In 1912-1913 a group of Greek-Americans and American Philhellenes arrived in Thessaloniki from New York to support the liberation struggle of the Greeks. This postcard, which belongs to the collection of SHP and the Philhellenism Museum, depicts these volunteers in traditional Greek costumes.

The group formed a company which joined the Greek army and participated in military operations during the Balkan wars. This company used an American flag, which survives to this day.

 

The flag of the Company of Greek-Americans and American Philhellenes who participated in the Balkan wars on the side of the Greeks.

 

 

 

https://www.gov.pl/web/greece/Mierzejewski2

 

On the occasion of the anniversary of 200 years since the Greek Revolution of 1821, we start publications on Polish Philhellenism and the participation of Poles in the fight for Greek independence. The protagonist of the first article is the cavalryman Franciszek Mierzejewski, whose biography we can publish thanks to the courtesy of Professor Gosciwit Malinowski from the University of Wrocław.

On March 25, 1821, the day of the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Metropolitan of Old Patras Germanos, symbolically raised up the insurgent flag over the Agia Lavra monastery in Kalavrita and the Greek War of Independence, known as the Greek Revolution, began.

The struggle of the Greeks for liberation from the Ottoman yoke was faced with a wave of sympathy in Europe at that time, where youth was brought up according to the new Humboldtian ideas, paying great attention to classical studies ​​and ancient heritage. This harmonized with the political mood in many countries, where, after the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1815, supporters of liberal, republican and national ideas were forced to live in the heavy atmosphere of absolute monarchies, reactivated at the Congress of Vienna and arranged according to ultra-conservative principles. In this situation, the Philhellenic movement was created all over Europe by a friends of Greece,  who not only organized fundraising to equip the insurgent army and support the victims of Turkish persecution (one of the largest fundraising took place in Warsaw in 1822), but also set off with arms in hand to Greece.

There were fewer Poles among the fighting Philhellenes than Germans or French, but they had a much greater combat value, because among Polish volunteers the majority were not enthusiastic students, but veterans of Napoleon’s army, who could not find themselves in the army of the Kingdom of Poland, commanded by the Russian Grand Duke Constantine. They wandered around various countries in Europe and both Americas, engaging in all conspiracies and revolutions directed against the regime of the Holy Alliance. They could not be missing in Greece as well.

The military achievements of the Philhellenes in Greece in the years 1821-1829 were actually reported in newspapers of high circulation and memoirs in Europe at that time. French Raybaud, German Elster, Swiss Fornes are just a few names from a large group of authors carefully recording the events and names of European volunteers fighting for Greece. There were supposed to be over 1200 men, we know the names of over 600, including over 50 Poles.

Although we know several dozen names of Polish soldiers, the records of them, written from passports, reports, and most often from oral transmissions by Greeks, French and Germans unfamiliar with the Polish language and spelling, makes the research extremely difficult. Sometimes, even when the name can be easily restored to its original Polish sound – for example Jan Dąbrowski, it is impossible to combine it with an otherwise known person.

In the team working on the history of Polish Philhellenism, led by prof. Maria Kalinowska from the University of Warsaw, research on Polish soldiers, participants of the Greek War of Independence is conducted by prof. Gosciwit Malinowski from the University of Wrocław. A few years ago, he managed to restore the identity of the most important Polish Philhellene, who died in the Battle of Peta 4 (16) .07.1822, commander of the 2nd company of the Philhellene corps. In foreign sources, he was mentioned as Cav. Mierzivvcki, Mierzewsky, Merziewski, Merziefsky, Mirziewsky, Mirzefski, Mirzewski, Mirszewski, Mizewsky, Miziefski, Miziewski, Marziefsky, Morzafskis, and in Polish literature as Mierziewski, Mierzewski, even Międzyrzecki. Meanwhile, in the biographies of soldiers of the Napoleonic era, Franciszek Mierzejewski, born on October 22, 1786 in Warsaw, son of Franciszek and Magdalena Gudkowska. On September 26, 1807 he served as a cavalryman of the 2nd company of the 1st Regiment of the Imperial Guard of Napoleon, was well known for a long time.  On November 1, 1811 he served in the 5th company, January 1, 1812 chieftain (maréchal des logis) of the 3rd company, April 11, 1813 à la suite, April 11, 1814 departed for Elba. He returned with Napoleon to France on March 1, 1815 and on May 22, 1815, he became a second lieutenant of the 1st squadron of the 1st Regiment of Cheval Legers-Lancers of the Guard. He took part in the campaigns 1808-15: Wagram (July 5-6, 1813), Vitebsk (July 26-27, 1812), Możajsk (September 5-7, 1812), Berezyna (November 26-29, 1812), Lützen (May 2, 1813), Bautzen (May 20-21, 1813), Dresden (August 26-27, 1813), Leipzig (October 16-19, 1813), Hanau (October 30-31, 1813), Brienne (January 29, 1814), Montmirail (February 11, 1814), Chateau -Thierry (February 12, 1814), Laon (March 9, 1814), Arcis-sur-Aube (March 20-21, 1814), Ligny (June 16, 1815), Waterloo (June 18, 1815). He was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Legion of Honor on May 14, 1813 [No. 35319] for participating in the battle of Weissenfelds / Lützen on May 2, 1813, where he took the son of the Prussian general Blücher into captivity. He left the French service on October 1, 1815 and went to Poland. In the army of the Kingdom of Poland, he did not receive confirmation of his officer rank but he did not accept his degradation to a non-commissioned officer.

And here ends the biography written by the experts of the Napoleonic era, who did not know what the further fate of the cavalry was. Today you can continue his biography. After 1815, Mierzejewski left his country again. He traveled to South America, where he took part in the struggle for independence of the Spanish colonies led by Simon Bolivar. Then he returned to Europe and became involved in the revolutions organized by the Italian Carbonari in the Kingdom of Both Sicily (1820) and Piedmont (1821). After their failure, he came to Greece, where, as a captain, he took part in creating a regular army out of Philhellenes volunteers. He died heroically along with twelve other Poles in the Battle of Peta, when fighting from the roof of a village church he was covering the retreat of a Philhellenic troops attacked by overwhelming Turkish forces as a result of treason.

On the anniversary of the 1821 Revolution, the Society for Hellenism and Philhellenism minted 10 medals commemorating the most distinguished Philhellenes. On one of them there is an unmistakably inscribed name and surname: Franciszek Mierzejewski, with a portrait of a cavalryman of the imperial guard. After almost 200 years of oblivion or partial memory, Franciszek Mierzejewski, the chief of cavalrymen-lancers, the hero of the Greek War of Independence, regained the integrity of his biography.

An inspired poem by a great and enlightened author that praises the struggle of the Greeks and the Philhellenes and the values of the classical culture on which the entire western world and civilized humanity are based.

 

 

SHP presents the logo of the Philhellenism Museum.

The design is based on two elements. The first is the Greek letter Φ, which is composed by two semicircles which refer to amphitheaters, symbolizing the participation of men and women in the civilization and democracy represented by Hellenism and Philhellenism.

The second is the letter M, which is composed by the two parts of an open gate, which invites humanity to participate in the Greek culture and civilization.

The two elements together symbolize a modern Museum, open to the society, which honors and promotes Philhellenism.

The aim of SHP is to honor with the creation of the Philhellenism Museum, the Philhellenes who from the Renaissance until the 19th century contributed to the evolution of western civilization and to the liberation of Greece. At the same time, SHP will lay, through its work and series of actions, the foundations for the promotion of a continuous Philhellenism.

