of Vrachori (Agrinion) and re-joining his Albanian troops that had returned from their ravaging of the Morea. In response, Kurt moved his troops southwards in Epirus and placed pressure upon the Venetians and the armatoles to restrict Ali's approach. The Sublime Porte was forced to intervene in the situation, and Ottoman general Cezayirli Gazi Hasan Pasha, who was already dispatched to dispose of the Albanian irregulars in the Morea, was instead sent to Macedonia and Thessaly to re-establish regional order. Gazi Hasan Pasha, although aided by local Turks, armatoles and Greek peasants, was not able to defeat and drive out the Albanians. However, he later succeeded in pacifying the Albanians in the Morea, but peace was only temporarily restored as the Albanians continued to pour into the region.[23]

Meanwhile, Ali had returned to Tepelena to restore his family's position and solidify his power base. Upon learning that the Sublime Porte refused to restore him in place of Ahmet Kurt Pasha, Ali ordered his tribal and feudal allies to attack Kurt's local garrisons, ravaging the mountain districts between Tepelena and the outskirts of Yanina for the next two years. The Porte forced Kurt to directly challenge Ali's disruption, and although Kurt could muster a force of 10,000 men and 100 cavalry, he would not be able to defeat Ali in the mountain passes and resorted to besieging Tepelena. Ali had no other option but to break through the siege and make way for Butrint, which Kurt interpreted as an attempt to return to the Morea. Ali's escape caused concern throughout Greece, and Kurt responded by sending 6,000 soldiers to the Bay of Arta to cut Ali off from his southern route and to trap him next to the sea, distributing funds along the way to local chieftains. Ali also recruited his own allies, including his cousin Islam Bey of Këlcyrë, the son of Sulejman Çapari and aga of Margariti Hasan Çapari, and Demoglou of Konispol. These allies kept the pasha of Delvinë's forces occupied while Ali continued further south towards Arta and Preveza. These manoeuvres alerted the Venetians, and the pashas of Trikkala and Euboea were asked to send their armies to aid Kurt. Ali, contrary to what Kurt expected, changed direction and marched towards Yanina, subduing and fortifying important villages along the way.[24]

Kurt's troops, under the command of his son-in-law Ibrahim Bey, were unable to defeat Ali, and this resulted in a stalemate. Ali eventually retreated to Tepelena, and Kurt attempted to impress the Sublime Porte by sending severed heads as evidence of Ali's demise, but the unrest continued nonetheless. Through his actions, Ali was able to greatly undermine Kurt's authority and garner enough attention from the Venetians to establish diplomatic relations with them. In 1783, Ali sent a declaration of friendship to the Venetian administration at Corfu at the risk of an accusation of treason. Expecting to receive the title of Pasha of two tails at any moment, Ali asked them to intercede at the Sublime Porte on his behalf to hasten the process. The Venetians followed through, and in return, Ali disrupted Mustafa Koka, the Pasha of Delvinë and a political opponent of the Venetians.[25]

Initial appointment[edit]

The Sublime Porte was still heavily in debt to the Albanian fighters who put down the Greek revolt in the Morea in 1769–1770, with astronomical sums being owed in back pay. Ali's high prestige amongst the Albanian fighters, as well as his satisfactory diplomatic solutions that normalised Venetian-Turkish relations, highlighted the fact that he was now the de facto force in the region, bypassing both Ahmet Kurt Pasha and Kara Mahmud Pasha Bushati of Shkodër. Ali was appointed mutasarrif of Ioannina at the end of 1784 or beginning of 1785 on the condition that he led 1,000 troops on campaign, possibly as part of the military response to the Russian annexation of Crimea.[25]

Deposition and re-appointment[edit]

"Ali Pasha of Janina hunting in the lake of Butrint in March 1819" by Louis Dupré (1825)

Ali did not keep his promise to the Sublime Porte; instead of going on campaign for the Ottomans, Ali focused his attention on Hormovë as part of a greater effort to impose his rule over the villages and towns around Gjirokastër before eventually subjugating Gjirokastër itself. In an act of vengeance on the people of Hormovë for their part in the humiliation of his mother and sister, Ali would attack the village with over 1,000 men after lulling the town into a false sense of friendship. The men were killed, the women and children sold into slavery, and the leader of Hormovë was roasted alive on a spit above a fire. His actions intimidated the neighbouring villages into submission, earning him governorship of Janina soon thereafter.[26]

Additionally, the region of Himarë was seen as a point of concern for the Sublime Porte due to its support and collaboration with the Russian Empire and Venice. Serving as the governor of Delvinë, Ali claimed jurisdiction of the region and organised a campaign in 1785. Himara held out, however, as Ali had other issues to tend to. He failed to establish secure rule over Janina and made enemies of the local Turkish and Greek communities, who protested to the Sublime Porte. He was dismissed from his position in favour of his rival, Kurt Pasha, and was called upon by the Sultan to campaign against Kara Mahmud Pasha Bushati of Shkodër, whose attempts at creating an independent state forced a response from the Ottomans. Ali was then sent on another campaign in the Russo-Turkish War of 1787–1792, in which he also secretly established contacts with the Russians. In reward for his services at Banat during this war, he was granted the Sanjak of Trikala in 1787, which was suffering from brigand raids. Ali's success in the pacification of brigandage in Trikala earned him the role of supervisor of the tolls of "Toskëria and Epirus".[27][28]

In the meantime, Kurt Pasha had died and was succeeded by his ally in Berat, Ibrahim Pasha. The Porte awarded Ali with control of Janina, however, the accounts on how this occurred vary; some suggest that Ali surrounded Janina with his forces and presented a forged document from the Sultan without giving the Porte enough time to object, while others suggest that he gained enough support from the notables of Janina that they petitioned the Sultan for his appointment on his behalf. Whatever the case, the earliest known reference to Ali as the Pasha of Janina is dated to the 15th of March, 1788. In that same year, he delegated the title of Pasha of Trikala to his son, Veli.[29][28]

Early consolidation[edit]

The Palace of Ali Pasha in Tepelena, engraving by Edward Finden, based on a drawing by William Purser, early 19th century

Ali Pasha secured his position by establishing relationships with influential people and rewarding his supporters and allies. He was soon appointed to the post of Dervendji-Pasha, and he began to further consolidate his power in Epirus. He married his sons to the daughters of Ibrahim Pasha in Berat in order to secure their alliance as well as the borders of his Pashalik.[30]

During war-time, Ali Pasha could assemble an army of 50,000 Albanian men in a matter of two to three days and could double that number in two to three weeks. Leading these armed forces was Ali's Supreme Council.[31] The Commander-in-chief was the founder and financier, Ali Pasha. Council members included Muhtar Pasha, Veli Pasha, Celâleddin Bey, Abdullah Pashe Taushani and a number of his trusted men like Hasan Dervishi, Omar Vrioni, Meço Bono, Ago Myhyrdari, Thanasis Vagias, Veli Gega and Tahir Abazi.[31][32]

Ali's own perception of group identity derived from the ancient legacy of Albanian banditry along with the accompanying Albanian pseudo-nobility. Ali conceived an independent state that almost certainly would have been controlled by this Albanian military and aristocratic elite.[33] As Pasha, Ali was supported by an exclusively Albanian military establishment, which included many people who had undertaken brigandage activities earlier in their life.[34] Ali Pasha also used Albanian tribesmen to put down Greek rebellions in the Morea.[35]

Rule as Pasha[edit]

Fortifications built during Ali Pasha's reign in Butrint, Albania.

As Pasha, Ali slowly laid the foundations for the creation of an almost independent state, which included a large part of Albania and mainland Greece. During his rule, the town of Ioannina developed into a major educational, cultural, political and economic hub. In order to achieve his goals, he allied with all religious and ethnic groups in his territory. At the same time, he did not hesitate to fiercely crush any opponent, and he also developed relations with European powers.[36] By the time of his accession to the Pashalik of Yanina, several almost-independent Albanian and Greek towns of the region reversed their approach of hostility against the Ottoman rule and pledged their loyalty to Ali.[37] Ali's policy as ruler of Janina was mostly governed by expediency; he operated as a semi-independent despot and pragmatically allied himself with whoever offered the most advantage at the time. It was Ali Pasha and his Albanian soldiers and mercenaries who subdued the independent Souli.[38]

Serais of Ali Pasha and his two sons in Joannina in 1813, drawn by Charles Robert Cockerell, published in 1820 by Thomas Smart Hughes.

