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“Bicentenary of the liberal revolution” podcast, episode 18: Aristides Hatzis with Kostas Kostis



“Bicentenary of the liberal revolution” podcast, episode 18: Aristides Hatzis with Kostas Kostis


19 April 2022


In the 17th podcast in the Centre for Liberal Studies (KEFiM) series “Bicentenary of the Liberal Revolution”, Aristides Hatzis hosts historian Kostas Kostis.

(Edited and translated description from organiser’s website)

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The discussion starts with the beginnings of the revolution with the first rebellion under the leadership of Alexander Ypsilantis in the Danubian Principalities, an event which according to the guest speaker gave a special, perhaps Phanariot, character to the revolution, in contrast to the second one which took place in the Peloponnese and had more Greek characteristics. Next, the opinion of Kostas Kostis is discussed, that the revolution was not influenced by the Enlightenment, but that in order to find the causes that led to the Revolution of 1821 it would be more correct to examine the Ottoman context of the time and the conditions that prevailed in the Ottoman Empire as well as in the international developments of the time. For example, he mentions the attempts made by the Sultans Selim III and Mahmud II to modernize the Ottoman Empire, such as the effort to strengthen the central authority over the local pashas but also the exclusion of the Janissaries from power, as well as the Ottoman war with Iran and the internal disturbances in the Ottoman Empire due to rebellions. The underestimation of the Phiiliki Etaireia by the Ottoman administration as a threat was also mentioned, as well as the reasons why the notables of the Peloponnese and the warlords of Central Greece joined the Philiki Etaireia. Furthermore, the speaker believes that the use of modernity’s terms, eg the Enlightenment, during the Revolution was a result of its adoption by the elites. On the contrary, it was emphasized that we do not know the beliefs of the lower classes who participated in the revolution (it has not been sufficiently researched). However, he judges that the liberal institutions created in the revolution influenced the political direction of the Greek state. Other topics discussed include king Otto's role as a cohesive link for the Greek state between the groups that claimed power, the attitude of the Great Powers towards the revolution and how they changed their attitude in favor of Greece, the age of revolution – the speaker believes that there was an age of revolution but each revolution is unique, so regarding the Greek case we must look at the internal processes of the Ottoman Empire to pin point its origins.

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