Franciszek Mierzewski or Mierzejewski (1786 – 1822), was a Polish officer from Warsaw, who served in the French Army.

In 1807, after the Treaty of Tilsit, which led to the liberation of Poland from the Russians and the establishment of the Duchy of Warsaw by the French[1], Mierzewski enlisted in the French Cavalry and was promoted to second lieutenant[2].

In 1808 he was placed in the 1st Polish Light Cavalry Regiment of the French Imperial Guard and served under the orders of the Polish Count Wincenty Krasinski[3]. From this position, he was distinguished in the victorious for the French battle at Somosierra, Spain, on November 30, 1808[4].

In February 1809 he took part in the Portuguese campaign, under French General Jean Soult[5], and then he was assigned missions in Bavaria and Austria. There he was distinguished in the victorious for the French battles of Essling in Bavaria and Wagram in Austria, on May 22, 1809 and on July 5, 1809 respectively[6].

In January 1810, his unit left Bavaria and relocated to Chantilly, France[7]. He stayed there until February 1812 and was promoted to lieutenant[8].

At the end of February 1812 he was transferred to Torun, on the border of the Duchy of Warsaw with Russia[9], to the French Imperial Guard of the French General Louis-Nicholas Davout and his staff[10].

Mierzewski was particularly prominent during the Russian campaign from June to December 1812[11]. For his action in Russia, as well as for his bravery in the battle of Weissenfelds / Lützen on May 2, 1813, he was honored with the medal of the Knight of the Legion of Honor[12].

The Treaty of Fontainebleau on April 4, 1814, led to the first resignation of the French Emperor Napoleon I from the French throne and his exile to the island of Elbe in Italy[13], and the 1st Polish Light Cavalry Regiment of the French Imperial Guard was disbanded[14]. Only one of its units remained active, and followed the French emperor to his exile[15], with lieutenant Mierzewski[16].

Napoleon’s returned from his exile to the French throne on March 20, 1815[17], and this unit joined the Red Lancers Cavalry Division of the French Army under French General Colbert[18]. Mierzewski was an officer of this brigade and he took part in the battles of Ligny and Waterloo, on June 16, 1815 and June 18, 1815 respectively[19].

The Battle of Waterloo led to the final resignation of Napoleon from the French throne on June 22, 1815, the restoration of the Bourbon dynasty on July 8, 1815, and the exile of Napoleon to St. Helen’s Island on July 15, 1815[20], The gradual demobilization of foreign soldiers serving in the French Army followed. In this context, on October 1, 1815, the Polish military was demobilized from the French Army[21]. Mierzewski was demobilized with the rank of captain[22].

After 1815 Mierzejewski left Poland again. He travelled to South America, where he participated in the liberation of New Granada and Venezuela, Spanish colonies, under the command of Simon Bolívar. Then he returned to Europe, and participated in the revolutions triggered by the Italian Carbonari in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies (07.1820) and Piedmonte (01-03.1821). After the suppression of the revolutions he left Italy via Naples to Greece.

He was a citizen of an occupied at that time country, for the freedom of which he fought as a French Army officer. When the Greek Revolution broke out, Mierzewski was one of the first to join the philhellenic movement. A little later he traveled to Greece in early 1822 to offer his services as a volunteer.

On April 1, 1822, the Greek Assembly voted a law “on the Organization of the Army” in Nauplio, which led to the establishment of the Regular Army. The leadership was assigned to the emblematic German-Philhellene General, Count Karl Friedrich Leberecht von Normann-Ehrenfels. This law formed the basis of subsequent military legislation[23].

In this context, the Battalion of the Philhellenes was established under the command of the Italian Philhellene, Lieutenant Colonel Andrea Dania. Mierzewski was appointed commander of the 2nd Company of the Batallion of the Philhellenes[24]. Along with the Battalion of the Philhellenes, the 1st Infantry Regiment was formed, under the command of the Italian Philhellene Lieutenant Colonel Pietro Tarella.

The first mission of the Regular Army was to end the siege of Souli by the Ottoman forces. The success of this mission would lead to the renewal of the independence war in Epirus, to the continuous strengthening of the Greek Forces with experienced and ready for combat officers, as well as to the elimination of the danger of the rapid advance of the Ottomans in southern Greece[25].

The first mistake made by the Greek command was that it did not allow the rapid advance of the Greeks and Philhellenes to Arta, which would prevent the gathering of Turkish troops. The troops were also affected by diseases, while they were suffering food shortages. Another important problem was the behavior of the irregular forces, especially those commanded by the chief Bacolas. In fact, many days before the march to Arta started, there were rumors suggesting that Bacolas was in contact with the Turks. Of course, it was impossible to believe that a Greek would betray the struggle and his own compatriots[26].

The Greek forces confronted first the Turks in Kompoti, on June 22, 1822. According to the war plan, “the Philhellenes, as regular soldiers, should not seek the tops of the mountains to defend themselves safely, but had to stay in the dangerous places of strategic importance and not miss the opportunity to confront the enemy”[27]. Based on this, the 1st Infantry Regiment under Tarella and the Battalion of the Philhellenes under Dania, were placed at vital points at the foot of the hills. The enemy attack was successfully repulsed and the Ottomans retreated to Arta with many losses[28].

 

Representation of the battle of Kompoti. Work of Panagiotis Zografos, commissioned by General Makrygiannis (SHP Collection).

 

The Philhellenes left Kompoti, weakened by fatigue, illnesses, hunger and thirst, and moved during the night to Peta, where the Turks were gathering their forces. Other Greek forces arrived there and preparations for the battle began.

Disagreements arose in the war council of the leaders as to whether the irregulars or the Regular Army would be at the forefront of the Greek Forces, as well as whether or not to use fortifications (drums). Finally it was decided to form a perimeter towards Peta. Normann was dissatisfied with this decision and, realizing the difficult position of the Greek side, expressed his concerns in a letter to Mavrokordatos[29]. Although he was the leader of the Greek forces, was absent from the battlefield. He had set up his headquarters in Lagada, which was 6 hours away from Peta[30].

In his letter, Normann stressed that the regular soldiers numbered only 515[31]. He also expressed his fear that Bacolas would abandon the Greeks and that the irregulars were unable to offer their support. Mavrokordatos did not take advantage of this experienced officer and insisted on his own plans. The Philhellenes accepted them out of respect[32].

Regarding the second part, the construction of the fortifications was finally imposed, which, as foreign sources confirm, were also used by the Philhellenes, despite Dania’s position, that “our tambourines are our chests”[33].

Another major problem was the lack of discipline and coordination of the troops. After the battle of Kompoti, Gennaios Kolokotronis returned to Peloponnese with his troops, by order of his father, an act for which he was criticized[34]. At the same time, 1.200 fighters left to the north to help the Souliotes. This unit comprised Markos Botsaris, Karatasos, Angelis Gatsos, Georgios Varnakiotis, Alexakis Vlachopoulos and Andreas Iskos. However, they failed to reach Souli and were stopped by the Turks in Plaka, on June 29, 1822. Those who survived returned to Peta. Gogos Bacolas had planned to drag Markos Botsaris to Souli, to trap him in Plaka by the Turks[35].

On the day of the battle of Peta, a unit of Maniates under Kyriakoulis Mavromichalis also arrived in Splantza to help the Greeks. But the unit did not arrive timely to integrate the Greek forces. The Souliote chiefs Lambros Veikos and Vassilios Zervas joined them and they confronted jointly the Ottomans who were sent to repel them. In this battle, Kyriakoulis Mavromichalis himself was killed fighting heroically[36].

All these moves lacked coordination and the Greek forces, that would face the main attack of the Turks, were not organized.

On the morning of July 4, 1822, 7.000 – 8.000 Ottomans who had arrived from Arta, attacked the Greek positions. Normann warmly encouraged the men of the Regular Army and inspected all positions on horseback.

Initially, the Philhellenes and the Regular Army successfully repulsed the enemy. The continuous and coordinated shots caused serious losses to the attackers. A factor of success of this war tactic, is the composure of the soldiers, the constant and fast reloading of their weapons, the incessant firing and the maintenance of the positions without breaking their ranks. The 1st Infantry Regiment and the Battalion of the Philhellenes were an impenetrable wall, as the training which was given previously to them by Baleste (the founder of the first Regular Army in Greece) bore fruit[37].

 

Representation of the Battle of Peta. Work of Panagiotis Zografos, commissioned by General Makrygiannis (SHP Collection).

 

But suddenly a fatal thing happened. Bacolas and his men treacherously left their positions, allowing the Turks to break the lines of the 1st Infantry Regiment and the Battalion of the Philhellenes[38]. Tarella was trying to cheer the men of his Regiment. Finally he was surrounded by the Ottomans, who beheaded him[39]. Mierzewski fought bravely on the front line until the end.

General Normann, the glorious Philhellene, undertook the command of the 1st Infantry Regiment, and led it back into battle, encouraging them: “For the salvation of the Philhellenes! Victory or death”!  In the raid that followed, he was wounded in the chest and taken to the rear to treat his serious injury[40].

Gradually the Regiment began to recede and was now an easy target for the Turkish cavalry. The Philhellenes were abandoned by the irregulars. The Philhellenes and the Greeks for the Ionian islands suffered a disaster. They were surrounded by the enemy at an exposed point and decimated.

Scenes of exemplary heroism unfolded. Dania, was cheering the soldiers of the Battalion of the Philhellenes until the end. He was surrounded by the Ottomans who beheaded him[41].

Mierzewski, leading 15 Polish soldiers of the 2nd Company of the Battalion of Philhellenes, fortified in the church of St. George in the center of Peta and, fighting heroically, he tried to facilitate the retreat of the Greek Forces[42].In fact, the Polish soldiers fought even from the roof of the church. The Ottomans finally set it on fire, as it was impossible to vanquish them. They all fell heroically[43].

The French Captain of the French Army Jean Mignac, officer of the 1st Infantry Regiment, fought with unparalleled bravery. The Turks tried to capture him, taking him, because of his impressive uniform for General Normann. Refusing to surrender, he fought heroically. Wounded all over his body, he confronted the Ottomans leaning on the trunk of an olive tree. Surrounded by a multitude of enemies, he neutralized 14 of them[44]. When his sword broke, he committed suicide cutting his throat[45].

From the volunteers of the Regular Army, 160 Greeks form Ionian islands and Philhellenes fell heroically. Many were taken prisoners to Arta and killed after horrific tortures and brutal humiliation. Many Philhellenes were forced to walk naked for hours, holding in their hands the heads of their comrades[46].

The few survivors gathered in Lagada, among them the tragic figure of the noble hero General Normann, who, as after the battle of Kompoti, arrived last in the camp and was presented to Mavrokordatos, to whom he stated: “We lost everything, Your Highness, except our honor”![47]. The 1st Infantry Regiment, the Battalion of the Philhellenes and a large number of enthusiastic European Philhellenes and Greeks for the Ionian islands no longer existed.

 

Monument in Peta in honor of the fallen Philhellenes on July 4, 1822.

 

Polish officer Franciszek Mierzewski, and his Polish comrades, were among the most heroic figures in the Battle of Peta.

Greece and SHP honor the glorious memory of Franciszek Mierzewski and his heroic comrades-in-arms, who fought to the end for the Freedom of the Greeks and are eternally grateful for their sacrifice.

 

References

[1] Grab, Alexander, “Napoleon and the Transformation of Europe”, εκδ. McMillan, Νέα Υόρκη, 2003, σελ. 180.
[2] Sinko, Thadeusz, “Udzial Polakow w bojach I pracach Hellady”, εκδ. περ. “Przeglad Wspolczesny”, Βαρσοβία, 1932, τεύχος 125, σελ. 285.
[3] Kwaśniewski, Włodzimierz, “Dzieje szabli w Polsce”, εκδ. Bellona, Βαρσοβία, 1999.
[4] Nieuważny, Andrzej, “Najpiękniejsza z szarż”, εκδ. περ. “Rzeczpospolita“, Βαρσοβία, 2006, τεύχος 123.
[5] Pawly, Ronald, “Napoleon’s Polish Lancers of the Imperial Guard”, εκδ. Osprey Publishing, Λονδίνο, 2007.
[6] Chłapowski, Dezydery, “Memoirs of a Polish Lancer”, εκδ. Emperor’s Press, Chicago, 1992.
[7] Brandys, Marian, “Kozietulski i inni”, εκδ. Iskry, Βαρσοβία, 1982, σελ. 222.
[8] Βλ. στο ίδιο, σελ. 225.
[9] Chłapowski, Dezydery,”Memoirs of a Polish Lancer”, εκδ. Emperor’s Press, Chicago, 1992.
[10] Brandys, Marian, “Kozietulski i inni”, εκδ. Iskry, Βαρσοβία, 1982, σελ. 271.
[11] Kukiel, Marian, “Dzieje oręża polskiego w epoce napoleońskiej 1795-1815”, εκδ. Kurpisz, Poznań, 1912.
[12] Συλλογικό, “Greckie źródła do dziejów Rzeczypospolitej”, εκδ. Hellenopolonica, Αθήνα, 2014.
[13] Lieven, Dominic, “Russia Against Napoleon: The True Story of the Campaigns of War and Peace”, εκδ. Penguin, Λονδίνο, 2010, σελ. 484.
[14] Pawly, Ronald, “Napoleon’s Polish Lancers of the Imperial Guard”, εκδ. Osprey Publishing, Λονδίνο, 2007.
[15] Kukiel, Marian, “Dzieje oręża polskiego w epoce napoleońskiej 1795-1815”, εκδ. Kurpisz, Poznań, 1912, σελ. 468.
[16] Συλλογικό, “Greckie źródła do dziejów Rzeczypospolitej”, εκδ. Hellenopolonica, Αθήνα, 2014.
[17] Chandler, David, “Waterloo: The Hundred Days”, εκδ. Osprey Publishing, Λονδίνο, 1981.
[18] Kukiel, Marian, “Dzieje oręża polskiego w epoce napoleońskiej 1795-1815”, εκδ. Kurpisz, Poznań, 1912, σελ. 470.
[19] Βλ. στο ίδιο, σελ. 475.
[20] Alexander, Robert S., “Bonapartism and Revolutionary Tradition in France: The Federes of 1815”, εκδ. Cambridge University Press, Λονδίνο, 1991.
[21] Pawly, Ronald, “Napoleon’s Polish Lancers of the Imperial Guard”, εκδ. Osprey Publishing, Λονδίνο, 2007.
[22] Barth, Wilhelm – Kehrig-Korn, Max, “Die Philhellenenzeit. Von der Mitte des 18. Jahrhunderts bis zur Ermordung Kapodistrias‘ am 9. Oktober 1831”, εκδ. Max Hueber Verlag, Μόναχο, 1960, σελ. 44.
[23] Διεύθυνση Ιστορίας Στρατού, “Η ιστορία του Ελληνικού Στρατού”, εκδ. Γενικό Επιτελείο Στρατού, Αθήνα, 1997.
[24] Elster, Daniel – Johann, “Το Τάγμα των Φιλελλήνων. Η ίδρυση, η εκστρατεία και η καταστροφή του”, εκδ. Ιστορική και Εθνολογική Εταιρεία της Ελλάδος, Αθήνα, 2010.
[25] “Ιστορικόν Αρχείον Αλεξάνδρου Μαυροκορδάτου”, επιμ. Εμμ. Πρωτοψάλτης, Γενικά Αρχεία του Κράτους, Αθήνα, τόμος 1, φακ. 197, σελ. 254.
[26] Κουτσονίκας, Λάμπρος, “Γενική Ιστορία της Ελληνικής Επαναστάσεως”, εκδ. Δ. Καρακατζάνη, Αθήνα, 1863, δ’ τόμος, σελ. 177.
[27] Βυζάντιος Χρήστος, “Ιστορία των κατά την Ελληνικήν Επανάστασιν εκστρατειών και μαχών και των μετά ταύτα συμβάντων, ων συμμετέσχεν ο Τακτικός Στρατός, από του 1821 μέχρι του 1833”, εκδ. Κ. Αντωνιάδου, Αθήνα, 1874, σελ. 203.
[28] Συλλογικό, “Ιστορία του Ελληνικού Έθνους”, εκδ. Εκδοτική Αθηνών, Αθήνα, 2000, 12ος τόμος, σελ. 232.
[29] “Ιστορικόν Αρχείον Αλεξάνδρου Μαυροκορδάτου”, επιμ. Εμμ. Πρωτοψάλτης, Γενικά Αρχεία του Κράτους, Αθήνα, τόμος 2, φακ. 548, σελ. 135.
[30] Φωτιάδης, Δημήτρης, “Η Επανάσταση του ’21”, εκδ. Μέλισσα, Αθήνα, 1971, β’ τόμος, σελ. 211.
[31] Βλ. στο ίδιο.
[32] Woodhouse, Christopher Montague, “The Philhellenes”, εκδ. Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, Madison, 1971.
[33] Βλ. στο ίδιο.
[34] Κολοκοτρώνης, Γενναίος, “Απομνημονεύματα”, εκδ. Βεργίνα, Αθήνα, 2006.
[35] Voutier, Olivier, “Απομνημονεύματα του συνταγματάρχη Olivier Voutier από τον πόλεμο των Ελλήνων”, μετ. Ειρήνη Τζουρά, επιμ. Παναγιώτα Παναρίτη, εκδ. Εθνικό Ιστορικό Μουσείο, Αθήνα, 2019.
[36] Περραιβός, Χριστόφορος, “Πολεμικά Απομνημονεύματα. Μάχες του Σουλίου και της Ανατολικής Ελλάδας 1820 -1829”, εκδ. Βεργίνα, Αθήνα, 2003, σελ. 160.
[37] St Clair, William, “That Greece Might Still be Free: The Philhellenes in the War of Independence”, εκδ. Open Books, Λονδίνο, 2008, σελ. 277.
[38] Κουτσονίκας, Λάμπρος, “Γενική Ιστορία της Ελληνικής Επαναστάσεως”, εκδ. Δ. Καρακατζάνη, Αθήνα, 1863, δ’ τόμος, σελ. 178.
[39] St Clair, William, “That Greece Might Still be Free: The Philhellenes in the War of Independence”, εκδ. Open Books, Λονδίνο, 2008.
[40] Gridley Howe, Samuel, “An Historical Sketch of the Greek Revolution”, εκδ. White, Gallaher & White, Νέα Υόρκη, 1828.
[41] Fassino, Pier Giorgio, “Andrea Dania”, εκδ. περ.”Accademia Urbense”, Ovada, Σεπτέμβριος 2006, σελ. 188.
[42] Συλλογικό, “Greckie źródła do dziejów Rzeczypospolitej”, εκδ. Hellenopolonica, Αθήνα, 2014.
[43] Treiber, Heinrich, “Αναμνήσεις από την Ελλάδα 1822-1828”, επιμ. δρ. Χρήστος Ν. Αποστολίδης, ιδ. εκδ., Αθήνα, 1960.
[44] Pouqueville. F.C.H.L., “Histoire de la régénération de la Grèce, 1740-1824”, επιμ. Albert Schott, J. P. von Hornthal, εκδ. Univ.- Bibl. Heidelberg, Χαϊδελβέργη, 1825.
[45] Raybaud Maxime, “Mémoires sur la Grèce pour servir à l’histoire de la guerre de l’Indépendance, accompagnés de plans topographiques, avec une introduction historique par Alph. Rabbe”, εκδ. Tournachon-Molin Libraire, Παρίσι, 1824, τόμος 1.
[46] Στο ίδιο.
[47] Στο ίδιο.

