Pogonisian History: In the depth of the centuries

xarths1_posterThe history of Pogoni stems from the depths of the centuries. Discovering Epirus’ paradise, one feels that Pogoni remained untouchable by time.
It is located in the northwest of the city of Ioannina and is surrounded by the  mountains Nemertsika,Kasidiaris and Tsamantas. Because of its strategic location right on the trade routes connecting the Adriatic Sea and Asia Minor, was always one of the most troubled region of Epirus: it became repeatedly the target of invaders such as Romans, serbs,Franks,Turks who tried to conquer the strategic passages and routes.
It is said that Pogoni took its name from the Emperor Constantine Pogonatos who passed from here in 700 AD. To honor the Emperor Pogonatos who stopped in Molyvdoskepastos ex-Dipalitsa after the victorious raid in Southern Italy, inhabitants named the region after his name.
Another source for the name of the region is the word Pogonitis as Zeus was named here during Ancient period and whose temple is said to have stood on the present site of the Vella Monastery. None of these versions is historically proved. During the Ancient Ages the area was divided in the northern part (from the river Aoos to the mountain Nemertsika) called Trifylia and the southern part under the name Milotida (between mountain Nemertsika, Kasidiari, Bozovo, and Mourgana)and are known as descendants of the Molossian dynasty also descendants of Triptolemous son of Mythic Achilles.
Residents of Milotidas as well as Trifylias are later involved in the 3rd century BC to the campaigns of King Pyrrhus ,the 23rd king in succession to the throne of Molossos. 250px-Pyrrhus-245x300Since 296 BC Pyrrhus plays an important role in the development of the region aims on political, military and economic reorganization of Epirus and diverts the interest of the residents from livestock to trade and agriculture. Organizes his courtyard with the standards of King Ptolemy, builds new constructions, structures, statues, develops  Greek Education and establishes a mint to facilitate transactions.
The residents of Milotidas and Trifylias are known for their strong defense of their language and religion. The scene changes rapidly  in 272 BC with Pyrrhus’ death. After the fall of the Royal regime  the “League of Epirus” is founded but Epirus is finally subjugated by the Romans in 168 BC. The Byzantine Period follows which begins in 324 AD. Pogoni in 431 AD belongs to the diocese of Andrianoupoleos and suffers from frequent invasions of Goths, Slavs and Bulgarians but is completely destroyed by an earthquake in 506 AD. Between 1081 until 1453 AD the area this time is suffering from the incursions of the Normans. In 1204 AD the “Despotate of Epirus” is founded by Aggelos Komninos, while later in 1318 AD marks the end of 114 years of dominion for the family Aggelos Komninos in Epirus. From the 12th century. AD and after the rapine of Pogoni goes on by the Serbs and the Albanians.
During the Ottoman period a road was created connecting the port of
Saranda and Gjirokastra with Ioannina which opened new horizons for trade with the Constantinople and established Pogoni as a center of commerce and culture. Turks continue to plunder also by changing the land ownership for residents since their property passed into Turkish hands but the worst form of violence is the mass kidnapping of children. The Turks ravish the children of Christian families to educate and islamize them so to create the army of so-called “Janissaries”. In 1913 the “London Protocol” dismembered Pogoni with the concession of the areas of Himara Delvinou, Gjirokastra, Tepeleniou, Premetis, Liaskovikiou, Cologne and Korca in Albania along with the Christian population of 240,000 residents that contributes to the economic decline of the region.
STRATOS 1b_edited-1The outbreak of Greek-Italian war (1940 -1941) and the Greek-German (1941-1945) gives the ‘coup de grace’ in troubled Pogoni. The period of Greek-German war is a very “black” period for the area which becomes deserted. The fury of the Germans burns houses and people and ravages each source of living from the residents.
STRATOS 2Finally, the Civil War of 1946-1949 takes further back the economic reconstitution of the already devastated economy of the region. Residents having no hope seek work in large urban centers and cities or migrate to other countries.

 SOURCES:  

“THE HISTORY OF GREEK NATION” K.PAPARRIGOPOULOS           “LAKKA OF POGONI AND PSILOKASTRO ” K. PAPANIKOLAOU
“POGONI-DEROPOLIS” Priest. Ch MATSIAS
“THE GREEK NATION”
N.SVORONOS 

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