Peace Theories and the Balkan War
Norman Angell

Part 3 out of 6

recognized as virtually master of Morocco, but the soreness of the
diplomatic defeat rendered Germany a still more trying neighbour than it
had been before. The first repercussion was the war which broke out in
September 1911 between Italy and Turkey for the possession of Tripoli and
Cyrenaica, which Italy, with its usual insight, saw was vital to its
position as a Mediterranean power and therefore determined to acquire
before any other power had time or courage to do so. In the Balkans this
was a year of observation and preparation. Serbia, taught by the bitter
lesson of 1908 not to be caught again unprepared, had spent much money and
care on its army during the last few years and had brought it to a much
higher state of efficiency. In Austria-Hungary careful observers wore
aware that something was afoot and that the gaze of Serbia, which from
1903 till 1908 had been directed westwards to Bosnia and the Adriatic, had
since 1908 been fixed on Macedonia and the Aegean. The actual formation of
the Balkan League by King Ferdinand and M. Venezelos may not have been
known, but it was realized that action of some sort on the part of the
Balkan States was imminent, and that something must be done to forestall
it. In February 1912 Count Aehrenthal died, and was succeeded by Count
Berchtold as Austro-Hungarian Minister for Foreign Affairs. In August of
the same year this minister unexpectedly announced his new and startling
proposals for the introduction of reforms in Macedonia, which nobody in
the Balkans who had any material interest in the fate of that province
genuinely desired at that moment; the motto of the new scheme was
'progressive decentralization', blessed words which soothed the great
powers as much as they alarmed the Balkan Governments. But already in May
1912 agreements between Bulgaria and Greece and between Bulgaria and
Serbia had been concluded, limiting their respective zones of influence in
the territory which they hoped to conquer. It was, to any one who has any
knowledge of Balkan history, incredible that the various Governments had
been able to come to any agreement at all. That arrived at by Bulgaria and
Serbia divided Macedonia between them in such a way that Bulgaria should
obtain central Macedonia with Monastir and Okhrida, and Serbia northern
Macedonia or Old Serbia; there was an indeterminate zone between the two
spheres, including Skoplje (Ueskueb, in Turkish), the exact division of
which it was agreed to leave to arbitration at a subsequent date.

The Macedonian theatre of war was by common consent regarded as the most
important, and Bulgaria here promised Serbia the assistance of 100,000
men. The Turks meanwhile were aware that all was not what it seemed beyond
the frontiers, and in August 1912 began collecting troops in Thrace,
ostensibly for manoeuvres. During the month of September the patience of
the four Governments of Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia, and Montenegro, which
had for years with the utmost self-control been passively watching the
awful sufferings of their compatriots under Turkish misrule, gradually
became exhausted. On September 28 the four Balkan Governments informed
Russia that the Balkan League was an accomplished fact, and on the 30th
the representatives of all four signed the alliance, and mobilization was
ordered in Greece, Bulgaria, and Serbia. The population of Montenegro was
habitually on a war footing, and it was left to the mountain kingdom from
its geographically favourable position to open hostilities. On October 8
Montenegro declared war on Turkey, and after a series of brilliant
successes along the frontier its forces settled down to the wearisome and
arduous siege of Scutari with its impregnable sentinel, Mount Tarabo[)s],
converted into a modern fortress; the unaccustomed nature of these tasks,
to which the Montenegrin troops, used to the adventures of irregular
warfare, were little suited, tried the valour and patience of the intrepid
mountaineers to the utmost. By that time Europe was in a ferment, and both
Russia and Austria, amazed at having the initiative in the regulation of
Balkan affairs wrested from them, showered on the Balkan capitals threats
and protests, which for once in a way were neglected.

On October 13 Greece, Bulgaria, and Serbia replied that the offer of
outside assistance and advice had come too late, and that they had decided
themselves to redress the intolerable and secular wrongs of their
long-suffering compatriots in Macedonia by force of arms. To their dismay
a treaty of peace was signed at Lausanne about the same time between
Turkey and Italy, which power, it had been hoped, would have distracted
Turkey's attention by a continuance of hostilities in northern Africa, and
at any rate immobilized the Turkish fleet. Encouraged by this success
Turkey boldly declared war on Bulgaria and Serbia on October 17, hoping to
frighten Greece and detach it from the league; but on the 18th the Greek
Government replied by declaring war on Turkey, thus completing the
necessary formalities. The Turks were confident of an early and easy
victory, and hoped to reach Sofia, not from Constantinople and Thrace, but
pushing up north-eastwards from Macedonia. The rapid offensive of the
Serbian army, however, took them by surprise, and they were completely
overwhelmed at the battle of Kumanovo in northern Macedonia on October
23-4, 1912. On the 31st King Peter made his triumphal entry into Skoplje
(ex-Ueskueb), the ancient capital of Serbia under Tsar Stephen Du[)s]an in
the fourteenth century. From there the Serbian army pursued the Turks
southward, and at the battles of Prilep (November 5) and Monastir
(November 19), after encountering the most stubborn opposition, finally
put an end to their resistance in this part of the theatre of war. On
November 9 the Greeks entered Salonika.

