Literary and Popular Philhellenism in Europe
The neo-humanism of the 18th and 19th centuries contributed considerably to the emergence of a philhellenic1 climate in Europe. This new movement was founded by Johann Joachim Winckelmann (1717–1768), who identified aesthetic ideals and ethical norms in Greek art, and whose work Geschichte der Kunst des Altertums (1764) (History of the Art of Antiquity) made ancient Greece the point of departure for an aestheticizing art history and cultural history. His motto was:
Der einzige Weg für uns groß, ja wenn es möglich ist, unnachahmlich zu werden, ist die Nachahmung der Alten, und was jemand von Homer gesagt, daß derjenige ihn bewundern lernet, der ihn wohl verstehen gelernet, gilt auch von den Kunstwerken der Alten, sonderlich der Griechen.2
Friedrich von Schlegel (1772–1829) subsequently stated: "The first among us who had an intellctual intuition of morals, and who recognized and proclaimed under divine inspiration the model of perfect humanity in the forms of art and antiquity, was the holy Winckelmann."3
Neo-humanist literature around 1800 – which like Iphigenia in Goethe's Iphigenia in Tauris "[sought with sad soul] for the Grecian land"4 – viewed ancient Greek literature and, in particular, ancient Greek art as representing an unattainable aesthetic ideal. Europeans identified the foundations of all Western culture in the culture of ancient Greece. Consequently, they viewed the people of ancient Greece as the "pinnacle of all genuine humanity" and made the (idealized) way of life of the "ancients" their ethical compass.5 This "discovery" of "Greek antiquity", which was primarily aesthetic and cultural-historical in nature, contributed to contemporary Greeks being equated with their "ancestors". This enthusiasm for ancient Greece – which Karl Mendelssohn-Bartholdy (1838–1897) referred to as the "althellenische Mode" (ancient-Greek fashion), and which the German playwright Julius von Voss (1768–1832) parodied as "Griechheit" (Greekdom) in his play of the same name6 – provided an important basis, upon which Hellenists and philhellenes started a European movement which promoted interest in Greece and sympathy with the Greeks.
In this period of classicism and neo-humanism, important Greek manuscripts were edited in Germany and classical philology, philosophy, archaeology and art history blossomed. The ancient Greek language and literature, and ancient forms of metre were studied with great zeal in Germany and they greatly influenced the further development of German literature. Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock (1724–1803) introduced new influences into German poetry by using Greek hexameter. With his Messias, he succeeded in making Greek hexameter a mode of expression of the German poetic language.
The three great German poets Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832), Friedrich von Schiller (1759–1805) and Friedrich Hölderlin (1770–1843) lived and wrote in Germany, but the centre of gravity of their poetic imaginations was Greece. Because they had not set foot in Greece, they could idealize ancient Greece and its culture. Hyperion, the eponymous hero of Hölderlin's novel, reached Mystras during the Greek revolt against the Ottoman Empire in 1770, which was suppressed with great force. Thus Hölderlin created a living testament to Greek aspirations of political freedom. This same desire is described in Ardinghello, a Künstlerroman (a narrative about an artist's growth to maturity) by Wilhelm Heinse (1749–1803), in which the heroes and heroines travel to Ionia to bring an end to Ottoman rule.
This romanticization of Greece and its culture can also be observed in the case of other European writers, such as Viktor Hugo (1802–1885), François-René Vicomte de Chateaubriand (1768–1848), Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822) and Annibale Santorre dei Rossi di Pomarolo, Conte di Santarosa (1783–1825), whose works created a climate of philhellenism in Europe generally.
The ground for the philhellenes was also prepared by Europeans who travelled to Greece from the 17th century onward. Their main aim was to discover ancient Greece, a dream which they sought to realize through their study of classical literature and their "Grand Tours" to the classical sites in Italy. In the 18th century, the European elites viewed Greek culture through the prism of Roman culture, since travel to Greece, which was part of the Ottoman Empire, was difficult if not impossible. Only very few Europeans managed to travel to the ancient sites in Greece. Those who did inevitably formed opinions about, and commented on the situation of the contemporary population of Greece.
