The Greek War of Independence and the Athens military parade

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Theodoros Vryzakis (The Sortie of Messologhi, National Gallery of Athens)

 A post about the Greek War of Independence.

In 1821, Greece was enslaved to the Ottoman Empire for a period of four centuries. Thanks to the Ypsilantis brothers, both princes and officers of the Russian Army, the Greek Revolution that had been a precious dream of the enslaved Greeks for generations, finally came to be. In the monastery of Agia Lavra in Kalavryta, Bishop Paleon Patron Germanos raised the banner of the Revolution on March 25th, 1821.

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Theodoros Vryzakis (oil painting, 1852, Benaki Museum, Athens)

The rest, as they say, is history. Associated with the Greek Revolution is a series of army and naval leaders that have come to be celebrated as heroes in the hearts of the Greeks. Names such as Kolokotronis, Karaiskakis, Kanaris, Papaflessas, Bouboulina, are taught in Greek schools around the world, their deeds and heroism legendary. Of course, the victory couldn’t have been possible without the assistance of other European countries and especially Russia, Britain and France.

In the modern Greek world, March 25th is a day of solemn commemoration but a celebration too; a celebration of bravery, endurance and victory for the Greek people.

Today, I am pleased to share some of the photos I took when I last admired the Military Parade in the center of Athens as I stood at the roadside in Panepistimiou street, a stone’s throw away from Syntagma Square. It was a rainy day as you will see, and it was raining heavily on and off, but the parade was a huge success and the people came in droves nonetheless.

I am also adding two Youtube videos below, which are not my own, that show the vehicles that started the parade as well as the awe-inspiring Presidential Guard. I can still feel the earth shake under my feet as the big tanks drove by! As for the Evzoni (or Tsoliades), as is the name of the Presidential Guard, with the strong, simultaneous strike of their feet on the ground they raised by far the most applause.

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Evzon: The word is ancient Greek and it means ‘well tied around the waist’. This word was used by Homer to describe the Myrmidons – the army of Achilles. The red cap in the uniform of the Presidential Guard symbolizes the Greek blood shed during the Revolution. The skirt (foustanella) is made with 30 meters of fabric and contains 400 pleats, one for every year of slavery under Turkish rule.

 

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Youtube Video by Styl Mar: Depicts the presidential guard beautifully!

Youtube video by Thanos ThanosG: The awesome vehicles of the parade!

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12 responses to “The Greek War of Independence and the Athens military parade

  1. I was retweeting #MondayBlogs, and I saw this article there, and as I’m having problems with WordPress not sending me notifications of blogs I’ve subscribed to, I thought I missed it! I was about to come here to call WordPress out but saw that you’ve only just published this! LOL!

    I’m glad you made the parade this year. Removing the godawful barriers was a blessing, indeed. Nice, inspiring images!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Maria mou, it was a pain with the rain and the umbrellas, would have loved it on a sunny day but it was still fab. Thank you for commenting and hope your WP notification problem is fixed 🙂

      Like

  2. I love this! The fact that folk had been banned from this parade in the past few years is absurd, it’s celebrating rebellion against oppression! Loved reading how it’s all changed this year. I’ll re blog the post to pass on the news. Thank you! X

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post, Effrosyni, and Xronia Polla!
    It’s great to see the Greek people allowed to celebrate properly once again. I’ve been seeing a lot of pics from wonderful parades in Greek communities around the world.
    Let’s hope the new government shows itself to be an honourable one.
    Cheers, and thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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