 

Bibliography – sources

  • Συλλογικό, “Greckie źródła do dziejów Rzeczypospolitej “, εκδ. Hellenopolonica, Αθήνα, 2014.
  • Grab, Alexander, “Napoleon and the Transformation of Europe“, εκδ. McMillan, Νέα Υόρκη, 2003.
  • Sinko, Thadeusz, “Udzial Polakow w bojach I pracach Hellady“, εκδ. περ. ‘’Przeglad Wspolczesny’’, Βαρσοβία, 1932, τεύχος 125.
  • Kwaśniewski, Włodzimierz, “Dzieje szabli w Polsce“, εκδ. Bellona, Βαρσοβία, 1999.
  • Nieuważny, Andrzej, “Najpiękniejsza z szarż“, εκδ. περ. “Rzeczpospolita“, Βαρσοβία, 2006, τεύχος 123.
  • Pawly, Ronald, “Napoleon’s Polish Lancers of the Imperial Guard“, εκδ. Osprey Publishing, Λονδίνο, 2007.
  • Chłapowski, Dezydery, “Memoirs of a Polish Lancer“, εκδ. Emperor’s Press, Chicago, 1992.
  • Brandys, Marian, “Kozietulski i inni“, εκδ. Iskry, Βαρσοβία, 1982.
  • Kukiel, Marian, “Dzieje oręża polskiego w epoce napoleońskiej 1795-1815“, εκδ. Kurpisz, Poznań, 1912.
  • Lieven, Dominic, “Russia Against Napoleon: The True Story of the Campaigns of War and Peace“, εκδ. Penguin, Λονδίνο, 2010.
  • Chandler, David, “Waterloo: The Hundred Days“, εκδ. Osprey Publishing, Λονδίνο, 1981.
  • Alexander, Robert S., “Bonapartism and Revolutionary Tradition in France: The Federes of 1815“, εκδ. Cambridge University Press, Λονδίνο, 1991.
  • Barth, Wilhelm – Kehrig-Korn, Max, “Die Philhellenenzeit. Von der Mitte des 18. Jahrhunderts bis zur Ermordung Kapodistrias‘ am 9. Oktober 1831“, εκδ. Max Hueber Verlag, Μόναχο, 1960.
  • Διεύθυνση Ιστορίας Στρατού, “Η ιστορία του Ελληνικού Στρατού”, εκδ. Γενικό Επιτελείο Στρατού, Αθήνα, 1997.
  • Elster, Daniel – Johann, “Το Τάγμα των Φιλελλήνων. Η ίδρυση, η εκστρατεία και η καταστροφή του“, εκδ. Ιστορική και Εθνολογική Εταιρεία της Ελλάδος, Αθήνα, 2010.
  • “Ιστορικόν Αρχείον Αλεξάνδρου Μαυροκορδάτου“, επιμ. Εμμ. Πρωτοψάλτης, Γενικά Αρχεία του Κράτους, Αθήνα, τόμος 1, φακ. 197.
  • Κουτσονίκας, Λάμπρος, “Γενική Ιστορία της Ελληνικής Επαναστάσεως“, εκδ. Δ. Καρακατζάνη, Αθήνα, 1863, δ’ τόμος.
  • Βυζάντιος Χρήστος, “Ιστορία των κατά την Ελληνικήν Επανάστασιν εκστρατειών και μαχών και των μετά ταύτα συμβάντων, ων συμμετέσχεν ο Τακτικός Στρατός, από του 1821 μέχρι του 1833 “, εκδ. Κ. Αντωνιάδου, Αθήνα, 1874.
  • Συλλογικό, “Ιστορία του Ελληνικού Έθνους“, εκδ. Εκδοτική Αθηνών, Αθήνα, 2000, 12ος τόμος.
  • “Ιστορικόν Αρχείον Αλεξάνδρου Μαυροκορδάτου“, επιμ. Εμμ. Πρωτοψάλτης, Γενικά Αρχεία του Κράτους, Αθήνα, τόμος 2, φακ. 548.
  • Φωτιάδης, Δημήτρης, “Η Επανάσταση του ’21“, εκδ. Μέλισσα, Αθήνα, 1971, β’ τόμος.
  • Woodhouse, Christopher Montague, “The Philhellenes“, εκδ. Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, Madison, 1971.
  • Κολοκοτρώνης, Γενναίος, “Απομνημονεύματα“, εκδ. Βεργίνα, Αθήνα, 2006.
  • Voutier, Olivier, “Απομνημονεύματα του συνταγματάρχη Olivier Voutier από τον πόλεμο των Ελλήνων“, μετ. Ειρήνη Τζουρά, επιμ. Παναγιώτα Παναρίτη, εκδ. Εθνικό Ιστορικό Μουσείο, Αθήνα, 2019.
  • Περραιβός, Χριστόφορος, “Πολεμικά Απομνημονεύματα. Μάχες του Σουλίου και της Ανατολικής Ελλάδας 1820 -1829“, εκδ. Βεργίνα, Αθήνα, 2003
  • St Clair, William, “That Greece Might Still be Free: The Philhellenes in the War of Independence“, εκδ. Open Books, Λονδίνο, 2008.
  • Gridley Howe, Samuel, “An Historical Sketch of the Greek Revolution“, εκδ. White, Gallaher & White, Νέα Υόρκη, 1828.
  • Fassino, Pier Giorgio, “Andrea Dania“, εκδ. περ.”Accademia Urbense”, Ovada, Σεπτέμβριος 2006.
  • Treiber, Heinrich, “Αναμνήσεις από την Ελλάδα 1822-1828“, επιμ. δρ. Χρήστος Ν. Αποστολίδης, ιδ. εκδ. , Αθήνα, 1960.
  • Pouqueville. F.C.H.L., “Histoire de la régénération de la Grèce, 1740-1824“, επιμ. Albert Schott, J. P. von Hornthal, εκδ. Univ.- Bibl. Heidelberg, Χαϊδελβέργη, 1825.
  • Raybaud Maxime, “Mémoires sur la Grèce pour servir à l’histoire de la guerre de l’Indépendance, accompagnés de plans topographiques, avec une introduction historique par Alph. Rabbe “, εκδ. Tournachon-Molin Libraire, Παρίσι, 1824, τόμος 1.

 

Portrait of Belgian Philhellene De Lannoy Augustin (SHP collection)

 

De Lannoy, (Guillaume) Augustin (also written as Delannoy, Delannoi, Delanoi) was a volunteer from Brussels, Belgium. According to some sources (i.e. Fornezy) a certain “Delannoi” was reported to be part of the Battalion of the Philhellenes commanded by General Norman. Same sources argue that he fought in Peta in July 1822.

However, according to Belgian newspapers (e.g. Le Courrier de la Meuse of 5 June 1826), Augustin De Lannoy and N.J. Trumper left Belgium in 1824 for Greece.

De Lannoy participated in many fundraising concerts and commemoration services, to support the Greek cause, and his name appeared often in the European press.

 

Τhe program of June 3, 1826, of one of the many concerts that took place in favor of the Greeks in Europe. The aim of these events was to raise money for the financial support of the Greeks, and to promote the rights of Greece (SHP collection).

 

As of his arrival in Greece in 1824, he joined the Regular Army under General Fabvier and he was appointed Captain of the Light Infantry of the Third Greek battalion. In 1826 he moved with the army units which stationed in Troizina, with a mission to stop the forces of “Ibrahim-Pacha”. In this context, he participated in many operations until June 1826 and very likely also in the battle of Myloi, where 500 Greek fighters and Philhellenes defeated an army of 6600 Ottomans led by Ibrahim-Pascha himself.

A little later he died on the island of Andros of 6 July 1826.

His contribution was recognized and his name figures on the monument of Toure in the church of The Transfiguration of the Saviour in Nafplio.

 

The Catholic Church of Metamorphosis tou Sotiros (The Transfiguration of the Saviour) in Nafplion and the Touret Arch memorial of Philhellenes at its entrance.

 

SHP and the people of Greece pay tribute to this great Belgian Philhellene, and honor his memory, together with the one of all his Belgian comrades who offered their services, and even their lives, to the Greek war of independence, as volunteers in Greece or through their participation in the philhellenic movement in Belgium.

 

 

Carl Anton Joseph Rottmann was a famous German landscape painter and a beloved painter of the Bavarian king Ludwig I (1786 – 1868). He was famous for his mythical-heroic themes in his painting. Rottmann’s greatest artistic achievement was the creation of the “Greek Circle” (Griechenlandzyklus), a series of romantic landscape paintings of Greece, which he created after an assignment by Ludwig I. He was considered to be the “most important landscape painter of Munich”, and was one of the first German painters to accomplish realistic pictures of Greece (as noted by the German architect, Leo von Klenze, 1784-1864). The importance of his contribution was recognized in his time, and, after his death, a room of the New Gallery of Munich (Neue Pinakothek) was dedicated exclusively to the exhibition of the works of the “Greek Circle” (1853). He is the only artist to be awarded such an honor at the Neue Pinakothek.

He was born on 11 January 1797 in the Handschuhsheim district of Heidelberg and apprenticed with his father, Friedrich Rottmann, who taught painting at the city’s University. Carl’s younger brother, Leopold, also became a painter; without reaching an equal fame. Carl Rottmann´s mastery in using watercolor and the power of his compositions can be already seen in some of his first works. He was influenced by the Dutch landscape painters, the Frenchman Claude Lorrain (1600-1682), and the Englishman George Augustus Wallis (1761-1847), with whom he became associated during the latter’s stay in Heidelberg. Rottmann, along with his compatriots Philipp Fohr (1795-1818) and Ernst Fries (1801-1833), was one of Heidelberg’s leading Romantic painters, and influenced a number of younger landscape painters.

His moving to Munich in 1821 was a turning point in his rise as an artist. Through his wife, Friedericke Sckell, and her family circle, he came in contact with the Bavarian monarch, Ludwig I. Ludwig´s ideological and artistic program aimed to promote the Wittelsbach House in Munich, as well as to emphasize the common cultural heritage of the emerging new Greek state and Bavaria. The architectural buildings and the urban redesign of the “Athens on the Isar”, as well as the new artworks that were created, clearly supported this ideological program. As a patron of the arts, Ludwig Ι soon formed a circle of favored painters and architects around him. One of his favorite artists was Rottmann (from 1841 onwards the official “painter of the royal court” – Hofmaler), to whom he commissioned the illustration of the galleries of the garden of Munich (Hofgarten) with Italian landscapes. The accessible to the public gardens would offer a “free history lesson”. The Bavarian monarch chose to emphasize his homeland’s relationship with Italy through an artistic tour of the neighboring country. In order for Rottmann to enrich his repertoire of images with realism, Ludwig instructed him to visit Italy (1826-1827). Thus he created 28 idyllic topographies (frescoes) by 1828, which were originally intended to be exhibited at the Hofgarten.

The cycle of the “Italian works” paved the way for another important assignment of Ludwig I to Rottmann. The eldest son of the monarch, Othon, had already been crowned King of Greece in 1832, and the creation of some monumental works that would underline the alliance and friendship between the two countries were needed. Thus Ludwig financed Rottmann´s transition to the newly built Greek state (1834-1835) to collect material for the creation of “Greek works” in the northern wing of the Hofgarten galleries. These works would complete the program of idyllic – romantic landscape that was inaugurated with the Italian themes. The original plan was to create 38 scenes. Apart from Rottmann, Ludwig’s envoys to Greece were the painters Ferdinand Stademann (1791-1873), Ludwig Lange (1808-1868), Peter von Hess (1792-1871), the army officers / painters Karl Wilhelm Freiherr von Heideck (-1861) and Karl Krazeisen (1794-1878), as well as the architect Leo von Klenze (1784-1864). Peter von Hess was also commissioned by Ludwig I to create images from the Greek Revolution for the Hofgarten’s north portico.

Ludwig Lange was an important companion of Rottmann in Greece, who provided him with valuable advice on his architectural plans. Rottmann encountered difficulties during his one-year journey, as evidenced by a number of letters he wrote at the time. He toured both mainland Greece (Athens, Corinth, Nafplio, Tiryns, Mycenae, Epidaurus, Nemea, Sparta, Thebes) and the islands (Evia, Naxos, Delos), and created hundreds of sketches of the landscapes he visited, sometimes panoramic representations with pencil and watercolor.

 

Sunset in Epidaurus, Carl Rottmann, oil on canvas (SHP collection).

 

The image of the war-torn Greece that the painter came across during his twelve-month stay was far from the idealized “Arcadia” that Ludwig I wanted to promote. For the depictions of places of significant historical importance, e.g. “Schlachtfeld von Marathon” (the battlefield of Marathon), Rottmann avoided narrating events through the depiction of persons, assigning it more to the elements of nature, animals or weather phenomena, with which he “confesses” the historical events to his viewer. He also tried to combine the evidence of antiquity with the Greek modern presence, as in “Athen, vom Brunnen aus” (view of Athens from a fountain). These choices made him the proponent of a new “romantic, heroic landscape”. His works stand out for their skillful rendering of light and subtle shades of sky. The expression “Rottmannhimmel” (Rottmann sky) as a reference to a clear blue sky survives in Munich up to this day.

After returning to Munich in October 1834, he transferred his drafts to watercolors, in order to present them to Ludwig I and gain his approval for their transfer to the Hofgarten. For the “Greek Circle” he first used encaustic painting, which guaranteed longevity in the works, then experimented with the use of resin. By 1849, he had created 23 landscapes, thus reducing the number of works originally planned. The idea of their outdoor exhibition was abandoned. From 1853 the scenes were on display in a special room of the New Gallery in Munich that bore his name (Rottmann-Saal, Neue Pinakothek). This room, together with the New Gallery building, was closed with the outbreak of World War II. Due to their weight, the images could only be moved to the basement of the museum, where they suffered a significant damage. In 2003 a new Rottmann room was created in the new building of the New Gallery (1981), where 14 of his 19 restored paintings were exhibited.

Carl Rottmann died in Munich on July 7, 1850, just a few weeks after completing his last painting of the “Greek Circle”. His tomb is located in the Alter Südfriedhof in Munich.

 

Bust of Carl Rottmann, lithography, 19nth century.

 

SHP honors the great painter and Philhellene Carl Rottmann, who preserved for the younger generations the image of Greece that he confronted during the first years of the Greek state, through his atmospheric landscapes.

 

Sources – Bibliography

  • Fuhrmeister, Christian; Jooss, Birgit (Hrsg.), Isar/Athen Griechische Künstler in München – Deutsche Künstler in Griechenland, Μόναχο 2008.
  • Kepetzis, Ekaterini, „Imagination und Wirklichkeit. Griechenlandrezeption in der westeuropäischen Malerei“, στο: Κonstantinou, Evangelos (Hrsg.), Das Bild Griechenlands im Spiegel der Völker (17. bis 18. Jahrhundert), Philhellenische Studien Band 14, Peter Lang, Frankfurter am Main 2008.
  • Kepetzis, Ekaterini, Rezension von: Herbert W. Rott / Renate Poggendorf / Elisabeth Stürmer: Carl Rottmann. Die Landschaften Griechenlands, Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz 2007, στο KUNSTFORM 9 (2008), Nr. 1, https://www.arthistoricum.net/kunstform/rezension/ausgabe/2008/1/
  • Μιχαήλ, Γιάννης, «Δέκα τόνοι Ελλάδα», Το Βήμα, 25.11.2008.
  • https://www.pinakothek.de/kunst/carl-rottmann/kopaissee

 

Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe, Boston, December 1873. Daguerreotype. Archive Hall of Fame for the Blindness Field, Louisville.

 

Samuel Gridley Howe (1801-1876) was a prominent American Philhellene, physician, lawyer, pioneer educator, and philanthropist.

He was born in Boston, Massachusetts, to a wealthy family of merchants. His grandfather Edward Compton Howe was a member of the “Indians” of the Boston Tea Party, during the American Revolution[1]. His father Joseph Neals Howe was a shipowner and rope manufacturer who contributed to the strengthening of the US Navy during the Anglo-American War of 1812-1815[2]. Additionally, his mother Patty Gridley Howe was one of the most educated women of her time[3].

Samuel Howe received his secondary education at Boston Latin School[4]. After his graduation in 1818, at the urging of his father, he was admitted to Brown University in the State of Rhode Island, instead of Harvard University. Because of the political confrontations, Harvard was considered a stronghold of the Federalists, the opponents of the Democrats supported by the Howe family[5].

After graduating from Brown University in 1821, he enrolled at Harvard University School of Medicine and graduated in 1824. During his years at Harvard, he immersed himself in the poetry of Lord Byron, who became his idol. Through Byron’s poetry, Howe was introduced to the Philhellenic ideals, and when the Greek Revolution began, he followed closely and with particular interest the developments[6].

As soon as he received his degree from Harvard, he decided to travel to Greece and offer his services to the Greek Struggle. To finance this trip he borrowed money from his friend William Sampson. He also informed the Boston Philhellenic Committee on his intentions and received a letter of recommendation from its founding member and General Secretary, the American Philhellene diplomat, pastor, politician, and academic Edward Everett (later Secretary of State). This letter was addressed to the Greek physician, Revolutionary fighter and politician, Georgios Glarakis[7].

In September of 1824, Howe set off from the United States and arrived in Valletta, Malta in early December. He ended up in Greece at the beginning of January 1825, arriving in Nafplio by way of Monemvasia[8]. He immediately joined the Greek forces as a military doctor.

In March 1825, he went to Patras by order of the Executive Body, where he was appointed surgeon of the Greek camp[9]. Throughout his stay in Greece, he frequently sent letters to his father and his friend William Sampson, informing them of his actions and the situation in Greece[10].

In April 1825, he was appointed surgeon of the Hellenic Forces and participated in the operations in Neokastro. In Tripoli, on his way to Neokastro, he met the other important American Philhellene, George Jarvis[11], with whom he immediately became close friends. Jarvis had formed a group of 45 Greek volunteers and financed them at his own expense[12]. Both were on the front line. In fact, Jarvis and his fighters were captured, along with about 1,000 Greek revolutionaries.

With the Ottoman occupation of Neokastro on May 11, 1825, Howe himself was in danger and at the last moment escaped captivity by the Turkish-Egyptian forces. During the retreat, he arrived passed through Kalamata to Nafplio on May 23, 1825[13]. From Nafplio, at the beginning of June 1825, he went to Hydra to treat the wounded who had gathered there[14].

Howe remained in Hydra until June 11, 1825, when he went to the Mills of Argolida (Myloi) area, where a decisive battle took place. Howe participated in the fight there on June 13, 1825, with the forces of D. Ypsilantis. During the battle, he contributed to the rescue of many wounded soldiers, who were transferred to Nafplio[15]. Another notable American Philhellene and friend of Howe’s, Jonathan Peckham Miller, was distinguished for his bravery in this battle. Howe had met Miller in Boston while he was packing his bags before his trip to Greece.

 

John Elliot (1858 -1925), painting of Dr Samuel Howe, Brown University collection

 

In September 1825, Howe was placed as a surgeon in the corps of Dimitrios Kallergis and participated in the Cretan campaign, serving in Gramvousa until October 1825[16]. He then returned to Nafplio, where from January to September 1826, he served as chief physician at the War Hospital[17].

During his service at the Nafplio War Hospital, Howe served with Georgios Glarakis, who cured him when he was affected by typhus due to the hardships of war in April 1826[18].

During his illness, Samuel Howe learned of the Exodus of Missolonghi, which had taken place on April 10, 1826. This event had a catalytic effect on the soul of this romantic, young man, who wrote letters to inform the American public about the situation in Greece[19]. In fact, in a letter to his friend William Sampson, in July 1826, he defended the Greek fighters and responded to criticism against the Greeks[20].

In a characteristic letter, Howe wrote that the critics of the Greeks do not take into account that for four hundred years, Greece suffered a tyranny more overwhelming than the slavery of the West Indies. He closes, without fear of denial, noting that the modern Greeks, despite their slavery, have a more virtuous character than the Italians, the Spaniards, or the Russians and are as capable and intelligent as the rest of the Europeans[21].

