The Society for Hellenism and Philhellenism (SHP) participated in the ceremony organized on June 20, 2021 by the Municipality of Peta (municipality of Nikolaos Skoufa) in favor of the fallen Hungarian Philhellenes in Peta.
During the event, the mayor of Peta, Ms. Rozina Vavetsi, and the Greek-Hungarian Ambassador to Greece, Erik Haupt, inaugurated a monument in memory of the Hungarian Philhellenes fighters who died in Greece during the Greek struggle for liberation.
Two members of SHP’s advisory committee presented the relations between Greece and Hungary, the contribution of the Hungarian Philhellenes to the struggle of the Greeks and the participation of the Hungarians in the battle of Peta.
Then the Municipality of Peta (Nikolaos Skoufa), declared the ambassador Mr. Erik Haupt, honorary citizen.
The Battle of Peta is a milestone in the history of Europe, because for the first time European citizens from many different countries, who had been hostile to each other until then, came together to fight under the same flag for the same common values that make up the European civilisation.
The mayor Ms. Rozina Vavetsi implements a series of pioneering actions of high quality and aesthetics, which promote internationally the history and culture of the region and Greece, placing Peta at the center of international interest. SHP supports the work of the municipality of Nikolaos Skoufa Peta, with an emphasis on a series of events planned for during 2021, and for July 2022, the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Peta.
The Society for Hellenism and Philhellenism (SHP) participated in the ceremony and event organized on June 25, 2021 by the Municipality of Hydra in favor of two American Philhellenes, who had a strong presence in Hydra, and offered their lives in the struggle of the Greeks. William Washington and Georges Jarvis.
During the ceremony, the mayor Dr. G. Koukoudakis, the President of the Municipal Council Mrs. A. Mavromatis and the American Ambassador to Greece Mr. G. Pyatt, inaugurated a road sign of the island, which will now be named after the two American Philhellenes fighters who died in Greece during the liberation struggle of 1821.
During the event, two members of SHP’s Advisory Committee and the Director of the Gennadios Library, presented the story of William Washington and Georges Jarvis, the story of other important American Philhellenes from Boston, the Exhibition on the American Philhellenism at the Philhellenism Museum and the exhibition the Free and the Brave by Gennadios.
The event was honored by the presence of the Attica Regional Governor Mr. G. Patoulis and the Deputy Regional Governor for Culture Mrs. Vidalis.
The mayor Dr. G. Koukoudakis, implements a series of innovative actions of high quality and aesthetics, which promote internationally Philhellenism and the history and culture of Hydra and Greece, placing the historic island in the center of international interest.
A delegation of the Academy of Athens visits the Philhellenism Museum.
The members of the Academy were given a tour of the Museum, were informed about the collections and the archives of the Society for Hellenism and Philhellenism and examined prospects for future cooperation.
The photo shows the Members of the Academ Mr. Michalis Tiverios, Ms. Chryssa Maltezou, Mr. Paschalis Kitromilidis, the Ad H Ambassador Mr. Dimitrios Tsikouris, Mr. Constantinos Velentzas and the executive of the Academy of Athens Ms. Louiza Karapidaki.
William Townsend Washington (1802-1827) was an American Philhellene from the State of Virginia in the United States of America. He was a Lieutenant in the US Army (4th Artillery Regiment). After attending the West Point Military Academy, he spent some time in France, where he befriended General Lafayette (Gilbert du Motier de Lafayette, 1757-1834). Upon his return to the United States, Secretary of Defense John C. Calhoun (1782-1850) assigned him a military teaching position.
Excited by the Greek issue, Washington resigned from the US Amy in order to go to Greece. He was aware of the importance his surname carried due to his relationship with the first President of the United States, George Washington. Washington used his name to promote his plans for Greece.
William Townsend Washington arrived in Greece in June 1825 as an envoy of the Philhellenic Committee in Boston. Edward Everett (1794-1865), founder of the Committee, recommended Washington to Alexandros Mavrokordatos, as he strongly believed in this young man’s devotion to the Greek Cause. Washington arrived in Greece wearing an impressive Hussar officer uniform.
