Mapping Ottoman Epirus is a project designed and coordinated by Ali Yaycioglu, Antonis Hadjikyriacou and Erik Steiner, with the technical assistance of Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis (CESTA) in collaboration with Institute of Historical Research - National Hellenic Research Foundation in Athens.
How did the Ottoman Empire operate? Mapping Ottoman Epirus (MapOE) seeks to answer this question through big data, spatial and network analysis, visualization, and various other digital methods. The Ottoman Empire ruled the Southeast Europe and the Middle East for six hundred years (roughly from the 14th century to the end of War World One in 1918). It profoundly shaped institutions, cultures, and environments of this vast geography housing more than 50 languages and ethno-national groups, and three religions (Islam, Christianity, and Judaism) with their different variants. Today, the Ottoman geography is divided into 30 nation-states. Understanding the Ottoman economic and political institutions and relations between environment and economic-political order will give insights into deep historical structures and allow us to propose visions for the future.
MapOE's primary focus is Epirus - today Western Greece and Southern Albania - in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries as an exemplary microcosm of the Ottoman World. Epirus was a strategic junction on the Adriatic coasts, connecting Europe and the Ottoman lands. In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, known as the age of revolutions, the Ottoman Empire experienced radical political, economic, and infrastructural transformations. As a result, Epirus became one of the most vivid regional economies and power-centers within the Ottoman Empire and the Adriatic world, from the 1790s to the 1820s. During this period, a regional magnate, Ali Pasha of Ioannina (1740-1822) and a group of managerial, martial, commercial, scribal and religious personages organized around him built a regional order in Epirus. Gradually, the Ali Pasha order expanded towards Albania in North, towards Thassaly in the West, and towards Central Greece and Peloponesas in the South. This expanded autonomous regional order functioned within, but also in parallel to, the Ottoman Imperial regime.