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Vlastos or Vlasto (Greek: Βλαστος) (or 'Blasto/us' in some Greek/Latin translations). 'Vlasto' derives from the ancient Greek 'blast' or 'vlast', meaning a young shoot, a bud, something which flourishes or burgeons and, in general terms, implies fruitfulness, potency and vigour.[1] The Vlastos were an ancient Greek noble family, known to have been prominent in Ionia in ancient times, in Rome in the c. 2nd A.D., in Constantinople as members of its principal noble families,.[2] later in Crete, Chios and Venice.

noble family
Vlasto Coat of Arms.jpg
One of the many Coat of Arms of the Vlastos
Country Greece
Ethnicity Greek|Phanar|Phanariot|Chios|Chian|Chiot
Founded Ionia, c. 3rd B.C.

The Vlastos were both powerful and influential at the highest levels in the Byzantine Empire. Their role continued through the Genoese, Venetian and Ottoman empires until the catastrophic Massacre at Chios in 1822.

From at least the c. 17th until 1822, the Vlastos were a principal ruling (demogeront) family of Chios, having previously been prominent in Crete since 1182. After the massacres their diaspora led to the founding of more scattered 'dynastic' communities in, among other cities, Alexandria, Athens, Corfu, Galati, Iasi, Liverpool, London, Marseilles, Livorno (Leghorn), Paris, Syros, Trieste, etc.


The Vlasto Family, Ionia, c. 3rd B.C.Edit

The Vlasto Family In Rome, c. 1–2 A.D. – Claudius Vlasto & Early Christian ChurchEdit

D . M .CLODIO BLASTOCLODIUS BLASTUSFIL. PATRI DVLCISSIM[O]B.M.F.ET CLODIA CHARISCONIVGI B.M.F. This funeral altar was carved on the initiative of the son of Claudius Vlasto, namesake of his father in his honor and that of his wife Claudia Charis.

Funerary Monument to Clodius BlastusEdit

A monument, dating from 100-120 AD, was created in honour of Claudius Vlasto on the initiative of his son and namesake, Claudius Vlasto. It also commemorates his wife, Claudia Charis, as a later addition to the inscription. Although the wording is in Latin and the names have been Latinised, the name 'Charis' is Greek and means 'Grace', indicating that the Greek origin is proudly acknowledged. Kerofilas says that the use of the letter B in place of V for 'Vlasto' establishes an early date for the monument and that it belongs to a branch of the 'great Greek family which was established early in Rome'[1]

Perhaps sold to the Museums of the Vatican in 1783 by Countess Livia Buzj Moroni (who had numerous works of art from the Vigne Moroni near the Scipion tomb). The Vigne Moroni, being a very important excavation site, produced numerous artifacts of which the Vatican Museum has beautiful examples. The monument's dedication is: "Into the hands of God, Claudius Vlasto, most excellent, from his son Claudius Vlasto."

The Vatican's catalogue entry then suggests that the mention of his wife, Claudia Charis, in slightly smaller lettering in a space below, may have been added as an after-thought. This seems unlikely. Almost certainly the space was left blank (as is quite common) so that her name could be added when she died later and the letters B.M.F. in both cases refer to the son ('filius') being the benefactor of the monument to his parents.

The Vatican's description also refers to a 'crowning' feature to the monument consisting of two ornamental floral volutes and crossed palms. The side panels of the monument display an 'urceus' and 'patera' – a vase and a chalice (or cup).[1]

Vlasto in The Bible – 37 - 44 A.D.Edit

Vlasto (Blastus) was the chamberlain of Herod Agrippa and probably involved in a plot to arrange the escape from prison of St Peter The Apostle – and perhaps involved in an assassination of Herod Agrippa.

According to Acts 12:20, Herod was displeased with the people of Tyre and Sidon,[3] and forbade the export of food to them. As they were dependent on delivery of food from Judea and Judea was affected by famine,[4] the Sidonians and Tyrians made Blastus "their friend" (possibly through bribery[5]). Blastus helped them obtain an audience with Herod.

Acts 12:23 states that Herod was struck dead by God when the people of Sidon and Tyre offered him worship.

In Acts Xll v. 20:

"And Herod was highly displeased with them of Tyre and Sidon: but they came with one accord to him, and, having made Blastus the king's chamberlain their friend, desired peace; because their country was nourished by the king's country."

The Vlasto Family, Early Church Fathers, Rome, c. 2nd - 3rd A.D. – Foundation Of The Early Christian ChurchEdit

According to the latest writings of Theodoret (c.393 - 458 AD) and Eusebius (264-340 AD, Bishop of Caesarea Father of Church History, and biographer of Constantine the Great), a priest Vlasto and Florinus were prominent personages in Rome. However, this great controversy in the early days of Christianity for trying to fix the date of the Easter celebration, led them to be considered supporters of Judaism. In fact, the only reason they had tried was a practical reason, as today still it involves extremely complicated mathematical calculations and paradoxically finds its origins in pagan rites of fertility related to the phases of the moon. Even St Irenaeus, contemporary and friend Vlasto, condemned these views in a letter addressed to him.[6][7]

The Vlasto Family, Byzantium, Constantinople from c. 4th A.D. – Ruling Families & Heraldry in ByzantiumEdit

The Vlasto Family, Crete, 1182 A.D.Edit

In 1182, the Emperor Alexios II Komnenos,[8] ordered the resettlement of Crete.i[›][9]

Alexios II, to suppress an insurrection, ordered the 12 Condottiero families to migrate and resettle the island of Crete, giving them the fertile Messara Plain and with orders to pacify the island. Fokas and Skordyllis were in charge. The purpose of the expedition: To increase the Christian population, defend the island from Arabs and pirates, and collect taxes. Allegedly, it took 850 ships to transport the 12 families, their soldiers and supplies and horses to Crete.[8]

The Twelve Archondopoulon or Petty LordsEdit

In the Chrysobull (χρυσὁϐουλλος),[10] an imperial document with the emperor’s signature and sealed with gold, the emperor sent his son Isaakion to Crete as king and trustee, with the 12 archondes.

