Gioachino Antonio Rossini, Paris, 1865.


Gioachino Rossini was born on February 29, 1792, in Pesaro, a small spa town of Marche, in the Adriatic. He had a birthday every four years, in every leap year… His father played the horn and his mother was a soprano. Rossini presented his first opera at the age of 18 at the Teatro S Moisé in Venice (La Cambiale di Matrimonio).

The first great success came two years later with the opera La Pietra del Paragone which was performed at the Scala in Milan 53 times within one season (1812)! Next year comes the success of Tancredi at the famous Teatro la Fenice in Venice. It is in Rome, Teatro Argentina, that he will present in 1816 and 1817 his two most famous works: “The Barber of Seville” and “La Cenerentola”, which establish him as the greatest composer of Opera Buffa.

By the time he was 30 (1822) he had written 32 of his 39 operas. His last one was the famous “William Tell”, which was presented in Paris in 1829; a play half a century ahead of its time. He became famous and settled in the capital of culture, Paris.

The great writer Stendhal (1783-1842) states in his work “The Life of Rossini”: “After Napoleon’s death, another man was found, for whom one hears every day, in Moscow like in Naples, in London like in Vienna, in Paris like in Calcutta”.

The “Siege of Corinth” (Le Siège de Corinthe) is by far the larger and most successful Philhellenic musical work. Rossini, enthusiastic about the struggle of the Greeks, but also by the effort of the Philhellenic Committees, the art of Delacroix and the texts of Chateaubriand, decides to contribute to the fund raising campaigns of the Philhellenic Committees. He transformed his older work “Maometto Secondo (1820)[1], copying the music, but also a small part of the text written by Cesare della Valle, Count of Ventignano, rewritten by Luigi Balocchi and Alexandre Soumet to a new libretto.

The work was presented for the first time at the Paris Opera, on October 9, 1826, in French, with great success and the considerable revenues were given to support the Greek liberation struggle. It was the first Live-Aid concert in history. In just one day, 30,000 francs of the time (about € 100,000) were raised. An amount equal to the annual income of a wealthy Parisian.

The opera was translated into Italian by Calisto Bassi and performed in Barcelona in 1827, while its first stage performance was in Parma on January 26, 1828, entitled L’Assedio di Corinto, and then in Genoa on June 7 of that year. The rehearsals were conducted by Donizetti himself, who also wrote an aria for the perfomance in Genoa, which became very popular with the public of the time and made Rossini’s opera even more famous.

In 1827 the opera was also presented in Brussels and Budapest. In 1830 in St. Petersburg, in 1831 in Vienna and in 1835 in New York! The opera remained popular for more than 30 years in all major opera houses and then it fell into oblivion. It reappeared in 1949 in Florence with Renata Tebaldi in the lead role. For the 100th anniversary of Rossini’s death in 1969, a memorable performance was given at La Scala in Milan, with Beverly Sills at her European debut.
The premiere of the opera in Greece, took place at the National Opera just after 167 years, in January 1993, following my persistent proposal, under my capacity as General Secretary of the Board, after I faced objections and concerns on whether the project would be popular! The play was staged with great success, directed by Mario Corradi, sets and costumes by Nikos Petropoulos. It was the first time that the internationally renowned French magazine Opera International dedicated two pages to the National Opera of Greece. [2]

Scenery N. Petropoulos, from the 1st act of the Siege  of Corinth

The text of the opera is inspired by the major event of the Greek Struggle which was the Third Siege of Messolonghi and the heroic exodus. Decisive for the mounting influence of Western public opinion in favor of the Greeks.

Critic S. Lacreteil was clear on the true meaning of the libretto:
“This opera contains references to the war of the Greeks and especially to the Greeks of Messolonghi, elements that ensure an enthusiastic success …”. So we see that the parallel between Corinth and Messolonghi in Rossini’s opera is considered clear and accepted by the public and critics who watched the performance. The Moniteur Universel newspaper wrote that “in Corinth we saw Messolonghi. With the Siege of Corinth, Rossini and the Greeks besieged and occupied Paris.[3]

At this point, it is interesting to note that the case is not related to the poem with the same name by Lord Byron. In The Siege of Corinth, Lord Byron refers to the siege of Acrocorinth by the Ottomans in 1715 and the slaughter of the Venetian guard.

In the poem published in 1816, the poet sees the historical event through the eyes of Alp, a Venetian who converted and became a mercenary of the Ottomans and Francesca Minotti, daughter of the Commander of the Guard, who refused to give his daughter to Alp. This was the reason for his conversion and the betrayal of his own people, out of thirst for revenge.

Rossini admired, without a doubt, the great philhellene poet. Fate brought him to London on a tour with his wife, the famous Spanish lyric singer Isabella Colbran (1785-1845), the day Lord Byron died in Messolonghi, April 19, 1824. On June 11, Rossini will give a concert in London and will present an Ottavino (short work for eight voices) dedicated to the death of Lord Byron he had just composed. In the piece, “The Mourning of the Muses for the Death of Lord Byron” (Il pianto delle Muse in morte di Lord Byron), Rossini himself sung the first role![4]

Isabella Colbran (1785-1845)

But let’s look at the plot of Rossini’s Opera. We are in 1458. After the Fall of Constantinople, Mehmed II II besieges Moria.[5] Cleomenes, governor of Corinth, recommends the surrender of the city to the Conqueror. However, the young officer Neoclis is in favor of a new attack! Admiring his courage, Cleomenes offers him the hand of his daughter Pamyra. In the attack, the Greeks are repulsed and Kleomenis is captured. Pamyra intervenes and so Mehmed II II recognizes in her face the woman he had fallen in love with when he came to Corinth as a spy on behalf of his father. He then offers peace to the Greeks, if Pamyra marries him. Despite her father’s appeals to leave with him and pick up Neocles, Pamyra who was in love, stays with Mehmed II.

While the weddings are being prepared, Neocles enters the Turkish camp and asks back Pamyra, who, in order to save him, says that he is her brother. She flees with Neocles and Mehmed II swears to slaughter the last Greek before sunset and to seize Pamyra.

