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Ali Pasha

Other Ali Pasha documents

historical figure

Ali being a common name (the name of Mohammed's son-in-law) and pasha being a common title in the Ottoman empire, numerous individuals went by the name Ali Pasha. The Encyclopedia of Islam lists thirteen, eleven being Grand Viziers, one being Governor of Yanya, and one being an Egyptian Statesman. Lord Kinross mentions five, four being Grand Viziers, in The Ottoman Centuries.

1. The Ali Pasha of folk dance fame.

Ali Pasha of Van, a military and possibly civil administrator of Van, a city, lake, and region in eastern Anatolia, who died by an assassin's bullet, possibly in connection with a mutiny. This Ali Pasha seems to be the most likely candidate for the memorial song to which Bora Özkök composed the dance Ali Paşa.

Reference: Turkish Folk Music Archive Number 398, Ali Pasha. Collector: M. Sarisozen, Region: Van.

2. Ali Pasha Tepedelenlı (Ali Pasha the Lion) of Yannina (1744-1822)

Half-Turkish, half-Albanian, Ottoman governor of Yanya (Yannina in English, Ioannina in Greek) during the late 18th to early 19th centuries, died fighting an order of execution from Sultan Mahmud II. Said by the Encyclopedia of Islam to have harmed the Ottoman Empire more than any other person due to his facilitating the Greek Revolution.


Born in Tepelene, Albania

Lived as a robber

Forged his credentials and promised to eliminate robbers to gain office

Eventually ruled southern Albania and Epirus from fortress at Yanina

Famous for his court's music and dance

Famous for lavishly entertaining guests before killing them

Drowned many young women in the lake at Yannina

Visited by Lord Byron and Lord Broughton

Brutally suppressed rebellious Christian Albanians of Souli, a village in the mountains above Igoumenitsa

Established independence from the Sultan

January 24, 1822, Assassinated in the guesthouse of the monastery (now museum) Ayios Panteleimon in Yannina. The Sultan ordered the assassination of Ali, his sons, and his eldest grandson, and the return of their heads to Constantinople for display on the gates of the Seraglio. Quoting Fodor's 1979 Guidebook for Greece:

The grandson's head led Sultan Mahmud II to make what must surely rank high among the truly perspicacious remarks in history: 'I'm sorry now that I condemned him to death; I thought he was as old as his father.'

A tsamiko called Ali Pasha, refering to Ali Pasha of Jannina, appears on Songs of Macedonia #3, Society for the Dissemination of National Music (SDNM 124). It is a tsamiko played by a brass band recorded in Argos Orestikon, Kastoria, Western Greek Macedonia.

Other references:

Rudolf M. Brandl, "Der Hof Ali Pasas in Jannina und seine Ausstrahlung," in Hoefische Kultur in Suedost Europa, Reinhard Lauer and Hans Georg Majer, eds., Goettingen: Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, 1994.

P. Ruches, Albanian Historical Folksongs: 1716-1943, Chicago: Argonaut Publishers, 1967. Described by Ottoman scholars as a selection of Albanian songs designed to support Greece's claim to southern Albania.

The other Ali Pasha personages from the Encyclopedia of Islam:

(all quotations from the Encyclopedia of Islam)

Ali Pasha Chandarli-Zade (13?-1407), Grand Vizier, conquered the Balkans, "not loved either by the people or by government personnel."

Ali Pasha Khadım (14?-1511), Ottoman Grand Vizier, died in battle.

Ali Pasha Semız (1540?-1565), Ottoman Grand Vizier.

Ali Pasha Guzeldje (?-1621), Ottoman Grand Vizier, "notorious for his confiscation of property and extortion of money." Died of calculus.

Ali Pasha Arabidji of Okhri (1620?-1693), Ottoman Grand Vizier, dismissed, exiled, and executed.

Ali Pasha Sürmelı (16?-1695), Ottoman Grand Vizier, dismissed, exiled, and executed.

Ali Pasha Chorlulu (1670-1710), Ottoman Grand Vizier, dismissed, banished, and executed.

Ali Pasha Damad (1667-1716), Ottoman Grand Vizier, died in battle.

Ali Pasha Hakim-Oghlu (1689-1758), Grand Vizier.

Ali Pasha Ridwan Begovich (1783?-1851), Vizier of Hercegovina, "was 'accidentally' killed by one of the soldiers escorting him" as a prisoner during an Ottoman civil war.

Ali Pasha Muhammad Amin (1815-1871), Ottoman Grand Vizier, died of overwork.

Ali Pasha Mubarak, statesman of 19th century Egypt