Nikolaos Chatzikostis was born in Smyrna on 28th August 1868. He was the third son of Kimon Chatzikostis, a great merchant-banker of Smyrna, and of Maria Mitchell, of French origin.
The first member of the Chatzikostis family, who came from Thessaly, had settled in Smyrna during the second half of the 18th century. From the word “chatzis” in the surname of this family, we assume that a certain member must have once completed a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
Nikolaos Chatzikostis graduated from the "Evangeliki" School of Smyrna in 1882, where he had the privilege to study with great professors, such as Matthaios Paranikas. He continued his studies in the University of Athens and, after an interruption of many years for health reasons, he obtained a doctorate in philosophy in 1898. In 1901, his dissertation About Colophon and its coins ("Peri Kolofonos kai ton nomismaton aftis") was awarded by the University with the “Petros Pandia Rallis” award. He took advantage of the interruption of his studies to study in depth foreign languages and to publish various articles and studies which considered issues of Smyrna. After the completion of his studies in Athens he returned to Smyrna. Until 1922 he remained there and dwelled at Burnova, a village in the suburbs of Smyrna, where his mother had her family house. In September 1922 Nikolaos Chatzikostis escaped from Smyrna, stopped briefly in Athens and in October he continued his trip towards Trieste, where his sister had settled. He remained there for a while and then returned to Athens.1 He died on 18th January 1924, during another voyage to Trieste. He was buried in Corfu.
From the time he was a student, Nikolaos Chatzikostis began publishing articles about issues of Smyrna in scientific journals, like the Bulletin of the Historical and Ethnological Society of Greece ("Deltion tis Istorikis kai Ethnologikis Etairias tis Ellados"). After his graduation he collaborated with the scientific journal Armonia. He took part in the edition of the encyclopedic dictionary of Eleutheroudakis publishing house. In his whole life he continued publishing in scientific journals but also in the newspapers of Smyrna. His studies dealt with Smyrna’s social history, the families (Baltatzis, Omiros, Agelastos, Bachatoris…)2 and the most important personalities of this city, as well as the most important events of its recent history. His most important study is Smyrnaika analekta. This book includes sixty one acts from the Codex A and B of the Greek Orthodox diocese of Smyrna from 1600 until the end of the 19th century.3 This collection, a selection of N. Chatzikostis, is precious today given that the archives of the diocese of Smyrna were totally destroyed by the fire of 1922. These are the only existing Greek sources today on the Greek Orthodox community of Smyrna during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.
1. Καραράς, Ν., Ο Μπουρνόβας (Athens 1955), p.189.
2. Nikolaos Chatzikostis did not live enough to publish these studies on the families of Smyrna; they were published by N. Kararas and A. Benakis in Μικρασιατικά Χρονικά: Καραράς, Ν, «Η οικογένεια των Ομήρων της Σμύρνης», Μικρασιατικά Χρονικά 7 (1957), p. 173-200; Μπενάκης, Α.Μ., «Οι Μπαλτατζήδες. Βιογραφικά σημειώματα Σμυρναϊκών Οικογενειών», Μικρασιατικά Χρονικά 4 (1948), p. 325-339.
3. Out of these 61 acts, 42 concern the period 1600-1769.