Traces of literary philhellenism can also be found in the far north of Europe, for example in Finland and Sweden. Finnish students played an important role in this development initially. Some of them had been introduced to ancient Greek literature by Martin Crusius (1526–1607). They wrote philhellenic poems, in which they expressed their admiration for the Greek language and Greek literature. With great enthusiasm, they strove to emulate the ancient Greek texts which they studied. The most important testament to early literary philhellenism in Finland was the speech Magnus Principatus Finlandia delivered by Johan Paulinus Lillienstedt (1655–1732) in 1678 in Uppsala.7
The Greek language and ancient Greek literature was also admired and promoted in Russia in the 18th century. Peter I (1672–1725) and Catherine II (1729–1796), both of whom had been exposed to western European education, promoted literary philhellenism in Russia. In the 18th century, the great Greek scholar Eugenios Voulgaris (1716–1806), who dedicated himself to the study of ancient Greek literature, was active at the court of Catherine II. He was one of the most important contributors to the Greek Enlightenment and translated the works of Voltaire (1694–1778) and others into Greek. At the behest of Catherine II, Voulgaris translated her Nakaz or "Instruction", which laid down the guiding principles for the codification of laws, from Russian into Greek. The Russian Tsarina even founded a Greek gimnasiia (grammar school) for Greek children in St. Petersburg in 1775. Indeed, Russian sympathy with Greece extended beyond literary philhellenism and resulted in active political assistance for Greece. The fact that the two nations had the Orthodox faith in common was undoubtedly an important factor in Russian political philhellenism, which reached its climax in 1770 in the revolt against the Ottomans on the Peloponnese, which was instigated by the Russian Orlov siblings.8
European Travellers to Greece and Their Travel Accounts
From the 17th century onward European travellers to Greece were primarily interested in ancient Greece. However, their visits to the sites of antiquity acquainted them with the circumstances of their Greek contemporaries. While their admiration for the architectural and artistic remnants of antiquity was almost unbounded, they also described the misery and low level of education of modern Greeks, who seemed to have retained nothing of the glorious past of their nation. This image of Greece did not change until Pierre Augustin Guys (1721–1799) published his Voyage littéraire de la Grèce (Literary Travels Through Greece) in 1771. Guys was the first European traveller who identified his Greek contemporaries as the successors of their famous ancestors. His travel account was published in a period which was of crucial importance for the future of Greece. In 1770, the Greek revolt against Ottoman rule referred to above had been put down with great force. Guys now depicted Greece as a Christian nation which was conducting a legitimate campaign for independence.
In 1788, the short novel by Abbot Jean-Jacques Barthélemy (1716–1795) entitled Voyage du Jeune Anacharsis en Grèce (Voyage of Young Anacharsis in Greece) circulated in Paris. This was a fictitious account of a tour of Greece by a young Scythian by the name of Anacharsis in the fourth century BC, which was characterized by a great amount of accurate scientific details and which encouraged a selfless philhellenism. A few years later, Marie-Gabriel-Florent-Auguste de Choiseul-Gouffier (1752–1817), who was the French ambassador to Constantinople at the time, used this book as a kind of travel guide during his stay in Greece. On the basis of his own research, he compiled his Voyage Pittoresque de la Grèce (Picturesque Voyage of Greece), which was published in multiple volumes between 1782 and 1822, which contained a large volume of archaeological information, but which also contained his impressions of contemporary Greek life. Likewise, illustrations created for this work by famous contemporary artists such as Jean-Michel Moreau (1741–1814) and Jean-Baptiste Hilaire (born 1753) not only promoted knowledge of the architectural and artistic remnants of Greek antiquity among Europeans, but also increased the sympathy of Europeans towards Christians living under Ottoman rule.
European enthusiasm for Greece reached its climax in the early-19th century. The French Revolution and the European Enlightenment changed the political climate in Greece's favour. European governments now sent diplomats and officers on political missions to Greece, to investigate in detail the conditions there. These travellers to Greece recorded that the economic and educational circumstances of the Greeks were improving gradually, but they also reported on the arbitrary rule of the Ottoman authorities and on atrocities perpetrated against the Greek population.
Archaeological research also played an important role in the spread of philhellenism in the early-19th century. For example, the British colonel Martin William Leake (1777–1860) toured Greece between 1804 and 1811 on a secret political mission to gain political and military information for his government. During his stay, he also devoted himself with great enthusiasm to archaeological and topographical research. Due to his classical education and his knowledge of the ancient and modern Greek languages, he was able to describe all the sites he visited with scientific precision. During the same period, the Irish archaeologist and illustrator Edward Dodwell (1767–1832) travelled to Athens in the company of the Scottish architect and topographer Sir William Gell (1777–1836) and the painter Simone Pomardi (1760–1830). Dodwell's A Classical and Topographical Tour in Greece During the Years 1801, 1805 and 1806 and his beautiful album entitled Views in Greece are a very valuable source for the discovery of the Greek past.
The list of travellers and researchers who went to Greece and whose descriptions and drawings contributed to the emergence of philhellenism in Europe is long. The arrival in Greece in 1810 of Carl Haller von Hallerstein (1774–1817), who came from a patrician family in Nuremberg, was of lasting importance for archaeological research into Greece's past. After spending time in Delphi and Corinth, he went to Athens, where he met the English architects Charles Robert Cockerell (1788–1863) and John Foster (ca. 1787–1846). Along with Hallerstein, they made drawings at the Acropolis, in Sounion and at other sites in Greece. However, Hallerstein's most important research – and the one that made him famous – was his excavations at the Temple of Aphaia on the island of Aegina. With his friends Cockerell, Jacob Linkh (1787–1841) and Foster, he devoted particular attention to surveying and excavating the Temple of Jupiter Panhellenion there, remains of which can now be viewed in the Glyptothek in Munich. After studies in Olympia, Hallerstein devoted himself in November 1811 to studying and surveying the Temple in Bassae, which was dedicated to Apollo Epicurios.
