Kavvadias, GeŌrgios V.. Mediterranean pastoral nomads: the Sarakatsani of Greece

Table of Contents

Publication Information

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Part One Dialogue With Nature

Chapter I The Demographic And Ecological Substratum Of Sarakatsani Society And Culture

Chapter Ii The Technology Of The Sarakatsani

The Technology Of Acquisition


Wood Craft

Household Objects

Utensils Used In Making Bread

Kitchen Utensils And Dishes

Other Household Utensils

Pastoral Equipment

Equipment Related To Weaving And Wool

Objects Pertaining To The Safety Of The Animals

Crafts Dependent On Wool.


Wool Making

The Preparation Of The Loom.

Weaving. — Procedures And Products.


The Dyeing Of Fabrics

The Use Of Hides.

Sarakatsani Buildings.

The Dwelling And Outbuildings.

The Round Hut

The Rectangular Hut, Called “sloping”

The Outbuildings Of The Sarakatsani Dwelling

Interior Arrangement Of The Dwelling And Its Outbuildings:

Buildings Intended For Animals.

The Shelters

Constructions For Working With The Livestock


—the Impregnation Of The Animals


Feeding The Livestock

Special Care And Veterinary Medicine

The Safety Of The Livestock

Seasonal Migrations

Working With The Livestock

Methods Of Utilization And Consumption

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The Dwelling And The Buildings Intended For The Animals.


Sarakatsani Clothing.

Women's Apparel

Blankets And Rugs

Food-drink-heat And Light Food.

The Preparation Of Foods

— The Cooking Of Foods


Light And Heat.

Part Two The Social World Kinfolk, Other Sarakatsani, The Society As A Whole

Chapter One The Social Units In Sarakatsani Life

The Conjugal Family

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Marriage Regulation, The Kinship System And Its Functions.

The Principles Of Married Life.

The Life Style Of The Conjugal Family.

The Character Of The Conjugal Family.

The Extended Family

The Economic Functions Of The Extended Family.

The Life Style Of The Extended Family And Its Social Functions.

Social Functions And Social Control Of The Extended Family.

The Character Of The Extended Family.

The Tséligato

The Process Of Its Creation.

Interior Arrangement Of The Tséligato.

The Way Of Life Within The Framework Of The Tséligato.

Sociological Characterization Of The Tséligato.

Sarakatsani Society And The Surrounding Society

Remarks On The Interrelations Between The Social Units Of Sarakatsani Life

Chapter Ii Social Organization And Economic System

Chapter Iii Law In Sarakatsani Society

General Aspects

Sarakatsani Law Strictly Speaking In Search Of The Criteria For Classification And Differentiation

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Non-criminal Law Rules Of Law Concerning Family Life.

Rules Of Law Relating To The Tséligato.

The Agents Of Ajudication, Of Sanction And Coercion.

Crime And Misdemeanors Among The Sarakatsani.

Homicide And Assault.

Sentimental And Sexual Relations Outside Marriage.

Rape And Abduction Of A Young Girl.

The Theft Of Animals.

Trespassing On Their Pastures.

Calumny And Defamation.

Systematic And Critical Reflections On Sarakatsani Law

Final Evaluation

Chapter Iv Moral Phenomena And Morality Among The Sarakatsani

Part Three In The Presence Of The Mysterious, The Wonderful, The Beautiful

Chapter I Sarakatsani Magic

Magical Practices And Their Historical And Cultural Origins

Fertility Of Humans And Animals.

Fertility, Abundance And Prosperity.

The Well-being Of Men And Of Animals

Forecasting The Future.

The Magical Thinking Of The Sarakatsani

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The Postulates That Make Possible Magic Action.

Conditions Under Which Magic Is Called Upon To Intervene.

The Problem Of The Formulation Of Postualtes And Means Of Action.

Ideas Governing The Application Of Postulates And Procedures. Character Of These Ideas. The Principle Of Homogeneity.

The Sarakatsani In The Presence Of Their Magic. — The Rites.

Magical Thinking. — An Attempt At A Definition.

Magical Thinking And Non-magical Thinking: Their Respective Structures.

Some Critical Reflections.

The Social Functions Of Sarakatsani Magic

Chapter Ii Religion Among The Sarakatsani

Religious Festivals And Practices

Funeral Customs

Social Aspect Of Funeral Customs. Laying-out And Lamenting The Deceased. — Mourning.

Man In The Beyond. The Living And The Dead. — Ghosts.

Protection Of The Living Against Death And Defilement.

Eternal Rest And The Continuation Of Life.

