Polish military in the uniform of a lancer of the cavalry. Early 19th century.


SHP visited recently the historic community of Peta in the prefecture of Arta (Greece), and met the particularly dynamic mayor of the wider area, Ms. Rozina Vavetsi. The municipality of Peta (municipality Nikolaou Skoufa), has taken many initiatives during the recent years to highlight the contribution of the Philhellenes during the Greek Revolution.

In this context, SHP visited the wider area, the battlefield of Peta, the city, and of course, the monument of the Philhellenes.

The most moving moment was that of the visit to the church of Agios Georgios (St George), located in the central square of Peta. In this sacred place, one of the most heroic moments of the war for the liberation of Greece took place after the end of the battle of Peta, on July 16, 1822.

When the Philhellenes were surrounded by thousands of enemy forces, after the betrayal of the Chieftain Bacolas, fifteen Poles of the battalion of the Philhellenes, led by the Polish officer Mierzewski, fortified themselves in the church of St. George and fought for a long time with incredible bravery.

The church of St George in Peta (Arta, Northern Greece)

The battle was fierce. In the end, when the church was surrounded by the Turks, the Polish heroes came to fight body to body, inflicting terrible losses on the enemy. Finally, they climbed to the roof of the church, and continued to fight from there.

Polish officer in the uniform of the cavalry. Early 19th century.

Polish soldier in infantry uniform. Early 19th century.

The cowardly enemy realized that he could not defeat the brave Polish Philhellenes, who fought with the bravery, passion and sense of self-sacrifice of Leonidas and the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae. So in the end the Turks set fire to the roof of the church, to give a heroic end to these fearless fighters, who have now passed into eternity.

Greece and the Greeks will always be grateful to these heroes, and their sacrifice will constitute a permanent bridge of friendship and cooperation with the friendly people of Poland.

SHP will honor the contribution of the Polish Philhellenes in a special event that will be organized next year.



We are saddened and troubled by the information that the State of Turkey intends to convert the museum-monument of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul to a mosque.

Independently of any religious or other ethnic state-centered convictions and assumptions we wish to emphatically remind all concerned that Hagia Sophia, already since 1985, has been identified as a world cultural heritage monument designated to function as a museum since 1934, which it has been to this day.

All cultural monuments are bearers of the highest symbolic values and, thereby, the property of world civilization. They are imbued with the timeless values of humankind which ought not to be altered, destroyed or exploited in the service of propaganda.

We call on all art history colleagues and, more widely, humanities and cultural studies scholars as well as all international historians and caring individuals, to protest and take action towards the rescinding of the intention of the Turkish government. As far as we are concerned, we will broadcast our opposition to its actions in every direction in the hope that the status of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul will not be altered and lose its multicultural and artistic character.

Additionally, we call upon all official agencies, including UNESCO, to proceed towards severe sanctions in light of the Turkish State’s attempted action to affect the historical and cultural character of the monument.

Hagia Sophia in Istanbul firmly belongs to the ecumenical civilization of all humanity.

Athens, July 17, 2020
The executive board of the Association of Greek Art Historians




The company MARC conducted an important poll for the Center for Liberal Studies – Markos Dragoumis (KEFIM), on the subject of how the Greeks perceive the Revolution of 1821, the role of the protagonists in it, but also the contribution of the Philhellenes.

One of the main findings of the research is that the Revolution of 1821 is a common reference point that unites the Greeks, while demographic characteristics, such as gender and age, income, ideology and educational level have little influence on their views.

An important question concerned the social groups and institutions that contributed decisively to the outbreak of the Revolution of 1821. The public considers that the Friendly Society / Filiki Etaireia (with 94.2%) and the Philhellenes (with 87.1%) played a leading role.

This answer is very honorable for the Greek public opinion, which recognizes and honors the role of the Philhellenes, who fought in Greece and internationally for the independence of Greece.

SHP considers that this result largely justifies its own efforts, and confirms that it will continue its work with the aim of highlighting Greek culture and perpetuating the philhellenic movement internationally.

