French military engineer of the French army, in the early 19th century


Auguste-Théodore Garnot was a Lieutenant Colonel of the Corps of Engineers in France, creator and first commander of the Fortification and Architecture Corps (i.e. the Corps of Engineers) of the Greek Army in Greece.

He was born on June 29, 1796, in Brest, Brittany, France. His father was named François and he worked as a Commissioner in the French Navy. His mother’s name was Jeanne Claudine Laugée.

Auguste-Théodore Garnot studied at the famous Polytechnic School in Paris.

In October 1827, while Kapodistrias was still in Paris, he asked his friend, and a French Ministry of War official, Count Nicolas Loverdos, to help him send a team of technical experts from France to Greece for the reconstruction of the cities, the creation of a road network and the restoration of ancient monuments. Kapodistrias also requested the deployment of a small number of French officers, who would be used as military advisers.

Kapodistrias’s request was accepted and at the suggestion of the French Minister of War, a team of engineers was sent to Greece. It included Stamatis Voulgaris, who was originally from the Ionian Islands, and the graduates of the Polytechnic School of Paris, Auguste-Théodore Garnot and the geographer Jean-Pierre-Eugéne-Félic Péytier. A little later Jean-Henri Pauzié-Banne, first commander of the Central War School in Nafplio (Military School of Cadets) followed. It is indeed true that training in the field of architecture was at an infantile level in Greece at that time.

French military engineer geographer of the French army, early 19th century

The Map of the Morea of 1832 (by Captain Pierre Peytier), the first map of the Greek territory ever drawn scientifically and according to geodetic principles (collection SHP)

Auguste-Théodore Garnot arrived in Greece in mid-1828, following Stamatis Voulgaris, a French Army officer, former classmate and personal friend of Kapodistrias, who had already arrived in January. The first project undertaken by the then Captain Garnot, together with Voulgaris, was the design of the city of Tripoli. They also began to design together the city of Corinth, but Garnot continued on his own. Bulgaris dealt with the cities of Nafplio and Patras. Kapodistrias instructed Garnot to get involved in the planning of Patras, according to specific instructions that we find today in the Archives of Kapodistrias in Corfu.

In addition, Kapodistrias entrusted Garnot with the formation of the Corps of Engineers, within the Central School of War, which was named Corps of Fortification and Architecture Officers, according to the corresponding French standards. The Corps was instituted on July 28, 1829, with decrees nos. 13559 and 13958, published in the General Gazette on August 17, 1828. According to Maro Kardamitsi-Adami and her research in the Archives of Kapodistrias in Corfu, these decrees were originally drafted in French by Garnot himself. Garnot was later promoted to lieutenant colonel and became the first commander of the Corps, assisted by another French officer. The new Corps was expected to consist of 20 members, 12 of whom would be officers: one Major, four Captains, three Lieutenants, three second Lieutenants and eight project supervisors.

Garnot initially managed to find six persons to staff the Corps (decree no. 13560), five of whom were Greeks who had studied engineering in Europe: Emmanuel Manitakis and Emmanuel Kallergis, who had studied in France. Theodoros Vallianos with studies in Russia, the Swiss De Vaud, and Dimitrios Stavridis with studies in Austria. Some of them were private individuals who were assigned to the ranks of officers at the time of the award. Governor Kapodistrias also appointed Stefanos Isaias, who studied in Italy. These officers were placed in various fortresses of the Peloponnese.

Their mission, under the supervision and guidance of Garnot, was to prepare reports and plans for the construction, maintenance or improvement of fortifications, military and civil buildings, road construction, as well as the supervision of various building projects. The plans drawn up by the officers, were checked for their conformity and endorsed by the head of the Corps, Auguste-Théodore Garnot. Then they were submitted to the Governor for approval. It was a reputable body, the members of which received high salaries.

From this Engineer Corps of the Central War School graduated the first architects – engineers of Greece, who then, for about half a century, worked hard for the urban modernization of the country. The first officer was Lieutenant Spyridon Trikoupis, who was admitted to the school on February 4, 1829 and graduated on August 18, 1832. For a long time one could study architecture in Greece, only at the Central School of War, as the Polytechnic University and the Academy of Arts had not yet been established.

Plan of Patras by Stamatis Voulgaris and Auguste-Théodore Garnot

This informal situation, that is, the execution of urban civil works by the military, ceased to exist officially in 1878, when a Civil Engineers Corps was created, which joined the Public Works Service of the Ministry of Interior. Therefore, until that year, the term engineer covered the specialty of both military and civil architect-engineer. The level of training of engineers at the Central School of War was so high that Telemachos Vlassopoulos, the first to introduce the term “civil engineer” into the Greek language, in a 1859 article presenting the military schools of France, did not hesitate to state that studies provided in Greece were higher than those of the “École centrale des arts et manufactures” of Paris. Moreover, almost all the graduate engineers of the Central School of War, were following post-graduate studies in France.

In 1830 Theodoros Vallianos replaced Colonel Garnot who returned to France. A little later, the commandment was taken over by Count de Schaumbourg, who remained commander of the Corps even after the death of Kapodistrias.

The French influence exerted by the French officers of the Corps of Engineers in the School of Engineering of the Military School of Cadets, was important and timeless. Undoubtedly, the first city plans drawn up by Garnot and Voulgaris, as well as the plans of other engineers who came to strengthen the Expeditionary Corps of General Maison, contributed in this direction. Audoy and Peytier, for example, decisively influenced Greek engineers and laid the foundations of modern urban planning. The work performed by Greek and French engineers, under the supervision of Garnot, was unique for the whole Peloponnese and Aegina. In fact, as it is well known, the Governor wanted to use the French engineers also for the reconstruction of Central Greece.

Auguste-Théodore Garnot continued his career in France and was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel. He died on March 10, 1869 in Bordeaux, at the age of 73.

He was awarded the medal of the Knight of the Legion of Honor in France on April 10, 1832 and the Officer of the Legion of Honor on April 22, 1847. He was also awarded the medal of the Knight of St. Louis on October 30, 1829. In Greece he was awarded the medal of the Knight of Golden Cross of the Order of the Redeemer on May 2, 1836.



  • Annuaire de l’État militaire de France pour l’année 1847, publié par le ministère de la guerre, Paris, Veuve Levrault, 1847.
  • Assimacopoulou Fotini – Konstantinos Chatzis – Georgia Mavrogonatou, «Implanter les “Ponts et Chaussées” européens en Grèce – Le rôle des ingénieurs du corps du génie, 1830-1880», Quaderns d’Història de l’Enginyeria, τ. 10 (2009), σσ. 331-350.
  • Kardamitsi-Adami Maro, «Les études des architectes grecs en France: modèles, approches, influences», ανακοίνωση σε συμπόσιο του Fondation hellénique de Paris, διαθέσιμη στην ιστοσελίδα [πρόσβαση 21 Ιουνίου 2020].
  • Malesis Dimitris, “Military policy and infrastructure: the role of the Engineer Corps in the nineteenth century Greece”, The Historical Review/La Revue Historique, no 16, σσ. 235-248, 2020.
  • Voulgaris Stamatis, Souvenirs de Stamati Bulgari, Chef de bataillon au Corps Royal d’État-major, en retraite, Paris, A. Pihan de la Forest, 1835.
  • Βλασσόπουλος Τηλέμαχος, «Περί των στρατιωτικών σχολείων εν Γαλλία», Απόμαχος – Στρατιωτικόν περιοδικόν σύγγραμμα, 30 Μαρτίου 1859, σσ. 663-676.
  • 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.
  • ΓΑΚ Κερκύρας, Αρχείο Ι. Καποδίστρια, Φάκελος 118 και 214.
  • Γενική Εφημερίς, αρ. φ. 56, 17 Αυγούστου 1828 και αρ. φ. 58, 24 Αυγούστου 1828.
  • Γεροζήσης Αθ. Τριαντάφυλλος, Το Σώμα των αξιωματικών και η θέση του στη σύγχρονη ελληνική κοινωνία, 1821-1975, τόμ. Α΄, Αθήνα, Δωδώνη, 1996.
  • Ηλεκτρονική βάση απονεμηθέντων παρασήμων της Λεγεώνας της Τιμής, Dossier LΗ1079/34.
  • Θεμελή-Κατηφόρη Δέσποινα, Το γαλλικό ενδιαφέρον για την Ελλάδα στην περίοδο του Καποδίστρια, 1828-1831, Αθήνα, Επικαιρότητα, 1985.
  • Ιστορία της οργανώσεως του Ελληνικού Στρατού, 1821-1954, Αθήνα, ΓΕΣ, 1955.
  • Καστάνης Ανδρέας, Η Στρατιωτική Σχολή των Ευελπίδων κατά τα πρώτα χρόνια της λειτουργίας της, 1828-1834, Αθήνα, Ελληνικά Γράμματα, 2000.
  • Μάρω Καρδαμίτση-Αδάμη, «Οι πρώτοι Έλληνες μηχανικοί, καινούργια στοιχεία για το Σώμα των Οχυρωματοποιών και τους έξι μηχανικούς που το επάνδρωσαν», Τεχνικά Χρονικά, Τόμος 8΄, τεύχος 4, Αθήνα, 1988, σσ. 63-89.
  • Παπαγεωργίου Στέφανος, Η στρατιωτική πολιτική του Καποδίστρια – Δομή, οργάνωση και λειτουργία του Στρατού Ξηράς της Καποδιστριακής περιόδου, Αθήνα, Εστία, 1986.


Ludwig I, King of Bavaria. Coloured lithography (SHP collection)

Ludwig I of Bavaria (25 August 1786, Strasbourg – 29 February 1868, Nice), was King of Bavaria from 1825 until the revolutions of 1848 in the German states.

Born at the Hôtel des Deux-Ponts in Strasbourg, he was the eldest son of Maximilian Joseph, heir to the Ducal throne of Zweibrücken (later Maximilian Joseph I of Bavaria), by his first wife, Princess Augustine Wilhelmina of Hessen-Darmstadt. At the time of his birth, his father was a French army officer serving in Strasbourg. He was a successor to King Louis XVI of France (1754-1793).

On April 1, 1795, his father succeeded Louis II’s uncle, Charles II, as Duke of Zweibrücken. Then, on February 16, 1799, he became elector of Bavaria, palatine count of the Rhine, Arch-Steward of the Holy Roman Empire and duke of Berg, when Sulzbach’s electoral house extincted after the death of elector Charles Theodore. Finally, he became king of Bavaria on January 1, 1806.

From the beginning of 1803, Ludwig studied in Landshut, with Professor Archbishop Johann Michael Sailer of Regensburg, as well as in Gottingen. On October 12, 1810 he married Theresia, Duchess of Saxe-Hildburghausen (1792–1854), daughter of Frederick, Duke of Saxe-Hildburghausen. The wedding was the occasion of the first Oktoberfest.

Ludwig strongly criticized his father’s alliance with Napoleon I of France. Despite his anti-French policy, being the heir to the Bavarian throne, he was forced in 1806 to take part in the emperor’s wars with allied Bavarian troops. As commander of the 1st Bavarian Division of the French VII Army Corps, he served under General François Joseph Lefebvre in 1809.[1]. He led his Division to the victorious for the French battle of Abensberg on April 20, 1809, against the Austrians.[2].

By the Treaty of Ried of October 8, 1813, Bavaria left the Confederation of the Rhine and agreed to join the Sixth Coalition against Napoleon, in exchange for the guarantee of its continued sovereign and independent status. On October 14, Bavaria officially declared war on France. The Treaty of Ried was passionately supported by the heir Ludwig and by the Bavarian general von Wrede.

Already at the Congress of Vienna in 1815, Ludwig advocated a German national policy[3]. Until 1816 he served as Governor-General of the Duchy of Salzburg, and strongly opposed its concession to Austria. His second son Otto (1815-1867), the later king of Greece, was born there. Between 1816 and 1825, he spent his years in Würzburg. He also made many trips to Italy and often stayed at Villa Malta in Rome, which he later also bought (1827).

