Manto Mavrogenous

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Heroine of the Greek War of Independence (1796 – 1848)

Manto Mavrogenous was one of the few women who distinguished in the Greek War of Independence. She descended from the wealthy Phanariot family Mavrogenis (meaning Blackbeard), who was involved with commerce. She spent her entire family’s fortune to support the Greeks in the war, ending up poor and forgotten.

She was born in Trieste. When the Greek War of Independence began, her family moved to Paros and Manto was initiated into the Society of Friends (Philiki Hetaereia). She actively joined the war and contributed initially by clearing the Aegean archipelago from Turkish and Algerian pirates with her fleet. Afterwards, she funded the equipment of Mykonian ships, with which she participated in battles in Karystos, Pylion, Leivadia and Phthiotis. In 1822 she led the Mykonians into battle against the Algerian invasion in Mykonos. The same year, as captain of her own private navy, Manto descended to Peloponessus where she fought in battles dressed as a man. For a woman, this was very radical, at the time. She was recognized as the spirit of the Greek War of Independence of Mykonos.

As a result of her huge economic support to the Greek War of Independence, her governing skills in the navy and her epistles to French and English women for their support in the War, Manto’s name became very popular in Europe. Her contribution in the battles has been written extensively by foreign historians. Shortly after the nation’s independence, she was appointed leutenant general by John Kapodistrias as well as inspector of the orphanage of Aegina.

In the end, Manto had given everything she owned for the freedom of the nation. She had even given all her jewlery so that 2000 people from Messolonghi would be nursed and sheltered. In her own words, she said “It is not important what I will become, as long as my country is free. After I give everything I can provide for the holy cause of freedom, I will go to the battlefield of the Greeks to die if it is needed”. She died of typhus in Nauplion, in a house she had been granted by the government in utter poverty.

Bibliography

  1. Konstantaras, Konstantinos. Το Άδοξο Τέλος των Αγωνιστών του 21᾿. Hilektron Publications: Athens, 2016. Print.
  2. Lampsidis, Georgios. Μαντώ Μαυρογένους – Μια μαύρη σελίδα της επανάστασης του 1821. History of Macedonia. History-of-macedonia.com. Web. February 17, 2011.
Manto Mavrogenous

Nikitaras

Nikitaras

General, Statesman, Hero of the Greek War of Independence (1787 – 1849)

Nikitas Stamatelopoulos was known by many different names; he was called Tourkophagos (Turk-eater) and Nikitaras, his name meaning “victory”. He was one of the greatest heroes and protagonists of the Greek War of Independence, next to his uncle, Theodore Kolokotronis. He fought in all of the major battles of the Greek War of Independence, proving his decisive role in its outcome.

From a young age he was introduced in the harsh way of life of the harmatoles. After losing his father from the Ottomans, Nikitaras followed Theodore Kolokotronis throughout all his operations. His devotion to his uncle was recorded in the people’s saying “The head was of Kolokotronis, the arm was of Nikitaras”. In 1818, 3 years before the outbreak of the War, Nikitaras was initiated in the Society of Friends, whereupon he became an active member, travelling to Peloponnesus in attempt to initiate others and join the war that was slowly coming.

On March 23, 1821, Nikitaras joined Kolokotronis and entered in Kalamata. On May 12th of the same year, Nikitaras led an army of 800 troops victoriously against the Ottomans in the Battle of Valtetsi, thus granting the Greeks a victory in one of the most important battles during the war. Soon thereafter, he proved his military skills and valour in the Battle of Doliana, where he defeated 6000 Ottomans with an army of 200 Greek men. These two battles rendered him one of the most heroic fighters of the war. He continued in the Battle of Vervena, where he won the battles one after the other. Finally, on September 23rd of the same year, Nikitaras, together with Theodore Kolokotronis, Demetrios Plapoutas, Anagnostaras, Petrobey Mavromichalis and Demetrios Hypsilantis fought in the siege of Tripolitsa, ultimately reclaiming the capitol of Moria and decimating the Turkish and Jewish population. In 1822, along with 700 of his men he fought in the Battles of Stylis and Hagias Marinas, alongside Odysseus Androutsos.