The Phokas and Skordilis families were in charge of the project. The island was divided between the 12 families into 12 districts, and the families were to establish strong links between Constantinople and Crete, increase the Christian population, defend the island from Arabs and pirates, and collect taxes.

The story of their arrival has passed into Cretan legend as the story of the Twelve Archondopoula or petty lords.[11]

  • Ioannis Phokas – the family name was changed to Kallergis during the Venetian era
  • Marinos Skordilis, nephew of the Emperor
  • Philipos Gavalas
  • Thomas Archoleos
  • Eustathios Chortatzis
  • Leon Mousouros
  • Constantine Varouchas
  • Andreas Melissinos
  • Loukas Lithios
  • Nikiforos Argyropoulos
  • Dimitrios Vlastos
  • Matheos Kalafatis

According to the historian Trivan,[12] there were 90 nobles, each with a trireme containing his retinue, suggesting that the fleet was made up of family flotillas.

In charge of the Vlasto family was the Archon and Senator Manousos (born c. 1160), son of Demetrius (born c. 1135), with his brothers Stefanos, Symeon, Ioannis, Prokopios, Marinos and Georgios. In Crete, although it was planned to settle in Messara, the family settled to the south of Rethymnon, in the area known as Amari. The village Rustica, was associated with the Vlasto family.

Twenty-two years after the arrival of the 12 families, Constantinople fell into Latin hands and the Venetians bought Crete from the Latin Emperor. Soon the first Venetian soldiers arrived. Genoa was also keen to control Crete and later the Byzantine Emperors wanted to have Crete back. There was a new revolt every few years and the Vlastos were practically involved in several rebellions against Venice in 1207, 1283, 1341, 1363 and finally in 1454 when Syphis (Xiphilinos) Vlasto and his family are tortured to death by the Venetian authorities.

The Vlasto Family in Crete 1204 – 1453 - Fall of Byzantine Constantinople and the Turkish Ottoman SuccessionEdit

The history of the Vlasto family in Venetian Crete can be easily followed due to the excellent record keeping of the Venetians. Selected wills and other documents included in the saved protocols of the notaries working in Venetian Crete, kept in Venice, are being published every year in Latin or translated. The books[13][14] are good references.

By the end of the Fourth Crusade, the Byzantine Empire was replaced by the Latin State of Constantinople.

Crete was ceded to Boniface I, Marquess of Montferrat who, being weakly armed, ceded it to Venice. Crete now became an important commercial center linking the Orient and Occident.

But the indigenous Hellenic (Greek) population quickly revolted against what they believed to be usurpers - Italian princes and Venetian colonials. In 1204 it is recorded that the Vlasto family took part in the insurrection.[1]

But, as in many other revolts, the Venetians were to have the last word. Peace was short-lived and another revolt took place, organised by the magnats (ruling families) despite all efforts by Venice to win over the sympathy of the Greek nobility: e.g. recognising and confirming the feudal land-holdings originally granted in perpetuity by the Byzantine Emperor.

Despite this, the Venetians faced endless uprisings until the last insurrection of 1283 led by Alexis Kallergis which took place on Vlasto terrain at Gortyne. Three Vlastos, Demetrius, Euphemius and George were the first to respond to Kallergis's call to arms.

In 1293 Venice engaged in a war against Genoa which sapped all its strength. Thus it was a Genoan admiral who landed at La Canée asking for Kallergis and a meeting which came to nothing. It was then necessary to seek the advice of the other key-players in the insurrection – the Vlastos, among others.

A convent at Hierapetra was chosen for this conference which quickly turned sour when no-one gave ground. The Vlastos were in favour of an alliance with Genoa while the others wanted to proclaim an independent republic.

The Venetian government then reclaimed power and the three Vlasto brothers were banished from Rethymno. The new Venetian governor, Jacopo Tiepolo, applied draconian powers to stifle rebellion. An agreement grew into the peace treaty signed on 28 April 1299.

Under the terms of this treaty Alexis Kallergis was conceded certain privileges as well as certain obligations, for example: "... you will not take over more than one of Demetrius Vlasto's feudal estates...".[1]

In 1272, the brothers Chortatzis started a revolt against Venetian rule that lasted 30 years. The Cretans were getting stronger and winning. When it became clear that a win was possible, Alexios Kallergis joined the revolt. The Venetians were keen to negotiate a truce and c. 1299 Alexios Kallergis travelled to Venice to negotiate a truce.[15] He made numerous demands to advance his family. One demand was, in order to reduce the powers of the existing "Archons", to take over their properties (fiefs), horses, etc. The Venetians liked the idea and agreed to it. The properties owned by the Archons were reduced in half. Only the properties of the Vlasto family were off limits. Some claim the Vlasto family was too powerful to be provoked. At the time, Demitrios Vlasto was the head of the family, he was the son of Ioannis.

About 200 years later records show that only the Vlastos still owned fiefs in Crete.

Syphis Vlasto, Crete, c. 15th – Resistance Leader, CreteEdit

Another significant event was the revolt of Josef, "Syfis" Vlasto[16] (born c. 1410 Rethymnon) - son of Thomas Vlasto, was executed by the Venetians in August 1454. He was the Leader of the Revolt, which had substantial local support as well as the backing and probably was financed by the Imperial families. Information about the revolt was sold to the Venetians, and all leaders and their families, including Josef’s family, were killed.

After the Fall of Constantinople there were religious divisions between the Orthodox of Crete. These were a product of the Union of Churches reached at the council of Ferrara Florence. Though in a minority the unionists controlled the organization of the Orthodox Church in Crete, because of the Venetian authorities, The appointment of a unionist as protopapas of Rethymnon in 1452 angered Syphis Vlasto and he set about to drive the Venetians from the island.[17]

Syphis Vlasto, conceived the bold dream of Crete, a new Greek state.