In 1817 Ludwig also took part in the fall of the French-loving prime minister Count Max Josef von Montgelas, whose policies he had opposed. He succeeded his father to the throne in 1825.

Ludwig’s reign was marked by his strong Philhellenism and the fact that he was a patron of the arts.

Characteristically, from the beginning of the Greek Revolution of 1821, Ludwig, as heir to the Bavarian throne first and then as king of Bavaria, was one of perhaps the few members of the European hegemony, who openly and actively supported the Greek cause. According to the existing status quo of the time, the rest of the European revolutions and their governments were either openly hostile (because of the Holy Alliance) or neutral / indifferent. Nevertheless, on the one hand, Louis facilitated the creation of the Philhellenic Committee of Munich under Thiersch and Senk[4]. At the same time, on the other hand, as a protector of culture, he published various collections of poetry, which were sold to the benefit of the revolted Greece[5]. His action was multifaceted, and Ludwig had gone so far as to write himself articles and proclamations, and publish them under his own name and sometimes even anonymously. In addition, Ludwig spent from his personal fortune, 1,500,000 florints for the struggling Greeks.

Emblematic painting with an allegorical presentation of mother Greece after the liberation, by the royal family of Bavaria (SHP collection)

Moreover, in order to better help the Struggle of the Greeks, Ludwig came in 1825, in contact (through the Swiss banker Jean Eynard), with the Philhellenic Committee of Paris and collaborated with it. Actually, during the period 1825 – 1826, he sent several officers of the Bavarian Army unofficially to Greece, in order to help the Struggle militarily. The most prominent of these officers, were Colonel Karl Wilhelm von  Heydeck (1788-1861) (later a member of Otto’s Regency) and Lieutenant Karl Krazeisen (1794-1878), who, among others, painted the authentic figures of the 1821 chief-fighters (e.g. Theodoros Kolokotronis, Georgios Karaiskakis), but also of many Philhellenes.[6].

It is worth noting that as of 1823, Ludwig began to grant scholarships to the children of the chief-fighters of the Greek War for Independence (mainly to orphans, such as the later generals and ministers Dimitrios son of Markos Botsaris and Scarlatos Soutzos). These children, studied either at the Bavarian Royal Military Academy or at the University of Munich[7]. At the same time Ludwig endows (either directly or indirectly through his son Othon), daughters of chief-fighters, such as Penelope Notara, daughter of Georgios Karaiskakis[8].

Ludwig also conceded one of the Roman Catholic Churches of Munich for the Greeks to perform their religious duties.

This church, which still exists today, is the Holy Temple of the Transfiguration of the Redeemer.

Finally, on the occasion of the Exodus of Messolonghi, on April 10, 1826, the then King of Bavaria, Ludwig I, is the first European ruler, who called for a ceasefire and the granting of independence to the Greeks.[9].Whereas, when Ioannis Kapodistrias took over as governor of Greece, Ludwig I refused (despite the insistence of Thiersch), to nominate his second son Othon as future king of Greece, respecting the situation in Greece at that time[10].

For his active contribution to the success of the Greek Revolution of 1821, Ludwig I, King of Bavaria, was honoured in 1833 by the newly formed Greek state, with the Grand Cross of the Order of the Knights of the Redeemer[11].

Finally, the philhellenism of Ludwig I is confirmed by many buildings in Athens, such as the Old Palace (now Greek Parliament), designed by the architect Frederick von Gertner and financed by Ludwig I himself, as well as monuments in Munich, such as the Propylaea, etc.

In March 1848 Ludwig I was forced to resign from his throne, in favour of his son Maximilian II, due to the complaints against him for using the Bavarian state treasury to grant, without the approval of the parliament, of the third instalment of the loan of 20,000,000 francs to strengthen Greece, which the Great Powers were obliged to give and had refused doing so. Since then, after his dethronement, he lived in isolation and devoted to his literary interests. He died in Nice, France on February 29, 1868 and was buried in the Church of Saint Boniface in Munich.

In his personal life, Ludwig I of Bavaria, despite his high office, was a ruler, who lived very modestly and who was very accessible to the people.

From his marriage to Duchess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen (1792–1854), he had the following descendants:

  • Maximilian Joseph II (1811-1864). King of Bavaria in 1848-1864. He married in 1842 Princess Maria of Prussia. He had descendants.
  • Mathilde (1813-1862). Grand Duchess of Hesse in 1848-1862. Wife of the Grand Duke of Hesse Louis III. She had descendants.
  • Othon (1815-1867). King of Greece in 1833. Husband of the Duchess of Oldenburg Amalia (1818-1875). He had no descendants.
  • Theodolinde (1816-1817). An infant died.
  • Luitpold (1821-1912). Regent of Bavaria in 1886-1912. He married the Austrian archduchess Augusta of Habsburg in 1844. He had descendants.
  • Adelgunde Augusta (1823-1914). Wife of the Archduke of Modena Francis V (1819-1875). She had descendants.
  • Theresia (1825-1864). Wife of the Austrian Archduke Albert of Habsburg (1817-1895). She had descendants.
  • Alexandra (1826-1875).Unmarried and without descendants.
  • Adalbert (1828-1875). Husband of Princess Amalia of Spain. He had descendants.

Louis I is a noble and emblematic figure of Philhellene, and a great national benefactor and friend of Greece and the values ​​of Hellenism. Greece and the Greeks will forever honour Ludwig I, and SHP will undertake a series of initiatives to promote his work and his contribution to the liberation of Greece and the cultivation of a Greek national consciousness, based on the same values ​​with the ones of the construction of the European Union.

Commemorative medal of 1836, on the occasion of the visit of Ludwig I to Greece (SHP collection)

Commemorative medal of 1832. Ludwig I and on the obverse side his son Othon, who takes the throne in Greece (SHP collection)

A painting depicting the family of Ludwig I admiring the painting by the German painter Peter Von HESS on the arrival of King Othon in Nafplio (SHP collection)



[1] Bowden, Scotty & Tarbox, Charlie. ‘’Armies on the Danube 1809’’, εκδ. Empire Games Press, Arlington, Texas, 1980, σελ. 61

[2] Petre, F. Loraine, ‘’Napoleon and the Archduke Charles’’, εκδ. Hippocrene Books, Νέα Υόρκη, 1909 (ανατ. 1976), σελ.134.

[3] Metternich, Klemens Lothar von, ‘’Memoirs of Prince Metternich’’, επιμ. Richard Fuerst (πρίγκιπας) von Metternich, εκδ. Richard Bentley & Son, Λονδίνο, 1880, β’ τόμος, σελ.572, 578, 589-590.

[4] Καρολίδης, Παύλος, ‘’Ο Γερμανικός Φιλελληνισμός’’, ιδ. έκδ., Αθήνα, 1917, σελ. 19.

[5] Λουδοβίκος Α’ (βασιλιάς της Βαυαρίας), ‘’Ποιήματα περί Ελλάδος’’, μτφρ. Σοφοκλής Καρύδης, εκδ. Σοφοκλέους Κ. Καρύδου, Αθήνα, 1868.

[6] Τρικούπης, Σπυρίδων, ‘’Ιστορία της Ελληνικής Επαναστάσεως’’, εκδ. Βουλή των Ελλήνων, Αθήνα, 2007,  δ’ τόμος, σελ.118.

[7] Οικονόμου, Δημήτριος (ναύαρχος), ‘’Το Σούλι,οι Σουλιώται και η οικογένεια Μπότσαρη’’, εκδ. ‘’Ναυτική Ελλάς’’, Αθήνα, 1952, σελ.196-197. Επίσης, βλ. εφ. ‘’Αλήθεια’’, φύλλα 11ης Μαΐου 1867 και 24ης Αυγούστου 1871 και π. ‘’Εστία’’,σελ.595, Αθήνα, 1867,1871,1888.

[8] Εφημερίδα της Κυβερνήσεως. Φ.Ε.Κ. 22ας Απριλίου 1835, Αθήνα, σελ.1.

[9] Κουτσονίκας, Λάμπρος, ‘’Γενική Ιστορία της Ελληνικής Επαναστάσεως’’, εκδ. Δ. Καρακατζάνη, Αθήνα, 1863-1865, δ’ τόμος, σελ.283.

[10] Καρολίδης, Παύλος, ‘’Ο Γερμανικός Φιλελληνισμός’’, ιδ. έκδ., Αθήνα, 1917, σελ.25.

[11]  Ιστοσελίδα της Προεδρίας της Δημοκρατίας, Αθήνα, 2015.


Sources – Bibliography

  • Bowden, Scotty & Tarbox, Charlie. ‘’Armies on the Danube 1809’’, εκδ. Empire Games Press, Arlington, Texas, 1980.
  • Petre, F. Loraine, ‘’Napoleon and the Archduke Charles’’, εκδ. Hippocrene Books, Νέα Υόρκη, 1909 (ανατ.1976).
  • Metternich, Klemens Lothar von, ‘’Memoirs of Prince Metternich’’, επιμ. Richard Fuerst (πρίγκιπας) von Metternich, εκδ. Richard Bentley & Son, Λονδίνο, 1880, β’ τόμος.
  • Καρολίδης, Παύλος, ‘’Ο Γερμανικός Φιλελληνισμός’’, ιδ. έκδ., Αθήνα, 1917.
  • Λουδοβίκος Α’ (βασιλιάς της Βαυαρίας), ‘’Ποιήματα περί Ελλάδος’’, μτφρ. Σοφοκλής Καρύδης, εκδ. Σοφοκλέους Κ. Καρύδου, Αθήνα, 1868.
  • Τρικούπης, Σπυρίδων, ‘’Ιστορία της Ελληνικής Επαναστάσεως’’, εκδ. Βουλή των Ελλήνων, Αθήνα, 2007,  δ’ τόμος.
  • Οικονόμου, Δημήτριος (ναύαρχος), ‘’Το Σούλι, οι Σουλιώται και η οικογένεια Μπότσαρη’’, εκδ. ‘’Ναυτική Ελλάς’’, Αθήνα, 1952.
  • Εφ. ‘’Αλήθεια’’, φύλλα 11ης Μαΐου 1867 και 24ης Αυγούστου 1871, Αθήνα, 1867, 1871.
  • Περ. ‘’Εστία’’, Αθήνα, 1888.
  • Εφημερίδα της Κυβερνήσεως. Φ.Ε.Κ. 22ας Απριλίου 1835, Αθήνα, 1835.
  • Κουτσονίκας, Λάμπρος, ‘’Γενική Ιστορία της Ελληνικής Επαναστάσεως’’, εκδ. Δ. Καρακατζάνη, Αθήνα, 1863-1865, δ’ τόμος.
  • Ιστοσελίδα της Προεδρίας της Δημοκρατίας, Αθήνα, 2015.


Camille Alphonse Trézel. Lithography of the 19th century

Camille Alphonse Trézel was a French General born in Paris on January 5, 1780. His father was Pierre Jean Baptiste Antoine Auguste Trézel and his mother was Magdeleine Victoire Payen.

Trézel was the son of a merchant. However, he left the trade business to start a career in the military in 1801, and in fact in the special branch of engineer geographers. In 1803 he was already a second lieutenant. In 1804 he served in the Netherlands and the following year he was named assistant engineer-geographer. In 1806 he took part in the campaign in Poland, and in 1807-1808 he participated, with the rank of lieutenant, in the mission of the General and Ambassador of France, Gardane, to Persia. He returned to France in 1809 and followed General Guilleminot to Illyria as his aide de camp. In 1810 he was promoted to Captain and took part in the war in Catalonia. In 1811 he served in Germany. In 1812 he was sent to Russia and fought in various battles. He returned to France and became Major in 1813. After his successful participation in the battle of Mayence, he was promoted to Colonel. He was then appointed Chief of the Staff of General Vandamme and he was wounded at the Battle of Fleurus in 1815. He was named Brigadier General on July 5, 1815, but the Bourbon regime did not recognize his rank. Finally, in 1820 – 1823 he took part in the Spanish Civil War, where he distinguished himself. Trézel arrived in Greece in 1828, and was appointed deputy commander of the Staff of General Maison’s expeditionary corps in Morea.