Meanwhile other divisions of the Serbian army had joined hands with the
Montenegrins, and occupied almost without opposition the long-coveted
_sandjak_ of Novi-Pazar (the ancient Serb Ra[)s]ka), to the inexpressible
rage of Austria-Hungary, which had evacuated it in 1908 in favour of its
rightful owner, Turkey. At the same time a Serbian expeditionary corps
marched right through Albania, braving great hardships on the way, and on
November 30 occupied Durazzo, thus securing at last a foothold on the
Adriatic. Besides all this, Serbia, in fulfilment of its treaty
obligations, dispatched 50,000 splendidly equipped men, together with a
quantity of heavy siege artillery, to help the Bulgarians at the siege of
Adrianople. On December 3 an armistice was signed between the
belligerents, with the condition that the three besieged Turkish
fortresses of Adrianople, Scutari, and Yanina must not be re-victualled,
and on December 16, 1912, peace negotiations were opened between
representatives of the belligerent countries in London. Meanwhile the
Germanic powers, dismayed by the unexpected victories of the Balkan armies
and humiliated by the crushing defeats in the field of the German-trained
Turkish army, had since the beginning of November been doing everything in
their power to support their client Turkey and prevent its final
extinction and at the same time the blighting of their ambitions
eventually to acquire the Empire of the Near East. During the conference
in London between the plenipotentiaries of the belligerents, parallel
meetings took place between the representatives of the great powers, whose
relations with each other were strained and difficult in the extreme. The
Turkish envoys prolonged the negotiations, as was their custom; they
naturally were unwilling to concede their European provinces to the
despised and hated Greek and Slavonic conquerors, but the delays implied
growing hardships for their besieged and starving garrisons in Thrace,
Epirus, and Albania. On January 23, 1913, a quasi-revolution occurred in
the Turkish army, headed by Enver Bey and other Young Turk partisans, and
approved by the Austrian and German embassies, with the object of
interrupting the negotiations and staking all on the result of a final
battle. As a result of these events, and of the palpable disingenuousness
of the Turks in continuing the negotiations in London, the Balkan
delegates on January 29 broke them off, and on February 3, 1913,
hostilities were resumed. At length, after a siege of nearly five months,
Adrianople, supplied with infinitely better artillery than the allies
possessed, was taken by the combined Serbian and Bulgarian forces on March
26, 1913. The Serbian troops at Adrianople captured 17,010 Turkish
prisoners, 190 guns, and the Turkish commander himself, Shukri Pasha.

At the outbreak of the war in the autumn of 1912 the Balkan States had
observed all the conventions, disavowing designs of territorial
aggrandizement and proclaiming their resolve merely to obtain guarantees
for the better treatment of the Christian inhabitants of Macedonia; the
powers, for their part, duly admonished the naughty children of
south-eastern Europe to the effect that no alteration of the territorial
_status quo ante_ would under any circumstances be tolerated. During the
negotiations in London, interrupted in January, and resumed in the spring
of 1913 after the fall of Adrianople, it was soon made clear that in spite
of all these magniloquent declarations nothing would be as it had been
before. Throughout the winter Austria-Hungary had been mobilizing troops
and massing them along the frontiers of Serbia and Montenegro, any
increase in the size of which countries meant a crushing blow to the
designs of the Germanic powers and the end to all the dreams embodied in
the phrase 'Drang nach Osten' ('pushing eastwards').

In the spring of 1913 Serbia and Montenegro, instead of being defeated by
the brave Turks, as had been confidently predicted in Vienna and Berlin
would be the case, found themselves in possession of the _sandjak_ of
Novi-Pazar, of northern and central Macedonia (including Old Serbia), and
of the northern half of Albania. The presence of Serbian troops on the
shore of the Adriatic was more than Austria could stand, and at the
renewed conference of London it was decided that they must retire. In the
interests of nationality, in which the Balkan States themselves undertook
the war, it was desirable that at any rate an attempt should be made to
create an independent state of Albania, though no one who knew the local
conditions felt confident as to its ultimate career. Its creation assuaged
the consciences of the Liberal Government in Great Britain and at the same
time admirably suited the strategic plans of Austria-Hungary. It left that
country a loophole for future diplomatic efforts to disturb the peace of
south-eastern Europe, and, with its own army in Bosnia and its political
agents and irregular troops in Albania, Serbia and Montenegro, even though
enlarged as it was generally recognized they must be, would be held in a
vice and could be threatened and bullied from the south now as well as
from the north whenever it was in the interests of Vienna and Budapest to
apply the screw. The independence of Albania was declared at the
conference of London on May 30, 1913. Scutari was included in it as being
a purely Albanian town, and King Nicholas and his army, after enjoying its
coveted flesh-pots for a few halcyon weeks, had, to their mortification,
to retire to the barren fastnesses of the Black Mountain. Serbia,
frustrated by Austria in its attempts, generally recognized as legitimate,
to obtain even a commercial outlet on the Adriatic, naturally again
diverted its aims southwards to Salonika. The Greeks were already in
possession of this important city and seaport, as well as of the whole of
southern Macedonia. The Serbs were in possession of central and northern
Macedonia, including Monastir and Okhrida, which they had at great
sacrifices conquered from the Turks. It had been agreed that Bulgaria, as
its share of the spoils, should have all central Macedonia, with Monastir
and Okhrida, although on ethnical grounds the Bulgarians have only very
slightly better claim to the country and towns west of the Vardar than any
of the other Balkan nationalities. But at the time that the agreement had
been concluded it had been calculated in Greece and Serbia that Albania,
far from being made independent, would be divided between them, and that
Serbia, assured of a strip of coast on the Adriatic, would have no
interest in the control of the river Vardar and of the railway which
follows its course connecting the interior of Serbia with the port of
Salonika. Greece and Serbia had no ground whatever for quarrel and no
cause for mutual distrust, and they were determined, for political and
commercial reasons, to have a considerable extent of frontier from west to
east in common. The creation of an independent Albania completely altered
the situation. If Bulgaria should obtain central Macedonia and thus secure
a frontier from north to south in common with the newly-formed state of
Albania, then Greece would be at the mercy of its hereditary enemies the
Bulgars and Arnauts (Albanians) as it had previously been at the mercy of
the Turks, while Serbia would have two frontiers between itself and the
sea instead of one, as before, and its complete economic strangulation
would be rendered inevitable and rapid. Bulgaria for its own part
naturally refused to waive its claim to central Macedonia, well knowing
that the master of the Vardar valley is master of the Balkan peninsula.
The first repercussion of the ephemeral treaty of London of May 30, 1913,
which created Albania and shut out Serbia from the Adriatic, was,
therefore, as the diplomacy of the Germanic powers had all along intended
it should be, the beginning of a feud between Greece and Serbia on the one
hand, and Bulgaria on the other, the disruption of the Balkan League and
the salvation, for the ultimate benefit of Germany, of what was left of
Turkey in Europe.