He conceived an insurrection, some think around 1453, but this is unlikely since it is the year of the fall of Constantinople, May 29, and the time remaining to form a revolution was too short. Lamansky, Russian historian who had access to the archives of Venice notes the year 1458. Three years after the event. The Professor Dolcetti who was also access to the archives of Venice highlights a document dated November 13, 1454, by which the government of Venice imposes restrictions on the Orthodox clergy of Crete because of the insurgency Syphis Vlasto. This strong long document against the clergy, mentions in its end the repression of the uprising had taken place before the end of 1454 and was quickly brought under control.

Another document from the Venetian Senate sent the Duke of Crete, as mentioned alongside other Syphis Vlasto ranged themselves patriots, Jean Georges and Melissinos Gavala. There is mention of:

"...conspiracies and betrayals Syphis Vlasto and its supporters and accomplices".

It is also said in the same document:

"...the last insurrection in Crete that Syphis Vlasto attempted against our state."

The clergy played an important part in these movements because of strife and animosity that manifested between Catholics and Orthodox clergy, first wanting to annihilate the Greek clergy, not only in Crete but in the whole region of the Greek territory lying this time under Venetian rule.

Syphis Vlasto's PlotEdit

Syphis Vlasto's plan was to arrest of all Venetian officials and massacre them at night, and also arrest and imprison the Latins. With all resistance from the Venetians being dismissed, the liberation of Crete from the foreign domination could be proclaimed.

A historian of the Turkish Empire, Zinkeisen gives an interesting point on a different version of the facts mentioned above.

"...A Greek notable of Rethymnon, named Vlasto, was designed in 1453 the evil plan to kill in a day and at the same time all Venetian officials and all brand knights. We could then proclaimed king, a native, belonging to the family exiled Palaeologan which would then exercised its sovereignty over Crete. The project was adopted. The conspirators were increasing day by day and already he was about to implement the planned massacre when conspirators, a priest and a Jewish conspiracy denounced the Duke Benedetto Vitturi. It was very easy, as a result of such termination to stop the conspirators who were imprisoned and put to death without further ado. Informers were rewarded by the Senate who loaded them with honors and income properties."

Another historian, B. Psilakis gives another version of this conspiracy but confuses dates and events, and arrived in creating two distinct movements, that of Syphis Vlasto and that of John Gavala which is completely wrong.


The plot against the Venetians had been prepared in the most absolute secrecy and the Venetian authorities would not have known anything if he hadn't been betrayed to Venice by a Greek priest, Iannis Lyma, and a Jewish merchant, Davide Maurogonato. Lyma heard of the conspiracy and traveled to Venice, where he met Maurogonato, who came from Crete. The two revealed the conspiracy to Dieci in Venice.[18]

Venetian official documents refer to them when two whistleblowers, the priest and the Jewish Davide Maurogonato, both of Rethymnon.

Andrea tells that Lymas and Maurogonato denounced the conspiracy Venetian Duke of Crete, not the Doge of Venice, supported in this by Cornelius:

"In 1453, Benedetto Vitturi was sent to Crete to replace Balbi. Under the government of this Vitturi, a Syphis Vlasto, Greek Rethymno, was designed with the cooperation supporters, also of the Greeks from the island, the project to revolt against the Venetian domination, cut into pieces the city authorities, the nobles and the Latin Venetians themselves to become masters of the island, or hire someone to which they would offered [sic] sovereignty. To this end he prepared their combat equipment in their homes. This betrayal came to the knowledge of a priest of Rethymno, Lymas, and the Jewish Davide Mavrogoronato who, faithful to the Republic, denounced the Duke. For his part, André Kallergis, son Georges Kallergis, aborted the revolt when it was informed. So this is how the Duke was stopped with the help of Kallergis' supporters; the revolutionary Vlasto and his collaborators, who convicted, suffered death befitting their crime. Here's how the revolt was suppressed."

Gerland gives many details on the precise Lymas family and a priest named Lymas was involved in the conspiracy of Syphis Vlasto.

When the Venetian authorities were made aware of the conspiracy, they charged Kallergis to stifle the movement by any means. Given the role because Greek was odious and "continues to stigmatize the history of this family" and Venice employed it more than once against the rebellious Cretan. Kérofilas adds, "if Kallergis earned national recognition by cons he found the descendants of this noble house that dishonored his name".[This quote needs a citation]

After stopping Syphis Vlasto and other revolutionaries, Kallergis invested with absolute freedom to suppress the revolt of the "most inhuman violence".[This quote needs a citation] He was rewarded morally and materially by the Venetian state and the Venetian Senate went so far as to express his gratitude in writing, which was not in use at the time. His collaborator, his brother John, and he is mentioned in a decree of May 23, 1472.

Arrest and torture of the family of Syphis VlastoEdit

After the arrest of the family of Syphis Vlasto, the inquisitors submitted him, his wife and daughter to torture to make them denounce the other conspirators and make them reveal their plans. But all three and five-year-old girl kept absolute silence.

Greek historian Sp. Zambelios makes a picture of the torture:

"... Once we applied the hanging by the hair (capillorum tortured), much more painful than the torture of boots, to his sister. Then the patient was not suspended by the armpits or arms, but by her braided hair to even the rope pulley. Iron rivets hugging his metatarsal, while the hangman lashed her back with pellet strips. The hanging by her hair was specially reserved for the fair sex in long braids. The wife and daughter Vlasto patrician, called Syphis, were subjected to this torture for them to disclose the names and repeat the words from their homes by the conspirators. The maid of fifteen, as beautiful as the Beatrice Cenci of Rome, which was put to death by the Pope succumbed to the pain of torture, after pincers had cut her tongue in tatters."

Such were the terrible tortures and death that suffered these two heroines. It is not known how Syphis Vlasto was executed, but it is certain that his torture were not less than those suffered by his wife and daughter.