The Greeks gather in the catacombs of Corinth, ready for the final battle. Kleomenis, Neocles and Pamyra, along with the other Greeks, invoke Marathon and, of course, Thermopylae. Priests bless the banners in the most moving scene of the play, for which Rossini wrote new music.[6]

The Turks win, but when he reaches to Pamyra, Mehmed II discovers that she along with the other Greek women, had committed suicide.
“Everyone died to protect us …” sings the women’s choir, “A God sees us from above. To escape the bondage of slavery, Corinth dies in flames, “says Ismene, while Mehmed II, as a young Nero, sings:” Hard madness, blind hatred, a night full of destruction.”
While in “Maometto II!” Anna’s suicide and a short choreography close the curtain, in “The Siege of Corinth” Rossini escalates the viewer’s anxiety by putting an entire nation to die while the Turks rejoice : “Wonderful madness, sweet image, Corinth dies in her flames, all this misery is our work “, while the Greeks mourn as they die from the depths of the stage while Corinth collapses in the flames: “Oh Homeland “.
Suicide scenes were not new to opera at the time, but the death of an entire people on stage, and with such realism, was unprecedented. The combination of music and dramatic stage action created in the “Siege” a new aesthetic of “horror” in the opera and is clearly the forerunner of the great romantic lyric works. The public’s impression of the “Siege” was utterly riveting. Leon Escudier wrote about the finale of the third act:
“The whole room, which was like fossilized during the final scene, suddenly rose like a single person, and in the last notes, it was screaming with excitement with a voice of immense admiration …”.
The newspaper’s critic La Quotidienne wrote:

“Nothing was missing from Rossini’s triumph, not only was each piece applauded repeatedly, but even after the performance everyone wanted and asked for the composer. They called him on stage for more than half an hour, until it was announced that he had left the Theater. Following his example, people followed him to his house where they gathered under his windows on the street, while a band was playing the finale of the second act of the opera … “.

The fact that Greeks were present at the performances is an indisputable fact. We have for this, the testimony of Adolf Nouri (who sang the role of Neocles), who in a letter dated October 12, 1826 writes:
“Turkish journalists have created a lot of problems for us. Many Greeks were present in the audience, but fortunately the drumbeats, the harsh sounds of the winds and even the cannons did not prevent them from coming to the Theater three times a week to watch with admiration the fate of the unfortunate Greeks who are killed by my colored scales and from my roulades … “.[7].

In the last pages of the program there was a printed “Greek Ode” with the following provocative verses: “Get up, take arms , take revenge proud Greeks …”. Such was the success of the “Siege” that King Charles X honored Rossini with the Legion of Honor. Rossini, however, denied the decoration because, as he told to La Rochefoucault, he should not accept such an honor for a rewritten work, when in fact other great French composers such as Hérold had not yet been honored.[8]

Rossini from the age of 37 until his death at the age of 76, in 1868,  that is for forty years did not write another Opera! He will write only songs, small orchestral works and two great religious works: the Stabat Mater (1841) and the “Petite Messe Solennelle” (1864).

He was the most important Italian composer of the first half of the 19th century and transformed both the style and the content of the Opera, creating the famous belcanto. He introduced a number of innovations, such as the famous Rossini crescendo and his unique ensembles. He was the master of Opera Buffa, the comic Opera, but also the reformer of the boring Opera Seria. In just five years (1824-1829) he played a key role in the French Opera, as his work influenced composers such as Adam, Meyerbeer and Offenbach, whom he called “Little Mozart of the Champs Elysees”.

He was a famous lover of the beauty of life and a great eater. He named various dishes after his works “Bocconi Gazza Ladra”, “Tarte Guglielmo Tell”, while the famous Turnedos Rossini with foie gras is his creation.
His works, especially the comic ones, exude freedom and the joy of life, something which made them very popular in his time. The interest in his work surfaced again in the 1920s and more in the 1950s. Of particular note were the unique interpretations of the roles of Rosina in the Barber, the Italiana in Algiers, or Fiorilla in Il Turco in Italia and of Armida in the opera of the same name by the great Maria Callas.

Her interpretations revived Rossini’s works and reciprocated his love for Greece.

You can listen to the Siege of Corinth here.

Maria Callas at the Scala of Milano


[1] Another work in the Turcherie series, featuring Turkish roles where the Turks are presented either as ridiculous or as violent barbarians (L’Italiana in Algeri, Il Turco in Italia), in the context of that period’s conflict between European and Ottoman forces.

[2] Petropoulos, directed a new performance of the play on June 2002 in ancient Corin

[3]   Alexis Spanidis, Rossini and Greece

[4] The Musical Times and Singing Class Circular, Vol. 41, No. 683 (Jan. 1, 1900)

[5] Mehmed II encamped outside the walls of Corinth on May 15, 1458. He used as pretext the fact that Demetrius and Thomas Palaiologos (Constantine’s brothers who still controlled the Peloponnese), did pay taxes.

[6] We note again, as in the case of La Revolution Grècque of Berlioz, the combination of ancient Greece and Christianity.

[7] Alexis Spanidis, Rossini and Greece

[8] Same as above




Portrait of François Antoine Christophe Gérard in the uniform of a French colonel, bears the emblem of the officer of the Legion of Honor, the painter Jules DELAROCHE (Paris 1895 – Versailles 1849)


General François-Antoine-Christophe Gérard was born on July 25, 1786 in Nancy, France. His father’s name was François Gérard and his mother was Marie Elisabeth Gabriel.

He served in the French Army, where he enlisted as a volunteer on October 5, 1804, in the 62nd Infantry Regiment. In 1833 he became Brigadier General and in 1848 Lieutenant General.

During his career in France, he took part in sixteen military campaigns: in 1804 in the Cotes de l’Océan, in 1805 in Ulm and Austria, in 1806, 1807 and 1808, in Prussia and Poland. In 1809 he fought in Austria, in 1812 in Russia, in 1814 with the Great Army, and in 1815 in France.

From 1829 to 1831 he served in Greece. He was a strong and fearless fighter, who was wounded five times in action: on February 6, 1807 in Eyleau, on May 21, 1809 in Essling, on July 6, 1809 in Wagram, on August 18, 1812 in Polotsk, and on February 17, 1814 in Vangis. He was distinguished for his bravery in the battles at Nogent, Mormand, and especially at Polotsk and Soissons, where he served as guard at 1814 – 1815. During the Restoration in France, he remained under a semi-paid status for six years in his hometown and then he held various positions in the army as a commander of regiments.

In 1829 he arrived in Greece. Gérard was the nephew of the great French War Minister Etienne-Maurice, Earl Gérard, who, according to some scholars, secured him while in Greece, a strong power, even after the assassination of Kapodistrias. It is recalled that Count Gérard was a member of the Philhellenic Committee of Paris and that he had actively supported the Greek War for liberation.

Etienne Maurice Gérard, first Earl Gérard (1773 – 1852), French General, politician and Marshal of France. Uncle of François Antoine Christophe Gérard.

This choice of Earl Gérard was followed and supported by his nephew. Indeed, thanks to the records of the French Police, we learn that François-Antoine-Christophe Gérard had travelled to Greece at the end of 1825, when he was still a captain, and stayed there for about nine months. He transported money and ammunition to support the Greek fighters. In his trip he was accompanied by Philhellenes volunteer fighters.

