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“The violence of the Greek war of independence is legendary”



“The violence of the Greek war of independence is legendary”


5 November 2021


In the collective memory and nationalist narratives of Greece and in the Western imagination, from the paintings of Délacroix to the story of Lord Byron (or biron nam bir milordu, as he appears in Ottoman documents). But it should also be understood as one among many wars that the Ottoman Empire fought, both against rebels and against foreign adversaries, principally Russia. This paper places the Greek war in that context by using the lens of law. It draws on Ottoman archival documents to show that as the Ottoman state adopted draconian policies during the Greek war, condoning widespread enslavement and execution of captives, it selectively drew upon, and rejected, precedents established in wars against Russia. The considerations that shaped these choices illustrate the importance, but also the limits, of conceptions of community and sovereignty in the early nineteenth-century eastern Mediterranean.

(Edited abstract from conference website)

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