Our gratitude belongs to Mr. Giorgos Daoularis and Ms. Eleni Papadopoulou of impressmer.gr for the outstanding partnership we had during the branding/ logo design of our Museum.

 

Philhellene lady offers affection to a young Greek, painting of unknown painter, early 19nth century (SHP collection)

 

Philhellenism has been, without a doubt, an important and multifaceted phenomenon that contributed decisively to the founding of the new Greek state, justifying the struggle of the Greeks for Freedom and Independence. The struggles and the ordeal of the enslaved Greek people moved the western world, and resonated even in remote places of the world, wherever there were similar demands.

Although historians are able to map the influence of the Greek case on specific collective (national or social) groups to a large extent, it remains a fascinating mystery, how the demand for Greek independence affected human lives in a personal level. How far did this influence travel, and which people were affected by it? Could a future historian ever record the vibrations that this rare circumstance individually caused to human souls?

We know, of course, that philhellenism was a dynamic movement that moved different people, regardless of their gender or nationality. Organized philhellenism motivated citizens to adopt classic values ​​and ideals, and take actions and initiatives in this direction. These processes have given many citizens the confidence and maturity for more claims within the societies to which they belonged. A valuable legacy of the philhellenic movement is that it allowed people with different social and national backgrounds to meet on the basis of a common and noble vision. Prominent citizens participated in the philhellenic committees established in Europe and the USA with the power to influence political and economic developments. At the same time, however, people from lower social strata or vulnerable groups also participated in the same committees.

It is particularly interesting to consider the influence of the Greek issue and the philhellenic movement on the participation of women in public, their right to intervene in society, and their claim of an equal role.

In this context, the philhellene women were actively involved in the local committees, collaborating exemplary with their male companions. In fact, in many places they pioneered by claiming the establishment of autonomous, women’s philhellenic committees. These historical developments are very important. Suffice it to say that in year 2021 women are still making their claims in society, which gain more and more public space. Despite the fact that their achievements have reached a better level in the western world, let us not forget that in a large part of the world, women still need empowerment, equal rights and respect.

With this information in mind, it seems easier to think about the social conditions a woman in the early 19th century had to live in. The courageous, philhellene women in the West had to confront conservative political powers, influenced by the spirit of the Holy Alliance. Moreover, they had to face all prejudices against women, in an era of significant gender inequality. At the same time, the enslaved Greek women were experiencing a harsh reality. They and their children were exposed to all kinds of violence and misery; they were often traded in Turkish slave markets, or they had to fatally resist. Let us remember the heroic women of Zalongo, who committed suicide, jumping from a cliff to avoid slavery.

Philhellenism was a supranational movement, which united people of different nationalities. A typical case was the one of the philhellenic volunteers: French, Germans, Poles, Italians, English, Swiss, etc. came and fought together in Greece under the same flag, while a short time ago, these same people had been found in warring factions on the battlefields of Europe. In Greece they achieved a personal and a collective transcendence.

The female philhellenism was also supranational. Thus, Greek women who knew about the existence of philhellenes in parts of the western world, turned to them for help, e.g. the appeal made by 31 Greek women in 1825, under the Greek female intellectual Evanthia Kairis (1799–1866). In this appeal to the “female friends of Greece” in America, they express their relief, that men and women, who understand their sufferings, exist in this world; in contrast to those Europeans who “turn a blind eye” to the massacres, poverty and misery that plague Greece. The experiences of motherhood, the protection of children, the responsibility to secure their future and the Homeland are points of identification for women of different educational level, social and ethnic origin. And women sure have the power to influence situations. Manto Mavrogenous (1796-1848) sends a letter to the Greek women of Paris, asking them to “turn to the deeper truths that govern humanity”, and to influence the men of France. Through the British officer and Philhellene, Blaquiere, she also sends a letter to the English Philhellenes, asking for their intervention to create an asylum for women and orphans in Euboea.

 

Manto Mavrogenous (1796-1848)

 

There were many women in the western world, who were moved by the Greek issue. There were definitely much more than the ones, whose names survived up to this day. At this point, we should take a look at the most important Philhellene women and the mark they left on historical developments.

First of all, the attempts to support the Greeks are dated before the outbreak of the revolution in February 1821. Many women with brilliant personalities pioneered their actions during the pre-revolutionary period and familiarized the public with the Greek issue.

A lady of the French High society, who was famous for her dynamic personality and liberal ideas, was Madame de Staël (Louise Germaine de Staël-Holstein, 1766-1817), a French writer and philhellene, who became associated with Lord Byron.

 

Madame de Staël (Louise Germaine de Staël-Holstein, 1766-1817)

 

Other important women contributed to the preparation of Greek revolutionary operations against the Ottoman Empire.

Two emblematic Philhellene women are the Greek Cypriot Elisabeth Santi Loumaki-Chenier and Roxandra Stourtza.

The intellectual Elisabeth Santi Loumaki – Chenier (1729-1808) was born in Constantinople. She was married to diplomat and merchant, Louis Chénier, and held a central position in the intellectual world of Paris. Her salon was a meeting point of the intellectual world of the French capital in the early 19th century; the fermentations that led to the establishment of the “Hôtel Hellénophone”, the first secret pre-revolutionary organization aiming at the liberation of Greece, took place under the guidance of Loumaki- Chenier. The president of the Hotel was the great French philhellene, Auguste de Choiseul-Gouffier (1752-1817), ambassador of France to the Ottoman Empire (1784-1792) and author of “Voyage pittoresque sur la Grece”. Athanasios Tsakalov (1790-851), one of the three founders of the patriotic Friendly Society, was trained in this organization. The “Hôtel Hellénophone”, aimed to recruit new members, and even to send weapons to Greece to prepare for the expected revolution. Loumaki -Chenier was the mother of two famous French poets, the neoclassical poet André Chenier (1762-1794) and Joseph Chenier (1764-1811).

 

Elisabeth Santi Loumaki – Chenier (1729-1808)

 

Another bright Greek woman of aristocratic origin played a similar role, and ten years later she transformed her own salon into the headquarters, where the developments and strategic decisions of the Friendly Society took place. Her name was Elizabeth Ypsilantis (1768-1866) and was the mother of Alexandros and Dimitrios Ypsilantis. The final decision for the start of the Greek Revolution was made in her salon, and even the emblematic proclamation “Battle for faith and homeland” was drafted there. Before Alexandros Ypsilantis signed it, he asked his mother to dispose of all the family real estate for the support of the Greek Struggle. And when she accepted, he kissed her hand. In fact, she completed the announcement by noting in the text in her honor before signing “I osculate my mother’s hand”.

 

Elizabeth Ypsilantis (1768-1866)

 

Many other important Greeks and philhellenes followed.

Roxandra Stourtza (1786-1844), was born in Constantinople. She became the master of ceremonies at the court of the Russian Tsar Alexander I (1777-1825) and his wife Elizabeth (1779-1826). She became associated with Ioannis Kapodistrias, but married, at the tsar´s urging, the German count of Edling (1771-1841), Minister and Marshal of the Grand Duke of Saxony-Weimar, as Alexander did not approve of a marriage with Kapodistrias. The fact did not prevent her from developing an important, intellectual and political relationship with Kapodistrias, following him and the Tsar to the Congress of Vienna (1815). There she met Anthimos Gazis and the Metropolitan of Hungary, Ignatius, and they decided to establish the pro-revolutionary “Philomous Society”. Its targeting by the Austrian Foreign Minister Klemens von Metternich (1773-1859) was a matter of time. Stourtza was not intimidated by Metternich’s decision to disband the Society´s office in Vienna, and she continued her actions by supporting Greek students in the city through collecting fundraisers. With several of her initiatives she tried to mobilize the international public opinion in favor of the Greek Cause. After the outbreak of the Greek Revolution, she treated the persecuted Greeks who arrived in Odessa in Russia, with the valuable help of Elizabeth, who had also offered significant sums as a subscriber of the Philomous (Friends of Music) Society of Vienna.

