The struggle between Greece and the Ottoman Empire can be dated back to the fifteenth century. The Ottoman Empire found itself fragile after the Napoleonic Wars of the 19th century, giving Greece an advantage to gain their independence from the Turkish Muslims. Nationalistic fervor spread among the Greek population, strengthening their will to overcome the rule of the Ottomans. From such tension rose a great war among the Greeks and the Ottomans, with the intervention of France, Russia, and Great Britain.
This defensive union granted the Greeks with their independence in 1830. Although the Turkish Muslims thought of Greeks as simple drunkards and brigands, other critics saw them with heroic character, and the Turks as the ones who have stolen Greece’s beauty. Some who observed the war between the Ottoman Turks and Greeks believed the Greeks had all the right to declare their independence, for the Turks were robbing Greece of her beauty and intellect. Such a viewpoint is seen in document 1, a poem that describes Athens’ suffering due to the ignorance of the Turkish captain.
This poem demonstrates its disregard to the Turks because it explains how devastated Athens, a metaphor for Greece, is after being controlled by the Turks. Although they believe they’re doing the right thing, as the poem says the Turks are preaching, the Turks are preaching ignorance, according to the poem, where Plato taught. Compared to what she was before, Greece is filled with anguish when controlled by the Turks. The author of this poem, Sneyd Davis, is an English writer.
Since he’s from a nation that is governed based liberal beliefs, under a constitutional monarchy, it’s safe to say Davis also exemplifies such liberal, even radical beliefs, causing him to believe it’s the right thing to the Greeks to search for their independence from the Turks. Document 3 demonstrates the same ideas, that the Turks have damaged the intellect of Greece, specifically causing injuries to the sciences, the arts, and the human race. This means that the Ottoman empire is behind when regarding Europe’s growth of innovation. This document calls for help in order to help Greece escape being part of such a backward empire.
This document assesses the Turks’ condition regarding their intellect and innovation, specifically in comparison to that of Greece. Claude Etienne is worried, more so frightened Greece will also delay its intellectual growth in the hands of the Ottomans. The Ottoman empire’s focus isn’t necessarily on progressing through innovation and knowledge, but rather on maintaining their traditions and authority by depriving its population of such modernity and intellectual growth. As its population remains heavily based in agriculture rather that industry, it’s simple to say it’ll be long before they plan on investing in urban culture and progression.
Escaping the influence of a Europe that is quickly changing and modernizing is quite difficult, and this notion simply asserts the Ottoman Empire’s stubbornness and backward nature when faced with knowledge. The writer of this document, Claude Etienne Savary, is a French scholar of Greek, so it’s expected for him to seek to save and preserve such intellect and knowledge that Greece is known for, especially when dealing with the olden ways of the Ottoman Turks, who aren’t known for persevering a rich education.
These ideas were also present in the actions of Alexander Ypsilanti, the Greek patriot who led the public revolts of the Greek population. Before 1821, opposition to the rule of the Ottoman Turks was mainly private, for sessions of organization had to take place before in order to not be defeated simply. After 1821, revolts were public, and led by Ypsilanti. As a Greek patriot, Ypsilanti was motivated to bring back the glory and beauty Greece had before being ruled by the Ottomans, for his principles to protect his nation were before his own life.
As given with the great number of people who believed the same, Greece’s independence was the priority and wish of all the Greek population. Even with this information, others still viewed the Greeks as hooligans and drunkards who were up to no good. Document 2 describes the orders Mustapha III sends to his governor in northern Greece. This document explains the rebellious acts of the Greeks, creating raids wherever they go, specifically in northern Greece. With this order, Mustapha III simply wants the city to be cleansed from rebellion.
This document shines a negative light on the Greeks, whose behaviour and character is seen as chaotic and evil. Such conditions aren’t justified either, and the orders are simple, they just want to rid the city of the evil and chaos caused by the Greeks. The one who made this order, Mustapha III, was the Turkish sultan, so of course he’d want the Greeks to be “taken care of” as quick as possible for they were causing a great amount of distress for the Ottoman population in general.
Also, being the Turkish sultan, it’s obvious the sultan doesn’t want to satisfy the needs of the Greeks, the cause of their rebellion being their need for independence, for losing rule of such an invested nation would prove to be detrimental in many aspects for the Ottoman Empire. Document 9 contains a letter from 1822, in which Turkish provincial governor Vahid Pasha writes that the Greek revolution had the facade of advocating for restoring religion when it was truly inspired by the old Greek myths that caused the revolution to be nothing more than drunk people parading around and yelling.
This document explains that their wasn’t a true, loyal ground for initiating chaos and rebellion, for their principals for their acts were from “mythical prophecies”, a source the Turks didn’t take seriously, and finally looked down upon the Greeks for letting themselves be guided by such sources, reducing them and their attempts for a revolution to the barbaric acts of drunkards, people filled with oblivion and idiocy. This letter spoke lowly of the character of the Greeks, for the basis of their condition was inspired by myths.
The writer of the letter, Vahid Pasha, a Turkish provincial governor, spoke lowly of the Greeks for a reason; he is Turkish himself so of course he’d reduce the principals of the Greeks in order to heighten those of the Ottoman Turks, and therefore defend their actions against the rudish acts of the Greeks. Besides the lowly views of the Turkish Muslims, Greeks were portrayed as heroes, their actions as heroic, as well. Document 6 portrays the Greeks as warriors who are fighting for the liberation of the motherland.
The document describes the awakening of Ares, the god of war, being the spirits of the Greek population fighting for freedom. This document notes the character of the Greeks as God-like, for they’re even described as a God of their own belief. They view the Ottomans and coward villains who are no match for the power of the Greeks, the heroes who seek freedom. This document is a pamphlet published in Italy; such a method in publication guarantees a large audience because they’re so accessible and easy to disseminate.
With the high words of this pamphlet and its easy accessibility, it’s possible to guarantee a large group of supporters for the Greeks. Document 7 demonstrates such foreign support, in the form of a poem written by Percy Shelley. He holds the spirit of a call for action by declaring all as Greeks, and saying that the modern Greek is a descendant of glorious beings who have an ever-expanding mind and sense of courage. This document admired the character of the Greeks who fought for their independence, and the Turks who only wanted to possess and quiet such beauty.
Percy Bysshe Shelley was an English poet. As a romantic, he uses his expertise in the studies of history and the classics to create a well developed argument that supports the Greek culture in the present to explain the significance of their achievements and their contributions to the world. Document 10 also holds these God-like principles over the Greeks. Document 10 says that the Greeks have had the support of God in their battle for independence, for it’s all he has ever wanted for such a civilization that has championed with honor and determination.
The Greeks are fulfilling the orders of God, making their actions seem heroic and courageous. The author of this publication, Alexander Mavrocordato, is the president of the Greek revolutionary government. Because of his political position that supports the revolutionary views of the Greek population, it’s his obligation to seek as much support possible for the actions of the Greeks that are done to accomplish independence.
The results of the Greek revolt of 1821 were influenced and caused by the various new ideologies gaining popularity during the 19th century, such as liberalism and nationalism. This can be connected back to the French Revolution of the 18th century because, just as the Greeks, the French people wanted to develop their own nation founded on new liberal ideologies. Both nations represent the desire for change in the ways society was governed according to the new political views adopted during the time, rejecting Metternich’s conservative ideas and refusing to be ruled according to the old ways.