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Out of the Balkans


Bette, my bride from the Peloponnesos (née Panayiota Gianopoulos), was enthusiastic and encouraging as I researched my family, studied history and wrote these pages. And she was patient and understanding when I buried myself for hours on end in books about Greece, Byzantium and the Balkans. Many evenings while at my desk I enjoyed listening to her play the piano and sing as I wrote. Finally, she was my constant and discerning critic and editor.

My thanks go to my cousins Ralis Pierides, of Alexandria, Virginia who provided extensive oral and written information about Sozopolis, the Zissis and Capidaglis families, and his grandfather and my great uncle, Constantinos Capidaglis; and Nick Mavrovitis, who in long telephone conversations shared his knowledge about the Mavrovitis family and its origins, and told me of his experiences as a child and young man in Mavrovo and Kastoria.

I am indebted to Stavri Nikolov, Ph.D. A graduate student at the Technical Institute in Vienna in 1995, he took a trip to Sozopol and Burgas, Bulgaria for a holiday and to explore my family history for me. The information he uncovered and sent to me, including copies of documents with translations, maps and photographs was invaluable. A native of Sofia, Bulgaria, Dr. Nikolov now conducts research in medical image analysis at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom.

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