He went again to Greece in 1829 when he was a Colonel. This time he was charged by the King of France on a mission to assist Governor Kapodistrias, for the effective organization of the Regular Army, but also for the “regularization” of the irregular fighters. Governor Kapodistrias promoted him to a “Brigadier General”, and he took over, on November 21, 1829, the duties of Inspector General of the Regular Corps. The Commander of the Regular Corps was at that time another French Philhellene, General Trézel. General Gérard took over from him in September 1830 and was then appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Greek Regular Army.

General Gérard also assisted actively, with the support of the French Government, Ioannis Kapodistrias in his attempt to achieve a complete “regularization” of the irregular troops. The last battle of the Greek War for Independence took place victoriously in Petra, in September 1829. After this battle, it was decided to replace the Chiliarchies of the irregular fighters (units of one thousand men), with twenty Light Battalions, consisting of four companies each. They were placed close to the northern boarders of the continental Greece.

Uniform of a Chiliarch of the Corps of irregular fighters, Archive of the Army General Staff.

At the same time, General Gérard submitted a proposal to the Governor for the establishment of a peculiar battalion, called the “Model Battalion”.

According to the historian Konstantinos Vakalopoulos, Gerard took advantage of a number of proposals which were submitted by Kassomoulis and other chieftains who had been left out of service due to the reorganization of the military.

In this context, the Light Battalions were founded to group these ex-irregular fighters. Kapodistrias asked General Gerard to evaluate all these plans. Gerard improved and expanded them and then he submitted a final plan to the Governor for approval. The central idea of ​​the plan was in line with the policy of the Governor for the “regularization” of the irregulars, and Gérard worked with great zeal for its success.

Uniform of a soldier of the Light Battalions, Archive of the Army General Staff.

Uniform of a soldier of the infantry of the Regular Corps, Archive of the Army General Staff.

Uniform of a Lieutenant of the infantry of the Regular Corps, Archive of the Army General Staff.

In this context, the Model Battalion, as it was called, would function as a model-battalion for the training of the soldiers and officers. This would assist to train the men of the Light Battalions to study the principles of the military service and financial management. The Model Battalion was enacted by decree on December 7, 1830, and it was initially formed by four and then by six companies, each of which included 80-100 men. The uniform of the men of the Model Battalion was the traditional Greek foustanela, which pleased the old warriors and impressed the public. Their armament consisted of a rifle with a bayonet and two cartridge boxes.

Uniform of a Lieutenant of the “Model” infantry battalion, Archive of the Army General Staff.

Uniform of a Sergeant of the “Model” infantry battalion, Archive of the Army General Staff.

The Training Company constituted the core of the Model Battalion. It was staffed by Army officers and non-commissioned officers. According to the relevant decision of the Military Secretariat, the Model Battalion was conceived to operate as a “model for the new Greek Army”.

Cadet of the Military school, Archive of the Army General Staff.

It was also decided that ten men from each regiment of the irregulars would be detached to the Model Battalion, as well as a number of officers and non-commissioned officers from the Regular Army battalions. General Gérard and the government hoped that through the parallel service of officers and soldiers of the Light Battalions with their colleagues from the Regular Corps, a spirit of solidarity and cooperation would be cultivated between the irregulars (and undisciplined) and the regular soldiers of the Greek Army. However, due to the reduced willingness of the soldiers of the Light Battalions to enlist in the Model Battalion, this effort did not have the expected results.

Uniform of a General of the Regular Army, Archive of the Army General Staff.

General Gérard worked diligently and with devotion to organise the Army in a professional manner, and to design and establish the Model Battalion, with the support of War Minister Panagiotis Rodios and Governor Kapodistrias himself. For this reason, they even called him “the father of the Model battalion”.

General Gérard attached considerable importance in his mission and this is confirmed by the fact that he maintained regularly personal correspondence with French politicians (the French Ambassador Rouen, the French Foreign Minister Prince de Polignac, the French Minister of War Earl de Bourmont). He presented to them the results of his actions in Greece regarding the organization of the Army and the “regularization” of the irregulars. It is clear from his correspondence that he was placed in charge of the Regular Corps in line with an “agreement” of April 1, 1832, between Governor Kapodistrias and General Maison, and that the mission assigned to him by the French government was to restructure the army and to “organise successfully the 20 Battalions of the Palikars (Greek irregulars)”.  This led to the design of the Light Battalions, as Gérard explained in one of his letters to Prince de Polignac.

In addition, despite the confrontation that certain French political figures had with the Greek Governor (for political reasons), General Gérard, as can be seen from his correspondence, always expressed a special appreciation for Kapodistrias. For example, he wrote to the Earl de Bourmont the following about him: “SE he always shows to me great respect and trust and I respond as best I can to this noble feeling on his part […]. The Governor speaks with so kind words and shows such abnegation that I could only admire him. His transition from the first to the second line, with devotion, is an act of patriotism, which is very rare nowadays, and it certainly doubles all its glory”.

Unfortunately, things in Greece took a turn for the worse when Governor Kapodistrias was assassinated. As pointed out by professor Veremis, during the preliminary investigation that followed the assassination of Governor Kapodistrias, it appeared that General Gérard and French Ambassador Rouen, tried to protect the assassin from the rage of the crowd. Due to this incident, Augustinos Kapodistrias requested the removal of Gérard.

On the other hand, General Gérard’s feelings, were not at all friendly towards the Governor’s brother, Augustinos Kapodistrias. Gérard considered that Augustinos Kapodistrias wanted to remove him from Greece and from the administration of the Regular Corps. The British historian George Finlay states that Augustinos actually managed to stop Gérard from exercising his duties. Following these events, Gérard submitted his resignation to Minister Rodios, signing his resignation as “Former General Director of the Regular Corps” and “Colonel in the service of France, sent by his Government to the Greek Government” (October 28 / November 9, 1831). On the same day, he sent a second letter in which all French officers serving in the Greek Army were asked to return to the headquarters of the French Army in Methoni. However, this evolution should be considered within its broader context.

An important number of French officers also left with General Gerard. Unfortunately, the significant efforts made by French officers to reorganize the Army in all areas, came to an abrupt end. The change in the political climate in France and the enthronement of Louis Philippe, did not allow them to continue.

After returning to France, in 1833 General Gérard left for Belgium where he commanded a brigade for six years. In 1839 he served in the city of Rouen, and in 1848 in Nantes as a division commander. In 1851 he was pensioned and retired to his tower in Orme-Guignard, where he was especially dear to the inhabitants, who called him “the good general”. Before he died, since he had no descendants, he funded the establishment of a school for girls and an institution for the sick.

