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A History of the Nineteenth Century, Year by Year

The ablest political leader was Maurokordatos


[Sidenote:

Kolokotrones]

[Sidenote: Maurokordatos]

[Sidenote: Massacre of Navarino]

[Sidenote: Sack of Tripolitza]

The murder of the Greek Patriarch was followed by risings of the Greeks throughout continental Greece and the Archipelago. Here, as in the Morea, the cause of Greek freedom was disgraced by massacres, and indignities to Turkish women. The Sultan's troops, led by able commanders, retaliated in kind. Khurshid, with a large Turkish army, besieged Janina. He held firmly to his task, even after his whole household fell into the hands of the Moreotes. The Greeks in Thessaly failed to rise, and thus the border provinces were saved for the Ottoman Empire. The risings in remoter districts were soon quelled. In Epirus, Ali Pasha, the Albanian chieftain, was surrounded by overwhelming numbers and lost his life. On the Macedonian coast the Hetairist revolt, in which the monks of Mount Athos took part, proved abortive. Moreover, the desultory warfare on water carried on by the islanders of Hydra, Spetza, and Psara served only to annoy the Turks. The real campaign was waged in the Morea, where Tripolitza, the seat of the Turkish Government, was besieged by the insurgents. Demetrios Ypsilanti, Prince Alexander's brother, landed on the coast and was welcomed as a leader by the peasants in arms. Three other leaders rose to prominence. First, in the eyes

of the people, came Petrobei, chief of the family of Mauromichalis. Surrounded by his nine sons, this sturdy chieftain appeared like one of the old Homeric kings. Second in popular favor was Kolokotrones, a typical modern Clepht, cunning and treacherous, but a born soldier. The ablest political leader was Maurokordatos, a man of some breadth of view and foresight, but over-cautious as a general. The early insurgent successes were marred by bad faith and gross savagery. On the surrender of Navarino, in August, a formal capitulation was signed, safeguarding the lives of the Turkish inhabitants. In the face of this compact the victorious Greeks put men, women and children to the sword. Two months later the Turkish garrison of Tripolitza, after sustaining a siege of six months, began negotiations for surrender. In the midst of the truce, the Greek soldiery got wind of a secret bargain of their leaders to extend protection for private gain. In defiance of the officers, the peasant soldiers stormed Tripolitza and scaled the walls. Then followed three days of indiscriminate looting and carnage. By thousands, the Turks, with their women and children, were slaughtered. Kolokotrones himself records how he rode from the gateway to the citadel of Tripolitza, his horse's hoofs touching nothing but human bodies.

[Sidenote: Philhellenism]

The Greek struggle for independence aroused conflicting emotions in Europe. The passionate sympathy of the Russians rested wholly on their religious bonds. The more enlightened Philhellenes of France and Germany affected to see in this struggle a revival of the ancient Greek spirit that blazed forth at Thermopylae and Marathon. For this same reason, perhaps, Metternich and his colleagues in the Holy Alliance looked upon the Greek revolution with an evil eye. Any cause espoused by the hot-headed liberals at the universities in those days of itself became obnoxious to the reactionary rulers of the German and Austrian states.


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