The research in question contains very interesting information, and you can download it here.




According to French records, Constantine Denis Bourbaki was born in Cephalonia on August 1, 1787 and was later naturalized in France on November 9, 1818. The bibliography usually refers to him as a philhellene of Greek descent.

His father, Konstantinos-Sotirios Bourbaki (Vourvachis), was a sailor and merchant, based in Marseilles. According to Averoff Michelle and her article on the Philhellenes, he was born in Sfakia, Crete, and his real last name was “Skordilis”. The name “Vourvachis” was given to him by the Turks, and meant “the one who beats first” or “the one who is in charge”, since his family was a family of fighters of the island. After the Arcadi Holocaust, the family emigrated to Kefalonia. In Marseilles, Father Vourvachis maintained a relationship with Joseph Bonaparte, which drove him to be selected for a dangerous mission. When Napoleon was in Egypt in December 1798, there was a need to notify him to return quickly to France, where his political opponents had caused unrest. Constantine-Sotirios managed with his ship to alert the emperor in time, without being noticed, neither by the Turks, nor by the English who had imposed a blockade. Since then, the Vourvachi family has become more closely associated with the Bonaparte family, who have taken on the task of protecting the sons of Constantine-Sotirios, Joseph and Dionysius. The latter moved to France after the death of their father.

Dionysios Vourvachis studied at the military school of Fontainebleau, from where he graduated in 1804 and joined the French infantry. He fought in Spain, Italy and Germany and was appointed aide de camp of Joseph Bonaparte when he became monarch of Spain. According to information from his personal record provided by Babis Anninos, who was the son of one of Dionysius’ three sisters living in Argostoli, Cephalonia, Vourvachis was seriously injured four times during his career in the French army, and three times he had received honorable mention for his services. Stefanos Papadopoulos in his monograph on Dionysios Vourvachis in Parnassos magazine, mentions that after Napoleon’s first exile on the island of Elva, Vourvachis resigned from the French army, but returned a little later. In addition, both he and Averoff note that Dionysios Vourvachis was reportedly the one who arrived on the island of Elva with great danger in order to warn Napoleon that his opponents were planning to exile him to a more distant place. So fate brought him to undertake a similar mission to the one undertaken by his father.

After Napoleon’s return, Vourvachis served as commander of the 31st Light Infantry Regiment of the French Army. According to the Greek biographer Henri Fornèsy, he had reached the rank of colonel when he was made redundant by the Bourbon regime. He then submitted his resignation to the French army, which was accepted only in 1820.

Vourvachis was a liberal in his beliefs, and after many adventures, wanderings and duels he was forced to exile himself to Spain, home of his wife Charlotte de Rica, where other Bonapartists had taken refuge. He later returned to France and retired to the small town of Pau.

When the Greek Revolution broke out, Vourvachis was in Paris. Excited by the Struggle for the Freedom of his Homeland, he initially tried to help her through his active engagement within the framework of the Hellenic Committee of Paris. However, the enthusiasm that overwhelmed him after the heroic exit of Messolonghi and his love for Greece pushed him to take part in the armed struggle for its liberation. Other French officers left for Greece with him. With the permission of the French government, Vourvachis arrived in Greece around the end of November 1826, or a little earlier, according to other scholars. He did not come as a simple warrior, but as an envoy of the Philhellenic Committee of Paris. He had money with him, while he was accompanied by other Greek volunteers. At the same time, his work was financially supported by the Corfu Committee, in which the brother of Capodistrias participated. The Commission carried out important work, and in fact systematically purchased Greek slaves from Messolonghi and elsewhere in many parts of the Mediterranean, and released them free in Greece.