 

Roxandra Stourtza (1786-1844)

 

In the pre-revolutionary time, another woman became associated with the Russian Tsar Alexander I; the brave philhellene from the Baltic, Barbara Julie de Krüdener (1764–1824). Krüdener was a Protestant missionary of aristocratic descent. She became friends with Alexander I and influenced  him decisively in establishing the Holy Alliance. It is reported, that the choice of this name was her own suggestion. She supported the establishment of the Holy Alliance, believing that it would protect and support the independence of the Greeks. In 1821, having realized that the attitude of the Holy Alliance was not philhellenic, she went to St. Petersburg in order to influence the neutral Alexander to take a public stance in favor of the Greeks. Alexander’s annoyance by Krüdener’s insistence on persuading him was such, that he eventually exiled her to Crimea. Krüdener’s ardent philhellenism was the reason of losing her social position, her privileges, her wealth – even her personal relationship with the tsar.

 

Barbara Julie de Krüdener (1764–1824)

 

Alexander’s wife, tzarina Elizabeth, was not the sole example of a royal member with philhellenic attitude. Caroline von Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel (1768 – 1821) was the wife of King George IV of the United Kingdom, and a philhellene, who strongly supported the Philomus Society and its aims. She visited Athens in 1816, where she organized archaeological excavations.

 

Caroline von Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel (1768-1821)

 

Also impressive is the activity developed by Princess Sophia Albertina of Sweden (Sophia Maria Lovisa Fredrika Albertina, 1753 – 1829), the sister of the Swedish king. After the outbreak of the Greek Revolution, she founded a women’s philhellenic committee, turning the palace into a center of philhellenism. Hundreds of women rushed there to give money and support the Greek Struggle for liberation.

 

Sophia Albertina of Sweden (1753-1829)

 

Even the princess Louise Marie Thérèse Charlotte Isabelle d’Orléans (1812-1850), and the whole royal house had sided with the Greeks. In a single fundraiser the Princess of Orléans offered 3,000 Francs in favor of the Greeks.

 

Louise Marie Thérèse Charlotte Isabelle d’Orléans (1812-1850)

 

The ladies of the aristocracy in Europe helped the Greek Cause in various ways. Nurtured by classical education, they saw modern Greeks as worthy descendants of Leonidas and Miltiades. In the salon of the Danish artist Karen Margrethe “Kamma” Rahbek (1775-1829), the literary interests of the Danish society intersected with discussions about philhellenism.

 

Karen Margrethe “Kamma” Rahbek (1775-1829)

 

The same example was followed by many noble and cultured ladies in many capitals of Europe. They turned their salons into a meeting place for philhellenes, and pioneered various charitable activities. The developments that took place there were crucial for the moral and material support of the Greeks. The philhellenic activity of these bright women was not inferior to that of the men.

Thus, Anna Eynard – Lullin (1793-1868), a Swiss painter and philanthropist, who is better known as the wife of the great politician and banker Jean-Gabriel Eynard (1775-1863), emerged with her own action as a warm philhellene. She founded a philhellenic women’s committee in Geneva. She organized philhellenic performances, receptions and concerts, and systematically raised money and collected various items for the Greek revolutionaries.

 

Anna Eynard – Lullin (1793-1868)

 

The philhellene women were seeking some models of a Greek heroine in the Greek Revolution, and found them mainly in two emblematic Greek women.

The first was the forceful, driven fighter, Laskarina Bouboulina (1771-1825). She was a wealthy woman who had experienced many difficulties. She was orphaned by her father, and was twice a widow. In 1819 she was initiated in the Friendly Society in Constantinople, and took an active part in the Revolution in 1821. She offered a lot of money, ammunition, ships, and even her son, who was killed in a battle with the Turks.

 

Laskarina Bouboulina (1771-1825).

 

The second was Manto Mavrogenous (1796-1840), who was distinguished by her education, her mental strength and her selflessness. She was born in Trieste, where her family lived. Her father was Nikolaos Mavrogenis, a member of the Friendly Society, in which he initiated Manto in 1820. She donated her property to the Revolution, equipped the Greek forces, while she also participated in operations. At the same time, she sends many letters to Europe, aiming to influence the public opinion and to direct the action of the Philhellenes. The following is a typical excerpt from her letter to English Philhellenes (1824-1825) “It is not enough for us, ladies, to be enthusiastic. The centuries of tyranny have exhausted us financially. Heroism is useless when it lacks the necessary organic means to manifest, money, weapons, ammunition, food, clothes. And if I dare to invoke your sympathy, my purpose is to secure an asylum for the abused women and children in Euboea, which through your mediation we would find a way to regain and dedicate to the memory of the women of England…”.

Interesting is the fact that each one of them has a completely different character. Manto is a young, noble and delicate figure. On the contrary, Bouboulina is a middle-aged woman, with a masculine behavior and harsh characteristics. A common point for them is their wealthy background and the possession of a large fortune. They also shared the same faith in the vision that Greece would be free in the end.

This dynamic dipole is projected as a model in the western public opinion.

Philhellenism is now becoming the dominant “trend” in Europe and the philhellene women are organizing lectures and fundraisers. They also send missions with clothing in Greece. They offer their volunteer work to the committees. They enthusiastically offer, sometimes anonymously, high sums of money for the purposes of the committees, even their jewelry! They sew clothes and flags for the philhellenes who go voluntarily to Greece, in order to support them morally and emotionally, and they develop communication with these men, while they are in Greece.

The very active French philhellene, Madame Delcombre, was the head of the philhellene committee in Paris. She prepares a very nice silk flag (embroidered by herself), which she offers to the French Philhellene cavalry officer, Auguste Michel Marie Étienne Régnault (or Régnaud) de St-Jean d’Angely (and later Marshal of France), during a ceremony. The French Philhellene vows to constantly bring this flag to the battlefields. To Régnault’s great sorrow, the flag is lost in the battle of Karystos.

Another famous, beautiful Lady of the European aristocracy is Madame de Récamier (Jeanne Françoise Julie Adélaïde, 1777 – 1849). She was also a member of the Philhellenic Committee in Paris. Mrs. Recamier corresponds with the Philhellene French officer Olivier Voutier (1796-1877), while he is in Greece.

 

Madame de Récamier – Jeanne Françoise Julie Adélaïde (1777 – 1849)

 

Récamier collected and published Voutier´s long letters, in which Voutier describes the Greek customs and traditions, historical sites and battle scenes, under the title “Letters for Greece”. Proceeds from the sale of the book, which moved the French in favor of the Greek struggle, were intended for the philhellenic committee. Récamier was an influential figure in the philhellenic movement. Her love for Greece and the Greeks was sparked by her relationship with the romantic writer, politician and philhellene François-René de Chateaubriand (1768-1848), and was maintained throughout the Greek struggle. Récamier supported the Greek Revolution with large financial offers from its own resources, as well as from fundraising revenues.