Otto Magnus von Stackelberg (1787–1837), who had joined Hallerstein's group and had participated in the study and excavation of the temple referred to above, subsequently compiled his monumental work entitled Der Apollon Tempel zu Bassae in Arkadien und die daselbst ausgegrabenen Bildwerke (The Temple of Apollo at Bassae in Arcadia, and the Wall-Paintings Excavated There), which represented the high point of archaeological research during that period. His album entitled La Grèce: Vues Pittoresques et Topographiques (Greece: Picturesque Views and Topographic Views), which was published in 1834, also provides us with valuable information about contemporary Greek life. Shortly before the outbreak of the Greek War of Independence, travel literature about Greece experienced a new blossoming which was also influenced by the literary and intellectual movements of neo-humanism, classicism and romanticism.
The Greek Enlightenment
This literary and academic philhellenism in western Europe contributed to the awakening of a national consciousness among the Greeks themselves. Increasing exposure to the ideas of the French Enlightenment also played a role in this regard. Greek intellectuals living abroad had translated important works of the Enlightenment period into Greek, thereby making them accessible to educated Greeks. These Greeks subsequently also derived inspiration from the ideas of the French Revolution, which was based on principles which corresponded to the classical concepts of the freedom of the individual and the development of the intellectual capacities of the individual. Among the prominent figures of this new era were Adamantios Korais (1748–1833), Rigas Velestinlis (1757–1798) and Demetrios Kantartzis-Photiadis (1730–1800). With their writings and numerous translations of French works, they laid the foundations for the Modern Greek Enlightenment.
In 1813, a teacher in Athens called Dionysios Pyrros (1774–1853) organized a school ceremony, during which he gave the pupils new ancient-Greek names. He presented each pupil with a laurel branch and an olive branch and stressed that they, the pupils, were no longer called Ioannis or Pavlos, but Perikles, Themistokles etc.9 However, the ultimate aim of this Greek Enlightenment was political – preparing the way for a national revolt against Ottoman rule, as the example of the poet and revolutionary Rigas Velestinlis demonstrates.
The "Friends of the Muses" society, which was founded in Athens in 1813, became an important factor in the attitude of contemporary Greeks towards their ancient Greek ancestors.10 Two years previously, the circle of friends around Carl Haller von Hallerstein, Cockerell, Peter-Oluf Bröndtstedt (1780–1842), Forster, Linkh and von Stackelberg had already founded an association called XENEION. The conditions of memberships were:
Jeder würdige Mann aus jedem Land, jeder Religion und jeden Alters kann danach streben, XENEIOS zu werden. Die einzige grundlegende Eigenschaft, die er besitzen muss, ist die Begeisterung für Griechenland, für die Literatur, für die schönen Künste der Alten.11
The first president of the Friends of the Muses was Count Ioannis Antonios Kapodistrias (1776–1831) from Corfu. From 1814, the society had an active local branch in Vienna. The main aims of the society were to impart the intellectual heritage of antiquity to the Greeks, to reorganize the school system, and to protect the artistic treasures from the plundering of some European "philhellenes". In addition to academics and literati, ministers and princes joined the Vienna branch of the society. The branch in Vienna also supported Greek students during their studies at German universities. These students were motivated by – as Goethe put it – "de[m] Wunsch sich besonders deutsche Bildung anzueignen", and "das Verlangen allen solchen Gewinn dereinst zur Aufklärung, zum Heil ihres Vaterlandes zu verwenden."12 One of these students, whose name was Ioannis Papadopoulos (died 1819), studied in Jena between 1817 and 1818 on a stipend from the society, during which time he met Goethe several times and even translated his Iphigenia in Tauris into Greek in 1818.13
The Filike Etairia must also be mentioned in this context. This was a secret society which was founded by Greek merchants in Odessa in 1814 and had a similar structure to the Free Masons. The main aim of the Filike Etairia was not only the preparation and implementation of a Greek uprising against Ottoman rule, but an uprising of all the Balkan countries with Russian assistance. The main figures in this secret society were Emmanuel Xanthos (1772–1852) from Patmos, Nikolaos Skouphas from Arta and Athanasios Tsakalof from Ioannina.14
Reasons for Supporting Greece
The various forms of enthusiasm for Greece described above prepared the ground for the active participation of Europeans in the uprising of the Greeks. The proclamation of the Greek Revolt of March 6, 1821 by Alexander Ypsilantis (1792–1828), a Greek officer in Russian service who crossed the Prut with a small force and called on the population of Moldavia and Walachia to rise up against Ottoman rule,15 met with spontaneous support in many parts of Europe. Shortly afterwards, in April 1821, a revolution was proclaimed in the Peloponnese. The political declarations of solidarity with the Greeks – in Europe and in North America – were the result of the literary, artistic and academic philhellenism described above.