When he arrived in Nafplio, Vourvachis obtained permission from the Administrative Committee to form his own Corps consisting of “a large number of Greeks and Philhellenes,” according to Fornèsy. These men were mainly Ionian and French philhellenes. Among them was Andreas Metaxas, his son-in-law. His Corps soon numbered about 800 men and, according to Gravière, was on a mission either to campaign in Western Greece or to reinforce Karaiskakis for the liberation of Central Greece. Vourvachis was devoted to Karaiskakis and to his mission. The main goal of the Greeks and Philhellenes at that time was to maintain liberated various areas in the Peloponnese and Central Greece, so that the issue of the Greek Revolution and the prospect of establishing a free Greek state were constantly on the agenda of diplomatic centers internationally. France supported this strategy, believing that a successful outcome would also strengthen its prestige.

Unfortunately, Vourvachis failed to carry out his plan, mainly because the Administrative Committee did not supply the Corps, and he was forced to buy his own food to support his men. The conditions were not good and so many of his men began to desert. In addition, many, including Makrygiannis, opposed Vourvachis as they disliked his son-in-law, Metaxas, and Kolokotronis, who were considered Russophiles. At the same time, Vourvachis was particularly troubled by a civil strife and conflicting interests.

Vourvachis left for Central Greece with the aim of meeting and coordinating with Karaiskakis, and now cooperating with him. To achieve this, he often ignored the orders of the Administration. After a fourth letter by the government, he decided to change course and head to Athens. The appreciation and love he nurtured for Karaiskakis emerges from a letter addressed to him during the controversial period, in which he states: “Chief! … I am always under your instructions, and ready to run wherever you deem me worthy to the benefit of our homeland. Your brother Vourvachis”.

The signature of Vourvachis from a  letter

In any case, everyone, from all sides, agreed that Vourvachis was an honest, selfless and pure patriot who was thirsty to see Greece free. Eventually, the Administrative Committee canceled his pursuit, and ordered him to go to Eleusis to reinforce the siege of Athens.

So at the end of 1826, he arrived in Eleusis. There, he met Vassos Mavrovouniotis, and in a few days Panagiotis Notaras also arrived. From Eleusis, Vourvachis and the two chiefs, with their forces united, moved to Menidi, where on January 22 they successfully clashed with Turkish forces.

On January 25, Vourvachis, along with Mavrovouniotis and Notaras, and 3,500 men, headed for Kamatero. At this point, two days later, they were attacked by 2,600 Turks. In the ensuing battle in Kamatero, there was a disagreement between the three leaders of the troops who were operating, regarding the tactics of the battle. Vourvachis, anticipating the frontal attack, encamped with his Corps in the plain as a kind of vanguard, while the bulk of the army remained on the hills, a little further away from him. The forces of the Greeks and Philhellenes were equivalent to those of the Turks, the plan was right and they would have succeeded if discipline prevailed. But the irregular forces of the Greeks feared the Turkish cavalry. Also, the lack of discipline of the Greek irregular soldiers, led once again to tragic results. Without discipline, it would have been impossible to implement a battle plan. This problem cost the Greek forces a lot, in many battles. And two months later, the same problem caused another painful defeat in Analatos and the death of the great fighter, General Karaiskakis.

When the attack of the Turkish forces began and the cavalry appeared, the irregular Greek fighters abandoned their positions and advanced towards the surrounding hills. So they left the Vourvachis Corps at the mercy of the Turks.

The battle was fierce, but the Greek and Philhellene Corps of Vourvachis had been besieged, and the struggle had become unequal. The three hundred men of Vourvachis, after fighting valiantly, were all slaughtered. Some Greeks fell alive into the hands of the Turks. Two Frenchmen, a German and the wounded Vourvachis. It is even said that especially for him, Turkish riders competed fiercely with each other, who would immobilize him to take as a prize a precious stone that adorned his yataghan (sword).

Admiral De Rigny, who was in the area, asked Kioutachis to respect the prisoners and accept to exchange them with Turkish prisoners. Kioutachis refused, ordered the beheading of all the Greeks and sent them to the Sultan with their uniforms, the helmet of Vourvachis, a 68-liter missile fired at the Turkish camp by the steamship “Karteria” that was operating in the area and was supporting the Greek forces and bread kneaded from American flour distributed by the frigate “Hellas” to the Greeks.