In France, philhellenism and “graecomania” reach such a level that they influence fashion: “Robes de dame a la Bobeline” are inspired by the heroic Bouboulina. The costume of the philhellenes incorporate Greek scarfs; it does not seem unnatural, when an aristocratic lady appears in a Greek costume during public events. In a concert given in Paris conducted by Rossini himself for the purposes of the Philhellenic Committee (8/4/1826), the musicians decorate the instruments with blue and white ribbons, the gentlemen wear blue and white armbands, the ladies decorate their gowns with the Greek colors. After the concert, the ladies lead the philhellenic fundraiser.

The public manifestation of philhellenic feelings was, to a certain extent, a sign of the level of cultivation or sensitivity of a woman or a man of the time. It would be unfair to assume that the reasons related to a philhellenic stance were of a “superficial” nature. Suffice it to say that the most powerful forces in Europe were, during the first phase of the Greek Revolution, neutral or indifferent towards the Greek issue, while many were influenced by the spirit of Metternich, who was opposed to movements in Europe. Many Philhellenes acted, especially until 1824-1825, under the fear of being followed by the Metternich police. One such bright case is the Polish patriot Emilia Sczaniecka (1804-1896), who acted in the city of Poznan, and was  identified with the Greek struggle for Independence from the very beginning. She was the “Bubulina of Poland”. She founded the “Committee for Aid to the Greeks” and organized fundraisers for the orphans of the fighters, as well as for the care of the wounded. The people who were involved in the Greek issue, acted many times at the risk of their lives and with a personal cost.

 

Emilia Sczaniecka (1804-1896)

 

The buying (thus liberation) of Greeks from slave markets, and the adoption of orphaned children from Greece, were another two difficult fields of action for which the Greek women were interested. They required personal involvement, as well as emotional and material cost. The adoptions of Greek children in particular, who were offered a second life in Europe or the USA, were clearly events that transformed the lives of those involved forever. And for that they are deeply moving to this day.

The presence and participation of women in literary philhellenism is also worth mentioning. Its most famous female representative is none other than the brilliant Mary Shelley (1797-1851) from England, the companion of Percy Shelley (1792-1822) and author of the famous work Frankenstein (1818). Shelley befriended Alexandros Mavrokordatos and the so-called “Pisa circle” around Metropolitan Ignatius. Percy Shelley’s “Hellas”, is dedicated to his “turban-wearing friend”, Alexandros Mavrokordatos.

 

Mary Shelley (1797-1851)

 

Shelley was identified with the Greek struggle for Freedom and Independence from the very beginning and had a decisive influence in shaping the philhellenic attitude of her close friend, Lord Byron (1788-1824). She learned Greek and along with her husband envisioned a free Greece, where they planned to move. Having experienced some traumatic events, such as the loss of her children, of her partner, Percy Shelley, from drowning, and a little later, of her close friend, Byron, from illness in Messolonghi, Shelley wrote the philhellenic science fiction novel “The Last Man”. In a nightmarish, dystopian future, the Greeks are trying to retake Constantinople, when an epidemic originating in the city devastates the future world. The author describes a group of Philhellenes who are fighting for the Greek Cause: the work is an allegory for her own people who got lost so early and so unjustly.

The Greek Case inspired many female artists in their work and actions. The English historian, writer and poet, Agnes Strickland (1796-1874), wrote the poem “Demetrios”, inspired by her love for the Greeks.

 

Agnes Strickland (1796-1874)

 

The poet Amable Tastu (1798–1885) from France wrote a poem about the Psara island, while the poet Delphine Gay or de Girardin (1804-1855) donated money to philhellenic fundraisers.

 

Amable Tastu (1798–1885)

Delphine Gay or de Girardin (1804-1855)

 

In Germany, one of the first women to speak out in favor of the Greeks was the author Amalia von Imhoff-Helvig (1776-1831). Imhoff-Helvig was a student of Goethe and Schiller, as well as a friend of the philhellene poet Wilhelm Müller, who belonged to the circle around the Berlin-based literary newspaper Gesellschafter. She wrote and published philhellenic poems from the beginning of the Revolution. In 1826 a volume of poems in support of the Greeks was published in Berlin.

 

Amalia von Imhoff-Helvig (1776-1831)

 

The author Friederike Brun (1765-1835) published philhellenic poems as early as 1821.

 

Friederike Brun (1765-1835)

 

The “German Sappho”, Louise Brachmann (1777-1822), wrote and published philhellenic poems under the title “Griechenland”.

 

Louise Brachmann (1777-1822)

 

In 1824, Baroness Julie Charlotte Dorothea Therese von Richthofen (1785-1840), wrote the philhellenic “Helas und Helianor”, which referred to the vision of the liberation of Greece, the Greeks students in Germany and participation in the Friendly Society. In her work “Graf Branzka”, written in 1829, Wilhelmine von Alben refers to Alexandros Ypsilantis and the uprising in Greece.

The interest in the Greek revolution remained alive also later, during the Cretan Revolt (1866-1869). The German composer, author and educator Johanna Kinkel (Maria Johanna Mockel, 1810-1858), who participated in the 1848 revolution, composed the philhellenic work “Hymne auf den Tod des Marco Botzaris” (Hymn for the death of Markos Botsaris, 1843). She was the wife of the philhellene evangelical theologian, Gottfried Kinkel (1815-1882), author of the philhellenic poem “Schlachtengesang der Kandioten”, which he wrote about the Cretan issue.

 

Johanna Κinkel (Maria Johanna Mockel, 1810- 1858)

 

During the first years of the new Greek state, the philhellenes tried to support the efforts to create some necessary structures for the new state´s operation. The American-French philhellene, Sophie de Marbois-Lebrun (1785-1854), better known as the Duchess of Plaisance, had supported the military needs of the Greek national struggle. She continued her social contribution in the first years of the Greek state, by taking care e.g. of the education of daughters of revolution fighters.

 

Sophie de Marbois-Lebrun (1785-1854)

 

The creation of educational infrastructure in the emerging Greek state, and the fight against illiteracy in Greece, was the main concern of American, Christian missions in Greece. Emphasis was placed on improving the girls’ education, and their overall level. The American missionary Frances Maria Mulligan Hill (1799-1884), went to Greece in 1839 with her husband, John Henry Hill, and founded schools in Athens.

 

Frances Maria Mulligan Hill (1799-1884)

 

Emilia Field Brewer founded and ran, together with her husband Josiah Brewer, a Greek school in Izmir, Asia Minor.

 

Emilia Field Brewer

 

The Cretan question inspired the revival of the philhellenic movement, in which women were again present. Anna Eynard – Lullin, who has been on the side of the Greeks since the beginning of the revolution, continued to support the Cretans with the Swiss women’s committee. Julia Ward Howe (1819-1910), wife of the leading American philhellene, Samuel Gridley Howe (1801-1876), co-founded with her husband the „Greek Relief Committee” in Boston and supported the Greek Struggle by raising money, food and clothing, even by writing a poem. She organized a musical event in Boston to support the Cretans, the proceeds of which (amounting to 2,000 thalers) were sent to Greece.

