Evidence for Viniculture from the Ottoman Tax Registers: 15th to 17th century

This paper presents qualitative and quantitative data from Ottoman registers on viniculture and wine production in Greek regions from the fifteenth to the seventeenth centuries. Several methodogical tools that will enable researchers to use this quantitative data more productively are also proposed, in the hope of encouraging fuller documentation of viniculture in Greek lands during the Ottoman period. Exemples are taken also from different types of Ottoman registers from various Greek regions, such as Crete, the Cyclades, the Peloponnesus, Mount Athos, Euboea, and Macedonia. Based on this initial research. the following observations can be made. Viniculture in Greek lands extended over a wide geographical area and was therefore a basic source of the tax revenue. Preference for viniculture was directly linked to the possibilities afforded commercial exploitation wine. As a rule villages in Greek lands did not specialise in viniculture, at least during the first Ottoman centuries, 15th-17th. The vine was a supplementary crop.

Bu makalede Osmanlı vergi defterlerinden 15-17. yüzyıllar için üzüm ve şarap üretimi ile ilgili niteliksel ve niceliksel bulgular verilmektedir. Osmanlı döneminde Yunan illerin- deki şarapçılığı da alacak çalışmaları teşvik etmek amacıyla da araştırmacıların bu niceliksel verileri kullanlarına yardımcı olabilmek üzere bazı yöntemsel araçlar da önerilmektedir.

Girit Kikladlar, Pelopones, Makedonya, Eğriboz gibi değişik bölgeleri kapsayan çeşitli defterlerden örnekler alınmıştır.

Bu ön çalışmaya dayanılarak şu gözlemler yapılabilir: Yunan illerinde üzüm geniş bir alan üzerinde yayılmış olup vergi gelirleri açısından önemli bir kaynak teşkil etmekteydi. Üzüm üretimi doğrudan ticari şarap üretimine bağlıyladı. Genellikle sözkonusu dönemde Yunan illerinde köylerde üzüm tek ürün olmayıp ancak tamamlayıcı bir niteliğe sahip idi.

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At the 1993 viniculture conference in Greece, it was suggested that the Ottoman tax registers should be investigated in order to answer certain questions, such as: ― Which villages had vineyards, and which not? What can we say about the geography of viniculture in Greece? ― How much land was used for viniculture during the Ottoman period, namely what was the percentage of vineyards in relation to the total extent of cultivated land? ― How much wine did any specific area produce? How can wine production in general be established? I have based my research on the Ottoman survey registers (Tapu Defterleri) to underscore the valuable evidence that can be gleaned from this source, evidence of prime importance for the history of viniculture during the Ottoman period. Recorded in these tahrirs, by settlement units (villages or towns), are the taxpayers and the taxes on agricultural and urban revenues. From these sources, and especially the detailed registers (mufassal defterleri), it is possible reasonably to reconstruct the settlement network of a region, to estimate the size of the population, and to investigate  its composition, to outline its production activity and to evaluate yields of each crop. I should add that the registers do not record evidence for various practices of cultivation, grape varieties etc. They are purely of a financial nature and demonstrate the logic of the taxation system. Consequently, they can be used to provide an estimate of the extent of cultivation. One, after all, has to know how to question these sources  and draw answers from them with certainty. I. Which villages had vineyards and which did not? The entry for the resm-i-dönüm (tax on vineyards per dönüm) or the tithe on must (‘öΏr-ί Ώίra) in Ottoman registers automatically implies vine cultivation and wine production. These registers constitute our evidence for viniculture in the provinces during the Ottoman period. The Ottoman tax registers record, village by village, the tax-paying population and the tax imposed on its produce. Many such registers were drawn up during the Ottoman occupation of Greek lands. From such a source for a region such as Serres, Drama, or Morea etc., where a census was undertaken, it is possible to map the wine-producing areas. Clearly, the tabulation alone of such data is a desideratum of great value, especially when the Ottoman tax registers from Greek lands remain almost unexploited. The results of my research into unpublished registers of Greek lands drawn up during the 15th and 17th centuries,  combined with information in other studies of the period, are presented below. First, viniculture in Greek lands was spread over a wide geographical area and thus constituted a basic element of the tax revenue. Preference for viniculture was directly linked to the possibilities of commercial exploitation wine, the sale of which secured the necessary income to supplement the farmers’ main crops, which were cereals. A well-known saying of a 17th-century local magnate, preserved in the Chronicle of Serres by Papasynadinos: "Sell the grapes of one stremma of land [1,000 square metres] for your taxes, the grapes of another for your haraç and to clothe the children, and keep those of the last stremma for your house, for you and your children to drink". One third, then, of this most commercially profitable of agricultural products, wine, was destined for the market, while the remainder was distributed between tax obligations and family consumption. Most importantly, however, the custom of selling a portion of the wine produced to pay taxes is here clearly formulated. Second, as a rule villages