Bibliography Relating to Items on this Site

See other pages concerning the history of the Vlasto family


See an interesting item by François R. Velde on the history of Heraldry & The Byzantine Empire which particularly concerns the adoption of the motif of the double-headed eagle in the C12th-13th. However, it seems that it had already long been the chosen motif of the Vlasto family – subsequently one of the principal noble families of Byzantium. See also: A Brief History Of Byzantium.

LES VLASTO – Une Famille Patricienne Crétoise

Les Vlasto, by Costas Kerofilas, privately published by The Atlantis Press, New York, 1936, in a limited edition – a history of the Greek Vlasto family from c. 300 BC to c. 1936 (references to c. 750 BC) – the

Ionian Peninsula and Odessus (Varna) of the Greek Empire


Jerusalem (biblical reference in Acts 12 v.20) during the Roman Empire

Constantinople and Crete under the Byzantine Empire

A HREF="../per/vlasto.crete.html">Crete and Venice under the Venetian and Ottoman Empires

Chios under the Ottoman Empire

Trieste, Livorno, the Ionian Islands (Zante, Corfu, etc), Alexandria, etc.

Diaspora into Western Europe and elsewhere after 1822.

Publisher: ATLANTA PRESS, NEW YORK (1936)
Edition: LIMITED

See some of the emblems and armorials illustrated in colour plates:
Vlasto Arms (1) c.1300-1500 A.D.
Vlasto Arms (2) c.1300-1500 A.D.
Vlasto Arms (3) c.1300-1500 A.D.
Vlasto Arms (4) c.1300-1500 A.D.
Vlasto Arms (5) c.1300-1500 A.D.
Vlasto Eagles (1) c. 300 B.C.
Vlasto Eagles (2) c.50 A.D.

The Vlasto family during the ancient Greek Empire – C7th-C8th B.C & C3rd B.C. – in the Ionian Peninsula, at Odessus (Varna) in the Black Sea., and origins of the name.

Vlasto in The Bible – 37-44 A.D. – Acts Xll v. 20.

Vlasto probably involved in a plot to arrange the escape from prison of St Peter The Apostle – and perhaps involved in an assassination of Herod Agrippa.

Two Vlastos among the early Church fathers in Rome – C2nd A.D.

The Vlastos move or return to Constantinople c. 330 A.D. with Constantine The Great.

The Vlastos being already prominent in Rome by the end of the 2nd Century A.D. and probably long before that, their position was almost certainly augmented by Constantine The Great (c. 274 – 337 A.D.) who was not only the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity but also mobilised Christian church leaders to reinforce his own position (c.323 – 325 A.D.). Furthermore, by establishing his new 'Roman' empire in Byzantium (Constantinople), he needed even more the skills, statesmanship and influence of the old, well-established dynastic Greek families who had already dominated Black Sea and Mediterranean trade for over 1,000 years. By 1092 A.D. the Vlastos were at the centre of events in Constantinople and members of its principal noble families. [See: Byzantine Heraldry and A Brief History Of Byzantium].

The Vlastos in Crete – from 1089 A.D. – Demitri 'The Valiant' Vlasto and the Byzantine conquest of Crete in 1089 A.D.; Vlasto feudal domains in the Messara Valley, Rethymno and elsewhere; the establishment of the Monastery of Arcadia; Siphis Vlasto and the rebellions against the Venetians; Jean & Georges Vlasto leading the resistance movement against the Ottomans in 1866.

According to contemporary records, 90 nobles and 100 triremes were to lead the 'Greek' Byzantine empire's conquest of Crete. The invasion was not violent since, according to Anne Comnene, the Cretan rebel leader Karikis was killed by his own followers before the fleet arrived. Each noble took with him a few members of his family. Demetrius 'The Valiant' Vlasto apparently took eight of his kinsmen in his trireme or flotilla of triremes (unclear). At the last minute the expedition leader, Constantine's son Alexis, was replaced by a general, the Grand Duke Jean Doucas. Lands in Crete were then assigned to the principal invading families.

Above right: Vlasto feudal domains in Crete, illustrated in Les Vlasto: Une Famille Patricienne Crétoise by Costas Kerofilas. The Vlastos retained their Cretan territory from the C11th to at least the mid-C19th. Some remained there after the invasion by the Ottomans and took command of the Resistance to Ottoman occupation in the mid-1860s (see below). Others appear to have found Ottoman rule intolerable and settled instead, in the early C17th, on the large Aegean island of Chios which was the shipping and trading hub of the eastern Mediterranean.

Right: The Arkadie Monastery, Crete, from an illustration in Les Vlasto: Une Famille Patricienne Crétoise by Costas Kerofilas. Above a main door an inscription describes several Vlastos as the founders and benefactors of this large and renowned monastery which remains largely in its original condition to this day.

  • Histoire de la Noblesse Crétoise au Moyen Age by E. Gerland, Paris, 1907
  • The Greek History (untranslated) Vol.11 p. 5, by C. Sathas
  • L'Alexiade (Bonn edition) Vol. 1 p. 430, by Anne Comnene
  • Racconto Delle Varie Cose Successe Nel Regno Di Candia by Trivan – of which three original copies are in Venice, one in the Marciana Library (Ital. Vll, 525)]
  • The Vlasto Family in Crete 1204 – 1453
    up to the Fall of Byzantine Constantinople
    and the Turkish Ottoman Succession

    Translated résumé by F. Briès Bernard:

    By the end of the Fourth Crusade, the Byzantine Empire was replaced by the Latin State of Constantinople.

