Hero of the Greek War of Independence (1745 – 1838)
Mitros Pertovas was a captain of the klephts during the Greek War of Independence. As the most noteworthy member of the Petrovas family, he fought in numerous battles on the side of Constantine Kolokotronis, Theodore Kolokotronis’ father, proving his decisive role in the struggle for freedom. He was praised for his sophrosyne and wisdom.
Mitropetrovas participated in the Orlov Revolt in 1770 and was one of the first to be initiated to the Society of Friends (Φιλικὴ Ἑταιρεία). His family’s long lasting affiliation with the Kolokotronis family meant Mitropetrovas’ devotion to Theodore Kolokotronis, whom he took under his custody following his father’s death. He thus served as his first teacher in the art of war as well as his most trusted mentor.
With the outbreak of the Greek War of Independence, Mitropetrovas, in spite of being 76 years old, partook actively in the liberation of Kalamata alongside fellow general Petrobey Mavromichalis. With Theodore Kolokotronis he fought heroically in the Battle of Valtetsi and proved his valour in the Siege of Tripolitsa.
During the civil war, Mitropetrovas took the side of Theodore Kolokotronis. He was imprisoned, only to be released so that to fight against Ibrahim’s forces that marched against Peloponnesus. Promoted to the rank of general, Mitropetrovas alongside other Greeks managed to fend off Ibrahim and his army from Peloponnesus and ensure its safety.
Following Greece’s independence and transformation into a free nation state, Mitropetrovas became an avid supporter of John Kapodistrias. When the Bavarians occupied the government after Kapodistrias’ assassination, Mitropetrovas mobilized the whole Messenia as a means of protest for the imprisonment of Kolokotronis and Plapoutas. He was arrested and sentenced to 15 years of prison, but was pardoned because of his old age.
Though not as well-known as others from the pantheon of heroes of the Greek War of Independence, Mitropetrovas’ role as the mentor of Theodore Kolokotronis was unique. He was deeply devoted to the man he served, willing to sacrifice his own life at any given moment to protect him. In respect, Kolokotronis would always supervise him on every critical matter and would refer to him as “Barba” (old wise man). Despite his advanced age, he had the spirit of a young man, who fought with unprecedented energy and insuperable courage. Perhaps one could say the two alluded to the heroes of Homer’s Iliad. If Theodore Kolokotronis was Achilles, Mitropetrovas was Nestor the Wise.
- “Mitros Petrovas”. Helios New Encyclopaedic Dictionary. Passas, I. Athens: 1946. Print.