As it is well known, General Maison had submitted a proposal to Governor Kapodistrias for the organization of the Greek Regular Army, under the responsibility of the French officers of his Corps and at the expense of the French government. Thus, Colonel Camille Alphonse Trézel, in accordance with the terms of the agreement, was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Greek Regular Troops. Trézel was promoted by Kapodistrias to a General and took up his new duties by decree on July 22, 1829. At that time, the Greek Regular Army counted 2,688 men.

According to the decree published in the General Gazette, General Trézel was also in charge of the duties of Inspector General of the Regular Corps. His mission was to monitor the progress of the organizational work, to propose transfers, promotions, moral rewards and commemorations, to send reports or requests to the Governor, to process orders on behalf of the Governor, to communicate and to cooperate with the French headquarters, to submit the proposed amendments to the administration, etc. For all these efforts, Trézel was informing the French government, which was financing the Greek army.

Immediately after taking office, Trézel selected brilliant officers from General Maison’s army to build his staff. One of them was Pellion, who was appointed Chief of the Staff, Saint Martin, who took over the management of the ammunition and the funds sent from France to cover the operational needs of the Army, Auguste Guérrin, who took over the duties of the Military assistant quartermaster of the Greek Regular Army, and Sauquet, who served as a Military quartermaster.

General Trézel reorganized the Regular Corps which now included the following units:

a. four Infantry Battalions, each consisting of six companies,
b. an Artillery Battalion, consisting of four Artillery companies and a field Artillery company,
c. a Cavalry Corps, consisting of four squadrons (two of lancers and two of riflemen),
d. a Technical Corps (Fortification and Architecture),
e. the Central War School,
f. the arsenal.

Trézel enforced French regulations in all military sectors, as well as the French Army financial management system. Saint Martin even set up a school, in which Greek officers learned the French rules of military administration and logistics. At the same time, Trézel commissioned Lieutenant Pourchet to command the arsenal. In addition, and since French criminal law had been applied to the Greek Army from the beginning, a permanent Military Court was established in December 1828, which continued to apply the French Military Penal Code. Naturally, Trézel introduced entirely French regulations into training. The training took place in a camp in Megara, lasted 40 days for each soldier and was based mainly on the provisions of the French Campaign Regulations. Trézel himself oversaw the manoeuvres of the Regular Army and Corps (Infantry, Artillery and Cavalry).

Trézel intervened also on the subject of the uniform of the Regular Army, and introduced through another order a uniform which was entirely identical to that of the French Army.

Thus, thanks to Trézel’s efforts, “the Greek Regular Army was in no way different from the French…”, as Christos Byzantios characteristically writes. According to Themeli – Katifori, at that time more than 150 French officers were serving in the Greek military corps which had been organized in line with French standards.

In addition, in October 1829, on the personal initiative of Trézel, a compulsory conscription system was imposed in all the provinces of the new Greek state. Until then, recruitment was carried out on a voluntary basis. But Trézel had identified the need to cultivate a climate of trust between the Regular Army and the government, and stressed in all directions that being a small state, Greece would require a strong national army to acquire significant deterrence power.

Following another proposal by Trézel, the religious oath for the military was introduced. Trézel saw it as a means of restoring military order and discipline. As P. Spyropoulos points out, he believed that in this way, due to the deep religious devotion of the Greeks, the soldiers would consciously abstain from any violation of norms and and deviations.

Trézel was the General Director of the Regular Corps and Inspector General, and he also chaired the examination committee of the Central Military School (Military School of Cadets in Nafplio), which had just been formed by another French officer, Henri Pauzié. Thus, the examinations of the first cadets took place in October 1829, before him and in the presence of the consular agent of France. The first graduates, in whom Kapodistrias himself wore the epaulettes, accompanied by General Trézel, were only eight and they all joined the Artillery.

Cadet 1829 (GES archive)

Representation of the first awarding of ranks to the cadets of the Military School of Greece.

In addition to the above, General Trézel was also responsible for evaluating the candidate-officers who wished to join the Regular Army through their service in the Corps of Attachés This Corps was established by decree in the same year and month, with the main purpose of attracting the sons of the captains who refused to send their children to the War School. The Attachés bore the rank, the uniform and received the salary of the non-commissioned officers of the Regular Corps. They were trained within the Regular Corps and, after being evaluated by a committee chaired by Trézel, they joined the Army as Second Lieutenants, just like the cadets of the War School. The Corps of Attachés, however, was not successful and eventually over time the institution was abolished.

Unfortunately, General Trézel’s significant efforts to reorganize the Army in all areas ended in 1830, due to the change of the political climate in France and the enthronement of Louis Philippe. The new French government stopped granting 100,000 francs per month, which covered the expenses of the Greek Army, and recalled the majority of French officers serving in Greece. General Trézel himself, according to an article in the General Gazette, was then appointed Chief of Staff of the Morea Expeditionary Corps, and in August 1830, on the orders of the Corps Commander, Schneider, he resigned from his post of Director-General of the Regular Corps. He was replaced at the command of the Regular Corps by the French General Gérard.

Camille Alphonse Trézel. Lithography of the 19th century.

Trézel then returned to France in 1831 and later left for Africa as Chief of Staff of Duke De Rovigo. He fought in the Algerian campaign and distinguished himself in all the battles in which he participated until 1835, with the exception of the Battle of Makta. In fact, he was injured in some of them. He returned to France, but in 1836 he was recalled to Algeria, where this time he was seriously injured, and left for France again.

He became a lieutenant General on November 11, 1837 and was subsequently appointed Chief of Staff of the Ministry of War on 15 May 1839. On July 21, 1846 he was elected to the French Parliament as Pair de France and on May 9, 1847 he became Minister of War, a position he held until February 24, 1848. With the revolution in France the same year, he was retired. Finally, in 1853 he was called up for military service as a Count Commander of the Count of Paris, a position he held until 1856. He died on April 11, 1860.

During his career, Trézel was awarded the medal of the Legion of Honour on February 12, 1813, and the medal of the senior officer of the Legion of Honor on January 13, 1837.

He was also honoured with the Order of the Sun. In Greece he was honoured with the medal of the Order of Grand Officer of the Order of the Redeemer. He was also the author of memoirs related to his war missions. His efforts in Greece undoubtedly had a great impact on the establishment of the Greek Regular Army, as they introduced the French military education and training system, the French way of thinking and the French military spirit that was maintained for many years and influenced the military tradition in Greece.



  • Biographie Universelle, Ancienne et Moderne, Tome 42, Paris, C. Desplaces, χ.η.
  • Correspondance du Comte Capodistrias, Président de la Grèce, Pupliée par E. A. Bétant, Tome 3, Genève-Paris, 1839.
  • Norman Tobias, The International Military Encyclopedia, Volume 1, Academic International Press, 1992.
  • Αρχεία της Ελληνικής Παλιγγενεσίας, 1821-1832, τ. 4: Δ΄ εν Άργει Εθνική Συνέλευση, 1828-1829, [τ. 2 των Εθνοσυνελεύσεων], εκδ. Βιβλιοθήκη της Βουλής των Ελλήνων, Αθήνα 1973.
  • Βακαλόπουλος Απόστολος, Ιστορία της Ελληνικής Επαναστάσεως του 1821, εκδ. ΟΕΔΒ, Αθήνα 1971.
  • 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.
  • Γενική Εφημερίς της Ελλάδος, αρ. φ. 53, 31 Ιουλίου 1829 (Παράρτημα), αρ. φ. 56, 17 Αυγούστου 1829, αρ. φ. 61, 11 Σεπτεμβρίου 1829, αρ. φ. 82, 4 Δεκεμβρίου 1829, αρ. φ. 76, 9 Νοεμβρίου 1829 και αρ. 73, 10 Σεπτεμβρίου 1830.
  • Ελληνική Πολιτεία, αρ. φ. 89, 25 Αυγούστου 1830.
  • Ηλεκτρονική βάση απονεμηθέντων παρασήμων της Λεγεώνας της Τιμής, Dossier LH/2628/32.
  • Θεμελή-Κατηφόρη Δέσποινα, Το γαλλικό ενδιαφέρον για την Ελλάδα στην περίοδο του Καποδίστρια, 1828-1831, εκδ. Επικαιρότητα, Αθήνα 1985.
  • Ιστορία της οργανώσεως του Ελληνικού Στρατού, 1821-1954, εκδ. ΓΕΣ, Αθήνα 1955.
  • Καστάνης Ανδρέας, Η Στρατιωτική Σχολή των Ευελπίδων κατά τα πρώτα χρόνια της λειτουργίας της, 1828-1834, εκδ. Ελληνικά Γράμματα, Αθήνα 2000.
  • Κρεμμυδάς Βασίλης, «Ο Γαλλικός Στρατός στην Πελοπόννησο. Συμβολή στην ιστορία της Καποδιστριακής περιόδου», Πελοποννησιακά, τ. ΙΒ΄ (1976-1977), σσ. 75-102.
  • Λαλούσης Χαράλαμπος, «O Ελληνικός Στρατός την περίοδο του πρώτου Κυβερνήτη της Ελλάδος Ιωάννη Καποδίστρια (1828-1831)», Στρατιωτική Επιθεώρηση, τ. 2 (2000), σσ. 31-41.
  • Σπυρόπουλος Παναγιώτης., «Η επίδραση της γαλλικής εξωτερικής πολιτικής στη διαμόρφωση της ελληνικής στρατηγικής σκέψης (1830-1939)», ΓΕΣ/ΔΙΣ, Οι πολιτικοστρατιωτικές σχέσεις Ελλάδας-Γαλλίας (19ος-20ος αι), Αθήνα, ΔΙΣ, σσ. 167-193.


Baron Friedrich Eduard von Rheineck (1796-1854). Painting by Georgios Roilos, National History Museum, Athens


Baron Friedrich Eduard von Rheineck was born on November 2, 1796 in Potsdam, Prussia. He took part in the Napoleonic Wars against Napoleon as an officer of the Prussian Cavalry.

From the beginning of the Greek war of Independence of 1821, he expressed his interest in the liberation struggle of the Greeks and participated enthusiastically in the Philhellenic committees founded in Germany. He soon decided to go to Greece and fight as a volunteer.

In 1822, the Philhellenic Committee of Koblenz commissioned him to travel to Greece and to transfer significant financial aid that the Philhellenes of Koblenz had raised to support the Greek Revolution. He arrived in Corinth and soon assumed the duties of aid de camp of Alexandros Mavrokordatos in Messolonghi. In fact, he actively participated in the defence of Messolonghi, during the first siege of 1822[1] , where he distinguished himself.

During his service in Greece, von Rheineck was honoured for his bravery and in 1822 he received the rank of major; then in 1826 he was promoted to the rank of colonel of the Greek Army.

The Greek Administration granted to him, as well as to other prominent Philhellenes, the Greek citizenship, as early as in June 1823 [2].

The resolution granting Greek citizenship to von Rheineck and other prominent Philhellenes

Baron von Rheineck took part in important military operations throughout the Greek war for independence. In 1825 – 1827 he served in Nafplio[3]. In 1828 he took office in Aegina. Then, in the same year, he was sent by I. Kapodistrias with a unit of the Greek armed forces, to Gramvousa in Crete; he stayed there until the beginning of 1829. Among others he led the operations of the Greek forces until 1829, he contributed to the fight against piracy and he assured the safe passage of Cretans to the Peloponnese. [4]. After the death of I. Kapodistrias, von Rheineck, who at that time had the rank of colonel, was assigned in April 1832 commander of the Military School. In 1834, the School took its final form and was renamed the Military School of Cadets. [5] . Von Rheineck remained in this position until 1840.

Then, he served as a military commander of Nafplio in 1843.[6].In February 1840, meanwhile, he was promoted to brigadier general and appointed to the Court of Appeals, where he served as President in 1849.