in Greek lands did not specialise in viniculture, at least during the first centuries of Ottoman rule. The vine was a supplementary crop, the revenue from which represented part of a total income that included corresponding revenues from cereal cultivation and animal husbandry. Analysis of the data in the 1474 Euboean register shows that villages of this island with insufficient cereal production had a higher income from viniculture, although this should not necessarily imply that wine production was higher in villages with insufficient cereal production than it was in villages where cereal production was sufficient or even constituted a surplus. Spyros Asdrachas' study of published Peloponnesian registers showed that tax revenue from viniculture corresponded to 67% of revenue from cereals in the late 15th and early the 16th century; and 51% in Macedonian villages of the same period. The Ottoman registers, therefore, indicate which villages were producing wine, and allow an elementary calculation to be made of the volume of production, given that the tax on wine recorded therein is usually a percentage of the total: normally a tithe – in fact, an eighth – or a tax of the order of a fifth or a third of production. If the volume of production for a single region can be roughly established, then income from wine production can be compared with income from other agricultural activity. The registers thus provide us with indirect information on the role of viniculture in the economy of a given region during a given period. Since the wine tithe is usually recorded, viniculture can easily be classified in the tax burden of a given village. In other words, the percentage of tax charged on viniculture helps the scholar to assess the value of viniculture in relation to the total tax on corresponding produce, such as cotton and livestock products. Calculation of production is, in most instances, hindered by the fact that the volume of the measure used to record the tithe of the sipah remains unknown, as does any given revenue which had to be deposited in kind. It remains a desideratum of research to record the wine measures used in Greek lands region by region, a programme which I hope will one day be realised. Even though such difficulties remain to be overcome in defining the volume of regional measures for wine production, it remains possible to deduce an approximate level of production by comparing, for a given time period, the volume of known wine measures with their rates of taxation: the latter may, consequently, act as an indicator ― more or less ― of the volume of a still unknown measure. The availability of the Ottoman registers makes it possible to trace the development of most Greek regions for one or two centuries, or for even longer periods of time in cases such as the Peloponnese, for which very many Ottoman registers exist. If these are combined, as they should be, with Venetian registers of the intervening period, then the entire period from the 15th to the 18th century is covered. Moreover, these sources also provide significant information on how taxes were levied on different religious-ethnic groups. For example, in the settlements of the sancak of Eέriboz (Euboea), more specifically in the settlements of the kaza of Istefa (Thebes), Livadye (Livadia), Talanda (Atalante), and Mudoniça (Moudounitsa), which are described as Albanian (Arnavudan), tax collected from viniculture was calculated by the stremma (resm-i baέat); Albanian and Muslim villagers paid five aspers per dönüm. In contrast, the Rum (Greek) Orthodox villages were subjected to heavier taxation, paying the tithe and the resm-i karίΏ on barrelled wine. On top of this, inhabitants of market towns, where the tithes were collected, paid a monopoly tax (resm-i monopolye). A Peloponnesian regulation dating to approximately the same period, namely the mid-the 16th century, states: "And the Muslims in the entire vilayet, Muslims who possess vineyards give four akçe per dönüm, if they themselves planted them and they were not acquired from the Infidels; in certain localities they give five akçe. It is inscribed in the appropriate place in the registers. However, should they take grape-must and sell it, they  pay the tithe. And if it is a vineyard acquired from an Infidel, they give the tithe for the land". If our interpretation of the letter of this law is correct, both the Muslims of the Peloponnese and the Muslims and Albanian (Arnavud) villagers of Atalante and Moudounitsa were involved in limited production of grapes or some wine simply to cover their own needs. They did not, in other words, produce wine for commercial sale, and probably did not produce wine at all, and for this reason were taxed less than the Christians Certain articles included in legislative texts on taxation, which frequently accompany the registers, indicate indirectly that the Ottoman state actively encouraged the dissemination of viniculture. One such interesting article is recorded in the legislation for Livadia  and Amphissa (Salona): "If someone should plant a vineyard, he will pay tax of five aspers per dönüm for the first year. Later, should the vine no longer bear fruit, he should pay nothing". Systematic recording of information on viniculture and wine production contained in the tax registers of Greek lands will surely increase our knowledge of the period, and remains a task yet to be done. II. How much land was used for viniculture within the context of the entire amount of cultivated land? Not all the Ottoman tax registers can answer this question. Those that can, as far as I can judge, are those for areas