İstanΠόλις

Image by Spyros Tsipidis, Thessaloniki

Welcome to the IstanPόlis Collaborative.

This is a platform and network hub for historical studies about the Greek Orthodox communities of late Ottoman Istanbul/Constantinople (c. 1821-1923). Here you will find links to the latest scholarship, memoirs, and primary source documents, as well as discussion and emerging scholarship about the many layers of community--legal, administrative, and ecclesiastical, but also social, cultural, and political--in which the Greek Orthodox of The City of the long nineteenth century were involved. Data projects about the historical demography, residential and migration patterns, and professional and class identities of Rum residents will be displayed here. While this site serves as a clearinghouse and an incubator for data, mapping, and other Digital Humanities and conventional scholarly projects related to the Greek Orthodox of Istanbul, it is meant to connect up to the many other projects underway that map the many other communities in the same urban space. It is also meant to make accessible the wealth of knowledge in Greek-language histories of the constituent parish and neighborhood communities of the city, and to bring those together with Ottoman state archival materials, to work toward a three-dimensional understanding of what community meant, and how it worked, and changed, for Greek Orthodox Christians in the final century of the Ottoman Empire. We are open to considering new proposals for subgroups/research teams on relevant topics, so please contact us with your ideas!

Why İstanΠόλις?

Istanbul has gone by many names since its founding as Byzantium (Βυζάντιον) in the 7th century BCE: Constantinople (Κωνσταντινούπολη), Konstantiniyye (اَلْقُسْطَنْطِينِيَّةُ), Tsarigrad (Цариград), Dersaadet (در سعادت "Abode of Felicity"), Āsitāne (آستانه "Threshold"), Bolis (Պոլիս), and Islambol, to name a few. The now standard (since 1923) name in Turkish, İstanbul, is derived from the Greek phrase, Εις την Πόλιν, meaning "To the City," since it was known in the Byzantine Greek vernacular as "The City" (Η Πόλις), and that phrase was heard, and adopted by Turkish speakers. IstanPόlis, then, captures the spirit of this project -- which seeks to uncover the Greek (polis) inside the Ottoman (İstanbul), which was itself intertwined with and embedded in the Byzantine Greek (Constantinople, Εις την Πόλιν) history and geography of The City.