He died on October 26, 1854 in Athens, while he was the president of the Appeal Court Martial, holding the rank of lieutenant general of the Greek Army. A few months before his death, Dimitrios Kallergis, his former comrade in arms, and minister of Defence in the government of Mavrokordatos, promoted him to honorary general.[7].

The tomb with the coat of arms of his family is located in the First Cemetery of Athens.[8].

Baron Frederick Edward von Rheineck was honoured for his contribution with the Grand Cross of the Order of the Knights of the Redeemer and the Silver Medal of Excellence of the Struggle.[9].

He had five children from his marriage with the sister of Alexandros Mavrokordatos, Efrosini Mavrokordatou.[10] His daughter, Wilhelmine Rheineck, was appointed in January 1851 Lady of Honour to Queen Amalia. She remained in this position for three years and then left to marry Aristides Valtatzis, a banker from Istanbul.[11]. Moreover, his son Aristides Rheineck (1834-1913), became a lieutenant General of the Greek Royal Navy.

Aristides Rheineck, participated in the Greek-Turkish war of 1897. In January 1897, he took command of the newly built battleship “Hydra” and a battleship squadron in which the warships “Mykali” and “Pinios” also participated. Aristides Rheineck saved the archives of Captain Leonidas Palaskas, and donated them to the Ministry of the Navy.[12].

Baron von Rheineck was a great Philhellene, with an important and multi-layered contribution, who naturalized Greek. His family participated in all the liberation struggles of Greece. SHP honours this great Philhellene.



[1]  Περιοδικό ‘’Εβδομάς’’, Αθήνα, Έτος Α’(1884), τόμος Α’ αρ. 1. (χωρίς ημερ.) ως και αρ. 27, 2 Σεπτεμβρίου 1884, εκδ. Κορίννη ,Αθήνα, 1884, σελ.45.

[2] .

[3] Τράιμπερ, Ερρίκος, ‘’Αναμνήσεις από την Ελλάδα 1822-1828’’, επιμ. δρ. Χρήστος Ν. Αποστολίδης, ιδ. εκδ., Αθήνα, 1960, σελ. 75.

[4] Περιοδικό ‘’Εβδομάς’’, Αθήνα, Έτος Α’(1884), τόμος Α’ αρ. 1. (χωρίς ημερ.) ως και αρ. 27, 2 Σεπτεμβρίου 1884, εκδ. Κορίννη, Αθήνα, 1884, σελ.46. Επίσης, βλ. .

[5] Ιστοσελίδα της Στρατιωτικής Σχολής Ευελπίδων.

[6] Περιοδικό ‘’Εβδομάς’’, Αθήνα, Έτος Α’(1884), τόμος Α’ αρ. 1. (χωρίς ημερ.) ως και αρ. 27, 2 Σεπτεμβρίου 1884, εκδ. Κορίννη ,Αθήνα, 1884, σελ.46.

[7] Βλ. στο ίδιο.


[9] Περιοδικό ‘’Εβδομάς’’, Αθήνα, Έτος Α’(1884), τόμος Α’ αρ. 1. (χωρίς ημερ.) ως και αρ. 27, 2 Σεπτεμβρίου 1884, εκδ. Κορίννη ,Αθήνα, 1884, σελ.46.

[10] Klenze, Leo von, ‘’ Aphoristische Bemerkungen gesammelt auf seiner Reise nach Griechenland’’, εκδ. G. Reimer, Βερολίνο, 1838, σελ. 156.


[12] Βικιπαιδεία. Επίσης, βλ.


Bibliography – Sources


Soldier of the Legion of Meuse


François Robert is one of the most famous French philhellenes, who played an important role and showed exemplary heroism during the siege of the Acropolis, under the command of Charles Fabvier.

François Robert originated from Nancy, France. He had enlisted in the French army and joined the Meuse Legion. In Greece he was given the rank of Major to the Regular Corps. He was very young and especially appreciated by Fabvier, the leader of the Regular Corps, who also came from Nancy. In fact, the latter treated him as his own child.

The young Robert is usually referred in the Greek history for his heroic fight in a trench, under the Acropolis, which caused numerous wounds, and his exemplary bravery before he died. It is a pity that very little is found in the French archives, about this brave French Philhellene or “the brave Robert”, as he was often called.

Henri Fornèsy, the biographer of the Philhellenes, is one of the few who mentioned François Robert. In his catalogue of the Philhellenes, he writes about him the following: “He was from Nancy. He died in Athens, due to injuries, on December 28, 1827. Former officer of the Meuse Legion. An infantry instructor in Greece, he commanded in Chaidari the 1st Battalion of the Regular Army, which showed great bravery, and being the leader he was wounded, which forced him to leave the battlefield, and be replaced by Captain Maillet”.

However, the one who provides the most information about this brave warrior, is undoubtedly Christos Byzantios, in the History of the Regular Army. Byzantios also mentions that Robert was originally an instructor of the Regular Army, who was training the soldiers applying the French infantry programme (manoeuvres), in collaboration with another French instructor, Maillet, who taught theory. Robert was then a Captain and the aid of camp of the 1st Battalion. Later, Robert took command of the 1st Battalion to replace Major Stefanos, who had been assassinated in Tinos in 1826.

Christos Byzantios informs us that in the battle of Chaidari, the then “Major of the 1st Battalion, Robert, marched in the form of a phalanx and reached the position of the uvanguard; he formed a square and waited for the enemy“. A little later, “the Major immediately, without wasting time, ordered the firing to start, to be carried out maintaining the square, prepare – fire, and before giving another order, he was wounded in the abdomen without any of the captains noticing this to take the command of the square“. Major Robert was forced to abandon the battle due to his injuries, but the First Battalion in this battle, although it lost 38 men, forced Kioutachis Pascha to retreat, gaining a great victory.

The Greek newspaper “The Friend of the Law”, published by the Italian Philhellene  Joseph Chiappe, refers in August 1826, to Robert’s bravery, glorious victory and injury in this battle, calling Robert “brave Philhellene Major Mr. Robert”.

Fornèsy goes on to say that a little later, Robert “took command of the marching battalion that supplied the fortress of Athens, under the command of Fabvier. His legs were amputated from the explosion of a canon missile, he fell into a moat between the fortress and the Turkish trenches and his absence was not noticed until everyone had entered in the fortress. Driven by his groans, four of his companions, M.M. Mollière, Pignaud, Bernard and Cartier, with the help of two soldiers of General Griziotis, whose names unfortunately remain unknown, after locating him, left the Acropolis and ran to the place where the unfortunate Robert was fighting with his furious enemies, chasing them away. After he was taken to the fortress, it was found that he had twenty-four wounds on his body, which were bleeding and came from fragments of cannon bullets, hits from swords, yatagans, etc. He managed to survive for four days with these terrible wounds and died, with the bravest self-denial and after horrible pains, causing the deep sorrow and tears of the brave Fabvier, who loved him as his child, as well as of the whole guard, who had admired his merit and the energy of his character”..

Antoine Pignaud was a French Philhellene who remained permanently in Greece after the Greek Revolution. He was appointed Head of the Guard of Pylos. Painting from the collection of SHP.

The same information about Robert is reproduced by Babis Anninos in his work “The Philhellenes of 1821″, in 1925, as well as by Michelle Averoff in her article on the Philhellenes in 1967.

On these events, Christos Byzantios provides a different, more eloquent and vivid description. The historian of the Regular army writes the following on Robert’s tragic death: “This Philhellene, after being wounded by small bullets on his feet, he fell between the Greek trenches and the moat. After the whole army entered in the Acropolis, the enemies returned to their positions, and finding him lying on the ground, they began to hit him with their swords; however, this unlucky man fought back for a long time with his sword, until certain soldiers of Griziotis heard the noise of the swords, and run in that direction to rescue him; they chased the enemies and carried him in the Acropolis. He had on his body twenty-six wounds from swords and two from bullets. The surgeon of the guard, Kourdalis, treated them all, except those of his legs, which he was unable to cut due to lack of the necessary medical instruments, so that after eight days of severe pains, he died. His death saddened everyone and especially Fabvier who loved him as his son”.

The above information of Byzantios and that of Fornèsy, are identical for the most part, which makes them completely reliable. Especially when Christos Byzantios was an eyewitness to the events. Spyridon Trikoupis gives similar information. Soumerlis indicates the name of one of Griziotis’s soldiers, saying that it was the brave Ioannis Kountouriotis who transported Robert inside the fortress, as he had fallen into the hands of ten enemies who were hitting him with their swords. According to the bibliography, the Turks had even cut off his ears, among others, so his body was completely deformed.

There is some confusion, however, around the exact date of the death of this great fighter. For example, Konstantinos Paparigopoulos, in the History of the Greek Nation, mentions as the date of Robert’s death December 6, 1827, a date with which Ioannis Vlachogiannis agrees. Similarly, Thomas Gordon in his memoirs agrees with Fornèsy, as to the date of Robert’s death and states that he died shortly after mid-December. Karl Heideck, on the other hand, mentions in his memoirs that the date of Robert’s death was February 1827. This fact is probably incorrect because according to documents published by the Philhellenic Commission of Paris, and specifically according to letters from doctors Bailly and Gosse to the Commission, Robert in January 1827 had already passed away. In any case, his heroic sacrifice remains memorable, though almost unknown.

The heroic death of this great Philhellene was admired by the Greeks and inspired the creation of a folk song in Roumeli (mainland of Greece) mourning for Robert’s death.

Finally, to remind the Greeks of the contribution and sacrifice of the brave Robert, the Greek state placed a memorial column in the Conservatory of Herodes Atticus, in the courtyard. On the left side of the column are engraved the words: “TO, FAVIERO, PROMACHO, OF THE ACROPOLIS GREECE 1826 – 1926”. On the left side of the column: “TO THE HEROIC MAJOR FRANG. ROBERTON AND THE PHILHELLENES WHO DIED WITH HIM GREECE 1826 – 1926”.

Commemorative column in Herodes Atticus for the Philhellenes who fell in Athens during the Revolution of 1821

Greece and the Greeks will forever honour this great Philhellene fighter, who fought heroically and died as a martyr for the liberation of Athens and the Acropolis, which constitutes the eternal symbol of the Western civilization.



  • [Comité Philhellénique de Paris], Documents relatifs à l’État présent de la Grèce, février-mars 1827, Paris, Firmin Didot, 1827.
  • Barth Wilhelm – Max Kehrig-Korn, Die Philhellenenzeit, von der Mitte des 18 Jahrhunderts bis zur Ermordung Kapodistrias am 9 Oktober 1831, εκδ. Hueber, Μόναχο
  • Fornèsy Henry, Le monument des philhellènes, 1860, χειρόγραφο υπ’ αριθ. 1697, Τμήμα Χειρογράφων και Ομοιοτύπων, Εθνική Βιβλιοθήκη της Ελλάδος.
  • Gordon Thomas, History of the Greek Revolution, 1, London, William Blackwood, Edinburg & T. Cadell, Strand, 1844.
  • 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
  • Βλαχογιάννης Ιωάννης, Αθηναϊκόν Αρχείον, Αθήνα, Εκ του Τυπογραφείου Γ.Σ. Βλαστού, 1901.
  • 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.
  • Εφημερίδα ο Φίλος του Νόμου, αρ. φ. 234, 13 Αυγούστου 1826.
  • Παπαρηγόπουλος Κωνσταντίνος, Ιστορία του Ελληνικού Έθνους, Αθήνα, Εκ της Τυπογραφίας Ανδρέου Κορομηλά, 1853.
  • Σουμερλής Διονύσιος, Ιστορία των Αθηνών, Αίγινα, Εκ της Τυπογραφίας Ανδρέου Κορομηλά, 1834.
  • Τρικούπης Σπυρίδων, Ιστορία της Ελληνικής Επαναστάσεως, τόμος Δ΄, Λονδίνο, 1857.