    Crete was ceded to the Marquis de Montferrat who, being weakly armed, ceded it to Venice. Crete now became an important commercial centre linking the Orient and Occident.

    But the indigenous Hellenic (Greek) population quickly revolted against what they believed to be usurpers - Italian princes and Venetian colonials. In 1204 it is recorded that the Vlasto family took part in the insurrection.

    But, as in many other revolts, the Venetians were to have the last word. Peace was short-lived and another revolt took place, organised by the magnats (ruling families) despite all efforts by Venice to win over the sympathy of the Greek nobility: e.g. recognising and confirming the feudal land-holdings originally granted in perpetuity by the Byzantine Emperor.

    Despite this, the Venetians faced endless uprisings until the last insurrection of 1283 led by Alexis Callergis which took place on Vlasto terrain at Gortyne. Three Vlastos, Demetrius, Euphemius and George were the first to respond to Callergis's call to arms.

    In 1293 Venice engaged in a war against Genoa which sapped all its strength. Thus it was a Genoan admiral who landed at La Canée asking for Callergis and a meeting which came to nothing. It was then necessary to seek the advice of the other key-players in the insurrection – the Vlastos, among others.

    A convent at Hierapetra was chosen for this conference which quickly turned sour when no-one gave ground. The Vlastos were in favour of an alliance with Genoa while the others wanted to proclaim an independent republic.

    The Venetian government then reclaimed power and the three Vlasto brothers were banished from Rethymno. The new Venetian governor, Jacopo Tiepolo, applied draconian powers to stifle rebellion. An agreement grew into the peace treaty signed on 28th April 1299.

    Under the terms of this treaty Alexis Callergis was conceded certain privileges as well as certain obligations, for example: "... you will not take over more than one of Demetrius Vlasto's feudal estates...". Why did the Venetian government seek to protect the rights and benefits of this particular Vlasto? Mr Xanthoutidis believes that Demetrius Vlasto, an adversary of Alexis Callergis, had given important assistance to Venice:
    "The Vlasto family was one of the most notable and ancient in Crete. It was flourishing during the Venetian domination and the name survives even today (1932) in many Cretan provinces. (Xanthoutidis)
    [According to Noblesse Européen, this antagonism with the Callergis family does not apparently prevent the two families from making a marriage alliance with the 'Calerghi' family, in the C17th – 400 years later – in Chios!]

    Nothing is known of the descendence of these three Vlasto brothers but documents linked to Crete mention the following:
    1. On 23rd July 1319 a Giannino [Iannis] Vlasto, secretary to the Venetian government, was in the Peloponnese which was a then a Venetian possession, but there is no evidence that he was a member of the Cretan branch.
    2. In November 1348 a Phimis Vlasto and his mother Theodora, sell one of their [Cretan] properties.
    3. In 1392 Constantine Vlasto transfers property rights by an act of sale.
    4. In 1426 a Thomas Vlasto, son of Siphis Vlasto, sells the feudal property he owns near Candie.
    From then on (until 1931) Vlastos are [apparently] not found in known Cretan archives though G. De Pellegrini writes that the family remained loyal to the Venetian government.
    It's interesting to note that very soon after this period Nicolas Vlasto (see below) emerges as the renowned pioneer of printing and publishing in Venice during the latter half of the C15th and at a crucial stage in the flowering of the Renaissance.

    Above (left to right): A Greek Cretan man, a Greek Cretan woman and Turkish Cretan man are shown here in typical costumes of the C18th. The fact that the Ottoman Turks, who occupied the island from 1616, dressed in a distinctively different manner from the native Cretan population may indicate that they did not make efforts to integrate with their subject peoples. In fact, the Turkish colonisation of Crete was resented for centuries and resulted in several rebellions – notably that led by Jean & Georges Vlasto in 1866 (see below). [Illustrations from Les Vlasto: Une Famille Patricienne Crétoise by Costas Kerofilas]

    [N.B. In 1588 the learned monk Meletios Vlastos of the monastery of St Catherine near Candia in Crete was teacher to Cyril Lucaris, then aged 16, who later became first Patriarch of Alexandria in 1601 and then Patriarch of Constantinople in 1620.]
  • The Great Church in Captivity by S. Runciman (1985) p. 160]

  • A slight variation on Kerofilas's account of the Vlastos in Crete appears in Noblesse Européen (see below):
    The Vlastos in Crete 1092-1669: "...The historical record of this family starts on Crete in 1092 when, to suppress an insurrection, Byzantium sends them there (among twelve Greek aristocrats and their families), giving them the fertile Messara Plain and with orders to pacify the island. As feudal leaders the Vlasto take command of several rebellions against Venice in 1207, 1283, 1341, 1363 and finally in 1454 when Syphis (Xyphilinos) Vlasto and his family are tortured to death by the [Venetian] authorities. When, in 1669, following the Turkish victory in the War of Candia, the Venetian general Francesco Morosini organised a retreat of the Cretan nobles to what remained of the Venetian territories in the Levant, the Vlastos re-established themselves in the Ionian Islands and in Istria. However, feudal Vlastos are found in Zante in 1509, included in the Livre d'Or in 1574 and as merchants and feudal landowners in Chios, married to the Calerghi family, where their armorials are displayed above the porticoes of their houses in the Vlastoudika quarter. In Cephalonia, in 1592, an Antonio Vlasto was created a knight by a Palatine Count of Lalran, and a Knight of Saint Mark by the Doge, Pasquale Cigogna..."