Kioutachis wanted to show in this way that he defeated an army that was strengthened, fed and commanded by foreigners, and mocked the Philhellenes and Philhellenism. This barbaric and foolish act angered French officials and the international community.

The tragic end of Vourvachis and his heroic death on January 27 / February 8, 1827, at the age of just 40, infuriated Admiral De Rigny, and as he pointed out to the Turks, he rekindled the philhellenic movement throughout Europe.

Thus, this great Greek served honestly and bravely both France (where he was called “Captain Graikos”) and Greece, and with his heroic death he honored both his homelands and their common values.

In France, his son Charles-Sotirios Vourvachis continued the glorious name of the family, as he later excelled as one of the bravest generals of Napoleon III.

Dionysios Vourvachis was honored in France with the award of the Legion of Honor, on December 27, 1814. Today, two streets in Kefalonia and Kamatero, bear his name, while the municipality of the region sometimes organizes competitions in his honor (“Bourvachia”). Dying, Dionysios Vourvachis uttered the name of the Acropolis for which he sacrificed everything, even his life. That is why a street in Athens that leads to the Acropolis has taken his name to remind us of this great hero. His heroic death will always remain indelible in the history of the liberation of Greece.

Vourvachi street at the corner with Syggrou Avenue



  • Alevras Constantin, Les volontaires hellènes en France pendant la guerre franco-allemande en 1870, Paris, R. Debresse, 1947.
  • Averoff Michelle, «Les Philhellènes », Bulletin de l’Association Guillaume Budé, no 3, Octobre 1967, σσ. 312-332.
  • Barth Wilhelm – Max Kehrig-Korn, Die Philhellenenzeit, von der Mitte des 18 Jahrhunderts bis zur Ermordung Kapodistrias am 9 Oktober 1831, εκδ. Hueber, Μόναχο
  • Jurien de la Gravière, La station du Levant, tome 2, Paris, Plon, 1876.
  • Άιδεκ Κάρολος, «Τα των Βαυαρών Φιλελλήνων εν Ελλάδι κατά τα έτη 1826-1829», Αρμονία, τ. 1 (1900) και τ. 2 (1901).
  • Άννινος Μπάμπης, Ιστορικά σημειώματα, εκδ. Εστία, Αθήνα 1925.
  • Βυζάντιος Χρήστος, Ιστορία των κατά την Ελλην. Επανάστασιν εκστρατειών και μαχών και των μετά ταύτα συμβάντων, ων συμμετέσχεν ο Τακτικός Στρατός, από του 1821 μέχρι του 1833, χ.ε., Αθήνα 1901.
  • Ηλεκτρονική βάση απονεμηθέντων παρασήμων της Λεγεώνας της Τιμής http://wwwcoulture.gouv.fr/documentation/leonore/leonore.htm, Dossier LΗ321/81.
  • Παπαδόπουλος Στέφανος, «Διονύσιος Βούρβαχης (Denys Bourbaki) ένας Γάλλος φιλέλληνας του 1821 ελληνικής καταγωγής», Παρνασσός, τόμος Ε΄, 1963, σσ. 340-356.
  • Παρεντής Ευάγγελος, Ιστορία Κεφαλονιάς-Κέρκυρας-Ζακύνθου-Ιθάκης-Παξών, Αθήνα, 1978.
  • Στρατηγού Μακρυγιάννη, Απομνημονεύματα, Κείμενο-Εισαγωγή-Σημειώσεις Γιάννη Βλαχογιάννη, έκδοση Β΄, Αθήνα, 1947, τόμος 1.
  • Φορνέζι Ερρίκος, Το μνημείον των Φιλελλήνων, εκδ. Χ. Κοσμαδάκης & σία, Αθήνα 1968 [Απομνημονεύματα αγωνιστών του ΄21, τ. 20].
  • https://www.bourbakipanorama.ch/vermittlung/bourbaki-blog/artikel/ein-echter-bourbaki/ [πρόσβαση Ιούνιος 2020].