 

Julia Ward Howe (1819-1910)

 

She then came to Greece with her husband and children, and helped distribute money and clothing to Cretan refugees. In fact, one of her daughters married the Greek Anagnostopoulos. The German writer, Baroness Marie Espérance von Schwartz (1818-1899), better known by her pseudonym “Black Hope”, was a personal friend of the Italian national hero, Giuseppe Garibaldi. A significant number of Garibaldians had rushed to Crete to help the local population with their Struggle. In 1868 she located the last Garibaldians in a state of misery and did everything to help them. She wrote books about Crete and translated Cretan songs into German.

 

Marie Espérance von Schwartz (1818-1899)

 

Dora d´Istria, known as Elena Ghica (Eleni Ghica – Masalsky, 1828-1888) was born in Bucharest, Romania and was of Phanariotic descent, the daughter of Prince Michael Ghica. Her love for Greece and its culture is evident in her writings. She was interested in the national struggles of the Balkan peoples and was in favor of the Cretans during the revolution of 1866-69. She also supported that the Ionian Islands belonged to Greece, and considered their “Greekness” as indisputable. In a series of articles she opposed Fallmerayer’s anti-Hellenism. In recognition of her valuable services to the Greek nation, Eleni Ghica was declared as a “citizen of Greece”.

 

Dora d´Istria (Elena Ghica (Eleni Gika – Masalsky, 1828-1888)

 

Although much emphasis is often put on philhellenism as it manifested during the 1820s, it is worth mentioning once again that its contribution has been timeless. Acts of philhellenism defined historical developments throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. A philhellene who visited Greece at the end of the 19th century was the French Juliette Lambert-Adam (1836-1936), who came there in 1901 and befriended Dimitrios Vikelas. She wrote the play “Contemporary Greek Poets” and translated Greek plays.

 

Juliette Lambert-Adam (1836-1936)

 

As this brief review shows, the presence of women in the philhellenic movement was not superficial at all. In fact it has been very substantial and beneficial to the Greek Cause.

The above mentioned brave women and philhellenes offered a great work for our country. They confronted people with political power and proved themselves as equal companions of the male Philhellenes. They exerted a significant influence on men and women, influencing the course of history and political developments, at a time when women in the western world had gained neither the right to vote nor even equal participation in society with men. They connected with women from other countries and encouraged, morally and materially, the struggling efforts of Greeks. With their thoughts and actions they offered relief, care and hope to the Greeks. They took care of the education and care of girls in Greece, and through adoptions offered a second life to many Greek children, who were deprived of their parents and their future due to war.

For all the “maternal” services of every anonymous or famous philhellene to our Homeland, EEF and the Greeks express their sincere respect and their unlimited gratitude.

 

Sources – Bibliography

  • Βαγενά, Θάνου, Δημητρακοπούλου, Ευρυδίκης, Αμερικανοί Φιλέλληνες Εθελοντές στο Εικοσιένα, Εκδόσεις «μάτι», Κατερίνη 2017.
  • Κανελλόπουλος, Παναγιώτης, Λόρδος Βύρων, Εκδόσεις Διον. Γιαλλέλης, Αθήνα 1983.
  • 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.
  • Λάσκαρι, Σ.Θ., Ο Φιλελληνισμός εν Γερμανία κατά την Ελληνικήν Επανάστασιν, Σύλλογος προς Διάδοσιν Ωφελίμων Βιβλίων, Εν Αθήναις, (χ.χ.).
  • Μαντά, Ελευθερία, Οι γαριβαλδινοί στην Κρητική Επανάσταση του 1866-69. 14/12/2017.
  • Μαράς, Κωνσταντίνος, Η Ελλάδα της Ευρώπης. Ο φιλελληνισμός ως πρώιμη μορφή ευρωπαικής ενσωμάτωσης. Εκδόσεις Γαβριηλίδης, Αθήνα 2015.
  • Ξηραδάκη, Κούλα, ΦΙΛΕΛΛΗΝΙΔΕΣ Ι: Η ΔΡΑΣΗ ΤΩΝ ΦΙΛΕΛΛΗΝΙΔΩΝ ΣΤΗΝ ΕΠΑΝΑΣΤΑΣΗ,  01.04.2013.
  • Ξηραδάκη, Κούλα, ΦΙΛΕΛΛΗΝΙΔΕΣ ΙΙ, 03.04.2013.
  • Παπαδόπουλος, Στέφανος Ι., Το Μεσολόγγι και ο Φιλελληνισμός, ομιλία στο πανεπιστήμιο Ιωαννίνων για τον εορτασμό της 150ετηρίδος της Εθνικής Παλιγγενεσίας (27.11.1971), Ιωάννινα 1971.
  • Πλεμμένος, Γιάννης, Η καλλιτεχνική συμβολή των φιλελλήνων στην Επανάσταση του 1821: δημιουργοί, ρεπερτόριο, απήχηση, στο: Συλλογικό, ΦΙΛΕΛΛΗΝΙΣΜΟΣ. ΤΟ ΕΝΔΙΑΦΕΡΟΝ ΓΙΑ ΤΗΝ ΕΛΛΑΔΑ ΚΑΙ ΤΟΥΣ ΕΛΛΗΝΕΣ ΑΠΟ ΤΟ 1821 ΩΣ ΣΗΜΕΡΑ, εκδόσεις Ηρόδοτος, 2015.
  • Τράκα, Θεολογία, Η Ελλάδα και ο Ελληνικός αγώνας για Ανεξαρτησία μέσα από τη γερμανόφωνη πεζογραφία της δεκαετίας του 20 κατά τον 19ο αιώνα, Διδακτορική διατριβή, Ιόνιο Πανεπιστήμιο, Κέρκυρα 2012.

 

Model of the steam-powered “Karteria”. The position of the ship’s cannons can be seen. The model was presented to the Baltic Exchange in London in 1923 by the Greek shipping community.

 

By Professor N. H. Apostolidis

 

The two Philhellene volunteers referred to in the title, are the German doctor Heinrich Treiber and the Italian lawyer and journalist Giuseppe N. Chiappe.

The first one, after taking part for almost seven years in land battles, such as the battle of Peta, the siege of Nafplio with Nikitaras, the battle of Karystos with Fabvier, the battle of Dombraina with Karaiskakis, the landing in Kastella and many other operations, finally served on the only steamship of the Greek fleet, the “Karteria”, with captain Frank Abney Hastings, for about 8 months.

The second one, served as secretary, interpreter and legal advisor of captain Anastasios Tsamados on the brig “Agamemnon” from the island of Hydra. He participated in the naval battle of Eresos, the revolution of Pelion and the siege of the castle of Volos, and in various other operations and patrols in the Aegean sea.

Later, in 1824, he published in Hydra the newspaper “The Friend of the Law”, one of the three Greek-language newspapers published during the war of Independence. He also published the foreign-language newspaper “Abeille Grecque”.

Both Philhellenes recorded their experiences, with the difference that Treiber recorded them in his personal diary, while Chiappe recorded them in the logbook of the “Agamemnon”.

These recordings are important because they give us a lot of details about various events of the naval warfare and the daily routine of the crews and ships, but also because they illuminate episodes unknown to the general public.

It should be noted in particular, that any information recorded in these logs was authentic, that is, it was first-hand, and they were also up-to-date, because they described the various events only a few hours after they occurred.

As for the quality, or rather the style, of these texts we must point out that there are differences.

Treiber’s entries in his personal diary are, as one would expect, rich in information about what happened every day during those seven years, but also very short.

On the contrary, Chiappe’s entries in the logbook of the ship “Agamemnon” go far beyond the dry information usually recorded in the logbooks of ships. These recordings are rather reminiscent of a war correspondent’s reports. We must not forget that Chiappe was not only a lawyer but also a journalist.

