Greece celebrates philhellenism on eve of 200th anniversary of War of Independence

Source: Xinhua| 2021-03-23 01:07:47|Editor: huaxia
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ATHENS, March 22 (Xinhua) -- Greece has been honoring philhellenism through poetry ahead of the 200th anniversary of the start of the Greek War of Independence this Thursday.

A combination of the Greek words philos (friend) and Hellas (Greece), the term refers to an intellectual movement that was very strong in the 19th century.

Philhellenism, love of Greek culture, and friendship and support of the Greek people, had a great impact across the world as Greeks took up arms against Ottoman rule.

On World Poetry Day celebrated on March 21, Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou invited the ambassadors of nine countries that supported the Greek revolution and whose poets were inspired by it to recite relevant excerpts of their work.

"Dozens of poets were moved by the Greeks' desire for national independence," Sakellaropoulou said in a video released by her office. "Their lyrics, flooded with philhellenic feelings, were inspired by the ideals of freedom and democracy that returned to the place where they were born after 400 years of slavery."

Kate Smith, British Ambassador to Greece, read the poem "January 22nd, Missolonghi" written by British poet Lord Byron, who was one of the prominent representatives of the philhellenism movement.

He joined Greeks in battle, raised funds for the war and died, aged 36, in the city of Missolonghi in western Greece in 1824 a few weeks after writing this poem for his birthday.

"The Sword, the Banner, and the Field, / Glory and Greece around me see! / ... / The Land of honorable Death / Is here: -- up to the Field, and give / Away thy breath! / Seek out -- less often sought than found -- / A Soldier's Grave, for thee the best, / Then Look around, and choose thy Ground, / And take thy Rest," Smith read.

Russia's Ambassador to Greece Andrey Maslov read the poem "Arise, Greece" by Russian novelist and poet Alexander Pushkin.

"The land of the gods and heroes is burning with the fire of a good cause, she is breaking the chains and moves forward, singing lyrics of Tyrtaeus (an ancient Greek poet), Byron, and the Thourios (patriotic hymn) by Feraios," he read.

Rigas Feraios was a Greek writer and revolutionary, who was killed while planning a Balkan uprising against the Ottoman empire a few years before the start of the Greek revolution.

On March 25 this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the celebrations marking the 200 years since the start of Greece's war for freedom will be held online.

The annual military parade in the center of Athens will be attended by a few officials only. They will include Britain's Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, the Greek government has announced. Enditem