where Ottoman occupation succeeded Venetian occupation: e.g. the Peloponnese, Crete, the islands of Lemnos, Mytilene, Chios, and the Cyclades, where the fields and the vineyards of any given cultivator are recorded separately. In these instances, the amount of land devoted to viniculture can be calculated. Usually, the tax levied on the given areas is calculated per dönüm. For example, in the Peloponnese during the second Ottoman period, on the basis of the kanunname issued by Sultan Ahmed III, Muslims were obliged to pay a tax of twelve aspers for their vineyards, while Infidels had to pay twenty-four aspers per stremma. All other taxes that had in previous years been demanded were abolished, including the tithe on the must, the barrel tax, the resm-i karίΏ, the wine levy etc. Indeed, I have noticed that in the Peloponnesian registers of the second Ottoman period, only the number of dönüm of vineyards is recorded, precisely because only a tax per dönüm of vineyard was being levied. Given that our source also records the extent of fields, the number of olive trees, mulberry bushes etc., land available for viniculture can be assessed in comparison with land available for other crops. I plan to research viniculture in the Peloponnese and to collect the relevant archival material, which I hope to investigate. Since I am not ready at this stage to speak on the extent of vineyards in the 18th - century Morea, allow me to present a parallel example: East Crete in the 17th century. Recently, while studying olive production in Crete, I worked on a type of source similar to the Peloponnesian register. The Tapu Tahrir no 825 was drawn up for taxation purposes immediately following the fall of Candia (Herakleion) in 1669. It records the inhabitants of East Crete and, in great detail, their property: fields, vineyards, vegetable and fruit gardens, and olive trees in the possession of each farmer in the village. The record of the villagers' landed property is followed by the total extent of cultivated land (fields, vineyards, fallow land ― notably, also taxed), and finally the total number of olive trees. The tax amounts follow, recorded in units of physical and monetary value. The vineyards are divided, evidently on the base of productivity, into three categories, which are taxed respectively at 120, 60 and 30 aspers per tzerip (cerîb). The information provided here allows us to glean an idea of the extent of vineyards in Crete in comparison to fields for cereal cultivation. It also allows us to ascertain, on the basis of the taxes recorded for both crops, the status of viniculture in the income of a 17th - century Cretan villager. Recorded in the table is the extent of cereal and vineyard cultivation in the eleven nahiyes of East Crete and, correspondingly, the level of tax levied on each crop. We note that the vineyards of East Crete extended over only 11% of cultivable land, but were taxed at a rate of 45% the levy on cereals. This fact clearly indicates the importance of viniculture in the island's economy. Given its date of 1669, register TT no 825 also illustrates the situation which prevailed in Crete under the Venetians, when wine constituted the island’s pricipal product.    Table 1: Cereal fields and vineyards in East Crete ___________________________________________________________________________ nahiye fields vineyards tzerip tax (akçe) tzerip tax (akçe) ___________________________________________________________________________ Pediada 51,738.5 1,118,415 11,465 1,294,192.5 Monophasi 54,491 1,357,590 5,947 600,570 Kainourgia 39,674.7 994,011 1,596 162,195 Pyrgiotissa 15,810.5 395,640 802 82,230 Temenos 18,939 473,620 805 82,308 Malebizi 22,883 572,370 3,771.5 378,990 Seteia 13,864.5 353,460 1,524.5 143,255 Hierapetra 11,053 276,442.5 339.25 35,640 Merambelou 16,312 389,070 2,406.5 242,490 Lasithi 6,413 192,390 759 88,260 Rizou 21,207 591,645 2,434.5 279,660 __________________________________________________________________________________ The example of Crete clearly indicates that Ottoman registers can, for certain regions, provide us with information on the extent of viniculture and help indicate the pro rata share of viniculture for the farmer. III. How can we estimate of the extent of wine production per stremma? Given that the Ottoman registers not only record villages where viniculture was practised, but also indicate the extent of the vineyards and the volume of production, I should like now to present a specific example, to show that in certain instances these sources allow  the extraction of even more refined results: namely, an estimate of wine production per stremma. We note that no concrete information on per stremma output in Greek lands appears until the first decades of the 20th century. Registers exist, such as those from the Cyclades of 1670, which record not only the extent of vineyard cultivation, but also the tax on the wine in kind and monetary value. The ratio of tax is recorded in the register to be a fifth of production. Furthermore, the volume of the measure of wine equivalent to the villagers' tax obligation is also recorded. I refer to the case of Santorini, which I worked on some time ago. In 1670 5,938 dönüm of vineyards are recorded in Santorini, with a tax on production estimated at 237,880 aspers. Consequently, each stremma of vineyard was taxed at 40 aspers. The mistato, a measure of wine, corresponded in Santorini to 8 okkas, according to a note made by the scribe. The tax in kind is recorded as 2.5 mistata, or about 20 okkas. Since the tax was established as a fifth of production, then the stremma must have yielded 100 okkas. By way of these simple deductions, based on the above information, it can be shown that Ottomans taxed the wine of Santorini on the basis of an average annual production rate of 100 okkas per stremma.   