The torture took place at the spot said: "Stem Head" reserved for executions outside Rethymnon, built on a rocky hillside overlooking the Messambeliotissa Christian cemetery near the cave of Magara.

Other ConspiratorsEdit

In his History of the Cretan Insurrection, Jean Condylakis also reports that among the other conspirators were two brothers, John and George Gavala.

But this is partly false because it was found in some documents of Venetian archives they had betrayed the conspiracy. However at the very beginning they were supporters of Syphis Vlasto and were not - if they were - not among the denouncers in the first hour. We also know that they have not received awards in any form whatsoever, that it is well known to have been done to Lymas, Mavrogonato and Kallergis. The Venetian government was a certain extravagance to all the traitors and the list is long of those who received pensions and annuities after "services rendered".

The Venetian Government showed more generousity to Mavrogonato. He received money in large quantities, but thanks to him, the Jews of Crete benefited from important privileges. That changed their status, which until then was pretty miserable. And Maurogonato family remained in Crete until the occupation of the island by the Turks. At this time Mavrogonato left the island after two centuries of peace after their betrayal.

Syphis Vlasto failed in his attempt of revolution. But this attempt is, after the fall of Constantinople, the first organized rebel movement for the liberation of Greece from the foreign yoke.

Nicolas Vlasto, Venice, c. 15th – Pioneer Printer & Publisher, VeniceEdit

This monogram, dating from 1499, was designed by Nicolas Vlasto himself. The letters represent the name: Nikolaos Blastos and are placed under a Greek cross. Note also that it draws in the cartridge, vines and bunches, that we find on one of the coats of arms of Padua Vlasto

Nicholas Vlasto's date of birth is unknown. He was the cousin of the Cretan resistance leader Syphis Vlasto. He is a descendant of the noble Vlasto Byzantine family in Crete. Nicholas Vlasto was a merchant and along with his partner Zacharias Calliergi(Kallergis) both originally from Rethymno, Crete and both became great figures in the Renaissance.[19] There is a question to how they were friends, Zacharias Kallergis' grandfather murdered Nicholas' cousin Syphis Vlasto. They both though worked for the Aldine Press as copyists.[20]

He developed the first Greek character printing press in Venice and along with his translations and publications of leading Greek and Latin texts, it allowed scholars to discover the Classics for the first time. The books were very expensive, and were intended to transform European thought and aid the discovery of classical religious thought, philosophy, the arts, architecture, etc. Though there were earlier attempts at creating a Greek printing press, historian Horatio Brown[21] discovered a patent from 1498 granted to Nicolas Vlasto from Crete for the production of a special kind of character welded at their accents.[22]

The Etymologicum Magnum of 1499Edit

Nicholas Vlastos, on the recommendation of Anna Notaras, daughter of Loukas Notaras, once Grand Duke of Constantinople, and her sisters Theodora and Euphrosyne escaped the Fall of Constantinople due to the foresight of their father who had provided them with an ample fortune. By 1475 Anna had settled at Venice and was concentrating her attention on the promotion of Greek culture. The new art of printing offered her an ideal method by which to promote Greek studies and so it was that she underwrote the cost of printing the Etymologicum Magnum. It has even been suggested[23] that the ornate fretwork of the ink headings and capitals may have been based on embroideries by Anna and her niece Eudokia Cantacuzene.[24]

As this ornate heading demonstrates, the role of Nicholas Vlastos as publisher received rather more attention throughout the work. Vlastos was the manager of Anna Notaras’ estate, and had played an instrumental role in the printing of the Etymologicum Magnum.

On September 21, 1498 he applied for a ten-year privilege for a new Greek font which he described as 'unide cum i suo accenti', (with accents joined on), "a thing never done before so well or so beautifully". Historian Nicolas Barker[25] argues that this was an attempt by Vlasto to distinguish the Greek type of this Greek (almost exclusively Cretan) printing press, with the Aldine Greek font. But (as Barker suggests), the new Greek-Cretan press was not setting itself up as a competitor to the Aldine Press: the books outlined in its patent of 28 November 1498 (the Etymologicum Magnum and commentaries on Aristotle) were the only products of a short-lived endeavour which lasted from 1499 to 1500 – at just the time when the Aldine Press were taking a break from Greek printing. Aldus may simply have taken over the distribution of the Vlastos-Kallergis press's works when he resumed printing in Greek in 1501. The Vlastos-Kallergis press output may, therefore, have been designedly small, but it was of a staggeringly high quality. Given his role in financing the press it is unsurprising to find Vlastos' name throughout the book and in an ornate device on the penultimate leaf.[26]

The Vlasto family in the Venetian EmpireEdit

When, in 1669, following the Turkish victory in the War of Candia, the Venetian general Francesco Morosini organised a retreat of the Cretan nobles to what remained of the Venetian territories in the Levant, the Vlastos re-established themselves in the Ionian Islands and in Istria. However, feudal Vlastos are found in Zante in 1509, included in the Livre d'Or in 1574 and as merchants and feudal landowners in Chios, married to the Kallergis family, where their armorials are displayed above the porticoes of their houses in the Vlastoudika quarter. In Cephalonia, in 1592, an Antonio Vlasto was created a knight by a Palatine Count of Lalran, and a Knight of Saint Mark by the Doge, Pasquale Cicogna.

The Vlasto Family & Padua University c. 16th – c. 18th – AcademiciansEdit

The Vlasto Family c. 17th – c. 19th – The Ionian IslandsEdit

In the early 17th century, the Turks invaded Crete from the west and many families, including the Vlastos, fled Crete. A couple of Vlasto families stayed in Chios (c. 1630), others moved further North to Constantinople, Wallachia and Moldavia. Another escape route was by Kithira, Corfu and Venice.

