Rigas Fereos
Although it was hard to choose among
our heroes, we have decided to
present Rigas Fereos to you.
Origin
Rigas Fereos was
born in Velestino of
Thessaly in 1757 and
that is why he is also
called Velestinlis.
This hero could not
accept the Ottoman
occupation of Greece
at that time and as
soon as he finished
his studies, at the age
of 20, he left Thessaly
(in central Greece)
and went to Mount
Olympus to live as
‘amartolos’ (guerilla).
Later, he left Greece and lived in Konstantinoupoli
(Istanbul) at first…
and then in Vienna, to ask Napoleon to help the
enslaved Greeks.
From there, Rigas sent many parcels with
declarations and books in favor of resistance so
that he could encourage the Greeks to rebel
against the Ottoman Sultan..
While traveling to Venice in another attempt to
meet Napoleon, Fereos was betrayed and was
arrested at Trieste by the Austrian authorities.
He was handed over to the Ottoman governor at
Belgrade where he was imprisoned and tortured.
From Belgrade, he was to be sent to
Constantinople to be sentenced by the Ottoman
sultan. While in transit, he was strangled on the
night of 13 June 1798. His body was thrown into
the Danube River
This is the
tower where
Rigas was
tortured and
strangled.
Rigas' death didn't
end his influence on
the Greeks and other
leaders and finally led
into the Greek
revolution, beginning
the Greek War of
Independence in
1821.
His work
He wrote enthusiastic poems and books about
the Greek history and many became widely
popular. The most famous (which he often sang
in public) is the Thourios in which he wrote…
“It's better to have an hour as a free man than
forty years as a slave." In Greek: «Ως πότε
παλικάρια να ζούμε στα στενά…. Καλλιώναι μίας
ώρας ελεύθερη ζωή παρά σαράντα χρόνια
σκλαβιά και φυλακή»…
He urged the Greeks to leave the Turkishoccupied towns for the mountains, where they
might experience more freedom.
A Political Constitution for a
Balkan Republic
Rigas’ intention was to revolutionize the Ottoman
Empire, through the wide distribution of
revolutionary literature, such as the New Political
Constitution.
Rigas’ new political order to rise from the
ruins of the Ottoman Empire was set out in his
Political Constitution as a multinational state,
the «Balkan Republic".
In this Republic, that included all
the Balkans, there would be
equality for all, and Greek would
be the language
He published The Charta,
a detailed map of Balkan
Peninsula, which
included all Turks,
Greeks, Romanians,
Albanians, Bosnians,
Serbians and
Montenegrins of the
Balkans in a multicultural
state…
…projecting his pioneering vision for a
peaceful, free and democratic Balkan
confederation where all religions and
nationalities would have an equal place.
With his death, the vision of the Republic came
to an end. However, Rigas Fereos became a
powerful symbol for the future generations of
Greece and is considered the forerunner of the
Greek War of Independence.
End of Presentation