Prussian military uniform of the Napoleonic wars. This uniform was the inspiration for the design of the uniform of the Holy Corps of Alexandros Ypsilantis.


Alexander Wilhelm Kolbe (? – 1860), was a German officer and Philhellene. Born in Berlin, he served as a sergeant in the Prussian Army during the Napoleonic Wars[1], against the French. He was distinguished for his bravery in Dresden and Waterloo[2].

He was one of the first Philhellenes to arrive in Greece during the Greek Revolution, as a volunteer, as early as 1821 and joined the German Legion. [3]. After its dissolution during the battle of Peta on July 4, 1822, he went briefly to Germany and returned back to Greece at the end of October 1822. During this period he took part in the final phase of the siege of Nafplio.[4].

Then he constantly participated in all phases of the liberation struggle of the Greeks.

In December 1822, he went to Messolonghi as a representative of the German Philhellenes, accompanying donations from the Philhellenic committees to support the Greek Revolution.[5]. There, he served as a first class caprare (from the Italian caporale)[6]. At the same time he was the bearer of the invitation of Lord Byron to the German Philhellenes in Greece to enroll in the new artillery corps under creation.[7].

In 1823, he participated in the campaign of Parnassos against Dervis Pasha, under the leadership of Nikitaras.[8].

On January 11, 1824, after a second visit to Darmstadt in Germany, [9],Kolbe returned to Messolonghi,[10], where he initially served as a captain in the campaign against Omer Vryonis in the plain of Ligovitsa, and on August 1, 1824, after the death of Lord Byron.[11]. After the exodus of Missolonghi, in April 1826, he took part in the Battle of Arachova (November 18-24, 1826).[12].It is worth noting that in this context, he organized an artillery unit, utilizing 6 cannons and two mortars which had been sent to the Greek fighters by the Philhellenic Committees of Germany.

Kolbe had several times undertaken to accompany to Greece from Germany financial and military aid, gathered by the Philhellenic Committees.

When I. Kapodistrias became governor of the country, Kolbe was appointed curator of the army and chief curator of the navy.[13]. In 1846, for an unknown reason, he was placed in the reserve list.[14].

He died in Poros in 1860, being appreciated for his long contribution to the liberation struggle of the Greeks, the important services he offered, as well as for the integrity and kindness of his character.[15].

For his action in Greece, he was honored with the medal of Excellence of the Struggle. For his previous service, he was honored with the Prussian Medal of the Black Eagle, which he received for his bravery in Dresden and Waterloo, where he was severely wounded, serving under General Gebhard Leberecht von Bluecher (1742-1819)[16].


[1] St Clair, William, ‘’That Greece Might Still Be Free. The Philhellenes in the War of Independence’’, εκδ. Open Book Publishers, Λονδίνο, 2008, σελ. 125.


[3] St Clair, William, ‘’That Greece Might Still Be Free. The Philhellenes in the War of Independence’’, εκδ. Open Book Publishers, Λονδίνο, 2008, σελ. 125.

[4] ‘’Μεγάλη Στρατιωτική και Ναυτική Εγκυκλοπαίδεια’’, εκδ. Μεγάλης Στρατιωτικής και Ναυτικής Εγκυκλοπαιδείας, Αθήνα, 1929, δ’ τόμος, σελ.174.

[5] Τράιμπερ, Ερρίκος, ‘’Αναμνήσεις από την Ελλάδα 1822-1828’’, επιμ. δρ. Χρήστος Ν. Αποστολίδης, ιδ .εκδ., Αθήνα, 1960, σελ.56.


[7] Βλ. στο ίδιο.


[9] St Clair, William, ‘’ That Greece Might Still Be Free. The Philhellenes in the War of Independence’’, εκδ. Open Book Publishers, Λονδίνο, 2008, σελ.161.

[10] Τράιμπερ, Ερρίκος, ‘’Αναμνήσεις από την Ελλάδα 1822-1828’’, επιμ. δρ. Χρήστος Ν. Αποστολίδης, ιδ .εκδ., Αθήνα, 1960, σελ.59.

[11] Περιοδικό ‘’Εβδομάς’’, Αθήνα, Έτος Α’(1884), τόμος Α’ αρ. 1. (χωρίς ημερ.) ως και αρ. 27, 2 Σεπτεμβρίου 1884, εκδ. Κορίννη, Αθήνα, 1884, σελ.59.

[12]  Βλ. στο ίδιο.

[13] ‘’Μεγάλη Στρατιωτική και Ναυτική Εγκυκλοπαίδεια’’, εκδ. Μεγάλης Στρατιωτικής και Ναυτικής Εγκυκλοπαιδείας, Αθήνα, 1929, δ’ τόμος, σελ.174.

[14] Περιοδικό ‘’Εβδομάς’’, Αθήνα, Έτος Α’(1884), τόμος Α’ αρ. 1. (χωρίς ημερ.) ως και αρ. 27, 2 Σεπτεμβρίου 1884, εκδ. Κορίννη ,Αθήνα, 1884, σελ.59.

[15] Βλ. στο ίδιο.

[16] Βλ. στο ίδιο.

Sources – Bibliography

  • St Clair, William, ‘’That Greece Might Still Be Free.The Philhellenes in the War of Independence’’, εκδ. Open Book Publishers, Λονδίνο, 2008.
  • ‘’Μεγάλη Στρατιωτική και Ναυτική Εγκυκλοπαίδεια’’, εκδ. Μεγάλης Στρατιωτικής και Ναυτικής Εγκυκλοπαιδείας, Αθήνα, 1929, δ’ τόμος.
  • Τράιμπερ, Ερρίκος, ‘’Αναμνήσεις από την Ελλάδα 1822-1828’’, επιμ. δρ. Χρήστος Ν. Αποστολίδης, ιδ .εκδ., Αθήνα, 1960.
  • Περιοδικό ‘’Εβδομάς’’, Αθήνα, Έτος Α’(1884), τόμος Α’ αρ. 1. (χωρίς ημερ.) ως και αρ. 27, 2 Σεπτεμβρίου 1884, εκδ. Κορίννη ,Αθήνα, 1884.


Marshal Nicolas-Joseph Maison


Nicolas-Joseph Maison was born in Epinay-Sur-Seine, France on December 19, 1771. He was Earl as of 1813 and Marquis as of 1818. His father was Joseph Maison and his mother Marie Genevieve Guiard. His wife was named Marie-Madeleine-Françoise Weigold.

He came from a very poor family and his father, who was a grocer, wanted him to become a merchant. However, at the age of 21, he enlisted as a volunteer in the French army on August 15, 1791, and took part in the war against Prussia. In 1792, he became a captain. He served with this rank until October 1795, according to his personal record, and took part in many campaigns and battles where he was wounded many times. He then served for a while in Italy, then in the Rhine Army, and afterwards in the Netherlands. Then in Hanover and Germany. He gained progressively and slowly his ranks, reaching in 1805 the rank of Brigadier General. With this rank he fought with the Great Army in Prussia, Spain and Germany, from 1809 to 1812, and took part in the great campaign against Russia. He was named Lieutenant General on the battlefield in 1812 by Napoleon and in 1813 he participated in the campaign in Saxony, where he was wounded in the battle of Leipzig. He was Governor of Paris during the years 1814, 1815 and 1816, and did everything he could to maintain order, while at the same time he adhered to constitutional ideals.

Nicolas-Joseph Maison. 19th century lithography (SHP collection).

During the wars of Napoleonic France that followed, Maison defended successfully Belgium four times, which was considered his greatest military achievement.

During his lifetime he took part in a total of about 50 battles and was wounded more than 30 times. Maison’s bravery was also recognized by Napoleon Bonaparte, who by his own decision awarded him a sword, as can be seen from French records.

On August 28, 1828, he arrived in Methoni in charge of the French Expeditionary Force, following a joint decision of the three Great Powers and in execution of the London Protocol of July 19, 1828, which provided for the withdrawal of the Egyptian Army from the Peloponnese. The purpose of the Corps of Maison was to evacuate the Peloponnese from Ibrahim’s enemy troops.

Nicolas-Joseph Maison. 19th century lithography (SHP collection).

Indicative of the prevailing situation is a letter from the Governor of Greece, I. Kapodistrias. The document bears his signature (“Io. A. Kapodistrias”) and it is addressed to the “Panhellenic, to the Extraordinary Commissioners throughout the State and to the Leaders of the land and sea forces”, by which he announces France’s decision to organize a campaign under Lieutenant General Maison. The letter is sent from Aegina, on August 13, 1828.

The letter bears a printed headline (“HELLENIC STATE / THE GOVERNOR OF GREECE”), and it is endorsed by the Secretary of State, Sp. Trikoupis.

“… Because the position of the Courts of England and Russia did not allow them to grant their part of the campaign, the King of France accepted it on his own, and it is now up to the French forces to undertake the task of Peace, which was promised to Greece and Europe by the Treaty of London. Lieutenant General Marquis DeMaison, was placed at the head of this campaign, which is formed by warriors who will arrive in a few days to the place which was deserted without mercy, by the presence of Ibrahim Pasca. If they arrive, this place will get rid of this scourge, and its fertility will soon alleviate some of our miseries … ».

Letter from the Governor of Greece, I. Kapodistrias to the “Panhellenic” announcing the decision of France to organize a campaign under Lieutenant General Maison. Aegina, August 13, 1828. Printed headline (“GREEK STATE / THE GOVERNOR OF GREECE”), endorsed by the Secretary of State Sp. Trikoupis (SHP collection).

The army consisted of 15,000 men and distinguished officers. Apart from the military, the French mission included many important personalities of various scientific disciplines, to which Greece owes a large number of important studies, such as for example the first topographic maps of the new state, the first records of archaeological sites, and even reports of fauna and flora.

Bory de Saint-Vincent, Jean-Baptiste, and others. SCIENTIFIC EXPEDITION OF MOREA, PARIS AND STRASBOURG: F.G. LEVRAULT, 1834-1835-1836 (SHP collection).

Expédition scientifique de Morée. Architecture, sculptures, inscriptions et vues du Péloponnèse, the Cyclades et de l’Attique, publiées par (G) A. Blouet. 3 vols. Paris, Didot, 1831-38 (SHP collection).

The jackal of the Morea (Canis aureus moreoticus) described for the first time by the Morea Expedition (Lithographs by Jean-Gabriel Prêtre, published by Bory de Saint-Vincent) (SHP collection).

Example of a plate devoted to botany in Expédition de Morée by Bory de Saint-Vincent (Nepeta argolica Bory & Chaub) (SHP collection).

It is worth noting that many Greeks participated also in the French mission in various positions. Indicatively, we refer to a letter of recommendation of July 31, 1828, written by the French author and diplomat CHATEAUBRIAND (François-René de), concerning the Greek official Konstantinos Schinas. The letter recommends him to participate in the French mission in Greece.

«Je crois (…) avoir l’honneur de vous proposer une chose utile au service du Roi, en vous demandant vos bontés pour le spathar Constantin Schinas, beau-frère du Prince Ypsilanti; il désire être employé dans l’expédition du Gal Maison. Vous connaissez déjà son affaire, et il vous l’expliquera encore mieux que moi (…)».

Konstantinos Schinas later took over the duties of judge, minister of justice, in Greece and he was the first rector of the University of Athens.

Konstantinos Schinas. 19th century lithography.

Another member of the same family, Michael Schinas, also took part in the Morea Campaign, and even participated in the scientific section (Department of Archaeology) of the French expeditionary corps. Michael Schinas lived in Paris until 1827, and had contributed to the delivery to Greece, of the sculpture “Ellinopoula”, the tomb statue erected in memory of Marcos Botsaris by the French sculptor Pierre-Jean David d’Angers.

Michael Schinas. 19th century lithography.

Letter of recommendation dated July 31, 1828, written by the author and diplomat CHATEAUBRIAND (François-René de), concerning the Greek official Konstantinos Schinas. The letter recommends him to participate in the French mission in Greece (SHP collection).