The apex of his heroic virtue was in the Battle of Dervenakia, the most important battle of the Greek War of Independence. The Greeks, led by Theodore Kolokotronis put an end to Dramali’s descent to Peloponnesus by facing 3000 Turks in the small mountain pass of Dervenakia. Nikitaras was also present here, alongside Demetrios Plapoutas, Demetrios Hypsilantis, Papaflessas and Panos Kolokotronis. It was in this battle that Nikitaras earned the nickname “Turk-eater” because during the battle he broke 3 of his sword from the force he was striking.

Nikitaras was never absent from any of the major battles of the war. After the Battle of Dervenakia, Nikitaras continued fighting in a numerous battles, including the second siege of Mesolonghi, the victorious Battle of Arachova, on the side of Georgios Karaiskakis and his 800 men and the Battle of Phaleron, again together with Karaiskakis, who died in battle.

Nikitaras lived long enough to see his homeland free and to live the ingratitude of the nation. He was an avid supporter of John Kapodistrias, who appointed him to various positions of power including President of the Hellenic Parliament. He attempted to open a paper manufacturing company but with the arrival of King Otto, the plans were abandoned. He was sentenced, imprisoned and beaten repeatedly while in jail until he was proven innocent and freed. The government granted him with a permission to “beg” outside the Church of Evangelistria every Friday, where he would go beg, almost blind. One day, when the Russian ambassador came to visit him while he was begging and asked him what he was doing, Nikitaras replied “I am enjoying my free homeland”. “You’re enjoying it here, sitting on the streets?” said the Russian ambassador. Nikitaras then said “My homeland has granted me with a pension, to live well, but I come here to take a glimpse of how the people are doing”. The ambassador realized and let a small pouch of golden coins to fall from his pocket was he was leaving. Nikitaras saw it and told the ambassador: “Your pouch fell down; Take it, so that you don’t lose it and nobody else finds it”. He died in utter poverty at the age of 68 from diabetes.

Nikitaras remained in history as the most virtuous soul of the Greek War of Independence and one of the greatest heroic figures in Greek history, together with Theodore Kolokotronis, the old man of Morea, his most beloved uncle, whose tomb lies next to Nikitaras’.

Bibliography

  1. “Nikitaras”. Helios New Encyclopaedic Dictionary. Passas, I. Athens: 1946. Print.
  2. Konstantaras, Konstantinos. The Inglorious End of the Heroes of 21’. Hilektron Publications: Athens, 2016. Print.
Nikitaras

Evgenios Voulgaris

Evgenios_Voulgaris

Philosopher, Theologist, Scholar, Teacher of the Greek Nation (1716 – 1806)

Evgenios Voulgaris was one of the greatest Teachers of the Greek Nation. He was one of the pioneers of the Greek Enlightenment movement, a polyglot and polymath who played a pivotal role in the dissemination of the sciences from the West back to Greece and struggled for the awakening of the subjugated Greek Nation. His actions, together with the rest of the Teachers of the Greek Nation, led to the events of the Greek War of Independence in 1821.

He originated from Corfu. Among his first teachers was Methodios Anthrakites, who influenced him significantly during his life. He continued his studies in Padua where he became acquainted with the works of ancient Greek and modern philosophers, such as John Locke and Gottfried von Leibnitz. In addition, he studied Greek, Latin and theology. By the end of his studies, Voulgaris spoke 10 different languages: Greek, Latin, Italian, German, French, Hebrew, Turkish, Arabic, Russian and Chaldean.

