Chapter 9 Saints in Revolt: The Anti-Ottoman “Vision of Kyr Daniel”

In: Early Modern Prophecies in Transnational, National and Regional Contexts (3 vols.)
Marios Hatzopoulos
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The Vision of kyr Daniel is probably the earliest Modern Greek work dealing with the idea of collective revolt against the Ottoman rule. Unsurprisingly, it is a piece of prophetic literature. The work elaborates on the myth of “resurrection” of the Eastern Roman Empire with a view to guiding collective action among members of the Ottoman-ruled Orthodox community in the years before the Russo-Ottoman war of 1768–1774. By triggering anti-Islamic and anti-Ottoman sentiments, the mythical narrative aspires to provoke action in the present through the use of future prediction. Heaven’s will is materialized on earth through the toppling of the Ottoman power. This expectation situates the Vision of kyr Daniel firmly within the genre of the post-Byzantine and/or early modern Greek prophecy known as oracular literature. What marks a striking departure from similar texts, however, is the elevation of the role of the subjugated community, with its religious and lay leaders, as a vessel of divine election, executor of God’s will and, ultimately, agent of the prophesied insurrection. Conceived and authored as South-East Europe was entering modernity, the work propagates rebellion through the medium of prophecy and sanctions collective human action.

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