After his recovery, in September 1826, Howe was appointed as the chief physician on the first steam-powered warship of the Greek Fleet, the “Karteria”. He served under orders of the important British Philhellene, captain, and national benefactor of Greece, Frank Abney Hastings. Howe followed him on all of his campaigns until June 1827, when he was replaced by the German Philhellene physician and future senior general physician of the Greek Army, Heinrich Treiber[22]. Simultaneously, from October 1826 until May 1827, Howe held the position of the general chief physician of the Greek Navy[23]. Throughout his military service, Howe never accepted a salary from the Greek administration, proving his pure Philhellenism and disinterest[24].

Throughout his time in Greece, from 1825 to 1829, Howe kept a diary, in which he clearly described the situation in Greece. His writing tells of the military operations on land and sea, the customs and traditions of the Greeks, and the action of the various personalities of the Struggle, along with their specificities, a fact which makes it an important tool for understanding the Greek Revolution.

In 1867, after returning from his final trip to Greece, Howe planned to complete a radical revision of his diary, which he considered incomplete, to include all aspects of the Greek Revolution[25]. However, his death on January 9, 1876, prevented his completion of this work. Nevertheless, Howe’s diary was translated into Greek and published, first in sequels from the newspaper “Nea Imera” in 1906, and later in whole in 1971 from Karavias Editions, under the title Diary from the Struggle 1825-1829[26].

On May 24, 1827, shortly before leaving the “Karteria,” Howe met Jonathan Peckham Miller in Nafplio. Miller and Jarvis were Howe’s two closest friends in Greece. Miller was now the general supervisor for the distribution of the humanitarian aid sent by the American Philhellenic Committees to Greece. He had recently returned to Greece, accompanying the first part of that aid which the Philhellenic Committee of New York had prepared[27].

Howe collaborated with Miller and George Jarvis (who returned to the Peloponnese after the Battle of Analatos on April 24, 1827) in the distribution of the humanitarian aid from June to the end of October 1827. Then, Howe traveled to the United States, to inform the public and conduct fundraisers for the Greeks[28].

In January 1828, he remained briefly at the Valletta disinfection center in Malta, then under British rule (which was the stopover of his voyage to the United States). There he met the American Philhellene, George Brown, also an officer of the “Karteria” and returned with him to America. They also accompanied orphaned children from Greece, who were adopted by American families and other organizations[29].

One of these children was the future doctor, Christoforos P. Kastanis, who had survived the massacre of Chios in 1822 (he later wrote in 1851 the book The Greek Exile, Or, a Narrative of the Captivity and Escape of Christophorus Plato Castanis)[30]. This book describes Howe’s actions to save as many orphaned children from Greece as possible.

Upon his return to America, he was feverishly active in conducting fundraisers to raise financial and material aid for the struggling Greece, which was plagued by famine. He toured most of the States and organized events in favor of the Greeks. During these events, he presented, among other things, the personal items and weapons of Lord Byron.

 

Personal items of Lord Byron handed over to Dr Samuel Howe by the American Philhellene and Byron’s aid de camp, George Jarvis (SHP collection).

 

His actions helped raise 60,000 dollars and allowed the purchase of significant quantities of food, clothing, and medication for the Greek people, which were shipped to Greece on the ships “Herald” and “Suffolk” in October 1828 and January 1829, respectively[31]. At the same time, at the end of 1828, he published his book Historical Sketch of the Greek Revolution, in which he informed the American public about the situation in Greece[32]. This book was the second best-selling in the United States after Lord Byron’s emblematic Pilgrimage of Childe Harold.

 

Dr Samuel Howe’s book “Historical Sketch of the Greek Revolution”, first edition (SHP collection).

 

Howe believed that money, clothing, and food should not be distributed as a mere aid, but as a contribution for creative work, beneficial to Greece and the Greeks[33].

Howe returned to Greece on the ship, “Suffolk,” [34], in January 1829, accompanying the aid from the American Philhellenes. Upon his arrival, he declared that Greece was his idol and the deprivations he suffered for her, instead of disappointing him, had made her future fortune more significant for him and it would be a good reward if her struggles, offer him even the minimum benefit[35].

As he coordinated the distribution of aid, Howe also contributed in other ways. For example, he founded the colony of Washingtonia for Greek refugees from Asia Minor, Crete, Syros, and Athens in the Examilia of the Isthmus of Corinth. In this, he was assisted by the British Philhellene general Thomas Gordon and the noteworthy Bavarian Philhellene general Karl Wilhelm von Heideck, later regent of King Othon of Greece. The plan was also approved by I. Kapodistrias and by the early 1830s, 40 families had already settled in Washingtonia[36].

In addition to the colony of Washingtonia, Howe helped to establish a school in Megara, in the summer of 1829. He also undertook the design, funding, and implementation of another major project. The construction of the waterfront and the port of Aegina (then capital of the Greek state). During this time, he also played a key role in the design of a hospital and a girls’ orphanage in the area of ​​Aegina. And finally, he distributed seeds and agricultural tools to the farmers of Attica[37].

In July 1830, Howe was afflicted by malaria and left Greece[38]. He went to Paris to recover and continue his studies. There, in January 1832, he completed postgraduate studies in medicine. Simultaneously with his studies, he was an active member of the Polish Committee of Paris, which was preparing the Polish struggle for independence from Russia and Prussia[39]. After the defeat of the Russian defeat of the Poles and the relocation of populations to Prussia in the spring of 1832, he undertook the distribution of funds and supplies for the relief of Polish refugees. On a trip to Berlin, he was arrested by Prussian police as a collaborator of the rebels. However, while he was detained, he managed to destroy the evidence and elements of his links with the Polish resistance[40]. He was released through the intervention of the US ambassador to Paris[41].

Howe returned to Boston for good in July 1832 and founded the Perkins Institution and Massachusetts Asylum for the Education of the Blind. He was inspired by the action of his friend, Dr. John Dix Fisher, who had started the organization to care for the blind[42]. By January 1833, the funds available for the operation of the institution had been exhausted. The state of Massachusetts recognized the foundation’s contribution and the significant improvement it has achieved in the living standards of the blind. In 1839, the institution was relocated to a new location in southern Boston, donated by the former US Army Colonel, Thomas Handasyd Perkins. In 1877, it was renamed School for the Blind[43].

Howe ran the institute and was instrumental in turning it into one of the most important charities in the United States, eventually receiving federal support[44]. Also, he was the first to introduce an embossed lettering alphabet for the blind in the USA, while he also took care of the establishment of a printing house within the school. Many graduates of the school, thanks to Howe’s guidance, became members of the teaching staff themselves, such as the deafblind Laura Bridgman, one of Howe’s first students[45].

On April 24, 1843, Samuel Howe married Julia Ward, the daughter of a wealthy New York banker Samuel Ward and Julia Rush Cutler Ward[46]. Julia was abolitionist, she composed the march of the American Civil War “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” and later became a key figure in the women’s suffrage movement[47].

Together they had 6 children:

  • Julia Romana Howe (1844-1866), wife of the Greek scholar and Doctor of Philosophy of the University of Athens, Michael Anagnos (1837-1906), who succeeded Dr Howe as the director of the Perkins Institution and Massachusetts Asylum[48].
  • Florence Marion Howe (1845-1922), author, who was also involved in the women’s suffrage movement, wife of the New York lawyer David Prescott Hall (1845-1907). Florence Marion Howe was honored with the Pulitzer Prize in 1917 [49].
  • Henry Howe (1848-1922). Metallurgist and resident of New York[50].
  • Laura Elizabeth Howe (1850-1943). Author of more than 90 books, Pulitzer Prize winner in 1917, and wife of the American industrialist Henry Richards (1848-1949)[51].
  • Maud Howe (1855-1948). Writer, who was also honored with the Pulitzer Prize in 1917 and wife of the British painter John Elliott (1858-1925)[52].
  • Samuel Gridley Howe, Jr. (1858- 1863). He died at the age of 5[53].

In 1844, Howe returned to Greece, to offer assistance to the Cretan refugees of the Cretan Revolution of 1841[54]. For his contribution as a Philhellene, but also to the society as a philanthropist, he was honored by the Greek government with the Golden Cross of the Order of the Redeemer[55]. At the same time, he was nominated to receive the Silver Commendation of the Struggle for his services during the Greek Revolution (the highest distinction awarded to leading figures of the Greek War of Independence)[56].

Upon receiving the award from the Greek state, Dr Howe modestly wrote to the Greek politician and former Foreign Minister of Greece Iakovos Rizos Neroulos that his greatest reward was the recognition from the Greek people of his contribution to the struggle for freedom and charity. He also stressed that his interest in the future fate of Greece was equal to the interest for the course of his homeland[57].

In 1846, Howe ran for the US Congress with the Whig Party, but was defeated by the lawyer Robert Charles Winthrop[58]. In 1848, he collaborated with the educator Dorothea Dix, a pioneer in the education of the insane. With the help of a 2,500 dollar fund, which was approved from the Massachusetts State Legislature, he founded the “Massachusetts School for Idiot and Feeble-Minded Youth,” one of the first educational communities for people with disabilities internationally[59]. However, the success of this educational community led some to suggest that trainees remain permanently at the institution. Howe objected to this, he believed that the segregation and the isolation of these people from the rest of society would be fatal to their situation[60].

Howe was also one of the founders of the Boston newspaper “Daily Commonwealth”, which openly supported the abolition of slavery and was published from 1851 to 1853. His wife, Julia, supported him in this endeavor and editing of the paper[61]. He also funded the work of the Kansas Committee in Massachusetts, a political movement centered in the American South that opposed slavery[62].

His home in South Boston was one of the “Underground Railroad” stations, a secret network of shelters and routes used by fugitive slaves from the American South making their way to freedom in British-administered Canada, where slavery had been abolished[63].

During the American Civil War, 1861-1865, Howe served as chief physician of the Sanitary Commission of the United States Department of War. The task of this Commission was to improve hygiene and reduce the incidence of diseases, such as dysentery, typhus, and malaria in the camps[64].

In 1863, he was appointed to the American Freedmen’s Inquiry Commission for the Rights of African Americans. In this capacity, he traveled to the South and to Canada, in order to explore their living conditions and to secure their rights. Even in British Canada, where slavery had been abolished, the formerly enslaved continued to encounter difficulties. However, compared to the American South, their situation was better, thanks to the protection of their political, labor, and educational rights by the state. Following the investigation in the South and Canada, Howe prepared a detailed report which was submitted to the US Department of War and the US Congress. This report, which was titled, The Refugees from Slavery in Canada West, helped to establish the Freedmen’s Bureau, a governmental organization dedicated to providing support throughout the transition from slavery to freedom[65].

Moreover, Howe was in 1863 a founding member of the State Board of Charities of Massachusetts, and its president until 1874[66].

With the end of the American Civil War in 1865, Howe proposed the adoption of a progressive tax system. This system aimed at calculating taxes based on income, with the aim to cover inequalities after the liberation of slaves and the financing of charity[67].

Howe traveled with his family to Greece for the final time in 1866, bringing supplies for the relief of Cretan refugees during the Cretan Revolution against the Ottomans. He went to Crete to rescue as many Cretans as possible and also planned a technical school in Athens, to provide professional training to the refugees[68].

 

Cretan knife, offer of the Cretans to the great Philhellene Dr Samuel Howe during his stay in Greece in 1866 (SHP collection).

 

During Howe’s trip to Greece in 1866, his daughter Julia Romana Howe, who accompanied him, met the Greek Doctor of Philosophy of the University of Athens and scholar, originating from Papigo, Epirus, Michael Anagnostopoulos (Michael Anagnos) (1837-1906), who was her father’s secretary. They were married in Boston in December 1870. In 1868, Michael Anagnostopoulos was secretary of the Cretan Care Committee[69]. He eventually was appointed director of the Perkins Institution and Massachusetts Asylum in January 1876, after Howe’s death until the end of his own life in June 1906[70]. . In his will, he left a significant amount of money for the establishment of schools in Epirus, Greece[71].

When he returned to the United States in 1867, Howe wrote a report on the situation of Cretan refugees to raise awareness in the American public opinion[72]. From 1868 to 1869 he was the chairman of the Cretan Care Committee, which was founded in Boston[73].

In 1870, he became a member of the committee set up by US President Ulysses S. Grant for the annexation of Santo Domingo to the United States. This plan did not work out, because of the actions of Senator Charles Sumner, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who feared a resumption of the slavery regime[74].

Samuel Gridley Howe died in Boston on January 9, 1876 and was buried in Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In February 1876, a concert of Philhellenic music was given at the Boston Concert Hall in his honor[75].

In 1913, the Howe family donated a significant part of his archive to the Harvard University Library. In 1917, Howe‘s daughters Florence Marion Howe Hall, Laura Elizabeth Howe Richards, and Maud Howe Elliott were awarded the Pulitzer Prize for their collective work Julia Ward Howe 1819-1910. This work is primarily a biography of Julia Ward Howe, but it also includes a detailed biography of Samuel Gridley Howe and is inspired by a philhellenic spirit[76].

In 1920, Howe’s daughter, Maud Howe Elliott, donated Lord Byron’s helmet to the National History Museum and was awarded the Cross of the Order of Redeemer by the Greek state.

The Greek state honored Samuel Gridley Howe, naming streets after him in Athens, Heraklion, and Chania, as well as erecting monuments in Athens (close to the residence of the American ambassador), in Tripoli, and on the island of Aegina, which was placed in February 2019.

The United States honored Samuel Gridley Howe by naming after a US Navy warship “Samuel G. Howe”, which operated during World War II[77]. In 1974, his home in Boston was memorialized[78].

The Greek people and SHP honor the memory of the glorious American Philhellene doctor, humanist, and national benefactor of Greece, Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe. Howe, in addition to being an emblematic figure of Philhellenism, is the man who organized the first international mission of humanitarian aid, which offered relief to the new Greek state. Finally, this great man, constitutes with his action, an example for the defense of the Greek-centric western civilization and human rights.

 