    Right: Jean & Georges Vlasto who were the Resistance leaders in the rebellion against the Turkish Ottoman occupation of Crete in 1866. According to Costas Kerofilas in Les Vlasto – Une Famille Patricienne Crétoise (from which this picture is taken) George was one of the few survivors.

    The appearance of these men is interesting. Although powerful leaders in Crete, as well as feudal land-owners, they have a tough and rugged look about them. They make an interesting comparison with their sleek, sophisticated and urbane cousins and contemporaries on the island of Chios. Here their expensive-looking 'Greek' dress is apparently little uninfluenced by Venice, Genoa or Constantinople. Although their percussion-cap weapons are modern for the period, they generally seem to have a strong, ageless sense of their own Cretan identity.

    Nicolas Vlasto in Venice – c.1450-1500

    An important figure in the Renaissance period was the printer and publisher Nicolas Vlasto who was an early exponent of the newly invented printing press. He was active towards the end of the 1400s. Working in Venice, his translations and publishing of early Greek and Latin texts allowed, for the first time, a mass readership to discover Classicism and its cultural roots. Although these books would have been very expensive, they were nevertheless destined to transform European thinking and understanding of the past. They not only introduced the educated classes to the first written evidence of their cultural heritage, but inspired an appreciation of classical religions, thinking, philosophy, arts, architecture, etc. – knowledge which dominated European thought throughout the C16th – C19th and which we take for granted today. [See a detailed account of Nicolas Vlasto]

    Right: This monogram, dating from at least 1499, was designed by Nicolas Vlasto himself and is thought to have appeared on all his publications. The characters represent the name: Nkolaos Blastos and are set beneath a 'Greek' crucifix. Interestingly Vlasto appears to have been enthusiastic designer and typographer. [From Les Vlasto: Une Famille Patricienne Crétoise by Costas Kerofilas]


    LIBRO D'ORO de la Noblesse de Chio

    A two-volume Genealogy of the Vlastos and related noble families. Rare limited edition.

    Publisher: OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS (1955) (2 Vols, Limited Ed.)

    A summary...

    This book in two volumes consists of a series of detailed genealogical charts for each of the much inter-married and cosmopolitan noble families of Chios – most of which had shipping, trading and property interests throughout the Mediterranean and, from the early C19th, throughout Europe and as far afield as India. Although this genealogy is far from complete – the Libro D'Oro being principally an exercise by which he seeks to promote the grandeur of the Argenti family by reference to its connections! – Argenti confirms the findings of Kerofilas that the Vlastos were both powerful and influential at the highest levels in the Byzantine Empire. Their role continued through the Genoese, Venetian and Ottoman Mediterranean empires until the catastrophic Massacres of Chios in 1822.

    From at least the C17th until 1822, the Vlastos were a principal ruling (demogeront) family of Chios, having previously been prominent in Crete since 1092. After the massacres their diaspora led to the founding of more scattered 'dynastic' communities in, among other cities, Alexandria, Athens, Corfu, Syros, Liverpool, London, Marseilles, Livorno (Leghorn), Paris, Trieste, etc. Almost without exception (until the First World War) marriages continued to made exclusively with cousins from among these communities worldwide. During the C19th great trading and banking institutions such as Ralli Brothers emerged, based on shipping and trading in commodities – notably grain, cotton, raw fibres, etc.

    Notes from Argenti's introduction to the Vlasto genealogy: Argenti describes the Vlastos as an 'ancient Byzantine family' with branches in Crete, Zante, Corfu and Chios. He acknowledges the scholarship of historian Costas Kerfilas's in 'Les Vlasto, Une Famille Patricienne Crétoise'published in 1932 (see above).

    In 1092, Alexis ll Comnène sent his son Isaac to Crete with troops and a flotilla of 100 triremes 'to suppress the revolution devastating the island'. The Vlastos were among the 12 noble Greek families who took part in the conquest. The establishment of Vlastos in Crete is contemporaneously recorded in the archives of Alexis ll.

  • 'La Grecia e l'Italia nel Risorgimento Italiano', Florence 1919
  • Sathas, (1867)
  • 'Le Vatican Contre la Turquie', Paris 1925
  • 'Amadeo di Savoia nell' Impero Bizantino', Rome 1926]
  • A branch of the Vlasto family settled in Zante (from Crete) in the beginning of the C16th as members of the noble council of the island.

    At about the same time other members of the Cretan Vlasto family settled in Chios where their presence is often mentioned in the codex of the Latin bishopric and the codices of churches from the beginning of the C17th. Among these are Cocos Vlasto (1625), Christophe Vlasto (1630), Antoine Vlasto (1634), Joseph Vlasto (1646), Perris Vlasto (1679) and many others until 1822.

