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1821 Revolution: How the Endurance of the Greeks Won the War

Historian Mark Mazower, author of a forthcoming book on Greece's struggle for independence argues that its true heroes were the common Greeks.

Every Greek schoolchild knows the names of the heroes of the Revolution – larger-than-life characters like Kolokotronis, Papaflessas, and Bouboulina – whose exploits have been indelibly written into the Greek national consciousness.

But what about the experiences of the nameless and unfeted people of Greece during the decade-long struggle for independence? What do the history books say about their hopes and aspirations of the Elleniki epanastasi (“Greek revolution”)? And what did they think they were fighting for?

In his forthcoming book, “The Greek Revolution: 1821 and the Making of Modern Europe”, Mark Mazower, the Ira D. Wallach Professor of History at Columbia University, tackles these hitherto overlooked questions by exploring how rural communities in the many diverse regions of Greece learned the common “language of revolution” and embraced the ideals of nationalism and self-determination, inspiring them to rise up against Ottoman rule. There is no doubt that the Greek Revolution was a cardinal event, not only in Greek history, but also in the emergence of modern European nation-states over the course of the 19th and early 20th centuries. The question of what happened in 1821 has been vigorously debated in countless books, articles, and other forms of media over the years, and remains a lively subject for discussion today. For many, it is an event that continues to define Greek religious, cultural, and ethnic identity.

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