The dispute as to the exact division of the conquered territory in
Macedonia between Serbia and Bulgaria had, as arranged, been referred to
arbitration, and, the Tsar of Russia having been chosen as judge, the
matter was being threshed out in St. Petersburg during June 1913.
Meanwhile Bulgaria, determined to make good its claim to the chestnuts
which Greece and Serbia had pulled out of the Turkish fire, was secretly
collecting troops along its temporary south-western frontier[1] with the
object, in approved Germanic fashion, of suddenly invading and occupying
all Macedonia, and, by the presentation of an irrevocable _fait accompli_,
of relieving the arbitrator of his invidious duties or at any rate
assisting him in the task.

[Footnote 1: This was formed by the stream Zletovska, a tributary of the
river Bregalnica, which in its turn falls into the Vardar on its left or
eastern bank about 40 miles south of Skoplje (Ueskueb).]

On the other hand, the relations between Bulgaria and its two allies had
been noticeably growing worse ever since January 1913; Bulgaria felt
aggrieved that, in spite of its great sacrifices, it had not been able to
occupy so much territory as Greece and Serbia, and the fact that
Adrianople was taken with Serbian help did not improve the feeling between
the two Slav nations. The growth of Bulgarian animosity put Greece and
Serbia on their guard, and, well knowing the direction which an eventual
attack would take, these two countries on June 2, 1913, signed a military
convention and made all the necessary dispositions for resisting any
aggression on Bulgaria's part. At one o'clock in the morning of June 30
the Bulgarians, without provocation, without declaration of war, and
without warning, crossed the Bregalnica (a tributary of the Vardar) and
attacked the Serbs. A most violent battle ensued which lasted for several
days; at some points the Bulgarians, thanks to the suddenness of their
offensive, were temporarily successful, but gradually the Serbs regained
the upper hand and by July 1 the Bulgarians were beaten. The losses were
very heavy on both sides, but the final issue was a complete triumph for
the Serbian army. Slivnitsa was avenged by the battle of the Bregalnica,
just as Kosovo was by that of Kumanovo. After a triumphant campaign of one
month, in which the Serbs were joined by the Greeks, Bulgaria had to bow
to the inevitable. The Rumanian army had invaded northern Bulgaria, bent
on maintaining the Balkan equilibrium and on securing compensation for
having observed neutrality during the war of 1912-13, and famine reigned
at Sofia. A conference was arranged at Bucarest, and the treaty of that
name was signed there on August 10, 1913. By the terms of this treaty
Serbia retained the whole of northern and central Macedonia, including
Monastir and Okhrida, and the famous _sandjak_ of Novi-Pazar was divided
between Serbia and Montenegro. Some districts of east-central Macedonia,
which were genuinely Bulgarian, were included in Serbian territory, as
Serbia naturally did not wish, after the disquieting and costly experience
of June and July 1913, to give the Bulgarians another chance of separating
Greek from Serbian territory by a fresh surprise attack, and the further
the Bulgarians could be kept from the Vardar river and railway the less
likelihood there was of this. The state of feeling in the Germanic
capitals and in Budapest after this ignominious defeat of their protege
Bulgaria and after this fresh triumph of the despised and hated Serbians
can be imagined. Bitterly disappointed first at seeing the Turks
vanquished by the Balkan League--their greatest admirers could not even
claim that the Turks had had any 'moral' victories--their chagrin, when
they saw the Bulgarians trounced by the Serbians, knew no bounds. That the
secretly prepared attack on Serbia by Bulgaria was planned in Vienna and
Budapest there is no doubt. That Bulgaria was justified in feeling
disappointment and resentment at the result of the first Balkan War no one
denies, but the method chosen to redress its wrongs could only have been
suggested by the Germanic school of diplomacy.