    Several Vlastos resettled in Constantinople in the early C18th. Aymon writes that, according to La Croix, the Vlastos occupied the sixth position among the nineteen principal Greek families in Constantinople.

  • Monuments Authentiques de la Religion des Grecs et de la Fausseté de Plusiers Confessions de Foi des Chrétiens Orthodoxes, J. Aymon, La Haye, 1708, p. 479).
  • Jean Vlasto became Grand Spathaire to Prince C. Caradja de Valachie and Iannis Vlasto married the sister of the celebrated theologian and doctor, Eustratius Argenti.

    In 1603 Cassandre Vlasto married Nicolas Caradja, Grand Komis of the Moldavian court and grandson of Moldavian foreign minister Constantine Caradja (whose sister had married Thomas Vlasto).

  • 'Livre d'Or de la Noblesse Phanariote et de Familles Princières de Valachie et de Moldavie', E[ugène] R[izo] R[angabé], 2nd ed, Athens 1904, p. 75]
  • Pandély Vlasto settled in Vienna maintaining a long correspondence with Adamantos Koraïs the Hellenist savant. It was probably his son who became aide-de-camp to Ypsilanti at the beginning of the War of Independence. Maxime Raybaud, commander of the Philhellenic Corps, mentions him as 'belonging to one of the first families of the Island of Chios, established in Vienna'.

  • 'Memoires sur la Grèce' Maxime Raybaud, Paris 1824]
  • At the time of the Chios massacres, in 1822, Loukas Vlasto was hanged by the Turks, though the majority of the family were able to seek refuge in Trieste, Marseilles, Livorno, Alexandria and England.

    By 1955, Argenti writes, the Vlastos were distinguished entrepreneurs, bankers and academics. Alexandre Vlasto, eldest son of Antoine & Calliope Vlasto (sister of Ambrogio di Stefano di Ralli from Trieste), was joined by Ambrogio's son Antoine as leading directors of Ralli Brothers (the great merchant trading, shipping and banking empire). Etienne A Vlasto wrote frequent essays in Greek and French, including: 'Les Derniers Jours de Constantinople', Paris 1883; 'Grecs & Turcs', Marseille 1899; etc.

    Alexandre M. Vlasto, (son of the Chios demogeront Michel Vlasto (2) who was taken as a hostage in the 'Kastro' by the Turks) fled to Trieste during the massacres to study medicine at Livourno. An eminent writer of medical works, he also wrote an important history Chios (see below).

    Ernest-Michel Vlasto (1848-1894) was a distinguished engineer working in many specialities. His son, Michel E.T.D. Vlasto became one of London's foremost ear, nose and throat consultant-surgeons after seeing action with the Royal Navy at the battles of Coronel and the Falkland Islands in HMS Canopus [and HMS London].

    Antoine Vlasto was a well-known financier in Paris with two sons, Constantine 'Costa' and Stéphane Vlasto.

    Argenti lists the noble Chiot families – usually with close and repetitive marriage connections with each other – as:

    Agelasto, Argenti, Avierino, Calouta, Calvocoressi, Caralli, Casanova, Castelli, Chryssoveloni, Condostalvo, Coressi, Damalia, Franghiadi/Franghia, Galati, Grimaldi, Mavrogordato, Maximo/Massimo, Negroponte, Paspati, Paterii, Petrocochino, Prassacachi, Ralli, Rodocanachi, Roidi, Salvago, Scanavi, Scaramanga, Schilizzi, Sechiari, Sevastopoulo, Sgouta, Vlasto, Vouro, Ziffo, Zizinia and Zygomala.

    Other related familes are:

    Caradja, Choremi, Dimitriadi, Ionides, Mitaranga, Metaxa, Parembli, Pallis, Perpinia, Pitsipio, Psycha, Serpieri, Sinadino, Topali, Vagliano, Vitiadis, Volterra, Zarifi, Zafiropoulo and Zervudachi.

    Argenti lists the estates and properties of the Vlasto family, abandoned at the time of the Massacres of Chios in May 1822, as:

    1. A large estate in the town, Aplotaria, situated behind the property which in 1955 belonged to the Machairiadi, close to the ancient church of St Nicolas. [This is almost certainly the house situated in Vlasto Street which may have belonged to Michael Vlasto. The exterior was, by 1999, lavishly restored and occupied by a bank though its interior has been stripped.]

    2. Michel Vlasto (2) (demogeront) had another house (Choremi property) adjacent to the Rodocanachi house. [The estate owned, in 1999, by Iannis Choremi and his wife Maria]

    3. Alexandre Vlasto had his property at Kato Kaloplyti. [This has not yet been identified.]

    4. Another Vlasto house was at Atsiki. [This was almost certainly just behind and adjacent to the estate owned, in 1999, by Iannis Choremi and his wife Maria. The land concerned, slightly to the north east of the Choremi estate, was cleared in the late 1980s or early 1990s for development as a shopping centre. Argenti asserts that the Vlastos, having arrived in Chios – from Crete – only in mid C17th, established themselves in the fashionable Aplotaria and Atsiki areas rather than in the older Engremos and Palaio-Kastro quarters.]

