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Rebellious movements and actions before the revolution



Rebellious movements and actions before the revolution


13 January 2021


"The rebellions, movements and uprisings of the Greeks and the other peoples of Southeastern Europe under Ottoman rule are issues that will concern us. The Ottomans settled in Southeastern Europe and came face to face with the locals, mostly Christian populations but also with European forces that from the 13th century had occupied parts of the mainland area and the islands. These states, and especially Venice, incited, as early as the 16th century, elements to revolt in armed conflicts with the Ottomans, mainly in western Epirus and what is called today western Albania, and the Peloponnese. Uprisings that usually ended in failure (lack of preparation, controversial participation, etc.). The accompanying texts offer rich material for reflection on their ideological content. Decisive turning points were the uprisings of Bishop Dionysios the Philosopher of Trikala in Thessaly and Epirus or of Bishop of Tyrnovo in present-day Bulgaria, in the context of the action of Michael the Brave in the Danubian Principalities and the Long War – mainly of the Habsburgs – in the 16th and 17th centuries, when socioeconomic, as well as ideological demands, emerged. The invocation of religious difference always pierced the rebellious discourse.

With the dynamic emergence of Russia (early 18th century) as a rival of the Ottoman power, oracles and beliefs about the “blonde race” would be revived. Indeed: in the long 18th century a series of movements took place, instigated by the Russian power, mainly in the context of the Russo (Austro)-Ottoman wars under Catherine II, with the main uprising being the Orlov rebellion (1770). The growing economic power of the Greek Christian merchants, the development of the Greek diaspora (but also of the Serbian one on a smaller geographical and economic scale), the development of education, as well as the insurgent movements of Ottoman pashas under Selim III, created the framework for the formation of new conditions that encouraged rebellions. The economic competition of the Powers around the Eastern Mediterranean and the Ionian Sea shaped the European context of the movements or visions of the insurgents. The French Revolution, ideas of “People”, “Nation”, “Human Rights”, secret revolutionary societies across Europe prepared the new framework. While up to around 1805 the various existing or non-existent revolting phenomena were formed around the vain hopes of support from the Russians or the French, in the 15 years before 1821 the conditions were formed that led to the Great Revolution, the only one that is entitled to bear this title, proposing the establishment of a free democracy based on a modern constitution."

(From the book of abstracts as published on the organiser’s website)

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