At this point, Ali Pasha's priority was to create a centralised governing system by neutralising the numerous disruptive factions vying for power in his Pashalik, including the klephts, armatoles, Christian notables, and Albanian beys and agas. For example, Ali replaced Greek armatoles from the territories under his control with almost exclusively Albanian armatoles. The discarded Greek armatoles became klephts and their subsequent anti-armatoloi activity was not only brigandage, but also a form of resistance against Ottoman rule. Ali also targeted wealthy Muslim landowners under the guise of bringing justice for the peasant population whilst increasing his own wealth.[39][40]

In 1788, Ali's troops completed the destruction of Moscopole, a once-prosperous cultural centre in south-eastern Albania that had been continuously raided by Albanian irregulars from 1769 onwards due to their pro-Russian stance and support of the Orlov Revolt. The Aromanian population of Moscopole was forced to flee from the region and find refuge in regions outside of Ali's control, both in and out of the Ottoman Empire.[41][42] Many Aromanians scattered throughout the Balkans, founding settlements such as Kruševo, but many also migrated to foreign countries, forming an Aromanian diaspora.[43][44] The same campaign of persecution was launched towards Sarakatsani communities.[44]

Ali and the Souliotes: Initial campaigns[edit]

At this point in time, the Souliotes, a Christian Albanian community whose lands were located in Ali's Pashalik, would pay their taxes to their spahi in Janina, Bekir Bey. Ali preferred to take the taxes directly into his own hands, and Bekir was promptly imprisoned upon his rejection of Ali's proposal. The Souliote confederacy posed a continuous threat to Ali's Pashalik by constantly raiding and terrorising the surrounding villages. The Souliotes were incited against Ali by Russian Empress Catherine the Great, who after the Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca in 1774, was acknowledged as the protector of all Orthodox Christians in the Ottoman Empire. At the behest of the Russians, the Souliotes had reportedly gathered 2,200 men who were ready to take up arms against Ali Pasha, and in response, Ali immediately mobilised his forces. With a force of 3,000 men and aided by the Çapari family of Paramythia, Ali attacked Souli, but the assault failed with considerable losses even though a Russian support fleet never materialised to help the Souliotes. The Souliotes, encouraged by their success, joined forces with klephts from the Pindus and ravaged both Greek and Albanian villages throughout Acarnania.[45][42]

Fortress of Ali Pasha at Argyro-Castro in 1813, drawn by Charles Robert Cockerell, published in 1820 by Thomas Smart Hughes.

After failing to defeat the Souliotes via direct assault, Ali took another approach. In 1792, Ali mustered 10,000 men to attack Gjirokastër in response to the town declining his imposition of a bey, but this was all part of an elaborate plan to lure the Souliotes from their mountains. Ali wrote a letter to the Souliote captains George Botsaris and Lambros Tzavelas, in which he feigned friendship and admiration whilst asking for their assistance. The Souliotes cautiously accepted, and Botsaris wrote that, although he could not muster enough followers to join Ali, Tzavelas would join his army with 70 men as a sign of friendship. This group was placed on the front lines before Ali had Tzavelas and his men seized, chained and sent to Janina, with some being killed on the spot.[41][42]

Ali, aided by his son Muhtar, proceeded with his attack on Souli, but Botsaris was well-prepared with solid defensive positions. The 1,300 Souliote defenders retreated from their villages and were pushed to the inner mountains of Souli. Ali attempted to coerce Lambros into betraying the Souliotes through a variety of means, and Lambros finally agreed when Ali offered him his freedom and lordship of Souli, although Lambros' 12-year-old son Fotos was taken as a guarantee. Once he was safe, Lambros sent Ali a letter revealing that he did not intend to fulfil his side of the bargain, regardless of whether he had to sacrifice his son or not, and that he would continue fighting against Ali and his men. Ali's men would fail to make further ground, and Ali would cut his losses by exchanging prisoners (including Fotos Tzavelas), paying ransoms and signing a truce. Ali's casualties were in the thousands, whereas the Souliotes suffered minimal losses, but Lambros Tzavelas himself was mortally wounded.[46] The 1792 attack ended in a Souliote victory, and in the negotiations, the Botsaris clan managed to become recognized by Ali Pasha as the lawful representative clan of Souli and George Botsaris as the one who would enforce the terms of peace among the Souliotes.[47] Ali, however, would not forget this humiliation.[48]


Ali, Vizier of Albania, also called Pacha of Jannina by Adam Friedel, drawn from life and published in 1828.

Despite his setback in Souli, Ali Pasha retained an influential standing in Constantinople. For example, Ali managed to use his influence to reverse the death penalty imposed on the Pasha of Negroponte after he plead to Ali for help. Although he had obtained his power through force in a lawless environment, it was crucial for Ali Pasha to maintain peace and stability to ensure that his coffers remained full. Ali would offer protection to towns and villages in return for their loyalty, thereby increasing his control over his expanding territories by appointing his representatives and negotiating appropriate terms and tax arrangements.[49]

Correspondence from Ali's subjects during this period make heavy use of flattering and obsequious phrases whilst Ali's replies are terse and factual, reflecting the power dynamic between them; villagers often wrote to Ali with complaints about the Souliotes thieving their sheep or about raids from klephts, usually from neighbouring villages. The people of Kokosi in Thessaly wrote to Ali in 1794 on behalf of Platini Scourpi, Koffi and other villages, requesting the prolonged stay of one of Ali's boluk-bashis (officers) with his men to continue protecting them from bandits. The villagers of Kato Soudena also offered to pay Ali Pasha so that they may be placed under his protection. Ali did not only provide protection from bandits, however, as he offered protection from the Sultan's tax collectors as well, interfering with the collection and disposal of government tax revenue through the bribery of officials or the allocation of tax collecting duties to his family and supporters. In fact, the higher ranks of the Greek Orthodox Church colluded with Ali to the extent that bishops were willing to act as his tax collectors. By pledging their loyalty to Ali, communities could put themselves under his jurisdiction.[50]

At times, Ali Pasha would pay to bring a community under his jurisdiction. Villages would even threaten to separate, such as in 1802 when the inhabitants of Chebelovo complained that Ali favoured their neighbours over them. Communities that were unhappy with Ali's rule were able to appeal to the Ottoman kadi courts or the central government itself, so it was crucial that Ali maintained good standing with his connections in Constantinople since his position as dervendji-pasha was never totally secure. When one of Ali's lobbyists in the Phanariot elite informed Ali that there was a rival bid for control of the passes in 1797, Ali was encouraged to make a higher offer to the treasury and to ameliorate relations with the local communities he collected taxes from, as their complaints could serve as a justification for the authorities granting control of the passes to his rival.[51]

By 1798, Ali Pasha's influence extended to Veroia. He was made governor of Thessaly in 1799 to clear the region of bandits, soon followed by all of Rumeli. Ali was able to extract taxes beyond the strictly-defined borders of his realm, as his power extended beyond the areas that were formally recognised as his. By 1803, several villages in the district of Florina were finalising the terms of their tax collection with Ali, and Ali's tax-collecting powers would eventually extend as far north as Prilep by assuming fake identities as a tax-farmer.[52]

The principal role of geography in the communal groups of his time were comprehended by Ali. He insisted that Ioannina, located in the Greek district of Epirus, was Albanian. He also considered the Albanian population who lived in the area not as immigrants but as indigenous people of the region. He tried to justify his plans on the territories under foreign protectorate on the Ionian coast also by insisting that they were part of "Albania" as well.[53]

Language was a major definiting element in Ali's identity, as well of his government and the region he controlled in general. Ali's native language was Albanian.[53] His degree of proficiency in written Greek is debatable, however he also spoke Greek.[54] Albanians and Greeks exchanging languages was quite common in the 18th century.[53] Ioannina was located in a largely Greek-speaking area, and during the Ottoman rule the Albanian language has not been officially recognized. Albanian has become a fully written language with its own script only from the mid-19th century, while written Greek was a well established language within the Ottoman Empire.[54] The formal bureaucratic language of the Empire was entirely replaced with Greek in the pashalik, and in Ali's court diplomatic business was exclusively conducted in Greek as well as much of the formal correspondence. Ali also used the Greek script to write in Albanian and to transliterate Turkish in his personal correspondence.[53] The usage of Greek, however, did not in any way make Ali Greek, just as his role as Ottoman appointee did not in any way make him Ottoman. He was first and foremost considered as an Albanian.[55]