This is probably the sixth American Philhellene who came to Greece as an envoy of the committees, based on all records we have up to this date. Some American Philhellenes had already visited Greece before Washington: George Jarvis in 1822; Officer Jonathan Peckham Miller, Navy Officer John M. Allen and Richard W. Ruddock arrived in 1824. The prominent American Philhellene, physician Samuel Gridley Howe, arrived in Greece in early January 1825.
During the period that Washington was active in Greece, the American Philhellene Merrett Bolles arrived from Ohio. He was a captain of the American Navy, who served in the Regular Army in Greece (1825 – July 1826) under the French Philhellene General Charles Fabvier.
Washington arrives in Greece at a very critical point of the Greek Struggle. In the winter of 1824-1825, Ibrahim landed in the Peloponnese. The Greek forces are in disarray, with many chiefs in prison. Papaflessas decides to defend the Greek positions in Maniaki, Messinia, thus preventing Ibrahim’s forces from spreading to the Peloponnese. He falls heroically in the Battle of Maniaki in May 1825. The government appoints Theodoros Kolokotronis chief commander of the army. However, the Greek forces are unable to confront the regular army of Ibrahim.
The French Philhellene Fabvier undertakes to organize a regular army (from July 1825 onwards).
In order to confront Ibrahim, the Greek government asked already in May 1825 the London Philhellenic Committee to reinforce the Greek revolutionary forces with another 4,000 men.
Already in October of the previous year, the Philhellenic Committees in the USA proposed to the London Philhellenic Committee to form and send to Greece a Legion of Philhellenes volunteers, which they would finance. The London Committee requested approval by the Greek government. This proposal was not implemented, probably because the Greek military believed that certain Greek politicians would use this Legion to strengthen their powers. The fighters in the irregular army worried that the existence of a regular army corps would mean that they themselves had to be subject to rules of discipline.
The necessity of a foreign Legion of regular army is recognized by Andreas Louriotis and Ioannis Orlandos, who also negotiated the first national loan to Greece. They suggested Charles James Napier (1782-1853), a British officer and a representative of the British authorities in Cephalonia, to lead this corps. Several Philhellenes agreed that a foreign military corps would assist the Greeks significantly in their Struggle. French Philhellene, General Roche, tried to convince general Georgios Karaiskakis about the positive influence that such a corps would have on the Greek Cause.
Washington arrives in Greece in June 1825, and raises the issue of founding a “Foreign Legion” to further strengthen the Greek Struggle. He does not imagine a corps, which would be staffed exclusively by American volunteers. Washington dreams of an international Legion, composed by Americans, French, Italians, Germans and Irish officers. He accepted that the Greek government would define the percentage of participation for each nation. The soldiers would be recruited in Ireland; in case the British government rejected this option, the soldiers would be found in Switzerland and the USA. It is understandable, that the transfer of volunteers from Ireland and Switzerland was incomparably easier than the one of American volunteers.
Washington had specific plans regarding the formation of this Legion, which he aspired to lead, as he bore a name with historical significance.
In Hydra he met the Kountouriotis family, then went on to Nafplio to meet Alexandros Mavrokordatos. In July 1825 he announces his full plan to Mavrokordatos, citing a detailed calculation of the expenses for the maintenance and transportation of the new army corps. He requests that the volunteers fighting in Greece would have the rights of a Greek citizen after the Liberation. Then Washington formally requests the Greek Administration’s approval for his plan, in order to visit the European capitals (London, Paris and Dublin) and gather his officers. After this he would lead the Legion to Greece.
For the reasons stated above, Washington’s Plan was finally abandoned.
When the Greek politicians submitted an “Act of Subordination” to Great Britain, Washington, along with other Philhellenes, strongly reacted against the possibility of Greece being put under English protection (as was the case for the Ionian Islands), after its liberation from the Ottomans. The American Philhellenes, in consultation with the French General Roche, submitted a written protest to the Greek government asking them not to proceed in such a direction.
