Ali Pacha HTML version

Chapter 4
In December, the Suliots, decimated by battle, worn by famine, discouraged by
treachery, were obliged to capitulate. The treaty gave them leave to go where
they would, their own mountains excepted. The unfortunate tribe divided into two
parts, the one going towards Parga, the other towards Prevesa. Ali gave orders
for the destruction of both, notwithstanding the treaty.
The Parga division was attacked in its march, and charged by a numerous body
of Skipetars. Its destruction seemed imminent, but instinct suddenly revealed to
the ignorant mountaineers the one manoeuvre which might save them. They
formed a square, placing old men, women, children, and cattle in the midst, and,
protected by this military formation, entered Parga in full view of the cut-throats
sent to pursue them.
Less fortunate was the Prevesa division, which, terrified by a sudden and
unexpected attack, fled in disorder to a Greek convent called Zalongos. But the
gate was soon broken down, and the unhappy Suliots massacred to the last
The women, whose tents had been pitched on the summit of a lofty rock, beheld
the terrible carnage which destroyed their defenders. Henceforth their only
prospect was that of becoming the slaves of those who had just slaughtered their
husbands and brothers. An heroic resolution spared them this infamy; they joined
hands, and chanting their national songs, moved in a solemn dance round the
rocky platform. As the song ended, they uttered a prolonged and piercing cry,
and cast themselves and their children down into the profound abyss beneath.
There were still some Suliots left in their country when Ali Pacha took possession
of it. These were all taken and brought to Janina, and their sufferings were the
first adornments of the festival made for the army. Every soldier's imagination
was racked for the discovery of new tortures, and the most original among them
had the privilege of themselves carrying out their inventions.
There were some who, having had their noses and ears cut off, were compelled
to eat them raw, dressed as a salad. One young man was scalped until the skin
fell back upon his shoulders, then beaten round the court of the seraglio for the
pacha's entertainment, until at length a lance was run through his body and he
was cast on the funeral pile. Many were boiled alive and their flesh then thrown
to the dogs.
From this time the Cross has disappeared from the Selleid mountains, and the
gentle prayer of Christ no longer wakes the echoes of Suli.