The Covid-19 2020 Pandemic did not stop the Arcadian chapter of “The Geros tou Morea” of the Pan Arcadian Federation of America from a celebration of this incredible historical event: the victorious “Alosis of Tripolitsa (Siege of Tripolis). Turkey, a world-class world power was defeated by Theodore Kolokotronis and his guerrilla fighters. Masks, social distancing with a small audience was practiced. A memorial service was held at St. Demetrios Cathedral Church in Astoria on Sunday, September 27th. Refreshments followed in the church hall. President Evaggelia Lampropoulou Sarafoglou delivered greetings.
“The Liberation of Tripolis, “Alosis tis Tripolitsa”, is an important early revolution battle on September 23, 1821,” said Demetrios A. Filios, international journalist, 2nd Vice President of NY Chapter #1 “Geros tou Morea” and former President of the Arcadian Federation of America. “Tripolitsa was the administrative center of the Ottoman Empire in the Peloponnese. After a long siege, I fell into the hands of Revolutionary fighters under the leadership of Theodoros Kolokotronis. The strategic significance and victory inspired the revolution fighters and philhellenism in Europe and the United States.”
Mr. Filios interviewed Historian Evangelos Athanasopoulos on the event on Sunday, September 27, 2020, on Cosmos FM. Christos Macarounis of Tripolis, Greece, provided a link to Tripoli patriotic program at https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=697935120806120&ref=watch_permalink. The song “Saranta Palikaria apo ti Livadeia” (40 Brave Men from Livadeia) describes the Greek klephts determination to free Tripolitsa.1The Pan Arcadian Federation of America published two volumes in Greek and English entitled “THE ARCADIANS OF AMERICA” by Peter I. Sarantakis. For information on this monumental work, email [email protected]
Panagiotis Kefalas, a humble patriotic 1821 fighter was the leader of a 600 man force3. He was the first military commander to enter Tripolis. He raised the Greek flag on the walls. The other commanders entered, resulting in the victory. Regarding his heroic entry into Tripoli, Kefalas said “ I lost 22 soldiers. Eight of the dead were my relatives.” His heroic moment was immortalized by German artist Peter Von Hess. This painting is the classic image of the victorious Greek fighter.1
“The liberation of Tripolis was the turning point in the Greek Revolution,” said Dr. John G. Siolas, retired Associate Professor at Touro College and adjunct St. John’s professor. “Tripolis lies at the center of the Peloponnese. The city was an economic, social, and military center. The siege and subsequent surrender of Tripolis was the first major victory of the Greek forces under General Theodoros Kolokotronis. This triumph resulted in the formation of the Modern Greek state.”
“Theodore Kolokotronis was trained by the British military in Zakynthos,” explained Dr. Siolas. “He was elevated to the rank of general by the English forces. Brilliance, patriotism, a leader among men were his personal attributes. He was born in a small village outside of Kalamata. But, his ancestry was from Arcadia, immortalized by Shelley’s poem ‘Ode to a Grecian Urn.’ The first towns to be freed from Turkish rule were mountainous Valtesi and Levithi in the Peloponnese. The Valtesian hero, Anagnostaras, a handsome, long-haired, mustached soldier with a sword has been immortalized. He was Theodoros Kolokotronis’ brother-in-law. He is shown in portraits as single-handedly fighting off hordes of the enemy. He was a valiant hero who inspired Kolokotronis’ troops.”
“Turkey, a world power, departed from the Peloponnese and later Attica (prefecture surrounding Athens), said Dr. Siolas. “They began departing from the Greek seas. We were the first to rebel against the Turkish rule. My great-great uncles Georgaki and Kostaki were bodyguards of Theodore Kolokotronis. Everyone in the “Geros tou Morea” chapter has an ancestor who fought with Kolokotronis. One can trace one’s ancestors in the National Archives of Tripolis. September 23rd was the first major victory of these Chieftains, Kleftes (mountain fighters), Armatoli (semi-free soldiers) in the fall of Tripolis (Tripolitsa), the unofficial capital of the Peloponnese, because of its strategic location. The headquarters of the Turkish army were in Tripolitsa. The successful siege was the first major victory. Greek fighting forces were able to gain national support and the aid of Phil-Hellenic nations.”
Dr. Siolas said “The Turks in 1821 Tripoli knew the Revolution was about to erupt. They demanded the appearance of every area’s clergy and staff to come to Tripoli with the purpose of imprisonment and torture. The clergy knew if they refused to go to Tripoli, the revolution would not begin, resulting in genocide. For the good of the nation, they sacrificed their lives, endured martyrdom. Later they were beheaded, with their heads being paraded in the streets of Tripoli.1 They are known in Tripoli as the “New Martyrs”.
Dr. Siolas believes “this is the importance of the spirit of the Greek Revolution of 21 and the resistance of Kolokotronis’ forces. A nation of slaves, unarmed, a David that rebelled against the mighty of the earth and stood up against the Ottoman Empire. They replied ‘Victory or Death’ with their clergy allies. They beat the Goliath, the Ottoman Empire.” The Alosis of Tripolitsa military victory on September 23rd can be attributed to Military leader Theodore Kolokotronis who believed: “God signed the Freedom of Greece and He will not take back his Signature.”
2. Peter Von Hess. 1821 Revolution of the Nation: 40 Lithographs, Delta, Athens, 1996.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_IPUNIHhlEk Saranta Palikaria ( 40 Brave men) song.