References

[1] Richards, Laura E. Howe, “Letters and Journals of Samuel Gridley Howe”, εκδ. Dana Estes & Company, Βοστώνη, 1909, σελ. 13.
[2] Howe Elliott, Maud, “Three Generations with Illustrations”, εκδ. Little, Brown & Company, Βοστώνη, 1923, σελ. 35.
[3] Richards, Laura E. Howe, “Letters and Journals of Samuel Gridley Howe”, εκδ. Dana Estes & Company, Βοστώνη, 1909, σελ. 13.
[4] Βλ. στο ίδιο.
[5] Βλ. στο ίδιο, σελ. 14.
[6] Βλ. στο ίδιο, σελ. 19-20.
[7] Βαγενάς, Θάνος, Δημητρακοπούλου, Ευρυδίκη, “Αμερικανοί Φιλέλληνες, Εθελοντές στο Εικοσιένα”, εκδ. Μάτι, Αθήνα, 2017, σελ. 73.
[8] Ward Howe, Julia, “Memoir of Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe”, εκδ. Albert J. Wright, Βοστώνη, 1876.
[9] Βαγενάς, Θάνος, Δημητρακοπούλου, Ευρυδίκη, “Αμερικανοί Φιλέλληνες, Εθελοντές στο Εικοσιένα”, εκδ. Μάτι, Αθήνα, 2017, σελ. 73 – 74.
[10] Βλ. στο ίδιο.
[11] Βλ. στο ίδιο, σελ. 74.
[12] Μαζαράκης- Αινιάν, Ι. Κ., “Αμερικανικός Φιλελληνισμός 1821- 1831”, εκδ. Ιστορική και Εθνολογική Εταιρεία της Ελλάδος, Αθήνα, αχρονολόγητο, σελ. 30.
[13] Σπηλιάδης, Νικόλαος, “Απομνημονεύματα ήτοι Ιστορία της Επαναστάσεως των Ελλήνων”, εκδ. Ινστιτούτο Ανάπτυξης “Χαρίλαος Τρικούπης”, Αθήνα, 2007, β’ τόμος, σελ. 203.
[14] Βαγενάς, Θάνος, Δημητρακοπούλου, Ευρυδίκη, “Αμερικανοί Φιλέλληνες, Εθελοντές στο Εικοσιένα”, εκδ. Μάτι, Αθήνα, 2017, σελ. 77.2
[15] Μακρυγιάννης, Ιωάννης, “Αρχεία Νεωτέρας Ιστορίας. Αρχείον του στρατηγού Ιωάννου Μακρυγιάννη”, επιμ. Ι. Βλαχογιάννης, Αθήνα, εκδ. Σ. Κ. Βλαστός, 1907, σελ. 214 – 215.
[16] Βαγενάς, Θάνος, Δημητρακοπούλου, Ευρυδίκη, “Αμερικανοί Φιλέλληνες, Εθελοντές στο Εικοσιένα”, εκδ. Μάτι, Αθήνα, 2017, σελ. 78 – 80.
[17] Βλ. στο ίδιο.
[18] Λάζος, Χρήστος Δ. , “Η Αμερική και ο ρόλος της στην Επανάσταση του 1821”, εκδ. Παπαζήσης, Αθήνα, 1984, β’ τόμος, σελ. 152.
[19] Βλ. στο ίδιο.
[20] Βαγενάς, Θάνος, Δημητρακοπούλου, Ευρυδίκη, “Αμερικανοί Φιλέλληνες, Εθελοντές στο Εικοσιένα”, εκδ. Μάτι, Αθήνα, 2017, σελ. 76.
[21] Βλ. στο ίδιο.
[22] Treiber, Heinrich, “Αναμνήσεις από την Ελλάδα 1822-1828”, επιμ. δρ. Χρήστος Ν. Αποστολίδης, ιδ. εκδ., Αθήνα, 1960.
[23] Βαγενάς, Θάνος, Δημητρακοπούλου, Ευρυδίκη, “Αμερικανοί Φιλέλληνες, Εθελοντές στο Εικοσιένα”, εκδ. Μάτι, Αθήνα, 2017, σελ. 82.
[24] Βλ. στο ίδιο.
[25] Larrabee, Stephen A., “Hellas observed, the American Experience of Greece 1775- 1865”, εκδ. New York University Press, Νέα Υόρκη, 1957, σελ. 106.
[26] Λάζος, Χρήστος Δ. , “ Η Αμερική και ο ρόλος της στην Επανάσταση του 1821”, εκδ. Παπαζήσης, Αθήνα, 1984, β’ τόμος, σελ. 137- 139.
[27] Βλ. στο ίδιο, σελ. 158.
[28] Βλ. στο ίδιο.
[29] Barth, Wilhelm, Kehrig- Korn, Max, “Die Philhellenenzeit. Von der Mitte des 18. Jahrhunderts bis zur Ermordung Kapodistrias’ am 9. Oktober 1831”, εκδ. Max Hueber Verlag, Μόναχο, 1960, σελ. 87.
[30] Dakin, Douglas, “British and American Philhellenes during the war of Greek Independence, 1821-1833”, εκδ. Εταιρεία Μακεδονικών Σπουδών – Ίδρυμα Μελετών Χερσονήσου του Αίμου, Θεσσαλονίκη, 1955.
[31] Βλ. στο ίδιο.
[32] Richards, Laura E. Howe, “Letters and Journals of Samuel Gridley Howe”, εκδ. Dana Estes & Company, Βοστώνη, 1909, σελ. 278.
[33] Μαζαράκης- Αινιάν, Ι. Κ., “Αμερικανικός Φιλελληνισμός 1821- 1831”, εκδ. Ιστορική και Εθνολογική Εταιρεία της Ελλάδος, Αθήνα, αχρονολόγητο, σελ. 34.
[34] Βλ. στο ίδιο, σελ. 26.
[35] Λάζος, Χρήστος Δ., “ Η Αμερική και ο ρόλος της στην Επανάσταση του 1821”, εκδ. Παπαζήσης, Αθήνα, 1984, β’ τόμος, σελ. 143.
[36] Gordon, Thomas, “Ιστορία της Ελληνικής Επαναστάσεως”, μτφρ. Αλέξανδρος Παπαδιαμάντης, εισαγωγή Αγλαΐα Κάσδαγλη, επιμ. Λαμπρινή Τριανταφυλλοπούλου, εκδ. Μ.Ι.Ε.Τ., Αθήνα, 2015, γ’ τόμος.
[37] Μαζαράκης- Αινιάν, Ι. Κ., “Αμερικανικός Φιλελληνισμός 1821- 1831”, εκδ. Ιστορική και Εθνολογική Εταιρεία της Ελλάδος, Αθήνα, αχρονολόγητο, σελ. 34.
[38] Βλ. στο ίδιο.
[39] Richards, Laura E. (Howe), “Letters and Journals of Samuel Gridley Howe”, εκδ. Dana Estes & Company, Βοστώνη, 1909, σελ. 23.
[40] Trent, James W., “The Manliest Man: Samuel G. Howe and the Contours of Nineteenth-century American Reform”, εκδ. University of Massachusetts Press, Βοστώνη, 2012, σελ. 55-57.
[41] Βλ. στο ίδιο.
[42] French, Kimberly, “Perkins School for the Blind “, εκδ.Arcadia Publishing, Mount Pleasant, 2004, σελ. 9 -11.
[43] Βλ. στο ίδιο.
[44] Βλ. στο ίδιο.
[45] Gitter, Elizabeth, ”The Imprisoned Guest: Samuel Howe and Laura Bridgman, the Original Deaf-Blind Girl”, εκδ. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Νέα Υόρκη, 2001, σελ. 23- 26.
[46] Hall, Florence Howe, “Julia Ward Howe and the Woman Suffrage Movement”, εκδ. Dana Estes & Company, Βοστώνη, 1913.
[47] Βλ. στο ίδιο.
[48] Συλλογικό, Εγκυκλοπαίδεια “Δομή”, εκδ. Δομή, Αθήνα, 2003, 2ος τόμος, σελ.647.
[49] Brennan, Elizabeth A., Clarage, Elizabeth C., “Who’s who of Pulitzer Prize Winners”, εκδ. Greenwood Publishing Group, Westport, 1999.
[50] Βλ. στο ίδιο.
[51] Ziegler, Valarie H., “Diva Julia: The Public Romance and Private Agony of Julia Ward Howe”, εκδ. Continuum International Publishing Group, Νέα Υόρκη, 2003, σελ. 11.
[52] Βλ. στο ίδιο.
[53] Βλ. στο ίδιο.
[54] Λάζος, Χρήστος Δ. , “ Η Αμερική και ο ρόλος της στην Επανάσταση του 1821”, εκδ. Παπαζήσης, Αθήνα, 1984, β’ τόμος, σελ. 130.
[55] Μαζαράκης-Αινιάν, Ι. Κ., “Αμερικανικός Φιλελληνισμός 1821- 1831”, εκδ. Ιστορική και Εθνολογική Εταιρεία της Ελλάδος, Αθήνα, αχρονολόγητο, σελ. 19.
[56] Βαγενάς, Θάνος, Δημητρακοπούλου, Ευρυδίκη, “Αμερικανοί Φιλέλληνες, Εθελοντές στο Εικοσιένα”, εκδ. Μάτι, Αθήνα, 2017, σελ. 84.
[57] “Samuel Gridley Howe’s Archives”, Harvard University Library, Cambridge.
[58] Συλλογικό, “The New International Encyclopedia”, εκδ. Dodd, Mead and Company, Νέα Υόρκη, 10ος τόμος, 1905.
[59] Pfeiffer, David, “Samuel Gridley Howe and ‘Schools for the Feebleminded”, εκδ. περ. “Ragged Edge”, Louisville, 2003.
[60] Howe, Samuel G., “In ceremonies on laying the corner-stone of the New York State institution for the blind, at Batavia, Genessee County, New York”, εκδ. Henry Todd, Νέα Υόρκη, 1866.
[61] Richards, Laura E. Howe, “Two Noble Lives”, εκδ. Dana Estes & Company, Βοστώνη, 1911.
[62] Βλ. στο ίδιο.
[63] Siebert, Wilbur H., “The Underground Railroad from Slavery to Freedom”, εκδ. MacMillan & Co., Λονδίνο, 1898, σελ. 81.
[64] Adams, George Worthington, “Doctors in Blue: The Medical History of the Union Army in the Civil War “, εκδ. Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge, 1996.
[65] Howe, Samuel G., “The refugees from slavery in Canada West”, εκδ. Wright & Potter, Βοστώνη, 1864.
[66] Schwartz, Harold, “Samuel Gridley Howe, Social Reformer, 1801-1876”, εκδ. Harvard University Press, Βοστώνη, 1956.
[67] Cumbler, John T., “From Abolition to Rights for All: The Making of a Reform Community in the Nineteenth Century”, University of Pennsylvania Press, Φιλαδέλφεια, 2008.
[68] Λάζος, Χρήστος Δ. , “ Η Αμερική και ο ρόλος της στην Επανάσταση του 1821”, εκδ. Παπαζήσης, Αθήνα, 1984, β’ τόμος, σελ. 131.
[69] Benjamin Sanborn, Franklin, “ Michael Anagnos, 1837-1906”, εκδ. Wright and Potter Printing Company, Βοστώνη, 1907, σελ. 10.
[70] Burgess, Thomas, “Greeks in America: An Account of Their Coming Progress Customs, Living and Aspirations”, εκδ. Sherman, French & Company, Βοστώνη, 1913, σελ. 132.
[71] Συλλογικό, Εγκυκλοπαίδεια “Δομή”, εκδ. Δομή, Αθήνα, 2003, 2ος τόμος, σελ.647.
[72] Barth, Wilhelm, Kehrig- Korn, Max, “Die Philhellenenzeit. Von der Mitte des 18. Jahrhunderts bis zur Ermordung Kapodistrias’ am 9. Oktober 1831”, εκδ. Max Hueber Verlag, Μόναχο, 1960, σελ. 139.
[73]
[74] Ruchames, Louis. “Charles Sumner and American Historiography”, εκδ. περ. “Journal of Negro History”, Σικάγο, 1953, τεύχος 38.
[75] Trent, James W., “The Manliest Man: Samuel G. Howe and the Contours of Nineteenth-century American Reform”, εκδ. University of Massachusetts Press, Βοστώνη, 2012.
[76] Λαγουδάκης, Χαρίλαος, “Samuel Gridley Howe”, εκδ. περ. “ Δελτίον Αποφοίτων Κολλεγίου Αθηνών”, Αθήνα, 1938, β’ τόμος, τεύχος 2, σελ. 5.
[77] Davies, James, “Specifications (As-Built)”, εκδ. περ. “ WW2 Ships”, Νέα Υόρκη, 2004, σελ. 23.
[78] Trent, James W., “The Manliest Man: Samuel G. Howe and the Contours of Nineteenth-century American Reform”, εκδ. University of Massachusetts Press, Βοστώνη, 2012.

 

Bibliography – Sources

  • Barth, Wilhelm, Kehrig- Korn, Max, “Die Philhellenenzeit. Von der Mitte des 18. Jahrhunderts bis zur Ermordung Kapodistrias’ am 9. Oktober 1831”, εκδ. Max Hueber Verlag, Μόναχο, 1960.
  • Richards, Laura E. Howe, “Letters and Journals of Samuel Gridley Howe”, εκδ. Dana Estes & Company, Βοστώνη, 1909.
  • Ziegler, Valarie H., “Diva Julia: The Public Romance and Private Agony of Julia Ward Howe”, εκδ. Continuum International Publishing Group, Νέα Υόρκη, 2003.
  • Howe, Samuel G., “In ceremonies on laying the corner-stone of the New York State institution for the blind, at Batavia, Genessee County, New York”, εκδ. Henry Todd, Νέα Υόρκη, 1866.
  • Συλλογικό, “The New International Encyclopedia”, εκδ. Dodd, Mead and Company, Νέα Υόρκη, 10ος τόμος, 1905.
  • Brennan, Elizabeth A., Clarage, Elizabeth C., “Who’s who of Pulitzer Prize Winners”, εκδ. Greenwood Publishing Group, Westport, 1999.
  • Συλλογικό, Εγκυκλοπαίδεια “Δομή”, εκδ. Δομή, Αθήνα, 2003, 2ος τόμος.
  • Gordon, Thomas, “Ιστορία της Ελληνικής Επαναστάσεως”, μτφρ. Αλέξανδρος Παπαδιαμάντης, εισαγωγή Αγλαΐα Κάσδαγλη, επιμ. Λαμπρινή Τριανταφυλλοπούλου, εκδ. Μ.Ι.Ε.Τ., Αθήνα, 2015, γ’ τόμος.
  • Treiber, Heinrich, “Αναμνήσεις από την Ελλάδα 1822-1828”, επιμ. δρ. Χρήστος Ν. Αποστολίδης, ιδ. εκδ., Αθήνα, 1960.
  • Trent, James W., “The Manliest Man: Samuel G. Howe and the Contours of Nineteenth-century American Reform”, εκδ. University of Massachusetts Press, Βοστώνη, 2012.
  • Dakin, Douglas, “British and American Philhellenes during the war of Greek Independence, 1821-1833”, εκδ. Εταιρεία Μακεδονικών Σπουδών – Ίδρυμα Μελετών Χερσονήσου του Αίμου, Θεσσαλονίκη, 1955.
  • Βαγενάς, Θάνος, Δημητρακοπούλου, Ευρυδίκη, “Αμερικανοί Φιλέλληνες, Εθελοντές στο Εικοσιένα”, εκδ. Μάτι, Αθήνα, 2017
  • Σπηλιάδης, Νικόλαος, “Απομνημονεύματα ήτοι Ιστορία της Επαναστάσεως των Ελλήνων”, εκδ. Ινστιτούτο Ανάπτυξης “Χαρίλαος Τρικούπης”, Αθήνα, 2007, β’ τόμος.
  • Ward Howe, Julia, “Memoir of Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe”, εκδ. Albert J. Wright, Βοστώνη, 1876.
  • Μακρυγιάννης, Ιωάννης, “Αρχεία Νεωτέρας Ιστορίας. Αρχείον του στρατηγού Ιωάννου Μακρυγιάννη”, επιμ. Ι. Βλαχογιάννης, Αθήνα, εκδ. Σ. Κ. Βλαστός, 1907.
  • Howe Elliott, Maud, “Three Generations with Illustrations”, εκδ. Little, Brown & Company, Βοστώνη, 1923.
  • Siebert, Wilbur H., “The Underground Railroad from Slavery to Freedom”, εκδ. MacMillan & Co., Λονδίνο, 1898.
  • Pfeiffer, David, “Samuel Gridley Howe and ‘Schools for the Feebleminded”, εκδ. περ. “Ragged Edge”, Louisville, 2003.
  • Adams, George Worthington, “Doctors in Blue: The Medical History of the Union Army in the Civil War“, εκδ. Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge, 1996.
  • Howe, Samuel G., “The refugees from slavery in Canada West”, εκδ. Wright & Potter, Βοστώνη, 1864.
  • Cumbler, John T., “From Abolition to Rights for All: The Making of a Reform Community in the Nineteenth Century”, University of Pennsylvania Press, Φιλαδέλφεια, 2008.
  • Hall, Florence Howe, “Julia Ward Howe and the Woman Suffrage Movement”, εκδ. Dana Estes & Company, Βοστώνη, 1913.
  • Schwartz, Harold, “Samuel Gridley Howe, Social Reformer, 1801-1876”, εκδ. Harvard University Press, Βοστώνη, 1956.
  • Richards, Laura E. Howe, “Two Noble Lives”, εκδ. Dana Estes & Company, Βοστώνη, 1911.
  • Μαζαράκης-Αινιάν, Ι. Κ., “Αμερικανικός Φιλελληνισμός 1821- 1831”, εκδ. Ιστορική και Εθνολογική Εταιρεία της Ελλάδος, Αθήνα, αχρονολόγητο.
  • Ruchames, Louis, “Charles Sumner and American Historiography”, εκδ. περ. “Journal of Negro History”, Σικάγο, 1953, τεύχος 38.
  • Gitter, Elizabeth, ”The Imprisoned Guest: Samuel Howe and Laura Bridgman, the Original Deaf-Blind Girl”, εκδ. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Νέα Υόρκη, 2001.
  • French, Kimberly, “Perkins School for the Blind“, εκδ. Arcadia Publishing, Mount Pleasant, 2004.
  • Λάζος, Χρήστος Δ., “Η Αμερική και ο ρόλος της στην Επανάσταση του 1821”, εκδ. Παπαζήσης, Αθήνα, 1984, β’ τόμος.
  • Λαγουδάκης, Χαρίλαος, “Samuel Gridley Howe”, εκδ. περ. “Δελτίον Αποφοίτων Κολλεγίου Αθηνών”, Αθήνα, 1938, β’ τόμος, τεύχος 2.
  • Davies, James, “Specifications (As-Built)”, εκδ. περ. “WW2 Ships”, Νέα Υόρκη, 2004.
  • Benjamin Sanborn, Franklin, “Michael Anagnos, 1837-1906”, εκδ. Wright and Potter Printing Company, Βοστώνη, 1907.
  • Burgess, Thomas, “Greeks in America: An Account of Their Coming Progress Customs, Living and Aspirations”, εκδ. Sherman, French & Company, Βοστώνη, 1913.
  • Larrabee, Stephen A., “Hellas observed, the American Experience of Greece 1775- 1865”, εκδ. New York University Press, Νέα Υόρκη, 1957.

 

 

Ludwig Lange, was a German architect and designer, born on March 22, 1808 in Darmstadt. His father, Christian Friedrich (1759–1840), was a clerk of the Court. Ludwig had two younger brothers with whom he cooperated. They also followed an artistic path; Gustav Georg became a painter of the Royal Court and Julius a landscape painter.

Ludwig Lange abandoned High School at a very young age, and studied under the architect and politician Georg August Lerch (1792-1857) between 1823 and 1826. He then studied at the University of Gießen and collaborated with the architect Georg Moller (1784-1852). From 1830 onwards he lived in Munich, and began experimenting with his brothers with perspective designs and drawings of buildings and monuments, an activity he would continue and perfect in the following decades. His work stands out both for his painting talent and for the excellent perception of the space he had as an architect.

An important acquaintance in his life was that with the landscape painter, Carl Rottmann (1797-1850), in Munich. He studied with him between 1830 and 1834 and developed a friendship relationship. Lange accompanied Rottmann in Greece, when the Bavarian monarch Ludwig I instructed him in 1834 to travel there and enrich his repertoire for the completion of a series of Greek works. During this difficult journey, Lange was a valuable consultant for Rottmann´s architectural plans. Based on the experiences he gained in Greece, Lange wrote the “Reiseberichte aus Griechenland” (Travel correspondences from Greece, 1835).

However, apart from his association with his teacher, Lange was distinguished in Greece for his own talents. King Othon hired him as his “Expert Civil Engineer” (Baurat), after Lange presented his architectural proposal for the creation of a “Church of the Savior” (Erlöserkirche). The project was not implemented due to financial difficulties. However, he designed other important buildings for the new capital of the Greek state. The initial proposal for the design of the National Archaeological Museum was his own, but the architects who completed the project, namely Ernst Ziller, Panagis Kalkos and Armodios Vlachos, intervened in his original plans. The newly established Royal High School of Athens was implemented based on Lange´s plans, where he also taught Design since 1835. The construction of the royal palaces at the foot of Lycabettus, as Lange suggested, was not found as the most appropriate solution.

During his stay in Greece he created a number of drawings and watercolors, which he later processed as oil paintings. About 150 of his paintings survived. His works gained appreciation by his colleagues, such as Karl Friedrich Schinkel (1781-1841). Like his teacher Rottmann, Lange created landscapes of the historical sites he visited (Sikyon, Corinth, Athens and its ancient port, Piraeus). On a later trip to Greece, it is reported that he visited Hydra and the Cyclades with the author Ludwig Steub (1812-1888).

His works are distinguished by realism, accuracy, and the successful perspective rendering of places and buildings. He did not refer a lot to historical or romantic elements. However, in his watercolor “The Acropolis of Athens in the time of Pericles” (Die Akropolis von Athen zur Zeit des Perikles, 1835), he painted an imaginary reconstruction of the ancient Acropolis – not the modern image of its hill.

 

The Acropolis of Athens at the time of Pericles, 1835

 

He also attempted to depict contemporary Athens in his watercolor “Athens and the Acropolis from the Northwest” (Athen und die Akropolis von Nordwesten, 1836), although it is possible that the painter did not capture the landscape he saw with absolute accuracy.

 

Athens and the Acropolis from the Northwest, 1836

 

The oil painting of “The Entrance to the free Athens” conveys his love for classical Greece once again, depicting the area, where the ancient Greek and Roman markets stood. This work was completed by Lange in 1838, after his return to Munich.

 

“The Entrance to free Athens”, 1838

 

From 1839 onwards Lange worked on various projects commissioned by Ludwig, and from 1847 onwards he took over the chair of Architecture of the Royal Academy of Munich. He traveled to Germany and created various designs from prominent German cities, which were published in architectural magazines. At the same time, he designed some vignettes with scenes of the Athenian landscape for the “Panorama of Athens” (Munich, 1841) by the painter Ferdinand Stademann (1791-1873), who had also visited Greece after Ludwig’sinvitation. Lange created many architectural plans, including a “palace for the heir to the throne” in Munich (Kronprinz-Palais, 1845) and the Nikolaikirche (Church of St. Nicholas) in Hamburg. The famous Museum of Fine Arts in Leipzig has also been designed by Ludwig Lange. In 1858 Lange published in Munich the work “Die griechischen Landschaftsgemälde von Karl Rottmann in der neuen königlichen Pinakothek zu München” (The Greek Landscapes of Karl Rottmann in the New Royal Gallery in Munich) which describes the works of his teacher.

Ludwig Lange died on March 31, 1868 in Munich, where his grave stands today. His works helped to promote the image of Greece in Europe.

SHP honors the Philhellene architect and painter, Ludwig Lange, who laid the foundation for the architectural design of the National Archaeological Museum, and created a number of works for Greece, disseminating the image of the country internationally.

 

Sources and Bibliography

  • Fuhrmeister, Christian; Jooss, Birgit (Hrsg.), Isar/Athen Griechische Künstler in München – Deutsche Künstler in Griechenland, Μόναχο
  • Καγιαδάκη, Μαρία, Οι ζωγράφοι Γεώργιος και Φίλιππος Μαργαρίτης. Τα πρώτα καλλιτεχνικά εργαστήρια στην Αθήνα του 19ου αιώνα. Διδακτορική διατριβή, Αριστοτέλειο Πανεπιστήμιο Θεσσαλονίκης, 2008.

 

 

German designer and lithographer, Wilhelm August Ferdinand Stademann, was born in Berlin in 1791 and died in Munich in 1873. He lived in Bavaria from 1810 onwards. Between 1832 and 1836 he was in Greece as an envoy of the Bavarian monarch Ludwig I (1786-1868), who had assigned him the role of advisor and secretary of Othon’s Regency (1818-1867). Then he returned to Bavaria. His son was the German landscape painter Adolf Stademann (1824-1895).

Before leaving for Greece, Stademann had worked with one of the oldest porcelain factories in Europe, KPM (Königliche Porzellan- Manufaktur: royal porcelain industry) from Berlin, for which he designed images which were imprinted on porcelain objects.

 

Amphora from the KPM porcelain factory with designs by Ferdinand Stademann. One side depicts the Prussian National Monument of the German Liberation Wars (Nationaldenkmal für die Befreiungskriege) in Kreuzberg, Berlin; the other side depicts Prussian King Wilhelm-Friedrich III. Berlin, 1823-1832, 62.7 x 30.8 cm.

Ferdinand Stademann, View of Berlin framed by 36 representations of public buildings in Berlin, Potsdam and Charlottenburg (Ansicht Berlins, sowie 36 öffentlicher Gebäude etc. in und bei dieser Hauptstadt, zu Potsdam und Charlottenburg) coloured lithography, ca. 1825, total dimensions: 45.7 x 64.3 cm.

