God save the Sultan!

Ottoman troops cheering the Sultan. Canea 1897

Ottoman troops cheering the Sultan. Canea 1897

The caption reads: Musslemans in Canea Cheering the Sultan before sunset every evening.

“We entered Canea just as the ladies of the harems, bundled up in black wrappings, with black masks, embroidered with silver flowers, over their faces, and black umbrellas jammed down on the tops of their heads, began to dodder along the streets on their evening walk, like ghastly mutes in some funereal play by Maeterlinck. On an open space upon the Venetian ramparts, beside the gate, the Turkish garrison was drawn up in companies. A trumpeter blew, the band played a few bars, then all the troops shouted and howled and kissed their hands, the officers “carried” swords, the guard presented arms. When the paroxysm was over, the trumpeter blew again, the band played a few bars, all the troops kissed their hands, and the rest of the ceremony was repeated. These things were done three or four times over, to publish the glory of the Sultan who sat in Constantinople. Then the red sun went down, and in the east there rose a round and greenish moon.”

Excerpt from:  Scenes in the thirty days war between Greece and Turkey, 1897.
H. W. Nevinson 1898.
Nevinson, a reporter for the Daily Chronicle, was in Canea briefly in June 1897. (If his prose appears to lack the objectivity one might expect from a reporter and to display an element of disdain towards the Ottoman troops, it might be because he had originally gone to Greece with a small force of British volunteers who went to fight alongside the Greeks.)


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