Monday, March 22, 2021

Greece to mark revolution bicentenary with 1821 allies, featuring troops - Global Times

Greece to mark revolution bicentenary with 1821 allies,

Greece will this week celebrate the 200th anniversary of the uprising that created its modern state, a romantic revolution that experts say captivated both elites and the masses around the world.
A museum employee bcloses a case displaying weapons in the new museum dedicated to the Philhellene foreign volunteers who fought and died for Greece on March 12, 2021. Photo: VCG

A national parade alongside Athens' central Syntagma Square on Thursday - the date traditionally associated with the revolution - will feature mounted troops in traditional costumes from the 1821 conflict and the 1912-13 Balkan Wars.

Nations who helped the Greeks in their near-decade-long struggle against the Ottoman Empire will also be represented. Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin and Prince Charles of Britain and his wife Camilla will be in attendance, the Greek prime minister's office said.

A new coronavirus lockdown forced French President Emmanuel Macron to pull out, but French Rafale and American F-16 jets will overfly the Greek capital, while the USS Eisenhower aircraft carrier will dock in Crete, a defense ministry source told AFP. France has also loaned Greece an 18th-century tapestry of Raphael's Renaissance masterpiece The School of Athens, the French embassy said.

With passion for Classical Greece mounting among European elites through the 17th and 18th centuries, "providing aid to modern Greeks came to be seen as a 'duty' of Europeans, as the only possible way of repaying Greece for its contribution to the birth of occidental civilisation," said Konstantina Zanou, a Mediterranean Studies specialist at Columbia University.

Poet Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote in his 1821-verse drama Hellas that "our laws, our literature, our religion, our arts have their root in Greece. But for Greece... we might still have been savages and idolaters."

In decline and distracted by war in Persia and an Albanian governor's rebellion in northwestern Greece, in 1822 the Ottoman Empire sent an army that was decimated by the rebels, who took control of the entire Peloponnese peninsula through use of guerrilla tactics.

The Friendly Society, a secret group of Greek expatriate merchants and intellectuals, had earlier helped organize the uprising with clandestine meetings and funds. The Greeks were a disparate mix of regional chiefs, ex-bandits, warrior priests and veterans.

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