Sarakatsani Religiosity And The Social Functions Of Religion

Chapter Iii Knowledge And Mythology Education

Sarakatsani Knowledge And Its Limits

Knowledge Pertaining To The Nature And Physiology Of Men And Animals.

Knowledge Pertaining To The Human Environment And Collective Life.

Myth As A Complement Of Knowledge


Chapter Iv Art Among The Sarakatsani

Part Four Remarks On The Whole

Chapter I An Attempt At Synthesis, Explanation And Definition

Some Reflections On Methodology

Fundamental Ideas Or Principles Governing Sarakatsani Life.

Ideas And Phenomena. A Confrontation.

Representativeness Of Ideas. Abstractions

Appraisal Of Ideas As Means Of Synthesis And Explanation.

An Attempt At Synthesis And Explanation

An Attempt At A Definition

Chapter Ii The Problem Of Equilibrium And Duration Decline And Its Causes

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Gradual Liberation Of The Country.

Emigration Of Greeks From Asia Minor.

The Last World War And The Political Evolution Of The Balkans.

The Administrative Reorganization Of The Hellenic State.

Measures Benefitting The “landless.”

Measures Benefitting Lessees Of Pastures.

Finally, Socio-economic Policy Benefitting Farmers And Herders.

Publication Information

Paragraph Subjects (OCM)

Publication Information The main body of the Publication Information page contains all the metadata that HRAF holds for that document.

Author: Author's name as listed in Library of Congress records

Title: Mediterranean pastoral nomads: the Sarakatsani of Greece

Published By: Original publisher Paris: Gauthier-Villars. 1965. HRAF MS: ii, 498 p. [original: x, 444 p.] ill., map

By line: Author's name as appearing in the actual publication [by] Georgios B. Kavadias ; photographs and figures by the author

HRAF Publication Information: New Haven, Conn.: Human Relations Area Files, 2003. Computer File

Culture: Culture name from the Outline of World Cultures (OWC) with the alphanumberic OWC identifier in parenthesis. Greeks (EH01)

Subjects: Document-level OCM identifiers given by the anthropology subject indexers at HRAF Culture summary (105); Ethos (181); Law (670);