During his long career, Gérard was awarded the Order of the Knight of the Legion of Honor on July 13, 1809, the medal of the Officer of the Legion of Honor on February 18, 1814, and the Order of the Knight of St. Louis on September 19, 1821, the medal of the Knight of the Battalion of Leopold (Belgium) on 15 December 1833 and the medal of the Commander of the Legion of Honor on 14 May 1834. The Greek state honored him with the Cross of the Brigadiers of the Order of the Redeemer on 19 June 1834. He also received the medal of the officer on 14 December 1837, and then the medal of the Commander of the Battalion on August 21, 1839, of Leopold, and finally, on June 4, 1850, he received the Order of the Senior Officer of the Legion of Honor. He died on December 22, 1856 at Orme-Guignard in Moisy at the age of 70.

The Greek Army evolved, relying on the values, principles and practices established by General Gerard and the Greek nation is grateful for his contribution.



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Officer of the French army during the Napoleonic Wars


The General Jean-Chrétien Louis Dentzel was a baron, and French Philhellene who took part in the Greek Revolution, as a commander of the troops of Western Greece.

Jean-Chrétien Louis Dentzel was of German descent, born in Landau, Rhineland, on May 6, 1786. He was one of eight children of Georges-Frédéric Dentzel, a reputable officer who participated in the American Revolution, and Sibille Laure Wolff. His nephew was Georges Eugène Haussmann, governor of the Seine region in Paris, who became famous for the urban reform of the city of Paris during the reign of Napoleon III. A central Avenue in Paris is named after him.

Dentzel attended Military School in Fontainebleau, graduating on September 21, 1805. He was awarded the rank of lieutenant at the age of 19. He then served in the cavalry and took part in many military operations during the first Napoleonic Empire in France, where he distinguished himself.

He was promoted many times and came to receive the rank of lieutenant colonel of the Cavalry. According to his personal register, he participated in many campaigns, served among others in the 6th Usser Regiment, and was often placed in important positions and on the side of important generals. He took part in the campaigns of Austria in 1805, Prussia in 1806, Poland in 1807, Spain in 1811, Russia in 1812, and in Napoleon’s Great Army in France in 1813 and 1814. He was wounded in three of them. From his service in the Army he gained significant experience and knowledge in matters of strategy and military organization.

At the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, he served in Napoleon’s headquarters and fought alongside his father.

Dentzel was a member of the Carbonari and participated with his friend (later also Philhellene) Fabvier, in various other conspiracies against the Bourbon regime. The two close friends had significant action of fictional dimensions in France at the time. In fact, they have even become the heroes of a novel in France for their action in 1822. For these actions, he was sentenced in 1822 to 4 months in prison and placed in inactivity in France, with the rank of Colonel. This situation did not allow him to continue his career in his country. So he retired to Frankfurt and returned to France in 1824.

At the same time, his restless spirit was thrilled by the Greek Revolution. His enthusiasm later led him to Greece. So he left France, without even informing his family, and arrived in Greece to work with Fabvier in an effort to organize the Greek Regular Army. His family was unaware of his fate and considered him dead. He arrived in Greece at the end of 1827 from Corfu. Evidence of its presence and action dates back to the beginning of 1828. It is noted here that it seems that there was another Philhellene of the same name, who served as captain with the Philhellene Frank Abney Hastings, and who was present at the same time in same wider area (Western Greece). It seems that captain Dentzel also had an important, but different, action at sea.

Jean-Chrétien Louis Dentzel took office in Greece on February 1, 1828 in Dragamesto, Aitoloakarnania, under the British General Church. He was appointed brigadier general, chief of staff of the Army of Western Greece, whose Commander in chief was Church. Kapodistrias later promoted him to a General and assigned him the command of the troops of Western Greece, replacing General Church on June 24, 1829. Dentzel, according to Herni Fornèsy, “participated with distinction in all campaigns, in Aitoloakarnania, Evrytania, that is, in Dragamesto, Karpenisi, etc.”. Several other Philhellenes and Frenchmen also served in the Army of Western Greece, which was smaller than that of Eastern Greece and did not exceed the number of 3,500 men.

Dentzel did undertake and accomplished a very important job. After the occupation of Messolonghi by the Turks, the failure of the battle of Analatos in Attica, during which Karaiskakis, but also many Greeks and Philhellenes, were killed, and the surrender of the Acropolis, the Revolution in central Greece was reprimed and the control of all territories passed to the Turks. The chieftains had crossed into the Peloponnese or accepted to submit to the Turks (accepting to worship them according to the tradition at that time). This development was particularly bad because, according to the Treaty of London of 1827, a Greek state would be established on the lands that remained controlled by the revolutionaries. The Greek Administration was trying in every way to regain control in Central Greece. In November 1927, the great Philhellene Frank Abney Hastings landed General Church and an expeditionary force in Dragamesto, in Western Greece. From there, Dentzel undertook, gradually and methodically, to fortify the positions of the Greek forces, and then to liberate the Greek villages and the Greek areas, one after the other. He treated the entire population in an excellent way, he restored the municipal administration of the officials in each community and negotiated the return of those chieftains and local populations who had accepted to submit to the Turks, getting them to support the Greek Administration. In a relatively short period of time, after constant clashes and battles with the Turks, Dentzel liberated almost all of Western Greece.

Like his predecessor, British General Church, Dentzel made efforts to reduce fraud in the army. In this endeavor he had to face many reactions. In this context, he submitted to Governor Kapodistrias a series of important proposals, such as the issuance of an individual booklet for each soldier and each officer, which would function as an identity and as an individual register, proposals that were accepted. In addition, a Gendarmerie Corps was formed in Vonitsa during his time, most likely on his own initiative.

And while everything was going well, the terrible military uprising of 1829 broke out. A group of Greek soldiers revolted, using as an excuse the inability of the government of Kapodistrias to pay their salaries timely, but also because of the rivalries between Souliotes and Roumeliotes chieftains. In fact, the insurgents abandoned their positions on the northern borders, planned to integrate the troops of Eastern Greece, led by Dimitrios Ypsilantis, in the last battles against the Turks, and to march against Kapodistrias. Augustinos Kapodistrias wanted to bring those responsible to justice. However, the Governor disagreed and decided to grant them a favor. Dentzel’s role in calming the spirits and avoiding another civil conflict was catalytic. He was reminding the Greeks that with these actions Greece would lose territories and important portions of the population would lose their freedom, and called on them to realize their responsibilities towards the homeland and God. After the order was restored, Dentzel strengthened and fortified the positions on the northern border, thwarting the plans of the Turks of Arta to invade Western Greece again.

