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That Greece Might Still Be Free

William St Clair

Introduction to the New Edition

Roderick Beaton

Texte intégral

Lord Byron as Philhellenic soldier

Lord Byron as Philhellenic soldier
  • 1 See most recently David Brewer, The Flame of Freedom: the Greek War of Independence, 1821-1833 (Lon (...)

1The story of the Greek Revolution, or war of independence, has been told many times in English, beginning with the eye-witness accounts of Thomas Gordon and George Finlay and continuing into the twenty-first century1. That Greece Might Still Be Free does something different. All accounts of the war refer to the presence amid the fighting of volunteers from Britain, continental Europe, and America. These were the philhellenes,’ or lovers of Greece. Some historians play down their role; most are pretty inconclusive about how much they contributed to the achievement of Greek independence. William St Clair has chosen to place these outsiders at the centre of the picture. He emphasizes that this is not another general history of the war (although from his particular perspective he covers the ground as well as anyone in a book of this size). Ever since it was first published in 1972, That Greece Might Still Be Free has become the classic and still-definitive account of those volunteers. This book tells the story of who the philhellenes were, where they came from, why they fought, what happened to them, and – yes, how they affected the wars outcome.

  • 2 Franklin, Caroline, Byron: a Literary Life (London: St. Martins Press, 2000); MacCarthy, Fiona, By (...)

2Some of the resonances of this story are perennial. The figure of Byron, whose epic poem Don Juan lends the book its title, has not lost its appeal, as witness two new biographies in the new century.2 The confused convergence of the intellectual currents we now know as Romanticism, Nationalism, and Liberalism, that brought most of the volunteers to Greece and in various ways shaped their conduct once they got there, have not lost their fascination; more than ever before, historians and students of literature and culture tend to identify in that early-nineteenth-century melting pot the crucible in which the main lines of modern western civilization were formed. The philhellenes were in at the birth of something bigger than they knew, certainly much bigger than the small kingdom of Greece that struggled into existence in the 1830s, for which so many of them gave their lives. The often tragic individual tales of huge idealism and brutal disillusionment still have the power to move us, particularly when told with the verve and wryly dispassionate judgment that are among the hallmarks of this book.

3But even more striking, re-reading this book in 2008, are the resonances between that story of almost two hundred years ago and events and situations familiar from the opening decade of the new century, which could hardly have been foreseen at the time when the book first appeared. In 1972 the term ethnic cleansing had not yet been coined. But the systematic murder and expulsion of populations belonging to the wrong ethnicity or religion, that are so horrifically described in the opening pages of this book, and periodically again thereafter, are immediately recognizable as the precursor of the brutal policies pursued during the wars in the former Yugoslavia in the early 1990s, which also gave birth to the expression that is so chillingly familiar today. Not just that, but writing at the height of the Cold War, when the chief fault-line in world politics was between Communism and Capitalism, both systems founded ultimately on the rationalism of the Enlightenment, the author had his work cut out to explain to readers the dynamics of a war fought, on the ground, on each side by religious fundamentalists who lacked any concept that their enemies were human at all. This, as he painstakingly explains through example after example, was what most deeply traumatized those idealistic volunteers from the west, who were also for the most part the product of the same Enlightenment. The philhellenes thought they were fighting to create a free, sovereign people, among whom individual rights and differences would be voluntarily submerged for the good of the whole, as had been envisaged by Rousseau in The Social Contract. Rousseaus ideas were in fact not without influence in Greek lands, too, but at local level the rules of engagement in the Greek war of independence were those that had been established by brutal custom and practice in the region over the past six centuries or so.

  • 3 Mazower, Mark, Salonica, City of Ghosts: Christians, Muslims and Jews, 1430-1950 (London: HarperCol (...)

4For the embattled Greeks and Turks in the 1820s, it was self-evidently religion that defined a man and his family. The relative luxury, cultivated in the west since the Reformation, of abstracting religion to a matter of intellectual debate and individual choice, was unknown in the Ottoman empire. Religion wasnt what you believed; it was what you were. Faith was a matter of public profession. It really didnt matter what, if anything, you might think or say in private; in the Ottoman empire there was never any equivalent of the Inquisition, to root out the secrets of the individual conscience. But your religion would determine all the most significant aspects of your public existence: your name, the place where you lived, the clothes you were allowed to wear, your choice of marriage partner and often also of career. As Mark Mazower has shown, in his masterly account of that most Ottoman of cities, Salonica, an individual rejected by his religious community would be deprived of shelter or means of support and would soon die unless able to convert and join another.3 In such communities, it is no wonder that religion was still, in the 1820s, the most binding of ties (the root meaning of the Latin religio) – but in many of the lands once ruled by the Ottomans, including the former Yugoslavia and the Middle East, that legacy has re-emerged in recent years to an extent that few would have predicted in 1972.