    5. At one time the Vlastos had property at Meningades and numerous others in the Campos.

    6. Another Vlasto estate was at Spiladia.

    7. One of the Vlasto estates was, in 1955, occupied by the Xenachi family.

    8. Another of the Vlasto estates was, in 1955, occupied by a Dr Stavrachi.

    9. The Vlastos had estates at Haghioechtini.

    10. At Panaghia Pachya the Vlastos had an estate which, in 1955, was occupied by the Serbos.

    11. The Vlastos also had the large property of Litsachi. [This is the magnificent property, once one of the finest in the Kampos, which fell into ruins after the 1880 earthquake and, by 1999 had been separated from the adjacent house and buildings which once formed an entire unit.]

    12. On the Campos Road the Vlastos shared, with the Galati family [cousins who appear, like the Vlastos, to have had strong and ancient associations and property interests in Constantinople and Romania], the large estate of 'Hioussein' or 'Souzountis-Bey' (correctly ''Huseyin Sucudi Bey'). It is here that their armorials are to be found. [This is almost certainly the huge estate on the north side of the Kampos Road which, in 1999, lay just to the south of a grocer's shop and restaurant. The site of the original house, now demolished, was in 1999 a BP petrol station.]

    13. Another property near Thymiana was, in 1955, occupied by the Negroponte and the Topaca families. It once belonged to the Vlastos (See: G. Zolotas, op. cit. l. 2, pp. 581-582). [Its precise location has not yet been established]

    In 1999, the author discovered several ruins, former sites and restored buildings which, until 1822, were Vlasto Properties in the town of Chios (Chora) and the Kampos.


    A History of the Turkish Invasion, etc., in the early C19th

    Publisher: JOHN LANE – THE BODLEY HEAD (1932)
    Inscribed: DIANA RALLI


    The second part of A History of the Island of Chios A.D. 70-1822, includes a contemporary account of the 1821-22 Massacres of Chios by the doctor and historian, Alexander Michael Vlasto, who witnessed these events as a child. Written very soon after the massacres, it was first published on the island of Syros which, by 1840, had become the principal Mediterranean trading centre for the refugee 'diaspora' from Chios.

    First Published: ERMOPOULOS, SYROS, 1840
    Published privately (London): J. DAVY & SONS, DRYDEN PRESS, 1913


    A history of the noble families of the Kampos in Chios. This book has chapters on each of the principal noble families of Chios, arranged alphabetically. Below is the chapter devoted to the Vlastos. [I am grateful to my distant cousin Tima Vlasto for this translation from the original Greek]

    Author: NICO PERRI

    The Vlastos
    Coincidentally, the properties of the Vouro [discussed in previous chapter], in the city as well as in the plains, are found, in many places, near to those of the Vlasto family and for that reason, I believe, it will be easier for the reader if we now examine, the old and great, noble family of the Vlastos, the branches of whose tree reach down to the present day.

    The word Flourishing ['sprouting'] is engraved on the Vlasto coat of arms and this is not a play on words since their name is a derivative of the verb [Vlastano/Vlasto]. It proved prophetic, for the Vlasto tree truly flourished and brought us many surviving Vlastos to this day.

    First, let us find the root of this family, which appears, as most historians agree, to have come to Chios from Crete. This family is very old and has its origins in the Byzantium. From there they settled in Crete, some in the C11th and others at the end of the C12th. When the Crusaders conquered Constantinople (1204), Crete was given to 'Bonifatio of Momferatiko', who then sold it to the State of Venice.

    The great Byzantine families which had divided Crete among themselves – including the Vlastos – had managed to have their privileges and titles acknowledged by the Venetians, but this did not preclude cases of rebellion. In these the Vlastos played a leading part.

    Later when the Turks conquered Crete, the Vlastos again refused to submit easily and, it appears, were hunted down by the Turks. They left for Chios and Zakynthos [Zante] and other islands of the Ionian [Cephalonia and Corfu]. Some went to Venice [including Nicolas Vlasto], in whose interests they fought against the Turks. But, following the occupation of Constantinople by the Turks, other Vlastos living there left for Chios. At this point historians are not agreed, but these appear to be the most natural routes.

    From Chios, some Vlastos returned, much later, to Constantinople where they became merchants and prospered. Other Vlastos reunited in their principality [ancient lands they held from early Byzantine times in Transylvania, Galatz and Iasi, etc] on the banks of the Danube and took high office.

    Their mingling with the Venetian and Genoese families is obvious because we find then with Latin first names in the old codices of Chios: e.g. Simon Vlasto, Gofres Vlasto, Perris Vlasto, Batistas Vlasto etc.

    The Vlastos make an official appearance in the old Chios documents in the middle of the C16th or early C17th and, owing to their lineage and wealth, quickly take their place amongst the Chios élite as rulers.

    One known branch of this family is that of Alexander Mike Vlasto, the writer of the 'Chion', whose contribution to records of Chian history was invaluable and who lived in the beginning of the C19th. His father, Michael Vlasto, was the island's senior Demogeront [elder] and it was from him that the Turks demanded hostages as Greek ships [during the Greek War of Independence] appeared in the waters of Chios in April 1821. Another, Lucas Vlasto, was among the Martyrs of 1822 when he was hanged along with other nobles.