In Serbia and Montenegro the result of the two successive Balkan Wars,
though these had exhausted the material resources of the two countries,
was a justifiable return of national self-confidence and rejoicing such as
the people, humiliated and impoverished as it had habitually been by its
internal and external troubles, had not known for very many years. At last
Serbia and Montenegro had joined hands. At last Old Serbia was restored to
the free kingdom. At last Skoplje, the mediaeval capital of Tsar Stephen
Du[)s]an, was again in Serbian territory. At last one of the most
important portions of unredeemed Serbia had been reclaimed. Amongst the
Serbs and Croats of Bosnia, Hercegovina, Dalmatia, Croatia, Slavonia, and
southern Hungary the effect of the Serbian victories was electrifying.
Military prowess had been the one quality with which they, and indeed
everybody else, had refused to credit the Serbians of the kingdom, and the
triumphs of the valiant Serbian peasant soldiers immediately imparted a
heroic glow to the country whose very name, at any rate in central Europe,
had become a byword, and a synonym for failure; Belgrade became the
cynosure and the rallying-centre of the whole Serbo-Croatian race. But
Vienna and Budapest could only lose courage and presence of mind for the
moment, and the undeniable success of the Serbian arms merely sharpened
their appetite for revenge. In August 1913 Austria-Hungary, as is now
known, secretly prepared an aggression on Serbia, but was restrained,
partly by the refusal of Italy to grant its approval of such action,
partly because the preparations of Germany at that time were not complete.
The fortunate Albanian question provided, for the time being, a more
convenient rod with which to beat Serbia. Some Serbian troops had remained
in possession of certain frontier towns and districts which were included
in the territory of the infant state of Albania pending the final
settlement of the frontiers by a commission. On October 18, 1913, Austria
addressed an ultimatum to Serbia to evacuate these, as its continued
occupation of them caused offence and disquiet to the Dual Monarchy.
Serbia meekly obeyed. Thus passed away the last rumble of the storms which
had filled the years 1912-13 in south-eastern Europe.

The credulous believed that the Treaty of Bucarest had at last brought
peace to that distracted part of the world. Those who knew their central
Europe realized that Berlin had only forced Vienna to acquiesce in the
Treaty of Bucarest because the time had not yet come. But come what might,
Serbia and Montenegro, by having linked up their territory and by forming
a mountain barrier from the Danube to the Adriatic, made it far more
difficult for the invader to push his way through to the East than it
would have been before the battles of Kumanovo and Bregalnica.



_From Ancient to Modern Greece_

The name of Greece has two entirely different associations in our minds.
Sometimes it calls up a wonderful literature enshrined in a 'dead
language', and exquisite works of a vanished art recovered by the spade;
at other times it is connected with the currant-trade returns quoted on
the financial page of our newspapers or with the 'Balance of Power'
discussed in their leading articles. Ancient and Modern Greece both mean
much to us, but usually we are content to accept them as independent
phenomena, and we seldom pause to wonder whether there is any deeper
connexion between them than their name. It is the purpose of these pages
to ask and give some answer to this question.

The thought that his own Greece might perish, to be succeeded by another
Greece after the lapse of more than two thousand years, would have caused
an Ancient Greek surprise. In the middle of the fifth century B.C.,
Ancient Greek civilization seemed triumphantly vigorous and secure. A
generation before, it had flung back the onset of a political power which
combined all the momentum of all the other contemporary civilizations in
the world; and the victory had proved not merely the superiority of Greek
arms--the Spartan spearman and the Athenian galley--but the superior
vitality of Greek politics--the self-governing, self-sufficing city-state.
In these cities a wonderful culture had burst into flower--an art
expressing itself with equal mastery in architecture, sculpture, and
drama, a science which ranged from the most practical medicine to the most
abstract mathematics, and a philosophy which blended art, science, and
religion into an ever-developing and ever more harmonious view of the
universe. A civilization so brilliant and so versatile as this seemed to
have an infinite future before it, yet even here death lurked in ambush.

When the cities ranged themselves in rival camps, and squandered their
strength on the struggle for predominance, the historian of the
Peloponnesian war could already picture Athens and Sparta in ruins,[1] and
the catastrophe began to warp the soul of Plato before he had carried
Greek philosophy to its zenith. This internecine strife of free
communities was checked within a century by the imposition of a single
military autocracy over them all, and Alexander the Great crowned his
father Philip's work by winning new worlds for Hellenism from the Danube
to the Ganges and from the Oxus to the Nile. The city-state and its
culture were to be propagated under his aegis, but this vision vanished
with Alexander's death, and Macedonian militarism proved a disappointment.
The feuds of these crowned condottieri harassed the cities more sorely
than their own quarrels, and their arms could not even preserve the
Hellenic heritage against external foes. The Oriental rallied and expelled
Hellenism again from the Asiatic hinterland, while the new cloud of Rome
was gathering in the west. In four generations[2] of the most devastating
warfare the world had seen, Rome conquered all the coasts of the
Mediterranean. Greek city and Greek dynast went down before her, and the
political sceptre passed irrevocably from the Hellenic nation.

[Footnote 1: Thucydides, Book I, chap. 10.]

[Footnote 2: 264-146 B.C.]

Yet this political abdication seemed to open for Hellenic culture a future
more brilliant and assured than ever. Rome could organize as well as
conquer. She accepted the city-state as the municipal unit of the Roman
Empire, thrust back the Oriental behind the Euphrates, and promoted the
Hellenization of all the lands between this river-frontier and the Balkans
with much greater intensity than the Macedonian imperialists. Her
political conquests were still further counterbalanced by her spiritual
surrender, and Hellenism was the soul of the new Latin culture which Rome
created, and which advanced with Roman government over the vast untutored
provinces of the west and north, bringing them, too, within the orbit of
Hellenic civilization. Under the shadow of the Roman Empire, Plutarch, the
mirror of Hellenism, could dwell in peace in his little city-state of
Chaeronea, and reflect in his writings all the achievements of the
Hellenic spirit as an ensample to an apparently endless posterity.