Ali Pasha and the European powers[edit]

Audience chamber of Ali Pacha in Janina, Albania (subsequently Greece), c. 1800, by George de la Poer Beresford, published in 1855.[56][57][58][59]

The stability brought about by Ali Pasha's reign allowed the regional centre of Janina to become more cosmopolitan, connecting Ali to an international network. As his fame grew, so to did the number of foreigners in his court.[60] Ali wanted to establish a sea-power in the Mediterranean which would be a counterpart of that of the Dey of Algiers, Ahmed ben Ali.[61] However, in order to gain a seaport on the Albanian coast, Ali Pasha had to deal with Venice, which controlled the ports and the Ionian straits. The Venetians had obtained an agreement from the Sublime Porte in 1788 that barred Turkish vessels from accessing these Venetian holdings, as well as banning Ottoman gun emplacements within a mile of the coast. These conditions obstructed trade in Epirus as well as Ali Pasha's ambitions.[62]

Significant geopolitical shifts occurred in the Europe prior to Ali Pasha challenging Venice. The Treaty of Jassy in 1792, which allowed Greeks to sail under the Russian flag, significantly boosted Greek shipping and trade with the Crimea. The French Revolution's influence reached Ali's domain, with the French becoming a powerful force in the area. French consul Esprit-Marie Cousinéry, a supporter of Greek independence, and de Lassale, the consul of Preveza, discussed the possibility of French support in Ali's ambitions. Lassale's mission included securing timber from Epirus for the French Navy, thereby offering arms and ammunition to Ali for subduing Suli and Himara.[62]

By 1797, Venice fell to Napoleon, leading to the Treaty of Campo Formio, in which the Ionian Islands and neighbouring ports were transferred to France. These strategic locations, long coveted by Ali, were now under French control. Ali, using the alias 'Mustafa', allegedly held the governorship of Arta from 1796. The French established garrisons and a naval presence in the region, and were welcomed as liberators in places like Preveza. Napoleon's growing influence and victories inspired many in Europe, including the subjugated populations who saw the French advances as a liberation march. This environment set the stage for Ali Pasha's manoeuvres to strengthen his position, and he formed an alliance with Napoleon I of France, who had established François Pouqueville as his general consul in Ioannina, with the complete consent of the Ottoman Sultan Selim III. The French already had consuls at Arta and Preveza when Ali Pasha unsuccessfully tried to approach Louis XVI as a precautionary guarantee to protect him from his opponents in the Ottoman capital.[63][62]

Likewise, the British government, which opened in 1769 for the first time a consulate in Arta, established a permanent consular representation by 1803 and appointed John Philip Morrier as "General Council in the Morea and Albania", centred in Ali Pasha's capital, Janina. This probably represents the earliest official recognition of the name "Albania" by the British government.[64]

Cooperation with the French[edit]

Portrait of Ali Pasha by J. Cartwright, 1819

Ali Pasha navigated the changing political landscape as the French sought to undermine Venetian influence in the region. Professing animosity towards the Venetian aristocracy, Ali secretly communicated with Napoleon, then in northern Italy, despite the risk of treason as France and the Ottoman Empire edged towards war. The French, eager to counter the power of the Ottomans, assisted Ali in ending the independence of the Himariotes. Ali impressed the French, particularly General Antoine Gentili, with his admiration for Napoleon, and he even arranged a marriage between his alleged illegitimate daughter and a French adjutant general. In a clandestine meeting, Ali sought military assistance and naval access around Corfu.[65]

Influenced by Ali's charm and strategic considerations as well as Himara's ties to the Neapolitan Army opposing Napoleon and the French, Gentili collaborated with Ali in a surprise attack on Nivicë in 1798, a town which at this point was the most prosperous on the coastal littoral Butrint and Vlorë. Gentili ferried Ali's troops through the Ionian straits by night in contravention of the treaty between the Venetians and the Porte. Landing in the bay at Lukovë to the north, Ali's troops outflanked the town, which is situated at the entrance to the narrow valley which leads into Himara from the landward side. Ali's men attacked Nivica and Shën Vasili, the neighbouring village to the north, on Easter Sunday when the inhabitants were at prayer, taking the town and other villages and then reducing them to ruins. They ravaged as far north as Himara itself, and it was said that 6,000 unarmed civilians were slaughtered in the process (some by roasting alive and impalement) whilst the rest of the population were sent to Ali's farms near Trikkala. Their land was then divided up and partitioned for cultivation by Ali's subjects in Saranda. Ali left a small square fortress at Shën Vasili to guard the entrance to Himara and to watch over the remaining population of Nivica. This campaign led to the annexation of Himara, extending Ali's control along the coast to Vlorë.[66]

Concurrently, during the winter of 1797-1798, Ali dealt with regional conflicts at the request of the Ottomans, particularly against the rebel governor Osman Pazvantoğlu who had begun carving out his own polity centred around Vidin in modern Bulgaria. The Ottomans had already dispatched a force of 50,000-100,000 men under Küçük Hüseyin Pasha to crush the rebellion, and they sent for Ali's help. Ali, reluctant to appear subservient to the Sultan particularly in the face of the French, had his subjects in Karpenisi write to the patriarch of Constantinople and inform him that they were in fear of banditry should Ali leave them unprotected. This failed, and Ali was forced to take to the field personally with a force of 20,000 Albanians, leaving Mukhtar in charge in Janina. Despite the eventual failure of the Ottoman campaign once Ali left the Ottoman army and the subsequent pardoning of Pazvantoğlu, Ali Pasha and his Albanians distinguished themselves during the fighting, earning Ali the title "Aslan" (the Lion) from the Porte.[67]

However, Ali Pasha's engagement in this campaign and the French's anger over his actions against their ally Pazvantoğlu strained his relations with France. Ali, in turn, was also disappointed with the failure of French promises of support; aside from pledges of financial and military support, the French had even offered Ali Pasha the crown of Albania once they had taken the Morea, but it became increasingly clear that this was not going to occur. Indeed, British traveller Henry Holland reported in 1815 that during a personal conversation with Ali it apparently emerged that Napoleon, at a certain point, had promised Ali the position of King of Albania, but Holland also remarked that Ali was not convinced by the offer, because he distrusted the French.[63] As such, Ali's alliance with France continued to sour. Upon his return to Janina, Ali felt compelled to align with the Sultan's efforts to expel the French from Epirus, marking a significant shift in his regional allegiances.[67]

Conflict with the French[edit]

Conquest of Preveza[edit]

Ottoman Albanian horsemen display to French Lieutenant Richemont, a cut-off head of a French soldier during the fall of Preveza in 1798, by Felicien De Myrbach (1894).

In June 1798, as the French advanced their ambitions in Ottoman-controlled Egypt, Ali Pasha was engaged in the siege of Vidin along the Danube. Despite being distant, Ali received reports from his son Mukhtar on the situation in Epirus. These reports detailed subversive activities by the French, particularly their efforts to incite revolt among the Souliotes through the distribution of leaflets and tricolour cockades. Recognizing the potential threat to his rule, Ali obtained special permission from the Sultan to return to Epirus to address these issues whilst maintaining diplomatic communications with the French as he still contemplated a strategic alliance with them. He purportedly offered to join forces with the French in exchange for control over the island of Santa Maura as well as former Venetian territories on the mainland, and the right to station a garrison on Corfu. However, General Louis François Jean Chabot, the commander-in-chief of the French forces on Corfu, rejected this proposal. By September 1798, with the declaration of war between the French and the Ottomans, Ali's stance became clear.[68]

Ali Pasha quickly assembled his forces, although historical accounts differ as to whether Ali secured a commission to confront the French through diplomatic channels in Constantinople or whether the Porte's slow response led Ali to unilaterally mobilize over 20,000 troops against a potential French invasion. Ali did not wait for the French to act and strategically positioned his troops near Butrint, setting a trap for the French. He lured the French adjutant general Rose, who was temporarily in charge at Corfu, to a meeting near Igoumenitsa. Rose, wrongfully believing in Ali's professed allegiance to the French, was taken prisoner, tortured, and sent to Ioannina in chains; the same tactic would be used on the French sub-lieutenant in Butrint.[69]