    Alexander and Theodore Vlasto, children of Antonio Alexander Vlasto and Kalliroi Ralli (sister of Baron Ambrosio Ralli), became partners and directors of the Ralli Brothers. Stephanos Vlasto, son of Antonio Vlasto, is a writer of historical books, while another writer and poet was Petros Theodoros Vlasto [Petros/Pierre] who lived in London in the early C20th.

    The coat of arms of the Vlasto family is a two-headed Byzantine eagle with three budding branches on which is the word 'Flourishing' [Blastanw or 'sprouting'].

    A coat of arms was found in an old Vlasto home [in the Kampos, Chios], by then a Petrocochino residence (later owned by Dr Stavrinakis and today by the I. Gialis family) near Agiodexteini (described earlier, in the Petrocochino chapter). However, here they used a one-headed eagle with a 'sprig' below it and, above the eagle, a cross. On a banner, under the coat of arms, the word 'Flourishing' [sprouting] again appears.

    The Vlasto family dispersed [after the 1822 Massacres] to many places. Apart from London they are found prospering in Smyrna, Trieste, Paris, Egypt and elsewhere.


    Written and published by the author's grandfather Michel Vlasto.
    Author: M.E.T.D. VLASTO.
    Subject(s): OTOLARYNGOLOGY.
    Imprint: FABER & FABER, London, 1938.
    Note: 1st edition has title: The Nursing of Diseases of the Nose, Ear and Throat


    Written and published in Paris by my great-grandfather, Ernest-Michel Vlasto, 'Leçons Des Choses' is a charming (and now very rare) book explaining simple scientific principles for small children and was probably written with his young son, Michel E. T. D. Vlasto, in mind.


    Memories of London debutantes and the families and people who surrounded then during the last great social 'Season' in 1939.

    Publisher: WEIDENFELD & NICOLSON (1989)

    Chapter 1, page 13: Quotes part of an interview with Helen Long (née Vlasto) by Christopher Long for London Portrait Magazine (April 1984) on her experiences as a debutante in 1939, the last great Season:

    "We were being groomed for a role. It was tough little world too. The system gave you a little more polish and you emerged with a little more grace, a little more cynicism. To be frank, it either made you or broke you. If anything was the proper training ground for a lifetime as the wife of an ambassador or some such rôle then this was the best there was. You had to be able to remain sure of yourself, keep up conversation with people who bored you, and physically cope with an unending round of new faces, new situations and learning that other girls and some men aren't always kind – and how to cope with the chilly, ambitious and ruthless real world away from home."

    Angela Lambert kindly acknowledges the role of this article in the writing of her book:
    I wish we had met, because your article was one of my first sources, with best wishes, Angela Lambert – April 1989.


    Autobiography with references to the George & Fanny Rodocanachi during the author's time working with their 'Pat Line' escape operations in Occupied France, 1940-1944.

    Author: ELIZABETH FURSE (Haydon-Guest)
    Publisher: CHAPMAN'S (1993)


    Author: ALEXIS P. VLASTO
    Publisher: CAMBRIDGE (1970)

    [See Alexis P. Vlasto & Obituaries]


    Autobiography with a good understanding of Anglo-Greek community which developed from the Chios Diaspora in London.


    CHANGE INTO UNIFORM An Autobiography 1939-1946

    Author: HELEN LONG
    Editor: CHRISTOPHER LONG (not acknowledged)
    Publisher: TERENCE DALTON (1978) ISBN 0 900963 91 3
    Dedicated: To her husband, Aidan Long.
    Forward: By Angela, Countess of Limerick G.B.E., C.H., D.L. (Vice-President of the British Red Cross Society)

    This book relies greatly on a bundle of correspondence between the author's parents during World War ll – which was not 'lovingly retained' as stated in the blurb. It was in fact thrown onto a bomb-fire in 1973, from which the author rescued it, offering it to Helen Long a couple of years later when she felt she could make a book from it all.


    An account of the World War ll escape and evasion line through occupied France which was established, along with others, by members of the Vlasto/Zarifi/Rodocanachi family – whose Marseilles flat was the safe house concerned.

    Author: HELEN LONG
    Research & Edit assistance: CHRISTOPHER LONG
    Publisher: 1st Ed. hardback: WILLIAM KIMBER & CO., UK, 1985; 2nd Ed. paperback: ABSON BOOKS, UK, 1989
    Acknowledgements: Various
    N.B. As well as being used and quoted in several other books on the French Resistance MI9 and SOE operations in Vichy France, see references to George & Fanny Rodocanachi and other members of the Pat Line operation in Dream Weavers by Elizabeth Furse (Chapmans, 1993) and in the feature Secret Papers by Christopher Long (London Portrait Magazine – November 1984) who retains some of the original MI9 documents relating to these operations in France, 1940-1945. Further info may be available from Professor M.R.D. Foot and the Imperial War Museum, London.