In fact, Washington adopted a tough stance against Great Britain, and promoted (along with General Roche) the assignment of the Greek throne to a member of the French royal family. Both of them tried to impose this political line on the Philhellenic Committees in the USA and France. This attitude, however, was renounced by both countries.
This evolution in Greece disappointed Washington, who decided to leave the country in 1825. In fact, he started his journey from Smyrna. While he was in Smyrne, he was wearing a Greek attire, provoking the hateful gaze of the Ottomans. During his trip, he was informed that England would not undertake the protection of Greece. So he asked to go to Messolonghi (October 1825). There he fell ill and was transported to Nafplio.
His country’s attitude on the subject hurt him so much that he wrote a harsh letter criticizing strongly his own homeland.
In May 1827 he went to Zakynthos, which was under British administration. There, it is said that he fell in love with Markos Botsaris’ daughter, Vasiliki, whom he asked to marry. Markos’s brother, Costas Botsaris, refused to agree to this marriage.
After Zakynthos he went to Nafplio, and joined the forces of Chief Photomaras. In fact, it is reported that he fought bravely. At the same time he worked to reconcile the warring factions of the Greeks.
During a clash between Greek factions on July 16, 1827, Washington was eventually killed by a shot fired from Palamidi towards the city of Nafplio. He was taken to the British ship Asia, where he breathed his last. He lost his life at the age of just 25, passionately serving the ideals he believed in and of course Greece, which he dearly loved.
The tomb of the American Philhellene, William Townsend Washington, is located in Hydra, the place where he was hosted when he arrived in Greece.
One thing is certain about the American Philhellene, William Townsend Washington. He fought bravely for Greece, which he loved with an incredible passion.
Sources – Bibliography:
- Barth, Wilhelm-Kehrig-Korn, Max, Die Philhellenenzeit. Von der Mitte des 18. Jahrhunderts bis zur Ermordung Kapodistrias‘ am 9. Oktober 1831, Max Hueber Verlag, Μόναχο, 1960
- Βαγενάς, Θάνος, Δημητρακοπούλου, Ευρυδίκη, Αμερικανοί Φιλέλληνες Εθελοντές στο Εικοσιένα, Μάτι, Αθήνα, 2017
- Μαζαράκης-Αινιάν, K. Iωάννης, Αμερικανικός Φιλελληνισμός 1821-1831, Iστορική και Εθνολογική Εταιρεία Ελλάδος, χ.ημ.
- Αρχείο ΕΕΦ
Professor Nikos Apostolidis, member of the Advisory Committee of SHP, talks about his important ancestor and his contribution to the Greek Revolution.
The Hungarian government recently erected a monument to Pay tribute to the fallen Hungarian Philhellenes in favor of the struggle for the independence of Greece, in the Municipality of Nikolaos Skoufas (Peta). At the same time, the Hungarian Parliament sent the national flag of the country to the Museum of Philhellenism in Athens.
The history of the two countries is of particular interest and has many coincidences.
Before referring to the Hungarian Philhellenism and its contribution to the Greek Revolution, it is important to recall the roots of the slogan of Alexander Ypsilantis, with which the Greek Revolution began.
FIGHT FOR FAITH AND HOMELAND.
This slogan has deep roots in Hungarian history.
The Hungarian Kingdom, after the beginning of the 16th century, was divided and politically unstable. It included the present-day Romania before its occupation under the Ottomans. In 1514 the revolt of György Dózsa took place in the area of present-day Hungary. He was a Hungarian nobleman from Transylvania, similarly with his many of his haiduks (the haiduks were the “Thieves” of the Northern Balkans), who were mainly farmers and monks or priests. Their main purpose was to defend themselves against the Turks. At the same time, the uprising had social inspirations. In this context, the haiduks farmers were fighting for the first time with the slogan “for the Christian faith and for their country”.