 

While still in his homeland, Stademann had gained experience in realistic landscape- and monument painting. He developed those artistic abilities further in Greece. In 1835, in the midst of a terrible heat wave, according to Stademann, he completed in Athens a Panorama of the city (Panorama von Athen) after an assignment by King Othon. Its panorama extends to a length of six meters and faithfully depicts Pnyx, the hills of the Acropolis, Hymettus and Lycabettus, the mountains of Penteli, Parnitha and Egaleo, Ilissos, Piraeus, Korydallos, Aegina and Salamina, in ten colored, lithographic plates. Even Argolida is depicted. The artist tried to sketch the place where he was living and the people who live in it, in a simple – yet realistic manner. The point from which Stademann painted the Panorama was the hill of the Nymphs, the center of the Observatory building – as documented in a vignette of his work.

 

Vignette n.3 from «Panorama von Athen» (Vignette Nro. 3. das Nympheion, in der Nähe gesehen), which depicts Stademann himself while creating the panorama on the Hill of the Nymphs. Lithography by Ludwig Lange. From the edition: STADEMANN, August Ferdinand. Panorama von Athen. An Ort und Stelle aufgenommen und herausgegeben von Ferdinand Stademann… Deponirt… 15 April, 1840 bei dem Koniglichen bayerischen Ministerium des Innern, Munich, J.B. Kuhn, Franz Wild’schen Buchdruckerey, for the Author, and for R. Weigel, Leipzig, and Artaria & Fontaine, Mannheim, 1841 (SHP Collection).

 

The panorama offers a 360-degree record of the Attica Basin: a panorama of the capital of the new Greek state, which preserves the image that a traveler of Athens saw in the first post-revolutionary years to this day.

 

Ferdinand Stademann, View from the Hill of the Muses to Plaka and Lycabettus (Panoramablatt No.10). From the edition: STADEMANN, August Ferdinand. Panorama von Athen. An Ort und Stelle aufgenommen und herausgegeben von Ferdinand Stademann… Deponirt… 15 April, 1840 bei dem Koniglichen bayerischen Ministerium des Innern, Munich, J.B. Kuhn, Franz Wild’schen Buchdruckerey, for the Author, and for R. Weigel, Leipzig, and Artaria & Fontaine, Mannheim, 1841 (SHP Collection).

 

The panorama is accompanied by six vignettes with scenes of the Athenian landscape, some of which were designed by the German painter Ludwig Lange (1808 – 1868). Lange was also found as an envoy of Ludwig in Athens, where he collaborated with his teacher, painter Carl Rottmann (1797 – 1850), in the creation of landscapes. The vignettes depict, among others, the area of ​​Kaisariani, the area in Ilissos, where the Stadium and the royal palaces were later rebuilt. The panorama included a map, a list of subscribers with Othon´s name as well, and a text written in French and German. The publication of Stademann’s work piqued the interest of his contemporaries.

 

The fifth vignette from «Panorama von Athen» with a view of Athens from Plato’s Academy (Vignette Nro. 5. Athen von der Akademie aus) was designed by Ludwig Lange. From the edition: STADEMANN, August Ferdinand. Panorama von Athen. An Ort und Stelle aufgenommen und herausgegeben von Ferdinand Stademann… Deponirt… 15 April, 1840 bei dem Koniglichen bayerischen Ministerium des Innern, Munich, J.B. Kuhn, Franz Wild’schen Buchdruckerey, for the Author, and for R. Weigel, Leipzig, and Artaria & Fontaine, Mannheim, 1841 (SHP Collection).

 

Stademann belongs, along with Carl Rottmann (1797-1850), Ludwig Lange (1808-1868), Peter von Hess (1792-1871), the military men and painters Karl Wilhelm Freiherr von Heideck (1788-1861) and Karl Krazeisen ( 1794-1878), as well as the architect Leo von Klenze (1784-1864), to the distinguished German envoys of Ludwig I, in Greece, where they created elegant images and works, depicting the Revolution of 1821, the people of the time and the landscape of the liberated Greece as they saw it.

The creation of the Panorama of Athens by Ferdinand Stademann faithfully reconstructs the landscape of the capital, as it was in the first post-revolutionary years, and provides future generations with important historical evidence for the evolution of the Attic landscape through the centuries. SHP honors the painter Ferdinand Stademann for this contribution to Greece.

 

Sources – Bibliography

  • Βιγγοπούλου, Ιόλη (επιμέλεια), Η Ανάδυση και η Ανάδειξη Κέντρων του Ελληνισμού στα Ταξίδια των Περιηγητών (15ος – 20ος αιώνας). Ανθολόογιο από τη Συλλογή του Δημητρίου Κοντομηνά. Εκδόσεις Κότινος, Αθήνα 2005.
  • Λεκάκης, Γιώργος, Πανόραμα των Αθηνών, το 1835, http://www.arxeion-politismou.gr/

 

Othon, King of Greece. 19th century painting of Josef Stieler.

 

Othon (1815-1867), was a Bavarian prince and the first king of Greece, in 1833-1862. He was the only king who held the title “King of Greece”, since the following ones, from George I onwards, bore the title “King of the Greeks”[1].

He was born on 1 June 1815 in the Mirabell Palace in Salzburg, as Otto Friedrich Ludwig von Wittelsbach[2]. He was the second son of the great Philhellene heir to the Bavarian throne and later king of Bavaria, Ludwig I (1786-1868), who served as governor of Salzburg, and Theresia, duchess of Saxe-Hildburghausen (1792-1854)[3].

As the second son of the future king of Bavaria, Otto received a thorough education. He was taught by the philosopher Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling (1775-1854)[4], the Philhellene historian Friedrich Thiersch (1784-1860)[5] ) and the cardinal, Archbishop of Eichstätt Johann Georg von Oettl (1794-1866)[6]. His education, as well as the action of his father, played a catalyst role for young Otto to adhere to Philhellenism.

After the Greek Revolution of 1821, the Greek state was recognized internationally, through the London Protocol[7], on March 10, 1830. Shortly afterwards, in September 1831, Governor Ioannis Kapodistrias was assassinated. Meanwhile, Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha resigned from the candidacy to the Greek throne in June 1830[8]. So Greece suddenly found itself in a power vacuum. Then, at the urging of the Protecting Powers (England, France, Russia), the Fifth National Assembly, which convened in March 1832, decided to elect the Bavarian Prince Otto as king[9].

The Administrative Committee succeeded the Fifth National Assembly in April 1832 and exercised temporary governmental duties before the arrival of Othon in Greece. On August 24, 1832, a three-member committee was set up, composed by Kostas Botsaris, Dimitrios Plapoutas and Andreas Miaoulis, which undertook to travel to Munich and hand over the Greek throne to Othon[10].

Τhe Greek ambassador to Paris, Michael Soutzos (1784-1864), as well as the Swiss banker, diplomat, important Philhellene and eminent benefactor of the Greek Revolution Jean Gabriel Eynard (1775-1863), worked actively, for the election of Othon in the Greek throne[11], which, as it seems, Kapodistrias also wanted before his assassination[12].

In addition, the philhellenism of his father and King Ludwig I of Bavaria (who significantly strengthened the Struggle, both materially and morally[13]), and the action of the Philhellene Foreign Minister of Bavaria Count de Gise, played an important role in the selection of Othon[14].

The protocol for the election of Othon (April 25, 1832) as king, was signed in London by Henry John Temple, viscount Palmerston (England) and princes Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord (France) and Christoph von Lieven (Russia). The text was sent for approval to King Ludwig I, who expressed some demands to accept the Greek throne by his son Othon[15].

The demands were to extend the borders of the kingdom to Volos and Arta, the annexation of Crete and Samos, to grant a loan of 60,000,000 French francs, to send to Greece three regiments of the Bavarian army (3,500 men), to operate a three-member regency until Othon’s adulthood, not to establish a constitution before the king takes office, so that he is not obliged to suspend it in case of crisis, and finally Othon’s title to be “King of Greece”[16].

The Protecting Powers rejected the first claim and accepted the remaining conditions, stating that the requested loan would be paid under their guarantee in three equal installments[17]. Two months later (June 17, 1832), the “final” borders of the newly formed kingdom were determined, and it acquired Acarnania, Aetolia and Fthiotis, with a border line starting from Kompoti (Amvrakikos Gulf), passing through the ridges of Othris and Timfristos and ending up in Maliakos[18].

 

Announcement of the Administrative Commission of Greece of March 23, 1832 (SHP collection).

 

A proclamation of the Administrative Commission of Greece of March 23, 1832, describes the situation in which Greece had fallen before Othon’s arrival. HELLENIC STATE, The Administrative Commission of Greece Declares, No. 3311 / The Administrative Commission, IOANNIS KOLETTIS / The Secretary of State D. CHRISTIDIS / Megara March 23, 1832, “GREEKS”. Text against division. “The philanthropic kings and patrons of Greece … explicitly condemn the illegality, they want our happiness … with the appointment of the Sovereign Principal of Greece … Rumeliotes! … Respect the property, the honour and the personal rights of your brothers in the Peloponnese … Military, those who are still outlaws, it is time for you to realize your mistake, the national Government welcomes you with open arms … our Sovereign Principal OTHON will be among us soon … ” .

Othon arrived in Greece, in Nafplio, on February 6, 1833, as a passenger of the British ship “Madagascar”. In his address to the Greek people upon his arrival, he emphasized that ‘’ascending the throne of Greece, I give the assurance to all, of conscientiously defending your religion, of faithfully observing the laws, of distributing justice to everyone and of safeguarding with the help of God against anyone, your complete independence, your freedoms and your rights”[19].

 

Peter von Hess. “The landing of King Othon in Nafplio”. National Gallery, Munich.

Painting portraying the Bavarian royal family examining a painting by Peter von Hess depicting the entry of King Otto of Greece into Napflio (SHP collection).

 

Because Otto was underage, a Regency Committee was formed. This instrument consisted of the following[20]:

  • Count Josef Ludwig von Armansperg (1787-1853), President.
  • Georg Ludwig von Maurer (1790-1872). Responsible for Public Education, Justice and Ecclesiastical Affairs.
  • Major General Karl Wilhelm von Heideck (1788-1861). One of the most distinguished Philhellenes, with military action during the Greek Revolution of 1821. Head of Military and Naval Affairs.

The above three, who constituted the Regency, were assisted by the following associate members[22]:

  • Karl von Abel, economist and jurist, alternate member of Council and secretary. He oversaw Finance.
  • Johann Baptist von Groenner (1781-1857), economist, overseeing Foreign Policy and overseeing Internal Administration.

On July 21, 1834, Otto’s father, King Ludwig I of Bavaria, recalled Maurer and Abel to Bavaria, who were replaced[23] by the following:

  • Ägid Ritter von Kobell,
  • Karl Groenner.

Until the capital was moved to Athens in 1834, Othon lived in Nafplio. In 1841 Othon moved from the Vouros residence (now the Museum of the City of Athens), to the Palace that was designed by Friedrich von Gärtner, which is today the Greek Parliament[24].

The ceremony of coming of age and proclamation of Othon as ‘’King of Greece with Mercy of God”, took place on June 1, 1835, and was celebrated with cannonades, military parade, lighting, games and an official dance. Athens and their inhabitants honored this day with all the means at their disposal. “It was a brilliant parade. From the church to the palace, the road was paved and decorated[25].

 

Personal seal of Othon (SHP collection).

 

The political scene in Greece was formed by fractions that were oriented towards the Protecting Powers and their political interests. The Russian Party expected the imminent dissolution of the Ottoman Empire soon. Given that a significant percentage of the Hellenic population remained enslaved, this party supported the so-called “Great Idea”. It is worth noting that the “Great Idea” was first proposed by the leader of the French Party and later Prime Minister, Ioannis Kolettis, during the National Assembly that voted for the 1844 constitution[26]. For the Philhellene king Otto, this prospect was tempting, and he immediately identified with it.

The British Party, on the other hand, relied on the power of Great Britain, which aimed at an alliance with Greece, especially in the naval sector. But it did not want to overthrow the Ottoman Empire, which was a bulwark to prevent Russian access to the Mediterranean[27].

The French Party also sought political influence and territorial gains in the Eastern Mediterranean. However, due to the prevailing situation, its policy failed[28].

 

Vouros Residence. Former Royal Palace. Now Museum of the City of Athens, Athens

 

Othon established a system of governance, based on Western standards, and the support of small agricultural property, as the basis of a social system. However, the unfavorable situation in the country did not allow the organization of a modern army of 9400 men, with the result that the defense of Greece relied, until at least the 1850s, on 6000 men, lightly equipped. This led many officers to oppose in general the policies of Othon[29]

The newly formed Greek state faced many problems. Much of the national land was mortgaged, or in the hands of few landlords. The guarantors France, Great Britain and Russia participated in the granting of a loan of 60 million francs to Greece. 3/4 were paid and out of this amount 12 million had to be paid to the Sublime Porte as compensation. The state deficit steadily increased until 1835, but in 1840 it was possible for the first time to present a balanced budget and start repaying the accumulated deficit[30].

Othon’s investment program was very ambitious and was financially supported by Greeks abroad and by his father, Ludwig I, as guarantor. Many projects relied on a long term design and yielded successful results decades later, especially in the field of education, with the main pillar being the then Othonean University (now the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens), which was founded in 1837[31].

In the end, Greece’s debts to Bavaria amounted to 1,933,333 Florins and 20 Kreuzers or 4,640,000 Drachmas. Without the last loan of one million forints (granted thanks to the actions of King Ludwig I of Bavaria), Greece would have to declare national bankruptcy. The non-repayment of the loan burdened the Greek-Bavarian relations until a negotiation led to a solution in 1881[32].

On November 22, 1836, Othon married Duchess Amalia of Oldenburg (1818-1875) in Oldenburg. Apart from Othon, she also began to play an active role in the country. Thus, she was significantly committed to the concerns of the citizens. The couple’s infertility became a major problem. With the constitution of 1844, the right of succession to the throne was extended to King Othon’s younger brother, Prince Adalbert (1828-1875) and his descendants. The next younger prince, Luitpold (1821-1912), refused to convert to the Orthodox doctrine in case of his succession to the throne. Othon had to accept as a condition that the successor to the throne should at least be converted to the Orthodox doctrine[33].

 

Amalia, Queen of Greece, painting of Josef Stieler, Wittelsbach Foundation, Munich.

 

In the dispute between Great Britain and Russia over influence in the Eastern Mediterranean, King’s Othon position was difficult. A large part of the population demanded the pursuit of a more dynamic policy, which, however, was difficult to implement due to the circumstances at the time[34].

When Greece tried to annex Crete around 1841, the British navy blocked the port of Piraeus[35]. This was repeated in 1850, with the so-called “Parkerika”[36]. This situation was repeated when Greece during the Crimean War in 1853, supported the revolutions for freedom, in Macedonia, Epirus and Thessaly[37]. The port of Piraeus and the capital were blocked, while the Greek Fleet was controlled by the Western Forces[38]. The king’s inability to face such foreign intervention weakened his position[39].

Moreover, the press in Germany expressed as of the beginning of Othon’s reign, doubts about the moral support towards the Greek state. Architect Ludwig Lange, on the other hand (who worked as a design teacher at a high school in Athens), spoke of falsified reports in Germany about what was happening in Greece[40].

In 1843 the lending to Greece had decreased, and this created dissatisfaction in the public administration, and in the citizens.This was one of the reasons for the coalition of the officers and politicians, which led to the movement of September 3, 1843, and the enactment of the Constitution of 1844[41].

Andreas Metaxas, the leader of the Russian Party, was then appointed prime minister[42]. He and all his successors, remained in office for a short time, something which reflected the violent disputes of the various parties that focused on the Protecting Powers[43]. This was followed by the Crimean War, where Othon planned the expansion of Greece to the north, at the expense of the Ottoman Empire. These moves annoyed the Protecting Powers, which again saw a Russian threat.

Eventually, Othon’s reign was overthrown by the coup of October 23, 1862. On the same day, Othon left Greece with Queen Amalia on the British ship “Scylla”[44], in order to avoid the division of the Greeks.

In his last official message, King Otto confirms his nobles and Philhellenism, or better now the ethos of a great Greek:

Greeks!

Convinced that after the recent events, which took place in various parts of the Kingdom and especially in the Capital, my further stay in Greece at that time could bring her inhabitants into a bloody turmoil, which would be difficult to overpower, I decided to leave from this place, which I have loved and still love, and to the prosperity of which for thirty years almost no care, no effort has been spared.

Avoiding all demonstrations, I had on my mind only the true interests of Greece and I tried my best to promote its material and moral development, drawing my particular attention to the impartiality of justice. When it came to political crimes against Me, I always showed the utmost leniency and oblivion;

Returning to the land of My birth, I am saddened by the calamities, when my beloved Greece is threatened by the new plot of things, and I ask the merciful God to always grant His grace to the fortunes of Greece’’.

 

The last official sermon of King Othon (SHP collection).

 

King Othon returned to Bavaria with his wife, and they settled in the residence of the former prince-bishop in Bamberg until their death. Each day, as a reminder of their love for Greece, they had set a time period in which only Greek would be spoken[45].

Despite the difficult financial situation, King Othon constantly helped Greece, sending anonymously financial aid. In fact, in 1866 he financed, entirely from his own resources, the sending of weapons to the Cretans, who had revolted against the Ottoman rule. Thus he proved once again not just his Philhellenism[46], but now his patriotism.

King Othon of Greece passed away on July 26, 1867 in Bamberg. He wanted to be buried with the traditional dress of Greece, the ‘’fustanella’’. He is buried next to Queen Amalia of Greece, in the crypt of the family tombs of the Bavarian dynasty, in the Theatinerkirche church, in the centre of Munich.

This great Greek undertook a particularly difficult mission at a young age, without having managed to gain the necessary experience. He undertook to build from scratch a new state that came from a long 400-year slavery. A state that started with minimal resources and many problems. He took care to unite the Greeks and to promote their common identity. That of the successors of ancient classical Greece. He designed the first institutions of the country, education and public health, and the first emblematic neoclassical buildings.

SHP honors the memory of King Othon of Greece, who, unlike his  father King Ludwig I of Bavaria, may not have been the experienced ruler (especially for a state created from zero), but he was a fair and selfless man, who proved his Philhellenism in practice and offered a lot to Greece.

 

King Othon of Greece, exiled to Bavaria, in 1865. Photo by Philippos Margaritis. National History Museum, Athens.

