THE CONTRIBUTION OF THE MANIOTS TO THE SIEGE AND FALL OF MONEMVASIA (1821)

On the 28th March 1821, 400 Maniot soldiers arrived outside the castle of Monemvasia headed by Pierrakos Grigorakis, Dimitrios Tsigourakos Grigorakis and Tzanetakis Grigorakis. Soon afterwards, 250 Tsakoniats arrived from Leonidio Kynouria. As soon as they appeared many other Greeks that lived in the County of Monemvasia banded together outside the castle.

The first battle was fought after the exit of the besieged in three directions, one to Sykia, one to Foiniki and one to Agios Nicolaos Monemvasia. When the Muslims realized that the Greeks got rid of the feeling of the non fighting Christians and came with an air of confidence they retreated with 4 dead and 7 wounded, whereas the Greeks had only 1 dead. Although they had already arrived to the castle, since 22nd March, and were locked inside along with compatriot warriors Tourkobardouniotes (with their 60 families), they were afraid because of the arrival of the ship at Gythion, as they thought it carried ammunition for the Greeks. After  them and the rest of the Muslims from the villages of the County of Monemvasialocked up themselves at the castle. The siege went on steadily which forced the enclosed ones to cut the bridge that led to the rock of the castle, whereas the besiegers increased in numbers after the arrival of other Maniots and Tsakonians. 4 ships joined the siege, 3 from Spetses and 1 from Gythion that belonged to Panagiotis Mavrommatis Vouzounaras.

The besieged that exceeded the 4000, soon due to tightness of the siege that didn’t allow them to move to the villages of the area for replenishment suffered from hunger. After the disappointment because of not getting military help, prompted by the Greek notable Panagiotis Kalogeras that was there with them at the castle, they demanded to surrender the castle and the city to representative of the Greek Administration. After the proposition of Dimitrios Ypsilantis, they sent A. Katakouzinos who signed the treaty of surrender (23 July 1821) according to which the besieged ones were transferred by two Spetsian ships to Smyrna.

There were only 750 of them left from the 4000. In the appendixes two documents are published relative to this siege. The first refers to the conditions that existed at the Maniot military camp at the beginning of the siege and the second to the agreement for distribution of the loots during the imminent fall of Monemvasia.

APPENDIX 1

LAUNCH OF THE SIEGE OF MONEMVASIA BY THE MANIOTS

To the kindest Antonbey Jiorgakis and captain Mihalis, captain Jeorgakis, mister Anagnotis Maltzinis, I humbly embrace you. First of all, we are concerned about your health and wish you to be in good health. For this reason, we make known to you that everything here is like it used to be. We have them locked up. We bombard them and they bombard us. All the intercessions and speeches have ceased since yesterday. On Saturday night, they hired 8 ships and went … as you have written but still they haven’t appeared (…) we saw you had written that two ships came and that they had wheat thousand 9, powder, rusks, butter and lentils, as well as money and other stuff ships have, as it is known. We let you know in order to think also about your self, all the relatives that are here. Here in Monemvasia, with almost hundred fifty men left we keep locked up 800 and this is something to think about. We have decided, though, to pour our blood like the old Spartans and we don’t carry a burden, although we see an indifference from all the country. And mostly from the relatives. Let’s leave out the lice, bad food, bad sleep, cold, rains and many other. Since everyday we run to guard and if we don’t go alone, nobody goes; how many caresses and flattering and promises we make and keep them till now or they would have gone (…) and they are not to blame and we thank them for cherishing and staying with us. Well, we don’t know until when we can keep it up.

Well this (…) when God sent (…) good Government (……)

(left margin):

We write so that you can send as many men as possible. Please send canon bombs because the ships don’t have and this is very bad, which you will send along with the men as well as tobacco which useful men here smoke…

From the book Ap. Daskalakis (archive Tzortzakis-Grigorakis)

APPENDIX 2

THE BESIEGERS OF MONEMVASIA AGREE ON THE DISTRIBUTION OF THE LOOT

Today, all the present ones at the siege of Monemvasia, we make known that all those who decide to sacrifice themselves for the freedom of the nation and occupation of the castle by guns, Spartans, Elotes and Prastiotes, all those who are registered by name at the list of every company and also those who want to subscribe until the fifteenth of the current May, we all become brothers ending our case with the strength of God to distribute like brothers big and young, according to the laws the hostile mobile things and estate, that is to say Turkish from Monovasia up to the borders of Trinisos and Vrontamas without asking any more from each other, but equally like brothers. So, all with our good will, we decided that without a necessary job and with a general thought, nobody leaves for the country or the neighboring villages or even to touch any of the slightest things but with courage and bravery to be here until the end of our situation. For this reason, we point out that anyone of us who wants to deviate from the following agreement may be cursed by Christ and Holy Mary and to treated by the brotherhood and the generation as a traitor of the country and violator of the law and to change his sacred name from Greek and to be banished for ever. And so, writing this, we one copy each, as a proof and security of the time of judgment and sign.

1821 May 3, Bridge of Monemvasia.

From the book Ap. Daskalakis (archive Tzortzakis-Grigorakis)

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