Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Greek Revolution part 3:Giorgakis Olympios

Olympios was born in 1772 in the village of Livadi near Larissa and the mountain Olympus.His father was a prominent person in the society as he was a Prouchontas(Greek tax collector). He lost his mother ony a few years after he was born. that's why everyone was treating him like their child and even when he grew up he was still called Giorgakis(nickname of the the name George). He was educated at the school of Livadi but from a young age he joined the armatoloi of his area and  protected effectively the surrounding Greek villages from raids by the rebel governor of Epirus Ali pasha. His family had already produced some renown armatoloi who were literally controlling the area of the mountain Olympus. Because of this heritage Olympios received the best training and soon he become one of the best armatoloi of Olympus.

Olympios' statue in Katerini, Greece
In 1804 the Serbians had revolted against Turkish authority and one the Serbian armatoloi Velko Petrovic asked  for Olympios' and other Greek armatoloi assistance. Olympios just like Rigas Pheraios believed that independence for the Balkan nations could only be done if they fought united against the Ottomans.In Serbia he fought along with 550 Greeks bravely for the Serbian cause. From Serbia he started corresponding with Constantine_Ypsilantis prince of Moldavia and Wallachia for the possibility of the creation of an army of Greeks and Romanians to fight the Ottomans.  Olympios participated in the creation of this army and fought along with 1500 greeks in the war of Russia with the Ottomans. His fame and reputation reaches soon the ears of the czar of Saint Petersburg.Olympios met with the minister of foreign affairs of Russia Ioannis Kapodistrias and via this acquintance he got initiated into the Filiki Etaireia and he was appointed general of the greek forces in Moldowallachia.

Even though he was a warrior his eloquence and rhetoric made him also an apostle of the filiki etaireia.He went from village to village to persuade the Greeks join the preparation of the revolution. In 1821 the revolution began not in Greece but in Moldowallachia cause Ypsilantis thought that by this way he could make the Russians intervene on behalf of the Greeks.However Russia condemned this revolution and gave permission the Ottoman empire to invade Wallachia. Ypsilantis' force was consisted mainly of Greek students who had no experience and consequently their army was anihilated in the battle of Dragatsani. Only a few survived, among them Olympios who saved Ypsilantis from dying in battle and escorted him at the Austrian borders.

Olympios is setting the gunpowder on fire.
Ypsilantis told Olympios to leave and go back to Greece but Olympios told him: Now that we have taken arms shall we leave them behind?Olympios continued his desperate fight in Wallachia with only 350 soldiers but the Turkish authorities were determined to kill every single Greek who took arms against them. Olympios finally was trapped by  10.000 turkish soldiers in a monastery . The Turkish pasha sent him letter for his surrendering but he proudly rejected any negotiation.Then a siege of the monastery began and  when the Ottomans broke in there were only Olympios and 11 loyal soldiers around him in the bell tower of the monastery.
He had concentrated there large amounts of gunpowder. While the Ottomans were getting into the monastery he opened the door of the bell tower and said to his soldiers: "Go away cause i am gonna burn now" .However noone left and Olympios set the gunpowder on fire and the whole monastery exploded.

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