Yet the days of Hellenic culture were also numbered. Even Plutarch
lived[1] to look down from the rocky citadel of Chaeronea upon Teutonic
raiders wasting the Kephisos vale, and for more than three centuries
successive hordes of Goths searched out and ravaged the furthest corners
of European Greece. Then the current set westward to sweep away[2] the
Roman administration in the Latin provinces, and Hellenism seemed to have
been granted a reprieve. The Greek city-state of Byzantium on the Black
Sea Straits had been transformed into the Roman administrative centre of
Constantinople, and from this capital the Emperor Justinian in the sixth
century A.D. still governed and defended the whole Greek-speaking world.
But this political glamour only threw the symptoms of inward dissolution
into sharper relief. Within the framework of the Empire the municipal
liberty of the city-state had been stifled and extinguished by the waxing
jungle of bureaucracy, and the spiritual culture which the city-state
fostered, and which was more essential to Hellenism than any political
institutions, had been part ejected, part exploited, and wholly compromised
by a new gospel from the east.

[Footnote 1: About A.D. 100]

[Footnote 2: A.D. 404-476]

While the Oriental had been compelled by Rome to draw his political
frontier at the Euphrates, and had failed so far to cross the river-line,
he had maintained his cultural independence within sight of the
Mediterranean. In the hill country of Judah, overlooking the high road
between Antioch and Alexandria, the two chief foci of Hellenism in the
east which the Macedonians had founded, and which had grown to maturity
under the aegis of Rome, there dwelt a little Semitic community which had
defied all efforts of Greek or Roman to assimilate it, and had finally
given birth to a world religion about the time that a Roman punitive
expedition razed its holy city of Jerusalem to the ground.[1] Christianity
was charged with an incalculable force, which shot like an electric
current from one end of the Roman Empire to the other. The
highly-organized society of its adherents measured its strength in several
sharp conflicts with the Imperial administration, from which it emerged
victorious, and it was proclaimed the official religious organization of
the Empire by the very emperor that founded Constantinople.[2]

[Footnote 1: A.D. 70.]

[Footnote 2: Constantine the Great recognized Christianity in A.D. 313 and
founded Constantinople in A.D. 328.]

The established Christian Church took the best energies of Hellenism into
its service. The Greek intellectuals ceased to become lecturers and
professors, to find a more human and practical career in the bishop's
office. The Nicene Creed, drafted by an 'oecumenical' conference of
bishops under the auspices of Constantine himself,[1] was the last notable
formulation of Ancient Greek philosophy. The cathedral of Aya Sophia, with
which Justinian adorned Constantinople, was the last original creation of
Ancient Greek art.[2] The same Justinian closed the University of Athens,
which had educated the world for nine hundred years and more, since Plato
founded his college in the Academy. Six recalcitrant professors went into
exile for their spiritual freedom, but they found the devout
Zoroastrianism of the Persian court as unsympathetic as the devout
Christianity of the Roman. Their humiliating return and recantation broke
the 'Golden Chain' of Hellenic thought for ever.

Hellenism was thus expiring from its own inanition, when the inevitable
avalanche overwhelmed it from without. In the seventh century A.D. there
was another religious eruption in the Semitic world, this time in the
heart of Arabia, where Hellenism had hardly penetrated, and under the
impetus of Islam the Oriental burst his bounds again after a thousand
years. Syria was reft away from the Empire, and Egypt, and North Africa as
far as the Atlantic, and their political severance meant their cultural
loss to Greek civilization. Between the Koran and Hellenism no fusion was
possible. Christianity had taken Hellenism captive, but Islam gave it no
quarter, and the priceless library of Alexandria is said to have been
condemned by the caliph's order to feed the furnaces of the public baths.

[Footnote 1: A.D. 325.]

[Footnote 2: Completed A.D. 538.]

While Hellenism was thus cut short in the east, a mortal blow was struck
at its heart from the north. The Teuton had raided and passed on, but the
lands he had depopulated were now invaded by immigrants who had come to
stay. As soon as the last Goth and Lombard had gone west of the Isonzo,
the Slavs poured in from the north-eastern plains of Europe through the
Moravian gap, crossed the Danube somewhere near the site of Vienna, and
drifted down along the eastern face of the Alps upon the Adriatic
littoral. Rebuffed by the sea-board, the Slavonic migration was next
deflected east, and filtered through the Bosnian mountains, scattering the
Latin-speaking provincials before it to left and right, until it debouched
upon the broad basin of the river Morava. In this concentration-area it
gathered momentum during the earlier part of the seventh century A.D., and
then burst out with irresistible force in all directions, eastward across
the Maritsa basin till it reached the Black Sea, and southward down the
Vardar to the shores of the Aegean.

Beneath this Slavonic flood the Greek race in Europe was engulfed. A few
fortified cities held out, Adrianople on the Maritsa continued to cover
Constantinople; Salonika at the mouth of the Vardar survived a two hundred
years siege; while further south Athens, Korinth, and Patras escaped
extinction. But the tide of invasion surged around their walls. The Slavs
mastered all the open country, and, pressing across the Korinthian Gulf,
established themselves in special force throughout the Peloponnesos. The
thoroughness of their penetration is witnessed to this day by the Slavonic
names which still cling to at least a third of the villages, rivers, and
mountains in European Greece, and are found in the most remote as well as
in the most accessible quarters of the land.[1]

[Footnote 1: For example: Tsimova and Panitsa in the Tainaron peninsula
(Maina); Tsoupana and Khrysapha in Lakonia; Dhimitzana, Karytena, and
Andhritsena in the centre of Peloponnesos, and Vostitsa on its north coast;
Dobrena and Kaprena in Boiotia; Vonitza on the Gulf of Arta; Kardhitsa in
the Thessalian plain.]

