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Family history

Origin of the name Begining of the clan Year 1400 1400 - 1900 1900 - today Related Families Family diagram

YEAR 900 A.D.

The beginning of our family tree dates back to at least 900 A.D., based on the following irrefutable reasons:
In Mesa Mani (Inner Mani), in the area of Anopoula or Makryna, towards the Gulf of Messinia, an isolated fortress, the Fortress of Orya (i.e. "beautiful' in Greek) is built forming a "parapet". "It is 51/2 km long, this is why it is called "Makryna" (i.e. "long" in Greek), 200-500m wide, elevation 350m from sea level and at a distance of 100m from the mainland. For all these reasons we believe that the Fortress of Orya was used as a refuge during pirate raids, at least in the years of the Byzantine Empire before the Frankish rule".
However, during that time, between 800 and 1200 A.D., as historically established, Mani was sparsely inhabited by very few clans.
The Greeks fleeing away from Nykli had not arrived yet in Mani; these were foreigners who brought turmoil to the area and tried to impose themselves on the natives, like the members of our clan.
Members of our own clan used to take refuge in the Fortress of Orya during dangerous times, when pirates raided the area, along with members of other clans in the same area. Our clan temporarily abandoned their usual place of inhabitance, i.e. the area surrounding Aghia Kyriaki church, as well as their lands in Nomia.
In the middle area of Anopoula, at the eastern side, there are the remains of a fortress and house structures. The ground is full of numerous cisterns, most of which are quite deep. Women, children and elders of every clan in the area, i.e. people who could not bear arms, remained within those house structures, relics of which still stand there. Men made their stand against the pirates at the small wall of Anopoula called "mpates", which provides access to the mainland and towards the villages of Nohia, Kounos and Kipoula.
During the short period of time that people remained in these house structures, they ate and slept all together, but each clan had its own cistern, as revealed by the ruins even nowadays. This period was short because the pirates could not spend a lot of days in the mainland, away from their ships, leaving them exposed to the rough sea, in order to besiege Anopoula.
Many years ago, my father's brother Ioannis Patsourakos son of Vassilios, lover of antiquities and devoted patriot, spotted the small house structure that belonged to the members of our clan in the Fortress of Orya.
This refuge house used in times of distress, like all other houses in the Fortress, is highly characteristic and representative of the era before 1200 A.D..
Among the ruins of this house in the Fortress, he noted on a boulder a very old inscription reading the name "PATSOUROS".
The dry climate in the area was the main reason that this inscription was preserved for so many centuries since: "Anopoula is beaten by very strong winds from all directions and, as it is completely bare, level and narrow, it makes a very hostile environment for people to live there during winter. This place is isolated and lies far away from the land and sea travel corridors (Mezapo, Gerolimenas), as well as from other settlements (Nyklianiko, Pentada)".
The modern name of "Anopoula", i.e. "Ano Poli - Upper city", was given by refugees who fled from Crete in 1365. They came from the area of Sfakia, where a major city named "Anopoula" existed and a small village with same name still exists. The old city of "Anopoula" was at those times enslaved by the Venetians.
As a consequence, it is obvious that the inscription, together with the house structure in the Fortress, typical of the era before 1200, as mentioned above, constitute irrefutable evidence that our clan was present before 1200 A.D.
However, the fact that in the fortress of Orya there is an inscription on the relics of a house structure reading the name "Patsouros" reveals that our clan was strong, influential and large, with a native origin reaching deep in time.
Therefore, we can confidently and without any fear infer that the beginnings of our clan can be placed in terms of chronology at least three hundred years before the above date, i.e. approximately to 900 A.D.
Another undeniable fact which should be taken into consideration in determining the beginnings of our clan is the private small church of Aghia Kyriaki; this small church that belonged to our clan existed in 800 A.D. and still exists.
The church of Aghia Kyriaki is a small, single chamber church with megalithic masonry and with no special characteristics, like all churches in Mani built before 1300 A.D.
It is known that Maniates, i.e. the inhabitants of Mani, were converted to Christianity in 880 A.D.
The conclusion drawn from the above is that the members of our clan, in order to show their strength of faith and absolute commitment to the new religion (Christianity), built the church of Aghia Kyriaki, in order to go to the Mass at their own church, as well as to establish their superiority over the remaining residents of that area.
Another fact proving the influential presence of our clan is a lament dated 1400 A.D., where reference is made to the Fortress owned by a killed member of Patsouros clan, as well as to his pirate ship called "Phalena-Whale". We can infer that our clan must be more than five hundred years old, since it was influential and large and, being one of the most prosperous ones, it owned more than one Tower and pirate ship, as stated in the lament dated 1400 A.D.

(Extractsfromthebookto be publishedwrittenbyVassiliosPatsourakos, sonofAnargyrosPatsourakos, entitled "AClanin Mani")

Many thanks to my first cousin Tzina Nikoloudis for the translation of the text.