60 x 60cm. An important aspect of Maniot culture was its feuds. Usually, the decision to start a feud was made at a family [clan] gathering. The main aim of a feud was usually to wipe out the other family. The families involved taking any opportunity to murdered members of the opposing family. Such feuds were about land, power but more frequently prestige. The aim of a family battle tower some 4-5 stores high was to annihilate both the tower and the males of the other family by smashing the roof with all available weaponry & hopefully its occupants.
A ringing of the family Church bells would signal the start of a feud. The other families in the village sensibly locked themselves in their towers by way of not getting involved, or by departing the village.
Vendettas could last for years. During a vendetta, the warring families could have a temporary truce for example to attend a religious ceremony or to harvest their crops. As soon as this was finished, the killing could resume. Vendettas usually ended when one family was exterminated or when the defeated family left the town. Sometimes families came to terms and stopped their vendetta. Curiously the women were safe from attack and got on with life. Feuds ended either with total annihilation of the males or by surrender with terms attached but continued life in the village.
The last feud in 1870 was in the village of Kitta was finished only by the intervention of an army battalion.
From battle towers to holiday homes Southern Greece. Painted 2009