    Author: HELEN LONG
    Research assistance: CHRISTOPHER LONG
    Publisher: ABSON BOOKS (1992)
    Acknowledgements: Numerous

    The definitive history of the events that led to the Massacre of Chios in 1822 at the time of the burgeoning Greek War of Independence. This book was not inspired, as the author claims, by a chance encounter at the Louvre with the painting Scenes from the Massacres at Chios by Delacroix. The subject had been of enduring interest to her son, Christopher Long, for more than 20 years and it was he who had unexpectedly come face to face with Delacroix's painting in 1961. His subsequent research and contacts were passed willingly to the author in around 1987, though no recognition of this is made in the book.


    Approximate translation by C.A.L.

    The Vlasto family in Crete:

    "...the historical record of this family starts on Crete in 1092 when, to suppress an insurrection, Byzantium sends them there (among twelve Greek aristocrats and their families), giving them the fertile Messara Plain and with orders to pacify the island.

    As feudal leaders the Vlastos take command of several rebellions against Venice in 1207, 1283, 1341, 1363 and finally in 1454 when Syphis (Xyphilinos) Vlasto and his family are tortured to death by the [Venetian] authorities.

    When, in 1669, following the Turkish victory in the War of Candia, the Venetian general Francesco Morosini organised a retreat of the Cretan nobles to what remained of the Venetian territories in the Levant, the Vlastos re-established themselves in the Ionian Islands and in Istria.

    However, feudal Vlastos are found in Zante in 1509, included in the
    Livre d'Or in 1574 and as merchants and feudal landowners in Chios, married to the Calerghi family, where their armorials are displayed above the porticoes of their houses in the Vlastoudika quarter.

    In Cephalonia, in 1592, an Antonio Vlasto was created a knight by a Palatine count of Lalran and a Knight of Saint Mark by the Doge, Pasquale Cigogna..."
    The Vlasto family in the Venetian Empire
    "... The branch of the Vlasto family established in Istria quickly recovered its former pre-eminent position. According to charters granted to them, they sacrificed their blood and their lives in gallant public service (i.e. in the Turkish Wars), recovered their fortunes, converted to Catholicism and made marriages with Venetian patriarchal families such as the Balbi, Harozvi, Premarin, Priuli and Corner. Such excellent alliances meant that these Vlastos were granted the rank of ??? Originaria (if not included in the Libro d'Oro of Venice) and, according to a charter of 31-08-1774, invested as Counts with 'hereditary noble territories', having conducted themselves 'with merit and decorum and having fulfilled with honour the degree of nobility uniquely necessary in the concession of such a title' [ – ! – C.A.L.]

    One member of this [Cephalonia] branch, Gregory Vlasto, related to the Borisi and Mamuca della Torre and son-in-law of Prince of Wallachia Serban Cantacuzene, put himself at the service of Austria as imperial counsellor after the annexation by the Habsburgs of Wallachia following the Treaty of Passarovitz (1718). Emperor Leopold l gave him the hereditary title of Baron du Saint-Empire by a charter of 10-01-1733. On this occasion the charter specifies, among much else, that the 'generous, magnificent and well-born' Gregory Vlasto is entitled to bear arms everywhere: 'on foot, on horseback, on military exercises, in battle, in all authorised duels or jousts, on standards, flags, tents, sepulchres, monuments, jewellery, rings, chains, buckets, buildings, windows, doors, tapestries, silverware' etc..." [ – ! – C.A.L.]
    The Vlasto family now (i.e. late C19th to early C20th)
    "... The only surviving branch of the family today is that of Chios, still active in commerce and who seek their fortunes in numerous countries. Some became bankers in Romania and other ship-owners in London or Marseilles. Others became businessmen in the USA: such as Solon Vlasto, founder of the Greek Fraternal Society in 1891 and of the first Greek Church in the USA, in New York in 1892.

    In the C19th the Vlasto family separated into several branches in Athens, Marseilles and Liverpool. The Marseilles branch is almost extinct *, the branch in Great Britain is represented by the children of Peter Vlasto **, a director of Ralli Brothers, born in Calcutta 08-09-1879, who died in Liverpool 25-02-1941. He married in Bombay and in Liverpool, Aziza Ralli, daughter of Alexander Ralli (also a director of Ralli Brothers) and his wife Julia Ralli:
    Alexis P. Vlasto, born Liverpool 27-11-1915, professor of history and Slav civilisation at the University of Cambridge, married London 1945 Hilda Medway.
    Dominica Vlasto, born Liverpool 27-11-1915, married Liverpool 1935 John Nicholls (1909-1970), British ambassador to Israel (1954-57), Belgrade (1957-60), Brussels (1960-1963), Johannesburg (1966-69)
    Adriana Vlasto, born Liverpool 15-11-1921, medical practitioner..."
    [* Untrue in 1999: see Michel 'Micky' Vlasto and family.
    ** Untrue, since it continues to be represented by the descendants of Michel E. T. D. Vlasto!]


    Author: FREDERICK F. CARTWRIGHT & Michael D. Biddiss
    Publisher: (1972)

    This book explores the ways in which the course of history has been affected by disease both among general populations (e.g. plagues) and among individuals (e.g. the Romanovs and haemophilia). A great deal of basic research for this book was carried out in the library of King's College Hospital, London, by Christopher Long in 1968-69.


    Author: HELEN LONG
    Publisher: ?

    This small guide by Helen Long (1920-2001) contains a wide variety of general and practical information about France, intended for first-time visitors.


