The Phanariots and the Greek War for Independence

From the 2004 book by Andre Gerolymatos, Red Acropolis, Black Terror chronicles the history leading up to, and particularly including, the Greek Civil War that followed the removal of the German occupation following World War II. Gerolymatos traces the connections throughout Greek modern history, cultural and political, that influenced the groups that fought each other (and themselves) during 1943-1949. This brief excerpt below show Gerolymatos handling of the older material (Greek War for Independence), and how much these centuries old ideas have fed into modern notions within the Greek political body.

"Although the Phanariots and the diaspora elites provided the intellectual momentum and financial resources for the Greek War of Independence, they could not agree on the form or boundaries of the new state. Their views were influenced by their immediate environment and particular social and economic disposition. The Phanariots and the Greek diaspora merchants were physically and culturally removed from the primarily agricultural and pastoral communities of mainland Greece. The Phanariots, because of their position in the Ottoman Empire and their wealth, constituted a de facto aristocracy with direct participation in the center of an established empire. Cosmopolitan and sophisticated, they had little in common with the landless Greek peasants and shepherds. Most of them preferred a future in which the Ottoman regime would gradually give way to a secular and multicultural empire dominated by an economic elite. Some even believed that after the Muslim element was displaced, it would only be a matter of time before a Christian ruler assumed the sultanate and the Ottoman Empire followed in the footsteps of the Roman Empire and transformed into another Greek Byzantium."

Page 22, from the book Red Acropolis, Black Terror, by Andre Gerolymatos, published by Basic Books 2004.

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