Epirus revolt of 1611

The uprising in Epirus of 1611, also known as uprising of Dionisios Skylosophos, was organized by the Greek Orthodox bishop Dionysios Skylosophos against Ottoman rule. The rebels after some initial success on September 10, 1611, attacked the city of Ioannina in Epirus. The following day the uprising was brutally suppressed and the ringleaders executed.


Former Orthodox metropolitan bishop Dionysios had already incited a failed rebellion in Thessaly in 1600. He later received promises of support from the Spaniards of the Kingdom of Naples and begun preparations for another uprising in the region of Epirus. As such he moved at 1604 in the village of Hoika, near Paramythia.[1] At the beginning of September 1611 a total of 1,000 men from 70 villages were gathered in the coastal region of Thesprotia and were ready to revolt. However the vast majority of them had only access to peasant tools with 40 of them bearing arquebuses and additional 100 yatagans.[2]

Dionysios also managed to gain the support of various Greek nobles of the area, such as the personal secretary of the Pasha of Ioannina and the metropolitan bishop of Dryinopolis, Mattheos.[2]


The rebellion broke out in the coastal region of Epirus, Thesprotia, on September 10, 1611. Approximately 1,000 peasants and shepherds took active part with most of them poorly armed with bows, cudgels, javelins, and peasant tools. The rebels were expressing their indignation not only against the Ottoman taxation system, but also against Ottoman rule and presence in the region in general chanting Kyrie Eleison (Greek: Κύριε Ελέησον Lord have mercy) and anti-Haraç taxation slogans (Greek: Χαράτσι χαρατσόπουλο αναζούλι αναζουλόπουλο).[3]

They violently attacked their nearest oppressors; the Islamized inhabitants of the villages Tourkogranitsa and Zaravousa, in Thesprotia and then marched towards Ioannina, the administrative center of the region.[3] There they arrived on the night of September 10–11 and burnt down the house of the local Ottoman lord, Osman Pasha.[3] However, Osman Pasha managed to escape and the following day the Ottoman garrison of the city reinforced with a small cavalry unit and with the support of local Greek notables defeated and dispersed the rebellious elements.[2]


Three days later Dionysios was found and arrested by the Ottomans in a nearby cave. During his interrogation he claimed that he aimed at the liberation of the population to put an end to Ottoman tyranny. Dionysios also stated that the King of Spain promised him active support.[4] Dionysios was tortured at the central square of Ioannina and he perished upon being flayed alive. His remains were sent to Constantinople together with the heads of 85 rebels. Other notables that participated in the movement shared similar fate.[4]

The privileges that the native inhabitants of Ioannina enjoyed since the beginning of Ottoman rule (1430) were annulled.[4] As such the following years the Greek Orthodox inhabitants of Ioannina were evicted from the castle quarters to move to the suburbs.[5] Only Muslims and Jews were allowed to remain inside the castle of Ioannina, while the churches there were confiscated and turned into mosques. In 1618, the Greek Orthodox cathedral of John the Baptist, patron saint of the city was demolished and the Aslan Pasha Mosque (now the Municipal Ethnographic Museum of Ioannina) was erected on the site.[4]



  • Konstantinos., Giakoumis (2002). "The monasteries of Jorgucat and Vanishte in Dropull and of Spelaio in Lunxheri as monuments and institutions during the Ottoman period in Albania (16th-19th centuries)". Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  • Vranousis, L, Sfyroeras, V. (1997). "From the Turkish Conquest to the Beginning of the Nineteenth Century". Epirus, 4000 years of Greek history and civilization. Ekdotike Athenon. ISBN 9789602133712.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)