Σήμερα δημοσιεύω την εργασία μου σχετικά με την Πόλη, που έγραψα στο πρώτο εξάμηνο. Πρέπει να σημειώσω την συμβολή του Ιστορικού Αρχείου Προσφυγικού Ελληνισμού της Καλαμαριάς στη συλλογή των πληροφοριών. Την εικόνα την βρήκα εδώ:
In this coursework we are going to deal with the “idea” of Constantinople in the popular psyche of the Greeks. The fact is that there is a controversy among historians to whether there is a connection between Classical Greek period and Byzantium, if Byzantine Empire forms part of the Greek Empire and what is the connection between modern Greeks and Byzantium. On the other hand lays also the Great Idea which was inculcated to the Greeks of the newly formed state through educational and cultural propaganda since the 19th century. And among them exists a population that suffered the consequences. So we have to view our subject from two perspectives or two angles. The one has to do with the city itself and the Greeks that resided in it throughout history and the concept of Constantinople in modern Greece.
The date of 29 May 1453 was a landmark in history. It marked the end of the Byzantine civilization. For eleven hundred years Constantinople was a prominent city on the Bosporus. Was founded around 660 BCE by Greeks of Megara and sometime in the Hellenistic period became the Byzantium. Constantine the Great rebuilt the city as the new capital of the Roman Empire in the east (336 AD). Constantinople remained the capital of the Roman Empire for the next millennium. There is no other city in the world with a succession of ninety-two emperors.
Moreover, during this millennium it was the largest as well as the most elegant and cosmopolitan city in Europe, where the Greek Classical period was studied and admired. We owe a lot to Byzantine scribes for the preservation of the literature of ancient Greece. The medieval Jewish traveler, Benjamin of Tudela, impressed by the wealth of the city wrote: `The Greek inhabitants are very rich in gold and precious stones and they go clothed in garments of silk with gold embroidery, and they ride horses and look like princes ... Wealth like that of Constantinople is not to be found in the whole world.' A crusading knight, the Sieur de Villehardouin, wrote that in 1203 his fellow Crusaders looked with wonder at Constantinople `when they saw these high walls and these rich towers by which it was completely enclosed and those rich palaces and those lofty churches of which there were so many that no one could believe it unless he had seen it with his own eyes'. The citizens of Constantinople were not viewing themselves as members of a race but as inheritors of both Greek and Roman civilization consecrated by the Christian faith. 
Sultan Mehmet II the Conqueror, who captured Constantinople, had always admired Greek learning. Furthermore as a Muslim regarded Christians as People of the Book, that is people who had the same sacred book The Holy Bible, and so he granted them a substantial degree of toleration. From the very beginning of his dominance of the Byzantine Empire and Constantinople the administration was based on the religious identity of the multicultural and multiethnic population. He adopted an administration policy known as the millet system. Thus Greek people were reunited under the Greek Church and Patriarch Gennadius was ruling as an ethnarch, a religious as well as ethnic ruler. The Greeks were promised peace and justice. Of course they were, after the death of the Conqueror, second-class citizens and their position was contingent on the kindness of their suzerainty. But the Greek Orthodox Church survived and with it Hellenism also survived.
The Greeks of Constantinople were called Romioi, thus considered to be descendants of the residents of classical Constantinople or New Rome of the Byzantine Empire. The history of the Greeks in Constantinople and Asia Minor was going 3 thousand years back to the time. They had preserved their bonds with Byzantium and their point of reference was Constantinople and not Athens. They considered themselves as a vehicle of a rich tradition, of a cultural and an ideological heritage because of their Christian belief. So they did not have the feeling of ethnic inferiority inculcated to the Greeks of the newly formed Greek state. According to Seraphim Findanides, refugees from Constantinople that were living in Greece used to speak in present tense while they were referring to Constantinople. They were saying “We go to Balukli, We pray at Agia Sofia, we buy fish at the bridge of Galata, we go for a walk to Arnaoutkioi”. Findanides in the same introduction remembers of a letter sent to Penelope Delta by Nikolaos Plastiras. In this letter Plastiras refers to his first and maybe only visit to Constantinople, in 1919, when with Halkokondilis were members of the battalion en route against Russia. As they were sailing by Bosporus all the European cost of the Polis was full of Greek flags. Thousand of Greek flags were fluttering on the balconies, on the terraces to hail the Greek soldiers. Greeks of Constantinople cherished the illusion that because Greek army was helping the allies in their military campaign against the Bolsheviks they would in return give to the Greeks the Polis and Agia Sofia as the Ottoman Empire was collapsing.