With the coming of the Slavs darkness descends like a curtain upon Greek
history. We catch glimpses of Arab hosts ranging across Anatolia at will
and gazing at Slavonic hordes across the narrow Bosphorus. But always the
Imperial fleet patrols the waters between, and always the triple defences
of Constantinople defy the assailant. Then after about two centuries the
floods subside, the gloom disperses, and the Greek world emerges into view
once more. But the spectacle before us is unfamiliar, and most of the old
landmarks have been swept away.

By the middle of the ninth century A.D., the Imperial Government had
reduced the Peloponnesos to order again, and found itself in the presence
of three peoples. The greater part of the land was occupied by 'Romaioi'--
normal, loyal, Christian subjects of the empire--but in the hilly country
between Eurotas, Taygetos, and the sea, two Slavonic tribes still
maintained themselves in defiant savagery and worshipped their Slavonic
gods, while beyond them the peninsula of Tainaron, now known as Maina,
sheltered communities which still clung to the pagan name of Hellene and
knew no other gods but Zeus, Athena, and Apollo. Hellene and Slav need not
concern us. They were a vanishing minority, and the Imperial Government
was more successful in obliterating their individuality than in making
them contribute to its exchequer. The future lay with the Romaioi.

The speech of these Romaioi was not the speech of Rome. 'Romaika,' as it
is still called popularly in the country-side, is a development of the
'koine' or 'current' dialect of Ancient Greek, in which the Septuagint and
the New Testament are written. The vogue of these books after the triumph
of Christianity and the oncoming of the Dark Age, when they were the sole
intellectual sustenance of the people, gave the idiom in which they were
composed an exclusive prevalence. Except in Tzakonia--the iron-bound coast
between Cape Malea and Nauplia Bay--all other dialects of Ancient Greek
became extinct, and the varieties of the modern language are all
differentiations of the 'koine', along geographical lines which in no way
correspond with those which divided Doric from Ionian. Yet though Romaic
is descended from the 'koine', it is almost as far removed from it as
modern Italian is from the language of St. Augustine or Cicero. Ancient
Greek possessed a pitch-accent only, which allowed the quantitative values
of syllables to be measured against one another, and even to form the
basis of a metrical system. In Romaic the pitch-accent has transformed
itself into a stress-accent almost as violent as the English, which has
destroyed all quantitative relation between accented and unaccented
syllables, often wearing away the latter altogether at the termination of
words, and always impoverishing their vowel sounds. In the ninth century
A.D. this new enunciation was giving rise to a new poetical technique
founded upon accent and rhyme, which first essayed itself in folk-songs
and ballads,[1] and has since experimented in the same variety of forms as
English poetry.

[Footnote 1: The earliest products of the modern technique were called
'city' verses, because they originated in Constantinople, which has
remained 'the city' _par excellence_ for the Romaic Greek ever since the
Dark Age made it the asylum of his civilization.]

These humble beginnings of a new literature were supplemented by the
rudiments of a new art. Any visitor at Athens who looks at the three tiny
churches [1] built in this period of first revival, and compares them with
the rare pre-Norman churches of England, will find the same promise of
vitality in the Greek architecture as in his own. The material--worked
blocks of marble pillaged from ancient monuments, alternating with courses
of contemporary brick--produces a completely new aesthetic effect upon the
eye; and the structure--a grouping of lesser cupolas round a central dome--
is the very antithesis of the 'upright-and-horizontal' style which
confronts him in ruins upon the Akropolis.

[Footnote 1: The Old Metropolitan, the Kapnikaria, and St. Theodore.]

These first achievements of Romaic architecture speak by implication of
the characteristic difference between the Romaios and the Hellene. The
linguistic and the aesthetic change were as nothing compared to the change
in religion, for while the Hellene had been a pagan, the Romaios was
essentially a member of the Christian Church. Yet this new and determining
characteristic was already fortified by tradition. The Church triumphant
had swiftly perfected its organisation on the model of the Imperial
bureaucracy. Every Romaios owed ecclesiastical allegiance, through a
hierarchy of bishops and metropolitans, to a supreme patriarch at
Constantinople, and in the ninth century this administrative segregation
of the imperial from the west-European Church had borne its inevitable
fruit in a dogmatic divergence, and ripened into a schism between the
Orthodox Christianity of the east on the one hand and the Catholicism of
the Latin world on the other.

The Orthodox Church exercised an important cultural influence over its
Romaic adherents. The official language of its scriptures, creeds, and
ritual had never ceased to be the Ancient Greek 'koine' and by keeping the
Romaios familiar with this otherwise obsolete tongue it kept him in touch
with the unsurpassable literature of his Ancient Greek predecessors. The
vast body of Hellenic literature had perished during the Dark Age, when
all the energies of the race were absorbed by the momentary struggle for
survival; but about a third of the greatest authors' greatest works had
been preserved, and now that the stress was relieved, the wreckage of the
remainder was sedulously garnered in anthologies, abridgements, and
encyclopaedias. The rising monasteries offered a safe harbourage both for
these compilations and for such originals as survived unimpaired, and in
their libraries they were henceforth studied, cherished, and above all
recopied with more or less systematic care.