I quote below excerpts from the two diaries.

The first one is from Treiber’s diary.

17/1/1827 We arrive at Metochi on the mainland of Roumeli, opposite Koulouri.

Here is Gordon as well as the rest of the regular corps, 300 men.

23/1 Arrival of Makrygiannis’s corps.

24/1 The corps of Captain Notaras, the ‘archontopoulo’, arrives, and the embarkation on the ships begins. The expeditionary corps has a force of about 2,000 men”.

“I am boarding the steamer (Note: the ‘Karteria’). An hour after sunset we lift anchors. The operation’s goal is to occupy the high rocky area between Faliro and Piraeus (Note: Kastella), to fortify it and to create a bridgehead before Athens. This will facilitate the corps of Vassos (Mavrovouniotis) who will attack from Menidi and Elefsina with 3000 – 4000 men”.

“We disembark troops, who quickly go up the hillside immediately starting to fire, which creates a disturbance between the troops that have not yet disembarked, but also forces them to disembark faster. We disembark too. Cold night. Across the line they are all engaged in the construction of fortifications”.

“25/1 After dawn, the steamer sails to Piraeus and starts shelling the monastery and the houses”.

The second one is from the logbook of the “Agamemnon”, written by G. Chiappe. It concerns the destruction of the city of Kydoniae in Asia Minor. After the burning of a Turkish frigate by Papanikolis, which is described in another part of the diary by Chiappe, the Turks moved to retaliate against Kydoniae (Ayvali), a city of 30,000 inhabitants, all of them Greeks, on the shores of Asia Minor, opposite the island of Lesvos.

The Kydonians asked for help from the Greek fleet. Because the ships could not approach the shallow waters, it was decided to send boats with armed sailors and small cannons to repeal the Turks and evacuate the civilian population. The “Agamemnon” collected 830 refugees.

I am quoting some phrases from the shocking, but also moving, description that Chiappe entered into the logbook.

“June 15, 1821. At 9 o’clock in the morning the movement of feluccas and boats from all the ships began … from our ship 2 feluccas with 36 men altogether … 10 o’clock in the morning the war of the feluccas with the Turks began in Kydoniae and we noticed that the Turks set fire to the upper part of Chora (the city) …. the flames spread to other parts of the city … 2 o’clock in the morning, the boats were unable to find other people, and all the ships sailed … sailing all day against the wind and towing 4 boats loaded with people … The two holds and the bottom of the ballast chamber, the deck and the accommodation were full of liberated families … our deck is all covered with pregnant women, children and babies … At noon, a woman happily gave birth to a daughter, another woman gave birth to a boy in the chamber, another one to a girl in the hold, and another one aborted. The mothers and the newborn babies are well … 10 o’clock in the evening, sailing against a wind which continued to be harsher and we were turning in rounds with great effort and difficulty.

… Sunday, 1 o’clock in the morning. Two of the boats we were towing cut the ropes but we managed to rescue and get on board the ship the people and their belongings

… at 3 o’clock in the evening we dropped anchor at Antipsara.

Our Commandante (note: Tsamados) left Captain Kyriakos at Psara, as his representative, in order to baptize in his name the babies who were born in the chamber. … he baptized the two babies. He named the first one Eleftherios and the other one Eleni”.

I want to mention that almost a quarter of the inhabitants of Kydoniae were slaughtered by the Turks, or taken prisoners, ending up in slave markets.

The information provided by the diary of Treiber, regarding the operating conditions of “Karteria”, are very interesting.

It is known that “Karteria” was the first steamship worldwide to be used in military operations.

With this in mind, of course “Karteria” presented certain advantages but also several disadvantages, as is the case with all original constructions. Its obvious advantage over the enemy ships, which were of course all sailing ships, was that in the event of calm weather, the “Karteria” could move and maneuver as fast as its engine allowed, while the enemy ships were stuck at one point and the only way to move or turn their cannons against it, was by being towed by one or more rowing boats.

Against this obvious advantage, however, the “Karteria” had some significant disadvantages. The first of these was that the engine of “Karteria” often suffered damages, sometimes minor ones and on other occasions more severe ones. Treiber recorded in his diary at least 5 cases of breakdowns, the repair of which took from a few hours to a few days.

One additional problem, however, was that the ship’s sails were insufficient and the speed it could develop with them alone, without the engine, was relatively low.

From Treiber’s diary we learn that, when the “Karteria” participated in a naval squadron, along with other (sailing) ships, it had in many cases to be towed by one of the other ships. We are also informed that the “Karteria” used mainly coal as fuel for its engine, but when coal was not available it also used wood. The patrols of the fleet extended not only throughout the Aegean, the Ionian and the other Greek seas, but also throughout the southeastern Mediterranean.

Treiber reports that the flotilla under the command of Sachtouris, in which “Carteria” participated, sailed to as close as 80 miles from Alexandria and that it reached the shores of Libya (Barbaria) where they went ashore to look for water.

From the two diaries we learn several details about how each ship communicated with the other accompanying ships, with its base port and with the rest of the world in general. Communication with the other ships of the naval squadron was not a problem, as long as there was at least eye contact.

In the latter case, the communication with the other ships was done with the help of “signals”. Personal contact between the captains or the admiral with the captains of the other ships was very frequent. This was often done by one or more captains visiting the flagship, or by one captain visiting another ship, to consult with that ship’s captain.

From the moment that one or more ships sailed from their base port (from Hydra, Spetses, Psara, etc.) there was no more contact with the base except rarely, when some other ship left the island later and brought new instructions.

It was very common practice that when a fleet ship met another ship (either Greek or foreign – except of course enemy) the captain or the chief officer to visit the other ship or vice versa, to exchange information.

In my opinion, the prevailing impression among those who were taught the history of the Greek revolution at school , but also among the Greek reading public in general, is that the action of the fleet was limited to naval battles with the Turkish fleet and of course the burning of enemy ships by the use of fire ships. One may get this same impression also by reading books on the naval struggle of the Greek war of independence, where the emphasis is mainly on the naval battles.

The naval battles were undoubtedly a very substantial contribution to the Revolution and they constituted certainly the most impressive part of the navy’s action. This does not mean, however, that the Greek navy did not carry out other missions, which varied, but were also those with which the fleet was occupied most of the time.

During the roughly eight years of the Revolution, the ships of the Greek fleet were involved in about 15 to 20 naval battles with or without the participation of fireships. This means that, cumulatively, the fleet engaged in naval battles for a total of only 20 to 30 days, or in other words for less than 2% of the total time that the Revolution lasted.

One would reasonably ask: what did the ships of the fleet do during the remaining 98% of the time?

As it may be derived from the two diaries, the mission of the fleet and consequently its contribution to the Revolution was, apart from the naval battles against the Turkish and Egyptian fleets, multifaceted and specifically included the following:

– The naval blockade of the revolted areas to prevent the transportation of enemy troops and supplies to these areas. This, in my opinion, was the main mission of the fleet. This action included the conduct of raids and the seizure of ships and cargoes of both Turkish and (supposedly) neutral flags, etc.

– The surveillance of the enemy fleet, or parts of it, so that the revolutionaries could be aware of the movements of the enemy, but also in order to exert psychological pressure on the enemy crews.

– The transportation of troops and supplies from one place to another.

– Carrying out troop landings, such as the one that took place at Faliro (Kastella) in 1827.