In preparing this communication, I used the same register to calculate wine production in two other Cycladic islands. On Paros, where the local measure of land was the pinaki, average wine production per annum was calculated at 135 okkas. The mistato of Paros has a volume of nine okkas, according to the scribe. In Syros, where the vineyards were also measured in pinaki and the mistato equalled nine okkas, the average annual production reached 120 okkas, according to my calculations. I concluded, therefore, that the average annual production of must in the islands of the Cyclades ranged between 130 and 175 kg.   I apologise for tiring the audience with numbers, but I want to show that these rates are not much different from those presented in statistical data for the decade 1930-1940. Thanks to the contribution of the vinologist Mrs Kourakou-Dragona, I was informed that the average per stremma yield of must from a traditional farm was 250 kg, with a weight loss of 10% during the transformation process from must to wine. Maurice Aymard, basing his results on archive material, estimates Italian wine production in the 17th century at 21.5 hl/ha. Consequently, the average per stremma output of 150 kg of wine in the 17th-century Cyclades must be considered as the lowest yield per stremma of vineyard. This per stremma output was taken by the tax collector to be base rate for the calculation of tax on production. Such assessments can be augmented by registers of various regions, to confirm the above observations regarding the average yield of must per stremma.   In order to underscore the value of such information for yield per stremma, even by way of  a rough indication of the lowest level, I shall proceed to my last example, which comes from Mount Athos. In the 1764 Ottoman census of the Holy Mountain, which I discovered in the Turkish archives, one can clearly note the predominance of the vine in proportion to other crops on the Athonite peninsula. The register records, monastery by monastery, the vineyards, meadows, fields, fruit gardens, olive trees, hazelnut trees etc. I compared the extent of vineyards on Athos with the amount of wine production recorded in a Greek register of the Protaton that is contemporary with the Ottoman register. This register, dated to the second half of the 18th century, was published recently by Ioakeim Papaggelos. Most importantly, I wanted to ascertain whether, indeed, the figures recorded represented the volume of wine production or the tax calculated on it; the total of the wine mezures recorded in the register as produce appeared extremely small. The key to investigating the matter was provided by the ratio between the stremma of each monastery and the measures of wine declared as produce, shown in the following table.   Table 2: Average annual production on Mt. Athos (1764) ___________________________________________________________________________________ MONASTERIES VINEYARDS WINE PRODUCTION AVERAGE YIELD PER STREMMA stremma mezur mezur ___________________________________________________________________________________ Lavra 323 798 2,5 Vatopedi 225 1054 4,9 Iveron 199 917,5 4,6 Hilandar 128 1.526 11,9 Dionysiou 30 107 3,6 Koutloumousiou 135,5 416,5 3,1 Pantokratora 134,5 234 1,7 Zographou 58,5 445 7,6 Xeropotamos 66,5 585 8,8 Docheiariou 41,5 280 6,7 Karakalou 82 170,5 2,1 Philotheou 80 287 3,6 Esphigmenou 30 63,5 2,1 Simonopetra 10 67 6,7 Xenophontos 32 247,5 7,7 Kastamonitou 26,5 155 5,8 Stavronikita 51,5 184 3,5 Roussiko 46 133 2,9 Hag. Pavlos 22 177 8,1 Gregeriou 8 79 9,9 TOTAL 1,729,5 7926,5 4,6 ___________________________________________________________________________________ Comparison, therefore, showed that the average yield of eleven monasteries lay below five measures, namely at around 65 kg of wine per stremma, if we accept that the measure of wine in the late 18th century was of the same volume as that in the early 20th, when Eulogios Kourilas reported that 500 measures equalled 8,000 okkas. Thus, the wine measure (mezur) on Mount Athos had a volume of 16 okkas. Correspondingly, in seven monasteries the average production fluctuated around 155 kg, and in two monasteries, Chilandariou and Gregoriou, reached 225 kg of wine per stremma. The fact that in nine out of twenty monasteries average production approaches the figures for yield per stremma in 17th century and those of the first decade of the 20th, led me to conclude that this register did indeed record production and not tax. I have tried to show that the Ottoman registers provide useful information on viniculture and wine production in Greek lands during the first centuries of Ottoman rule, a period we know very little about, and for which Greek sources are limited. While much significant work has certainly been undertaken on literature, art, and folklore, all of which has been used unsparingly, work on releasing the information contained in the Ottoman registers concerning the four centuries of Ottoman rule may prove equally and perhaps even more useful. Otherwise, we shall just have to continue to satisfy ourselves with the incidental information in the accounts of the travellers of the period, or simply bypass it altogether, jumping from the last Byzantine sources straight to the reports of the first agronomist, Gregorios Palaiologos of Constantinople, who was invited to Greece by Capodistrias.

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