The Rosary and the Rose: Clergymen as Creators of Secular Poetry and Music in Early-modern Balkans

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This paper deals with the involvement of Greek clergy in secular poetry and music in early-modern Balkans. This trend began in late-16th century, and involved the production of large anthologies and treatises on Ottoman music. This paper offers
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  77 UDK 78.032.033.2(38)DOI: 10.4312/mz.50.2.77-91  John Plemmenos Hellenic Folklore Research Centre, Academy of Athens, GreeceRaziskovalno središče za helensko narodopisje, Akademija v Atenah, Grčija The Rosary and the Rose: Clergymen as Creators of Secular Poetry and Music in Early-modern Balkans Rožni venec in roža: Kleriki kot ustvarjalci posvetne poezije in glasbe na Balkanu v zgodnjem novem veku Prejeto: 21. december 2012Sprejeto: 27. marec 2013 Ključne besede:  posvetna glasba, Grška cerkev, Otomansko cesarstvo, Bizantinski koral I ZVLEČEK Članek se posveča ukvarjanju grške duhovščine s posvetno in duhovno poezijo na Balkanu v začetku novega veka. Ta dejavnost se je začela v poznem 16. st. in prispevala nekaj obsežnih antologij in razprav o otomanski glasbi. Prispevek ponuja  vpogled v razloge za to duhovniško dejavnost, pa tudi recepcijo pri laiški in kleriški javnosti ter odzive uradne cerkve.Received: 21st December 2012 Accepted: 27th March 2013 Keywords: secular music, Greek Church, Otto-man Empire, Byzantine chant  A  BSTRACT This paper deals with the involvement of Greek clergy in secular poetry and music in early-modern Balkans. This trend began in late-16th century, and involved the production of large anthologies and tre-atises on Ottoman music. This paper offers insights into the motives of those clergymen, the reception of their works by laymen and clerics, and the reaction of the official church. Introduction It should be stressed from the outset that in Greek literature of the time, sacred mu-sic was clearly differentiated from secular, the latter called exoteriki  or outside music, broadly meaning off-the-church. Yet, exoteriki  (as opposed to esoteric) was a term that included all forms of non-Greek music, performed either in the mosque ( illahi ), the dervish ritual (  sema ) or at the Ottoman court. This can be explained by the fact that the  J. PLEMMENOS • THE ROSARY AND THE ROSE: CLERGYMEN ...  78 MUZIKOLOŠKI ZBORNIK • MUSICOLOGICAL ANNUAL L/2 official genre of Greek music was the ecclesiastic one, since the Patriarchate of Istanbul (Constantinople) was the only administrative entity of the Greek people, who were subjects to the Ottoman sultan. The Ottomans had occupied the Byzantine Empire since the mid-15 th  century, and had organised the Greeks (as they did with the other peoples formerly inhabiting the Balkans) into ethnic-religious groups, called millets . The Greeks belonged to the Christian Orthodox millet   (then called Rum mileti , after the eastern Roman Empire), which included other peoples of the same profession (Ro-manians, Serbians, Bulgarians, etc.) 1 . For reasons of consistency and clarity, the term “profane” is employed here to describe not only any non-Greek music (Ottoman, European etc.) but the non-Christian and non-liturgical repertoire of the time. This is important for the argument of this paper, since a good number of composers of those secular songs were clerics, not only of the lower ranks but of the highest echelons of the Greek Church. In the same spirit, the composers represented here all belong to the robed class, including deacons, priests, bishops and a patriarch! Although the church cantors were back then considered lower officers of the Church (in the sense that they contributed to the services and the general functioning of the church), they have been excluded here, despite the fact that they have also produced a sizeable amount of secular works. It is true that the repertoire of those two groups (the cantors and the clerics) is not differentiated in the collections of the time, but the identity (and importance) of each one of them is always noted and often stressed. Traces of profane music can be detected from late Byzantium (13 th -15 th  centuries) but in a very discrete way, and rarely drawing on non-Christian tradition. A case in point (and a possible exception) is a musical work by the great Byzantine cantor of the 14 th  century, St Ioannis Koukouzelis, curiously called “Tatar” ( Ταταρικόν ). The work is in the form of kratema , that is, a nonsense-syllable text (such as te re