5Yet another contemporary resonance of this book also has to do with religious conflict. Chapter 13 is titled Knights and Crusaders. The language of crusading, and variously distorted popular memories deriving from the Crusades, have become politically explosive, on both sides of the Christian/Muslim divide, in the aftermath of the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York in September 2001. In 1972 it probably seemed rather quaint that some, and in fact only a minority, of philhellenes at a particular juncture chose to adopt the rhetoric of the medieval Christian expeditions against the Muslims of the Middle East. Today, these attitudes and the rhetoric that accompanied them cry out to be scrutinised alongside the new critical examination, by historians of the Crusades, of the internal dynamics of the movement and its eventual failure.

6In all these respects, this book was ahead of its time when it first appeared.


7That Greece Might Still Be Free is a book about people who loved Greece to the point of risking their lives for the Greek cause; it also, in the nature of things, addresses those who have a special interest in the country. Fascination with things Greek, whether ancient or modern, or both, has been around ever since the word philhellene first came into use around the start of the nineteenth century. In 1972, many of the books original readers would have been classicists – not necessarily as idealistic as their nineteenthcentury forebears, but probably, like them, better informed about Epameinondas and Philopoemen (favourites of the philhellenes too) than about Rigas of Velestino or Adamantios Koraes. For the classicist now, as then, the story told here is an object lesson in how not to use the classical tradition. The shattering of illusions built upon a knowledge of the remote past is a theme that runs through the entire book. St Clair is unsparing in his account of how those early idealists came face to face with a reality they could never have foreseen and, in most cases, never managed properly to understand either. We tend to think of a classical education as being beneficial in the modern world – and of course there are plenty of good arguments to support that view. But there have been moments in modern history when the song of the ancient sirens has proved as lethal as it threatened to be to the legendary Odysseus. To that extent, this book presents a cautionary tale that no present-day classicist should be without.

8Back in 1972 there was another kind of reader, also with a strong and particular interest in Greece, but not necessarily approaching the subject from the direction of the ancient world. Here I include myself, since I first read this book as a student in Athens at the time when Greece was under the grip of the infamous Colonels. The seven-year dictatorship that lasted from 1967 to 1974 is little remembered today: a regressive blip in the history of the elsewhere-swinging sixties, and even in Greece itself a short-lived deviation from the countrys otherwise steady progress during the second half of the twentieth century towards a stable democratic politics, economic prosperity, and integration into the European family of nations. But at the time, the plight of Greece was headline news. I remember when the manuscript of a song by the popular composer Mikis Theodorakis, written under house arrest and smuggled out of Greece, together with the accompanying story, occupied the entire front page of the Sunday Times. General public awareness of modern Greece in western Europe and America seems to have reached a peak during those seven years. Probably this trend can be traced back to World War II and the civil war that followed it, in which first Britain, then the US, had played a crucial role.

  • 4 Dakin, Douglas, The Unification of Greece (London: Benn, 1972).

9During the late sixties and early seventies, more Greek books were translated into English than ever before or since. These included poems by the Nobel laureates George Seferis and Odysseus Elytis, and by the previously unknown Yannis Ritsos, the lifelong Marxist whose poems written in island prison camps soon made it on to the prestigious Penguin European Poetry list. The same years saw an unprecedented number of books on modern Greek history, including what is still the fullest study in English,4 and several by the eloquent former classical scholar and Conservative Member of Parliament, C. M. Woodhouse, who had had firsthand experience of serving inside occupied Greece during the war. Even among the outstanding crop produced during those junta years, That Greece Might Still Be Free stands out. One of the most unlovely aspects of that unlovely regime was its tedious and hackneyed insistence on the special place of Greece as heir to a glorious ancient civilisation. In the brash tirades of middle-ranking military officers who had suddenly elevated themselves to the highest offices of state, a highly selective roll call of ancient glories went hand in hand with the crudest claims to national superiority. It was a particular delight, it has to be said, against that background, in Athens, to be reminded in the choice phrases of William St Clair just how flawed those clichés were, and in a more sombre frame of mind to reflect that the arbitrary arrests, beatings, and the torture of political prisoners that were frequently being reported in those days had their counterpart in the much more horrific brutalities that had brought the modern Greek state into existence. (A single, but characteristically acerbic, comment on the penultimate page of the first edition links this Cold-War nationalist appropriation of ancient Greece with the Colonels reputation for bungling, even in their attempts to express themselves in a suitably elevated and archaic-sounding form of their own language.)

