Nike untying her sandal, is a sculpture of the 5th century BC, from the parapet of the temple of Nike (goddess Victory) on the Acropolis. It depicts Nike (Victory) slightly leaning her body to untie her sandal before she enters the sanctuary.
Georgios Vroutos (1843-1908) complemented the ancient sculpture and revived it in its original beauty. The sculpture belongs to the collection of SHP.
SHP has chosen this sculpture as a symbol of the honor and respect that we all show for those who laid the foundations of Greek culture, who expanded it, who protected it, who fought for the principles it stands for and who ensure its dynamics, in the future.
The Philhellenism emerged 3000 years ago and remains from the Hellenistic and Roman periods, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, to this day, a dominant current that influences internationally historical, political and social developments, and of course the art and intellect.
After a long dark period in history, the foundations of Greek culture reappeared during the Renaissance, paving new paths for the evolution of humanity.
Greek Mythology has been a constant source of inspiration for many painters since the Renaissance.
Aphrodite (Venus), married to Hephaestus, cheated on him with Aris (Mars), the god of war. The illicit relationship between Love and War inspired many artists. But as the great Renaissance philosopher Marcellus Ficinus wrote: “Aphrodite always rules Mars and never the other way around!”
Ancient Greece conquers European education
In the 18th century, Europe gradually discovered the richness and value of ancient Greek art.
In the middle of the 18th century, Johann Joachim Winkelman recorded Greek art and its beauty, presented Greek culture and laid the foundations for the science of archeology. His books were translated and circulated throughout Europe.
The trip to Greece
In 1778, archaeologist Jean-Jacques Barthelemy published The Journey of the New Anacharsis in Greece, which became a best seller. This work excited Rigas Feraios, who translated it, published it in Greek and got inspired to design the Charta and to write his Thοurios (two emblematic symbols which led to the uprising of the Greeks).
The new tour
The search for the cradle of Greek culture has given new dimensions to an early form of cultural tourism. A typical case is that of Choiseul Gouffier. His work Voyage Pittorèsque de la Grèce, shows already from the first page, enslaved Greece and the prospect of its release. Choiseul Gouffier is appointed head of the Greek-language hotel, a secret organization in France that aimed to support the liberation of Greece. Athanasios Tsakalov also took part in this organisation, and when in 1814 he took refuge in Odessa, he took over its archives and the valuable knowledge he had acquired on the operation of secret organizations.
Neoclassicism was born, along with the Enlightenment. One of the leading figures of this movement is the great French-Greek poet Andre Chenier (1762-1794), son of the Greek Cypriot Elizabeth Santi Loumaki Chenier. His mother’s literary salon in Paris was for many years the meeting point of the French intelligentsia and the catalyst for the establishment of the Greek-language hotel, the first secret organization aimed at liberating Greece.
The Acropolis of Athens and the Parthenon
The Parthenon was the leading symbol of Hellenism. Top work of Greek architecture, but also a trademark of the Athenian Republic. It was the first monument whose construction was decided by free citizens through a democratic process, based on genius techniques and architecture, while recording with unique aesthetics’ sculptures the struggles of the people and their relationship with the divine. It was undoubtedly the monument that inspired most artists. It became the symbol of the debt of Europeans to Greek culture and therefore to the Greeks fighting for their freedom.
The philhellenic movement influenced education in Europe and systematically cultivated Greek-centered values in many generations of young people.
One of them is Lord Byron, who relied on his education and visited Greece in 1810, in search of the ruins of ancient classical civilization. Lord Byron evolved into the main representative of Romanticism. A key feature of the romantic hero is the clash with superior forces for an ideal and especially freedom.
The Byronic heroes
Byron’s heroes are reflected in every art form. The bride of Abydos, the Giaour, the Corsair, Don Juan, etc. appear in porcelain, paintings, tapestries, table clocks, boxes, etc.
The work of Childe Harrold’s Pilgrimage records the feelings of a young man who realizes and regrets the decadence of the Greek civilization. This book became quickly famous throughout Europe.
“The mountains look on Marathon –
And Marathon looks on the sea;
And musing there an hour alone,
I dream’d that Greece might still be free.”