Uniform of a Lieutenant Colonel of the Hellenic Artillery, like the one Pauzié wore in Greece (archives of the General Staff of the Army)


Jean Henri Pierre Auguste Pauzié-Banne, as his full name is, was an Artillery officer in France. He was a graduate of the Polytechnic School of Paris, who became later the commander of the Artillery Corps in Greece, and, above all, the founder and first commander of the Military Academy in Nafplio.

Pauzié-Banne was born in Montpellier, Hérault region, France, on June 2, 1792. His father was François Pauzié-Banne and his mother Diane Elisabeth Colondre. The yearbook of the students of the Polytechnic School, however, refers to him as an orphan and with residence address the address of his father-in-law in Paris (81 rue du Faubourg du Roule, Paris, Seine). His personal examination bulletin indicates that Pauzié entered the Polytechnic School ranking 83rd, on October 22, 1810, with registration number 2334, while he completed his studies, ranking 32nd among the Artillery Officers, in January 1812, with the rank of Second Lieutenant.

In addition, the bulletin comprises a brief physical description of his shape and facial features: he had blond hair and eyebrows, a covered forehead, a long nose, blue eyes, medium mouth, round chin, full face and height 1 m. 69 cm.

After completing his education at the Polytechnic School, Pauzié continued his studies at the Metz Military School, and in 1813-1814 he served in the Army of Napoleon the Great. He took part in several battles and was wounded in two of them.

When Governor Kapodistrias asked for military advisers from the French Minister of Defense, Pauzié was serving in the Ministry of War. Further to a decision of the French government, he was assigned the duties of Kapodistrias’ military adviser. He arrived in Greece at the end of 1827 and took up his new duties on January 28, 1828. He joined the Greek army and reached the rank of Colonel.

Ioannis Kapodistrias wanted to establish an independent Artillery Corps (“Artillery Battalion”). Thus, at the end of June 1828, he commissioned the then Captain Pauzié, to study the formation and operation of an Artillery Academy. At the same time, he asked to submit to him an organization plan and a cost list of the expenditure required for the Academy. Pauzié underwent a full study of the theoretical and practical training of Artillery officers. The study proposed the number of students to range from twenty to twenty-five, and determined the duration of the education to two years.

Initially, the Artillery Battalion was established by decree issued on August 17, 1828, and two days later, the command of the battalion was assigned to the Colonel of the Artillery, Count Nikolaos Pierris. Two months later, Pauzié took command of the battalion, but for a while. Then Pierris took over again. The latter had submitted to the Governor in October 1828 a new “Draft Decree for the Academy of the Artillery Battalion”. This plan was finally implemented in the School from November 15, 1828 to January 12, 1829, when a part of the School was merged with the “Battalion of Cadets”. The School continued to operate until May 1829 as a school of military application entitled “School of the Artillery Battalion”, and provided technical and regular training to Artillery officers under Pierris’ command. The “Cadets Corps” was formed in July 1828 with the aim of training officers, but, despite high expectations, it failed to meet its goal, and the Governor ordered its dissolution and reorganization from zero.

In addition, on December 2, 1828, Pauzié, in consultation with the French Consul in Greece, Antoine Juchereau de Saint-Denys, submitted a proposal to the Governor for the establishment of a military polytechnic school in Nafplio. The Governor, although he considered the venture to be very ambitious, he gave his consent and named Pauzié “Superintendent”, i.e. Inspector of the “Battalion of Cadets” and of the Artillery School, in charge of the establishment of the Central War School. In fact, on December 28, 1828, Pauzié submitted a detailed draft law, entitled “Central War School,” a plan approved by the Governor under decree no. 8683 of January 12, 1829. Following this decree, the “Battalion of Cadets”, and in part the Artillery School, ceased to function and their students were absorbed by the above Central War School. Pauzié was named Commander of the War School, promoted from Captain to Lieutenant Colonel, on the grounds that, as reported in the General Gazette, he should have been promoted to a rank in line with his duties.