In the 17th century, allegedly, the Vlastos were involved like most Phanariots, in the fur trade. Furs were in great demand and the fur trade did bring privileges. One prominent Vlasto at the time, was Chrysoskoleos, and his house address is given as "at the light, at the end, on the cross road".[27] In the same street were the houses of many well known families of princesses of Wallachia and Moldavia. Chrysoskoleos was neither a Cretan nor from Chios.

The Vlasto Family & The Massacres at ChiosEdit

From at least the c. 17th until 1822, the Vlastos were a principal ruling (demogeront) family of Chios, having previously been prominent in Crete since 1092. By the time of the massacres the elected chief Demogeront (representative) of the Greek community on the island in all its dealing with the Ottoman administration, was Michaelis Vlasto. Michaelis survived the massacre but his cousin Loucas Vlasto was among the 74 'elders' (heads of powerful families) who were publicly hanged in Vounakis Square.[28] After the massacres the surviving diaspora led to the founding of more scattered 'dynastic' communities in, among other cities, Alexandria, Athens, Corfu, Syros, Liverpool, London, Marseilles, Livorno (Leghorn), Paris, Trieste, etc. Almost without exception (until the First World War) marriages continued to be made exclusively with cousins from among these communities worldwide. During the c. 19th ex-patriate Greek Chiots founded a number of great trading and banking institutions, based on shipping and trading in commodities – notably grain, cotton, raw fibres, etc. Chief among these was Ralli Brothers, founded by five Ralli brothers in the early c. 19th and achieving its greatest success towards the end of the century under the management of Sir Lucas Ralli (1st Bt) and Alexander Anthony Vlasto. [29]

The Vlasto Family - Diaspora into Western Europe and elsewhereEdit

The Vlasto Family late c. 19th to early c. 20thEdit

In the c. 19th the Vlasto family separated into several branches in Athens, Marseilles and Liverpool.

Almost without exception (until World War I) marriages were made exclusively with cousins from among these communities worldwide. During the c. 19th great trading and banking institutions such as Ralli Brothers emerged, based on shipping and trading in commodities – notably grain, cotton, raw fibres, etc.[30]

Some became prominent bankers in Paris (e.g. Anton Dimitri Vlasto) and in Romania while others were ship-owners in London or Marseilles. Others became businessmen in the USA: such as Solon Vlasto, founder of the Greek Fraternal Society in 1891 and of the first Greek Church in the USA, in New York in 1892.[31]

Vlasto Family Arms & DevicesEdit

Only a handful of families outside the imperial families were permitted to have "Coat of Arms" and Vlastos was one of them. The Vlastos blazon is: Gules, three plates 2 and 1 (Red, Three White Disks (forming a triangle), two on top, one at the bottom). Many Vlastos own privately designed "Coats of Arms". One, almost 150 cm in diameter, is on display in the Byzantine History Museum of Heraklion, Crete.

Notable membersEdit

Nikolas VlastosEdit

Nikolas Vlastos (Born 1430 Rethymno, Crete, Greece - Died - 1500 Venice).[32] He was officially "Factor and Administrator of the Notara Estate in Venice". There are numerous comments about his profession and what he did and did not do. The following Statement, (direct translation) may clear up few things. Re: Etymologicum Magnum (Great Etymological Dictionary): "The great etymological dictionary completed by the grace of God in Venice, commissioned by the noble and excellent Nicholas Vlastos the Cretan; at the urging of the most radiant and wise Lady Anne, daughter of the most venerable and glorious Lord Loukas Notaras, once Grand Duke of Constantinople; printed with care and skill for the learned by Zacharias Kalliergis the Cretan, and dedicated to Hellenic letters. 22 August 1499". Nicholas Vlastos was financing the project on behalf of Anne Notaras and was neither the "Printer" nor the "designer". Nikolas was a first Cousin to Josef, "Syfis" Vlastos, leader of the 1454 revolt. In 1454, Nikolas, being a close relative of "Syfis", was imprisoned for a few years, and he was saved by the full support of the Notaras family, especially Anna Notaras.

Meletios VlastosEdit

Son of Georgilas, born 1576 Rethymnon - c.1643. Well known preacher, scholar and teacher. In 1625, he was a priest at the church of the "Panagia Trimartyri" in Candia, Crete. Later he taught at the school of the Sinaitic Metochion of the St. Catherine's Monastery. Cyril Lucaris (born 1572 in Candia, Crete) was one of his many famous pupils who later became first Patriarch of Alexandria in 1601 and then Patriarch of Constantinople in 1620.[33]

Caterina VlastosEdit

Born After 1605, was the first wife of the Prince Georgii, Patriarch of the Ghyka family. Her origin was either from Crete or from Constantinople.

Egor Ivanovich VlastovEdit

(George, son of Ioannis, Vlastos) born c. 1769 in Rethymnon, Crete, Greece - died Jan 29 1837, Russia. He was one of the first group to graduate in 1790 from the Greek Cadets Corp, founded in 1775, by order of "Catherine II, The Great", Empress of Russia, in St-Petersburg, as a branch of Russia's 2nd Cadets Corp, with Count Alexei Orloff-Chesmenskiy the initiator of the new order. The cadets were children of noble Greek families or orphans (parents killed by the Turks) originating from mainland Greece and the islands. The children were transported to St.Petersburg by the fleet of Count Orloff and vice-admiral A. V. Elmanov. G-L E. I. Vlastov's name, as one of the Heroes of the Patriotic War 1812, is engraved on the Christ Savior Cathedral's walls In Moscow. Vlastov was decorated with the Order of St.Georgi y 3 class; of St. Anna 1 class; of St. Vladimir 2 class. Today in Kniagevo, in the house where Vlastov lived, there is a school and its pupils carefully protect the tomb of the hero.

Jean C. VlastoEdit

Jean C. Vlasto (1814-1869), son of Constantine who had been killed by the Kurd Roussakis, took refuge with his mother and two brothers in Nafplio. He studied under Georgios Gennadios, the pioneering Greek educator. Then continuing his studies he went to Syros, where he thought he could make his career in letters.

