Monday, March 26

Ζήτω η Ελλάς


Yesterday was Greek Independence Day (in addition to being the Greek Orthodox feast of the Annunciation), which commemorates the beginning of the Greek uprising against the Ottomans in 1821.

The Greek struggle for independence was long and bitter. Many of the fighters were recruited from bands of brigands from the mountains, known as klephts (κλέφτες). Long-standing rivalries between clans meant that they were sometimes more interested in fighting each other than their Ottoman masters.

After the war, brigandage continued to plague the modern Greek state, though there was often a tacit understanding between the brigands and corrupt local authorities who allowed the brigands to operate with impunity in exchange for bribes. This situation was parodied in Le Roi de Montagnes, written in 1856 by the French novelist Edmond François Valentin About (1828 – 1885), during his stay in Greece as an archaeologist for the French School at Athens. The satirical novel went on to become a classic and the best-known of About’s works. La Grèce Contemporaine, which About wrote in1855, was also very successful.

3 Comments:

Blogger Will said...

Wow--Classics Illustrated brings memories flooding back. Fortunately I graduated to the full books after having my appetite whetted by the illustrated boil-downs.

I spent a week in Greece on business with a colleague just ten years ago, Spring Break of 1997 and had a wonderful time. We visited Athens, Mycene, the island of Spetses, saw the National Theater of Crete perform Lysistrata at Epidaros and we spent a day at Delphi where, as a gay man, I had the most amazing and mystical feeling of being exactly where I belonged. It was one of those unexplainable sensations, but everything about that incredible site hanging off the side of the mountain seemed as if I'd come home.

6:49 AM  
Anonymous evangelia said...

yes, it was an important day yesterday..and someone forgot to wish me xronia polla..

6:54 PM  
Blogger Sandouri Dean Bey said...

vaggelitsa mou!
me sychoreis, koukla! chronia polla!

did you have a good day?

11:46 PM  

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