Capodistrias then asked Pauzié to find a suitable accommodation for the installation of the School in Nafplio.

The building of the first School of Cadets in Nafplio

Cadet of the first School of Cadets (archives of the General Staff of the Army)

As soon as the housing problem was solved, the unsuitable students were removed and the vacancies were filled by young people who came from the orphanage of Aegina, which hosted orphans of the fighters of the Revolution. The school was modeled on the Polytechnic School of Paris, which influenced many other European schools in the early 19th century, and Commander Pauzié was accountable to the Military Secretariat of the State.

During his tenure, Pauzié reformed the School from zero and increased the length of the studies. The training of the courses, which he had proposed, was registered in the statute of the School and provided for the operation of three educational classes.

The curriculum was based on the corresponding program of the French Polytechnic School, but was implemented at a lower level and was adapted to the Greek needs. Pauzié, in his attempt to create the War School, had many obstacles to face. One of them was the lack of Greek military textbooks. Most of the books were in French and needed to be translated, although the French language dominated the education of the Cadets.

The examinations of the first candidates took place before a committee chaired by General Trézel, leader of the Greek Regular Army, in October 1829 in the presence of the French Consul. The results of the examinations and the congratulatory speech of the Commander of the School, were published in the General Gazette of Greece, on November 23, 1829. In July 1831, the first students who had graduated were ready to join the army with the rank of Second Lieutenant. They received the epaulets of  non-commissioned officers from the Governor himself. The first graduates were only eight and all joined the Artillery.

In October 1830, the establishment of a “Council of Education and Discipline” was instituted, which consisted of seven members and was headed by the school’s director, following the standards of the “Perfection Council” of the Polytechnic School of Paris. In August 1831, after Pauzié’s departure, it was decided that the age of the candidates would range from 15 to 20 years. In general, from January 12, 1829 until 1834, the total number of candidates was 86.

Cadet in the small uniform, 1829 (archives of the General Staff of the Army)

Cadet in the big uniform, 1833 (archives of the General Staff of the Army)

Pauzié replaced Pierris in March 1829, and took again command of the Artillery Battalion, along with the command of the War School. He maintained these duties until his departure from Greece. Pauzié reorganized the battalion, which eventually included five artillery units. On December 4, 1829, the Corps celebrated for the first time, under the supervision of Pauzié, who had been promoted to Colonel, St. Barbara, the patron saint of artillery in Greece.

From this position, Pauzié also reorganized the Academy of the Artillery Battalion, which reopened from May 1830 to June 1831, with an enriched and revised program of training and internships.

According to Andreas Kastanis’ research, unfortunately, in December 1830, Pauzié came into conflict with the new leader of the Regular Army, Gerard, who had meanwhile replaced Trézel, for official reasons. This led Pauzié to resign on July 31. The Governor Capodistrias accepted his resignation on 12 August 1831. Subsequently, Pauzié left for France on 9 December 1831.

When he arrived in France, he was promoted to the rank of Major on December 31, 1835. The grades he had obtained in Greece did not apply in France. The official yearbooks of the French Army show him active in duty until 1847. In 1840 we meet him in Algeria and in 1847 as an Inspector of the powder magazine in Esquerdes. In addition, the few French reports confirm the Greek bibliography, according to which he died as a Major on February 9, 1848.

Pauzié was awarded the St. John’s Medal, the St. Louis Medal, and the Legion of Honor decoration on March 21, 1831, by the French state. In Greece he was honored with the gold medal of the Redeemer on May 20 / June 1, 1833.

The operation and training of the Academy of Guards was influenced by the French Philhellene Pauzié, and cadets still use many of the orders chosen by the founder of the School.

The building of the first Academy of Cadets in Nafplio as it is today



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