In the year 2021 we will be celebrating the 200th anniversary of the beginning of the Greek revolution. For some people, anniversaries of important historic events are an opportunity for self-promotion and personal gain. For others, who are wiser, these events are an opportunity for paying tribute to those who played a leading role in these events. Those who wish to reflect on important events in a deeper manner need to adopt a more comprehensive approach. They need not only examine the conditions which caused these historical events, but also their consequences in the years that followed. The anniversary of such an important event, the beginning of the Greek revolution, which led to the independence of our country, certainly makes us reflect on the events of that period, but also on other later situations and their consequences during the 200 years of the existence of the modern Greek state. Deep reflection on the historic events of the centuries before 1821 is also needed and is essential for self-awareness, as these facts defined the the course of action of our nation. The most important of these events are the dismantling of the Byzantine Empire by the crusaders of the Fourth Crusade in 1204, the Frankish rule (Φραγκοκρατία) which lasted about 150 years, and their effects on the Greek population, and on the inhabitants of the Peloponnese in particular. Of course, it was the Ottoman rule that had the largest effect on the Greek population, but we should also not overlook the effects of the 30-year Venetian rule (Eνετοκρατία) on the Peloponnese.


   Οur reflection should focus on the four different societal groups at the beginning of the revolution and their interrelations. These groups were: a) the militant groups (armed fighters) both on the land and in the sea with their leaders (“captains”), b) the local representatives of the Christian population during the Ottoman rule (“kotzabasides” and bishops), c) the leading Christian orthodox group in Constantinople (the elite class of “Fanariotes” and the patriarchate) and d) the Greek merchants and intellectuals who brought the Enlightment from Western Europe to Greece. All these four groups had different ideas about the revolution and participated in it in different ways. Upon examination of the deliberations in the national assemblies during the first years after the revolution, we notice that the goals and aspirations of these four groups were very similar. However, upon closer inspection, we notice that after the second national assembly in 1823, the assemblies were cancelled for about four years. Internal fighting, disputes and civil conflicts distanced these groups from the original purpose of the national assemblies. It seems that the original unity and mutual understanding between these four groups did not really have a sound base and that as time went by, the goals of these individuals and groups were changing according to their desire of power within the newly-founded nation. These observations lead us to further reflect as to whether these splits and divisions were actually overcome or were mutated into something else during the 200 years that followed the revolution.


  We should also reflect on the deep division that existed in the society, the clergy and the state officials during the last decades of the Byzantine empire, when these groups had to choose between East and West. We also need to examine how this division changed during the almost four centuries of the Ottoman occupation and how it has since influenced our customs, our way of thinking and our way of living during the 200 years of the modern Greek state.


Deep reflection is also necessary on the relations of the newly-founded Greek state with the western powers, both during the revolution and during the two centuries that have followed. We should examine why our politicians could not develop a steady national policy, but preferred to rely instead on  the great western powers of the time, by forming the English, the French and the Russian political parties.


   In Mani, even deeper reflection is necessary, and our conclusions should become the guidelines for our  future course. In particular, we should ask ourselves why during the first years of the revolution Maniots were able to form expeditionary forces with participants from all local groups, but later internal fighting and antagonism were getting more and more intense. We should also ask ourselves what the costs were for our ancestors and our area of the biggest part of our population siding with those who opposed the government of Capodistria, opposition which finally led to his assasination.


                                                                                                                                                                THE EDITORIAL BOARD

[1] we define “reflection” as the active, persistent and systematic examination of every belief or alleged knowledge in the light of supporting arguments as well as the results of such an examination