People from very diverse social classes and milieus declared solidarity and support for the Greeks. The many causes behind the emergence of philhellenism led a contemporary commentator to note:
Alle Parteien vereinigen sich in dem Interesse für die Griechen. Die Frommen werden von der Religion, die Gebildeten von den klassischen Erinnerungen, die Liberalen von der Hoffnung auf altgriechische Republiken als Vorläufer und Pflanzschulen der künftigen allgemeinen Demokratisierung, Republikanisierung Europas bewegt.16
Certainly, admiration for classical antiquity alone cannot explain the phenomenon of philhellenism, but it did play an important role along with other factors in the emergence of the political campaign. This campaign was understood by supporters of philhellenism as paying a debt of gratitude to ancient Greece, the "noble birthplace of all scientific and artistic education".17 Many western Europeans also viewed the Greeks who were fighting against Ottoman rule as the direct descendants of the ancient Greeks. This was a central argument in philhellenic agitation in Germany. The German philologist Carl Jakob Ludwig Iken (1789–1841) asserted:
... waren nicht ihre [der Neugriechen] Urahnen auch unsere Väter in Gesinnung und in Ausübung der Tugend, in Worten und Werken, nicht auch unsere Ahnen in der Wissenschaft, nicht unsere Muster in der Poesie, unsere Lehrmeister in der Kunst, sind sie nicht noch jeden Augenblick Erzieher unserer Jugend, Bildner unseres Zartgefühls, Richtschnur für den Denker, Führer und Geleit dem Schriftsteller und dem Volkslehrer, Richtscheit für den Geschmack, Kompass und Leitstern im Gebiet der Wahrheit, des Wissens und Empfindens?18
The "debt of gratitude" theme also played an important role in the philhellenic movement in other countries. To name but one example, Emile Claude Gaudin (born 1768) adopted and defended this theme in his Du soulèvement des nations Chrétiennes (1822) (Of the Uprising of the Christian Nations). In his view, Greek antiquity should permeate every aspect of life and all stages of life.19 The assertion that Europeans owed a debt of gratitude to the Greeks also featured prominently in the pronouncements of the Greek protagonists in the War of Independence, for example, those of Alexander Ypsilantis.20
Among the most prominent German supporters of the Greek uprising of 1821 were the Leipzig philosophy professor Wilhelm Traugott Krug (1770–1842), the Munich philologist Friedrich Wilhelm Thiersch (1784–1860) and the Bavarian crown prince and subsequent king, Ludwig I (1786–1868). Krug had become aware of the situation in Greece through contact with the Greek community in Leipzig. This prompted him on Palm Sunday 1821 to address an appeal entitled Griechenlands Wiedergeburt (Greece's Rebirth) to the Greeks living in Germany and to call for support for the Greek struggle by asserting:
Die Herrschaft der Türken in Europa kann durchaus nicht als eine rechtmäßige (legitime) angesehn werden; sie ist nur eine angemaaßte (usurpirte). Sie entstand durch einen bloßen Angriffs- und Eroberungskrieg, der nach allen gesunden, d. h. vernünftigen Begriffen vom Völkerrechte nie eine Herrschaft des einen Volkes über das andere rechtlich begründen kann.21
The fact that Krug gave his address the subtitle Programme to Mark the Feast of the Resurrection (Programm zum Auferstehungsfeste) demonstrates the important role that religious motives played in his philhellenic agitation. For him, the resurrection of the Lord symbolized the resurrection of Greece,22 and Greek contemporaries were not only the descendants of the ancient Greeks, who had given Europe its culture and sciences, they were also brothers in the Christian faith. Thus, at the end of his address to the Greeks, he expressed the vision that "die entweihete Sophienkirche ihre Thore öffnet, um euch [Griechen] als Sieger mit dem vorgetragnen Kreuze in ihre weiten Hallen aufzunehmen".23
In his Letztes Wort über die griechische Sache: Ein Programm zum Michaelisfeste (Last Word on the Greek Cause: A Programme to Mark the Feast of Michaelmas) of August 1, 1821, Krug encouraged his German compatriots to found societies to support volunteers traveling to Greece and impoverished Greek families. While he cautiously referred to this kind of assistance as "private assistance" and stressed that he was speaking as a private citizen "whose interest in the Greek cause is motivated by human and Christian love",24 his appeal to the Germans nonetheless brought him into conflict with the censors. His call to found societies and collect money for the volunteer fighters prompted a strong negative response from the state authorities. There was nonetheless an impressive public response to Krug's two "programmes". His writings quickly reached a large public and prompted a broad discussion about the issue of Greece. Indeed, numerous philhellenic societies were founded in Germany.
