A Brief History of the Balteas Family from Stavropigi of
Exo Mani and Messinia, to Varousi in Lakonia

By Aris Poulimenakos, genealogist, and Nikos Balteas

Foreward by Donald George McPhail, Editor of Mani: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow

Translation and notes by Mary Papoutsy

The original article appeared in Greek in the May-June issue
(Volume 10) of the magazine Mani: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow. 
Posted to HCS with permission of the editor.

Continued from Page Two

The surname Palteas could derive from [several possible etymologies]: "to palto," in other words, a thick, heavy overcoat; the verb "paltevo" which signifies "I pound flax or linseed"; and finally a word from the ancient and Middle Ages "paltos, -i, -on" and the analogous verb "paltazo." "Paltos" is a person who shakes or brandishes something. "Palton" is an arrow or missile that is hurled from a catapult and "paltazo" means "I shoot an arrow."

The third case above, in other words, the etymology of the surname based on "paltos, -i, -on," supports a name published in a catalogue of 1871 from the same period: "Batlis Dimitrios of Pavlos, 61 years."

Knowing from research that there wasn't a genealogical continuation of the non-existent surname Batlis, we could suppose from tracking its printed appearance that the writer became educated and that the correct version is "Baltis Dimitrios of Pavlos, 61 years." This Dimitrios is the same as the Dimitrios of the 1st generation on the Balteas Family Genealogical Charts and from this surname, namely Baltis, we have the subsequent Balteas.7

In Mani and the greater area around Mystras, there are very many patronymic surnames8,
i.e. Vasilis-->Vasilakos and Vasileas, and surnames based on geographical locations,
i.e. Arna-->Arniotis. Of the remaining surnames from these regions, most are based upon ancient, Byzantine, or medieval words such as in the following examples:

Sakellarios (Byzantine ecclesiastical title)-->Sakellarakos

Tavoularios (ancient guard)-->Tavoularis, -akos, and -eas

Trohadarios (shoe-maker)-->Trohatos

Hartoularios (financier, economist)-->Hartoularis

Drongos [Droggos] (woody place)-->Drongarios-->Drongaris, etc.

And so from the ancient (and Byzantine) adjective "paltos, palti, palton,"9 came the surname Paltis, from which came Baltis and Baltakis, later Palteas and finally the current Balteas.

7Genealogist Poulimenakos has confirmed through his extensive research that the surname Baltis eventually became written as Balteas, the version used by descendants of this individual. Unfortunately, space constraints of the original article--and our subsequent posting of its translation to the HCS website--did not permit the inclusion of all the supporting evidence gathered in his search.

8Patronymic surnames are derived by custom from the first or given name of the father, according to strict definition of the word "patronymic." Although the authors furnish selected examples of various patronymics for the convenience of readers, they write for a Greek audience that would readily understand all of the ramifications of this custom. Patronymic names, as the examples demonstrate, could be based on an ecclesiastical title, a profession, an achievement, a geographical location, a salient family physiological trait, and so on. See the forthcoming article for the Hellenic genealogy section of HCS, "Greek Patterns of Naming."

9These three words represent the masculine, feminine, and neuter adjectival forms of the same adjective.