    These silhouettes are of three Zarifi brothers, prominent members of the social and diplomatic communities of Constantinople/Istanbul in c.1908. On the left is Georges Zarifi, in the centre Léon and on the right Stephane Zarifi.

    A second picture exists of a 'Mme Zarifi' and her husband. This may be of the same Hélène (née Zafiropoulo). Both pictures appear in a collection of 100 silhouettes depicting members of the ex-patriot diplomatic community in the Ottoman capital from 1905-10.

    The following (with charming inaccuracies!) is from a 1998 Belgian dealer's catalogue:


    "Lot A006 – 1908 Scrapbook – Autographed: 100 shadow cut-outs [silhouettes]. Presumably made by a member of the 'Corps Diplomatic in Istanbul 1905-1910'. On every page of the album (torn, little foxing) are the 'shadow-portraits' of 2 people (mostly man and wife, or daughter). Every item is cut out in black strong paper, and carries a near-photographic sight of a man (right), looking to the his wife (left). It was a habitude well-known in aristocrats homes in the 1700s, to please their visitors with a portrait when they left. Photography was thus not necessary to have correct pictures. In Paris, Place de Tertre, you can find young artists who still make such portraits with a little scissor and black paper. Each portrait in this album carries the name (notified above the head). Not all are signed, but here follows the list of those who did:

    Comte Ren de Germiny — M. Dubail or Moubail — M. & Mme Frebillot — Mlle Marcelle Bompard — Mlle Sarafow — General and Mme Holmsen [General Johannes Ivan Holmsen & Russian-born wife] — M. & Mme Boppe Nov. 1909 — Baron Clauzel & Baronne Magdeleine Clauzel — Alexander Cadogan — Robert Siegfried — M. Palle — Marquis de Revers... (?) 28 janvier 1908 Athens — M. Bikelas (must have been a very big man!) — George Karo — Mme & M. Gryparis — Comte Ostorog — M. & Mme Marling — Baron Moncheur & Charlotte Moncheur — M. Ceillier — M. F Prevost — Commandant Delon & Mme Jeanne Delon — Marquise Matilde Theodoli — Compte & Comtesse (Lieggeard) de St Quentin — M. de Valdrome — 3 Misses : Tina, Clare & Dorothy Elliot — M. Gerald Tyrwhite — M. George Mounsey — Comte de Bresler — Cel (abbreviation) Elia — Baron de Marchal & Baronesse de Marschall (she holds a cigar in her hand) — M. & Mme Anckardsvard — Comtesse & Comte Deym — M. Jolly (with a pincette in his eye) — M. de Yanko — M. Emanuel & Mme L. de Witt — Baron & Baronesse de Gerliczy — M. & Mme Zarifi (he has not signed) — 2 sisters : Marguerite & Alis Moncheur — 3 brothers : Leon, S, [Stéphane] and G. [Georges] Zarifi — M. & Mme Botkine — M. Criesis — M. d'Espainge — Sir Gerard Lowter & Lady Lowter [Lowther?] — M. & Mme Hélène Zacoli — M. & Mme Strandtman — Comte & Comtesse de Manneville — Mme C. Rose Tyrrell — Vicomtesse de Faise de St Symour, Martha de Boislisle — Jean Carré — Edward Hope-Vere — Mme Anita Carp & Mr Carp — Comte J de Warren — Comte de Srionne — Mme B. & M. P de Witasse — G. Yoisset — Comte Ren de St Quentin — M. & Mme Nicolopulo — Comte et Comtesse Hlne Gubhard — Hélène Nicolopulo [Nicolopoulo?]–– Comte de Ruill — Mr Jahan — Mlle Rvoil — Mlle L. de Beauchaine — (Colonel?) & Mme Pomiankowski [Colonel Poniatowski?] — M. & Mme Revoil — Mme Hélène & M. Eugenidi — Comtesse J. de Warren — M. Constantinidi — M. Pichon — Marquis de Prat de Nantouillet — Baron Muler — M. Pisoski — Comte des Tours — Mme Y. & M. de la Touche — Comte de Sieyes...

    The collection is fantastic because every item is well preserved and is typical for every person: some were a fez, all kind of beards, moustaches, the ladies hair, similarities between children and parents, sisters, etc... (picture 1, picture 2, picture 3, picture)... Please make us an offer above $1,000."
    On 06-01-99 Reidar Holmsen mailed me to say that General Johannes Ivan Holmsen was his father's cousin and a general in the Imperial Russian Army. During the 1917 Revolution the general and his family took part on the White Russian side. After the revolution Ivan and his son Nicolai organised help for Russian refugees in Paris.

    See other pages concerning the history of the Vlasto family

    Any additional information interested visitors provide to expand on the above will be appreciated.

    © (1997) Christopher Long. Copyright, Syndication & All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
    The text and graphical content of this and linked documents are the copyright of their author and or creator and site designer, Christopher Long, unless otherwise stated. No publication, reproduction or exploitation of this material may be made in any form prior to clear written agreement of terms with the author or his agents.

    Christopher Long

    Home Career Press Print Radio TV & Film 3rd Party Trivia Projects Personal Etcetera Sound Images Index