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History (1)

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  Our Municipality was named after the ancient Aithikia. Aithikia is mentioned by Homer and Stravonas, who describe Aithikes as people quite proud, chosen to guard the passage from Epirus to Thessaly. It is worth mentioning that in 148 B.C., the Romans, after conquering Thessaly, appointed the Aithikes in charge of guarding the strategic passages of Pindos and rewarded them by granting them many privileges. In 1535, Thessaly came under Turkish occupation. At that time, the mountainous Pindos was enjoying the greatest prosperity mainly due to the massive transfers of the plain inhabitants of Thesssaly to the mountains. The income from cattle-breeding and textiles (mostly woollen fabrics) and the folklore architecture helped build in the villages of the Municipality of Aithikon beautiful houses, churches, monasteries and bridges, to which all the influence of the Epirus workmen is obvious.
  During the 18th century at least one new and splendid church was built in every village of the southern Pindos. Nowadays, not only the churches, but also the numerous and once rich monasteries stand as irrefutable evidence of those glorious days. In the 18th centuty, the social differentiation had already taken place 1) the ruling class consisted almost exclusively by the chief shepherds and landowners 2) the middle class comprised of the craftsmen, the weavers, the tailors, the copper-workers etc. 3) the lowest class included the chief shepherds, the cattle-breeders, the poorest mule-drivers and the small farmers. The villages of Aspropotamos were dominated from powerful families of armatoloi, landowners and chief shepherds to whom all people obeyed, like the family of the Chatzipetraioi in Neraidochori, the Chatzipetroulaioi in Pertouli and the Pyrgaioi in Pyrra.
  In some villages like Drosochori and Neraidochori, the small industries of woollen fabrics flourished and became so powerful that they traded their products even in Serres and Vienna. By the end of the 18th century, the woollies’ traders resided and worked in Monastiri. Many of the inhabitants of Pyrra were wandering blacksmiths, copper-workers and tinkers.
  Nikolaos Kasomoulis mentions the following:
"As occasion offered, I toured all the villages with him (the commander of Aspropotamos, Stornaris) Pyrran, Kamnaious, Tyfloseli and Gardiki, which were inhabited by various people like merchants, shepherds, craftsmen of woollen overcoats and others, that is to say, small industry owners"
(Kasomoulis Nikolaos, Military Memorabilia of the Greek Revolution 1821-1823, The History of the Armatolic Coup).

  The villages of the southern Pindos are inhabited all year round. The type of cattle-breeding and the economy they had developed did not demand the regular transfer of the families. A great number of residents and mainly the families of craftsmen, the small farmers but also the cattle-breeders lived in the villages in winter, almost isolated from the rest of the world and working exclusively on their products.
  It is noticeable that during the Turkish Occupation, the men on Pindos never had to wear a fez and women lived a more liberal life compared to women in the plains.
  The domination of Ali Pasha of Ioannina in 1758 brought about many changes to the villages of Aspropotamos. When Ali Pasha was appointed "dervetzis" of Thessaly (i.e. chief of the army that was responsible for the safety of the mountainous roads and passages) by Pili, the Turks started interfering with the affairs of the mountainous villages. To start with, many families from Epirus had to give up their villages during the peak of Ali Pasha's ruling - Chimara in north Epirus, Syrrako, Kalarites, Matsouki - and settled down in the villages of Pindos. Finally, many of the poorest villages of Aspropotamos had to yield to Ali Pasha and his followers and become big estates. Some other people were forced to pay rent to have their cattle grazing in the grasslands of their ancestors, like the residents of Pertouli, Pyrra, Agios Nikolaos, Drosochori, Gardiki and Athamania, whereas some others were forced to leave. The latter were wealthy elders, chief shepherds, merchants and craftsmen. They left in groups or alone with their families who were depended on them, like the family of Gousios Chatzipetros, an active eminent chief shepherd and woollies’ merchant in Neraidochori.
  The Chatzipetraioi fall into disgrace with Ali, after refusing to cooperate and submit to him. The family was economically ruined and in 1812 the two younger Gousios’ sons, Giannakis and Christodoulos Chatzipetros sought a better fortune in Serres, where the family was into business. Cristodoulos Chatzipetros travelled to Vienna with other merchants from Serres, where he met Napoleon as part of a Greek delegation and asked him to help to liberate Greece. Some years later, in 1817, Christodoulos Chatzipetros worked in the royal court of Ali Pasha, offering his services as a secretary. In order to understand how massive the exodus from the villages of Pindos was, due to the way Ali Pasha ruled, a comparison , for the period 1806-1815, between the population data given by F. Pouqeville and the demographic facts of Trikki code in 1820, that was drawn up by Ali Pasha for tax reasons, would suffice. In Gardiki only 70 out of 120 families remained, in Neraidochori only 40 out of 300, in Desi 70 out of 80, in Athamania 28 only out of 80 whereas in Drosochori and Agios Nikolaos only 40 out of 300.
  Ali Pasha's fall and his death in 1822 did not exempt the mountainous villages from the disasters, since his death coincided with the beginning of the Greek Revolution. The destruction of villages and the exodus of the inhabitants continued. In June 1823 the Turkish-Albanian troops, under the command of Selictar Boda or Poda, tried to invade Aspropotamos. They set off from Pili and moved on to the villages of the Vlachs, looting and destroying everything in their way. The inhabitants left their homes and moved to the mountains that were a lot safer. The villages of Pertouli, Neraidochori and Pyrra were completely destroyed. When Nikolaos Kassomoulis visited these villages in 1826 he couldn't even recognise the bedrocks of the houses. Their inhabitants had been waiting for better days for no less than 18 years. Some of them had left and spread in modern Greece.
  The villages of Pindos played an equally major role during the German Occupation and the National Resistance. The mountainous zone belonged to the free Greece and there were the headquarters of E.A.M. - E.L.A.S. and the central offices of the common General Headquarters of the resisting organisations E.L.A.S. – E.D.E.M. - E.K.K.A of the English.

This text is cited June 2005 from the Municipality of Ethikon URL below, which contains image


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