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Thessaloniki and the Abbott family
The Abbotts seem to be a major constant of Thessaloniki history since 1761 as the family has been involved in many incidents and historical events during the last three centuries. The Abbotts have always been adventurous and cosmopolitan and could hardly settle in a place for long. However Thessaloniki is the city where the family counts an uninterrupted presence of many generations, maybe because Thessaloniki was a cosmopolitan city herself - yes it’s a “she”- a city of international deals, a city of three religions, a city standing between east and west…
East Mediterranean has always been attractive to the Abbotts. According to the legend a knight named Abbott was among the crusaders that conquered Constantinople in 1204! Throughout the centuries we come across various Abbotts in Smyrna, Aleppo, Constantinople/Istanbul….
The coat of arms of the family depicts a unicorn supporter, symbol of virtue and strength – qualities easily recognizable in the members of the Abbott family- also symbol of Jesus for the Christians while the three pears on the shield symbolize felicity and peace. According to medieval myths the unicorn is only tamable by a virgin –could this virgin be represented by Thessaloniki in this case ?
Today there are a few Abbotts left in Thessaloniki - and some distant cousins, with different surnames though, in Athens. Although Thessaloniki has lost her old glamour and cosmopolitan air the Abbotts remain there maybe because the fate of this city is to always recover from conquers, disasters, dark periods…and to get reborn as the queen city of the Aegean heartland.