The bride of Abydos
The Byronic hero Selim is saddened by his forbidden love for his beloved Zuleika.
The Greek War of independence
The philhellenic climate that prevails in the public opinion of Europe is strengthened with the start of the Greek War of independence. The Byronic heroes gradually became Greek Revolutionaries and philhellenism influenced every form of art and literary expression. The news from Greece are captured by a number of artists in France.
The first victory of the Greeks – The liberation of Salona
The siege began very quickly, on March 27, 1821. The siege was led by the chieftain Panargias, after he was blessed by the bishop of Salona, Isaiah (a Greek who participated in battles and finally sacrificed himself for the cause). The Turks surrendered in 13 days, on Easter day, April 10, 1821. Panourgias promised to release them if they surrendered their weapons, a promise that he kept.
Konstantinos Kanaris, the fire ship Captain
The achievement of the Konstantis Kanaris (1793-1877) to set fire to the Turkish flagship in Chios (1822) with a fire ship, impressed the public opinion of Western Europe which compared him to David who kills Goliath.
Kanaris’ son in Paris
The eldest son of the glorious fire ship Captin, Nikolaos, was educated in France with the children of King Louis-Philippe. Nikolaos Kanaris served as a member of the Supreme Court, a diplomat and then a member of the Greek Parliament and Minister of the Navy. The exact year of his birth is unknown, while he died in 1880.
The oath of the Freedom Fighter
Philhellenism as art de vivre
The philhellenic movement makes gradually its presence felt in all European countries and in the United States. Philhellenic committees are established in all major cities, fundraisers are held in favor of the Greeks, volunteers are recruited, weapons are sent in Greece, events are organized and manifestos circulate. This climate of support led to the spread of the philhellenic art repertoire in works of art and objects of daily use of an impressive variety: clocks, vases, cups, plates, bottles, and even wallpapers, represent basic philhellenic themes.
The Greek Patriarch Gregorios the 5th
The three pillars on which Philhellenism relied were the sense of debt to the Ancient Greek Civilization, the liberal sentiments against tyranny, and the common Christian faith. Many Europeans saw the Greek Revolution as a struggle of the Cross against the crescent.
The achievements of the great Souliote chieftains Marcos Botsaris and Kitsos Tzavellas, as well as the fact that they served in the French army (Régiment Souliote), propagated the fame of the Souliotes in Western Europe.
The Greek fugitives
As we progress through the years of the struggle (the 1820’s), the depiction of scenes from the difficult life of the struggling Greeks is a frequent topic. The fugitives take refuge in the mountains with their wives and children.
Louis I of Bavaria, the great Philhellene
Philhellenism reached and inspired all social layers. The leading German philhellene was King Ludwig I of Bavaria. Writer Zacharias Papantoniou wrote a century ago, in his book about the son of Ludwig I, and first king of modern Greece, Othon, about the three famous Whitelsbachs: “They had by excellence the romantic element – the power to leave their time for the past and from material life for the dream. All three refused to accept the tangible reality. Ludwig I for his philhellenism, Othon for his national ambitions for Greece (Megali Idea) and Ludwig II for his Wagner-mania, forgot the throne, to live the gigantic phantasmagoria of the ethics and art they created.”
The German Philhellenism
Along with France, the philhellenic movement took also great proportions in Germany. In addition to Ludwig I, who wrote poems about the struggle of the Greeks, the great romantic poet Wilhelm Müller, known today from the lyrics of Schubert’s song circles “The Beautiful Miller Maid” and “Winter Journey”, was the Philhellene with the greatest influence on the consciousness of his compatriots.
Known in Germany as Müller of the Greeks (Der Griechen Müller), he wrote collections of “Greek” poems in 1820, 1823 and 1824, with characteristic titles such as “The Greeks to the friends of their antiquity”, “The Phanariote”, “The Maid of Athens “, “The Maniatissa”, “The old man of Hydra”, “The Holy Corps”, “The spirits of the ancient heroes on the day of the Resurrection”, “The ruins of Athens to England” and “The hope of Greece”. One of the most beautiful is “Greece and the world” where he connects freedom with Greece and the world, exclaiming:
“Without freedom, what would you be, oh! Greece without you, what would the world be like! ”
«Ohne dieFreiheit, was wärest du Hellas? Ohne dich, Hellas, was wäre die Welt? ».