Although the evacuation of the Peloponnese was completed in October 1828, the French  Corps did not withdraw immediately. The aim of Governor I. Kapodistrias was the participation of General Maison’s army in the liberation of Western Greece and Evia, a goal that was in accordance with the instructions of the French Minister of War to Maison (August 27, 1828).

The handover of the castle of Morea in Patras, to General Nicolas Joseph Maison. Painting by the French painter Jean-Charles Langlois.

At the same time, the French Government made, through General Maison, a proposal to the Governor of Greece for the organization of a Regular Army by French officers. France would bear the costs of maintaining the Army by paying monthly grants, and an additional 100 or so French officers would be seconded to the Greek Army to train Greek officers. The commander would also be a person nominated by the Marshal. Indeed, Colonel Camille Alphonse Trézel, later Minister of War in France, was appointed General Director of the Regular Corps in July 1829. In addition, Maison determined that France would pay 100,000 French francs each month on the condition that the amount would be paid solely to the Greek army. The payment of these instalments, however, was abruptly stopped in July 1830, due to the change in the political situation in France.

The French expedition to Morea in 1828. Oil on canvas. Attributed to Noel-Dieudonne Finart (1797 – 1852) (SHP collection).

Nevertheless, in February 1829, the French Government obtained the consent of its allies to maintain in the Peloponnese, after the end of the military operations, part of the expeditionary corps, consisting of 5,000 men. The remaining French troops left four years later. Unfortunately, Kapodistrias’ attempt to use the French armed forces to liberate Attica, failed, as it faced resistance from other great powers, who did not want to further weaken the Ottoman Empire (which was facing a threat from Russia) and they insisted for the immediate departure of the French troops.

The personal seals of Marshal Nicolas-Joseph Maison. The coat of arms mentions “Aperte et Honeste” (SHP collection).

Thus, after completing his mission, General Maison left the Greek territory on May 22, 1829, receiving as a gift from Kapodistrias two swords, one belonging to Karaiskakis and a Byzantine one, for him and his lieutenant, Durriu, as witnessed by the General Gazette of Greece on the same day. Charles Fabvier also left Greece on the same ship.

The correspondence of the General with the Governor, after the departure of Maison, is enlightening for the appreciation that the General received from Kapodistrias, but also for Maison’s gratitude to the Governor and his devotion to the noble cause of the liberation of Greece.

General Maison’s campaign, in any case, facilitated the work of Kapodistrias and, above all, prepared the Greek territory for the forthcoming independence. According to the newspaper Aion, General Maison’s mission “set the last stone of Greek independence“, contributing together with the naval battle of Navarino to diplomatic decisions favourable to Greece on behalf of the Three Powers.

After the campaign in the Peloponnese, Maison retired and lived a private life in France. He took part in the opposition in the House of Peers. Liberal in his views, he supported the July Revolution in 1830. In the same year, he served as Foreign Minister of his country. He then served as ambassador to Vienna and St. Petersburg (1833). In addition, on April 30, 1835, according to his personal register, he was appointed Minister of War and served in that position until September 6, 1836.

He received the rank of Marshal under King Charles IX. The liberation of Greece, which was a demand of the public in France, contributed to the granting of this rank, on February 22, 1829.

Marshal Nicolas-Joseph Maison. 19th century lithography (SHP collection).

Nicolas-Joseph Maison died on February 13, 1840 in Paris, at the age of seventy-one, after a short and sudden illness.

During his career he was honoured with many medals. Among them we distinguish the medal of the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour awarded on July 23, 1814, the medal of the Order of St. Louis in 1818, the medal of the Order of Charles III of Spain in 1835, the medal of the Order of Leopold of Belgium in 1836, etc. In Greece he was honoured with the Order of the Grand Cross of the Redeemer on November 26, 1834. In addition, his name is engraved on the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, along with the names of other great generals of France. In Greece, streets in Athens, Patras and Kalamata are named after him, to remind to the people  of his kind contribution to the liberation and restoration of the Peloponnese and Greece.

Maison street in the centre of Athens

The signature of Marshal Nicolas-Joseph Maison.

Commemorative medal of the presence of General Maison and the Expeditionary Corps in the Peloponnese (SHP collection).


  • Driault Édouard – Michel Lhéritier, Histoire diplomatique de la Grèce, de 1821 à nos jours, Vol. 1, Paris, Presses Universitaires de France, 1925.
  • Gavard Ch., Gallérie des maréchaux de France, Paris, Galléries historiques de Versailles, 1839
  • Pascallet Étienne, Notice historique sur M. le maréchal Marquis Maison – Extrait de la Revue générale biographique et nécrologique, Paris, Breteau – Pichery, 1845.
  • Γενική Εφημερίς της Ελλάδος,
    • αρ. φ. 31, 24 Απριλίου 1829,
    • αρ. φ. 34, 4 Μαΐου 1829 (λόγος ευχαριστήριος προς τον Στρατάρχη),
    • αρ. φ. 38-39, 22 Μαΐου 1829,
    • αρ. φ. 78, 20 Νοεμβρίου 1829.
  • Εφημερίδα Αθηνά, αρ. φ. 907, 8 Απριλίου 1842 έως αρ. φ. 909, 15 Απριλίου 1842.
  • Εφημερίδα Αιών, αρ. φ. 6Μαρτίου 1840.
  • Ηλεκτρονική βάση απονεμηθέντων παρασήμων της Λεγεώνας της Τιμής, Dossier LΗ1698/41.
  • Θεμελή-Κατηφόρη Δέσποινα, Το γαλλικό ενδιαφέρον για την Ελλάδα στην περίοδο του Καποδίστρια, 1828-1831, Αθήνα, Επικαιρότητα, 1985.
  • Κρεμμυδάς Βασίλης, «Ο Γαλλικός Στρατός στην Πελοπόννησο. Συμβολή στην ιστορία της Καποδιστριακής περιόδου», Πελοποννησιακά, τόμος ΙΒ΄ (1976-1977), σσ. 75-102.
  • Μπαλωτή Ξένη, Μαιζών, ένας μεγάλος Φιλέλληνας – Η εκστρατεία του στην Πελοπόννησο, Αθήνα, Ελληνική Ευρωεκδοτική, 1993.
  • Παπαγεωργίου Στέφανος, Η στρατιωτική πολιτική του Καποδίστρια – Δομή, οργάνωση και λειτουργία του Στρατού Ξηράς της Καποδιστριακής περιόδου, Αθήνα, Εστία, 1986.


Karl Wilhelm Freiherr von Heideck Lithography of the 19nth century


Karl Wilhelm Freiherr von Heideck, also known as Heidegger (not to be confused with the famous philosopher of the 20th century), is associated with the fate of the foundation of the new Greek state, with his dual military and artistic identity.

He was an experienced soldier and officer, who took part in the Greek war of Independence during the period 1826 – 1829, while in the years 1833 – 1835 he served as one of the three advisers to King Otto, until he reached his maturity. He was an educated and charismatic painter, who created impressive war compositions, drawing inspiration from the Greek revolutionaries in combination with the Greek landscape. His work added a heroic dimension to the struggle of the Greeks for their independence. Forged on the battlefields of the Napoleonic Wars, he was regarded as a capable military man who, among other things, possessed important administrative skills. It was this fine combination that led the first Governor of Greece, Ioannis Kapodistrias, to entrust him with the demanding task of reorganizing the army. The creation of the first military school, which later evolved into the Military School of Evelpidon, is largely attributed to Heideck.

He was born on December 6, 1788 in Sarralbe (Lothringen, Département Moselle) and was the son of the Swiss-French officer and amateur painter Hartmann Heidegger. He received his first education at the Zurich School of Fine Arts, and in 1801 he moved to Munich, where he enrolled at the Military Academy, without interrupting his painting studies. In 1805, after being naturalized Bavarian, he enlisted in the Bavarian army and took part as an artillery lieutenant in the campaigns of 1805, 1806 and 1809 against Austria, Prussia and Tyrol. In 1810 he found himself a volunteer lieutenant in the French army in Spain, against Napoleon, and was promoted there to a captain. The first experiences on the battlefields gave him material for some of his paintings, which, however, were created later. One of them isconcerns the Bridge of Cuenca (Die Brücke von Cuenca, 1825) from the area of ​​Castilla-La Mancha. His work Scene from the Massacre at Hanau on October 30, 1813 (Szene aus der Schlacht von Hanau am 30 Oktober 1813, 1840) is related to his participation in the so-called German Liberation Wars (Befreiungskriege). In 1814 he accompanied to England, with the rank of major, the then still Prince, Ludwig I of Bavaria (Ludwig I), father of the later King Othon of Greece. He also participated in the Congress of Vienna (September 18, 1814 – June 9, 1815).

Ludwig I of Bavaria, on whose side Heideck served for many years, was possessed, as a fervent Hellenist, by sincere philhellenic sentiments, which he manifested openly from the moment the Greek Revolution broke out. Indicative of his attitude is the historical report that when he was informed of the victory of Karaiskakis in the battle of Arachova (November 18-24, 1826), he exclaimed with enthusiasm: “My Greece has been resurrected!”.

Heideck was influenced, being a confidant of Ludwig I, by his philhellenic feelings. The Bavarian monarch himself in a letter to Kapodistrias (August 12, 1826), mentioned Heideck’s desire to come to Greece in person, and with him the most valuable officers of his army, in their Bavarian uniform and salary to be paid by the monarchy. “Thirsty only to serve the interest of humanity, they are only valued to serve you, providing their skill, knowledge and manliness“, he wrote and asked the members of the Greek government to accept them. The Bavarian philhellenic mission to Greece finally took place in the autumn of 1826 and was coordinated by the leader of the European philhellenic movement, the banker of Geneva, Jean Gabriel Eynard.

When Colonel Heideck met with a total of fourteen of his officers in December 1826 in Greece, he found himself in the vortex of war, and faced the new conditions after the tragic Fall of Messolonghi in April of the same year. The commander of the enemy forces, Mehmet Reshit Pasha or Kioutachis, had directed his army to central Greece with its final target being Athens. He had gathered 10,000 cavalry, infantry and artillery. The besieged Greeks in the Acropolis of Athens, who numbered only 1,400, drew moral strength from the example of the “Free Besieged” Messolonghi. When Athens was occupied by Turkish troops in August of the same year, the Athenians fortified themselves on the Acropolis led by head of the guard of the city, Giannis Gouras, and expected help from Karaiskakis and from the French philhellene general Fabvier.

Heideck had arrived with money and ammunition, and his clear plan was to organize a regular army composed by Greeks and his Philhellenes. He was, in fact, willing to fight under the orders of Greek commanders, to succeed in his mission, while it is stated that he had no narrow personal ambitions to satisfy. However, his willingness and enthusiasm to serve his philhellenic purpose in practice did not find initially find suitable ground among the members of the Greek government. In fact, the French philhellene Dr. Bailly in turn prevented him, explaining to him how difficult it was for the Greek revolutionaries to join a corps in line with foreign standards. One possibility was that those who would have agreed to fight wearing the uniform of the regular army, at the critical moment of the battle, would withdraw to join the forces of the Greek irregular fighters. Realizing these objective difficulties, Heideck rightly chose to remain discreetly on the side of the Greek fighters, following their advice.

Watercolor by George E. Opiz (1775-1841). It shows the leader of the Bavarian Philhellenic Corps, Karl Wilhelm von Heideck.