re, ne ne na , etc.), used as a musical supplement to liturgical hymns (such as the Cherubic and the Communion hymn) to prolong the service or to fill in the time of mystical prayers by the priest(s). The “Tatar” appellation of Koukouzelis’ setting has been interpreted to denote the Mongols, who by the mid-13 th  century had expanded their territory from China to Asia Minor 2 . Greek kratemata  (pl.) reached their peak in the 14 th  century (a period of great musical masters) and after a period of standstill following the fall of Istanbul to the Turks (1453) they were revived from the late-16 th  century. It should be noted that it was usual for kratemata  to bear extra-liturgical names, either of various instruments (trumpet, psaltery), aesthetic categories (very sweet, pleasant) or ethnic names (e.g. Bulgarian) 3 .  Yet, from the late-16 th  century, a number of Greek clergymen, most of whom  were associated with the Greek Patriarchate, became openly and intensely involved 1 R. Clogg, “The Greek Millet in the Ottoman Empire”, in Christians and Jews in the Ottoman Empire: The Functioning of a Plural Society , Braude B. & Lewis B., eds. (New York – London: Holmes & Meier Publishers, 1982), 185–208.2 See G. Anastasiou, “ Σχέση ονόματος και μέλους στα βυζαντινά και μεταβυζαντινά κρατήματα ” [Relation between name and music in Byzantine and post-Byzantine kratemata],  Τα Γένη και Είδη της Βυζαντινής Ψαλτικής Μελοποιίας  [Genres and Species of Byzantine  Psaltic Composition], Proceedings of the 2 nd   International Conference of Psaltic Art, 15-19 Ο ctober 2003 (Athens: Institute of Byzantine Musicology, 2006), 153–169.3 M. Velimirovic, “The ‘Bulgarian’ Musical Pieces in Byzantine Musical Manuscripts”,  Proceedings of the 11th International  Musicological Society Congress 2  (Copenhagen, 1972), 790–796; idem. “‘Persian music’ in Byzantium?”, Studies in Eastern Chant  , vol. III (1973): 179–181.  79 in the production or study of secular music. The status and identity of these clergy-men (monks, priests, bishops) meant that their involvement was known to the offi-cial church and possibly approved. Furthermore, the continuity of this activity shows that their involvement was not accidental and occasional, but formal, if not organised.  Yet, if secular music was often identified with non-Greek (usually Ottoman) music, the question arises as to how the involvement of Greek clergymen in a non-Christian cultural sphere was understood and explained. Entrance to mosques was not allowed to non-Muslims, each millet   having its own sanctuaries (churches for Christians, syna-gogues for Jews, mosques for Muslims), and conversion was prohibited. Furthermore, according to the Muslim law, if an “infidel” became Muslim, he/she was not allowed to revert upon the penalty of death. The answer points to both aspects of the conference theme (sacralisation of the profane and profanation of the sacred) which are to be found in the Greek music (practice) of the time. On the one hand, the ministerial status of the composers im-plies an attempt to “exorcise” the secular music of the “infidels” (mainly Muslims); on the other hand, the use of ecclesiastical notation for the transcription of secular songs (some of which were of erotic character and written by non-Greeks) desacralized the musical modes and signs that were thought to have been invented by saints and pious men. The latter was emphasised by the addition, in the rubrics, of the equivalent Otto-man makam  for every church mode ( echos ). Byzantine musical notation first appeared in the 9 th  century, in the form of ecphonetic signs that were srcinally employed as markers of vocal inflexion (breath and stress) in gospels and other scriptural readings. Their form is taken to imitate the gestures of choirmaster who outlined the musical symbols (cheironomy), and sometimes even the gestures of Jesus himself while bless-ing or preaching the crowds!  