10Todays Greece could hardly be more different. Happily for its people, the place that the country enjoyed in the international news headlines in the 1970s has been taken by others less fortunate. Many millions of foreign tourists go there every summer and some, at least, are curious about modern history as well as ancient ruins. If I had to recommend one book to pack on a holiday on a Greek beach or in the Greek mountains, it would be That Greece Might Still Be Free.

11But at the end of the day, the importance of this book goes far beyond the frontiers of Greece and the curiosity or specialism of those with a particular interest in the country. More than many books about modern Greece, this one firmly situates the events that shaped Greek history in relation to the larger events and forces shaping European, and even world, history at the time. All of the hundreds of philhellenes who fought in Greece, and of the dozens whose personal experience finds its way into these pages, had in one way or another been marked for life by the Napoleonic wars. Philhellenism itself came into existence under the shadow of the illiberal political consensus that dominated European governments after the defeat of Napoleon. Reading this book, you come to realise that the whole Greek war of independence forms a watershed between the failed liberal-nationalist revolutions in Spain and Italy at the beginning of the 1820s and the successful ones in France and Belgium in 1830. Thereafter, the process that would eventually establish the nation-state as the model throughout Europe and much of the world was unstoppable: via the abortive revolts of 1848 to the unification of Italy in the 1860s, of Germany in 1871, and continuing with the recognition of the Republic of Kosovo as recently as February 2008. Greece, recognised as sovereign and independent in 1830, stands at the beginning.

  • 5 Burleigh, Michael, Earthly Powers: Religion and Politics in Europe from the Enlightenment to the Gr (...)

12The book deals with a vast cast of characters, from the familiar names of political leaders and more or less celebrated individuals, such as Byron, to a host of unsung and mostly fairly unheroic foreign volunteers and Greeks of contrasting backgrounds. William St Clair is not shy of pointing up the follies of individuals, the unscrupulousness of governments and their agents, and of offering judgement when he feels it appropriate to do so. The authors justice is meted out even-handedly among the main contestants. Drawing on often horrific firsthand accounts by foreign philhellenes, he balances the often-told tale of Turkish atrocities perpetrated upon Greek Christians with evidence for equally brutal and equally indiscriminate behaviour on the Greek side. If these passages do not make for comfortable reading for todays armchair philhellene, or indeed for Greek readers brought up on the national historiography that was standard until the 1980s, it is the more courageous of St Clair to have included them. Other overt judgments come through with a refreshing forthrightness that I fear is not much encouraged among academic historians these days. We learn, for instance, that Byron, by his death, unwittingly played a part in promoting nationalism to the position (long held by religion) of being the most divisive and destructive element in Western civilization (p. 184). That parenthesis sums up the whole argument of two recent books by Michael Burleigh;5 the reader, of whatever persuasion, at least knows where the author stands.

13Elsewhere, judgements are more closely balanced. At one point we learn of the authors admiration for Jeremy Bentham; but there is unmistakable glee, too, in the account of the collapse of the bonds supporting the loans to the Greek government raised in London in 1824 and 1825, an episode which, as we learn, tarnished the reputation of Bentham and his liberal followers. The same chapter includes passing comments on bankers and banking ethics, in the London of the 1820s, that seem uncannily to presage editorial comments in British newspapers in 2007-8.

  • 6 Lidderdale, H.A. (edited and translated), The Memoirs of General Makriyannis, 1797-1864 (Oxford: Ox (...)

14Some of the protagonists, inevitably, come off better than others. Among the Greeks, St Clair seems to share the preference of most philhellenes for those with a western education and values, such as Mavrokordatos. Kolokotronis earns respect for his ruthlessness in the field and for often being right on tactics, but comes over in these pages like the kind of local warlord against whom NATO forces are today often ranged in Afghanistan. The duplicitous Odysseus Androutsos fares even worse, though it is a fact yet to be explained that during times of more recent oppression in Greece, Androutsos has been held up as a symbol of innate Greek values and of freedom, particularly by the political left. General Makriyannis, whose belatedly published memoirs of the war achieved iconic status in Greece during the middle decades of the twentieth century, and are the only Greek eye-witness account to have been (partially) published in English, is not even mentioned. No doubt this is because Makriyannis kept the philhellenes at arms length, as indeed he did Greeks from outside the Greek heartlands6.