The Orthodox Church was thus a potent link between past and present, but
the most direct link of all was the political survival of the Empire.
Here, too, many landmarks had been swept away. The marvellous system of
Roman Law had proved too subtle and complex for a world in the throes of
dissolution. Within a century of its final codification by Justinian's
commissioners) it had begun to fall into disuse, and was now replaced by
more summary legislation, which was as deeply imbued with Mosaic
principles as the literary language with the Hebraisms of the New
Testament, and bristled with barbarous applications of the _Lex Talionis_.
The administrative organization instituted by Augustus and elaborated by
Diocletian had likewise disappeared, and the army-corps districts were the
only territorial units that outlasted the Dark Age. Yet the tradition of
order lived on. The army itself preserved Roman discipline and technique
to a remarkable degree, and the military districts were already becoming
the basis for a reconstituted civil government. The wealth of Latin
technicalities incorporated in the Greek style of ninth-century
officialdom witnesses to this continuity with the past and to the
consequent political superiority of the Romaic Empire over contemporary
western Europe.

Within the Imperial frontiers the Romaic race was offered an apparently
secure field for its future development. In the Balkan peninsula the Slav
had been expelled or assimilated to the south of a line stretching from
Avlona to Salonika. East of Salonika the empire still controlled little
more in Europe than the ports of the littoral, and a military highway
linking them with each other and with Constantinople. But beyond the
Bosphorus the frontier included the whole body of Anatolia as far as
Taurus and Euphrates, and here was the centre of gravity both of the
Romaic state and of the Romaic nation.

A new Greek nation had in fact come into being, and it found itself in
touch with new neighbours, whom the Ancient Greek had never known.
Eastward lay the Armenians, reviving, like the Greeks, after the ebb of
the Arab flood, and the Arabs themselves, quiescent within their natural
bounds and transfusing the wisdom of Aristotle and Hippokrates into their
native culture. Both these peoples were sundered from the Orthodox Greek
by religion[1] as well as by language, but a number of nationalities
established on his opposite flank had been evangelized from Constantinople
and followed the Orthodox patriarch in his schism with Rome. The most
important neighbour of the Empire in this quarter was the Bulgarian
kingdom, which covered all the Balkan hinterland from the Danube and the
Black Sea to the barrier-fortresses of Adrianople and Salonika. It had
been founded by a conquering caste of non-Slavonic nomads from the
trans-Danubian steppes, but these were completely absorbed in the Slavonic
population which they had endowed with their name and had preserved by
political consolidation from the fate of their brethren further south.
This Bulgarian state included a large 'Vlach' element descended from those
Latin-speaking provincials whom the Slavs had pushed before them in their
original migration; while the main body of the 'Rumans', whom the same
thrust of invasion had driven leftwards across the Danube, had established
itself in the mountains of Transylvania, and was just beginning to push
down into the Wallachian and Moldavian plains. Like the Bulgars, this
Romance population had chosen the Orthodox creed, and so had the purely
Slavonic Serbs, who had replaced the Rumans in the basin of the Morava and
the Bosnian hills, as far westward as the Adriatic coast. Beyond, the
heathen Magyars had pressed into the Danubian plains like a wedge, and cut
off the Orthodox world from the Latin-Teutonic Christendom of the west;
but it looked as though the two divisions of Europe were embarked upon the
same course of development. Both were evolving a system of strongly-knit
nationalities, neither wholly interdependent nor wholly self-sufficient,
but linked together in their individual growth by the ties of common
culture and religion. In both the darkness was passing. The future of
civilization seemed once more assured, and in the Orthodox world the new
Greek nation seemed destined to play the leading part.

[Footnote 1: The Armenians split off from the Catholic Church four
centuries before the schism between the Roman and Orthodox sections of the

His cultural and political heritage from his ancient predecessors gave the
Romaic Greek in this period of revival an inestimable advantage over his
cruder neighbours, and his superiority declared itself in an expansion of
the Romaic Empire. In the latter half of the tenth century A.D. the nest
of Arab pirates from Spain, which had established itself in Krete and
terrorized the Aegean, was exterminated by the Emperor Nikiphoros Phokas,
and on the eastern marches Antioch was gathered within the frontier at the
Arabs' expense, and advanced posts pushed across Euphrates. In the first
half of the eleventh century Basil, 'Slayer of the Bulgars', destroyed the
Balkan kingdom after a generation of bitter warfare, and brought the whole
interior of the peninsula under the sway of Constantinople. His successors
turned their attention to the cast again, and attracted one Armenian
principality after another within the Imperial protectorate. Nor was the
revival confined to politics. The conversion of the Russians about A.D.
1000 opened a boundless hinterland to the Orthodox Church, and any one who
glances at a series of Greek ivory carvings or studies Greek history from
the original sources, will here encounter a literary and artistic
renaissance remarkable enough to explain the fascination which the
barbarous Russian and the outlandish Armenian found in Constantinople. Yet
this renaissance had hardly set in before it was paralysed by an
unexpected blow, which arrested the development of Modern Greece for seven

Modern, like Ancient, Greece was assailed in her infancy by a conqueror
from the east, and, unlike Ancient Greece, she succumbed. Turkish nomads
from the central Asiatic steppes had been drifting into the Moslem world
as the vigour of the Arabs waned. First they came as slaves, then as
mercenaries, until at last, in the eleventh century, the clan of Seljuk
grasped with a strong hand the political dominion of Islam. As champions
of the caliph the Turkish sultans disputed the infidels encroachment on
the Moslem border. They challenged the Romaic Empire's progress in
Armenia, and in A.D. 1071--five years after the Norman founded at Hastings
the strong government which has been the making of England--the Seljuk
Turk shattered at the battle of Melasgerd that heritage of strong
government which had promised so much to Greece.