Dentzel nurtured feelings of great love for the Greeks, showing understanding and willingness to handle developments with diplomacy. The way in which he addressed his friends speaks for his feelings and character. For example, when writing to friends like Chief Ragkos, who served under his command he signed as follows: “Your brother, General Dentzelos.” He had a great influence on the circles of the Philhellenes and the Greek chieftains and he was supported by the Philhellenic committees which were financing his efforts in the Greek army. In 1829 he even filed an application to be naturalized as Greek and get the Greek citizenship.

During his stay in Greece, Dentzel usually lived in the mountains and under hoarse/bad conditions, close to the local population and his soldiers. Due to these conditions, he became very ill, and finally lost his life.

He died on September 3/15, 1829, from an illness in Vonitsa, at the age of 43, before he was able to receive his naturalization as a Greek, which was granted and was on its way to him. Denzel was not married and left no descendants. According to Henri Fornèsy, “His death caused great sorrow to his colleagues, because of his fearless character, his abilities, the subtlety of his manners, the confidence he instilled in all the classes of the army.” He was replaced by the former commander of the Philhellenic Company, the Italian Vincenzo Pisa. His career in Greece became known in France only after his death.

In France he was decorated with the Order of the Knight of the Legion of Honor on April 24, 1812, the Order of the Knight of St. Louis on October 28, 1814, and the Order of the Officer of the Legion of Honor on November 2, 1814.

Baron General Jean-Chrétien Louis Dentzel was one of the most selfless Philhellenes who contributed much to Greece’s struggle, and most importantly at a critical time. To this great Philhellene Greece owes the fact that it managed to claim and succeed to integrate all of Western Greece into the newly formed free state.



  • École spéciale militaire, Livre d’or des Saint-Cyriens morts au champ d’honneur, Imprimerie nationale, 1922.
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  • Strauss-Schom Alan, The Shadow Emperor: A Biography of Napoleon III, St. Martin’s Publishing Group, 2018.
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  • Εθνική Βιβλιοθήκη, Τμήμα Χειρογράφων και Ομοιοτύπων, χειρόγραφο 1.697: Henri Fornèsy, «Le monument des philhellènes», 1860.
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  • Κοτσώνης Λ. Κωνσταντίνος, «Ο στρατηγός Dentzel και η στρατιωτική ανταρσία στη Δυτική Στερεά Ελλάδα (1829): αυτόγραφος έκθεσίς του», περιοδικό Ελληνογαλλικά, Εταιρεία Ελληνικού Λογοτεχνικού και Ιστορικού Αρχείου, 1990, σελ. 379-407.
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  • Achille de Vaulabelle: Histoire des deux Restaurations jusqu’à la chute de Charles X. Band 5. Perrotin, Paris 1850.
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The Battle of Navarino (SHP Collection). Philhellenism leads to the first European policy, based on the common values ​​of Europe.


Xeni D. Baloti

In world history there is one movement which appeared once, it concerned a specific people and was endorsed by citizens, at least from the whole European continent. We refer to the Movement of Philhellenism that manifested itself before the Greek Revolution with Voltaire and Winkelman and culminated during it.

Philhellenism mobilized thousands of citizens from the Iberian Peninsula to Russia and from Scandinavia to Sicily. The motivation for the participation of the Philhellenes in favor of the liberation of Greece from the Ottoman occupation, regardless of the way it manifested itself (provision of financial assistance such as e.g. by Ludwig I of Bavaria, direct participation in the Greek forces, such as from the German General Norman, the Italians Tarella and Dania, and many other French, Polish, Swiss, etc. Philhellenes who sacrificed themselves in the Battle of Petta, or the mobilization of the intellectual world in Europe in favor of the Greeks, as e.g. of Chateaubriand and Lord Byron), was the same: it stemmed from their desire to resurrect the country that laid the foundations of European culture. In other words, to defend their common European culture by expressing for the first time in the history of our continent, a common European consciousness. In this way, an article on the topicality of the anniversary event of the Greek war for independence of 1821, two centuries later could be summed up in a single sentence: the Greek Revolution of 1821 is the first manifestation of our common European consciousness. The European edifice that began to be implemented in 1957 with the Treaty of Rome, just after a war, has its roots in 1821 when many European citizens first expressed their common cultural identity, claiming common social conditions, with the revolutions of 1848, named the “The Springtime of the Peoples” and Victor Hugo’s speech on the “Creation of the United States of Europe”, in 1849, they aimed at world peace in the context of interstate relations where one state was Europe and the other one was the USA. Victor Hugo’s proposal was perceived a romantic one.

However, almost two centuries later, the Greek crisis of the summer of 2015 and the road towards Grexit, brought back to the surface the element of romanticism, a component of Phihellenism, when the then President of the European Commission J-C Junker said, amid huge economic and political competitions, to all Member States wishing Greece to leave the European institutions, that “without Greece, Europe’s component would be missing.” The statement may have seemed innocent. However, its consequences were decisive because they focused on what Europe is: a set of nation-states with a distinct course over the centuries, but with a common consciousness around Greek civilisation.

In 2020, Philhellenicism does not exist in its historical sense, however the claim to achieve a common goal with common tools within a continent that must survive with a common future, is expressed as an irony of history, in the sense of “European solidarity”, in order to deal with the multiple problems created by the pandemic of coronavirus, a concept that stems from the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle.

So, if the Philhellenism of 1821 highlighted our common European consciousness, then 200 years later, its celebration offers to the EU the brilliant opportunity to return to the fundamental values ​​of its civilization and reap what it sowed.



Jonathan Peckham Miller is one of the most important American Philhellenes present in Greece during the Greek Revolution. Miller came to Greece sent by the philhellenic committees of the USA. He fought on many fronts from 1824 to 1826, received the rank of colonel, and in the end he participated from 1827 to 1828 as a representative of the philhellenic committees this time, in the management of the important American aid to Greece, performing a valuable humanitarian work. Before leaving for the United States, he adopted an orphaned Greek boy. This child, Lucas Miltiades Miller, excelled in America and was elected member of the US Congress.

Jonathan Peckham Miller kept an exhaustive diary in Greece, especially for the second period of his presence there (1827 – 1828), which was published in a book. It records some particularly interesting facts about the type of aid that Greece received from the United States, the way it was distributed, its recipients, the needs of the Greeks, etc. At the same time, the book was published in the United States, and it constituted a key instrument to inform the public, on the situation of the Greeks and for the encouragement of the continuation of fundraising actions and the expansion of aid in other areas as well, such as that of education, the establishment of schools and the training of the population.