As for the eight musical modes, these were attributed to St John of Damascus (late-8 th  to early-9 th  century) who was also the poet of a large number of hymns set to music by subsequent composers. The division of the eight modes into four authentic and four plagal was preserved throughout the Byzantine and Ottoman periods, and was considered a central point of reference and distinction for Greek music 4 . The Greeks boasted (and still do) that by having only eight modal entities could compete (and cover) the hundreds of Persian or Arabic makams  that the Ottomans inherited (and multiplied). That was reinforced by the fact that each one of the modes was assigned a special character and ethos associated with spiritual virtues. Thus, the Greek prelates seem to have entered the secular space of non-Greek (Muslim or non-Orthodox) music as “missionaries”, to spiritualise the pagan art, leaving at the same time the door (half-)open to outside influences. Why though? From the 17 th  century, a number of Greek musicians became engaged  with Ottoman music either as professional musicians in the court or the dervish cere-monies or as composers of Ottoman music. They even used Turkish language for their librettos, at a time when the official Greek Church established schools and a printing press to promote Greek language to non-Greek speakers in the Balkans. Some Greek 4 For a brief account of the Byzantine modal system, see E. Wellesz,  A History of Byzantine Music and Hymnography , 2 nd  ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press 1961), 324.  J. PLEMMENOS • THE ROSARY AND THE ROSE: CLERGYMEN ...  80 MUZIKOLOŠKI ZBORNIK • MUSICOLOGICAL ANNUAL L/2 composers of Ottoman music held (and still hold) a prominent position in the Otto-man pantheon of classical music, and were numbered among the founders of Otto-man music, such as Tamburi Angeli, teacher of Prince Dimitrie Cantemir, and Zaha-rya Hanende, a court singer 5 . Other Greek musicians engaged in Ottoman music held high offices in the Greek Patriarchate, such as Petros of the Peloponnese, who was employed by the dervishes as tambur   player, and was praised for his unique skill and open mind. In light of this information, the involvement of the Greek clergy in Otto-man music may be viewed as a way to control the activities of their flock and reassert their power on artistic matters.Three stages can be discerned with regard to the Greek clergymen’s involvement in secular music: the first stage, starting from the late-16 th  and running through the 17 th  century, included a patriarch, priests and monks copying or imitating the Persian musi-cal style that was then in vogue in Istanbul, after the conquest of Iran by the Ottomans; the second stage, in the 18 th  century, was characterised by a theoretical exploration of Ottoman music through the production of a treatise by a Greek bishop explaining the rules of Ottoman music for a Greek audience; the third stage, in the 19 th  century, consisted of a number of clergymen (bishops, priests, etc.) occupying themselves in creating srcinal (musical and poetical) compositions gathered in musical anthologies. Thus, the clergymen’s involvement in secular music had at least three consequences: a) it allowed the infiltration of secular music into the religious one, thus giving birth to a new genre, b) it projected a profile of tolerance and openness on behalf of the Greek Church and its ministers, and c) enriched the repertoire of Ottoman and oriental music in general. 1. Profane music as allegory  The earliest evidence of the clergymen’s involvement in secular music comes from the late-16 th  century in the most impressive manner: the Greek patriarch Theophanes Karykes. He was an Athenian (albeit at a time Athens was a shadow of its ancient glory) from a well-off family, and had already served as  protopsaltes or first cantor 6  (1578) at the Greek Patriarchate of Istanbul before he was elected Metropolitan Bishop of Filipoupolis (modern-day Bulgaria) (1585), Metropolitan Bishop of Athens (1592) and finally Patriarch of Constantinople, where he remained for some months due to his un-timely death (1597) 7 . Theophanes wrote a number of musical works, including some kratemata ; one of the latter bears the curious title “Ismaelite” ( Ισμαηλίτικον ) 8 . Ismaelites (or Ismaelis) were Muslim people attested from the 8 th  century, who belonged to a sect 5 J. Plemmenos, Ottoman Minority Musics: The Case of 18  th  -century Greek Phanariots  (LAP Lambert Academic Publishing, 2010), 37–41.6 Leader of the right-hand choir that has the precedence in the church service. Karykes is the first reported  protopsaltes  of the Greek Patriarchate of Istanbul after the fall of the Byzantine capital to the Ottoman Turks (1453). See G. Anastasiou, Τ he  Kratemata in the Psaltic Art (Athens: Institute of Byzantine Musicology 12, 2005), 329–330, 402 (in Greek).7 C. Patrinelis, “Protopsaltae, Lampadarii and Domestikoi of the Great Church during the post-Byzantine Period (1452–1821)”, Studies in Eastern Chant  , vol. III (1973): 149.8 See M. Hadjigiakoumis, (1980) Χειρόγραφα Εκκλησιαστικής Μουσικής 1453 – 1820  [Manuscripts of Ecclesiastical Music 1453-1820] (Αt hens: National Bank of Greece, 1980), 84.  