In 1552, during the Turkish occupation of Timisoara in Romania, the leader of a Hungarian military corps led his fighters into a hopeless unequal battle. In order to encourage his warriors, he asked them to fight for a glorious death for their faith and homeland (pro fide, pro patria). The history of this war was written by the contemporary Hungarian Franz von Forgách-Ghymes (1530 – 1577).
In 1605, the Hungarian Haiduks of Transylvania revolted under the leadership of the Hungarian Prince Istvan Bocsksai against the Emperor of Hungary and the Holy Roman Empire, Rudolf II. In a letter, Bocskai explained that the uprising was in defense of the “ancient freedom of the nation and the faith” and that they wanted the progress of their homeland (patria) Transylvania, which they considered “the light of the nation”. The same is explained by two other Hungarian chieftains of the Haiduks in their own letter:
“We rebelled and took up arms for the Christian religion, and for the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior and our sweetest homeland”.
In 1703-1711 the revolt of the Hungarian Francis (Ferenc) Rákóczi II (1676 – 1735) against the Austrians took place. The slogan was “with God for the homeland and freedom”. This uprising resulted in the provisional independence of Hungary and Transylvania. Armed forces from various ethnic groups in the Northern Balkans and Eastern Europe also fought with Rákóczi’s army.
A series of moving historical coincidences link the national hero of Hungary Rákóczi with Alexander Ypsilantis:
(a) The first lived his childhood in the castle of Mugats (today’s Western Ukraine) and later fought for it. Ypsilantis was imprisoned in the same castle and lived there the last years of his life.
(b) They both adopted the same slogan. FIGHT FOR FAITH AND HOMELAND.
(c) Rákóczi left Austria-Hungary after being defeated. In 1717 he went to the Ottoman Empire. The following year Austria and the Ottoman Empire signed the Treaty of Pasarovic, under which the Austrians asked the sultan to extradite Rákóczi. The sultan refused Austrian’s request. The same happened in reverse, when Ypsilantis went/fled in Austrian territory and under the same treaty, the Turks asked to hand Rákóczi over to them. The incident with the Hungarian revolutionary was the excuse for Austria not to hand over Ypsilantis to the Turks.
Rákóczi is a national hero in Hungary and the great Hungarian composer Franz List composed in his honor the Rákóczi procession, which is the unofficial anthem of Hungary.
The Philhellenism Museum has an important document dated in 1790. It is a letter sent by the French ambassador to Istanbul, Choiseul-Gouffier, in Austria. He had rescued a Hungarian noble officer, de Saint Jvani, from certain death in Turkish prisons, and after he recovered, the French ambassador tried to flee him to Trieste. It is reminded that Choiseul-Gouffier is the Philhellene author of the important work ‘Travel to Greece’ (‘Voyage Pittoresque sur la Grece’) and later, the president of the Greek-language Hotel in Paris. Ιt was the first secret organization for the liberation of Greece.
We recognize the common fate and the struggles of the two countries for their freedom.
In 1820, the Hungarian nobleman Szechenyi visited Greece. He admired the ancient Greek civilization, but also expressed his sorrow for the sufferings of the enslaved Greeks.
And we now come to the Greek Revolution.
The struggle of the Greeks moved the Hungarian people, who had contact with the action of the Greeks in Austria-Hungary, from the work of the Bishop Ignatius of Hungary, Anthimos Gazis, from the Society of Philomuses in Vienna, Hermes Logios, etc.
From 1821 onwards, many Greek refugees found refuge within Hungarian territory, while in the spring of 1824 Count Laszlo Festetich delivered an enthusiastic speech to the Hungarian Parliament in favor of the Greek cause.
The Paradicsom cafe in Pest was, together with the University of Pest, the fermentation points between Greeks and Hungarians, and the centers of dissemination of Greek positions. The Greek-Hungarian legion was gradually organized there, aiming to sending volunteers to Greece.
Many Hungarian volunteers came to Greece. First they were present in the battle of Peta.