In 1742 he returned to Greece where he became headmaster of the School of Maroutsis Bros in Ioannina. There, he taught philosophy, mathematics, geometry, logic, physics, cosmology and theology from his own textbooks, influenced by the Western European philosophy. He introduced the works of John Locke and Voltaire to Greece based on his own translations of their work. He continued his pedagogic work as headmaster in the School of Kozani and in the Athonite Ecclesiastical School, where he attracted hundreds of students, some of the most notable ones being St. Cosmas of Aetolia, Sergios Macraios and Josephus Mοisiodax. In 1761, he was called up by the Patriarchy of Constantinople, where he taught philosophy and mathematics in the Patriarchic School and was later appointed palatine.

Later, he settled in Leipzig, Germany for 8 years, where he published his original treatises on theology and philosophy. He befriended Catherine the Great and with her help, they published pamphlets to reawaken the Greeks during the Orlov Revolt. Voulgaris was appointed librarian of the Library of St. Petersburg, member of the Academy of St. Petersburg and Archbishop of Kherson.

Evgenios Voulgaris was a multifarious personality and represented one of the greatest intellectuals of Greece of his era. Philosopher, pedagogue and theologist, with profound knowledge in the natural sciences, he was recognized as a sage both inside and outside of Greece. He combated religious superstition and preached for freedom of religion. His massive bibliography includes valuable books on logic, mathematics, metaphysics, philosophy, ethics, music and Homer. Except these, he translated important works of European philosophers and poets, most notably Vergil’s Aeneid.

Like most representatives of the Greek Enlightenment, Voulgaris faced great opposition from the Church. He was accused of introducing dangerous ideas from the West, which forced him to constantly change schools. Nevertheless, his impact on the subjugated Greeks was enormous. He died at the age of 90, having opened the way to the Greek Enlightenment and the spiritual renaissance of the Greek Nation.

Bibliography

  1. Christodoulou, Alexandros. Ευγένιος Βούλγαρης, ο γενάρχης του νεοελληνικού Διαφωτισμού. ΠΕΜΠΤΟΥΣΙΑ. Pemptousia.gr. Web. June 9, 2016. Retrieved on March 30, 2017.
  2. “Evgenios Voulgaris”. Helios New Encyclopaedic Dictionary. Passas, I. Athens, 1946. Print.
  3. Papathanasopoulos, Georgios. Ευγένιος Βούλγαρης: Μέγας Διδάσκαλος του Γένους. Ινφογνώμων Πολιτικά. Infognomonpolitics.blogspot.bg. Web. November 16, 2016. Retrieved on March 30, 2017.
Evgenios Voulgaris

Anagnostaras

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Hero of the Greek War of Independence (1860 – 1825)

Christos Anagnostaras was one of the protagonists of the holy war of freedom of the Greek Nation of 1821. He was a member of the Society of Friends (Philiki Hetaereia), a freedom fighter, a harmatolos, a politician and above all, a flaming patriot. He remained in history for his heroic sacrifice in the Battle of Sphacteria in 1823.

The name Anagnostaras he earned when, as a child he was helping his father in the church. His name means “reader” because he was a church reader. In 1785, he joined the Federation of the Peloponnesians, founded by Theodore Kolokotronis and Petmezas. Before the outbreak of the War of Independence, he worked for the Russians when, as Major, he was responsible for the military recruitment of the Peloponnesians and for the French until 1816. Shortly before the outbreak, Anagnostaras was initiated into the Society of Friends and in turn departed to Constantinople and other parts of Greece to successfully initiate other fellow freedom fighters.

On the 23rd of March 1821, Anagnostaras, together with Petrobey Mavromichalis and Theodore Kolokotronis, liberated Kalamata from the Ottomans. His main contribution to the war was in the Battle of Valtetsi, one of the more victorious battles during the war, together with Theodore Kolokotronis, Kyriakoulis Mavromichalis and Milopetrova, and in the Siege of Tripolitsa, later in the same year, on the side of Theodore Kolokotronis, Demetrios Plapoutas and Panos Kephalas.