In October 1798, after securing Butrint and Igoumenitsa, Ali's troops attacked the coastal town of Preveza, which was defended by a small garrison of French soldiers, Souliote fighters, Ionian islanders and local pro-French Greeks.[70] Ali's campaign was made easier by his former enemy, the Albanian chieftain George Botsaris of Souli, who allowed Ali's men passage through Souliote territory in exchange for a payment. The battle itself occurred on the 12th of October as Ali observed from a vantage point above Nicopolis in the same location where Roman Emperor Augustus had watched the Battle of Actium. Ali observed as his son Mukhtar lead a cavalry charge, and the hastily-constructed French defences were soon overwhelmed by Ali's superior forces, which aside from Albanians also included Greeks and Albanian Souliotes. The fall of Preveza was further aided by Metropolitan Ignatios of Arta, an agent of Ali, who effectively weakened the resolve of the Greek defenders through counter-propaganda.[69]

When the town was finally conquered, a major slaughter occurred against the local people as retaliation for their resistance.[70] Ali ordered the execution of 300 Greeks in front of him, and when a number of those who fled returned on the false promise of amnesty, 170 of them were executed. Survivors were marched to Janina bearing the severed and salted heads of their companions, and were subjected to jeers and abuse from the pro-Ottoman populace as they marched at the head of a grand procession organised by Ali Pasha for his victorious troops. The women and young girls were sold into slavery. Notable among the captured French was Louis-Auguste Camus de Richemont, the commander of the French engineers, who was spared due to Mukhtar's admiration for his bravery. Along with other survivors, including the captured French grenadiers and officers, they were sent to Constantinople. There, they were imprisoned in the Yedikule Fortress.[71]

The massacre at Preveza had far-reaching implications, influencing the rise of Greek nationalism and being remembered in songs and literature by figures such as Lord Byron. Preveza was left in ruins as the properties of the Greeks were seized by Ali and redistributed among his Albanians. The surviving population was displaced to the marshlands around the Ambracian Gulf, and the town's population was estimated to have drastically fallen from 16,000 to 3,000 inhabitants. Nonetheless, Ali transformed Preveza into a naval base and one of his favoured residences, earning it the moniker "Portsmouth of Albania."[72]

Corfu and the Ionian Islands[edit]

A posthumous illustration of Ali Pasha of Janina, circa 1824

After the conquest of Preveza, Ali Pasha shifted his focus to Vonica, located across the Ambracian Gulf. This time, the town capitulated without resistance, surrendering after the intervention of Archbishop Ignatios, who acted on Ali's behalf. Ali then focused on Parga, a refuge for those fleeing Turkish rule and a longstanding irritant to Epirus' rulers. Ali extended an offer of autonomy to Parga, which the inhabitants resolutely declined, citing their commitment to liberty and opposition to tyranny. This resistance would become another thorn in Ali's side. Meanwhile, Ali's ambitions extended to Aetolia-Acarnania, southeast of Vonica. His attempts to exert influence there were initially thwarted by the Ottoman government, which granted the region as a royal domain to Mihrişah Valide Sultan, Sultan Selim III's mother. This move forced Ali to retreat from direct confrontation with the Porte, despite his efforts to maintain favourable relations with Mihrişah and her associates.[73]

Ali's territorial aspirations also included Santa Maura, an Ionian island close to the mainland. However, international developments, particularly Napoleon's Egyptian campaign, complicated his plans. After joining the Second Coalition against France, the Ottoman Empire side-lined Ali as a Russian-Turkish fleet moved to capture the Ionian Islands from the French. Ali's attempts to negotiate control of the island were interrupted by the arrival of this fleet. Parga, seizing the opportunity, placed itself under Russian protection, further hindering Ali's territorial ambitions. The Russo-Turkish forces eventually captured Corfu, ending French rule in the Ionian Islands. Ali and his sons contributed to the siege, albeit in a diversionary role, which nonetheless enhanced his reputation, reportedly earning commendation from Admiral Horatio Nelson. In 1800, the Ionian Islands were formed into the Septinsular Republic, a tributary state of the Ottoman Empire, with specific conditions to respect the islands' autonomy and religious freedom. The Russians would eventually place the republic under their de facto military occupation.[74]

Despite the removal of foreign powers from the mainland, Ali faced limitations in exerting direct control over important ports. His attempts to dominate Parga were met with resistance, as the Pargians, aided by the Suliotes, preferred direct dealings with the Porte. This stalemate continued even after the Treaty of Amiens in 1802, which Britain and France briefly endorsed. The resumption of hostilities between Britain and France in 1803 saw Ali reaching out to the British Embassy for guidance, marking the beginning of official British contact with him. Ali's aggressive actions against towns under French influence were rationalized by his hagiographer Haxhi Shehreti as efforts to suppress Greek insurrection on behalf of the Sultan. However, this justification seemed redundant, given that these towns were not under Turkish rule and were embroiled in a war with France, and the situation was further complicated by increasing Greek nationalist sentiment fuelled by French interference.[75]

Other Aspects[edit]

Medallion attributed to Ali Pasha, 1807

In a diplomatic effort to win French and Russian support to get hold of the Venetian possessions on the Ionian Sea in order to build a viable Albanian state, Ali sent in 1807 Mehmed Sherif Effendi as his emissary to the negotiations at the Treaty of Tilsit. The treaty however stipulated the transfer of the Ionian Islands to France, so only Parga remained availale for Ali' demands. As a response, Ali increased the duties on the goods, including wood, grain and livestock, which from his domain were exported to the Ionian Islands.[76] Lord Byron together with John Cam Hobhouse visited Ali's court in Tepelena and Ioannina in 1809.[77] Byron recorded the encounter in his work Childe Harold. They travelled to Albania to see the country that was, until then, mostly unknown in Britain. Byron presented Albanians as a free people who lived in their state under their leader, Ali Pasha, described by Byron as a "man of first abilities who governs the whole of Albania".[78]

In a letter to his mother, Byron deplored Ali's cruelty:[79]

"His Highness is a remorseless tyrant, guilty of the most horrible cruelties, very brave, so good a general that they call him the Mahometan Buonaparte ... but as barbarous as he is successful, roasting rebels, etc, etc.."

Charles Robert Cockerell visited Albania and met Ali Pasha in 1814. Admiring Ali Pasha's governance, Cockerell explained: [80]

"There is law — for everyone admits his impartiality as compared with that of rulers in other parts of Turkey — and there is commerce. He [Ali Pasha] has made roads, fortified the borders, put down brigandage, and raised Albania into a power of some importance in Europe."

Different tales about his sexual proclivities emerged from western visitors to Pasha's court (including Lord Byron, the Baron de Vaudoncourt [fr],[81] and Frederick North, Earl of Guildford). These documenters wrote that he kept a large harem of both women and men. Such accounts may reflect the Orientalist imagination of Europe and underplay the historical role of Pasha rather than telling us anything concrete about his sexuality.[82] Ali Pasha tried to have his homosexual affairs secret from public to avoid disapproval or negative comments by western travelers and diplomats.[83]

Ali Pasha and his favorite wife Kira Vassiliki, by Paul Emil Jacobs

Ali Pasha, according to one opinion, "was a cruel and faithless tyrant; still, he was not a Turk, but an Albanian; he was a rebel against the Sultan (Mahmud II), and he was so far an indirect friend of the Sultan's enemies".[84] Throughout his rule he is known to have maintained close relations and corresponded with famous leaders such as Husein Gradaščević, Ibrahim Bushati, Mehmet Ali Pasha and Ibrahim Pasha.[citation needed]

Though certainly no friend to the Greek Nationalists (he had personally ordered the painful execution of the Klepht Katsantonis), his rule brought relative stability. It was only after his forceful deposition that the people of Greece objected to the rule of the Sultan Mahmud II and the newly appointed Hursid Pasha and thus began the Greek War of Independence.

