Thursday, 25 March 2010

On this day...

Greece revolts against the Ottoman Empire, leading to the start of the Greek War of Independence in 1821. Although, obviously an event of national, even global significance, it also has a noteworthy literary link. Romantic poet Lord Byron, was part of a group known as the Philhellenes.

A western intellectual movement, the Philhellenes were wealthly European and Americans aristocrats, who, having grown up with Greece's classical heritage, financed the revolution and took up arms. Byron, now often regarded as a Greek national hero, both publicised and funded the cause, spending £4,000 of his own money to refit the Greek fleet and writing poetry such as 'The Isles of Greece'. True to the cause until the end, Byron died in Greece of a fever, six years before the war's conclusion.

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