Thus, he put himself in the service of the Struggle, initially following the deployment of the Greek troops in Piraeus and Faliro under the leadership of Karaiskakis. The urgent need to end the siege of the Acropolis (if it fell, the whole of Central Greece would submit), led to military initiatives in the sea. During this period, the state-of-the-art frigate Hellas arrived in Greece from the USA, while a little earlier the first steamship warship Karteria had also arrived, commanded by the famous English Philhellene, Frank Abney Hastings. The two emblematic ships had been purchased with the first loans received by Greece, and were assigned the task to serve as a distraction for the supply of the Greek forces on land, in order to alleviate the siege of the Acropolis. The frigate Hellas would block the north coast of Attica and Karteria would provide artillery support from Piraeus. At the same time, two corpses would land south of Athens to advance towards the city. Heideck agreed to serve under the command of the operation’s coordinator, Colonel Gordon. One unit of men would land in Elefsina and another in Faliro. Unfortunately, the plan did not go as originally scheduled, as the Turks immediately realized their moves. Faliro’s failure disappointed Gordon, who resigned and suggested to the Greek government to give a chance to Heideck to cut off the Turkish supply line to the north, launching an attack on the fortress of Oropos. Indeed, on February 26, Heideck assigned the frigate Hellas under the command of Miaoulis, the Karteria, under the command of Hastings, and a third ship, the Nelson viper, to reach Oropos.

Karteria and Hellas. Lithography of Karl Krazeisen (SHP collection)

The Greek forces landed in Oropos, suffered some losses, however they caused significant damage to the Turks and managed to cut off for a while the lines of supply and communication of Kioutachis who was besieging the fort of the Acropolis.

Heideck had met Ioannis Kapodistrias at the Congress of Vienna, and had decided to enlist in the Greek cause. At the same time, he may have had a thirst for adventure and action. In any case, he had envisioned assisting the Greeks in their painstaking effort to build the new Greek state. A perspective that was warmly supported by the Philhellene king Ludwig I. His offer was gratefully accepted by Kapodistrias, who was eagerly looking for capable companions for his vision. His office, his relationship with the philhellenic committees, the fact that he was a man of his age with equivalent experiences, multilingual and with a humanistic education, created in Kapodistrias a feeling of mutual respect and trust in Heideck, which gradually developed into a political and personal friendship between the two men. Both men attached great importance to the idea of ​​a modern European state and to the need to create a regular army, which would function as a central force to support the independence of the newly created state.

In the summer of 1827 Kapodistrias appointed Heideck governor of his capital (Nafplio). From this position Heideck immediately tried to stop the hostilities within the city walls and ordered the fighting groups to gather in camps outside its gates. In order to protect Palamidi from possible riots, he ordered the transfer of ammunition to the lower city, which could be better controlled thanks to its high fortifications, and established an arms depot. Because Kapodistrias considered him a man who could not be manipulated by personal passions, he assigned him the role of commander of the regular army, a position previously held by Fabvier. Heideck organized a unit for the supply of the army and took care of the repair of the ruined fortresses. On his initiative, the castle of Heideck or Bourtzi was erected in the same year, in order to protect the port of Poros and Neorio.

Castle Boutzi or Heideck in Nafplio. Lithography of Karl Krazeisen (SHP collection)

He painted this castle very faithfully in his oil painting in 1837. According to the testimony of the architect Leo von Klenze, he maintained a painting studio in Nafplio, although he always stressed that the purpose of his presence in Greece was his contribution to the organization of the state and not painting.

Kapodistrias was particularly pleased with these services of Heideck, and sent a letter to Ludwig I (February 26, 1828), in which he asked for his trusted collaborator to remain in Greece for another year. At the same time, he asked him to send to Greece “officers similar to K. Heideck and K. Snitslain for the artillery, the brigade, and the infantry”. On July 1, 1828, Kapodistrias founded the Evelpidon Military School (Central War School), in the operation and organization of which Heideck contributed, together with the French officer Pauzie.

The health of the trusted collaborator of the Greek Governor’s was particularly dire. Nevertheless, Kapodistrias assigned him at the beginning of 1829 the supervision of all the Greek fortresses. Heideck also assumed the prominent position of senior guard of Argolis and Corinth, assisted in his work by Colonel Pissa.

Due to his shaky health, he was forced to return to his homeland on August 23, 1829, despite Kapodistrias’ appeals to stay longer in Greece.

Throughout his military career, he kept notes of all the political and military events and wrote reports to Ludwig I to inform him. He was also interested and recorded the manners and customs of the areas which he visited. Finally, he recorded all his experiences from the Bavarian mission during the years 1826-1829 in Greece, which were published in Munich in 1897 under the title: “Die bayerische Philhellenen-Fahrt 1826-1829 aus dem Randschriftlichen Rucklass des RB Generallieutenants Karl Freiherrn von Heideck” (“The Bavarian, Philhellenic Mission of 1826-1829 from the Notes of General Baron Charles von Heideck”). His impressions were republished in Greek in the magazine Armonia in 1900. He had also handed over to the young historian Leopold Ranke various documents and notes that he had collected during his presence in Greece, with the aim of perhaps writing the History of the Greek Revolution. Heideck considered that he had participated in a world class historic achievement. It was this belief that shaped his thinking about his future plans in Greece.

In the period between his return to Munich and his new travel to Greece, in 1833, as a member of Othon’s Regency, he devoted himself to painting, including the difficult art of mural painting. After his involvement in Greek affairs, Ludwig I considered him not just a favorite military man, but also a member of his closest circle, and the bond that developed between them was crucial for the developments in Greece, but also in Bavaria and at the House of Wittelsbach. He was the first person chosen by Ludwig I as a member of Othon’s three-member Regency, as he saw in him a capable guarantor for the consolidation of the monarchy in Greece. In addition, the good relationship that he had with Othon made him a good mentor to the king in a foreign and special country. Heideck’s philhellenism and faith in his vision for Greece, but also for his monarch, led him once again to the newly formed Greek state, where he remained from July 1832 to June 1835. He took command as commander-in-chief of the military and naval affairs, accompanied by the leader of the Bavarian Constitutional Party, Count Joseph von Armansberg and the former Bavarian Minister of Justice, Professor Ludwig von Maurer.

His work as a writer, which referred exclusively to events in which he took part or of which he was an eyewitness, was supported by his work as a painter, in which he depicts places and persons with whom he came in direct contact. Together with the Bavarian philhellene Karl Krazeisen, who also participated in the Struggle and painted portraits of Greek fighters, they were the only ones to depict the events at the time they took place, relying on their experiences and not after narrations by others. An exception to the rule is Heideck’s composition “Moscho and Lambros Tzavelas”, which depicts Tzavelas’ injury at the Battle of Kiafa (July 1792), which took place before the Greek revolution.

Karl von Heideck, Moscho and Lambros Tzavelas, 1831 (SHP collection)


The painter Heideck

Heideck’s approach as a painter was to create watercolors and preliminary sketches on the scene, keeping precise notes on the location and colors of the natural environment, so that he could later complete them as oil paintings in his homeland. He created over forty works that refer to Greece, depicting battle scenes, famous warriors, archeological sites and landscapes. Scenes with human types and animals, capturing details of everyday life, e.g. of the glamorous Greek costumes or the occupations of the locals, reflect his interest on the folklore and ethnography. His idealized, heroic compositions are remarkable, and attracted the interest of the art-loving public of his time, among which were nobles, bourgeois, but also the Bavarian king himself.

His painting is distinguished by special softness on the surface, intense brightness, emphasis on the use of colour and a very good perspective in the organization of the space. Thanks to the faithful rendering of the morphology and the details in his compositions, we can retrieve historical information from his time. For example, his work titled “Ascent to the Acropolis” (Αufgang zur Akropolis, 1835), preserves the image of the medieval walls of the Propylaea, which were demolished in 1835.

Karl von Heideck, Aufgang zur Akropolis, 1835, 74,0 x 88,5 cm

Moreover, his painting with subject the Monastiraki, faithfully renders scenes of everyday life in Athens of the early 1830s.

Karl von Heideck, Monastiraki in Athens (SHP collection)

His interest in the antiquities of Greece and Italy is evident in many of his works. Antiquity does not play a leading role in his compositions. However, it is used in the background to offer a historical frame to the figures of the fighters, to capture and offer the historical basis of the Liberation Struggle. We refer for example to the oil painting of “Pallikaren vor dem Tempel von Korinth” (1829).

Karl von Heideck, Palikaren vor dem Tempel von Corinth, 1829, 46 x 59,8 cm

The composition “Camp of the Greeks during the Liberation Struggle” offers an artistic presumption for the cooperation of Greeks and Philhellenes during the Greek Revolution. There are no scenes of hostilities between Greeks and Turks, but the moments when the fighters recover in their camp, emphasizing details of ethnographic interest, e.g. their costumes or occupations.

Karl von Heideck, Philhellenenlager während des Unabhängigkeitskrieges, 1835, oil, 65x 84 cm

Theodoros Vryzakis painting “The camp of Karaiskakis” (1855) was based on the above mentioned work by Heideck. Vryzakis was one of the first Greeks to enroll at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. In this work he depicted Greek and Philhellene fighters who had encamped at Faliro during the Siege of the Acropolis. Based on the portraits by Krazeisen, he depicted Karaiskakis, Tzavelas, Makrygiannis, Notaras, Gordon, Hastings and Karl von Heideck, to whom he pays tribute.

Theodore Vryzakis, «Karaiskakis’ camp in Pireas in 1827», 1855, 145 x 178 cm

Greece expressed its own gratitude to the Philhellene Heideck for his contribution during the years 1826-1829, granting him Greek political rights. Upon his final return to his homeland, he was awarded the title of Baron (Freiherr), Lieutenant General, and served as an adviser to the Ministry of War. He passed away on February 21, 1861.

Karl von Heideck’s grave

Sources – Bibliography:

  • Berthold Seewald, Karl Wilhelm Von Heideck: Ein Bayerischer General Im Befreiten Griechenland (1826-1835) (Beiträge Zur Militärgeschichte), Walter de Gruyter 1994
  • Vereinigung der deutsch-griechischen Gesellschaften (Hg.), Hellenika. Jahrbuch für griechische Kultur und deutsch-griechische Beziehungen. Neue Folge 9. LIT Verlag, Münster 2014
  • William St Clair, That Greece might still be free. The Philhellenes in the War of Independence, Open Book Publishers 2008
  • Ιωάννης Καποδίστριας, Επιστολαί Ι.Α. Καποδίστρια, Κυβερνήτου της Ελλάδος, διπλωματικαί, διοικητικαί και ιδιωτικαί, γραφείσαι από 8 Απριλίου 1827 μέχρις 26 Σεπτεμβρίου 1831, Τόμοι 1-2, Τύποις Κ. Ράλλη, 1841
  • Κωνσταντίνος Παπρρηγόπουλος, Ιστορία του Ελληνικού Έθνους, τόμος ΙΒ, Η Ελληνική Επανάσταση (1821- 1832)
  • Douglas Dakin, Η ενοποίηση της Ελλάδας, 1770-1923, Μορφωτικό Ίδρυμα Εθνικής Τραπέζης, Αθήνα 2005
  • Διονύσιος Κόκκινος, Η Ελληνική Επανάσταση, εκδόσεις Μέλισσα 1974
  • Μιλτιάδης Παπανικολάου, Γερμανοί ζωγράφοι εικονογραφούν το 1821, 7 Ημέρες, εφημερίδα Καθημερινή


Admiral Henri de Rigny, painting by Guillaume-François-Gabriel Lépaulle


Marie Henri Daniel Gaulthier de Rigny, better known in Greek history as Admiral de Rigny, was born on February 2, 1782 in the city of Toul in the region of Meurthe in France. His father, according to a French biography, was “Jean François Gautier de Rigni”; he was an officer and Knight of the Royal and Military Order of St. Louis. Henry de Rigny lost him at the age of ten. His mother’s name was Perpétue Louis. His family was conservative and royalist, which forced them to leave France after the French Revolution, leaving the young de Rigny to his aunt with the rest of his brothers.

After completing his studies at the Brest Naval Academy, de Rigny enlisted in the French Navy as a cadet on the frigate “Embuscade” in 1798. He later became a non-commissioned officer and was placed on the frigate “La Bravoure” and then on “Le Muiron”. He took part in many operations against the English fleet and in missions to the French Antilles. In 1803 he was a Sublieutenant, appointed captain of a corvette. In 1806 and 1807 he served in the naval guard, which had been placed under the auspices of the Army. He fought in the campaigns in Prussia, Poland, in the battles of Iena and Pultusk, as well as in the sieges of Stralsund and Graudentz, where he was wounded.