A long epic poem known as the Alipashiad consisting of more than 10,000 lines is dedicated to the exploits of Ali Pasha. The Alipashiad was composed by Haxhi Shekreti, an Albanian Muslim from Delvina and was written entirely in Greek.[85]


In 1808, Mühürdar, a commanding Janissary of Ali Pasha, managed to capture one of his most renowned opponents, the Greek klepht Antonis Katsantonis, only after the later became heavily sick.[86] Katsatonis was executed in public by having his bones broken with a sledgehammer.[87] In 1809 Ali captured through treachery the klepht Thymios Vlachavas and had him executed by mutilation. As Pouqueville noted Vlachavas "was suffering under the rays of the hot sun, tied to a stake in the court of the seraglio in Ioannina, his eyes flashing with defiance before suffering the calm death of a hero". In the aftermath Ali's troops destroyed the monastery of Saint Demetrius at Meteora where Vlachavas had sought refuge.[86]

One of Ali's most notorious crimes, without a legal indictment, was the mass murder of 17 or 18 chosen young Greek girls of Ioannina. They were, without a trial, sentenced as adulteresses, tied up in sacks and drowned in Lake Pamvotis.[88] Oral Aromanian tradition (songs) tells about the cruelty of Ali Pasha's troops.[citation needed]

Rebellion and downfall[edit]

In 1819, Ottoman diplomat Halet Efendi brought the attention of Mahmud II (r. 1808–1839) to issues conspicuously related to Ali Pasha. Efendi accused Ali Pasha of grabbing power and influence in Ottoman Rumelia away from the Sublime Porte. In 1820, Ali Pasha, after long tensions with the Turkish Reforms, allegedly ordered the assassination of Gaskho Bey, a political opponent in Constantinople; Sultan Mahmud II, who sought to restore the authority of the Sublime Porte, took this as a major opportunity to move against Ali Pasha by ordering his immediate deposition.

Ali Pasha's head being presented to the Ottoman Sultan Mahmud II
Ali Pasha's tomb in Ioannina

Ali Pasha refused to resign his official post and put up a fierce resistance to the Sultan's troop movements as some 20,000 Ottoman troops led by Hursid Pasha were fighting Ali Pasha's small but formidable army. Ali initially mobilised a force of 40,000 but it proved disloyal and dispanded as soon as the advancing Ottomans crossed the border of his realm.[89] Most of his followers abandoned him without fighting and fled, including Androutsos and his sons Veli and Muhtar, or else joined the Ottoman army. Among these were Omer Vrioni and Alexis Noutsos, who went unopposed to Ioannina, which was besieged in August 1820.

On December 4, 1820, Ali Pasha and the Souliotes formed an anti-Ottoman coalition, to which the Souliotes contributed 3,000 soldiers. Ali Pasha gained the support of the Souliotes mainly because he offered to allow the return of the Souliotes to their land, and partly by appeal to their perceived Albanian origin.[90] Initially, the coalition was successful and managed to control most of the region, but when the Muslim Albanian troops of Ali Pasha were informed of the beginning of the Greek revolts in the Morea, it was terminated.[91]

Ali's rebellion against the Sublime Porte increased the value of the Greek military element since their services were sought by the Porte as well. He is said to have contracted the services of the Klephts and Souliots in exile in the Ionian Islands as well as the armatoles under his command.[92] However he feared that the Klephts might rout him before the arrival of the Ottoman Turks.

His separatist actions constitute a great example of the institutional corruption and dividing trends prevailing in the Ottoman Empire at the time. His effort to become an independent ruler finally caused the reaction of the Sublime Porte, which sent an army led by Hurshid Pasha against him in March 1821, which surrounded him in Ioannina.[93] During the following summer a short-lived coalition with Greek revolutionary forces had effectively checked the power of Sultan's armies and threatened Khursid Pasha's rear.[94]

By the end of 1821 after about two years of fighting, with most of his men having deserted him Ali retreated with Kyra Vassiliki and 70 guards to the citadel in the north eastern corner of Ioannina Castle.[94] By October the war of attrition had taken its toll and starved Ali in burnt Ioannina of supplies.[95] He had his men place barrels of gunpowder in the basement should it become necessary to blow up the citadel. Ali Pasha accepted a request from the Ottomans to enter into negotiations, in which he demanded that he be allowed to see the Sultan in person. Hurshid Pasha promised to pass on his request to the Sultan and in the interim issued Ali with a safe pass signed by himself and the other pashas in the army. Hurshid Pasha also sent Ali a fake imperial firman (decree), instructing him to leave the citadel while his request for a full pardon was considered.[94] Ali accepted probably thinking that he could convince the Sultan that he is still needed in the fight against the Greeks.[96]


Despite a feeling that he was being deceived Ali agreed to a truce and left the citadel with his wife, entourage and bodyguards and settled in the Monastery of St Panteleimon on the island in Lake Pamvotis, previously taken by the Ottoman army during the siege. A few weeks later he was visited by a group of pashas and senior officials. He suspected a trap but the meeting passed without incident. A few days later on January 24, 1822[93] the Ottoman's boats returned from which a senior official called Kiose Mehmed Pasha, disembarked, claiming that he had in his possession the Sultan's firman for his execution. Ali told him to stay back until he had read the document, but the pasha ignored him and called for him to comply.[94] Ali pulled out his pistol and fired at him, the Pasha returned fire while Kaftan Agas, Hurshid's chief of his staff, managed to wound Ali in the arm with his sword.[93] Ali's bodyguards rushed to protect him and managed to pull him into the building. The resulting gunfight only ending when Ali was mortally wounded in the abdomen by a bullet.[93] This caused his men to surrender. Ali was then beheaded. His last request to his chief bodyguard Thanasis Vagias was for his wife Kyra to be killed in order to prevent her falling into the hands of his enemies, but this was ignored.[93]

Hurshid Pasha, to whom it was presented on a large dish of silver plate, rose to receive it, bowed three times before it, and respectfully kissed the beard, expressing aloud his wish that he himself might deserve a similar end. To such an extent did the admiration with which Ali's bravery inspired these men to efface the memory of his crimes.[citation needed]

Ali's head was wrapped in a cloth, put on a silver platter and displayed though the streets and the homes of the notables of Ioannina to prove that the Ali was dead. The local archbishop was having dinner with friends when Hurshid's bodyguards forced their way into the room and desposited the head on the dinner table and demanded money. After saying a prayer for Ali, the archbishop handed over a bag of gold coins. Ali Pasha's headless corpse was buried with full honors in a mausoleum next to the Fethiye Mosque, which he shares with one of his wives. His head was meanwhile sent to Constantinople where was displayed to the public on a revolving platter in a courtyard of the Sultan's palace. When the Sultan subsequently had Ali's three sons and grandson executed, Ali's head was buried with them in tombs outside the Selvyria gate in Constantinople.[94]


Ali Pasha was born into a Bektashi Muslim family.[97] The struggle for power and the political turmoils within the empire required for him to support non-Muslim or heterodox priests, beliefs, and orders,[98] and especially the Orthodox Christian population which formed the majority of the population in the region he ruled.[99][full citation needed]

Ali fostered religious activities by the local Greek population.[100] One of the spiritual figures which influenced him was Saint Cosmas. Ali ordered and supervised the construction of a monastery dedicated to him near Berat.[98][101] Ali Pasha maintained control over the Christian population but respected the monasteries and stayed on good terms with the upper clergy.[102]

He strongly supported the Sufi orders, well-spread in Rumelia at the time. Ali was close to the dominant Sufi orders as the Naqshbandi, Halveti, Sâdîyye, or even Alevi.[98] Specifically the famous Sufi shrines in Yanina and Parga were Naqshbandi.[103] The order that was mostly supported by him was the Bektashis and he is accepted today to have been a Bektashi follower, initiated by Baba Shemin of Fushë-Krujë.[104] Through his patronage, Bektashism spread in Thessaly, Epirus, South Albania, and in Kruja.[103][105][106][107][108] Ali's tomb headstone was capped by the crown (taj) of the Bektashi order.[109] Nasibi Tahir Babai, a Bektashi saint, is regarded as one of three spiritual advisers of Ali Pasha.[110]


On Albanians[edit]

Postage stamp of Albania commemorating the 250th anniversary of Ali's birth

Albanian autonomy[edit]

Ali Pasha was among those Albanian military leaders who were at first awarded for their loyalty to the Ottoman Empire, and who however exploited the weakness of the Sublime Porte to exercise in northern and southern Albania their gathered military and political power. While they are clearly not described as champions of national fight aiming at an independent and united Albania, but regarded as political opportunists within the context of the Ottomam Empire, nevertheless these Albanian rulers established separate states by challenging the authority of the Sublime Porte, and Ali in particular also established foreign diplomatic relations with Napoleonic France and with Britain.[111] British travellers who had met Ali Pasha noted that Ali described himself and the Albanians as friends of the British nation. Furthermore Albanians were seen as living independently and without oppression by the Porte, meanwhile Ali Pasha was aiming to form some kind of alliance with the British government.[112] Ali's separatist initiative, by conceiving his territory in increasingly independent terms referring to it as "Albania",[113] eventually aiming at creating an independent Albanian–Greek state, revealed the vulnerability of Ottoman power.[114] The Albanian rule of the Pashalik of Yanina as well as that of the Pashalik of Scutari caused the emergence of a sense of ethnic belonging among the Albanian people, which consequently led to an enduring hostility of Albanians against the Sublime Porte, also by seeking autonomy from its central power.[115]