At that time about 200.000 Romioi were living in Polis and a lot of them were owners of thriving companies, merchants and owners of banks. All were thinking that it was the time for the marbled king to be resurrected. Of course the history is known to everyone. The dream ended in nightmare when the Greek troops were defeated at Saggarios in September 1922 and not only the Greeks of Constantinople but more than 1,5 million Greeks were forced to live their ancestral homes and become refuges in “mother” Greece. So today less than 2 thousand Greeks live in Constantinople and the only think that has remained to connect the historical past with the present and maybe the future is the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
“The Megali Idea”
On the other angle we have the Greeks of the metropolitan Greece. During the Greek Revolution of 1821 and under the influence of the Enlightenment, which was widely spread in Europe during this period, the new Greek nation was established. The Philhellenes who came to take part in the War of Independence spoke of Themistocles and Pericles and tried to revive the pre-Christian past. Many educated Greeks followed their example and undervalued the most recent Byzantine heritage. This was to change soon. The Great Idea was to take form. The dream was that the Greek Kingdom would integrate Constantinople and other provinces where Greek people were living. There is no doubt that the Great Idea was nationalistic. Of course there was a gulf that had to be filled. The “Hellenism” had to be reconciled with Christianity since “Hellene” and its derivatives were associated with paganism. In 1852 Spyridon Zampelios propose the term “Helleno-Christian” and in this way the Greek nationalism accomplished its task to define Greeks and their past. Actually this word that filled the gap between ancient Greek and Byzantium became the perfect term to describe the modern Greek national identity.  In fact the idea of the restoration of the Byzantine Empire with Constantinople as a capital had been long cultivated through prophecies and revelations during the dark ages of the Turkish yoke. 
Some important intellectuals from the Greek Kingdom in the beginning of the twentieth century, like Ion Dragoumis and Athanasios Souliotis-Nikolaidis hoped that they could revive the Eastern Empire by promoting the Turkish-Greek mutual understanding and for this reason during their sojourn in Constantinople they formed the “Organization of Constantinople”. They were hoping that as it happened with the Roman Empire were the Greek element turned the Roman Empire in a Greek state, the thriving Greek element of Constantinople would become the dominant factor in this new Greek-Ottoman cooperation.
With the Armistice of Mudros (Oct. 30, 1918) the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in the World War I was marked. Being minor members of the Allied powers (Entente) the circumstances were advantageous for the Greeks. Furthermore their Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos was a reputable person among the Allies. So he was called to Paris peace conference (1919-20) in order to propose the territorial claims of the country upon the corpse of the Ottoman Empire. Actually he was offered Constantinople but he refrained of this demand and preferred to ask instead Northern Epirus, the Aegean islands, Izmir and the whole Thrace. He proposed an international status for Constantinople because he was sure that in the long run the Greek element of Constantinople would prevail. By voluntary intermigration he was hoping to attain the fulfillment of Megali Idea by creating the Greater Greece. He assured King Alexander of Greece that “we shall take the City”.
Political and religious agitation in Greece and Ottoman territory as well as readjustments of the policies of the Entente powers resulted in a climax of the Anatolia confrontation. During the summer of 1922 the Turkish army was victorious in Anatolia and believing that the non-Muslims were a trouble decided to forcefully throw them out of Anatolia. This led to the Smyrna massacre in September 1922. After that the Constantinopolitan Greeks became very susceptible to atrocities from the nationalist Turks who demanded the expulsion of the minorities, considering them as instruments that the Allies were using to accomplish their anti-Turkish purposes. Of course after the need of the accommodation of a million refugees in the newly formed and poor country such as Greece the expulsion of another about 300.000 Greeks of Constantinople would have been a nightmare for the Greek government. Very hard negotiation took place and the Greeks that lived in Constantinople finally survived the exchange of population. Unfortunately during the coming years they underwent pressure every time the Greek-Turkish relationships were hostile. Because of the violation of the treaty of Lausanne from the side of Turkey in several occasions and of the ethnic cleansing the Turkish government had programmed and because of the anti-Greek pogroms, the Greek population found themselves obliged to leave Constantinople leaving behind their businesses and their realties and flee to Greece in 1955.
So what was Constantinople for the modern Greeks? Was it a myth? From the above we can conclude that it was not actually a mere myth. It was a city where the Greek element was present throughout its history, from the very antiquity up to our days, and this is something nobody can deny. Even under Ottoman suzerainty Greeks were thriving in the city. Théophile Gautier in his book Constantinople speaks about Phanari and points out the difference for example of the Greek locality with the Jewish one and writes that Phanari is something like the West End or the Alsatia. He goes on to mention that in this locality the descendants of Commenus, Ducas and Paleologus live. They live in considerable wealthy mansions and they have diplomatic talent.
But we cannot deny that it was used as a myth or even more specifically as a symbol during the years that the Modern Greek nation was formed. Here we can consult the ideas of Charles King about the people of the Black Sea region and their conflicts. As King states these conflicts are not more than in other parts of the world, in fact, he claims that maybe they are less. The thing is that in this part of the world the ideas of modern state, of the nation-state and the cultural defined nations came not earlier than the beginning of the twentieth century and in some cases even later. Nowadays in this region of South-East Europe we tend to define ourselves in ways that were completely unknown to our ancestors.