Henri de Rigny also participated in the campaign in Spain in 1808, and he took part in battles in Rio-Secco and Sommo-Sierra, where he was again wounded. He also fought at Wagram in 1809, with the rank of Lieutenant. In 1811 he was promoted to Commander, and in 1816 to Captain. In May 1822 he was called to command the French naval forces in the East. During this time he carried out many missions against Greek and Turkish piracy in the Mediterranean and managed to ensure the safety of the navigation. His courage and qualifications were appreciated and he was promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral in 1825.

During his naval presence in the East, he closely followed the conflicts between Greeks and Turks, and his philhellenic feelings led him many times to play the role of mediator between the Greeks and the Turks.

At the Battle of the Mills (Myloi in Peloponnese, Greece), for example, according to the Minutes of the Greek Senate and Rigas Palamidis, Dimitrios Ypsilantis received from de Rigny (who was present in the Bay of Myloi) advice and food supplies, which helped him achieve his goal. Moreover, Admiral de Rigny welcomed on his ship and cured the wounded General Makrygiannis. In addition, after the failed campaign of Karystos in 1826, when the Turks burned villages in the area, de Rigny rescued a large number of Greeks trying to escape.

19th century lithography. It depicts the French Admiral de Rigny (SHP collection)

A top case of his actions in favour of the Greeks, was his intervention for the release of Greek and Philhellenes prisoners after the failed battle of Haidari (Athens), but also for the safe removal and capitulation of the Athens Guard of the Acropolis sieged by the Turks, without hope of salvation, in June 1827. The Admiral’s correspondence was published in the Geniki Efimeris of August 1827; it testifies his tireless efforts to ensure the safety of those who were leaving the fortress, warriors and civilian population. In fact, as reported by Christos Byzantios, the Regular Corps boarded the Flag ship of Admiral de Rigny, who had mediated with Kioutachis Pascha all the previous time. There the Regular Corps “received great care” after the deprivations it had suffered, while the other warriors of the guard boarded other French ships.

De Rigny also took several initiatives to distribute food aid to alleviate the army and the poor Greek population. This fact is confirmed by the correspondence of Kapodistrias with the three Admirals of the allied forces.

The great moment in the career of Admiral de Rigny, was his participation in October 1827 in the Naval Battle of Navarino. De Rigny was the captain of the flagship of the French fleet (the frigate “La Sirène”). The French fleet cooperated with British and Russian forces. The Three Powers were called upon to enforce to the warring Greeks and Turkish-Egyptians the decisions of the Treaty of London of June 1827 (Greek Peace Treaty), which called for an end to hostilities and the start of peace talks, while allowing the foundation of a Greek state under the sovereignty of the Sultan. The treaty contained a very important article, according to which the country that would not accept the conditions would be forced by the Great Powers to capitulate. As expected, the Greek side willingly accepted the proposal of the three allies, while Turkey did not accept the Treaty.

19th century lithography. It depicts the French Admiral de Rigny (SHP collection)

Ibrahim had other plans, and continued with undiminished intensity his military operations in the Peloponnese, on land and sea, and the gradual transfer of the Greek population to Africa. It should be noted here that the allies had asked the Greek fleet, commanded by Cochrane, to withdraw to the Aegean. However, commander Hastings was left to patrol the Corinthian gulf, and after the battle of Agali (Itea), he neutralized the Turkish fleet, thus forcing Ibrahim to organize military and naval operations in the area. With this attitude, he gave the allied fleet the pretext it needed to achieve a final solution.

The Turkish-Egyptian fleet was significant both in number of ships and in firepower. But the crews were lacking in capabilities, and could not face the Allied fleet on the high seas. So Ibrahim chose to set a trap for the Allied fleet at Navarino, where he could muster the power of his ship’s cannons and that of the forts’ cannons, and have a good chance of success.

The fleets of the three powers entered the Gulf of Navarino and anchored in order to implement the Treaty. That is, either to persuade Ibrahim to leave (which was impossible), or to destroy his fleet, and thus his ability to receive supplies.

The Turkish-Egyptian fleet had managed to anchor in the lagoon and had formed a semicircle. Despite warnings from the British and the French Admiral, Ibrahim did not comply and opened fire on an English boat. The naval battle followed, on October 8/20, 1827, in which Ibrahim’s fleet was almost completely destroyed by the fleet of the three forces. The Turkish fleet consisted of 89 ships and 41 transporters, while the Allied ships did not exceed 30. The report of the naval battle was published in the newspaper “Geniki Efimeris of Greece”, on October 19, 1827.

The naval battle at Navarino, painting by a French painter. It bears the signature and date “Huet 1828” (SHP collection).

The European and American public opinion accepted with enthusiasm the result of the naval battle, as it was considered a victory of a people who had shed for six years their blood for their freedom, without the full support that the civilized world should have given them. The battle of Navarino saved the Greek Revolution from collapse and was a decisive step to ensure Greek independence a little later.

The role of the French forces and Admiral de Rigny was crucial. It is worth emphasizing that this victory was also important for France, which was again victorious in an important naval battle, after a long time. Admiral de Rigny had managed to organize the French fleet and make it re-combatable and equal to that of the other great powers.

Finally, it is worth remembering that the Battle of Navarino was the last major naval battle in history conducted entirely with sailing boats.

This brilliant victory resulted in de Rigny being honored in France with the rank of Vice-Admiral, the title of Earl and the post of Naval Commander of Toulon.

After the Battle of Navarino, Ibrahim found himself in a very difficult position: in August 1828, an agreement was signed between the ruler of Egypt, Muhammad Ali, and Admiral Codrington. The agreement provided for the Turkish-Egyptian army to leave the Peloponnese and return to Egypt. Ibrahim systematically refused to abide by the agreement. This resulted in France setting up the famous Expédition de Morée (15.000 troops), to clear the area of ​​Turkish-Egyptian troops. With short military operations by the French troops, supported by de Rigny’s navy, all the castles of Peloponnese surrendered: Navarino (October 6, 1828), Methoni (October 7, 1828), Koroni (October 9, 1828) and of course the castle Moria near Rio of Patras (October 30, 1828). In all these operations, which founded the freedom of Greece, de Rigny’s role was decisive.

Marshal Maison meets with Ibrahim Pasha in Navarino in September 1828. Painting by Jean-Charles Langlois.

The French Admiral de Rigny had reached himself a personal agreement with Ibrahim on the process of withdrawal and embarkation of the Turkish-Egyptian troops, as shown by an agreement between them published in the newspaper L’Abeille Grecque, dated September 7, 1828. It is worth noting that the French expeditionary force had explicitly forbidden the departure of the Greek population together with the Turkish-Egyptians, without accepting any exceptions and for any reason.

The SHP has in its collection an important handwritten letter sent by Admiral de Rigny to Madame de Rigny in Paris dated “On the 14th (October 1828) in Navarino”. Unfortunately the reading and translation of the letter has not been possible so far, due to the extremely illegible graphic character of the author. However, from words and parts of phrases that we were able to discern and translate, we can say with confidence that in the three condensed pages of the letter, de Rigny refers to personal issues, but mainly to the course of the operations related to the departure of the Turkish-Egyptian troops: “… I just saw the exit (of Ibrahim’s troops) to Egypt, a complete abandonment … ”.

The letter was transported by a French warship to Marseilles, where it was disinfected, and then by mail-wagon to Paris, where it arrived on November 16, 1828.

Handwritten autograph letter sent by Admiral de Rigny to Madame de Rigny in Paris dated “14th (October 1828) in Navarino” (SHP collection).

Shortly afterwards, de Rigny returned to France, accompanying General Maison’s French troops.

In 1829, Admiral de Rigny asked to be appointed Minister of the Navy, but ultimately refused to take up his duties, and at his request was re-appointed commander of the French naval forces of the East, a position that he held until 1830, when he was forced to return to Toulon again for health reasons.

In 1830, after the July Revolution, he was appointed Minister of the Navy for a short time, and then again in March 1831. In the same year he was elected Member of Parliament, and remained Minister. During his tenure he fought for the settlement of issues related to the promotion of officers, but also for the protection of French interests in the country’s colonies, through specific legislation. On April 4, 1834, he was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs until November 10. He then returned to the Ministry of the Navy and remained Minister until March 4, 1835. He then resigned, but retained the title of Secretary-General of the Navy.

In June 1834 he was re-elected Member of Parliament, while in August 1835 he served on a French mission in Naples. When he returned to France in October, he fell ill. He died on November 6, 1835 in Paris, at the age of 53. About a year before he died he married Adèle Narcisse Defontaine with whom he had a daughter who was born after his death.

His funeral speech, published in Le journal des débats, underlines the charitable sentiments of de Rigny and his tireless work to combat piracy in the Aegean, to protect the Greek refugees, the captives, the persecuted by the Turks-Egyptians and especially the hungry ones of whom de Rigny took care, providing money and clothing sent from France. His contribution to the exchange and rescue of Greek prisoners by Ibrahim, is vividly reflected in the French press of Greece.

During his career he was awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of the Legion of Honor, on August 12, 1832, in France, the Russian medal of the Order of St. Alexander Nevsky and the English medal of the Order of the Bath, of the Commander of the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus, of Savoy. In Greece he was honoured with the medal of the Grand Cross of the Order of the Redeemer.

Many streets in Attica and other cities in Greece bear his name.

DERIGNY street (de Rigny) in the centre of Athens.

Moreover, Mount Rigny in Greenland bears the name of the great French Admiral.

His name was also given to streets in many cities in France (Paris, Nancy, Toul, Saint-Amand-Longpré, Arc-lès-Gray).

A monument in Pylos, Greece, dedicated to the brave Admirals and pioneers of the Battle of Navarino, bears his name.

Monument in Pylos dedicated to French Admiral de Rigny and the other two admirals (Codrington and Hayden)

The French Admiral, Count Henri de Rigny. Commemorative medal of 1835. The obverse side presents Victory (SHP collection).

De Rigny helped significantly the struggle of the Greeks, during most of its phases and on many occasions. Under his capacity of commander of the French fleet at the Battle of Navarino, his name remains indelible to remind his crucial contribution to the liberation and independence of Greece.

Greece and the Greeks, pay homage to the great Admiral.

19th century mantle clock, made in France. It presents the French Admiral de Rigny (SHP collection)

19th century lithography. It depicts the French Admiral de Rigny (SHP collection)



  • Correspondance du comte J. Capodistrias, président de la Grèce, Tome 2, Genève, Paris, 1832.
  • Driault Édouard – Michel Lhéritier, Histoire diplomatique de la Grèce, de 1821 à nos jours, τ. 1, Paris, Presses Universitaires de France, 1925.
  • Ασπρέας Γεώργιος, Πολιτική ιστορία της νεωτέρας Ελλάδος (1821-1912), Αθήνα, Χρήσιμα βιβλία, 1930.
  • Βακαλόπουλος Απόστολος, Ιστορία της Ελληνικής Επαναστάσεως του 1821, Αθήνα, ΟΕΔΒ, 1971.
  • 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, Αθήνα, χ.ε., 1901.
  • Γενική Εφημερίς της Ελλάδος, τεύχη των ετών 1827 και 1828.
  • Εφημερίδα Journal des Débats, 12 Νοεμβρίου
  • Εφημερίδα L’Abeille Grecque, αρ. φ. 91, 17/29 Σεπτεμβρίου 1828, αρ. φ. 99, 16/28 Οκτωβρίου 1828, αρ. φ. 100, 20 Οκτωβρίου/1 Νοεμβρίου 1828.
  • Ηλεκτρονική βάση απονεμηθέντων παρασήμων της Λεγεώνας της Τιμής, Dossier LΗ2330/67.
  • Πρακτικά των συνεδριάσεων της Γερουσίας, Περίοδος Ε΄, 1858, συνεδρίαση 31/1/1857, Εν Αθήναις, Εκ του Δημοσίου Τυπογραφείου, 1858.