Two months before Krug's first programme appeared, Heinrich Gottlieb Tzschirner (1778–1828), a Protestant theology professor at the university in Tübingen, published an anonymous pamphlet with the title Die Sache der Griechen, die Sache Europas (The Greek Cause, Europe's Cause), which also met with a positive response. In fact, the Protestant churches in Germany supported the Greeks and offered them assistance as descendants of the ancient Greeks and, in particular, as Christian brothers, while the Roman Catholic church did not organize any measures to support the Greeks. On the contrary, the apostolic delegate Giovanni Antonio Benvenuti (1765–1838) managed to have an embargo on the shipping of armaments placed on the port of Ancona. In contrast to the Protestants, the Holy See "maintained strict neutrality from the beginning to the end of the Greek revolt".25
Another figure who engaged in active support for the Greeks was Friedrich Wilhelm Thiersch, the professor of ancient philology in Munich mentioned above, whose philhellenism even prompted him in some cases to Graecize his surname to "Thyrsios". Along with the Bavarian crown prince, who subsequently became King Ludwig I, he was the most prominent initiator of Bavarian philhellenism. He was motivated both by the perceived debt of gratitude and by the desire to help fellow Christians.26 In the restrictive political atmosphere which existed prior to the March Revolution of 1848, he campaigned for support for the Greeks and called for the formation of a German legion, which would fight alongside the Greeks.27 Between June 2 and September 17, 1821, he published the highly regarded series of articles entitled Von der Isar (From the Isar) in the Augsburger Allgemeinen Zeitung. In this series of articles, Thiersch vehemently contradicted the Österreichische Beobachter, which reflected the views of Klemens von Metternich (1773–1859) and his anti-Greek position. After the Austrian police became aware in June of 1821 of Thiersch's plan to form a German legion, Metternich instructed the German states in a sharp tone "dem revolutionären Spiel des Prof. Thiersch und seinen Konsorten ein Ende zu bereiten, das lächerlich sein würde, wenn es nicht verbrecherisch wäre".28 The Prussian government reacted particularly strongly to Thiersch's plan. The Prussian foreign minister Christian Günther von Bernstorff (1769–1835) sent a circular to all Prussian envoys on September 15, in which he – as Metternich had done – expressed strong disapproval of plans to found a philhellenic legion, and in which he stated: "Unter den Aposteln der Freiheit hat … keiner so viel Frechheit und eine so große Verkennung seiner Pflichten und Verhältnisse an den Tag gelegt als der Professor Thiersch zu München."29
However, the Bavarian crown prince who would later become King Ludwig I gave strong support to the philhellenic movement in word and deed. Every evening, he read from his original-Greek version of the Gospels, and a bust of Homer adorned his office. He too was motivated by the Christian faith that he shared with the Greeks, as well as his love of ancient Greece. For example, he wrote in a poem in the summer of 1822:
Da, wo die Kunst der Menschen blühte,
Des Schönen, Großen Vaterland,
Wo Weisheit wurde dem Gemühte,
Die Wissenschaft einst dem Vaterland.30
And in another stanza of the same poem, we read:
Da, wo die früh'sten Kirchen stehen,
Wo Paulus lehrte Christi Wort,
Da soll das Christentum vergehen,
Vertilget werden jetzt durch Mord!31
Ludwig donated money to buy the release of prisoners, encouraged the founding of philhellenic societies, had Greek war orphans brought to Munich and provided for their upbringing. On the day of his accession to the throne in 1825, he addressed the Greeks and promised them further assistance:
Jetzt ist die Lyra verstummt, aber das kräftige
Tönt von dem Könige aus der Fülle des glühenden
Daß sich's gestalte zur That, Griechen, zu euerem
Along with Thiersch, he campaigned for the foundation of a volunteer legion. He granted stipends to Greek students in Munich and followed their progress with great interest.33 On Thiersch's suggestion, he made the Salvatorkirche34 available to the Greek community in Munich in 1828. In June 1826, the Bavarian king even sent a delegation of qualified officers and non-commissioned officers under the command of the trusted first lieutenant Carl Wilhelm von Heideck (1788–1861) to Greece. Subsequently, in 1832, he sent his second son Otto (1815–1867) as king to Greece. He was accompanied by a group of scientists, architects and artists, who had a profound influence on the modern Greek state.35
Among the European poets who campaigned for independence for Greece, the figure of George Gordon Noël Lord Byron (1788–1824) stands out. Goethe saw him as "the greatest talent of the century",36 and he was also admired by Alphonse de Lamartine (1790–1869), Shelley, Ugo Foscolo (1778–1827), Alexander Puschkin (1799–1837), Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844–1900), Casimir Delavigne (1793–1843) and Victor Hugo. The Greek nationalist poet Kostis Palamas (1859–1943) devoted the following verse to him:
Χῶρες δυνάστευε ὁ Κορσικανός
ὁ Βρετανός δυνάστευε καρδιὲς.