 

References

[1] Κωνσταντίνος (Βασιλεύς των Ελλήνων), “Χωρίς Τίτλο”, εκδ. “Το Βήμα”, Αθήνα, 2015, α’ τόμος.
[2] Bower, Leonard – Bolitho, Gordon, “Othon I, King of Greece: A Biography”, εκδ. Selwyn & Blunt, Λονδίνο, 1939.
[3] Βλ. στο ίδιο.
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[8] Fleming, David C., “John Capodistrias and the Conference of London (1828-1831)”, εκδ. Αριστοτελείου Πανεπιστημίου Θεσσαλονίκης, Θεσσαλονίκη, 1970.
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[14] Πρεβελάκης, Ελ.- Γλύτσης, Φ., “Επιτομαί εγγράφων του Βρετανικού Υπουργείου Εξωτερικών, Γενική Αλληλογραφία/Ελλάς”, εκδ. Ακαδημία Αθηνών, Αθήνα, 1975, α’ τόμος.
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[18] Buttlar, Adrian von,  Η Οθωνική Ελλάδα και η συγκρότηση του ελληνικού κράτους”, εκδ. Οδυσσέας, Αθήνα, 2002.
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[25] Μακρυγιάννης, Ιωάννης, “Αρχεία Νεωτέρας Ιστορίας. Αρχείον του στρατηγού Ιωάννου Μακρυγιάννη”, επιμ. Γιάννης Βλαχογιάννης, εκδ. Σ.Κ. Βλαστός, Αθήνα, 1907, β’ τόμος.
[26] Δραγούμης, Νικόλαος, “Ιστορικαί Αναμνήσεις”, εκδ. Ερμής, Αθήνα, 1973, β’ τόμος.
[27] Prokesch von Osten, Anton, “Geschichte des Abfalls der Griechen vom Turkischen Reiche”, εκδ. Akademische Druck und Verlagsanstalt, Graz, 1970, γ’ τόμος.
[28] “Αρχείο Ιωάννη Κωλέττη”, εκδ. Ακαδημία Αθηνών, Αθήνα, 1996, τόμος Β2’.
[29] Βερναρδάκης, Δημήτριος, “Καποδίστριας και Όθων” εκδ. Ερμείας, Αθήνα, 2001.
[30] Galletti, Johann Georg August, Cannabich, Johann Günther Friedrich, Meynert, Hermann, “Allgemeine Weltkunde”, εκδ. C.A. Harthleben, Μόναχο, 1840.
[31] “Εφημερίδα της Κυβερνήσεως του Βασιλείου της Ελλάδος”, Αθήνα, 1837, ΦΕΚ 24/04/1837.
[32] Seidl, Wolf, “Bayern in Griechenland”, εκδ. Süddeutscher Verlag, Μόναχο, 1970.
[33] Isensee, Florian, “ Amalie 1818-1875: Herzogin von Oldenburg Königin von Griechenland”, εκδ. Kunst- u. Kulturkreis Rastede e.V. , Ολδεμβούργο, 2004.
[34] Καλευράς, Παναγιώτης, “Η Ρωσοφοβία και ο Πανσλαυισμός “, εκδ. Καρτερία, Αθήνα, 1860.
[35] Σταυρινού, Μιράντα, ”Η αγγλική πολιτική και το Κρητικό Ζήτημα 1831-1841”, εκδ. Δόμος, Αθήνα, 1986.
[36] Κλάψης, Αντώνης, “Πολιτική και διπλωματία της ελληνικής εθνικής ολοκλήρωσης”, 1821-1923, Εκδόσεις Πεδίο, Αθήνα, 2019.
[37] Κολοκοτρώνης, Γενναίος, “Απομνημονεύματα”, εκδ. Βεργίνα, Αθήνα, 2006.
[38] Βλ. στο ίδιο.
[39] Μελετόπουλος, Χαρίλαος, “Η Ευρωπαϊκή Διπλωματία εν Ελλάδι”, εκδ. Π.Δ. Σακελλαρίου, Αθήνα, 1888.
[40] Nerdinger, Winfried ,”Lange Ludwig“, εκδ. Duncker & Humblot, Βερολίνο, 1982.
[41] Δραγούμης, Νικόλαος, “Ιστορικαί Αναμνήσεις”, εκδ. Ερμής, Αθήνα, 1973, β’ τόμος.
[42] Φωτιάδης, Δημήτρης, “Όθωνας – Η μοναρχία”, εκδ. Αφοι Ζαχαρόπουλοι, Αθήνα, 1988.
[43] Κολοκοτρώνης, Γενναίος, “Απομνημονεύματα”, εκδ. Βεργίνα, Αθήνα, 2006.
[44] Φωτιάδης, Δημήτρης, “Όθωνας – Η έξωση”, εκδ. Αφοι Ζαχαρόπουλοι, Αθήνα, 1988.
[45] Ευαγγελίδης, Τρύφων, “Ιστορία του Όθωνος, βασιλέως της Ελλάδος (1832-1862)”, εκδ. Α. Γαλανός, Αθήνα, 1894.
[46] Bower, Leonard – Bolitho, Gordon, “Otho I, King of Greece: A Biography”,εκδ. Selwyn & Blunt, Λονδίνο, 1939.

 

Bibliography – Sources

  • Κωνσταντίνος (Βασιλεύς των Ελλήνων), “Χωρίς Τίτλο”, εκδ. “Το Βήμα”, Αθήνα, 2015, α’ τόμος.
  • Bower, Leonard – Bolitho, Gordon, “Othon I, King of Greece: A Biography”, εκδ. Selwyn & Blunt, Λονδίνο, 1939.
  • Thiersch, Heinrich, “Friedrich Thiersch’s Leben (Aus seinen Briefen)”, εκδ. C.F. Winter, Λειψία, 1866, α’ τόμος.
  • Weis, Anton, “Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie“, εκδ. Duncker & Humblot, Λειψία, 1887.
  • Καποδίστριας, Ιωάννης, “Επιστολαί διπλωματικαί, διοικητικαί και ιδιωτικαί, γραφείσαι από 8 Απριλίου 1827 μέχρι 26 Σεπτεμβρίου 1831”, εκδ. Κωνσταντίνου Ράλλη, Αθήνα, 1841, γ’ τόμος.
  • Fleming, David C.,” John Capodistrias and the Conference of London (1828-1831)”, εκδ. Αριστοτελείου Πανεπιστημίου Θεσσαλονίκης, Θεσσαλονίκη, 1970.
  • Driault, Edouard, Lheritier, Michel, “Histoire diplomatique de la Grèce de 1821 à nos jours”, εκδ. Les Presses Universitaires de France, Παρίσι, 1925, β’ τόμος.
  • “Ατομικός Φάκελος ναυάρχου Ανδρέα Μιαούλη”, Ιστορικό Αρχείο Μουσείο Ύδρας, Ύδρα, γ’ τετράδιο.
  • Chapuisat, Edouard, “Jean-Gabriel Eynard et son temps : 1775-1863”, εκδ. A. Jullien, Γενεύη, 1952.
  • Κουτσονίκας, Λάμπρος, “Γενική Ιστορία της Ελληνικής Επαναστάσεως”, εκδ. Δ. Καρακατζάνη, Αθήνα, 1863-1865, δ’ τόμος.
  • Πρεβελάκης, Ελ.- Γλύτσης, Φ., “Επιτομαί εγγράφων του Βρετανικού Υπουργείου Εξωτερικών, Γενική Αλληλογραφία/Ελλάς”, εκδ. Ακαδημία Αθηνών, Αθήνα, 1975, α’ τόμος.
  • Ευαγγελίδης, Τρύφων, “Ιστορία του Όθωνος, βασιλέως της Ελλάδος (1832-1862)”, εκδ. Α. Γαλανός, Αθήνα, 1894.
  • “Εφημερίς της Κυβερνήσεως του Βασιλείου της Ελλάδος”, Ναύπλιο, ΦΕΚ 16/2/1833.
  • Παπαδόπουλος – Βρεττός, Ανδρέας, “Πολιτικά σύμμικτα”, εκδ. Αγγελίδη, Αθήνα, 1840.
  • Heideck, Karl von, “Die bayerische Philhellenen-Fahrt 1826-1829”, εκδ. J. Lindauersche Buchhandlung, Μόναχο, 1897.
  • Hederer, Oswald, “ Friedrich von Gärtner 1792 – 1847. Leben – Werk – Schüler”, εκδ. Prestel Verlag, Μόναχο, 1976.
  • Μακρυγιάννης, Ιωάννης, “Αρχεία Νεωτέρας Ιστορίας. Αρχείον του στρατηγού Ιωάννου Μακρυγιάννη”, επιμ. Γιάννης Βλαχογιάννης, εκδ. Σ.Κ. Βλαστός, Αθήνα, 1907, β’ τόμος.
  • Δραγούμης, Νικόλαος, “Ιστορικαί Αναμνήσεις”, εκδ. Ερμής, Αθήνα, 1973, β’ τόμος.
  • Prokesch von Osten, Anton, “Geschichte des Abfalls der Griechen vom Turkischen Reiche”, εκδ. Akademische Druck und Verlagsanstalt, Graz, 1970, γ’ τόμος.
  •  “Αρχείο Ιωάννη Κωλέττη”, εκδ. Ακαδημία Αθηνών, Αθήνα, 1996, τόμος Β2’.
  • Βερναρδάκης, Δημήτριος, “Καποδίστριας και Όθων” εκδ. Ερμείας, Αθήνα, 2001.
  • Galletti, Johann Georg August, Cannabich, Johann Günther Friedrich, Meynert, Hermann, “Allgemeine Weltkunde”, εκδ. C.A. Harthleben, Μόναχο, 1840.
  • “Εφημερίδα της Κυβερνήσεως του Βασιλείου της Ελλάδος”, Αθήνα, 1837, ΦΕΚ 24/04/1837.
  • Seidl, Wolf, “Bayern in Griechenland”, εκδ. Süddeutscher Verlag, Μόναχο, 1970.
  • Isensee, Florian, “Amalie 1818-1875: Herzogin von Oldenburg Königin von Griechenland”, εκδ. Kunst- u. Kulturkreis Rastede e.V., Ολδεμβούργο, 2004.
  • Καλευράς, Παναγιώτης, “Η Ρωσσοφοβία και ο Πανσλαυισμός“, εκδ. Καρτερία, Αθήνα, 1860.
  • Σταυρινού, Μιράντα, ”Η αγγλική πολιτική και το Κρητικό Ζήτημα 1831-1841”, εκδ. Δόμος, Αθήνα, 1986.
  • Κλάψης, Αντώνης, “Πολιτική και διπλωματία της ελληνικής εθνικής ολοκλήρωσης”, 1821-1923, Εκδόσεις Πεδίο, Αθήνα, 2019.
  • Κολοκοτρώνης, Γενναίος, “Απομνημονεύματα”, εκδ. Βεργίνα, Αθήνα, 2006.
  • Μελετόπουλος, Χαρίλαος, “Η Ευρωπαϊκή Διπλωματία εν Ελλάδι”, εκδ. Π.Δ. Σακελλαρίου, Αθήνα, 1888.
  • Nerdinger, Winfried ,”Lange, Ludwig“, εκδ. Duncker & Humblot, Βερολίνο, 1982.
  • Φωτιάδης, Δημήτρης, “Όθωνας – Η μοναρχία”, εκδ. Αφοι Ζαχαρόπουλοι, Αθήνα, 1988.
  • Φωτιάδης, Δημήτρης, “Όθωνας – Η έξωση”, εκδ. Αφοι Ζαχαρόπουλοι, Αθήνα, 1988.

 

 

“[…] Es lebe Ihre Heimat, die auch für mich die schonste Heimat is, die Heimat meiner Bildung und meiner Ideale!”

“Long live your Homeland, which for me is the most beautiful homeland, the homeland of my Education and my Ideals!”

Friedrich Thiersch, On the Current State of Greece and the Means to achieve its Restoration, Leipzig 1833 (1828 – 1833)

 

Friedrich Wilhelm Thiersch (Ειρηναίος Θείρσιος: “Ireneos Thiersios”, 1784 – 1860), the founder of Classical Philology and Humanities in Bavaria, was the leading figure of German Philhellenism. He thought of Greece as his “real” homeland, the mother of his thought and ideals, therefore Hellenized his name to “Ireneos Theirsios”, with which he is better known. He warmly defended the rights of the Greek Struggle, and was targeted by Metternich and the Prussian government as the inspirer of the “Philhellenic German Legion” and a fiery advocate of the Greek Revolution. Back in his day he was recognized as the “Praeceptor Bavariae”, teacher and founder of humanist education in Bavaria, the same way the philosopher Wilhelm von Humboldt (1767-1835) was considered as the founder of the educational system in Prussia.[1]

Ireneos Thiersios was born on June 17, 1784 in the village of Kirchscheidungen (Sachsen – Anhalt) and was the second son of the farmer Benjamin Thiersch. One of his brothers was the classical philologist and composer of the Prussian national anthem (Preußenlied), Bernard Thiersch. The famous Munich painter Ludwig Thiersch (1825-1909) was his son, and the architect and painter Friedrich von Thiersch (1852-1921) his grandson. From 1804 onwards he studied philology and theology at Leipzig and Göttingen, and offered private lessons after 1808. During his studies at Göttingen he gained close contacts with some of his classmates, who knew Greek songs. Thus his interest in modern Greek reality was ignited. In 1809 he arrived in Munich to teach at the Wilhelmsgymnasium and from 1811 onwards the Lyceum. He founded the Philological Institute (1812), which has since shaped teacher education in Bavaria, and established the school and university system in a neo-humanitarian direction. As early as 1809 he came into conflict with his superiors at the Munich High School and the circle of Baron Johann Christoph von Aretin, who expressed pro-Napoleonic positions. In 1811  he accused Aretin’s milieu of an assassination attempt against him during the Carnival, although the attack probably had an erotic rather than an ideological or political motivation.[2]

After the rise of the great Philhellene Ludwig I. to the Bavarian throne (October 13, 1825), Thiersch undertook the reorganization of the higher education system. He received the chair of Classical Philology after the state university was moved to Munich. In 1829 he became Rector of the Ludwig Maximilian University and founded the first seminary of Classical Studies in Germany. According to the curriculum he published for high schools in Bavaria, teaching was reduced almost entirely to the learning of ancient languages, thus satisfying the ideological program of the Bavarian monarch.

Theirsios predicted the revival of the Greek nation a decade before the outbreak of the Greek Revolution and contributed decisively to the formation of the entire German philhellenic movement.[3] The literary activity of German academics in favor of Greece before 1821 was crucial (the whole philhellenic movement would have been inconceivable, without their activity)[4]. The circulation of information about the Greek issue, already two generations before 1821, shaped an image for Greece and a movement of support. Regarding German intellectuals, Thiersch and Wilhelm Traugott Krug (1770-1842), professor of philosophy in Königsberg, were two very important advocates of the Greek Struggle. In fact, Krug was the first German scholar to publicly advocate for the freedom of the Greeks. At Easter 1821 he issued “The rebirth of Greece” (“Griechenlands Wiedergeburt”), appealing for support of the Greek struggle. He stressed out the fact that “the sovereignty of the Turks can in no way be considered legal, it is simply illegal … nothing can legally establish the supremacy of one people over another”[5] The leaflet travelled beyond German territory, in Holland and Poland, and was published in Greek anonymously in 1861.[6]

Thiersch shared similar ideas; his thoughts and worldview were shaped by his political Protestantism, liberalism, neo-humanism, and Christianity. In his brochure “The salvation of Greece, the case of the obligated Europe“, he propagated his position in favor of the Greek Struggle, based on an argument of moral obligation towards Greece. Europe owed its origin and progress to ancient Greece, therefore should reciprocate its gratitude to its descendants. The Greek Revolution offered Europe an ideal opportunity to pay gratitude to Greece; his compatriots ought to wholeheartedly embrace this rare opportunity to their advantage.

As a prestigious co-worker of the “Augsburger Allgemeine Zeitung”, Thiersch sought to inform the German public about Greek affairs and argue in favor of the Greeks. He maintained a network of contacts in Greece, in order to receive information from the original source. Through his series of articles in the Augsburger Allgemeine newspaper, “Von der Isar” (from Isar, 2/6 – 17/9/1821), he openly argued against the positions of the “Austrian Observer” (Österreichischer Beobachter), Metternich’s anti-Greek newspaper. Professor Thiersch’s “dangerous revolutionary games” in Germany before Vormärz, put his life and reputation in immediate danger. He became a target for the Austrian authorities as well as the, even more suspicious, Prussian government. His fiery spirit did not however bend: on 18/9/1821 he called for the formation of a Philhellenic, German Legion. The Prussian Foreign Minister Christian Günther von Bernstorff (1769–1835) reacted sharply to his proposal, publicly accusing the professor of “arrogance and complete misunderstanding of his duties“. The Prussian government recognized that an up rise of the Philhellenic movement could spark off reactions against the regime for a number of other internal issues; hence the silencing of the Prussian press on the Greek question.[7] Feeling the need to defend himself, Thiersch renounced his plans in the Allgemeine Zeitung, without actually abandoning his philhellenic struggle.[8]

According to Thiersch’s plans, the military involvement of a German legion in Greece would be funded by the Philhellenic Committees, and Munich would be the central point of coordination for the philhellenic movement. In order to implement his proposal, he came in contact with Greeks in Trieste and Vienna and with patriots, such as e.g. Theocharis Kefalas. The main supporter of his ideas, both in theory and in practice, was the Bavarian monarch Ludwig I. However, when the Austrian police became aware of his plans in July 1821, the execution of his project was suspended. The initial goal was to send a German military corps, with a general who would carry out the orders of the Greek government, and would undertake the military training of the Greeks. A German Legion was eventually formed by militarily untrained volunteers, who arrived in Greece in November 1822. Despite of all high expectations, it did not achieve any of its goals and was disbanded shortly afterwards.

Thiersch tried implementing his plans once again in late 1825 – early 1826, when he realized that the conditions in Europe were changing in favor of the Greeks. Although his ambition was not fulfilled, he nevertheless succeeded in founding an association for the Greeks in Munich, following the Prussian model. The Munich association undertook the collection and sending of money to the Philhellenic Committee of Paris. Ludwig himself offered large sums for the Greek Struggle. He was personally interested in the Greeks living in Bavaria, awarded scholarships to Greek students in Munich and followed their progress. Thanks to Thiersch, Alexandros Rizos Ragavis (1809-1892) and Scarlatos Soutsos (1806-1887) arrived in Munich as scholarship holders of the Military School. Ludwig adopted Thiersch’s proposal to cede the “Church of the Savior” (Salvatorkirche) to the Greek community of Munich and the consequent conversion of the church from Catholic to Orthodox. In 1826 a delegation of twelve Bavarians was sent to Greece under the leadership of Lieutenant Colonel Carl Wilhelm von Heideck (1788–1861), with the aim of organizing a regular army and undertaking military operations under Greek orders.

When Heideck left Greece, severely beaten by malaria, it was Thiersch’s time to visit the homeland of his ideals. The position left open was to be filled by another trusted person of Ludwig I. The monarch trusted Thiersch on educational and political matters in Bavaria. His Greek studies made him Ludwig’s only advisor in the royal court on Greek issues. On August 21, 1831 he left in a carriage for Trieste, from where he would sail to Greece. The trip’s official mission was archaeological research. He arrived in Greece just a few days before the assassination of the first Governor, Ioannis Kapodistrias (September 27, 1831), to act as an agent of the Bavarian court in the emerging Greek state.

Friedrich Thiersch arrived in Greece before the Bavarian prince Othon, and he was the first German philologist to visit the country.[9] He stayed in Greece between September 14, 1831 and September 4, 1832. He recorded his impressions of Greece in his two-volume work “De l’état actuel de la Grèce et des moyens d’arriver à sa restauration”(1833).

 

Friedrich Thiersch, On the Current State of Greece and the Means to achieve its Restoration, Leipzig 1833 (1828 – 1833)

 

With the beginning of the Bavarian period, a number of painters, architects and archaeologists arrived in Greece from Germany, thus repairing the remarkable absence of German travelers during the 17th and 18th centuries.

His lifelong acquaintance with Greeks did not overturn his philhellenic feelings, which, up to this moment, identified with his love for classical values. He recognized the spirit of ancient Greece in modern Greeks, whom he appreciated for their eagerness to learn. He saw the inner beauty of both men and women reflecting in their exterior appearance; a beauty he called classic, found “in the mountains of mainland Greece and in the families of captains and nobles”[10]. He considered climate as a determining factor for the development of their mental abilities, their courage and their thirst for learning[11]. His contact with modern Greeks confirmed his perception of the uninterrupted continuation of Hellenism through the centuries. For this reason he became a fierce opponent of Fallmerayer’s positions. In one of his articles in the Allgemeine Zeitung he asked him directly: “Is Othon the king of the Greeks or the Slavs?” (28.10.1835). A few days later, he attacked Fallmerayer’s follower, regent Ludwig von Maurer, for the book he published about the Greek people (01.11.1835)[12].