Ismail Qemali (1833-1919), the first head of the Albanian state, stated that in the case of Ali Pasha there was a sense of wasted opportunity: "If Ali Pasha had been less a man of his time and better endowed with political forethought, he would himself have organized this coup in time, and Albania and Greece, with the whole of Thessaly and Macedonia, might have become an independent State and a kingdom of great importance."[116]

Albanian culture[edit]

Ali Pacha's seraglio and tomb, fortress, Janina, by George de la Poer Beresford, published in 1855[117][57][58]

Albanian urban songs were performed in the outer courtyards of the Albanian pashaliks, including that of Ali Pasha. It has been suggested that the Albanian Korçare songs emerged in Ali pasha's seraglio in Ioannina, and that they were probably composed by Muço, Ali's court musician.[118]

According to Pouqueville, Albanian tribal forms of social organizations disappeared with the dominion of Ali Pasha, and definitely ended in 1813.[119] In the Pashalik of Yanina, in addition to the Sharia for Muslims and Canon for Christians, Ali Pasha enforced his own laws, allowing only in rare cases the usage of local Albanian tribal customary laws. After annexing Suli and Himara into his semi-independent state in 1798, he tried to organize the judiciary in every city and province according to the principle of social equality, enforcing his laws for the entire population, Muslims and Christians. To limit blood feud killings, Ali Pasha replaced blood feuds (Alb. gjakmarrje) with other punishments such as blood payment or expulsion or the death penalty.[120] Ali Pasha also reached an agreement with the Kurveleshi population not to trespass their territories, which at that time were larger than the area they inhabit today.[121] Continually since the 18th century, blood feuds and their consequences in Labëria have been limited principally by the councils of elders.[120]

Albanian nationalism[edit]

Ali Pasha has been regarded by Albanian nationalists in subsequent times as a national hero who rose against Ottoman rule.[122] Although Ali Pasha's intent was not to build a nation state, the legacy left behind by him was utilized by the Albanian elite to construct their nationalist platform. After Ali Pasha's death the base of Albanian nationalist activities and uprisings against the Ottoman Empire became northern Albania and Kosovo.[123]

On Greeks[edit]

Modern Greek Enlightenment[edit]

A Firman issued by Ali Pasha in 1810, written in vernacular Greek. Ali always used Greek for all his courtly dealings.[124]

Although Ali Pasha's native language was Albanian he used Greek for all his courtly dealings,[124] with the effect of linking, although inchoately, the ruling class with the predominantly Greek-speaking population of the territories where Ali's rule stretched.[125] As a consequence, a part of the local Greek population showed sympathy towards his rule.[124] This also activated new educational opportunities, with businessmen of the Greek diaspora, subsidizing a number of new educational purposes.[125]

Ioannina, was among the Greek cities that had already embraced the Age of Enlightenment.[126] Education in Ioannina and its schools became renowned throughout the Greek world. Those schools were operating by prestigious staff among them philologist Athanasios Psalidas, major contributor to the modern Greek Enlightenment and Georgios Sakellarios. Ioannis Kolettis served as Ali's son Muchtar personal physician and composed several scientific works. As such an academic elite emerged which also included members of Ali's court. Many of these personalities took later prominent roles in the Greek War of Independence.[127]

Greek War of Independence[edit]

Revolutionary preparations and Ali Pasha[edit]

Ali Pasha did not sympathize with Greek rebels. He campaigned in Macedonia to exterminate the klephts and armatoles of the region in 1805, eventually managing to reduce substantially their numbers. Intense anti-Ottoman guerriglia actions arose in Macedonia during the Russo–Turkish War in 1806–1812, which caused heavy losses of Ali's Albanians against an army of armatoles and klephts at the Battle of Klinovo.[128] The inhabitants of Parga displayed continuous support for Greek revolutionary activities and cooperated with the inhabitants of Souli against Ali Pasha.[129] Coastal towns that were under French control, such as Parga and Preveza, were a source of increasing Greek nationalist sentiment enouraged through French interference.[130]

In the context of the Greek War of Independence the idea of cooperation with Ali Pasha was not new among the Greeks. Leading officials of the Filiki Eteria were considering a possible conversion of Ali to Christianity and the outbreak of the revolution under his direction. Ali's policy of exlcuding Turks from all positions of authority and replacing them with Greeks and Albanians had led many Greek advisors and military leaders that consider him of becoming the head of a Greek–Albanian kingdom.[131] However, when Ali heard of the outbreak of the Greek revolt, and sent Alexis Noutsos to propose a collaboration between Albanians and Greeks with the aim at establishing an Albanian–Greek state under the sovereignty of Ali Pasha, the Greeks refused Ali's proposal and Noutsos joined the Greek revolutionaries.[132][133] Greek captains would sign in September 1821 a more limited agreement with Ali, but it was based on obvious mutual suspicion. Albanian agents advised Ali against an alliance with the Greeks because they were militarily useless. Their conclusion about the military ineffectiveness of the Greeks and klephts turned out to be true in subsequent events in the Macedonian front.[133]

Revolutionary preparations in Epirus[edit]

The Filiki Etairia already had expanded widely in 1820 at the time when Ali Pasha was found in open conflict with the Sultan.[134] Its leadership decided that the conditions for the outbreak of the revolution were ideal since the conflict between Ali Pasha and the Sultan caused great unrest in Epirus, west central Greece, west Macedonia and part of Thessaly. The Filiki Eteria exploited the specific conflict in order to gain the return of the Souliotes to Epirus and as a result to have Ottoman units removed from southern Greece and especially from the Peloponnese.[135]

However, in Epirus the revolutionary outbreak was complex and difficult due to the concentration of Ottoman troops. Members of the Filiki Eteria, such as Ioannis Paparigopoulos, the Russian consul of Patras, convinced Ali that Russia would support him.[136] The return of the exiled Souliotes to their homeland in Souli in December 1820 contributed to the creation of a revolutionary center in Epirus a fact that supported the developments for the upcoming Greek revolution in southern Greece.[137] The collusions of Souliotes and Muslim Albanians for the defense of Ali Pasha, which led to a written agreement in January 15, and 1821 were in accordance with the positions of Alexandros Ypsilantis for the preparation of the Greek revolution.[137] Ali Pasha's cause was supported by Souliotes because Ali promised their return to Souli, and partly by appeal to their shared Albanian origins.[138]

Coordinated "Greek–Albanian" operations[edit]

Alexandros Ypsilantis anticipated that Ali would provide resistance against the Sultan's troops in Epirus.[136] On January 29, 1821, Ypsilantis ordered that Greek forces should be dispatched to Epirus to join those of Ali Pasha, temporarily and ostensibly, until they managed to defeat the Ottomans there.[136] In late March-early April 1821 Christoforos Perraivos under order by Ypsilantis urged the Souliotes to maintain their alliance with Ali Pasha, but to ignore the military priorities of the latter and concentrate to armed operations that would facilitate the spread of the revolutionary movement in Epirus.[139] Perraivos also emphasized only to the prominent Souliots the objectives of the nation due to risk of being leaked to the Muslim Albanians since that would make the later to abandon any agreement.[137]

A failure in the sector of Tzoumerka thwarted the plans of the Greek revolutionaries and Ali, however their operational capabilities in the area had not been diminished.[140] The revolutionaries of the area of Arta under Gogos Bakolas resisted the Ottoman advance at Peta on July 15.[140] Communication between the Souliote units with troops loyal to Ali Pasha as well as revolutionary leaders from Arta and Acarnania continued. Their alliance was ratified on September 1, 1821. Alexios Noutsos played a key role in this developments while the Greek revolutionary authorities of Acarnania, Aetolia and Morea agreed despite the distrust towards Ali Pasha.[140] In the beginning of September, the regional alliance reached its climax, involving Muslim Albanian beys, Souliote chieftains and Greek armatoles, who pledged to defend Ali Pasha's rebellion against the Ottoman army.[141][138] Greek singnatories evidently had not real intention to fight for Ali Pasha's cause, they rather agreed merely to exploit the opportunity this alliance offered them.[141]