81 of the Shi’ah, one of Islam’s major branches. They were thus called after Ismail, who  was recognised as the seventh imam (spiritual successor) to Mohamed the Prophet by only a minority of the Shi’ah. In the 9 th  century, Ismaelites founded a caliphate that became active until the 13 th  century, and was influential all over the Middle East 9 .  Yet, it is not certain that Theophanes had those Ismaelis in mind when he wrote his “Ismaelite” piece. This uncertainty is rooted in Byzantine literature that metaphori-cally refers to Egyptians (the enemies of Israelites) as Ishmaelites with reference to the Old Testament. The Egyptians were considered to be descendants of Ishmael, son of  Abraham and his wife’s Egyptian maidservant, Hagar. Sarah, the wife, could not srci-nally bear children to Abraham, and they agreed that he would sleep with Hagar; but, after Sarah gave birth, Ishmael, the child, was sent away, and later founded a nation (Gen. 16-17). It is also known that several Arab tribes claim descent from Ishmael 10 . In the dictionaries of Byzantine and post-Byzantine Greek language, Ismaelites are identified with either the Egyptians or the Arabs 11 . Besides, Byzantine hymnography contains negative allusions to the metaphorical Ismaelites, the best-known example being a hymn from the service of the Holy Cross (14 September), where the term “Is-maelites” is used as a generic name for the eternal enemy of Byzantium 12 . In light of that, Karykes’ kratema  seems to re-evaluate the Ismaelis as non-enemies (at least in the context of music). Theophanes’ precedent was soon followed by other composers, such as Arsenios  Junior, a priest and monk of Vatopedi Monastery, Mount Athos, Greece, active in c. 1600.  Arsenios wrote two kratemata , which he called “Syrinx or Miskal by the Ismaelites” 13  and “Muslim” ( μουσουλμάνικον) 14  respectively. Syrinx and miskal represent the word “pan-pipe” in Greek and Arabic, respectively, and their association may refer to Arsenios’ bor-rowing from near-Eastern music. In another Greek anthology, the same kratema , along  with Karykes’ one, is included in a series of “  Naya , which derive from the Ismaelites” 15 . In Persian language, nay or ney (Gr. pl.  Naya ) is the word for the reed flute, one of the most important instruments of oriental music and the sacred instrument of the Mevlevi sect (whirling Dervishes). In the 18 th  century, nay  was also mastered by Greek musicians in-cluding some cantors of the Patriarchate. Arsenios’ “Ismaelite” work, sometimes spelled out as “Miskal” ( μουσχάλι ), became popular, if we judge from its dissemination and imita-tion in 17 th - and 18 th -century collections of Byzantine chant. 9 F. Daftary,  A Short History of the Ismailis  (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1998).10 R. Boase, “The Morisco Expulsion and Diaspora: An Example of Racial and Religious Intolerance”, Cultures in Contact in  Medieval Spain: Historical and Literary Essays Presented to L. P. Harvey , eds. D. Hook and B. Taylor (London: King’s College, 1990 ), 19–20.11 See E. A. Sophocles, Greek Lexicon of the Roman and Byzantine Periods (from B.C. 146 to A.D. 1100)  (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1914); E. Kriaras, Λεξικό της μεσαιωνικής ελληνικής δημώδους γραμματείας  1100-1669 (Lexicon of medieval Greek popular literature 1100-1669), vols. VII, VIII (Thessaloniki: Centre of Greek Language1980, 1982).12 This is the sanctification hymn “ Δεύτε πιστοί, το ζωοποιόν ξύλον προσκυνήσωμεν. ..” (“Let us, faithful, worship the life-giving Tree…”) composed by the Byzantine emperor Leo VI the Wise (866–912). The relevant passage goes: “… εν σοι οι πιστότατοι Βασιλείς ημών καυχώνται, ως τη ση δυνάμει, Ισμαηλίτην λαόν, κραταιώς υποτάττοντες …” (“…upon thee [i.e. the Holy Cross] our most pious Kings boast, because with thine power they can completely defeat the Ismaelite people…”. 13 “Σύριγξ, παρά δε των ισμαηλιτών μουσκάλι” . See M. Hadjigiakoumis, Μουσικά χειρόγραφα Τουρκοκρατίας (1453–1832) [Musical Manuscripts from the Turkish Occupation (1453–1832)] (Athens, 1975), 86, 269.14 Anastasiou,  Τ he Kratemata , p. 352.15 “  Νάϊα άπερ εξεβλήθησαν δια ισμαιλιτών ”. See Hadjigiakoumis 1980, pp. 85, 89. A “Miskal” kratema  was written by Petros Bereketis (c. 1700) and has been released in LP (disc 1) by the Institute of Byzantine Musicology (1976).  J. PLEMMENOS • THE ROSARY AND THE ROSE: CLERGYMEN ...
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