There is no doubt that Thiersch had great love and respect for the Greeks. His opposition to the first Governor of Greece, Ioannis Kapodistrias (1776-1831), and his connection to Greece with anti-Kapodistrian circles, may have contributed to the neglect of his Philhellenism. His political positions offer a clearer image of him, though. An event e.g. which saddened political circles in Germany and Europe, was that Thiersch was not included as a member of Othon’s three-member Regency, despite the fact that he had contributed to the arrival of the young monarch and his regency in Nafplio in 1833. The reasons were probably political, as Thiersch was influenced by political Protestantism and early liberalism, therefore in favor of a liberal, constitutional state that would act as an obstacle for the institution of monarchy. It was probably an unfortunate coincidence that he was not included as a member of the Regency, considering the depth of his knowledge of Greek affairs, the fervent support of the rights of the Greek people, but also a series of reforms of his own inspiration, which reflect his also practical, political temperament: “austerity in the economy sector with reduction of civil servants and officers, integration of Revolutionary fighters in the Greek defense without change of traditional clothing and domestic weapons, land distribution to farmers and their protection by large landowners”.[13]

Thiersch was a member of the Philomousos Society from 1814, he supported Greek schools in the Ottoman Empire, and had met Ioannis Kapodistrias, Ignatios of Hungary, Anthimos Gazis and Adamantios Korais. Korais persuaded him to create the Athenäum, a boarding school for young Greeks, which was founded between 1815 and 1817 in Munich. Thiersch is also said to have been the translator of Alexandros Soutsos’s novel The Exiled (1831) into German. This is the first translation of a Greek short story into a foreign language after 1830[14] Although the translator’s name does not appear in the German version of the text from 1837, it is quite possible that this occurred for Thiersch’s self-defense, as he was a persona non grata in Prussia.

He followed the tactic of concealing his identity anyway between 1835-1837, when his relationship with the Allgemeine Zeitung intensified; especially when referring to Metternich’s policy. The newspaper itself took care of the author, therefore published his articles unsigned. Another way for Thiersch to escape censorship was to publish letters from Greece to his wife in the literary magazine of the Cotta publishing house, “Morgenblatt für gelehrte Stände”, in which he conveyed information about the situation in Greece. In this way he continued to inform his public without openly becoming a target of the regime.[15]

Another sign of his love for Greece was his contribution as an archaeologist. During his one-year stay he completed many small excavations in Argos, Heraion of Argos, Mycenae, Tiryns, Nemea, Aegina and Delphi. Apart from his enthusiasm for the ancient Greek culture, he was interested in Byzantine and modern monuments and was also eager to learn more about recent historical events in Greece.

In 1841 he was honored with the title of Senior Brigadier (Großkomtur) by the Greek Order of the Redeemer (Erlöser Orden), whose first leader was King Otto of Greece. When he returned to Bavaria, he became President of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences from 1848 to 1859. In 1855 he was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 1855 he was awarded the Order of Merit of the Bavarian Crown and acquired the title of knight (Ritter).

Friedrich Wilhelm Ritter von Thiersch died in Munich on February 25, 1860. His grave is in the Old South Cemetery in Munich (Alter Südlicher Friedhof).

 

The Tomb of Friedrich Wilhelm Thiersch in Germany

 

His name has been given in Thierschstrasse in Munich and in “Thiersiou” Street near Attiki Square in Athens, still reminding Greeks of his contribution to the Greek Struggle.

SHP and Greece will forever honor this great man of spirit and Philhellene.

 

References

[1] Πρβλ. Selbmann, σ. 1.
[2] https://www.deutsche-biographie.de/sfz82498.html
[3] Τurczynski, σ. 11.
[4] Grimm, σ. 30, παρατίθεται στο: Τurczynski, σ. 11.
[5] Τράκα, σ. 53.
[6] Ο.π., σ. 54.
[7] Πρβλ. Λάσκαρι, σ. 31-34.
[8] Τράκα, σ. 56.
[9] Σπηλιοπούλου, σ. 2, 3.
[10] Κεφαλίδου, σ. 135 – 136.
[11] Ο.π., σ. 142.
[12] Σπηλιοπούλου, σ. 11.
[13] Παππάς
[14] Dimadis, σ. 1.
[15] Πρβλ. Σπηλιοπούλου, σ. 1.

 

Sources and Bibliography

  • deutsche-biographie.de
  • Dimadis, Konstantinos A., „Friedrich Thiersch und die Voraussetzungen für die erste Übersetzung eines griechischen Romans im deutschsprachigen Raum nach 1830: Der Verbannte von 1831 von Alexandros Soutsos“, στο Blume, H.- D. und Lienau, C. (Hg): Choregia, Münstersche Griechenland-Studien (2010)
  • Grimm, Gerhard, „Griechenland in Forschung und Lehre an den deutschen Universitäten vor der Ausbruch des griechischen Unabghängigkeitskrieges“, στο: Philhellenismus & die Modernisierung, σ. 29 – 46.
  • Κεφαλίδου, Σεβαστή, Πώς βλέπουν οι Ευρωπαίοι Φιλέλληνες Περιηγητές και τεχνοκράτες τους υπόδουλους Έλληνες και την ελληνική πραγματικότητα (κοινωνία – πολιτική- παιδεία). Μεταπτυχιακή εργασία. Αριστοτέλειο Πανεπιστήμιο Θεσσαλονίκης, 2005
  • Konstantinou, Εvangelos, Griechenlandbegeisterung und Philhellenismus, Europäische Geschichte Online, 22-10-2012
  • Παππάς, Γιάννης, Friedrich Thiersch: Ο βίος και το έργο ενός κορυφαίου και αδικημένου Φιλέλληνα, bavaria.de, 25.04.2019
  • Selbmann, Rolf, Kefes, Peter, „Friedrich Thiersch und der Neuhumanismus in Altbayern. Wahrheit & Legende.“, Wilhelmsgymnasium München, Jahresbericht 1991/92, σ. 94- 121.
  • Σπηλιοπούλου, Ιωάννα, Το ταξίδι του Ειρηναίου Θειρσίου στην Ελλάδα (1831-1832) µέσα από την αλληλογραφία του µε τη γυναίκα του ως πηγή µαρτυρίας για τις ιδεολογικές διενέξεις αναφορικά µε τις ρίζες του ελληνικού πολιτισµού, Ευρωπαϊκή Εταιρεία Νεοελληνικών Σπουδών, eens.org.
  • Τράκα, Θεολογία, H Ελλάδα και ο Ελληνικός Αγώνας για την Ανεξαρτησία μέσα από τη γερμανόφωνη πεζογραφία της δεκαετίας του 20 κατά τον 19ο αιώνα. Διδακτορική Διατριβή. Ιόνιο Πανεπιστήμιο, Κέρκυρα, 2012.
  • Turczynski, Emmanuel, Anmerkungen zu den wechselseitigen Kulturbeziehungen, στο: Hänsel, Bernhard, Die Entwicklung Griechenlands & die deutsch-griechischen Bezierhungen im 19. & 20. Jahrhundert, Verlag Otto Sagner, München 1990, σ. 9-21.

 

 

 

“We are all Greeks”

The well – known phrase which motivated the British and European public opinion of 1821 in favor of the Greek War for Independence, came from a delicate, thoughtful and unrecognized poet of his time, the English Percy Bysshe Shelley.

An unconventional teenager, a militant opponent of the establishment, even the Church and landowners, he was marginalized and persecuted for his love of Truth and Freedom. With his work, Shelley was the inspired prophet of the Greek Revolution.

In his emblematic work, “Hellas”, which he composed in the autumn of 1821, he confidently announces the arrival of a new era in Europe and the beginning of a “new race” that “will continue to produce fresh generations to accomplish that destiny which tyrants foresee and dread”. His political radicalism of pacifist Shelley intersected with his admiration for classical Athens, as a pioneer of a liberal political constitution. Shelley recognized modern Greeks as the descendants of the ancient ones. His love embraced Greek culture in its timelessness, recognizing it as democratic. His untimely and tragic death by drowning did not allow him to accomplish his dream and visit Greece, nor to witness the outcome of the Greek struggle for independence.

However he managed, as long as he lived, to pass on his enthusiasm and faith in the Revolution to his close friend, Lord Byron, who would land in Greece in 1823. His three close friends, Lord Byron, Eduard John Trelawny and Leigh Hunt, fare welled Shelley by ritually cremating his body near the beach of Viareggio, where his body was washed ashore, offering libations, under close supervision by the police authorities and the indiscreet crowd.

Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792 – 1822), born in Field Place, near Horsham, West Sussex, England, was the eldest son of Sir Timothy Shelley’s eight – member family, a member of the Whigs from 1790 – 1792 and 1806 – 1812. He was the offspring of an aristocratic family and from an early age expressed radical ideas, turning against any traditional institution. He possibly developed his attitude towards the weak or defenseless already as a student at Eton College (from 1804 onwards), where his sensitive, benevolent nature made him a pole of attraction for the teasing or even torturing by elder students. He did not reciprocate such acts of bullying to his younger schoolmates.

On April 10, 1810, he enrolled at the University of Oxford, dedicated himself in long, daily study, and published his first Gothic novel ”Zastrozzi” (1810). In this work, he exposes his atheistic worldview for the first time. Together with his classmate and friend Thomas Jefferson Hogg (1792 – 1862), they published a pamphlet entitled “The Posthumous Fragments of Margaret Nicholson” (1810), in which Shelley expressed his first political views on war, government and society. A year later, he and Hogg were expelled from university after they anonymously published a pamphlet entitled “The Necessity of Atheism”. With this move, Shelley drew the attention of the university authorities, who asked for answers regarding the paternity of the text. Shelley’s refusal to answer any questions led to his expulsion from the university, already giving the mark of his proud course that he will follow until his death.

His course does not seem to be the result of some superficial, post-adolescent revolution. His reluctance to conform socially, by reconstructing or censoring his writings, will discourage many publishers and magazines from publishing his work later in life, in their attempt to protect themselves from a possible accusation of blasphemy or inciting rebellion.
Some information on his personal life shed light on Shelley’s genuine anti-conformist spirit; his liberal spirit in love is well – known, something which may have characterized other people in his circle as well (Byron, Trelawny) – a scandalous life choice according to the morals of the time.

Four months after he was expelled from Oxford University, disappointed by a failed romance with his cousin Harriet Grove, he secretly meets and marries sixteen-year-old Harriet Westbrook, with whom he has a son and a daughter. The couple lives together with Harriet’s elder sister, and Shelley invites his good friend, Hogg, to live with him; whom he however asks to leave when his feelings for Harriet become evident. Shelley’s relationship with Hariett does not seem to spark his mental interest and he is gradually seeking inspiration outside of marriage. He developed a platonic love affair with his teacher Elizabeth Hitchener, the muse for his utopian “Queen Mab” allegory (1813), and met his second wife, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, later Shelley, in 1814.

Mary Shelley (1797 – 1851), later author of “Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus” (1818), is the daughter of the anarchist philosopher and Percy’s mentor, William Godwin (1756-1836) and the early feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, who died a few days after giving birth to her daughter. Shelley fled with Mary and her step-sister, Claire, to Switzerland and France for six months, while still married to Harriet, who was pregnant with their third child. Claire meets Lord Byron in Geneva and becomes pregnant with their daughter, Allegra.

These moves seem exciting to a young and restless spirit, but they also have their cost. After returning to England, Shelley will have to confront Godwin’s rage. While the couple was in Geneva at Claire’s urging, Harriet committed suicide, which shocked Shelley. Two more losses follow: the two children he has with Mary die (William 1816 – 1819, Clara Everina 1817 – 1818). Eventually only his third child, Percy Florence Shelley (1819 – 1889) will survive.

Thanks to Claire’s intervention, Shelley came in contact with Byron in Geneva in 1818, where they rented adjoining houses by the lake. They interact creatively and spend time together every day. Shelley completes “Mont Blanc” (1816) and “Hymn to Intellectual Beauty” (1817), and encourages Byron in the composition of “Don Juan” (1819). Other fruitful acquaintances followed, this time in England, where he remained until March 1818, with the poets Leigh Hunt (1784 – 1859) and John Keats (1795 – 1821). The couple and Claire leave England on March 11, 1818 and embark on a voyage to Italy in order to meet with Byron, who is now in Venice. They live in various cities, including Florence, Rome, and finally Pisa, from where Shelley frequently travels to Livorno and Lucca. Shocked by the Peterloo Massacre in Manchester (16/08/1819), he completes his most famous political poems: “The Masque of Anarchy” and “Men of England”.

 

The circle of Pisa

Pisa is the landmark for the rise of the Philhellene Shelley. Percy and Mary Shelley came in contact with the so-called «Pisa Circle», a group of people gathered around the archbishop of Hungary, Ignatius, who sought to play an active role in Greek affairs. Ignatius had taken refuge first in Tuscany, then in Pisa, away from the Austrian police, as he had pioneered the founding of the “Philomousos Society”, together with Kapodistrias in Vienna (1814). Around him gathered, among others, Alexandros Mavrokordatos, the ruler of Wallachia, Ioannis Karatzas with his son, Constantine, and Vincenzo Gallina, a member of the Carbonari. Shelley developed a close relationship and collaboration with Alexandros Mavrokordatos, who was hosted at Ignatius’ residence. The group elaborated a strategy opposite to the one of Ypsilantis. Shelley was informed of what was happening in Greece by his “turban-bearer” friend (as he called Mavrokordatos), who influenced his own political thought. The two men had met in the late 1820s. A series of letters between Mary and Mavrokordatos prove their special relationship. So when the Shelley couple learned that Ypsilantis had crossed the Pruthos River, they wrote two letters to English newspapers, likely after suggestion by their new Greek friend. In this way they took publicly position in favor of the Greek Revolution in their homeland, promoting the plans of Mavrokordatos and the Greeks.

 

“HELLAS”: Percy Shelley’s masterpiece

Albeit important, Mavrokordatos’ influence was not the sole factor which determined Shelley’s position in favor of the Greeks. As can be seen in his previous works, Percy Shelley was a lover of the Revolution. He was a romantic, selfless advocate of human rights to the core of his soul. The case of the “idealist” Shelley is often contrasted with that of the “realist” Lord Byron, who, although better known as a Philhellene than Shelley, did not act solely based on purely idealistic motives. The developments that took place here, between Shelley, the circle of Pisa and Byron, resulted in the creation of the masterpiece poem “Hellas” by Shelley. At the same time, Shelley conveyed his enthusiasm for the Greek cause to Byron, who until then had been absorbed by the Italian Carbonari revolutionary movement.

Based on news reports and information he obtained through Mavrokordatos, Shelley “improvised” a poem of 1100 verses entitled “Hellas”, in autumn 1821. His plan was to publish it immediately and raise sympathy for the Greeks. In this emblematic work of literary philhellenism, he singles out the virtues of the Greek cause, repeating positions expressed by other colleagues, but enclosing them in a stronger form. The work was published in January 1822, with the hope that the impact it would have on its readership would lead to sending weapons and money to Greece. The poem “Hellas” is dedicated to Alexandros Mavrokordatos.

 

Shelley, Percy Bysshe, Hellas, a lyrical drama. London, Ch. & J. Ollier, 1822. First edition (SHP collection)

 

The basic model for his lyric poem is Aeschylus’ tragedy “The Persians”, both in terms of form and meaning. The writer’s position in time, in relation to the events to which he refers, differs remarkably from the one of Aeschylus. Aeschylus composes the Persians seven years after the Battle of Salamis, thus creating a legend about events that already took place; he describes an accomplished reality with the use of his imagination. On the contrary, Shelley composes his poem in the autumn of 1821, while the situation in Greece is still pretty unstable, thus functioning as a Prometheus for the events of the Revolution. He relies on his imagination to envision the following day, expressing his personal expectations regarding the outcome of the revolution. He conveys an idealized image of Greece and the Revolution, more inspired by the Battle of Salamis and the classic past, than by contemporary events. In his own words: “The modern Greek is the descendant of those glorious beings whom the imagination almost refuses to figure to itself as belonging to our kind, and he inherits much of their sensibility, their rapidity of conception, their enthusiasm, and their courage“.

Shelley’s drama follows the basic outline of Aeschylus’ Persians. Instead of Xerxes there is Sultan Mahmut (meaning Mahmut II, during whose reign the Greek revolution broke out), and in the place of Chorus, there is the Chorus of the Greek female slaves. Mahmut receives unpleasant news from the war front, which foreshadow his decline as a ruler, while the female Chorus comments. The central issue is the different perception of Freedom. Freedom is defined for Mahmut by his position as sultan of an empire and is related to terms of power, imposition and maintenance of that power. The enslaved Greeks, on the other hand, refer to a kind of superior freedom, which is timeless and universal, it will be reborn as many times as needed, until forever established in the world. Careful analysis of the poem shows that even Mahmut himself is enslaved by tyranny, and seeks the kind of Freedom invoked by his enslaved subjects. A number of conflicts appear in the drama, such as reality in contrast to the vision, or the conflict of the present system with the forces that threaten its survival. The form of his lyric poem is a synthesis of dramatic dialogue and poetry.

In “Hellas” Shelley announces the arrival of a new order of things, as he states in the last couplet of his lyric poem: “The world is weary of the past, / O might it die or rest at last!“. His lyric poem echoes the spirit of “The Masque of Anarchy” (1819). In an excerpt from Hellas’ preface, which was censored by the original publisher, he openly announces:

This is the age of the war of the oppressed against the oppressors.… [A] new race has arisen throughout Europe, nursed in the abhorrence of the opinions which are its chains, and she will continue to produce fresh generations to accomplish that destiny which tyrants foresee and dread”.

 

“We are all Greeks”

Shelley sees in the Greek case a model for the universal struggle for Justice and Freedom. Even with contemporary standards, the poet’s courage makes an impression in his emblematic preface, as he strikes against the “apathy of the rulers of the civilized world” towards the “descendants of that nation to which they owe their civilisation, rising as it were from the ashes of their ruin”. He categorically states that “We are all Greeks”, proposing the Greek cultural identity as a universal life model. Echoing the romantic idealism of German classicists, he goes on to trace the origins of Western civilization to classical antiquity: “Our laws, our literature, our religion, our arts have their root in Greece. But for Greece […] we might still have been savages and idolaters; […] The human form and the human mind attained to a perfection in Greece […]”. He never traveled to Greece, but considered the modern Greek “the descendant of these glorious beings […]“.

Shelley shows great courage in his introduction, as he does not hesitate to name reality using a harsh language. The proud attitude he maintained during his short life is also reflected in the criticism he directly addresses to his homeland, England, for its policy:

The English permit their own oppressors to act according to their natural sympathy with the Turkish tyrant, and to brand upon their name the indelible blot of an alliance with the enemies of domestic happiness, of Christianity and civilization. (…) The wise and generous policy of England would have consisted in establishing the independence of Greece, and in maintaining it both against Russia and the Turk; but when was the oppressor generous or just?

In addition to Shelley’s idealism, one can recognize his wit, realism, and courage with which he expresses his political stance. The limitations of harsh reality do not bend his spirit. Some verses of the last choir of Hellas play the rebirth of Greece, which at the same time means the rebirth of the human species:

The world’s great age begins anew / The golden years return […]
A brighter Hellas rears its mountains / From waves serener far […]
Another Athens shall arise / And to remoter time […]
The world is weary of the past / Oh, might it die or rest at last!

Even from a contemporary point of view, the work still impresses with the poet’s unequivocal faith in the struggle. And yet it is one of the less known poems of Percy Shelley.

 

Percy Shelley’s end and his legacy

A month before his 30th birthday, Shelley drowned in a sudden storm in La Spezia Bay, while returning from Livorno on his boat, Don Juan. He had gone to Livorno to meet his colleague Leigh Hunt. The boat did not capsize, but sank. Some attribute his drowning to a deliberate plan aimed at his life, and not to an accident. It is a fact that an assassination attempt against him took place between 1812-1813 in Tremadog, near Porthmadog, in southwestern Wales, which may have been politically motivated. Another interpretation was that the real target of the attack was Lord Byron, who was thought to be aboard the boat Don Juan, named after his poem. His friend Eduard John Trelawny (1792 – 1881), who removed his dead friend’s heart to hand it over to his widow, narrates about Shelley’s death in his book Recollections of the last days of Shelley and Byron (1858).

