Mani Our villages and their history Family history Family tree Picture gallery Historical Stories Guest book Contact

Family history

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

Year 1400 A.D.

            Around 1400 A.D., among the other Toparchies in Mani there also was the Toparchy of "Parathyridioi Maniates", i..e. the inhabitants of "Mesa Mani", i.e. the area near the Cape of Tainaro, called "Thyrides" by Pafsanias.
          Two very powerful bloodlines lived in this Toparchy, nowadays called "families".
          The clan of "Patsouros" and the clan of "Tsoulianos". These two family names are present even today, with a few variations though, due to the intervening number of centuries and generations. The area of inhabitance and the land properties of these two clans were completely different. Tsoulianos clan lived throughout the area of the Toparchy, while the clan of Patsouros was mainly gathered around the fortress of Aghia Kyriaki.
          These two clans were always adversaries, only for reasons of pride. They competed during the local and family feasts demonstrating their weapons, as well as their brave, prudent and worthy seamen and warriors, who excelled during the constant -at that time- battles with their enemies. However, these two families carefully avoided to confront each-other at the admonition of their elders, who were aware of the dare consequences and loss of human life that would result from such confrontation.
          However, a member of Tsoulianos clan, revenging an old and forgotten murder of one of his relatives by a member of Patsouros clan, without any reason or logic and beyond the unwritten laws respected by the inhabitants of Mani, killed a member of Patsouros clan from Nomia.
          The expected consequence of this murder was the commencement of a war between the two clans, destined to last for a long time.
Another reason increasing the threat for a conflict between the two clans was the fact that the victim was a very young man, father of two small children, a son called Mougios (i.e. Michael) and a daughter named Paskalia, and his widow was only twenty years old.
The chance had been given for the Council of the Elders to intervene and it compelled the strong clan of Patsouros to avoid becoming oppressive against the entire Toparchy, which they could do since their family was harmed.
          It should be also taken into consideration that conflicts between clans did not constitute the random result of actions taken "in the heat of the moment", but the logical result of a well-prepared action, having estimated the advantages and disadvantages, so that one group would gain financial benefits over another.
Revenge actions usually started after a clan council with a specific objective, i.e. to completely eliminate the rival clan in Mani, whose number of riffles and tower height claimed their leadership over the entire area.
          Thus, a special meeting of the Council of the Elders was held prior to the burial of the deceased and, since the large clan of Patsouros was not entitled to vote, the Council issued a hard, imprudent, single-sided and irrevocable decision.
Subsequently, the Council invited members of the Patsouros clan, i.e. an elder and two young nephews, to come unarmed, as per the unwritten law, and hear out the decision that had been issued.
          This decision compelled the entire Patsouros clan to migrate to an adjacent area that was under the sphere of leadership of the rival clan; moreover, representatives of Patsouros clan had to make a statement before the burial of their deceased that the entire clan accept this ..compromise!
When the two nephews strongly protested, the Chairman of the Council of The Elders, clearly implied that their denial would inevitably lead to an immediate declaration of war against the entire Toparchy and added that this would be characterized as ..dishonesty(!), since the country was threatened by foreign enemies at that time.
          This decision of the Council of the Elders would bring all members of our clan to a very difficult spot. However, the canning Leader of our clan, unlike the two hot-blooded youngsters who strongly protested against the decision, thought quietly and saw the purpose of this decision, carefully prepared the details of his disagreement and estimated in a few minutes the consequences of a disagreement to this imprudent and sarcastic decision.
After reprimanding his two young relatives, in seemingly calm manner responded to the Chairman of the Council of the Elders:
          "Yes, we accept your decision" and gave the signal for the departure of our representatives, since he did not want to show that he "disobeyed" the Council of the Elders. He immediately returned straight to the village and called only the men of his clan to a very brief meeting, while women mourned for the dead man.
He announced to them ...the premeditated decision of the council of the elders, explained how tragic their position was and presented to them very plainly his plan which was as follows: Large-scale revenge and fleeing the area.
          Eight days after this event, according to the customs, the clan of the dead man invited the best men of the rival clan, as well as the members of the Council of the Elders who were involved in this hard compromise to a dinner. They deliberately did not invite to this dinner the families of both the killer and the victim.
All those attending that dreadful dinner, i.e. ten men, according to the tradition, were killed with weapons at a single moment without any exception. This happened because, according to the prevailing notion, men kill their enemies only using weapons and not knifes. Thus, their act could not be characterized by their descendants as .. murder unworthy of men.
          Following this, and having already prepared everything in secrecy, all members of Patsouros clan, even the son-in-laws of the daughters of this clan, who were afraid for revenge, along with their wives, children and all their movable belongings, left the village of Nomia. Only the dead man's family did not migrate.
The entire clan went to a hard and inaccessible place at the mountain range of Taygetos called Kalliazi.
          Turmoil was caused to their place of origin; however, the families affected by the act of revenge examined calmly the situation and, forced by the Councils of the Elders from the surrounding Toparchies, even because the fugitives had taken some hostages with them, decided to stop the vendetta.
They admitted the infidelity and the act as totally normal, logical and lawful.
          They seized the properties of the fugitives and occupied their fortress of Aghia Kyriaki.
Finally, they did not allow anyone to harm the family of the dead man, which was unaware of the aforementioned decision and which stayed in Nomia under the control and the power of the Council of the Elders in that area.
          A fact proving the above and strengthening the opinion that these families accepted this act as lawful, is the following historic paradox that takes place, even until the recent years: At the yearly celebration of the church Aghia Kyriaki owned by our clan, no Mass was held until members of the Patsouros clan sent an offering as an actual proof of acceptance of the injustice that was made.
          Thus, the family of the dead man remained in Nomia, i.e. the widow of Patsouros along with her son Mougios (i.e. Michael) and her daughter Paskalia.
The line of all relatives from Nomia originates from Mougios (i.e. Michael).
          Mougios' descendants still reside in Nomia, where there is a district called "Patsourianika", and they believe that the line with the original family has not broken, they keep it alive until the present day, over 600 years after the forceful emigration of their ancestors; all relatives use the same surname: "Patsouros", or "Patsouris" or "Patsourakos" or "Patsoureas".
          In the district of Nomia called "Patsourianika" there is, among the Towers, a small private church owned by our clan, built in the 15th century, proving the religiousness of the members of the family. The church is called "Taxiarchis" and is dedicated to Archangel Michael; its celebration takes place on November 8th.

(Extractsfromthebookto be publishedwrittenbyVassiliosPatsourakos, sonofAnargyrosPatsourakos, entitled "AClan in Mani")

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