  • 7 See respectively: Minta, Stephen, On a Voiceless Shore: Byron in Greece (New York: Holt, 1998); Mac (...)

15It is on the philhellenes themselves, of course, that this books judgements matter the most. Byron is given less space than might have been expected, but the complexity of his character and motivation are given their due, and more convincingly than in some longer treatments. St Clair has little time for those who dismiss Byron as a ditherer, loitering in the safety of Cephalonia when he could have been leading the Greeks to victory. On the contrary, Byron showed greater political wisdom than most philhellenes, in holding back until he could find out the facts, although this book holds out no great hopes, either, for what he might have achieved had he lived. According to this reading, Byrons attitudes to Greece and Greeks were nuanced and not particularly consistent, but his decision to fight for the cause was both rational and seriously taken: he didnt go there just to die, or to rediscover the forbidden sexual pleasures that may have drawn him to the country on his earlier visit – a sensible counterweight to more recent treatments of this topic.7 Figures who are little known, at least in Britain, are treated sympathetically and with much detail: such are the German General Normann, the French Colonel Fabvier, and particularly the American philanthropists, Jarvis, Miller, and Howe, with whom the book effectively ends on an upbeat. Trelawny, to whom St Clair went on to devote a whole biography, comes off particularly badly, as a confidence trickster in thrall to his own gullibility.

  • 8 Potter, Elizabeth, ‘George Finlay and the History of Greece’, in M. Llewellyn Smith, P. Kitromilide (...)
  • 9 Ruth Macrides, ‘The Scottish Connection in Byzantine and Modern Greek studies’, St. Johns House Pa (...)

16Curiously, the two philhellenes who were also the earliest historians of the Greek Revolution, and whose work remains indispensable reading for specialists today, George Finlay and Thomas Gordon, were both Scots, as is St Clair himself, a fact not remarked on elsewhere in this book. It would be foolhardy to read too much into this, but in the case of Finlay certainly, and perhaps also of Gordon, the distinctive legacy of the Edinburgh Enlightenment, of Adam Smith and David Hume, is now beginning to be appreciated8. It may not be an entirely frivolous question to wonder, in the early twenty-first century, whether there was (and could still be) a distinctly Scottish version of philhellenism.9


17Since this book was first published there has been a good deal of specialist work on various aspects of the subject, as can be seen from the bibliography of post-1971 sources added by the author to this new edition. He has also added new, mostly unfamiliar, illustrations, including some which graphically remind us of the suffering that the Revolution inflicted on the communities of both religions who were caught up in the conflict. It is now possible to follow up particular lines of enquiry and find new information. But there is no sign of the book itself being superseded as an informed overview of the subject that draws on all the major primary sources. At the same time, other aspects of the Greek war of independence, and of Greek nationalism in its wider European context, have begun to be treated in ways that would not necessarily have been foreseeable in 1972.

  • 10 Elli Skopetea, Το «Πρτυπο Βασλειο» xαι η Μεγλη Ιδα. Όψεις του εθνικο προβλματος στην Ελλδα ( (...)
  • 11 Histor was founded in 1990; Historein in 1999.
  • 12 See, respectively: Kordatos, Yanis, Η κοινωνικ σημασα της Ελληνικς Επαναστσεως (Athens: Epikair (...)
  • 13 Respectively: Antoniou, David, Η εκπαδευση κατ την Ελληνικ Επανσταση, 1821-1827 [Education duri (...)

18The most important of these is the radical shift of historiography in Greece itself that began in the 1980s. Since then, a revisionist agenda has been set by two now-standard studies, one in history, the other in literature, which together question the nature of the process of forming a national consciousness in the nineteenth century10. In the same period, new historical journals have appeared in which mainly younger scholars have begun to apply a new scepticism and critical distance to their countrys national myths11. One noticeable consequence of these developments is that the old grand narrative of the 1821 uprising against the Ottomans and the war of independence has tended to be eclipsed. The new generation of historians is clearly unwilling to perpetuate a version of events that needs no retelling in Greece anyway and has come increasingly to be questioned; on the other hand the direct challenge of debunking it does not seem attractive either. (The maverick Marxist historian Yanis Kordatos made a brave, and now very dated, attempt in the 1920s; the mildly revisionist overview of the history of the Greek nation, written forty years later by another Marxist, Nikos Svoronos, who at the time had been deprived of his Greek citizenship, still aroused controversy when it was published posthumously in 2004.)12 Instead, the new wave of historians has been addressing previously ignored aspects of the conflict of the 1820s, notably in investigating such issues as education, the definition of citizenship, or the Balkan context13.