 

The Funeral of Shelley by Louis Édouard Fournier (1889). Pictured in the centre are, from left, Trelawny, Hunt, and Byron.

 

Shelley’s body was cremated near Viareggio Beach. The painting by Louis Édouard Fournier, “The Funeral of Shelley” or “The Cremation of Shelley” depicts the poet’s ancient – like cremation ritual on the beach in the presence of his close friends, Lord Byron, Leigh Hunt, Edward John Trelawny and his wife, Mary Shelley. The scene is historically inaccurate, as women did not attend funerals in pre-Victorian times. Also on the day of the ceremony, Hunt remained, crushed, in a carriage, while Byron, who could not stand the spectacle, swam to his boat, Bolivar. The Tory newspaper “The Courier” quite bitterly commented on the occasion of his unfortunate death: “Shelley, the writer of some infidel poetry, has been drowned; now he knows whether there is a God or no“. Shelley’s ashes were taken to the Protestant Cemetery in Rome. They are located near an ancient pyramid in the city walls. His tomb bears the Latin inscription, “Cor Cordium” (the heart of hearts), to remind him of his love for people. A memorial plaque has been erected in his honor at Westminster Abbey, next to that of his old friend, Lord Byron.

Although unrecognized during his lifetime, the radiance of Percy Shelley’s thought and attitude extended worldwide after his death. His ideas on political action and nonviolent resistance inspired Mahatma Gandhi, Henry David Thoreau, Leo Tolstoy, Martin Luther King Jr.. His political radicalism made him beloved in socialist circles, members of the Labor party and some key representatives of Victorian poetry. He influenced important personalities from the world of arts and intellect, e.g. Oscar Wilde, Bertrand Russel, George Bernard Shaw. Both Percy Shelley and his wife, Mary, decisively influenced the philhellenic orientation of Lord Byron, who after Shelley’s death, decided to go to Greece (1823), and offer his own life to the liberation struggle of the Greeks.

 

Edward Onslow Ford’s sculpture in the Shelley Memorial at University College, Oxford

 

Shelley’s idea of an “eternal, universal Greece” influenced Greek poets Kostis Palamas (1859 – 1943) and Angelos Sikelianos (1884 – 1951).

A historic street in the heart of Athens bears the name of the great poet, in Plaka, which intersects with Byron Street, named after Lord Byron. The intersection point of the two streets offers a great view to the Acropolis, symbol of Greek democracy.

 

The point where Byron Street intersects with Shellev Street in Plaka, Athens.

 

Greece and SHP honor the great poet and Philhellene Percy Bysshe Shelley. His poem “Hellas” will always constitute a hope and a lighthouse for Greeks and Western culture

 

Sources and bibliography

  • William St Clair, That Greece might still be free. The Philhellenes in the War of Independence, Open Book Publishers 2008
  • Roderick Beaton, From Ancient to Modern: Byron, Shelley, and the Idea of Greece Roderick Beaton, The Athens Dialogues. 2010 ; Vol. 1.
  • Roderick Beaton,Ο Shelley και ο Byron για την εθνική ταυτότητα των επαναστατηµένων Ελλήνων του 1821, Ταυτότητες στον ελληνικό κόσμο (από το 1204 έως σήμερα) : Δ’ Ευρωπαϊκό Συνέδριο Νεοελληνικών Σπουδών Γρανάδα, 9-12 Σεπτεμβρίου 2010 : πρακτικά
  • Av Mariann Cesilie Løkse, In Defence of Hellas: An analysis of Shelley´s Hellas and Its Reception, Universitetet in Tromsø, 1994
  • Γεώργιος Αργυράκος, Ο Φιλελληνισμός ως ευρωπαϊκό «κεκτημένο» και ο ρόλος των εφημερίδων κατά την Επανάσταση του 1821, Εταιρεία για τον Ελληνισμό και τον Φιλελληνισμό, Ιούνιος 2020
  • Θωμάς Κυριάκης, Η πρόσληψη «εθνικών αξιών» στην περίπτωση του Ιγνατίου Ουγγροβλαχίας, 30/06/2020, cognoscoteam
  • Αναγνώστης Λασκαράτος, Τρεις άθεοι «φιλέλληνες»: Βύρωνας, Σέλλεϋ, Τρελώνη. Έρωτες, ποίηση, τυχοδιωκτισμός και Επανάσταση, Λόγος 11.09.2010 & 18.09.2010

 

 

 

The archaeologist and painter Leo von Klenze (1784-1864) was born on February 29 as the third child of a nine-member family in Boklah, near the village of Schladen am Harz in Lower Saxony. At the age of 16 he began studying law in Berlin, which he interrupted and switched to architecture, possibly influenced by his acquaintance with the architect W. Gilly. As an architecture student he met art historian and classical archaeologist Aloys Hirt (1759-1837), who was a professor of archeology at the newly established University of Berlin and co-founder of the Berlin and Bauakademie museums. Hirt was the one who inspired his love for antiquity to young Klenze. Upon graduating from the Bauakademie, Klenze received the title of Architectural Supervisor (Kondukteur).

His first contact with antiquity takes place, as for most German Philhellenes, in Italy, which he visited during 1806 – 1807; more specifically the cities of Rome, Naples and Venice. He visited Italy two more times, accompanied by his patron, the Bavarian king Ludwig I. (1786 – 1868). In Paestum he discovers the Doric temples of Magna Grecia; like his ancestor, Winckelmann, almost 40 years earlier. He visits the ancient colonies in Akragas, Selinunda, Segesta, and captures, as a charismatic painter, his impressions in oil paintings, in an attempt to better study and understand the laws of analogy of the Doric temples. The Doric rhythm is ideal for Klenze and will be the object of his study over time.

“There was and there is only one architecture and there will be no other architecture than one; that is, the one that found its perfection in the great hour of Greek history and culture”.

After completing his studies, he worked in Kassel as the Architect of the court of King Jerome Bonaparte, Napoleon’s brother. During this period, some buildings are constructed based on Klenze’s designs. The ballroom at the Wilhelmshöhe castle (Schlosspark 1), intended to be used as Bonaparte’s courtyard theater, is his own creation; the Pavillon is his first building.

Klenzestrasse reminds of his presence in the city today. In Kassel he met his future wife, singer Felicitas Blangini, whom he married on August 28, 1813. The couple had two sons and three daughters.

The fall of Napoleon in late October of the same year leads the couple to Munich. They are accompanied by his wife’s brother, Felix Blangini, who has good connections with King Maximilian I and the Bavarian court. Klenze’s attempt to connect professionally with Prince Ludwig of Bavaria fails and he moves to Paris. A little later he managed to meet the Bavarian king, and finally to realize his ambitions.

1815 is a fatal year for Klenze. His perseverance, charismatic personality and diplomatic talent seem to have convinced Ludwig I; to such an extent that established him as the king’s architect of trust. In fact, Klenze overshadowed important personalities from the monarch’s close circle. Among them, the royal art adviser and painter, Martin von Wagner (1777 – 1858), the archaeologist and architect, Carl Haller von Hallerstein (1774 – 1817), and the architect, Friedrich von Gärtner (1791 – 1841). Fascinated by classical antiquity, Ludwig I had begun, since he was a prince, to expand the collection of his House. He assigns Klenze to act as an art expert and entrusts him with the task of searching works through auctions and various private collections. Knowing that it is impossible to compete with the museums of Rome, Paris and London, Ludwig aims exclusively at acquiring objects of exceptional quality, setting quantity aside.

 

The “Athens on the Isar” visionary

Ludwig’s artistic endeavors did not have his personal satisfaction as a sole purpose. Above all, he wanted to establish his monarchy through monumental buildings and art collections, taking as an example the tradition of 19th – century monarchs. He also wanted to keep close to him the educated and wealthy elites of the time. His aim was to turn Munich to a capital of European scale, and for this reason he entrusted Klenze with the work of its urban planning. Klenze’s performance will be recognized, and he will be promoted to the Royal Adviser for Architecture about a decade later.

Klenze is for Munich, what Karl Friedrich Schinkel (1781 – 1841) is for Berlin. He is the architect and visionary of the “Athens on the Isar”, as Munich is still called today. Isar is the river’s name that flows through Munich; “Spree-Athen” is Berlin, where the Spree river flows. Although Klenze was, back in his days, considered to be more conservative as an architect than “poetic” Schinkel, and without the latter’s instinct for innovation, he seems to have been much more practical in the solutions he came up with.

The “new”, classic Munich came to life thanks to Klenze; it gained its distinction after the completion of the Sculpture Gallery in Munich (Glyptothek) and the exhibition of its collections, with the foundation of the Royal Building (Königsbau) and the old Gallery (Alte Pinakothek). The city gained a reputation as the most beautiful in Germany after the design and construction of Ludwigstraße. The buildings at Königsplatz and the Hall of Fame (Ruhmeshalle), are directly related to classical Greek architecture. The renewal of the city, by order of Ludwig I, took place in parallel with the revival of Greece, after its liberation from the Turkish yoke.

The parallel “renaissance” of Athens and Munich is related to the same monarch and the same architects, Klenze and his great rival, Gärtner, who created a special bond between the two capitals with their work. Klenze, along with Schinkel, is the most important propagandist of the image of ancient Athens in a German city, as he could conceive it based on his imagination and document it with his field and theoretical research.

For the famous Glyptothek (1816 -1830), Klenze envisioned a classicist “Gesamtkunstwerk”, without copying the originals; its facade with Ionic columns is based on ancient Greek temples, but the interiors with their vaulted ceilings, remind of thermal baths. He designed interior rooms as well, and selected the exhibits. Across the Glyptothek in Königsplatz, the collection of Greek pottery was housed in the then “Museum Antiker Kleinkunst”. Today, the collections of ancient Greek, Etruscan and Roman artefacts in Munich are called “Staatliche Antikensammlungen” (State Collections of Antiquities). The building of the collection with the Corinthian columns façade was built by Georg Friedrich Ziebland (1800 – 1873) between 1838 – 1848. The buildings complex was completed with the construction of the Propylaea at the western end of the square, in honor of the struggle of the Greeks for independence. The Propylaea were created between 1840 and 1860, modeled on the classic gate of the Acropolis of Athens from the 5th century BC, following the Doric style on the outside and the Ionian style on the inside.

 

The Propylaea in Munich (for detailed information please see here).

 

Russian Emperor Nicholas I commissioned Klenze in 1838 to design a building for the New Hermitage, the public museum that housed the Romanov collection of antiquities, works of art, coins, books, etc.

The buildings on the Königsplatz provide the historical center of the city of Munich, which was expanded with the construction of the Alte and Neue Pinakothek (The Old and the New Art Gallery).

As King Ludwig’s architect, Klenze completed the following projects.

The Leuchtenberg Palace, on the main street Ludwigstraße (1817 – 1821), the Odeon (Munich Concert Hall) and the Biederstein Palace in Schwabing, Munich (1826 – 1828), the Monopter in the “English Garden” of the city (1832 – 1837). The Wallhala and the Pantheon in Regensburg, Bavaria (1830 – 1842) are impressive. In Wallhala, Klenze combined central European and Scandinavian mythology into a building modeled on the Parthenon. In addition to the above works, Klenze was commissioned to design the iconostasis in the Salvatorkirche in Munich, when, by decision of Ludwig I, the church was ceded to the Greek community of the city and converted from Catholic to Orthodox.

 

Leo von Klenze in Greece

During a mature phase of his professional career, when he had already proven his skills in the conception and implementation of emblematic architectural works in Munich and in Bavaria, Klenze takes on a special and important mandate from Ludwig I. Between July and November 1834, he was asked to go to Greece having a political and an artistic mission. His political mission was to recall regents Georg Ludwig Von Maurer (1790 – 1872) and Karl von Abel (1788 – 1859), between whom there was intense friction. His artistic mission was to supervise and settle issues related to the urban plan of the new capital, submitted by the architects Eduard Schaubert (1804 – 1860) and Stamatis Cleanthis (1802 – 1862).

In July 1834 he visited Corfu and designed the Doric temple in Kardaki. In Corinth he got impressed by the temple of Apollo. He visits Nafplio, Epidaurus, and continues his wandering in Poros and Aegina. In the temple of Aphaia he observes the traces of color in its parts which were already excavated in 1811. The issue of the colors of ancient temples concerned him. Thus, in his ideal depiction of ancient Athens colors appear on the buildings of the city (Ideale Ansicht der Stadt Athen in antiker Zeit, 1862). This idea, however, was neither popular nor dominant in his time; in fact he is the first classicist architect to propose colorful designs. Impressed by the Doric temples, which for him were the ideal, archetypal form of ancient Greek architecture, he praises the mental and aesthetic purity of the Greeks, which keep nothing secret to their recipient. In fact, he notes the following:

“The whole Greek temple, even its smallest part, has nothing hidden, enigmatic … we have the whole architectural alphabet at our disposal … if we write with it we will be able to create new and exceptional works”.

 

Idealized view of the Acropolis and the Areopagus in Ahens, 1846, oil on canvas, 102.8 x 147.7 cm.

Leo von Klenze: Ideal view of the city of Athens in ancient times, 1862, οil on canvas, 104.5 x 131.5 cm.

 

Klenze remains between August 14 and September 15, in Athens, which is not yet the capital of the new Greek state. King Othon (1815 – 1867) commissioned him to design the city based on classical standards and choose the location of the palace. As far as the second issue is concerned, Klenze disagreed with his colleague, Schinkel, who envisioned a building palace on Acropolis. Fortunately, Klenze found the idea unrealistic, among others due to climate and geology and rejected it. He also rejected proposals by Schinkel’s students, Cleanthes and Schaubert, to make Omonoia the center of the city and build a palace there.

Klenze envisioned a royal residence on the beautiful Hill of the Nymphs with sea view, safely distanced from the crowds of the city. The plan was considered expensive and was not implemented. Frictions developed between him, Cleanthes and Schaubert, both on the issue of the palace and on other interventions in the image of the city. Klenze wanted to give it the air of an Italian big city. He considered that the heavy architecture of Central Europe would not satisfy the Greek spirit, but rather harm it. He believes that the continuous construction mode suits better the character of a Mediterranean city and changes the city’s density and plan. Moreover, he disagreed with the position of Schaubert / Cleanthes for a construction mode based exclusively on single- and two-floor buildings in the city. The frictions arising from the reluctance of his colleagues to modify their plans, led to their removal from the public sector in November 1834.

Klenze is perhaps less known to Greeks, or maybe the subject of severe criticism, due to his opposition to Schaubert and Cleanthes. He is criticized for reducing the roads’ width, limiting the city plan, reducing the surface of ​​public spaces, etc.

Another reason for which he got criticized, is that due to his classical orientation he seems to have overlooked the value of the Byzantine –orthodox tradition. In several cases he did not hesitate to propose the demolition of churches, when standing in the way of his urban plans. The church of Kapnikarea on Ermou Street was saved by coincidence. Klenze probably did not pay due attention to Byzantine monuments, for reasons ideological and political as well. For him, Germans and Greeks shared a common historical origin as Indo-Germans / Indo-Europeans, they were distinguished by their physical beauty and their tendency towards the True / Great / Beautiful (“Entwicklung des Wahren – Großen – Schönen”). He did not recognize these tendencies in other peoples, for whom he believed that were unable to reach a higher anthropocentrism / anthropomorphism in their art because of their religious fixations. The theoretical background of his thinking, may allow us to better understand some of his urban proposals.

During his time in Greece, he came close to its people and developed sincere feelings of love and friendship for the Greeks. He even went so far as to openly criticize Bavaria. In the city of Athens there are quite obvious traces of his presence. The “Athenian trilogy of neoclassicism” was his inspiration; though these three emblematic buildings were eventually constructed in frontal arrangement, and not in a Π-shape, as he wished. The church of Agios Dionysios of the Catholics on Panepistimiou avenue was erected based on his designs, but with some interventions in his original plan (e.g. without the same bell tower as it was designed by him). Unfortunately, he did not manage to see a museum for the Acropolis, as he wished, or a “Pantechneion”, a museum that would also function as a school of Fine Arts, as he had suggested.

 

Leo von Klenze as an archaeologist

Leo von Klenze’s decisive contribution on the protection of antiquities in Greece is not widely known. Thanks to him, the law “on the discovery and preservation of antiquities and their use” was adopted in Nafplio, May 1834, which also covered Christian antiquities. The decision that archeological sites should be guarded is due to his initiative. He also started recording antiquities in the country, and proposed to start the restoration work on the Acropolis.

By decree of king Othon, the Acropolis hill was cleared by the presence of the army. Thanks to the interventions of Klenze and Ludwig Ross (1806 – 1859), it was ensured that the Acropolis would not be used as a military fortress again. According to Klenze, “this hill had to be liberated as soon as possible from the ugly and ruined buildings of the barbaric times” (“Dieser Berg sollte, […], sobald als möglich von den ruinierten und schlechten Bauwerken der barbarischen Zeit”). The cleaning and restoration works of the Acropolis, officially started on September 10, 1834, in a festive atmosphere with the participation of the people and Klenze’s presence. This work continued for many decades.

Klenze left Athens on September 15, 1834. He crossed Tiryns and Mycenae and visited the Lions’ Gate, Tegea, Mantineia, Megalopolis and Lycosura. He also visited Olympia. Actually, he produced oil paintings from the archaeological landscapes he visited in Greece (Kardaki, Corfu, Temple of Aphaia in Aegina, St. George Square in Nafplio, Tower of the Winds in Plaka, etc.), and completed some of them in Munich (e.g. Ideale Ansicht der Stadt Athen in antiker Zeit, 1862, the Acropolis of Athens and Areopagus, 1846). The lithographic reproduction of his works contributed to the dissemination of the image of Greece in Europe, as his other Philhellene colleagues had already done, such as Ferdinand Stademann, Karl Freiherr von Heideck, Carl Rottmann, Ludwig Lange, Peter von Hess and Joseph Petzl.

After completing his mission in Greece, Klenze did not want to come again as Othon’s permanent adviser, as Ludwig I suggested. However, he tried to continue the supervision of the restoration works on the Acropolis from Munich. He died in Munich in 1864, almost forgotten. Unlike his colleague Schinkel, who, although he died earlier than him in 1841, was mourned by lots of his students and admirers, Klenze left without such worship manifestations.

During his lifetime he was awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Institute of British Architects (1852) and a year later the Bavarian Maximilian Order for Arts and Sciences (1853). In 1863 he was proclaimed honorary citizen of Munich for all his contribution. He was honored even after his death. Many streets bear his name (Klenzestraße) in the German cities of Munich, Kassel, Werries, Tutzing and Regensburg. His name was also given to the Klenze High School in Munich, the state vocational school in Ingolstadt (Staatliche Berufsschule II Ingolstadt) and the city park (Klenzepark). From 1996 onwards, the Bavarian Ministry of Interior awarded the “Leo von Klenze” medal for outstanding achievements in architecture and urban development.

 

Klenze’s grave in Munich

 

SHP and Greece honor the great architect who spread the classic line in architectural design in Europe, inspired by ancient Greece, and laid the foundations for the urban design of the modern city of Athens.

 

Sources and bibliography

  • antike-am-koenigsplatz.mwn.de.
  • Bernhard Schulz, Leo von Klenze: Der Baumeister eines griechischen Bayern, Der Tagesspiegel, 24.02.2001.
  • Frese, Peter, Ein griechischer Traum. Leo von Klenze. Der Archäologe, München, Staatliche Antikensammlung und Glyptothek 1985, München 1985 (κατάλογος έκθεσης).
  • Fuhrmeister, Christian, Jooss, Birgit (Hg.), Isar/Athen. Griechische Künstler in München- Deutsche Künstler in Griechenland. München 2008 (κατάλογος έκθεσης).
  • Θερμού, Mαρία,  Λέο φον Κλέντσε, ΤΟ ΒΗΜΑ, 24 Νοεμβρίου 2008.
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