The immediate objective of the alliance was the capture of Arta, which was at that time under Ottoman control.[141][140] Roughly four thousand armed men gathered to besiege Arta.[140] The city was attacked by both Muslims and Christians, Albanians and Greeks who had united their forces to pillage the city, where an indiscriminate looting of churches, mosques, shops and stores was perpetrated.[141] The lootings during the siege Arta were especially perpetrated by groups of Souliotes and Acarnanians.[142] Ottoman troops did not intervene because they knew they were not the target. During this event some of the Greek bands plundered the homes of Christians and stole their possessions, even torturing people in boiling oil in order to extort information regarding the hiding places of their valuable belongings.[141]

At the beginning of December 1821 the allied forces managed to capture a greater part of the city, however, instead of concentrating on the fall of the garrison they turned into widespread looting and the siege was weakened and finally ceased.[140]

Termination of common operations[edit]

Around the same time, during the Ottoman siege of Ali Pasha's forces in Ioannina, Muslim Albanian leaders were being informed about events in the Morea, which led them to start doubting about the allegiance of their Greeks allies. Indeed, visiting Mesolonghi in October to see the Greek actions, Tahir Abaxhi, a Muslim Albanian warlord and especially trusted man of Ali Pasha formerly serving as chief of Ali's police troops, noticed that many Greeks were no longer fighting for Ali's cause, as after Mesolonghi had declared for the revolution, the remaining Muslims were massacred, expelled, or enslaved. The local Greek armatole Dimitrios Makris had even ordered mass killing. Mosques were razed to the ground and desecrated, and Muslim gils were forcibly baptized. The disprespect of the alliance by the Greeks became even more clear when Elmaz Bey informed Abaxhi that on their way home from Tripolitsa, they found out that Greeks have strungled some of his soldiers. Hence, after all the evidence, Muslim Albanian leaders eventually broke with Christian Souliotes.[141][142]

Abaxhi and other Muslim Albanian military personalities that had been previously loyal to Ali Pasha approached the Ottoman commander, Khursid Pasha, asking for and receiving his pardon, promising to support him to kill Ali Pasha and drive out the Greek revolutionaries.[143]

This so-called Greek-Albanian alliance was finally dissolved and the Muslim allies of Ali Pasha as well as the warlords (oplarhichoi) of Acarnania switched sides and came to the Sultan's camp. As a consequence Ali Pasha's resistance had been broken and the fortress of Ioannina was captured easily in December 1821.[144]

Greek nationalism[edit]

Ali's separatist initiative, by conceiving his territory in increasingly independent terms referring to it as "Albania",[113] and eventually aiming at creating an independent Albanian-Greek state, reveal the vulnerability of Ottoman power and had direct effect on the development of Greek nationalism.[114] Though his subject population was by vast majority Greek and noted for their nationalist sentiment there is little evidence that Ali conceived of his desire for independence in such terms.[145] However, he believed that he could make use of the local Greek national sentiment to strengthen his own power and separatist tendencies.[146]


Ali Pasha Castle in Butrint, Albania

Albania's rich archaeological heritage has been systematically explored since Ali's rule in the early 19th century. The excavations were conducted in order to find treasures for Ali's personal collection. Systematic investigations of the archaeological sites and monuments of the region have been undertaken by French consul-general François Pouqueville and British diplomat-colonel William Martin Leake, who were both introduced in Ali's court.[147]

Pouqoueville composed his Histoire were he introduced a lengthy account of Ali Pasha. It is based on personal acquaintance and multiple conversations with Ali and several other personalities associated with him. Pouqueville in this work pointed out that Ali's rule and rebellion against the Porte was a vital precondition for the Greek Revolution. While in no way a Greek Nationalist himself, Ali's rule greatly weakened Ottoman control of Greece, and his death created a vacuum which was promptly filled by the Greek revolutionsries.[148]

The former monastery in which Ali Pasha was killed is today a popular tourist attraction. The holes made by the bullets can still be seen, and the monastery has dedicated to him a museum, which includes a number of his personal possessions.[149]

A legend of Ali Pasha's supposed hidden treasure remained unresolved.[150]

Ismail Bey and Mehmed Pasha, the sons of Veli Pasha and grandsons of Ali Pasha, by Louis Dupré (1827)

All three of Ali's sons were killed during his downfall but most of his grandchildren were not persecuted by the Ottoman state as they were too young at that time. His grandson Tepedelenlizade Ismail Rahmi Pasha (son of Veli Pasha) had a long career in the Ottoman administration and held twice the governorship of the areas which were ruled by Ali Pasha. He was made governor of the Janina vilayet in 1850 and governor of the Thessaly Eyalet in 1864. He also was Mutasarrif of Prizren (1868–1869) and for a brief period governor of Crete.[151]

Ali Pasha in literature[edit]

Ali Pasha's mace, now at the National Historical Museum of Athens

According to the Encyclopedia of Islam, in Western literature, Ali Pasha became the personification of an "oriental despot".[1]

In the early 19th century, Ali's personal balladeer, Haxhi Shekreti,[152] composed the poem Alipashiad. The poem was written in Greek language, since the author considered it a more prestigious language in which to praise his master.[153] Alipashiad bears the unusual feature of being written from the Muslim point of view of that time.[154] It stretches to 15,000 15-syllable lines was written by his personal balladeer.[150]

Ali is the title character of the 1828 German singspiel Ali Pascha von Janina by Albert Lortzing.

Ali Pasha's deeds have inspired numerous Greeks poems and plays where he is primarily portrayed as cruel tyrant. Events like the sacking and drowning of women by Ali's orders in Ioannina became the main theme of poet Aristotelis Valaoritis. The poem The drowning of Frosyne Nikolaos Mavrommatis (1770–1817) was also dedicated to the same theme, as well as the theatrical play Eufrosyne (1876). Other works describe the scorched earth policy Ali undertook in Ioannina and the burning of the city.[150]

In the novel The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, père, Ali Pasha's downfall is revealed to have been brought about by French Army officer Fernand Mondego. Unaware of Mondego's collusion with the Sultan's forces, Pasha is described as having entrusted his wife, Kyra Vassiliki, and daughter, Haydée, to Mondego, who sells them into slavery. Mondego then personally murders Ali Pasha and returns to France with a fortune. The novel's protagonist, Edmond Dantés, subsequently locates Haydée, buys her freedom, and helps her avenge her parents by testifying at Mondego's court martial in Paris. Mondego, who is found guilty of "felony, treason, and dishonor", is abandoned by his wife and son and later commits suicide.

Alexandre Dumas, père wrote a history, Ali Pacha, part of his eight-volume series Celebrated Crimes (1839–40).

Ali Pasha is also a major character in the 1854 Mór Jókai's Hungarian novel Janicsárok végnapjai ("The Last Days of the Janissaries"), translated into English by R. Nisbet Bain, 1897, under the title The Lion of Janina.

Ali Pasha and Hursid Pasha are the main characters in Ismail Kadare's historic novel The Traitor's Niche (original title Kamarja e turpit).

Ali Pasha provokes the bey Mustapha (a fictional character) in Patrick O'Brian's 1981 The Ionian Mission to come out fighting on his own account, when the British navy is in the area seeking an ally to push the French off Corfu. The Turkish expert for the British Navy visits him to learn this tangled story, which puts Captain Aubrey out to sea to take Mustapha in battle.

Many of the conflicting versions about the origin of the "Spoonmaker's Diamond", a major treasure of the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, link it with Ali Pasha – though their historical authenticity is doubtful. [citation needed]

Loretta Chase's 1992 historical romance novel The Lion's Daughter includes Ali Pasha and a possible revolt against him by a cousin, Ismal.