(The Corsican ruled countries
But the Briton ruled hearts).37
Byron had already pored over the works of classical Greek literature during his time at university. He propounded liberal political views and was a great admirer of Napoleon Bonaparte (1769–1821). Disillusioned with political conditions in England, he undertook a journey to the Orient between 1809 and 1811. He started to write the first canto of his Childe Harold's Pilgrimage in Ioannina. At this time, Byron was still an admirer of ancient Greece who wrote poetry about the dream of a free Greece.38 He later returned to Greece as a more active philhellene. Disappointed by the suppression of the revolutionary movement of the Carbonari in Italy, Byron sought a new field of activity, and, encouraged by a philhellenic society in London, he set out for revolutionary Greece and landed in Argostoli on August 3, 1823. On December 29, he embarked on a ship for Mesolongi and organized a fighting force of approximately 500 Souliotes at his own expense. He also made large sums of money available to the Greek government to finance a fleet for an attack on Lepanto (Naupaktos). However, he fell ill with malaria during the military preparations and he died on April 19, 1824. Greece experienced Byron's death as a great loss. Several monuments to the poet were erected at various sites in Greece, and a district of Athens carries his name to the present day. News of his death spread quickly throughout Europe, drawing attention to the Greek cause once more. As has been correctly noted, "[j]etzt erst hatte der Philhellenismus seinen Märchenhelden, sein Idol, seinen Märtyrer".39
Prominent among the German philhellenic poets was Wilhelm Müller (1794–1827) from Dessau, whose poetic talent blossomed in the context of the Greek struggle for independence.40 In the oppressive political atmosphere, Müller's Muse became a Megaera in order to beat "the head of the Pharisee", the mouthpiece of the Holy Alliance: Metternich. Wilhelm Müller's philhellenism was rooted in his neo-humanism, in romanticism, but above all in his liberal political outlook. To him, writing in praise of Greek freedom was the best means to give expression to the desire of Germans for their own freedom.
Financiers were also represented in the philhellenic movement of the time, for example, the Swiss banker Jean Gabriel Eynard (1775–1863).41 Count Kapodistria, the former Russian foreign minister, who lived in Geneva between 1822 and 1827 and who worked tirelessly for the cause of his native land, succeeded in winning Eynard over to the Greek cause.42 From then on, Eynard controlled the European philhellenic network and was viewed by all European philhellenic societies as the main figure of the second phase of their movement. Eynard collected large sums of money, sent weapons, ammunition, food and medicines to Greece,43 and coordinated the fundraising activities of the European philhellenic societies. He also sent his compatriot François Marcet from Geneva and the Englishman William Romilly to Greece as reporters.44
Due to his efforts in support of the defence of the besieged Mesolongi,45 the Greek government lauded him as a great friend of Greece and as a "benefactor".46 As with other philhellenes, Christian conviction and a neo-humanist educational ideal contributed to Eynard's philhellenism, though economic motives – such as the establishment of trade links with the independent Greece – most probably also played a role in his case. This is also evidenced by the fact that Eynard co-founded the first Greek bank.47
Foremost among the European politicians with philhellenic sympathies were the French foreign minister Chateaubriand and his British counterpart George Canning (1770–1827). Chateaubriand's philhellenism was by turns motivated by romanticism and liberalism, and Canning's interest in contemporary Greece was connected with his liberal political outlook. Chateaubriand supported the campaign for the Greek cause with a pamphlet in 1825. On May 28, 1826, he wrote to the editor of the Courrier du Léman, Charles Durand: "Regardless of what happens, I want to die a Greek."48
The European philhellenic mood, which manifested itself in countless literary and artistic works, also had an effect on music. The heroic struggle for independence of the Greeks was rendered artistically in the form of waltzes, operas and musical comedies.49 For example, Gioachino Antonio Rossini's (1792–1868) L'assedio di Corinto (1826) was an allegorical reference to the siege and destruction of Mesolongi. In Hector Berlioz's (1803–1869) opera La Révolution grecque. Scène héroïque, which was performed for the first time in 1828, the Greek struggle for independence was depicted as a noble and sublime revolution. Ludwig van Beethoven's (1770–1827) incidental music Die Ruinen von Athen (op. 113, first performed in 1812), which was based on a play by August von Kotzebue (1761–1819), also had strong philhellenic undertones.