Many German painters chose Philhellenic themes, expressing their solidarity with the struggle of the Greeks. At the same time, it is the German painters who, through their works, highlighted the heroic dimension of the Greek fighters and their struggle.
The Sortie of Messolonghi
The heroic resistance of the Greeks in Messolonghi and the Sortie of the free besieged, shocked Europe, especially because Lord Byron lived and died there, and the event received tremendous publicity. After Messolonghi, Philhellenism took the proportions of an avalanche.
Philhellenism and Music
Many Philhellenes composers wrote songs, but also larger compositions dedicated to the struggle of the Greeks. The musical works were presented in order to organize fund raising events, to collect money to send to the Greeks.
The death of Karaiskakis
The “son of the nun”, Georgios Karaiskakis (1782-1827), was together with Kolokotronis, one of the greatest leaders of the Revolution. He took part in countless battles and was fatally wounded in the battle of Faliro on April 22, 1827. He died in the early hours of the next day, surrounded by his rivals.
The naval battle of Navarino
The naval battle of Navarino (October 1827), in which the combined fleets of England, France and Russia with the Admirals of Codrington, Derigny and Hayden destroyed the Ottoman fleet, was the decisive military event that led to the implementation of the Treaty of London for the Independence of Greece. In Europe, the news of the victory of the Christian forces was reminiscent of the Battle of Nafpaktos – Lepanto (1571) and was celebrated in all major cities in Europe and the United States. The Battle of Navarino was the last major naval battle fought exclusively by sailing ships.
Hundreds of Greek volunteers took part in the struggle of the Greeks and stood by their side in all the critical moments of the Revolution. Many of them have made history internationally.
The first steamship in history to take part in military operations, was the Karteria of the Greek fleet, commanded by the great British Philhellene Frank Abney Hastings (1794 – 1828), who had even financed its weapons. The most important success of Hastings and Karteria was in the Battle of Agali (Itea Bay) on September 17, 1827, where Karteria sank alone the Turkish flagship and destroyed 9 enemy ships.
The slave market
The Philhellenic movement continued also after the establishment of the first modern Greek state. It was present in the art, it financed aid missions to Greece and encouraged many initiatives in favor of the Greeks. One of them had to do with the purchase of Greeks who were sold as slaves in the slave markets of the Ottoman Empire. A large number of slaves were rescued and released after the end of the Revolution. Their drama was reflected trough art in many ways.
The Cretan knife – An emblematic gift honors a great Philhellene
The Philhellenic movement continued to make its presence felt throughout the 19th and even 20th centuries, and its contribution has always been critical and decisive for the liberation of Greece.
In fact, many Philhellenes of the period 1821 returned to Greece when their assistance was needed it again. The great American Philhellene doctor and philanthropist Dr Samuel Howe, was one of them. He came to Greece for the second time in 1866-67 bringing aid for refugees from Crete during the Cretan Revolution.
Philhellenism continued to manifest itself throughout the 19th century, but also into the 20th. For example, in the unsuccessful Greek-Turkish War of 1897, the Italian Philhellene Ricciotti Garibaldi, the leader of a Corps of Garibaldi red-tunics, fought bravely.
However, this Corps returned to Greece and fought again on the side of the Greeks also during the victorious war of 1912-1913, which liberated Greece.
The noble hero composer musician Clement Harris
In 1897, the British composer and Philhellene Clement Harris came to Greece, he fought heroically and died for the independence of Greece in the Greek-Turkish war of 1897 in the Five Wells in Arta. He was buried in the Anglican Church of St. Paul in Athens.
Philellenism remains to this day an important cultural, political, social, philosophical and literary movement.
Philhellenism inspires educational and academic programs in all modern societies, and the values on which it is based are the cornerstones of the civilized world.
The trip to Greece and the pilgrimage to the Acropolis of Athens and the other emblematic archeological sites throughout Greece, cause to every free man of today the same feelings as those they caused to Lord Byron 200 years ago.
The Society for Hellenism and Philhellenism supports the cultivation of this spirit internationally, with works and deeds.