Dobronoki, Emeryk (-1822). Polish Philhellene of Hungarian descent from the town of Dłużniewo (near Płońsk) or Suwałki. He came to Greece in February 1822. He served in the 2nd Corps of the Battalion of Philhellenes as a lieutenant and fell heroically in the battle of Peta on July 4, 1822. He is also incorrectly referred to as “Tabernocky”.
Czernianky, von (of unknown name). Hungarian Philhellene. Physician. He arrived in Greece in July 1822.
Descheffy, Karl von (-1822). Hungarian Philhellene. Also referred to as “Doeschessy” and “Deschettis”. Lieutenant of the Austrian Army during the Napoleonic Wars. Via Livorno, he arrived in February 1822 in Messolonghi. He served as an officer in the Infantry Regiment of the Regular Army. He fell heroically in the battle of Peta on July 4, 1822.
Radice or Radics (name unknown). Hungarian Philhellene. He arrived in Greece via Constantinople. Soldier of the German Legion since April 1822. His participation in the battle of Peta on July 4, 1822 is not testified.
However, many Hungarian Philhellenes also participated in many other phases of the Greek struggle.
Christotulo and Georg (name unknown). They fell heroically during the siege of the Acropolis of Athens on May 6, 1827.
Jeremias, Janos. He participated in the Greek Revolution. At the end of the National Uprising, he settled permanently in Greece. He retired in 1859 as a civil servant of the Greek state.
Kommaromi, Siegmund arrived in Messolonghi at the same time as Lord Byron did. Among the Hungarians who defended Messolonghi in the last siege were two women (only Maria Barotti’s name has survived). These women were injured and imprisoned during the Exodus. Another Hungarian Philhellene, known as Carl, was killed during the Exodus.
Lasso or Lasky, Christoph was a Hungarian volunteer from Budapest. He came to Greece in 1826 and was enlisted in the Regular Army. He fought in the battle of Haidari on August 6, 1826 and took part in the siege of the Acropolis of Athens. He fell heroically in the battle of Analatos on April 24, 1827.
Another Hungarian, Marc (of unknown name), was also killed in this battle.
Especially important is the story of a Hungarian Philhellene who came to Greece with his son.
Mangel or Mankel, Ernst. Hungarian Philhellene from Pest or according to other sources, from Transylvania. He came to Greece in 1822, with his son Michael Ernst Mangel. He participated in many battles and was wounded many times. He took part in the first siege of the Acropolis (as a messenger), in the battle of Dervenakia, in the siege of Nafplio (1822), in the military campaigns of Karystos, Chios, as well as in the battle of Haidari. He organized the first Greek military band that cheered the Greeks and Philhellenes up, before each battle. It has to be emphasized here that the military band was a central element of the operation of the regular army of the time. He was then appointed chief musician in the Greek Army. After the National Uprising he lived in Athens. He had a total of 22 children. Today many of his descendants live in Greece and in other European countries.
Mangel, Michael Ernst (1800-1887). He came to Greece with his father Ernst Mangel. After the Revolution he served as a major in the Greek Army and lived in Athens, where he died in January 1887. He was honored with 3 medals of outstanding deeds (Struggle, Bravery and the medal of the Redeemer). His son was a judge in Thebes in 1881. Today many of his descendants live in Greece.
Moreover, Hungarian artists also honored the struggle of the Greeks. One of them is Adalbert Schaffer. An important painting of his can be found today in the Philhellenism Museum in Athens.
Of special interest if the work of the Hungarian linguist JÓZSEF ACZÉL, whose studies show the long-term historical relationship of the Hungarian and Greek people.
In 1926 in his book “Szittya-görög eredetünk”, he wrote, among other things:
1) “The Hungarian language has three thousand word roots, which are identical to the Greek ones”.
2) “The ancient Greek texts, the texts of Byzantium and Scythia are identical”.
3) “Some of the words, when written, are surprisingly similar”.
And he continued:
“All over the world, except for the classical ancient languages (Greek and its “child “, Latin), only in Hungarian can poems be written in classical hexameter. This is a unique linguistic phenomenon!