Societies for the Support of the Greeks
The most important form of philhellenic activity was undoubtedly the foundation of philhellenic societies, which through donations and fundraising gathered the funds required to provide the various forms of assistance to the Greeks. The first philhellenic society was founded in Stuttgart in August 1821 soon after Wilhelm Krug issued his public appeals. A Greek society was founded in Darmstadt a month later. By the end of 1821, a number of philhellenic societies had been founded in southwestern Germany and in Switzerland. Of particular significance for the coordination of assistance to the Greeks was the foundation of the philhellenic society in Zürich in November 1821, which had the official title "Zürcherischer Hülfsverein für die Griechen". Soon after this, many other philhellenic societies were founded elsewhere in Germany and Switzerland.
In England, philhellenic activities were initially private and informal in nature. However, after the massacre at Chios the philhellenes became more active and founded the Greek Committee in London in 1823. In France, a philanthropic society entitled "Société de la Morale Chrétienne" was founded, the goal of which was to provide humanitarian assistance to the Greeks. Then, in 1824, a philhellenic society entitled "Société philanthropique en faveur des Grecs" was founded. The activities of this society included the provision of direct practical assistance to the Greek rebels. Philhellenic societies were also founded in other European countries during the Greek War of Independence in the period 1821–1827, for example, in Italy, Belgium, Sweden, Holland, Spain, and Russia. Of particular significance for the American philhellenic movement was the proclamation of President James Monroe (1758–1831) in 1823, which gave official approval to the Greek struggle for independence. Philhellenic societies were subsequently founded in Boston, New York, Philadelphia and elsewhere.
All these societies organized various activities for the support of the Greek struggle for independence. They financed the delivery of weapons, ammunition, food, clothing and other assistance to Greece. Art exhibitions were organized; lithographs depicting important events in the struggle were printed in large volumes and sold, with the proceeds going to support the Greeks; items of personal jewellery were decorated with Greek themes; Greek flags were produced and sent to the Greek rebels. There were many philhellenic charitable sales, at which sets of crockery, bottles of wine, floral vases, embroidered cloth, ladies fans, clocks, inkpots and jewellery boxes carrying images of dying fighters or persecuted Greek virgins were sold.50 A German confectioner even sold cakes decorated with the lyrics of philhellenic songs.51 The Greek struggle for independence was also a popular source of inspiration for painters and sculptors, such as Eugène Delacroix (1798–1863), Horace Emile Jean Vernet (1789–1863), Jacques-Louis David (1748–1825), Antoine-Jean Gros (1771–1835), and poets such as Delavigne, Pierre-Jean de Beranger (1780–1857) and Victor Hugo.
However, the primary activity of the philhellenic societies was supporting volunteers who were supposed to fight side by side with the Greeks. In spite of the negative attitude of European governments towards the phenomenon, many Europeans were willing to travel to Greece after the outbreak of the Greek War of Independence to participate in the fighting. These included young students and liberal idealists, who were dissatisfied with the political circumstances in their own countries, officers who were searching for a new field of activity after the end of the Napoleonic Wars, as well as adventurers, misfits and people fleeing the authorities. For this reason, this kind of assistance was not without controversy. Most of the volunteers travelled to Greece in the first years of the Greek uprising (October 1821 to November 1822). The German and Swiss philhellenic societies supported nine expeditions of volunteers to Greece. Most of the volunteers during this period were German (265), though there were also Frenchmen (71), Italians (62), Swiss (19) and Englishmen (12). A small number of Poles and Americans were also involved.52
Professor Thiersch's plan to found a German legion deserves particular attention in this context. In order to realize this plan, he made contact with Greek patriots such as Theocharis Kephalas. The resulting German legion consisted of about 130 men, though many of these had no military training, in spite of Thiersch's strict instruction that only people with military training be included. The legion reached Greece in November 1822. This was the ninth and last expedition during the time period mentioned. In spite of the great hopes placed in the legion, this expedition did not reach its aims and it was disbanded just a few weeks after its arrival in Greece.53
Besides the expeditions of volunteers, the philhellenic societies also provided assistance to Greek refugees who came to Europe and Russia. For example, some remnants of Alexander Ypsilantis' forces escaped through Russia to Switzerland, and were transferred – with the assistance of the philhellenes there – via Marseille back to the Greek front.54 Other Greeks fled to Ancona to escape the upheavals of the war. They were not given assistance by philhellenic societies but by organs of the papal state. Another large group of Greek refugees numbering approximately 52,000 reached Odessa and Bessarabia. They came from Constantinople and the Danube provinces. These were also assisted by official institutions of the state and the church.
Committees for the support of refugees were founded in Trieste, Ancona, Livorno, Odessa, Marseille, Malta, Amsterdam and Vienna. The French philanthropic society "Société de la Morale Chrétienne" referred to above founded an affiliated society for the support of Greek refugees with the name "Comité en faveur des Grecs réfugiés en France" in March 1823.