  • 14 Clogg, Richard (edited and translated), The Movement for Greek Independence, 1770-1821: a Collectio (...)

19Another area of scholarship, much of it new in the last thirty years, has been the exploration of the impact of the western Enlightenment among educated Greeks from the late eighteenth century to the outbreak of the Revolution. That there were educated Greeks at all in 1821 is a fact still surprisingly little appreciated by British Byronists. Thanks to the work of K. Th. Dimaras going back to the 1940s, and more recently of Paschalis M. Kitromilides, the spread of the ideas of the Enlightenment, and then of incipient Romanticism, among the Greek elites of the period is now very well documented in Greek. Little of this material is yet available in English, although a useful selection was published in translation as long ago as 197614. What has been much less studied, even in Greece, is the impact of these ideas, publications, and individuals on the actual conduct, and still less on the outcome, of the war.

20The story of the philhellenes is not the whole story of the Greek Revolution, or war of independence, as William St Clair himself makes clear. We still await a new history of that conflict, one that will draw on material now available only in Greek, and on the new perspectives of historians working in Greece. A whole further dimension, as yet unexplored so far as I know, is the Ottoman perspective on events. Most histories, including this one, rely on the reports of western diplomats in Istanbul for information on official Ottoman reactions and policies. But the Ottoman state was in some respects the most bureaucratic that has ever existed, its record-keeping legendary. Few specialists on Greece today can command the necessary linguistic resources, but Turkish historians are once again learning to read the Ottoman script and language of their predecessors, as are some younger scholars from Greece and other Balkan countries. To identify and translate into a western language even a sample of the material on the Greek Revolution that must exist in the Ottoman state archives would probably be the work of years, but the result would most likely be a fascinating and worthy complement to the present book.

  • 15 See indicatively Beaton, Roderick and Ricks, David (eds.), The Making of Modern Greece: Nationalism(...)

21There is more to be said, too, about the case of Greece as the first of the new nation-states of modern Europe, and about the Greek war of independence as the first of the continents national revolutions to be fully successful15. When this book first appeared, the comparative and historical study of nations and nationalism was still in its infancy. Now very much a topical growth industry in academe, the field has been slow to recognise the pioneering role of Greek independence in the rise of modern nationalism. But a wealth of evidence is presented in these pages, more than sufficient to demonstrate how the emerging concept of the nation-state collided during the war with incompatible versions of authority, invested respectively in the Ottoman state and in the power-bases of local warlords. That in Greece the nation-state model won out after all, with the principles of national self-determination enshrined by treaty as early as February 1830, is one of the most surprising outcomes of the story told in this book – and perhaps also the most lasting contribution of those mostly doomed individuals, the philhellenes.

22Finally, even for the reader who has only a passing interest in Greece, either ancient or modern, That Greece Might Still Be Free tells a compelling story that is part of the foundations of the West that we know today. It is a story with many pertinent lessons for the early twenty-first century: on holy war, on ethnic cleansing, on the power of abstract ideas in an age of literacy and mass media, and last but not least on the enduring appeal and the terrible human cost of nationalism in the modern world.

Map 1. Greece and the Aegean

Map 1. Greece and the Aegean


1 See most recently David Brewer, The Flame of Freedom: the Greek War of Independence, 1821-1833 (London: Murray, 2001). There are also now two excellent short histories of Greece in modern times, which include chapters on the war. See Richard Clogg, A Concise History of Greece, 2nd ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002) and Thomas Gallant, Modern Greece (London: Arnold; New York: Oxford University Press, 2001).

2 Franklin, Caroline, Byron: a Literary Life (London: St. Martins Press, 2000); MacCarthy, Fiona, Byron: Life and Legend (London: Murray, 2002).

3 Mazower, Mark, Salonica, City of Ghosts: Christians, Muslims and Jews, 1430-1950 (London: HarperCollins, 2004), pp. 159-79, see esp. p. 166 (referring to a slightly later period).

4 Dakin, Douglas, The Unification of Greece (London: Benn, 1972).

5 Burleigh, Michael, Earthly Powers: Religion and Politics in Europe from the Enlightenment to the Great War (London: HarperCollins (2005); Sacred Causes: Religion and Politics from the European Dictators to Al Qaeda (London: HarperPress, 2006).