Many Greeks at that time were not very educated, few of them could read or write and education was one of Jean's concerns. He entered the service of Public Instruction. Proof of this was made by the many educational books he wrote during his long career on Syros. The Minister of Public Education mentions that Otto of Greece first expressed himself in his personal congratulations he sent him.

His professional duties did not prevent him to be patriotic and a letter from the Minister of Interior shows, giving him the "Aristion" (Medal of Merit) for "the noble sentiments which he had demonstrated in Athens "during the insurgency and memorable day which resulted in the abolition of the absolute monarchy and the establishment of constitutional regime in Greece.

Married to Callirrhoe Psaltoglou of Smyrna, he had four son, Solon Stylianos, Constantine, George, Demetrius and two daughters, Marianthi and Athanasia.

Jean took into his house in Syros, many Cretan refugees fleeing the Turks, and he spent much of his income to help them, depriving themselves of even necessary. At his death in 1869, his wife and children had to leave and go to Galatz and take refuge with Georges Vlasto, the banker, their uncle.

Two of the son of John, then left Romania for the United States, Stylianos-Solon and Demetrius. They founded in New York the first Greek newspaper of America in March 1894, Atlantis and the first Greek printing the New World. Perhaps they followed in the footsteps of Nicolas Vlasto who founded the first Greek printing press in Venice in 1493 and those of Stylianos C. Vlasto who founded in 1841 the first printing press in Athens.[1]

Georgii VlastosEdit

Son of Konstantin, 1827 Moscow, Russia – 1899 Stavropol. Governor General of the Stavropol Province (1865–1875).

Ernest-Michel VlastoEdit

Ernest-Michel Vlasto (1848-1900)[34] was a distinguished engineer who developed telephony in Paris and France more generally but is best remembered for the laying of submarine cables linking France with territories overseas. In 1883 he was the author of Leçons des Choses, a science book intended for children. His son, Michel E.T.D. Vlasto (1888-1979)[35] became one of London's foremost ear, nose and throat consultant-surgeons after seeing action, in 1914, with the Royal Navy at the Battle of Coronel and the Battle of the Falkland Islands in HMS Canopus and HMS London.[36]

Solon Stylien J. VlastoEdit

Solon Stylien J. Vlasto (1852–1927) immigrated to the United States in 1873. He eventually formed an import-export partnership with his brother Demetrius J. Vlasto (1869–1944).

In 1891, Solon founded the Greek Society of Athena and served as president from 1891-1895. Its 1,000 or so members dedicated themselves to helping Greek newcomers adapt to life in the United States. In 1892, the society established the first Greek Orthodox Church, The Holy Trinity, in New York City.[37]

Solon J. received the honorary title of "exarch" from the Patriarch Joachim III of Constantinople.[38] In 1916, King Constantine I of Greece also conferred the Gold Cross of Officer of the Order of the Redeemer, the Greek Legion of Honor for his "continual services to Greece and to the Greeks of America."[39]

In 1894, with is brother Dimitrios Vlasto, he founded the newspaper Atlantis. Solon J. served as publisher until his death in 1927.

Constantine George Anthony Dimitrios VlastosEdit

Kostia Vlastos, as Greek Army sergeant in Preveza, Greece, late December 1912

Kostia Vlastos(1883-1967) was a Greek of the diaspora, scion of a family of bankers, whose origins are from the island of Chios.[40]

His father Antonios Vlastos, was born on 18 October 1858 in Galați, Romania. He was active in banking and was president of the Bank of Constantinople (Banque de Constantinople) of Andreas Syngros, Georgios Koronios and Stephanos Skouloudis. He later moved to Paris, where he managed the French broker house Comptoir d'Escompte. Antonios Vlastos was a great donor and one of the founding members of the Greek Philological Society of Constantinople, in 1861. His mother, Tarsi Vlastos (1860-1919), née Zarifi, was the daughter of the known Istanbul banker George Zarifis, from which Antonios Vlastos learned the banking business.

The Aéro-Club de France awarded Kostia Vlastos a spherical balloon (sphériques) pilot license (number 287) on 20 November 1913.[41] When the 1912-13 First Balkan War was declared, the 29-year-old Constantine came to Greece and he volunteered in the Greek Army, thus providing his services for the liberation of the land of his ancestors. He initially took the rank of corporal and later that of sergeant. He joined the Army Company of Automobiles, apparently because of his ability to drive a car. During his service he was accompanied by his brother Stephen A. Vlastos, who was a war correspondent for the French newspaper Le Temps using the pseudonym Etienne Labranche.[42][43]

Solon G. VlastoEdit

Solon G. Vlasto (1903-1988)[44] became publisher of the Atlantis newspaper after Demetrius Vlasto's death. In June 1960, Athenagoras I of Constantinople awarded Solon G. Vlasto the title of Grand Archon, Exarch General of the Great Church of Christ.[45]

Pénélope Julie 'Didi' (Michael) VlastoEdit

Pénélope Julie "Diddie" Vlasto Serpieri (8 August 1903 – 2 March 1985) was a female tennis player from France. She won the silver medal at the Paris Olympics in 1924 in women's singles, losing the final to Helen Wills Moody. Vlasto also won the version of the French national championships in 1924 that was open only to French nationals. She was a doubles partner of Suzanne Lenglen in many doubles tournaments during the early 1920s.

According to Wallis Myers of The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail, Vlasto was ranked in the world top ten in 1923 and 1926, reaching a career high of World No. 8 in those rankings in 1923.[46]

Gregory VlastosEdit

Gregory Vlastos (1907-1992) was a member of the Department of Philosophy at Princeton 1955-1976. Vlastos was the recipient of the highest honors his peers could bestow, which included two Guggenheim Fellowships and the MacArthur Foundation’s Prize Fellowship in 1990.[47]

Alexis P. VlastoEdit

Alexis (Peter) Vlasto (1915-2000) was a Slavonic scholar at Cambridge University. During World War II he led the team at Bletchley Park that broke the Japanese Army Air Force codes, significantly affecting the ability of the Allies to defeat the Japanese in the Pacific. Born in Liverpool, 27 November 1915, he became Lecturer in Slavonic Studies at Cambridge 1954-83 and a Fellow, Selwyn College, Cambridge 1969-2000.