The best selling graphic novel Sons of Chaos written by Chris Jaymes published in the US by Penguin Random House in 2019 and in Greece by Kaktos Publishing in 2021 surrounds the story of Ali Pasha and his relationship with the Suliotes.[155][156]

See also[edit]


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  2. ^ Tanner 2014, p. 21: "That the word 'Albania' was known at all to the English-speaking public in the early nineteenth century was largely down to Byron, who passed through on his first expedition to Greece, aged 21. After reaching Patras in September 1809, he made a detour lasting several weeks to Ioannina, which now lies in Greece but was then considered the de facto capital of south-ern Albania, the honour normally being accorded to Shkodra in the north. He also visited Tepelena, which, alongside Ioannina, was the headquarters of the notorious warlord, Ali Pasha. He then returned to Patras and continued to Athens."
  3. ^ Fleming 2014, p. 116.
  4. ^ Fleming 2014, p. 112–113: "Ali assured Leake that were "Albania" (which, by Ali's figuring, included sizable portions of Greek Epiros, Thrace, and Macedonia) attacked, he would not hesitate in taking military action against the French."
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  103. ^ a b Natalie Clayer (2002), "III", in Stephanie Schwandner-Sievers; Bernd Jürgen Fischer (eds.), Albanian Identities: Myth and History, Indiana University Press, p. 130, ISBN 9780253341891, OCLC 49663291, ...he seemed to have been closer to the Sadiyye, the Halvetiyye or even the Nakshibendiyye (the tekke of Parga was Nakshibendi, as well as a well-kbown tekke of Ioannina)....
    Ali Pasha was considered to be 'responsible for the propagation of Bektashism' in Thessaly, in South Albania and in Kruja...
  104. ^ Miranda Vickers (1999), The Albanians: A Modern History, London: I.B. Tauris, p. 22, ISBN 9781441645005, Around that time, Ali was converted to Bektashism by Baba Shemin of Kruja...
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  107. ^ Gerlachlus Duijzings (2010), Religion and the Politics of Identity in Kosovo, New York: Columbia University Press, p. 82, ISBN 9780231120982, OCLC 43513230, The most illustrious among them was Ali Pasha (1740–1822), who exploited the organisation and religious doctrine...
  108. ^ Stavro Skendi (1980), Balkan Cultural Studies, East European monographs, Boulder, p. 161, ISBN 9780914710660, OCLC 7058414, The great expandion of Bektashism in southern Albania took place during the time of Ali Pasha Tepelena, who is believed to have been a Bektashi himself
  109. ^ H.T.Norris (2006), Popular Sufism in Eastern Europe: Sufi Brotherhoods and the Dialogue with Christianity and 'Heterodoxy', Routledge Sufi series, Routledge, p. 79, ISBN 9780203961223, OCLC 85481562, ...and the tomb of Ali himself. Its headstone was capped by the crown (taj) of the Bektashi order.
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  114. ^ a b Fauré, Christine (June 2, 2004). Political and Historical Encyclopedia of Women. Routledge. p. 235. ISBN 978-1-135-45691-7.
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  135. ^ Kitromilides 2021, p. 140.
  136. ^ a b c Kitromilides 2021, p. 208.
  137. ^ a b c Skoulidas 2001, p. 17.
  138. ^ a b Fleming 2014, p. 59.
  139. ^ Kitromilides 2021, p. 210.
  140. ^ a b c d e f Kitromilides 2021, p. 212.
  141. ^ a b c d e f Mazower 2021, pp. 118–119.
  142. ^ a b Skoulidas 2001, p. 21.
  143. ^ Mazower 2021, p. 119: "The Muslim Albanians now abandoned not only their pact with the Greeks but also Ali Pasha himself in order to fight for the sultan. Ambatzis and the others approached the Ottoman commander in chief , Khurshid Pasha , asking for his pardon and pledging to help him kill Ali and drive out the Greeks."
  144. ^ Kitromilides 2021, pp. 212–232.
  145. ^ Fleming 2014, p. 157: Although his subject population – the vast majority of whom were Greek – have been noted for their nationalist impulses and cultural links to Enlightenment Europe, there is little evidence that Ali conceived of his desire for independence in such terms.
  146. ^ Murray-Miller, Gavin (February 6, 2020). Revolutionary Europe: Politics, Community and Culture in Transnational Context, 1775-1922. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 75. ISBN 978-1-350-02002-3. His plan drew the support of the regional Ottoman potentate, Ali Pasha, who calculated that stoking the flames of Greek nationalism would strengthen his own local power base and furnish independence from Istanbul.
  147. ^ Stubbs & Makaš 2011, p. 389.
  148. ^ Kitromilides 2021, p. 669.
  149. ^ Νήσος Ιωαννίνων. (2009). Μουσεία (in Greek). Archived from the original on November 3, 2009. Retrieved November 12, 2009.
  150. ^ a b c Merry, Bruce (May 30, 2004). Encyclopedia of Modern Greek Literature. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 11. ISBN 978-0-313-30813-0.
  151. ^ Yaycioglu 2016, pp. 239–248.
  152. ^ Ruches, Pyrrhus J., ed. (1967). Albanian Historical Folksongs, 1716–1943: a survey of oral epic poetry from southern Albania, with original texts. Chicago: Argonaut. p. 123.
  153. ^ Tziovas, Dēmētrēs (2003). Greece and the Balkans: identities, perceptions and cultural encounters since the Enlightenment. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. p. 5. ISBN 978-0-7546-0998-8.
  154. ^ Merry, Bruce (2004). Encyclopedia of modern Greek literature. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 12. ISBN 978-0-313-30813-0.
  155. ^ "Sons of Chaos".
  156. ^ "Review: SONS OF CHAOS is an Epic Tale of Revolution". August 4, 2019.


Ali Pasha archives[edit]

  • Ali Pasha Archives, 2007, I. Chotzi collection, Gennadius Library, Ed. – Cpmmentary – Index: V. Panagiotopoulos with collaboration of D. Dimitropoulou, P. Michailari, Vol. 4
  • Ali Pasha Archives, I. Chotzi collection, Gennadius Library, Ed. – Commentary – Index: V. Panagiotopoulos with the collaboration of D. Dimitropoulou, P. Michailari, 2007, Vol. B’, pp. 672–674 (doc. 851), 676–677, (doc. 855), 806–807 (doc. 943).

Further reading[edit]

  • Brøndsted, Peter Oluf, Interviews with Ali Pacha; edited by Jacob Isager, (Athens, 1998)
  • Davenport, Richard, The Life of Ali Pasha, Late Vizier of Jannina; Surnamed Aslan, Or the Lion, (2nd ed, Relfe, London, 1822)
  • Dumas père, Alexandre, Ali Pacha, Celebrated Crimes
  • Fauriel, Claude Charles: Die Sulioten und ihre Kriege mit Ali Pascha von Janina, (Breslau, 1834)
  • Glenny, Misha The Balkans 1804–1999 Granta Books, London 1999.
  • Ilıcak, Şükrü, ed. (2021). Those Infidel Greeks: The Greek War of Independence through Ottoman Archival Documents. Brill. doi:10.1163/9789004471306. ISBN 978-90-04-47129-0.
  • Jóka, Mór: Janicsárok végnapjai, Pest, 1854. (in English: Maurus Jókai: The Lion of Janina, translated by R. Nisbet Bain, 1897). [1]
  • Manzour, Ibrahim, Mémoires sur la Grèce et l'Albanie pendant le gouvernement d'Ali Pacha, (Paris, 1827)
  • Plomer, William The Diamond of Jannina: Ali Pasha 1741–1822 (New York, Taplinger, 1970)
  • Pouqueville, François, Voyage en Morée, à Constantinople, en Albanie, et dans plusieurs autres parties de l'Empire Ottoman (Paris, 1805, 3 vol. in-8°), translated in English, German, Greek, Italian, Swedish, etc. available on line at Gallica
  • Pouqueville, François, Travels in Epirus, Albania, Macedonia, and Thessaly (London: printed for Sir Richard Phillips and Co, 1820), an English denatured and truncated edition available on line
  • Pouqueville, François, Voyage en Grèce (Paris, 1820–1822, 5 vol. in-8° ; 20 édit., 1826–1827, 6 vol. in-8°), his capital work
  • Pouqueville, François, Histoire de la régénération de la Grèce (Paris, 1824, 4 vol. in-8°), translated in many languages. French original edition available on Google books [2]
  • Pouqueville, François, Notice sur la fin tragique d’Ali-Tébélen (Paris 1822, in-8°)
  • Vaudoncourt, Guillaume de Memoirs on the Ionian Islands ... : including the life and character of Ali Pacha. London: Baldwin, Cradock and Joy, 1816
  • "Visualizing Ali Pasha Order: Relations, Networks and Scales". Stanford University. Archived from the original on October 14, 2022. Retrieved June 2, 2021.

External links[edit]