The efforts of the philhellenic movement changed the mood in Europe and other countries in the Greeks' favour. The movement fostered and maintained enthusiasm for philhellenism, thereby influencing to a certain degree events in 1827 at Navarino, where the decisive battle of the Greek War of Independence was fought. As was stated at the time, "Navarino ist ein Triumph des Philhellenismus, ein Sieg der Völker über die Politiker".55 While it may not have been the sole cause, the philhellenic movement undoubtedly made a considerable contribution to the success of the Greek uprising.
Bavarian "State Philhellenism"
After the conditions for the establishment of modern Greek statehood under the aegis of the Bavarian Wittelsbachs (1833–1862) had been agreed at the London Conferences of 1827–1832, European philhellenism entered a new phase – as a kind of "state philhellenism"56 supported and directed by government. The Bavarian regency under Otto I was not only entrusted with the task of establishing a stable system of political leadership and government after the upheavals of the War of Independence and Civil War. Otto's government in Greece also had to initiate the comprehensive "regeneration" of an impoverished and backward country – a measure that was meant to bring Greece up to western European cultural standards and facilitate the integration of Greece into Europe, which was to be supported by developmental assistance provided by the Bavarian state.57 Thus, the process of nation-state formation was inextricably enmeshed with a monarchist-authoritarian modernisation[LL1] programme. The regency government, which governed state affairs until the accession of Otto (in 1835), consisted of the State Councillor and State Minister Joseph Ludwig Graf von Armansperg (1787–1853), the State and Imperial Councillor and professor of French law Georg Ludwig von Maurer (1790–1872) and Major General Karl Friedrich von Heideck (1788–1861). Though the regency succeeded in establishing the beginnings of a functioning centralized state apparatus,58 the Bavarian efforts at Greek "nation-building" were not ultimately successful. Both the statist approach to modernization of the Bavarian state bureaucracy and the anti-republican monarchism of Otto's government made the modernisers – though they were motivated by philhellenic sentiments – less than popular among the Greek population. Having been forced to accept a constitutional national congress in 1843, Otto finally abdicated in 1862.
Thanks to the passionate philhellenism of Ludwig I, the king of Bavaria, the elevation of Athens to capital of the new Greek state and seat of residence of the monarchy was followed by the architectural regeneration of the city. During the first decade of Otto's rule, several plans were drafted for a new Athens. Some of these plans were partially implemented, others remained just plans.59 Ludwig I sent his royal architect, the romantic classicist Leo von Klenze (1784–1864), to Athens. Thanks in large part to him, all post-antiquity elements were removed from the Acropolis and the restoration of the structures began. Klenze re-worked the original plans that had been drafted for the city and devised plans for a series of public buildings. Friedrich von Gärtner (1792–1847) was more successful in having his architectural plans realized. The royal residence in Athens, which now houses the parliament, was constructed according to his plans. The architects Stamatis Kleanthis (1802–1862) and Eduard Schaubert (1804–1860), who had studied under Karl Friedrich Schinkel (1781–1841), compiled the first plans for the new cities of Athens and Piraeus. Working with the archaeologist Ludwig Ross (1806–1859) and the architect Hans Christian Hansen (1803–1883), Schaubert oversaw the restoration of the Temple of Athena Nike on the Acropolis.60 While the leading figure of German classicism, Karl Friedrich Schinkel, never visited the newly founded Greek capital himself, he drafted plans for a royal palace on the Acropolis. However, since this would have completely transformed the Acropolis, Klenze rejected this plan. Conversely, Bavarian philhellenism also had a marked effect on the appearance of Munich. For example, Königsplatz was designed by Karl von Fischer (1782–1820) after the example of the Acropolis.
Jakob Philip Fallmerayer and Anti-Philhellenism
However, European enthusiasm for Greece and the classicistic idealisation of ancient Greece did not go unchallenged. Ironically, the philhellenic image of Greece with its associated ideals and projections did not come under attack from someone who was defined by the reactionary Restoration period dominated by Metternich, but from someone who played an active part in the Revolution of 1848 and who lost his professorship at Munich University as a result: Jakob Philipp Fallmerayer (1790–1861).61 Proceeding from the thesis that the periods of world history are defined by the races which dominate them, he viewed modern Greeks as being defined by their belonging to the Slavic race, rather than their linguistic identity. He claimed that the assumed continuity of the Greek race since antiquity was highly questionable given the immigration of Slavs in the 6th and 7th centuries, and the expansion of the Albanians.62 Fallmerayer's challenge to the national identity of modern Greeks provoked a series of rebuttals and counter-arguments. All the arguments put forward by western European philhellenes to counter his argument and to support the thesis that there was cultural-historical and national continuity between the ancient Greeks and modern Greeks were adopted by Greek historiography during the 19th century and have formed the core of Greek concepts of their state and society ever since.63