Historical Outline


From 1358 and onwards, under the rule of Murad I, the Ottomans began to invade the region of Corinthia, which was the main access gate to the Peloponnese (Mora in Ottoman Turkish). They managed to gain power in the Peloponnese by taking advantage of the rivalries between Frankish rulers and Byzantine despots. However, the defeat which Murad’s successor, Beyazid I Yildirim, suffered at the catastrophic battle of Ankara (1402) against Timur forced them to suppress their raid. It was only after 1423, under the rule of Sultan Murad II that Ottoman incursions resumed. In 1446 the Ottoman Sultan appointed Paşa Yiğit-oğlu Turhan bey as head of an army sent him to capture Acrocorinth that the Sultan later led himself. In the same year Murad’s army broke through the Hexamilion wall and in 8 Ramazan 850/6 December 1446 the Despot of Morea was forced to re-acknowledge Ottoman suzerainty. After the conquest of Acrocorinth, the Ottoman army on their way to Patras (Balya Batra), captured and destroyed several important castles of Corinthia such as the fortress of Vasilika. After the conquest of Constantinople, Sultan Mehmed II the Conqueror started his first campaign with the aim to capture the Peloponnese. The district of Corinthia was one of the first regions of the Peloponnese to be occupied by the Ottoman army in the course of this expedition. The Ottomans passed the Hexamilion Walls and they besieged the Fortress in 1458; in August of the same year they finally conquered Acrocorinth. However, before Acrocorinth had fallen, however, they had had already invaded the Corinthian area and had captured other important castles such as Vasilika and Tarsos. According to the Ottoman historiographer Enveri, Mehmed II, during his expedition into the Peloponnese, he had captured 100 fortresses and then left, only to return two years later, in 1460, for the final submission of Acrocorinth. The military activity in Corinthia and in the Peloponnese started again during the first Ottoman-Venetian war (1463-79). In 1463 the Ottomans captured Argos. Later that year, a Venetian army landed in the Morea and recaptured the city of Argos and after restoring the Hexamilion Wall they besieged Acrocorinth. On the 20th of October of the same year the Venetian army was defeated during an Ottoman raid and was forced to end the siege and retreat to Hexamilion and Nauplia. The Ottoman army captured the Venetian guard of the Hexamilion Wall and destroyed it and recaptured the castles, which were under Venetian control such as Agios Vasilios and Agionori.

The area of Corinthia as an important strategic point controlling the entrance to the Peloponnese was in the battleground between Ottoman and Venetian army. During the first Ottoman-Venetian war (1463-79) the important castles of Corinthia such as Agios Georgios and Agios Vasilios changed hands many times and some others, such as Agionori, Angelokastro and Xilokastro are mentioned as ruined. In 1479 the armed conflicts in the Peloponnese and in general between the two countries ended with the signing of the Treaty of Constantinople. Later, Corinthia became again the focus of the conflict in the second (1499-1503) and third Ottoman-Venetian wars (1537-40). In 1500 Coron and Modon fell into the hands of the Ottomans, and in 1540, Monemvasia and Nauplion were finally captured, thus putting an end to the Venetian presence in the Peloponnese. Corinthia remained under firm Ottoman rule until the Ottoman-Venetian war that started in 1684. In September 1684 the Venetians captured the fortress of Preveza and proceeded to the Peloponnese. Later, in the summer of 1687, after the Venetians had defeated the Ottoman army, they recaptured Acrocorinth. By 1690 the entire Peloponnese had fallen under Venetian rule; their dominance lasted until 1715, when the Ottoman army, under Grand Vizier Silahdar Damat Ali Pasha, passed through the Isthmus and captured Acrocorinth, the Corinthian region. Thus, the entire Peloponnese and passed again into Ottoman hands in 1718 with the treaty of Passarowitz, which defined, the historical itinerary of the entire Peloponnese.

Seyyed Mohammad Taghi Shariat-Panahi


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