So, in the case of Greece, cultural elements that existed but were not so much stressed, had to be used in order to form a national state that was supposedly homogeneous. Byzantium that later became Constantinople was the ideal symbol to unify the newly born state and to give it a Great Idea to fight for it. Thus Constantinople played a vital role in the modern Greek culture as it nurtured its own existence as a nation.
Αμπατζής, Αρης. «Μαρμαρωμένη Ρωμιοσύνη, Οι Έλληνες της Κωνσταντινούπολης» (Αθήνα: Εκδοτικός Οργανισμός Λιβάνη, 2005)
Alexandris Alexis, 1983. “The Greek Minority of Istanbul and Greek-Turkish Relations 1918-1974”, 2nd ed. Athens: Centre for Asia Minor Studies
Encyclopaedia Britannica. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/244154/Greece/26402/The-millet-system accessed November 29, 2011
Encyclopaedia Britannica, http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/244154/Greece accessed December 14, 2011
Gautier, Théophile. “Constantinople of To-day”, trans. Robert Howe Gould, (London: David Bogue)
Hirschon Renée, “Κληρονόμοι της Μικρασιατικής Καταστροφής, Η Κοινωνική Ζωή των Μικρασιατών Προσφύγων στον Πειραιά”, (Αθήνα: Μορφωτικό ‘Ίδρυμα Εθνικής Τραπέζης, 2004)
King, Charles. “The Black Sea a History”, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001)
Mansel, Philip. “Constantinople City of the World’s Desire 1453-1924” The Washington Post, 1995 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/style/longterm/books/chap1/constantinople.htm, accessed November 30, 2011
Reika, E., 2003, “Re-Creating Constantinople: The Imperial Gaze of Seventeenth-Century Hapsburg Travel Writers upon the City at the Bosphorus”, Pacific Coast Philology,: 38
Runciman Steven, “The Fall of Constantinople 1453, Cambridge University Press , 1965
Zacharia Katerina, “Hellenisms: culture, identity, and ethnicity from antiquity to modernity”, (Cornwall: TJ International Ltd, 2008), http://books.google.gr, accessed December 7, 2011
 Reika, E., 2003, “Re-Creating Constantinople: The Imperial Gaze of Seventeenth-Century Hapsburg Travel Writers upon the City at the Bosphorus”, Pacific Coast Philology,: 38 , 117
 Mansel, Philip. “Constantinople City of the World’s Desire 1453-1924” The Washington Post, 1995 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/style/longterm/books/chap1/constantinople.htm accessed November 30, 2011
 Encyclopaedia Britannica. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/244154/Greece/26402/The-millet-system accessed November 29, 2011
 Runciman Steven, “The Fall of Constantinople 1453”, (Cambridge University Press , 1965), 188-91.
 Alexandris Alexis, 1983. “The Greek Minority of Istanbul and Greek-Turkish Relations 1918-1974”, 2nd ed. Athens: Centre for Asia Minor Studies, 21
 Hirschon Renée, “Κληρονόμοι της Μικρασιατικής Καταστροφής, Η Κοινωνική Ζωή των Μικρασιατών Προσφύγων στον Πειραιά”, (Αθήνα: Μορφωτικό ‘Ίδρυμα Εθνικής Τραπέζης, 2004), 50
 Αμπατζής, Άρης. «Μαρμαρωμένη Ρωμιοσύνη, Οι Έλληνες της Κωνσταντινούπολης» (Αθήνα: Εκδοτικός Οργανισμός Λιβάνη, 2005), Πρόλογος
 Runciman, The Fall of Constantinople, 188-91
 Runciman, The Fall of Constantinople, 188-91
 Zacharia Katerina, “Hellenisms: culture, identity, and ethnicity from antiquity to modernity”, (Cornwall: TJ International Ltd, 2008),263, http://books.google.gr, accessed December 7, 2011
 Encyclopaedia Britannica, http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/244154/Greece accessed December 14, 2011
 Alexandris Alexis, 1983. “The Greek Minority of Istanbul and Greek-Turkish Relations 1918-1974, 38
 Alexandris Alexis, 1983. “The Greek Minority of Istanbul and Greek-Turkish Relations 1918-1974 , 52-3
 Alexandris Alexis, 1983. “The Greek Minority of Istanbul and Greek-Turkish Relations 1918-1974 , 52-104
 Alexandris Alexis, 1983. “The Greek Minority of Istanbul and Greek-Turkish Relations 1918-1974 , 316-317
 Théophile Gautier, “Constantinople of To-day”, trans. Robert Howe Gould, (London: David Bogue), 239
 King, Charles. The Black Sea a History, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001) 6