On March 25, 1821, the date of the Feast of the Annunciation of the Theotokos (Mother of God) in the Greek Orthodox Church, the Greek people, as one, rose in revolt against their Ottoman Turk oppressors. This uprising marked the beginning of eight years of armed struggle that culminated with the Treaty of Adrianople in 1829 that ended almost 400 years of Turkish occupation with internationally recognized independence for the Kingdom of Greece. Great Britain, France and Imperial Russia signed the Treaty of Adrianople as guarantors in order to discourage any attempt by the Ottoman Turks to reclaim any part of Greece.
Upon proclamation of the Kingdom of Greece, the Greek Orthodox Church was officially sanctioned as the national church. That status remains current today. Greek was established as the language of communication, replacing Turkish. The drachma was adopted as the legal currency until it was withdrawn with the introduction of the euro.
Notation: as a student for my baccalaureate, my European History professor instructed us that the Greek alphabet and Roman numerals were extensively utilized throughout Greece, both then and now. The alphabet was no issue but the numerical claim was totally incorrect. I proved him wrong and years later, when I joined the university faculty, he publicly recalled this incident from my undergraduate days.
The conflict that began in 1821 did not involve the Greeks attired as soldiers from the ancient days wearing helmets and little, if anything, else. The pictures here are shown for illustrative purposes only. The historical Greeks did not fight bare. There were organs of the male anatomy, even then as now, that were considered too precious to put at risk for the stroke of a sword. Some of the troops may have fought while clothes free; however, that was based on the situation and not by direction, order or standard procedure.
History legends have certain cadres or regiments of the Greek military consisting solely of same gender loving men. This may have been common practice during that particular time period but it isn’t true in 1821 nor today. In ancient Greece, historians recorded these designated army compositions to reflect the reality of the situation. Men-who-love men identification was not considered a cause of degradation or disgrace. Instead, it was labeled as such as an honour, a distinction and a source of pride.
For the liberation uprising, army units were organized by family and/or village affiliation (local). Same gender loving men may have fought together, as a couple, against the Turks, but this wasn’t the basis for a troop determination.
Greeks used firearms and cannon, where available, for their struggle against the Ottoman Empire. The Turkish army was armed and organized with the latest in military equipment. For the revolt, because the Greeks had no standing army, they whatever weapons were convenient (mostly personal) plus arms supplied by the British, French and Russians. The majority of the Greek guns were decades old and used by their owners to herd and protect goats and sheep. Javelins, knives and swords were primary to ancient Greece and not in 1821.
In ancient Greece, there existed general acceptance and tolerance from the majority of the population towards both public nudity and towards same gender love. Up until recent times, Greek society had officially regressed into one of impatience and judgments in dealing with open public nakedness and same gender love. Greece, being a member of the European Union is now on the path of respect for all persons regardless of their beliefs and practices. The major advocate for resistance to modern day inclusion of GLBTQ+ persons and naturist/nudist participants is the Greek Orthodox Church.
Notation: my paternal great-great-great grandfather fought in the 1821 uprising against the occupation by the Turks. He served as a leader of a local guard of troops on the island of Skyros in the Aegean Sea. My grandfather (father’s father) would repeat some of his exploits as passed along by his grandfather. My father’s father enjoyed embellishing and enriching his tales so we are uncertain as to what is actual truth and to what is “enlightened enrichment!”
The flag of Greece contains the colours of blue and white, symbols of the waters that surround the islands and the peninsula; the Aegean Sea to the east, the Mediterranean Sea to the south and the Ionian Sea to the west. In the upper left-hand corner of the flag contains the white Cross of St. George on a blue field. St. George is the patron saint of Greece. The remainder of the flag consists of alternating equal stripes of blue and white.
Modern Greece is located in the southeastern portion of Europe bordered by Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria and Turkey. It is the southernmost area of the Balkan peninsula. The capital city is Athens.
The objective of this post entry today on ReNude Pride is to offer and share a brief glimpse into the significance of this date in the history of Greece. Both of my parents were born there and I possess dual citizenships. In publishing this post, my purpose is to enlighten with a perspective of my cultural heritage and contemporary Greek experience. Enrichment and knowledge sometimes arrives through the strangest portals!”
Roger Poladopoulos/ReNude Pride
Author’s Note: The next post entry here is planned for Monday, March 28, 2022, and the proposed topic is: “Your Thoughts?”