6 Lidderdale, H.A. (edited and translated), The Memoirs of General Makriyannis, 1797-1864 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1966). For a strong critique, in Greek, of the hold which the Memoirs have often exercised over the popular and literary imagination in Greece see Giannoulopoulos, Giorgos, Διαβζοντας τον Μακρυγιννη: η κατασκευ ενς μθου [Reading Makriyannis: the Construction of a Myth] (Athens: Polis, 2003).

7 See respectively: Minta, Stephen, On a Voiceless Shore: Byron in Greece (New York: Holt, 1998); MacCarthy, Byron: Life and Legend (see note 2).

8 Potter, Elizabeth, ‘George Finlay and the History of Greece’, in M. Llewellyn Smith, P. Kitromilides, and E. Calligas (eds.), Scholars, Travels, Archives: Greek History and Culture through the British School at Athens (Athens: British School at Athens, 2008).

9 Ruth Macrides, ‘The Scottish Connection in Byzantine and Modern Greek studies’, St. Johns House Papers, 4 (St. Andrews, 1992), 1-21.

10 Elli Skopetea, Το «Πρτυπο Βασλειο» xαι η Μεγλη Ιδα. Όψεις του εθνικο προβλματος στην Ελλδα (1830-1880) [The ‘Model Kingdom and the Great Idea. Aspects of the National Problem in Greece (1830-1880)] (Athens: Polytypo, 1988) and Alexis Politis, Ρομαντικ χρνια. Ιδεολογες και νοοτροπες στην Ελλδα του 18301880 [Romantic Years: Ideologies and Mentalities in Greece, 1830-1880] (Athens: Mnimon, 1993).

11 Histor was founded in 1990; Historein in 1999.

12 See, respectively: Kordatos, Yanis, Η κοινωνικ σημασα της Ελληνικς Επαναστσεως (Athens: Epikairotita, 1977) [1st edition: 1924]) and Svoronos, Nikos, 376 That Greece Might Still Be Free Τo ελληνικ θνος: Γνεση και διαμρφωση του νου Ελληνισμο (Athens: Polis, 2004).

13 Respectively: Antoniou, David, Η εκπαδευση κατ την Ελληνικ Επανσταση, 1821-1827 [Education during the Greek Revolution, 1821-1827] (Athens: Parliament of the Hellenes, 2002); Elpida Vogli, «λληνες το γνος»: Η ιθαγνεια και η ταυττητα στο εθνικ κρτος των Ελλνων (1821-1844) [Nationality and Identity in the Greek Nation State (1821-1844)] (Heraklion: Crete University Press, 2007); and Gounaris, Vasilis, Τα Βαλκνια των Ελλνων. Απ το Διαφωτισμ ως τον Α΄ Παγκσμιο Πλεμο [The Balkans of the Greeks. From the Enlightenment to the First World War] (Thessaloniki, Epikentro, 2007).

14 Clogg, Richard (edited and translated), The Movement for Greek Independence, 1770-1821: a Collection of Documents (London: Macmillan, 1976).

15 See indicatively Beaton, Roderick and Ricks, David (eds.), The Making of Modern Greece: Nationalism, Romanticism, and the Uses of the Past (1797-1896) (Aldershot: Ashgate, forthcoming, 2009).

Table des illustrations

Titre Lord Byron as Philhellenic soldier
Fichier image/jpeg, 740k
Titre Map 1. Greece and the Aegean
Fichier image/jpeg, 252k


Roderick Beaton is Koraes Professor of Modern Greek and Byzantine History, Language and Literature at King’s College London, a post he has held since 1988. Born and educated in Edinburgh, Scotland, he graduated from Cambridge in English Literature before going on to complete his doctorate in Modern Greek studies. He has published widely on Greek literature and culture from the 12th century to the present. His books include Folk Poetry of Modern Greece (1980, reissued 2004); The Medieval Greek Romance (1989, 2nd ed. 1996); An Introduction to Modern Greek Literature (1994, 2nd ed. 1999), the novel Ariadnes Children (1995), and the literary biography: George Seferis, Waiting for the Angel (2003), which won the Runciman Award for 2004 and in translation became a best-seller in Greece the same year. In September 2006 he organised an international conference at King’s College London on The Making of Modern Greece: Romanticism, Nationalism, and the Uses of the Past (1797-1896); selected papers from the conference are due to be published, with the same title, in 2009. His most recent book is From Byzantium to Modern Greece: Medieval Literature and its Modern Reception (2008).


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