Version classiqueVersion mobile

That Greece Might Still Be Free

William St Clair

Appendix I: Remarks on Numbers

Texte intégral

1It is impossible to make confident statements about the Philhellenes in general without building up a picture of as many individuals as possible, and I have tried to ensure that there are no generalizations in the text about the characteristics of any particular group which are not solidly based on a study of the individuals who composed it. I had hoped to list in an appendix the names of all the Philhellenes whom I have been able to identify and to give a few words of biographical information and source references for each, but this plan had to be abandoned for reasons of space. However, it may be useful to provide a short analysis of the main features which emerge.

2The materials for compiling a biographical index of Philhellenes are plentiful. The Monument at Nauplia contains a list of names of Philhellenes who had died before 1841 compiled by the French Philhellene, Hilarion Thouret. A fuller list which made use of Thouret’s work was compiled by the Swiss Philhellene, Henri Fornezy. Schott’s German edition of Pouqueville’s Histoire de la Régénération de la Grèce listed the Philhellenes who sailed in the expeditions from Marseilles in 1822. The documents published by the Paris Greek Committee contain numerous names including lists of the Philhellenes besieged with Fabvier in the Acropolis. The series of paintings by Zographos of the Greek War commissioned by Makriyannes includes a list of Philhellenes. Other lists are included in the works of Raybaud, Phrantzes, and Byzantios (derived from Rheineck), and among the papers of Gordon, Eynard, Treiber, and others, and in the Archives Nationales of France. In addition there are innumerable scattered references in books and collections of documents of the time and later.

3Collating the references presents great difficulties. Many of the names are rough transcriptions from one language to another; and misreadings, printers’ errors, nicknames and pseudonyms abound. Without care it is possible to derive an entirely false picture of the number of volunteers at large in Greece during the war. It is relatively easy to establish that von Pieren, von Bieren, Byren, Biring, de Birn, and von Byern is one person (not Lord Byron), and that Le Croix, de Croze, de Crosse, Ducros, Dugros, Ducroz, Ducrocq, and Δουκρό are two. It is, however, not immediately obvious that Torti is the same as Forli, that von Astarelli is Tarella, or that Thunst is the same as Dunze. There are numerous Mayers, Müllers, and Hahns to be sorted out. One imaginary Philhellene, Kirkman Finlay, even won himself a sympathetic entry in the (old) Dictionary of National Biography. Byron, as usual, has a few apposite words:

Then there were foreigners of much renown,
Of various nations, and all volunteers;
Not fighting for their country or its crown,
But wishing to be one day brigadiers;
Also to have the sacking of a town;
A pleasant thing to young men at their years.
’Mongst them were several Englishmen of pith,
Sixteen called Thomson, and nineteen named Smith.

* * *

And therefore we must give the greater number
To the Gazette – which doubtless fairly dealt
By the deceased, who lie in famous slumber
In ditches, fields, or whereso’er they felt
Their clay for the last time their souls encumber; –
Thrice happy he whose name has been well spelt
In the despatch: I knew a man whose loss
Was printed Grove, although his name was Grose.
(Don Juan, VII, xviii; VIII, xviii)

4Then there is the problem of who should be counted as a Philhellene. The old lists tended to include friends of the Greeks who were not volunteers, for example members of the British and French armed forces in the area, members of the French expeditionary force of 1828, and prominent men who favoured the cause who never went to Greece.

5Despite these difficulties, it is possible, making a number of judgements, to identify with reasonable confidence some nine hundred and fifty individual volunteers who set out from Europe or America to lend their strength and skill for the cause of Greek independence. Biographical material about most of them is sparse but it is possible to give their country of origin and to divide them into one of three main periods of philhellenic activity, the first period from the outbreak in March 1821 until the sailing of the German Legion and the closing of the port of Marseilles at the end of 1822; the second period roughly corresponding to the Byronic interlude from early 1823 until mid 1825; and the third period, which began roughly with the arrival of refugees from Spain and the rebirth of philhellenic enthusiasm in France. For the second and third periods the indications are that the figures are reasonably complete. For the first period the volunteers of 1822 are fairly well documented but there are large gaps for 1821. In particular, only a small fraction of the Italians who are known to have come in that year are individually recorded. I would estimate that during the war the number of volunteers who made their way to Greece was between 1,100 and 1,200.

6The table shows a breakdown of the individual Philhellenes whom I have been able to identify by time and nationality. I have included only genuine volunteers who actually reached Greece with the intention of joining Greek service, omitting other friends of the cause, missionaries, relief agents, travellers, loan salesmen, and Knights of Malta.

7I have noted, where known, the number of Philhellenes from each group and period who died in Greece before the final achievement of independence in 1833. As the table shows, the death-rate was high, usually about 30 per cent. When one considers how many Philhellenes stayed in Greece for only a few weeks or months it is obvious that the risks were extremely high. Apart from the great battles at Peta in 1822 and Athens in 1827, the majority of the fatalities were from disease.



Table des illustrations

Fichier image/jpeg, 46k


Rechercher dans OpenEdition Search

Vous allez être redirigé vers OpenEdition Search