Abstract: Brief abstract written by HRAF anthropologists who have done the subject indexing for the document This monograph, written by a social/cultural anthropologist of the French school, presents a well-rounded general ethnography of the nomadic Sarakatsani of Greece, with specific emphasis on those groups located within the region of Epirus, Thessaly, and central Greece. Although eleven specific field locales are pinpointed on the map on page 5 of this source, no mention is made in the text further identifying these locales. The author does say, however, that he did conduct a census of two of these Sarakatsani groups, one located at Tchoucaladès near Mt. Parnassus and the other at Plaka near Lamia (p. 24). This, in conjunction with the fact that there is no information on the dates of the author's fieldwork nor on the methodology used other than that he employed '… direct observation, recording of accounts and narratives, interviews, and finally direct participation in Sarakatsani life' (p. 19), constitute negative aspects of this otherwise well-written account. Not content with merely describing Sarakatsani society and culture, the author attempts to explain and interpret the data in the light of theoretical constructs which he believes will identify and integrate essential features, principles and processes of Sarakatsani life. As the result of this approach, the author is frequently involved in rather lengthy discussions of certain theoretical points and concepts found in the general anthropological literature. This source is divided into four major parts, plus an Introduction (pp. 6-23), a Conclusion (pp. 473-480), and a detailed Bibliography on pp. 481-494. In the Introduction to this source, in addition to what little information is available on the author's methodology, there are also data on the main sources utilized in this study, and a discussion of a problem which seems to have caused much difficulty for writers on the Sarakatsani, namely, that of ethnic origins. Kabbadias seems to favor the theory of D. Georgakas which proposes that the Sarakatsani are descended from a group of sedentary Greek peasants, who at some period in the fourteenth century sought refuge in the mountains and eventually adopted pastoral nomadism. Part I of this source (pp. 23-138) deals specifically with Sarakatsani adaptations to and use of the natural environment. Chapter 1 of this section (pp. 23-33) deals with demography and ecology. Despite the fact that a comprehensive demographic study is impossible because of the lack of statistics, the author, nevertheless, claims that his data show a very high birth rate, low mortality, a life expectancy of 70 or over and a general pattern of ethnic endogamy. According to Kabbadias the total Sarakatsani population in Greece is estimated at between 90,000 to 110, 000 (p. 28). Chapter 2 (pp. 33-138) dealing with the technology of the Sarakatsani, is one of the best descriptive sections in the source. The subjects covered are the manufacture of wooden tools, utensils, and furniture, wool processing (including weaving techniques), leather working, the construction of dwellings and other structures, pastoral activities, clothing, food habits, etc. Part II deals with various aspects of social relationships (see pp. 138-272). Chapter 1 of this section (pp. 139-A to 211) presents a systematic analysis of the five basic social contexts of Sarakatsani life: the conjugal family, the extended family, the TSéLIGATO, the total Sarakatsani society and the surrounding Greek society. The TSéLIGATO, the major social/familial grouping (see p. 139) is described in the text as an economic cooperative at the core of which is an economically powerful extended family, and to which are usually attached other conjugal or extended families of lower economic status, which may or may not be related to the core family either collaterally of affinally. It seems evident that the TSéLIGATO and the STANI described by Campbell (see 1:Campbell, this file) are basically the same social group. Kabbadias, 0n p. 31, defines STANI as simply the locale where pastoral activities take place, and claims that this term is common to pastoral groups all over Greece. Chapter 2 (pp. 211-216) presents a general characterization of the economic system, while chapter 3 (pp. 216-264) discusses law in the society. In this latter chapter, the author shows how the Sarakatsani have combined elements of Hellenic and indigenous law. There is a long section (pp. 252-264) which discusses the theory and analysis of law in anthropology. Chapter 4 (pp. 264-272) presents a discussion on the concepts of Sarakatsani morality, with its primary focus on the notion of 'honor.' Part III (pp. 272-436) deals in general with the supernatural, cognitive and aesthetic aspects of Sarakatsani life. Chapter 1 (pp. 272-374) discusses magic both from a descriptive as well as analytical point of view. Magical practices are described in detail along with their historical and cultural origins. This chapter also provides a good analytical treatment of the logical postulates underlying magical behavior and of the cultural, social, psychological, and human conditions in which magic is called upon. The chapter concludes with an analysis of the social functions of magic. Chapter 2 (pp. 375-404), presents a succinct account of Sarakatsani religion, including information on the main ceremonial occasions, funerary customs, general religious orientations, and the social functions of religion. Chapter 3 (pp. 404-424) discusses native ideas and knowledge of nature and man, including data on mythology. Chapter 4 (pp. 424-436) is concerned with various aspects of Sarakatsani fine arts -- music, poetry, dance, wood sculpture, embroidery, and narrative tales. Part VI (pp. 436-473) is an attempt by the author to provide a general synthesis of the data concerning the Sarakatsani culture and society. Chapter 1 (pp. 437-461) discusses possible ways of presenting an integrated view of Sarakatsani life, and then focuses on the delineation of the basic cultural style, which is seen as linking the Sarakatsani to the Mediterranean culture area in general, and to the Southeast European part of this area in particular. Chapter 2 (pp. 461-473) then deals with the problem of stability, continuity and change in their pattern of life. The Conclusion (pp.473-480) sketches a profile of the sexual dichotomy characterizing Sarakatsani cultural behavior.

Document Number: HRAF's in-house numbering system derived from the processing order of documents 13

Document ID: HRAF's unique document identifier. The first part is the OWC identifier and the second part is the document number in three digits. eh01-013

Document Type: May include journal articles, essays, collections of essays, monographs or chapters/parts of monographs. Monograph

Language: Language that the document is written in English translation from French

Note: Translation of: [Pasteurs-nomades méditerranéens; les Saracatsans de Grèce. [par] Georges B. Kavadias. Photos et dessins de l'auteur]|The original French text is included in this database but it is not indexed for subjects Includes bibliographical references (p. 481-494) Translated for the HRAF files by Frieda Schütze

Field Date: The date the researcher conducted the fieldwork or archival research that produced the document no date

Evaluation: In this alphanumeric code, the first part designates the type of person writing the document, e.g. Ethnographer, Missionary, Archaeologist, Folklorist, Linguist, Indigene, and so on. The second part is a ranking done by HRAF anthropologists based on the strength of the source material on a scale of 1 to 5, as follows: 1 - poor; 2 - fair; 3 - good, useful data, but not uniformly excellent; 4 - excellent secondary data; 5 - excellent primary data Ethnologist-4,5

Analyst: The HRAF anthropologist who subject indexed the document and prepared other materials for the eHRAF culture/tradition collection. John Beierle ; 1978

Coverage Date: The date or dates that the information in the document pertains to (often not the same as the field date). not specified

Coverage Place: Location of the research culture or tradition (often a smaller unit such as a band, community, or archaeological site) northern mainland Greece; Epirus, Thessaly, and central Greece

LCSH: Library of Congress Subject Headings Sarakatsans/Greece


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