Anagnostaras got involved with politics, assumed various positions and got into conflict with his compatriots during the Civil War. He washed out his political misdeeds in the Battle of Sphacteria on April 26, 1825 where he sacrificed himself in the name of freedom. Sphacteria was under the rule of Ibrahim and his Egyptian army. Anagnostaras, together with Anastasios Tsamados, Alexander Mavrokordatos, Count Santarosa and Andreas Miaoulis and his armada, alongside a small army battled against 3000 Turko-Egyptians and Ibrahim’s fleet in an effort to liberate the city. The Greeks and the philhellenes showed extraordinary valor but ultimately lost the battle. Anagnostaras, together with Anastasios Tsamados and Count Santarosa fell heroically in battle and passed to immortality, to the Pantheon of Heroes, the Elysian Fields, where all fallen heroes go.

Bibliography

  1. “Anagnostaras’. Helios New Encyclopaedic Dictionary. Passas, I. Athens, 1946. Print.
  2. Ο ελληνικός λαός, καλός και γενναίος που έζησε αιώνες δουλείας είναι δικός μας αδελφός». Ο ιταλός κόμης Σανταρόζα που πολέμησε με τους Έλληνες στη μάχη της Σφακτηρίας και σκοτώθηκε από τους άνδρες του Ιμπραήμ. Μηχανή του Χρόνου. Mixanitouxronou.gr. Web. November 20, 2015. Retrieved on March 11, 2017.
Anagnostaras

Methodios Anthrakites

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Philosopher, Scholar, Mathematician, Physicist, Priest, Teacher of the Greek Nation (1660 – 1736)

The Enlightenment began in Greece almost 3 centuries after sprouting in Western Europe. It was the result of Greek merchants, philologists and priests, who had been educated in the big European capitals and who had been influenced by the Muses. These men comprised the Teachers of the Greek nation, and were responsible for the awakening of the Greeks during after 400 years of Ottoman rule. Methodios Anthrakites was the very first Teacher of the Greek Nation, who struggled for the revival of Greek thought and the re-introduction of philosophy and mathematics in Greece. He was met with vehement opposition from the Church, despite being an eminent theologist and priest himself.

He was educated in the Gioumeios School in Ioannina, where he studied grammar, physics and metaphysics. He then travelled to Venice, where he studied mathematics, geometry, trigonometry, geography, physics, astronomy and engineering. After 10 years of stay in Venice, Anthrakites, now a homo universalis returned to his subjugated country in an effort to start a second Renaissance by disseminating the knowledge he had acquired all these years and to revive the Greek nation. He assumed the direction of the School of Castoria, taught in the School of Siatista, the Gioumeios School and the School of Hegoumenos Epiphanos.

Anthrakites’ contribution to the Greek Enlightenment is enormous and unique. According to Constantine Coumas, “he was the first to bring the geometric sciences from Italy, capable of lighting the light of Logos and stimulating the innate philomathy of man”. He was the first Greek to introduce mathematics in the Greek schools during the Ottoman rule. In addition to having translated numerous works of European mathematicians to Greek, Anthrakites composed original mathematical treatises. He wrote the monumental The Way of Mathematics (Ὁδὸς Μαθηματική), which contained works from Euclid’s Elements, Theodosius’ Sphaerics, theoretical and practical geometry, trigonometry, stereometry, works of Proclus as well as works on astronomy, physics and geography. With this book he taught mathematics to all of Greece. His aim was to present the history of mathematics from the time of Homer until Pappus of Alexandria so that to stimulate the Greek youth’s interest in the sciences and have the Greeks reclaim the global lead in mathematics that they had in antiquity. This is the reason why the book does not mention the mathematicians of the Renaissance, but instead focuses on the achievements of all Ancient Greek philosophers: Thales, Anaxagoras, Pythagoras, Democritus, Hippocrates, Euclid, Ptolemy, Archimedes, Diophantus, Plato, Aristotle etc.

