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Rigas Feraios (cont'd)

He wrote many poems but his most electrifying was the Thourio which said that it was better to have one hour as a free man then forty years as a slave. For how much longer he asked the Greek people would they have to live in slavery to have to leave from their houses and go to the mountains so that they may experience moments of freedom.  Whereas their towns were occupied by the Ottoman Turks and the Greeks were routinely subjugated to one humiliation after another in them. Rigas would sing this poem every chance he got to the Greek people who would cry when they would hear it.

In order to eventually speak to Napoleon and ask him for his support in the Greek uprising he went to Vienna.  In Vienna he talked with the large Greek community and told them of his plans.  He created a map of Greece that involved many territories including Constantinople of "Great Greece" that included all Greek speaking territories.  He then sent this map to anywhere there were Greek communities.

Rigas decided to meet Napoleon and went to Tergesti from there he was to go to Venice where Napolean was.  At Tergesti he was arrested by the Austrian police for attempting to cause a revolution.  

The Austrians were friends of the Ottoman Turks and feared the French Revolution would eventually influence a same revolution in Austria.  Therefore they took him and handed him over to the Ottoman Turkish Governor of Belgrade, who threw him in jail and began to inflict barbaric tortures on him.

The Governor of Belgrade decided to send him to Constantinople where he would have to face the Sultan.  However, he learned that their was a Ottoman Turkish Governor by the name of Pasvanoglou that admired Riga and sympathiszed with him.  On the road to Constantinople the Governor of Belgarade's soldiers would have to go through Pansvanoglous territory, and it became known to him that Pansvanoglou had made plans to free Rigas.  He then decided that Rigas was to dangerous to the Ottoman Empire alive and strangled him on the 13th of June 1798 in the middle of the night, and then proceeded to throw his body into the Danube river.

Rigas Feraios is considered the first martyr and hero of the Greek uprising, for this reason the university of Athens has erected a statue of him at its' entrance.

 

Other Modern Greeks:

  • Paulos Melas A national Greek hero who fought for the preservation of Hellenism in Macedonia in the early 20th century.
  • Alexandros Ypsilantis A national Greek hero who died fighting for Greece's freedom far from Greece, but whose sacrifice helped to liberate it.
  • Ioannes Capodistrias First Prime Minister and hero of modern Greece.  He managed to do the impossible by bringing a devastated country back into modern Europe in the shortest possible time!  
  • Elefterios Venizelos Possibly the greatest Greek politician of the 20th century.  He was Prime Minister of Greece during the most trying of times.
  • Dimitrios Ypsilantis Hero of the war of Independence, he was the brother of Alexandros Ypsilantis and was chosen by him to lead the uprising in the Greek mainland against the Ottoman Empire.  
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