Forensic Fashion
(c) 2006-present R. Macaraeg


>Costume Studies
>>1821 Greek klepht
Subjectκλέφτης klepht[is] / palikari bandit
Culture: Roumeli Greek
Setting: banditry, Roumelia 18th-19thc
Object: costume


* Paulicelli & Clark eds. 2009 p147-148 (Michael Skafidas, "Fabricating Greekness: From fustanella to glossy page," p145-163)
"As a visual manifestation, Greek dress mirrors the complexity of a mixed ethnic legacy; it is part of the experience of the ethnic, cultural, and national identity of an era. ....
​    "Nowhere in modern Greek dress history is this merge of ethnic and national elements more epitomized than in the fustanella, the costume of Albanian origins which was declared Greek in the nineteenth century, at a time when 'the creation of "national dress" in Greece was part of an international trend in the Western world, which idealized rural life and its down-to-earth values in the aftermath of social changes brought on by the Industrial Revolution.'  But long before it came to symbolize Greek independence from the Ottoman Turks, the Albanian kilt, or fustanella, was common dress for men in the thirteenth century when it was worn by the Dalmatians, one of the Illyrian progenitors of the Albanians. ...
​    "The modern fustanella appears in Greece worn by the Albanians, and especially the Arvanites, as Greeks of Albanian ancestry were called, most of whom fought alongside the Greeks against the Turks in the long war of independence.  In the early years of the Greek revolution the fustanella remained generally a military outfit at a time that most men in occupied Greece actively resisted the Ottomans.  A notorious group of rebels against the Ottomans, the Suliotes, glorified by Byron as well as by Greek historians, were entirely Albanian.  As Welters notes, 'identifying the Greek-Albanian man by his clothing was more difficult after the War of Independence, for the so-called "Albanian costume" became what has been identified as a "true" national dress of the mainland of Greece.'"  [references omitted]

* Paulicelli & Clark eds. 2009 p149-150 (Michael Skafidas, "Fabricating Greekness: From fustanella to glossy page," p145-163)
"The fustanella is made from long strips of linen sewn together to make a pleated skirt.  The whiteness of the fustanella for many modern Greeks misleadingly echoes the vision of a classical past where marble sculptures and temples were white.  As a scholar reminds, 'in reality the fustanella was utterly dirty and soiled with pork fat in order to resist water ... The lads used the pleats of the fustanella as a towel to wipe off their hands or to clean their knives.'  Following the defeat of the Ottomans by the Greeks, King Otto, the Bavarian prince imported by the Greeks to be their first king in 1833, declared the fustanella the official court dress.  Otto even posed wearing one.  Ever since then, the fustanella has been acquiring its reputation as the dress of Greek pride.  ...
​    "The assumption that the Hellenized version of the fustanella acquired 400 pleats, supposedly one for each year that Greece was under Ottoman rule, is also in dispute.  Papantoniou claims that 'the pleats, or lagiolia, of the fustanella are not always 400.  This is an inaccuracy.'"  [references omitted]

* Kennett 1995 p69
"[T]he men's skirted fustanella['s] ... 400 tiny pleats ... are said to represent the number of years of occupation by the Turks.  It developed from mountain dress in Southern Albania, where the stiff skirt of fabric made of a dense mass of slender triangular pieces tapering into a waistband would be protective (that is dagger-proof) and practical for scrambling over rocky terrain.  It is surprisingly heavy and at the hem can be as much as 44 yards (40 meters) around."


* Elgood 2009 p116
"The ramrod, together with a pair of pistols and a yataghan, was carried in a broad belt or sash worn round the waist called a bensilah in Turkish.  Folk poems in the Balkans often shorten this to silah, a word meaning weapons.  In eastern Herzegovina this becomes silaj, in Serbia silav, in Croatia pašnjača and Bulgaria silhakh or silhakhluk.  The Turks also use the word silahlik.  The Greeks use the word selachi.  Referring to Greek warriors in the 1821 revolution, the British traveller Emerson relates how 'the cool silken sash which confines the garments of the Turk without adding to the oppressive heat of the climate, is laid aside for the hardened leathern pistol belt of Albania, which admits of more ornament, but at the same time keeps the wearer in a fever of heat'.  However, Adam Friedel's portraits of 'Principal Greeks' drawn from life show almost all with light selachi made of silk or red, blue, or black felt.  Leather selachi embroidered with gold thread, fastened with small straps and buckles, carried a small arsenal of pistols and daggers, a wooden or silver bowl decorated with niello for drinking wine called in Greek a tasi, a ramrod, pantsehri (Greek), an antidote to poisons, and a pen box."