– The support of the Greek land forces, when they were operating in areas near the sea, by bombarding enemy positions, but also with the involvement of marine raiding parties (e.g. Kydonia, Pelion, Sfaktiria, etc.). Coincidentally, both captains, A. Tsamados and Abney Hastings, were killed in action, not on the decks of their ships, but during amphibious operations, outside their ships.

– The protection of civilian Greek populations from Turkish attacks on islands, or in coastal cities, e.g. Chios Psara, Kydoniae, etc.

– The bombing, and in many cases destruction, of the enemy’s coastal fortifications (Vasiladi, Volos castle).

– The rescue and transport of civilians (Kydoniae and elsewhere).

– The collection of money (taxes) for the needs of the Revolution from islands and coastal cities.

– Finally, we must add the endless hours and days of patrolling and waiting in various safe coves.

Concluding, I will mention that both Philhellenes remained in Greece after the liberation. Treiber organized the Army Health Corps, of which he was the first commander, and Chiappe served in the Judiciary. Finally, several years after the liberation, they became in-laws, since Treiber’s daughter, Rosa, was married to Chiappe’s son, Pietro.

 

Bibliography

  • Ερρίκου Τράϊμπερ: Αναμνήσεις από την Ελλάδα 1822-1828 . Μετάφραση, βιογραφικές και επεξηγηματικές σημειώσεις Δρος Χρήστου Ν. Αποστολίδου. Αθήναι 1960
  • Ιστορικά Ημερολόγια Των Ελληνικών Ναυμαχιών του 1821. Εκ των Ημερολογίων του Ναυμάχου Αν. Τσαμαδού . Εκδότης Νικ. Πάτρας. Αθήναι 1886
  • Περικλή Δεληγιάννη: Ο Ναυτικος αγώνας της Επανάστασης. Μονογραφίες του περιοδικού “Στρατιωτική Ιστορία”. Αθήνα 2009
  • I.K.Mαζαράκη Αινιάν: Ο Ναυτικός Αγώνας 1821 – 1830. Αθήνα 2019

 

The Giaour of Lord Byron, 19th century, bronze composition (SHP collection)

 

The symbol of Philhellenism of Lord Byron, the fighter of 1821 Eggelis and the sword of Kolokotronis

The most central emblematic figure of the Philhellenic movement during the Revolution of 1821, is undoubtedly that of the Giaour who defeats Hassan and seizes his horse and weapons. This form emerges from the emblematic work of Lord Byron “the Giaour”.

This story and a multitude of related depictions in Philhellenic art, inspired and excited thousands of Philhellenes around the world during the Greek war of independence.

However, as we will show, the Giaour of Lord Byron also inspired Greek fighters in 1821.

We remind that Lord Byron lived for a while in Athens (1810 – 1811), which at that time was a small town with few inhabitants, to whom the presence of the English Lord certainly did not go unnoticed.

From this journey, Byron gathered images, experiences and material to write many of his works. First of all the emblematic Childe Harold. In 1813 Lord Byron published the Giaou. It is very possible that copies of this book were sent to Athens and circulated to the Athenians or that they enriched the library of the Society of Friends of Music (Etairia Philomouson).

 

Book by Peter Edmund LAURENT (1796 – 1837), entitled “Recollections of a Classical Tour through the various parts of Greece, Turkey, and Italy made in the years 1818 and 1819”, from the library of the Etairia Philomouson in Athens. Accompanied by an application for membership in the Etairia Philomouson which is signed by well-known Athenians of the time (SHP collection).

 

In any case, as this image of the Giaour inspired the Philhellenes, so it enlivened the Greeks who sought an opportunity to claim their freedom and shake off the Ottoman yoke.

In this article we present the story of an Athenian family of freedom fighters of 1821, whose action gave flesh and blood to the emblematic Giaour of Lord Byron, offering to the Greek Revolution the only scene where a known Greek fighter achieves the feat of Giour, and in particularly intense battle conditions.

In the Archives of Fighters of the National Library in Athens, box 53 contains information about the Eggeli family, which gave four fighters in the struggle for National Independence.

File 1 contains a particularly enlightening request from Dimitrios Eggelis, son of Aggelis Eggelis, dated 1865 “to the Extraordinary Committee on the Rights of Fighters“, referring to the services of Dimitrios Eggelis and his brothers, Georgios and Ioannou, who fought at the Acropolis of Athens.

 

Aggelis Eggelis and Eleftherios Eggelis

With the document no. 926 of the file, signed on 24 September 1860 in Athens, by N. Zacharitsas, B. D. Kallifronas, K. Vryzakis, D. Sourmelis, Stavros Vlachos, G. Psyllas, S. Venizelos, Palaiologos Venizelos and S. Galakis, the Mayor of Athens Ioannis Santorinios confirms the following:

“Aggelis Egelis excelled in Kamatero in the battle against Omer Vryonis. He managed to get his infamous Byzantine sword, which he later offered, at the urging of the Elders of Attica, to the Leader of the Eastern Greece, Odysseas Androutsos”. Aggelis Eggelis fell “during the memorable Invasion, near the Third Gate of the Acropolis and for a long time, he remained fatally wounded in front of it, and it was not remove the body of this brave man”, neither by the Greeks, nor by the enemies. “But in the end the Greeks managed to pick him and bury him with honour a brave man deserves”.

 

Greek fighter defends his fatally injured father. Painting by the Hungarian painter Adalbert Schaffer (1815-1871). Oil on canvas (SHP collection).

Clock with a young fighter defending his wounded father (second quarter of the 19th century). Gold plated bronze, height: 46.5 cm (SHP collection).

 

According to another document, in the same file (file 1), it appears that Eggelis’ son was used to break the enemy lines to deliver letters from the government to General Karaiskakis and returned with a response inside the besieged Acropolis.

Some bibliographic sources state that the date of death of Aggelis Eggelis was December 15, 1821, while they add that one of his sons, also a fighter, Eleftherios (or Lefteris) was killed around the same time in the battles of Attica.

The 1961 edition of the Police Chronicles refers to a fighter named Eggeli (apparently one of Aggelis’ sons), and cites the year of his death to be 1827. D. Sourmelis places Eleftherios Eggelis among those who fell during the siege, but outside the fortress of the Acropolis.

Dimitris Kampouroglou, in his study on Daphni in the magazine ESTIA, refers to the fighter Eggelis and identifies him as “still living” and “a resident of Kolykynthou”, in 1920 (“… the sword was rescued falling on the enemies a friend of Eggelis, living until previous years in a very old age in Kolokynthou (Athens)”). Apparently it refers to the surviving son of Aggelis Eggelis.

A note at the end of the file states that Aggelis Eggelis from Attica was an officer of 5th class, with registration number 3085. Indeed, the Eleftheroudaki Encyclopedia in its entry on Aggelis Eggelis, volume 9, p. 16, states: “Eggelis Aggelis, Chieftain, originating from Attica. He excelled in various battles, becoming an officer of 5th class. He died during the raid against Athens (Registration No. 949, 3035, 3139 – 3145)”, confirming the facts.