(…) In some of the Hungarian folk songs, the melody is old and comes from the Scythian era (meaning the Thracians of the area)”.
The Society for Hellenism and Philhellenism, and the entire Greek people, thank the people of Hungary for their commitment to the values of Greek culture, and their contribution to the Greek Revolution.
Sources – Bibliography:
- Article by George Argyrakos, “The slogan of Alexandros Ypsilantis”
- Konstantin Soter Kotsowilis: Die Griechenbegeisterung der Bayern unter König Otto I. München 2007
- Emanuel Turczynski: Sozial- und Kulturgeschichte Griechenlands im 19. Jahrhundert. Von der Hinwendung zu Europa bis zu den ersten Olympischen Spielen der Neuzeit. Mannheim and Möhnesee 2003
The Boulevard magazine presents the Philhellenism Museum
The President of the European Parliament, Mr. David Sassoli, donated a flag of the European Union to the Philhellenism Museum. The flag was handed over to the Museum by Mr. Philippe Kamaris, from the Liaison Office of the European Parliament (EP) in Athens.
Mr. Kamaris was given a tour of the Museum, he saw the exhibits, and was informed about the history of the philhellenic movement, and the important role played by European Philhellenes who fought bravely on the side of the Greeks as volunteers, and by European politicians, artists and intellectuals who supported the philhellenic movement during the Greek war for independence.
The Society for Hellenism and Philhellenism (SHP) recalled that the Philhellenic movement helped Europeans understand their common values and roots. It inspired thousands of young people to support the struggle of the Greeks, and many of them, even former enemies, to fight under the same flag for the same ideals.
These actions and the expression of solidarity with Greece, led to the first common European policy that emerged after the Treaty of London of 1827, and culminated with the Battle of Navarino and the establishment of the Greek state.
SHP also presented to the European Parliament the model of the Philhellenes monument that will be placed in the centre of Athens, on Vasilissis Sofias Street.
During the handover of the flag, Mr. Kamaris shared on behalf of the European Parliament the warm greetings of EP’s President Mr. Sassoli. In the words of the President, 2021 coincides not only with the bicentennial of the Greek revolution, but also with the 40th anniversary of Greece in the EU, fully re-joining the European family – a proof of the in temporal nature of the values of philhellenism.
SHP assured the President of the European Parliament that it will continue, together with the Museum of Philhellenism, to promote with its work the common cultural values of Europe, and the continuous Philhellenism, as a virtue serving the continuous progress of our societies.
The staff guided the Ambassador to the premises of the Museum and presented to him the exhibits, the history of the philhellenic movement, and the important role played by the many Polish philhellenes who fought bravely on the side of the Greeks as volunteers, as well as journalists, artists and intellectuals who supported the philhellenic movement of their time.
The Society for Hellenism and Philhellenism (SHP) referred to the Philhellene, national poet of Poland, Adam Mickiewicz, to the officer Franciszek Mierzejewski and to the unit of Polish volunteers, who fought bravely in Peta, and sacrificed their lives to support the Greek struggle.
In parallel, SHP presented a commemorative medal depicting the Polish hero of the Greek Revolution Franciszek Mierzejewski.
Moreover, SHP presented to the Ambassador the model of the Philhellenes monument that will be placed in the centre of Athens.
Ambassador Artur LOMPART delivered to the Museum, on behalf of the Senate, the upper house of the Polish parliament, a flag as a symbol of friendship between the Polish and Greek peoples, and stated the following: “The Greek Revolution and the heroism of its fighters, inspired many enslaved nations, including Poles who lived under foreign rule at that time. We are connected by similar historical experiences and a belief in the ideals of freedom, for which we often had to pay the highest price. This closeness of our peoples is visible also today”.
SHP assured the Ambassador that it will continue together with the Museum of Philhellenism, to promote with their work, the common cultural values of Greece and Poland, and the continuous philhellenism as a virtue, to serve the constant progress of our societies.