Miller was born in 1797 in Randolph, Vermont, USA, and died in 1847 in Montpelier, Vermont. He came from a rural family. He enlisted as a young man in the US Army, and served as a trained soldier in the War against England in 1812. He later received the rank of warrant officer, and in 1817, decided to study at the University of Burlington. After two years, a fire destroyed his campus and all his belongings. At the same time, during this period he was inspired by the work of Lord Byron, and then by the struggle for liberation of the Greeks, and became a fierce philhellene, like thousands of young people throughout Europe and America. So he decides to get in touch with the Philhellenic Committee of Boston and ask for their assistance to enlist as a volunteer in the revolutionary forces of Greece. The committee saw in Miller “a man of iron health, with a cultured spirit and full knowledge in military tactics”, as the Boston Telegraph reported on September 9, 1824, and supported him, covering his travel expenses, and securing a small monthly subsistence fee for his living in Greece.

So he left America in August 1824, and arrived in Greece via Malta. He stayed in Malta for two months. There, according to Christos Lazos, he met the Reverend Samuel Wilson (English priest) and the Reverend Daniel Temple of American descent. Daniel Temple went to Malta in February 1822, and brought with him a Greek printing press offered by an American from Paris, S. Wilder, the then head of the American press at the British Mission. With this machine, Daniel Temple printed many pamphlets with religious and propaganda content in favor of the Greeks, in Greek language. When Miller left Malta for Greece, he took with him thousands of printed leaflets to distribute in Greece. In fact, in one of his letters he expresses the joy caused by the fact that these pamphlets attracted great attention by the Greeks, who read them with great interest.

He then arrived in Zakynthos from Malta, and on November 26, 1824 of the same year, he landed in Messolonghi, and presented himself to Alexandros Mavrokordatos, to whom he delivered the letters of recommendation he had received from the Philhellenic Committee of Boston. There, he has the good fortune to meet his compatriot George Jarvis, with whom he immediately develops a close friendship. Their diaries and correspondence witness for the respect and admiration they had for each other. In fact, Jarvis teaches Greek to Miller and helps him acclimatize to the Greek reality. Miller saw in Jarvis “a man of principles and brave as a lion.”.

Miller was a pure and selfless Philhellene. He never asked the Greek administration for money. In fact, he was becoming upset when he was seeing others asking for money and salaries, while everyone knew that there were no resources.

During his stay in Greece, he often writes letters to the United States in which he highlights the struggle of the Greeks, their deprivations and their needs. In all of them, he asks the Committees to inform American volunteers who may want to come to Greece, that they had to bring money with them (at least 200 USD a year) and full armament. His letters attract a great interest and are constantly published in the American press.

Miller learned quickly Greek, wore a Greek costume (he even shaved his head like the Souliotes) and was especially loved by the Greeks. He started with the rank of captain and within two years he reached the rank of colonel. In 1824 he was present at the Assembly of Western Greece in Aetoliko.

Konstantinos Kanaris (1793 – 1877) was an important figure in the Greek Revolution of 1821 and later admiral, politician, and five times prime minister of Greece. Sketch by the American Philhellene P. Miller from Vermont, USA.

The other great American Philhellene, military Dr Samuel Howe, refers in his diary on the appearance of his friend when he returned from the Congress in Aetoliko. “You know Captain Miller. He is still the same brave man. He is a strict, wholehearted character and is a soul and a body devoted to the cause of freedom. You will laugh if you see him. He has shaved his head, he is wearing the Greek flokati, with the pistols on his belt, his yatagan and gun on his shoulders, he is a very strange figure. He serves as a captain, and he is expected to very much serve the fight”.

An interesting letter from Miller follows, in which he describes on his own his impressions from Greece.

“Messolonghi, January 5, 1823

Dear friend. I crossed the ocean and I am in Greece, the country that is so famous for its classical history, the bravery of its warriors and the love they have for freedom.

Although I was determined before I even departed to come here and I was ready for everything, I can’t help but say that, at some point, I was disappointed.

I expected to find at least a number of regiments formed, without having to be obliged to find my own bread. But this is not the case. In terms of tactics, the Greeks are very similar to our Indians. Every captain finds as many men as he can advocate with little money and leads them against the enemy. When the battle is over, the chieftains present their various accounts to the government and receive payment promises. This situation, although it slightly refutes my hopes, is not against the Greeks. We cannot demand that, even in America, troops are paid and dressed if there was no money to pay and dress them. The truth is this: there is little money in Greece. The British loan and what America has sent, are the only financial resources on which the Government can rely to activate its actions. Therefore, it is very correct to spend as little as possible.

As I asked him, colonel Jarvis gave a general account of the situation, as it was and as it is, in Greece. He seems to have a great influence on things in Greece. I think he is a very good person and I consider myself lucky to be with him. I was so upset with the attitude of the Franks that they constantly annoyed the government by asking for money so that I did not submit any application to it, but I only showed my recommendation letters to Governor Mavrokordatos.

I am sure that the beauty, humility, simplicity and virtue of women are unprecedented in any part of the world. The mountains are now covered with snow. But the valleys and plains are green with grass. Greeks do not have horse carriages or wagons. Like the Turks, they carry all their cargoes with horses, donkeys and mules. The plains of Western Greece that I saw are fertile. The wine is of god quality. It only costs sixteen cents a gallon. If the country achieves its freedom, which I have no doubt about, they will be able to open very useful trade relations between Greece and America.

I hope, dear Sir, that if the Turks do not intervene, I will have the pleasure to receive your letter as soon as possible. Do not forget that I am an old soldier and therefore I have a right to ask for this grace.

I learn the language of the country quite quickly. Greeks talk a lot about Mr. Webster (SHP Note: He refers to the American Senator Daniel Webster, who had addressed a fiery speech in favor of the Greeks in the US Congress).

I kindly ask you, dear Sir, to give my greetings to my friends in America and believe that I am faithfully

Yours J.P. Miller. “

In another letter to the Philhellenic Committee of Boston, he states that he and Jarvis were planning an operation to liberate Nafpaktos.

Miller then met the other great Philhellene, Dr. Samuel Howe. The writings of both show that they became close friends. In fact, these three fiery Philhellenes, formed an emblematic trinity, which was present in almost all military operations of the Greeks on land and at sea.

In fact, according to Samuel Howe, Miller defies dangers, hardships, deprivations, and is committed to the Greek Revolution, and even offers his services humbly, without claiming honors, with patience and faith. Both Miller, as well as Jarvis and Samuel Howe, defended the Greeks at every opportunity, even when they were accused.

For example, Miller refers in his writings on his impressions from the Congress of Western Greece in Aetoliko with the following words: “I was there and I saw a hundred Greeks discussing their problems for ten days without the slightest violent outburst. Where else could one meet two thousand soldiers who are not drunk? I have not seen a single drunk in this place … I do not believe that the beauty, modesty, simplicity and decency of women here exists in any other part of the world “.

Sketch by Jonathan Peckham Miller with a copy of his signature.