He married in 1945 Jill Medway (who died 1968). He died in Cambridge on 20 July 2000, leaving a son and a daughter.[48]

Peter Vlastos (Petros Vlastos)Edit

He was admired by the famous author Nikos Kazantzakis, continued the family tradition of serving Greek letters from abroad. He worked for the merchant trading company Ralli Brothers, residing in Liverpool as director of the branch there. His contributions include his own poetry; his work for spelling reform; a demotic grammar (1914); two lectures on "Greek bilingualism" and some parallel cases, delivered at King's College, London and a pioneering lexicon called "Συνώωυμα καί Συγγενίκα, Τέχνες καί Σύνεργα (1931) in which he compiled terms for the operations and implements used in the various trades, thousands of words that had never been in a dictionary before. Kazantzakis eulogized Vlastos as a "fearless Akritas of our language," used his books as source materials for his own lexical projects and maintained a friendship with the author.[49][50]

Helen Long (1920-2001, née Vlasto)Edit

The eldest daughter of Michel E. T. D. Vlasto (1888-1979)[51] she was the author of an autobiography Change Into Uniform (Terence Dalton, 1978); Safe Houses Are Dangerous (William Kimber & Co 1985), a definitive account of Pat Line, the French WW2 escape and evasion network of which her uncle, George Rodocanachi, was a founder; and a definitive history of the massacres of Chios Greek Fire published by Abson Books in 1992.

James S. VlastoEdit

James S. Vlasto (born 1934) the youngest son of Solon G. Vlasto joined the Atlantis in 1955 after two years service in the United States Army. He worked on the business side of the newspaper and later as a reporter and editor until he resigned in 1964 to join the campaign staff of United States Senator Kenneth B. Keating of New York. Mr. Vlasto served as traveling press officer for Senator Keating during his reelection campaign. Senator Keating lost the election to Robert F. Kennedy.[52]

Mr. Vlasto later headed a political public relations firm in New York City until May 1976 when he was appointed Press Secretary to Governor Hugh L. Carey of New York. He later served as Press Secretary to New York City Public Schools Chancellor Joseph A. Fernandez.[53]

Dominique VlastoEdit

Dominique Vlasto[54] (born 14 August 1946 in Marseille) is a French politician and Member of the European Parliament for the south-east of France. She is a member of the Union for a Popular Movement, which is part of the European People's Party, and sits on the European Parliament's Committee on Industry, Research and Energy.

List of some Vlasto marriagesEdit

  • Andronikos Vlastos married Mariora Ghika, sister of Prince Grigore II Ghika
  • Statarul, "Arapaki" Vlastos married Smaragda Ghika, daughter of Prince Grigore II Ghika.
  • Sigura Vlastos married Count Chrystoforo Kapnisis
  • Maria Vlastos married the Great Logothete Constantino Kantakouzenos
  • Baron Gregory Vlastos married Princess Balasa Kantakouzenos
  • Gregory Vlastos, married (first husband) Sevasti Callimachi ii[›] daughter of Prince Ioan Callimachi, Ancestress of Aspasia Manos, Queen of Greece.
  • Cassandra Vlastos married Nikola Caradja
  • Anthony Vlastos married Tarsi Zarifis (1860-1919)
  • Kostia Vlastos married Ludmila de Nittie (1899-1989)[42]


^ i: "Some authors have used the date 1082. The text below clears this error. Only Alexis II was porphyrogenitos. Further more, if Alexios I was the emperor at the time, his daughter Anna would have mentioned it in her Alexiad.[55]
^ ii: Sevasti Callimachi was the mother of Maria Soutzo the mother of Sevasti Argyropoulos the mother of Thrassyvoulos Manos father of Petros Manos the father of Aspasia Manos Queen of Greece.