From other sources (Koutsonikas, Sourmelis, Lappas), we learn that Aggelis Eggelis was born between 1770 and 1780, and died in 1821. He was a fighter of 1821 from Athens. With the beginning of the National Uprising, he was included in the body of the Chief Meletios Vassilios (1778-1826) from Menidi, great-great-great-grandfather of the mayor of Aspropyrgos, Mr. Nikolaos Meletios. He took part in many battles in Attica, fighting first with Meletios Vassilios, and then with Odysseus Androutsos. In September 1821, when the Turks ended the siege of Athens, he was the deputy leader of the group of the Athenian chieftain Dimos Roubesis, who fell heroically in a Battle against the Ottomans, led by Omer Vryonis himself. Roubesis rushed with Eggelis against Omer Vryonis, and they managed to throw him off the horse and snatch his sword. Roubesis was mortally wounded and died leaving the sword to Eggelis. The Eggeli family handed over this sword in September 1822 to Odysseus Androutsos, who was in Athens during the ceremony naming him General of eastern Central Greece. This sword was donated by Androutsos to Theodoros Kolokotronis in October of the same year, while he was visiting Nikitaras in Nafplio.

 

A clock with a Greek fighter identified with the image of Giaour (second quarter of the 19th century). Gold plated bronze, height: 54 cm (SHP collection).

 

Later, the sword was given to his grandson infantry Major Kolokotronis (PZ) and leader of the 1888 class of the Cadets School, George Panos Kolokotronis. He handed it over to the Historical and Ethnological Society of Greece, according to his will, which he had drawn up in September 1912, shortly before leaving for the front of the Balkan Wars, where he fell heroically in Kresna, on July 12, 1913.

Aggelis Eggelis and his eldest son Eleftherios, fell heroically in December 1821, during the siege of the Acropolis.

 

George Eggelis
One of his sons, the fighter Georgios Eggelis, undertook dangerous missions as a military messenger. “George also fell as a messenger sent from the besieged Acropolis to the surrounding Greek camps”.

Dimitrios Eggelis
Dimitrios Eggelis fought from the Acropolis during the siege by Kioutachis, and he was there when the Philhellenes and Fabvier broke the lines to bring food and amunition. “Although he survived, Dimitrios has a lot of scars from the fight on his body. He managed twice to cross the besieged lines of Kioutachis as the Messenger of the besieged to those outside and back again”. Soumerlis Dionysios (former notary) seems to have kept records of Dimitrios (Mitros) Eggelis. This includes a document belonging to the file and certified by important persons, which  states:
“The undersigned certify that Mitros Eggelis from Athens, fought from the beginning of the Revolution and was wounded and risked his life many times in various battles against the enemies, offered during the last siege of the Acropolis of Athens, two times in a row to pass through the enemies, as a messanger in the most critical circumstances of the Acropolis guard”.

Ioannis Egelis

“Ioannis finally, having his body full of wounds, became a farmer he m=survives with his three sons, without demanding compensations”.

Many documents referring to him are found in file 2 of the box, among them a report dated 19 April 1865, to which is attached a certificate with no. 26894, with confirmations by various fighters bearing their signatures, among them General Makrygiannis. According to the report and other certificates that we find in the file, some of which in many copies, Giannakos Eggelis served as an officer in the flagship of the Greek fleet “Hellas” during the years 1828 and 1829, under Miaoulis. He also fought on the Acropolis with 300 other Athenians, in the Peloponnese, and specifically in Neokastro where he was wounded, in Central Greece, in the campaign of Karystos and in the campaign of Chios, where he served as an officer under the French Philhellene Fabvier. The certificate dates back to 1843.

The participation of Aggelis Eggelis in the battle of Kamatero and the episode with Omer Vryonis, is confirmed by most of the historians of the Greek war of independence, especially those who wrote essays on the struggle in Attica, such as Sourmelis, Kokkinos and others.

Kokkinos in particular notes that “Vryonis’ terror from the personal attack he received from the chief Roubesis was such that his sword with which he tried to defend himself fell from his hand. The sword was taken by the comrade of Dimos Roubesis, Eggelis and later given to Odysseas Androutsos, as mentioned above, who in turn offered it to Kolokotronis“. In fact, after this incident, Omer Vryonis remained in all the battles in the rear.

The family tree of the Eggeli family follows:
1) Aggelis Egelis (first fighter).
2) his sons: Dimitrios (Mitros), Georgios and Ioannis (Giannakos) based on the archives, and Eleftherios based on the bibliography.
3) Dimitrios, left after his death two orphaned children, Panagi and Chrysoula and three orphaned grandchildren of his deceased son, Aggeli Eggeli (he was named after Dimitrios’ father and first fighter). These grandchildren were named Spyros, Eleni and Panagoula.

Today, the names of Eggelis and Roubesis were given to two streets that intersect in Neos Kosmos of Athens.

 

Kolokotronis’s sword; it was given to him by Androutsos, who had received it as a gift from the Eggeli family (National Historical Museum).

The point where Eggeli Street and Roubesi Street intersect in Neos Kosmos, Athens.

 

The history of the Eggeli family is identified with the most emblematic Figure of Philhellenism and the common struggle of the Greeks and the Philhellenes for the liberation of Athens and Greece.

 

 

SOURCES – BIBLIOGRAPHY

  • Αστυνομικά Χρονικά έτους 1961.
  • Εγκυκλοπαίδεια Ελευθερουδάκη, Τόμος 9, έκδ. 1979.
  • Εθνική Βιβλιοθήκη, Αρχείο Αγωνιστών, Κουτί 53, Φάκελοι 1 και 2.
  • Καμπούρογλου Δημήτριος, το Δαφνί, Εστία, 1920, σ. 73.
  • Κόκκινος Α. Διονύσιος, Η Ελληνική Επανάστασης, Αθήνα, Μέλισσα, 1957.
  • Κορδάτος Γιάννης, Ιστορία Νεώτερης Ελλάδας, 1957.
  • Κουτσονίκας Λάμπρος, ”Γενική Ιστορία της Ελληνικής Επαναστάσεως”, εκδ. Δ. Καρακατζάνη, Αθήνα, 1863, γ’ τόμος, σελ.78.
  • Λάππας Τάκης, ”Ελληνικά Ιστορικά Ανέκδοτα 1750-1862”, εκδ. Μ. Πεχλιβανίδη, Αθήνα, 1971, σελ. 24 και σελ.135.
  • Μαραβελέας Γ. Α, Η επανάσταση του 21 σε σαράντα μονογραφίες, 1983.
  • Σουρμελής Διονύσιος ”Ιστορία των Αθηνών κατά τον Υπέρ Ελευθερίας Αγώνα”, εκδ. Νικολάου Αγγελίδου, Αθήνα, 1853, σελ.24.

 

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Polish soldier in infantry uniform. Early 19th century.

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

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

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

What do Domino’s Pizza, Iggy Pop and Dimitrios Ypsilantis have in common?
In Michigan, USA, in Washtenaw County, there is a city called Ypsilanti.

 

 

Most of us visited on numerous occasions London and its numerous cultural and historical sites. In most of the cases, little attention is paid to the emblematic RAF Memorial in Green Park, located near Hyde Park Corner.

The Royal Air Force (RAF) Memorial commemorates the crews of RAF who participated in particularly dangerous missions during the Second World War. Among them 55,573 pilots and aircrew from Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Poland, etc. lost their lives during the war. The memorial was unveiled by Queen Elizabeth II on 28 June 2012.

Apart from paying tribute to all those men who sacrificed their lives to protect Europe from tyranny, this memorial also highlights the values on which Britain, and also Europe and the western civilisation, are founded. These are the values of the Athenian Democracy.

The plinth of the memorial bears a famous text of Pericles, of Athens:

“Freedom is the sure possession of those alone who have the courage to defend it.”