Miller was in Messolonghi during the last siege by tens of thousands of Turks. In fact, he operated a canon with great success, since, according to Dr. Samuel Howe, “his first shot was completed successfully: four dead opponents were the price.” Miller referred in his writings to the heroic resistance of the Greeks in Messolonghi. For fifteen days he himself resisted, and in the end he managed to escape the siege of the besiegers and finally it seems that he escaped just a few days before the Exodus. We deal with this issue below.

In another letter of January 14, 1825, excerpts of which follow, Miller presents to the Philhellenic Committee of Boston the situation and his impressions of his stay in Greece:

“Messolonghi, January 14, 1825

… Greeks will be liberated. The reasons why I believe this are the following: Despite the misery that exists (and I am sure there has never been a bigger one in another country), the general idea is that not only men but also women and children would prefer to die rather than be enslaved to the Turks again. If the enemy were far away, I would not take such statements seriously, but because they are only twenty miles away, they clearly show the decision of the Greeks. …

… The order and legality with which the Conference of the various provinces of Western Greece was held in Anatolikon, on December 16, 1824. I was present at the Conference. It was attended by the most important inhabitants and senior citizens of the various regions who met for ten days, during which all the affairs of Western Greece were settled amicably, although the officers and soldiers who defended the country in the last six months had received neither salaries nor clothes, nor food. There were two thousand soldiers in the city, who had arrived with their leaders. However, there were no fights or riots, and the Senate, with its order and orderliness, would be worthy of any country. When I see a hundred men – most of them armed – talking calmly about the affairs of their homeland for ten days without disagreeing, while they would have every reason to complain, I immediately conclude that they are capable of doing much. Mavrokordatos is undoubtedly the first Greek both for his talent and his influence. Although he defended his province all year without one penny, his officers are loyal, despite the fact they are fed only with hopes.

… I hope that with God’s blessing I will be able to help the Greeks. This hope comforts me in the midst of so much general misery that surrounds me. …

… Greet on my behalf the friends of Greece in America. Tell them that every day I see such misery that cannot be described. Women and children escape from the hands of the Turks, without a cloth to cover them or a piece of bread to eat. If there was a country that needed the charity of the Christian world, that must be Greece. “.

As mentioned above, these letters, apart from constituting historical sources, served another important purpose. That of informing and influencing the American public opinion, and cultivating the Philhellenic movement in the United States. In fact, they were the catalyst for the collection of funds and the conduct of fundraising events in favor of the Greeks.

It is worth mentioning another aspect of Miller’s action in Greece. In March 1825, the Reverend Samuel Wilson arrived, and Miller accompanied him on his tour of Greece. During this tour, Miller had the opportunity to distribute the leaflets printed in Malta, and it is characteristic that he noticed the thirst of the Greeks for education. Miller writes about this: “… Greeks in peace or in war are thirsty for learning and are ecstatic at the sight of a pamphlet or a Bible and are able to give a proper battle to obtain such a pamphlet that they so characteristically call it Feather. Many times in my camp I saw soldiers gathered around a colleague listening to him reading a text.”. However, the way in which he describes the Greeks is also interesting: “The peasants are modest and honest, the traders are liars, cunning, insidious, the soldiers are brave, courageous, absolutely devoted to the idea of ​​freedom … the Greek women modest, moral, beautiful. … ‘I lived like a Greek with the Greeks, I am ready to suffer for the idea of ​​religion and freedom. You can call me a crusader or whatever, but I live only to see the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.”.

Miller followed Jarvis in a series of operations in Central Greece and then in the Peloponnese, and eventually ended up in Nafplion. There, as we mentioned, he met Dr. Samuel Howe. Meanwhile, Ibrahim Pasha had occupied Tripolitsa and had launched a campaign to capture Argos and Nafplion. Miller, along with other philhellenes, joins the forces of Demetrios Ypsilantis and goes to Myloi to confront Ibrahim.

Greek forces take up battle positions. Miller’s unit, which includes many philhellenes, is fortified behind the wall of a farm. There, they are met by numerous Turkish-Egyptian troops on June 13, 1825, and one of the most important battles of the Greek liberation struggle begins. The Battle of Myloi (the Mills), in which two great Greek fighters were distinguished. Dimitrios Ypsilantis and Ioannis Makrygiannis. Miller and the Philhellenes, despite being surrounded, held their position and fought valiantly, even body to body. And while their condition was dire, General Makrygiannis intervened with few men, who struck at one side with speed, force and shouts the enemy. The Turks panicked and began to retreat. The Battle of Myloi ended with the victory of the Greek forces and the retreat of Ibrahim’s army to Tripolitsa. As many sources attest (Howe, Gordon, Humphrey), Miller fought with exemplary courage.

Shortly afterwards, in the summer of 1825, Miller fell seriously ill from malaria. Fortunately, Samuel Howe was by his side and healed him. But because his body was very weak, Howe took him with him on the ship in which he served as a military doctor, chief physician of the Greek fleet. A mission had been assigned to this fleet in Gramvousa, Crete, which at that time had revolted and was under the control of Cretan revolutionaries led by Dimitrios Kallergis. During this campaign, Miller worked as an apprentice medical assistant to Samuel Howe for two months, working for the medical care and treatment of the injured.

After this campaign, Miller wrote a letter to a relative in the United States on October 5, 1825, stating, among other things: “… I want to help for the independence and rebirth of this country … Although I have had really hard hours and moments, I bless the Most High, who put in my heart the desire to come to Greece and I am ready and willing, if that is his will, to die for her sake.”.

As mentioned above, Miller took part in another important moment of the Greek struggle for liberation, in Messolonghi. He took part in the operations to defend the city during the last siege and fought bravely to the end. Apparently he managed to escape Messolonghi shortly before the final Exodus. Evidence from various sources suggests that he left the city suddenly and unprepared, and that he had a very clear and complete picture of what happened during the Exodus.

In fact, in a letter dated May 3, 1826 to Edward Everett, the great American Philhellene and president of the Philhellenic Committee of Boston, he described in detail what was at stake during the Exodus. “… With unexpressed emotion, I am trying to tell the story of the fall of Messolonghi, and the heartbreaking situation of unfortunate Greece. Mesolonghi fell to the Turks eight days ago, after a heroic defense of eleven months and a half. Given the means of defense and the overwhelming torrent of enemies who surrounded the land and sea again, there can be no doubt that history has not seen such endurance in the past or in modern times. The details of the downfall are enough to bring tears to the eyes of the most callous and unconscious, and they will raise in action the Christian world, if indeed it can be said that there is such a thing. I am sorry, dear Sir, the anxiety in my mind dictates this expression because, who could ever believe that, in this century, while Christians exist, the infidels would have the freedom to slaughter an entire population. Messolonghi had more than eight thousands inhabitants at the time of the surrender, or rather the destruction. Only three thousands of them were able to carry weapons, the rest were women and children. We had finally come to despair in the absence of food, having already used for food all the mules and horses who were there, when the gloom of the inhabitants gave way to joy at the arrival of the Greek fleet. But hey! The brave Miaoulis found the Turkish force very large for his small naval division, after three attempts to break up the Turkish fleet, undergoing considerable losses, they retreated. The inhabitants of Messolonghi were left in the final despair. They recognized the hard fortune of those who were arrested in Aitolikon, and what atrocities would be committed by the Arabs, if the city were to surrender. They made the horrific but heroic decision to blow up their wives, daughters and sons.