  1. ^ a b c d e f Kerofilas, Costas, Une Famille Patricienne Crétoise, Les Vlasto , The Atlantis Press, New York, 1936.
  2. ^ Cernovodeanu: Contributions à; l'Étude de l'Héraldique Byzantine et post-Byzantine, Jahrbuch der Österreichischen Byzantinik 32.2 (1982) 409-22
  3. ^ Orr, James; Hunter, S. F. (1939). International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. 
  4. ^ Acts 11:28-29
  5. ^ Henry, Matthew; Williams, J. B. (1828). Exposition of the Old and New Testament, Volume 3. Towar. p. 806. ; compare Gill, John, Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible accessed 1 September 2015
  6. ^ Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History (Ch. V.15 and V.20).
  7. ^ Theodoret, History of Heresies (Ch. 1.23), First Epistle of Theodoret.
  8. ^ a b Ενα νεο χειρογραφο για τα δωδεκα αρχοντοπυλα της Κρητης. Αλεξανδρος Ν. Τσουρδαλακης. Κρητολογικα Γραμματα. 11. Ρεθυμνο 1995, 287-304.
  9. ^ The Alexiad of Anna Comnena translated from the Greek by E. R. A. Sewter, Penguin Classics, Harmondsworth. Penguin Books ISBN 0-14-044215-4.
  10. ^ Vasiliev, Alexander A., History of the Byzantine Empire, 323-1453, Univ of Wisconsin Press, April 15, 1958. pg. 483.
  11. ^ Tsougarakis, Dimitris, Byzantine Crete, From the 5th century to the Venetian Conquest, 1988.
  12. ^ Trivisan, Antonio Racconto Delle Varie Cose Successe Nel Regno Di Candia 1182-1669, Venice, Marciana Library Ital. VII, 525
  13. ^ Wills from Late Medieval Venetian Crete 1312-1420; Sally McKee, editor. 3 vols. Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, 1998 ISBN 0-88402-245-5
  14. ^ The Documents of Angelo de Cartura and Donato Fontanella: Venetian Notaries in Fourteenth-Century Crete; Alan M. Stahl, editor. Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, c2000. ISBN 0-88402-271-4
  15. ^ Η συνθηκη του Αλεξιου Καλλεργη. Γιαννης Γρυντακης. Κρητολογικα Γραμματα. 15/16 Ρεθυμνον 1999/2000. 35-50
  16. ^ Η εν Κρητη συνωμοσια του Συφη Βλαστου 1453-1454 και η νεα συνωμοτικη κινησις του 1460-1462. Μανουσακας Μανουσος Ι., Αθηνα 1960.
  17. ^ Angold, Michael, The Fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans: Context and Consequences, Routledge, Jun 11, 2014, pg. 87.
  18. ^ O'Connell, Monique, Men of Empire: Power and Negotiation in Venice's Maritime State, Volume 1271, JHU Press, March 25, 2009 Issue 1
  19. ^ Martin, John Jeffries, Venice Reconsidered: The History and Civilization of an Italian City-State, 1297-1797, JHU Press, December 31, 2002, pg. 401.
  20. ^ John Addington Symonds, Renaissance in Italy: The Revival of Learning, 1918, p.208
  21. ^ 'Brown, Horatio Robert Forbes (born 16 February 1854, died 19 August 1926)' in Who Was Who 1916–1928 (London: A. & C. Black, 1992 reprint, ISBN 0-7136-3143-0)
  22. ^ Brown, Horatio "The Venetian Printing Press - 1469-1800", London, John Nimmo, 1891.
  23. ^ Nicol, Donald M. (1996), The Byzantine Lady. Ten portraits, 1250-1500 (Canto).
  24. ^ Boran, Elizabethanne, The Etymologicum Magnum of 1499 Edward Worth Library
  25. ^ Barker, Nicholas (1992), Aldus Manutius and the Development of Greek Script and Type in the 15th century (Fordham University Press).
  26. ^ Rance, Philip (2007), The Etymologicum Magnum and the Fragment of Urbicius, Greek, Roman and Byzantine Studies 47, pp 193-224.
  27. ^ Kara, Gianni Byzance apres Byzance; by N. Iorga, Bucurest 1971.
  28. ^ Long, Christopher, Migrations
  29. ^ Argenti, P.P., Libro d'oro de la noblesse de Chios, Oxford University Press, 1955.
  30. ^ Argenti, Philip Libro d'oro de la noblesse de Chios, 2 Vols, Limited Ed., Oxford University Press, 1955
  31. ^ Léon de Givodan, Livre d'Or de la Noblesse Européenne , Collège héraldique et archéologique de France, 1852, pg. 441.
  32. ^ The Byzantine Lady. Then Portraits, 1250-1500. by Donald M. Nicol. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-57623-7. pp. 96-109
  33. ^ Runciman, S.,The Great Church in Captivity 1985 p. 160.
  34. ^ Long, Christopher, Vlasto Family Genealogy
  35. ^ Long, Christopher, Vlasto Family Genealogy
  36. ^ Long, Christopher, Bibliography
  37. ^ The Society for Orthodox Christian History in the America,
  38. ^ Azzi, Assaad E.Identity and Participation in Culturally Diverse Societies: A Multidisciplinary Perspective Wiley-Blackwell, 2010, pg. 19.
  39. ^ S.S.I. Decorated The New York Times, February 9, 1916.
  40. ^ Christopher Long, Vlasto family of Chios, from his personal and professional pages.
  41. ^ James S. Curlin, "Ιπτάμενοι στη Νικόπολη: Η δράση του Λόχου Αεροπορίας στην Ήπειρο κατά τον Α΄ Βαλκανικό πόλεμο (1912-1913)", Πρεβεζάνικα Χρονικά, vol. 49-50, p. 288, Preveza, 2013
  42. ^ a b Nikos D. Karabelas, "Etienne Labranche & Kostia Vlastos. Two war correspondents of Le Temps in Preveza during 1912-13", Πρεβεζάνικα Χρονικά, vol. 49-50, pp. 237-244, Preveza, 2013
  43. ^ Stephen Vlastos was born in Paris on 27 September 1885. See Paris Birth Registers, Register number V4E 6070, f. 88v, entry 1304
  44. ^ Hansell, Saul,"Solon G. Vlasto, 94, Newspaper Publisher" New York Times, August 25, 1998.
  45. ^ Monthly Illustrated Atlantis, June 1960, p. 22.
  46. ^ Collins, Bud (2008). The Bud Collins History of Tennis: An Authoritative Encyclopedia and Record Book. New York, N.Y: New Chapter Press. pp. 695, 701. ISBN 0-942257-41-3. 
  47. ^ Gregory Vlastos Princeton University
  48. ^ Long, Christopher, Memorial address to Alexis P. Vlasto
  49. ^ Kazantzakis, England, pp.107-08. Here Kazantzakis says: "Ion Dragoumis and Peter Vlasto are, I believe, the two people I have most respected and loved in my life."
  50. ^ Bien, Peter, Kazantzakis and Linguistic Revolution in Greek Literature Princeton University Press, March 8, 2015.
  51. ^ Long, Christopher, Vlasto Family Genealogy
  52. ^ Halberstam, David The Morning After In Keating's Suite: Dawn of Reflection November 5, 1964.
  53. ^ Pillifant, Reid, How Hugh Carey Handled the Press The New York Observer.
  54. ^ Long, Christopher, Family genealogy
  55. ^ The Alexiad of Anna Comnena; translated from the Greek by E. R. A. Sewter. (Penguin Classics). Harmondsworth: Penguin Books ISBN 0-14-044215-4