|Sultan Selim I|
Ioannis Tzernotas,a Greek soldier of the Christian Spahis(timariot cavalry) of the Ottoman army, along with other christian Spahis participated in the Egyptian campaign. The sultan himself highly esteemed Tsernotas and sources mention that he trusted his opinion about various issues.
Tzernotas was descended from Morea( Peloponnesos). Probably he owned a timar(fief) there as an exchange for his military service to the Sultan. It is reported that he rebuilt a church in a town near Patras which was burnt to the ground in 1500 and he contributed to the building of other constructions that bear his name. His name is also attested in various oral traditions.
During the reign of Selim I the relations between the christians(predominantly Greek) and muslims in the empire were at very good level.This period of tolerance was mainly encouraged by the sultan himself. Selim was recorded to have reduced the incidents of christian oppression and intolerance.
However the next sultan Suleyman I, was not as tolerant as his predecessor . There were uprisings reported in 1533 in southern Greece against Ottoman rule which meant that the situation had changed. Suleyman the magnificent as his historical nickname was, had a hostile attitude towards the non-muslim populations of the empire such as the Christians and the Jews.For instance in Greece he attempted to take by force the timars that were given to Christian Spahis and likely this triggered some rebellions which are recorded in this time.
During Suleyman's reign Tzernotas may have presumingly lost a significant part of his property that he acquired serving as a Spahi .
|Ottoman era Sipahis|
Tsernotas along with 2.500 more christian spahis participated in the campaign in Egypt and he was attested to be the flag carrier of the battalion of the christian cavalry. The ottomans envied him for his valor in the battle cause in the crucial battle of Ridaniya(1517) while the Ottomans couldn't break the Mameluk lines Tzernotas took the initiative and charged with his battalion carrying his flag and succeeded to break the lines of the Mameluks opening the way for Cairo the capital.Eventually the city was sacked and the last Mameluk sultan was hanged at the gate of Cairo.
After the campaign Tzernotas was awarded the title of bey and acquired timars in Peloponnese.As it is aforementioned he rebuilt a whole church and he founded two villages in Achaia.He is also reported to have built many public constructions like bridges wells etc. He was buried in a monastery in Peloponnese.
|Flag of the Greek sipahis|
source: Based on: http://lykawn.blogspot.com/2010/11/blog-post.html translation made by me