BSA Friends’ Lecture (hybrid: in-person and online)
Prof. Roderick Beaton (KCL), “British and other Philhellenes in the Greek Revolution during the 1820s”
Abstract: From the very beginning, the Greek Revolution was never a purely local affair, for Greeks alone. In April 1821 Petrombey Mavromichalis, who had raised the standard of revolution at Kalamata, issued a call for ‘the aid of all the civilized nations of Europe’. The call was answered, from just about every corner of the European continent and even from the still-new United States of America. The ‘philhellenes’, as they soon became known, were volunteers who risked and often lost their lives fighting in a war far from home. Many more were active back in their own countries, to stimulate public awareness through the press and pressure groups, and to influence policy-makers in their governments. What motivated those volunteers to risk everything, and supporters of the cause to mobilise in so many different countries? Some have suggested that the philhellenic movement in the 1820s marked the beginning of what we now call ‘humanitarian intervention’. Others have seen the volunteers as deluded idealists, adventurers, or even spies. In this talk I argue that the philhellenes were prepared to risk their lives in somebody else’s war because they believed that they, too, had a stake in the conflict. The Ottomans stood in the way of an emerging new Europe, built on classical foundations, that the philhellenes saw as their own. In the end, though, it was not by winning battles that the philhellenes influenced the outcome of the conflict, but rather as the wedge in the door that forced the governments of the European powers to take a hand. The involvement of the philhellenes, right from the beginning, ensured the internationalisation of the Greek struggle – and therefore, ultimately, its outcome in the creation of the independent Greek nation-state that we know today.
Please register to attend in-person in London (Room G35, Senate House, London) here: British and other Philhellenes in the Greek Revolution during the 1820s Tickets, Tue, Jan 31, 2023 at 5:00 PM | Eventbrite
Please register to attend online via Zoom here: https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_6sOFzAQzQ-eqUIIkz_d5_Q
Tuesday 31 January 2023, 5pm (UK) / 7pm (Greece)