Major contributions of Anthrakites were in the field of philosophy, logic and pedagogy. He wrote Introduction to Logic and Lesser Logic, two books on the logic of Plato and Aristotle with which he rejected the religious dogmatism and revived the Greek spirit to its wholesomeness. He developed his own philosophical-theological system, primarily influenced from Aristotle, Plato, Descartes and Malebranche, which he taught from his books Spiritual Visitation, Christian Theories and Spiritual Advices and Treatise on Nature and Graces and had widespread appeal throughout Europe.

Methodios Anthrakites became the prodrome of the Greek Enlightenment, one of the greatest Teachers of the Greek Nation and one of the chief representatives of the spiritual revival of Hellenism. Not only did he implement philosophy and mathematics in the Greek schools, but he also implemented new methods of didascaly. His eminence attracted hundreds of students from whole Greece, who came to Castoria to listen to him. Many of his students, most notably Eugenios Vulgaris, Vasilopoulos Balanos and Anastasios Vasilopoulos, became great spiritual leaders of the Greek Enlightenment and successors of his work. For his services to Greece, he was persecuted by the Orthodox Church of Greece, his books were burned in public view and was ultimately nullified by the obscurantists of religion. He died in utter poverty hiding away in a basement, almost 80 years before the awakening of the Greek Nation.

Bibliography

  1. Pan, Sarantos. διωγμὸς τοῦ Μεθοδίου Ἀνθρακίτη ἀπὸ τοὺς σκοταδιστὲς τοῦ Φαναριοῦ. Δαυλός. Issue 169, January 1996. pages 10179 – 10188. Print.
  2. Tsigoni, A. Μεθόδιος Ανθρακίτης, ένας πρόδρομος του Νεοελληνικού Διαφωτισμού. Μαθηματική Επιθεώρηση. Issue 59. January-June 2003. pages 95 – 105. Print.
Methodios Anthrakites

Andreas Miaoulis

miaoulis

Admiral, Statesman, Hero of the Greek War of Independence (1769 – 1835)

Andreas Vokos Miaoulis was an admiral, statesman and patriot from the island of Hydra and one of the major participants of the Greek War of Independence of 1821. Together with Constantine Kanaris, Laskarina Bouboulina and Antonios Kriezis, he is considered as one of Greece’s most important naval officers of the modern era.

He descended from a wealthy family of ship-owners and was involved with the emporium from a young age. During the Napoleonic Wars, the adventurous Miaoulis increased significantly his wealth by breaking the siege of the Spanish cities by Admiral Lord Nelson and resupplying them. Another one of his accomplishments was the prevention of an Albanian invasion in the island of Hydra.

With the outbreak of the Greek War of Independence, Miaoulis signed a document whereupon he devoted all of his ships and fortune to the war and was appointed captain of the Hydrean fleet. His first clash with the Ottoman fleet was in the Battle of Pylos where he led the Greek naval forces victoriously against the enemy ships. He successfully defeated the Ottoman fleet in the Battle of Orei and the Battle of Artemisium.

Following the Destruction of Psara, the Egyptian naval forces sailed from Alexandria with 100 ships, 50.000 sailors and 2500 cannons to Kos, where they merged with the Turkish fleet. Under the command of Andreas Miaoulis, the Greek fleet gathered in the Gerontas bay and battled against the enemy forces in one of the longest battles of the Greek War of Independence. In spite of them being vastly outnumbered, the Greeks won by destroying 27 Ottoman – Egyptian ships and causing massive casualties. The Battle of Gerontas rendered Andreas Miaoulis an admiral comparable to the British ones in terms of skill and military capacity. After his victorious battle, Miaoulis sailed to Methone of Messenia and shipwrecked 23 Egyptian ships; he also confronted the Egyptian fleet in Suda. With his fleet, during the second siege of Mesolonghi, he regularly supplied its citizens with food and firearms, until the final days before the sortie, when it was no longer possible. Throughout the war, he was involved with multiple skirmishes against the Ottoman navy.