I call it heroic, because the women themselves asked for it, since there was no way to prevent the Arabs from committing atrocities against women and children, if they ever had them at their disposal. So they all went to the old Turkish Sarai. The husbands and their brothers, after assembling the gunpowder, kissed them for the last time, and then gave them the matches, leaving them to set fire to the gunpowder. The men then prepared to cross the Turkish camp with the sword in hand. Of the 3,000, only a thousand are said to have survived.

What undisguised sadness prevails here. Women beat their breasts, and ask every Frank they meet “if the whole Christian world has abandoned them.”. I have to end this hasty misspelling because my heart is overflowing to such an extent that I am unable to write more. I lost all my European clothing in Messolonghi. But that is nothing. If I am lucky enough to escape, I will go to Smyrna.

My admiration for Mrs. Everett, I am glad that it is not her or the fate of the beautiful, but unfortunate daughters of Greece.”.

Another primary source is Miller’s diary after his return to Greece, during which time he managed to distribute the aid that arrived in Greece from the United States. On May 28, 1827, he refers to the conditions under which he left Greece a year ago and specifically states that he did not have “money, clothes and a passport, I had lost the last two in the fall of Messolonghi, in whose defense I had taken part. ”.

Many historians have dealt with the issue and expressed their views on whether Miller participated in the Exodus or not. However, even those who take the position that he was not at the Exodus (Christos Lazos, Thanos Vagenas, Evridiki Dimitrakopoulou), they do not claim that he was not in Messolonghi and that they he did not defend the city during the last and fatal siege. It is most likely that Miller participated during the siege until the last days and that he was given an unexpected opportunity to leave suddenly shortly before the Exodus. He may even have been close to Messolonghi when the Exodus took place, and that found himself with those who survived shortly afterwards.

The main argument of those who claim that he was not in Messolonghi, is that he might have left his European clothes there before leaving for Crete. This is hard to believe, however, because even if that were the case, he would never have left his passport there, which he needed even in Greece.

Miller eventually made it to Smyrna, from where he traveled to the United States, where he arrived in November 1826. During his time in the United States, he collaborated with the Philhellenic Committee, wrote and published numerous articles, with an aim to motivate again the public opinion and support fundraisers in favor of the Greeks.

Miller returned to Greece a little later, in March 1827, as an envoy of the Philhellenic Committee of New York, with a new and different mission this time, which had a humanitarian character. The distribution of American aid sent to the newly formed Greek state.

Portrait of Jonathan Peckham Miller.

The United States sent a total of 8 ship cargoes to help the Greeks. The first was “Six brothers” which left from New York on March 13, 1827, and the last one was “Suffolk” which left from Boston on September 13, 1828.

At the end of 1828, when the distribution of humanitarian aid was completed and he realized that Greece had now established a free state, Miller considered that his mission was completed, and he decided to return permanently to the United States. This trip is associated with a particularly moving event. Shortly before leaving, Miller met three orphaned Greek children, two boys and a girl. The situation of these children, who had no relatives left, moves Miller and another American Philhellene, Dr. John Denison Russ (a short biography is attached below). They both decide to adopt these children. Miller adopts the youngest of them, Lucas Miltiades, and Russ adopts the boy and the girl. No research has yet been done on what happened to these two children.

Painting by Lukas Miltiades Miller, adopted son of Jonathan Peckham Miller.

Monument to Lukas Miltiadis Miller.

Professor Iakovos Michailidis has recently conducted a thorough study on all children from Greece adopted at this time by Americans in the United States.

While it is not known so far what happened to the two children adopted by Russ, the young Lucas Miltiadis (now Miller), became a successful businessman in the United States, very popular in the State of Wisconsin, and was elected a member of the US Congress. He was the first Greek-American politician in the United States.

After Greece, Jonathan Peckham Miller had a particularly remarkable career in the United States, and remained as a personality consistent with his ideology and the pure feelings he shared as a Philhellene. As soon as he returned to the United States, he registered in law school. In 1831 he was admitted to the Bar Association of Berlin in Vermont.

1840 World Anti-Slavery Convention, Benjamin Robert Haydon, 1841, National Portrait Gallery, London. The painting also shows J. P. Miller.

Miller was involved in politics. He became an uncompromising defender of human rights, of women’s rights and of the abolition of slavery. For this purpose, he even submitted many proposals for resolutions to the Parliament of his State. In 1840 he took part in the International Conference on the Abolition of Slavery in London. Thanks to its action, Vermont was the first US state to abolish slavery.

Jonathan Peckham Miller highway in Randolph, Vermont, USA. Honorary plaques in his birthplace in the USA refer to his personality and the role he played in Greece, giving him the honorary title of Freedom Fighter.

The tomb of Jonathan Peckham Miller in Montpelier, Vermont, USA.

Jonathan Peckham Miller had bought in Greece one of the swords of Lord Byron, which had been lost. His daughter, Keith Miller, traveled to Greece in 1853 and eventually managed to locate the sword and returned with it to the United States. This sword is now in the Vermont Historical Society.

One of the swords of Lord Byron, brought by Jonathan Peckham Miller from Greece. The sword is now in the Vermont Historical Society in the United States.

Greece, Hellenism, and Philhellenism, but also the humanity in whole owe a lot to this great freedom fighter Jonathan Peckham Miller.


(*) Biographical note on the Americal Philhellene, Dr. John Denison Russ (1801-1881). American physician and philanthropist, born at Chebacco (Essex), Massachusetts, in September 1801. He died at Pompton, New Jersey, 1 March 1881. He was graduated from Yale in 1823, studied medicine in the United States, in London, and on the Continent. In 1826 he began practice in New York, between 1827 and 1830, he was in Greece aiding the Greek patriots, and upon his return he began the first instruction of the blind attempted in the United States. He was invited to organize the Institution for the Blind in Boston, but preferred to continue his independent work. In 1832 he became superintendent of the New York institution, a post from which he resigned in 1858. His inventions and improvements for the assistance of the blind were widely used. Latterly he was active in endeavors to improve prison discipline and further the welfare of discharged prisoners.


Bibliography – Sources

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