Miaoulis’ contribution continued even after the end of the Greek War of Independence. He was assigned by John Kapodistrias with combating piracy in the Aegean archipelagos, a task which he completed successfully. A few years before his death, he was appointed chief of the General Directorate of the Greek navy and inspector of the fleet. He died in 1835 and was buried in Piraeus, next to the tomb of Themistocles.

Bibliography

  1. Ανδρέας Μιαούλης. Σαν σήμερα. Sansimera.gr Web. Retrieved on February 11, 2017.
  2. Giannopoulos, Nikos. Aνδρέας Μιαούλης, ο θρυλικός θαλασσομάχος του ΄21. Διασπούσε τους βρετανικούς αποκλεισμούς, νίκησε επανειλημμένα τους Τούρκους, εξάλειψε τους πειρατές, όμως το τέλος της ζωής του σημαδεύτηκε από μια μελανή σελίδα. ΜΗΧΑΝΗ ΤΟΥ ΧΡΟΝΟΥ. Mixanitouxronou.gr. Web. November 29, 2011. Retrieved on February 11, 2017.
  3. Kantas, Kostas. Ανδρέας Μιαούλης, ο θρυλικός ναύαρχος του 1821. Βριλησσιώτικα Νέα. Vrilissia.gr. Web. June 20, 2013. Retrieved on February 11, 2017.
Andreas Miaoulis

Yiannis Dyovouniotis

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Hero of the Greek War of Independence (1757 – 1831)

His name means “two mountains”. His real name was Yiannis Xykis. He was a poor shepherd from the village of the Two Mountains who, from a young age, became a distinguished harmatolos and partook actively in the Greek War of Independence. His greatest contribution in the war was in the Battle of Vasilika.

In 1820, one year before the outbreak of the Greek War of Independence, Dyovouniotis was initiated into the Society of Friends a secret organization that aimed to secretly organize the Greeks and enforce the war of independence. Together with Panourgias, Skaltsas and Athanasios Diakos they formed the leaders of the war in Sterea Hellada. Dyovouniotis hoisted the Greek flag in Mendenitsa during the outbreak of the war and seized control of the castle there.

In 1821, Sterea Hellada and Peloponnesus rebelled simultaneously, forcing Hursit Pasha, who was battling against Ali Pasha in Ioannina, to send troops to Sterea Hellada in attempt to seize control of Tripolitsa in Peloponnesus. Qiose Pasha and Omer Vrioni descended to Sterea Hellada with an army of 8000 men and 800 horsemen where they broke the resistance of Athanasios Diakos in Alamana, Odysseus Androutsos in Chani of Gravia and Aggelis Govinas in Vrisakia. When they reached Lamia, Dyovouniotis was the first to be informed of it and gathered all of the generals of Sterea Hellada to a meeting where they discussed how to halt the Ottoman’s descent to Livadia. Dyovouniotis suggested that they set an ambush in a small path that led to the village of Vasilika. He and his men hid inside a forest and suddenly attacked the enemy from behind whilst fighting against the second Greek division led by Gouras. There were about 1600 Greeks in total plus Odysseus’ Androutsos’ reinforcements.

Dyovouniotis’ ingenious plan resulted in the decimation of the Ottoman army thus putting an end to the Ottoman campaign in Peloponnesus. The Battle of Vasilika was considered the most important victory of the Greeks in Sterea Hellada. This allowed the Greeks to reclaim Tripolista and established their dominance in Sterea Hellada. Dyovouniotis became a fearsome name to the Turks and he was given the honorary rank of strategos (general officer).

Bibliography

  1. Flerianou, Aikaterini. Mάχη στα Βασιλικά. Αργολική Αρχειακή Βιβλιοθήκη Ιστορίας και Πολιτισμού. Argolikivivliothiki.gr. Web. April 13, 2012. Retrieved on December 21, 2016.
Yiannis Dyovouniotis