Melasgerd opened the way to Anatolia. The Arab could make no lodgement
there, but in the central steppe of the temperate plateau the Turk found a
miniature reproduction of his original environment. Tribe after tribe
crossed the Oxus, to make the long pilgrimage to these new marches which
their race had won for Islam on the west, and the civilization developed
in the country by fifteen centuries of intensive and undisturbed
Hellenization was completely blotted out. The cities wore isolated from
one another till their commerce fell into decay. The elaborately
cultivated lands around them were left fallow till they were good for
nothing but the pasturage which was all that the nomad required. The only
monuments of architecture that have survived in Anatolia above ground are
the imposing khans or fortified rest-houses built by the Seljuk sultans
themselves after the consolidation of their rule, and they are the best
witnesses of the vigorous barbarism by which Romaic culture was effaced.
The vitality of the Turk was indeed unquestionable. He imposed his
language and religion upon the native Anatolian peasantry, as the Greek
had imposed his before him, and in time adopted their sedentary life,
though too late to repair the mischief his own nomadism had wrought. Turk
and Anatolian coalesced into one people; every mountain, river, lake,
bridge, and village in the country took on a Turkish name, and a new
nation was established for ever in the heart of the Romaic world, which
nourished itself on the life-blood of the Empire and was to prove the
supreme enemy, of the race.

This sequel to Melasgerd sealed the Empire's doom. Robbed of its Anatolian
governing class and its Anatolian territorial army, it ceased to be
self-sufficient, and the defenders it attracted from the west were at
least as destructive as its eastern foes. The brutal regime of the Turks
in the pilgrimage places of Syria had roused a storm of indignation in
Latin Europe, and a cloud gathered in the west once more. It was heralded
by adventurers from Normandy, who had first served the Romaic Government
as mercenaries in southern Italy and then expelled their employers, about
the time of Melasgerd, from their last foothold in the peninsula. Raids
across the straits of Otranto carried the Normans up to the walls of
Salonika, their fleets equipped in Sicily scoured the Aegean, and, before
the eleventh century was out, they had followed up these reconnoitring
expeditions by conducting Latin Christendom on its first crusade. The
crusaders assembled at Constantinople, and the Imperial Government was
relieved when the flood rolled on and spent itself further east. But one
wave was followed by another, and the Empire itself succumbed to the
fourth. In A.D. 1204, Constantinople was stormed by a Venetian flotilla
and the crusading host it conveyed on board, and more treasures of Ancient
Hellenism were destroyed in the sack of its hitherto inviolate citadel
than had ever perished by the hand of Arab or Slav.

With the fall of the capital the Empire dissolved in chaos, Venice and
Genoa, the Italian trading cities whose fortune had been made by the
crusades, now usurped the naval control of the Mediterranean which the
Empire had exercised since Nikiphoros pacified Krete. They seized all
strategical points of vantage on the Aegean coasts, and founded an
'extra-territorial' community at Pera across the Golden Horn, to
monopolize the trade of Constantinople with the Black Sea. The Latins
failed to retain their hold on Constantinople itself, for the puppet
emperors of their own race whom they enthroned there were evicted within a
century by Romaic dynasts, who clung to such fragments of Anatolia as had
escaped the Turk. But the Latin dominion was less ephemeral in the
southernmost Romaic provinces of Europe. The Latins' castles, more
conspicuous than the relics of Hellas, still crown many high hills in
Greece, and their French tongue has added another strain, to the varied
nomenclature of the country.[1] Yet there also pandemonium prevailed.
Burgundian barons, Catalan condottieri, and Florentine bankers snatched
the Duchy of Athens from one another in bewildering succession, while the
French princes of Achaia were at feud with their kindred vassals in the
west of the Peloponnesos whenever they were not resisting the
encroachments of Romaic despots in the south and east. To complete the
anarchy, the non-Romaic peoples in the interior of the Balkan peninsula
had taken the fall of Constantinople as a signal to throw off the Imperial
yoke. In the hinterland of the capital the Bulgars had reconstituted their
kingdom. The Romance-speaking Vlachs of Pindus moved down into the
Thessalian plains. The aboriginal Albanians, who with their back to the
Adriatic had kept the Slavs at bay, asserted their vitality and sent out
migratory swarms to the south, which entered the service of the warring
princelets and by their prowess won broad lands in every part of
continental Greece, where Albanian place-names are to this day only less
common than Slavonic. South-eastern Europe was again in the throes of
social dissolution, and the convulsions continued till they were stilled
impartially by the numbing hand of their ultimate author the Turk.

[Footnote 1: e.g. Klemoutsi, Glarentsa (Clarence) and Gastouni--villages
of the currant district in Peloponnesos--and Sant-Omeri, the mountain that
overlooks them.]

The Seljuk sultanate in Anatolia, shaken by the crusades, had gone the way
of all oriental empires to make room for one of its fractions, which
showed a most un-oriental faculty of organic growth. This was the extreme
march on the north-western rim of the Anatolian plateau, overlooking the
Asiatic littoral of the Sea of Marmora. It had been founded by one of
those Turkish chiefs who migrated with their clans from beyond the Oxus;
and it was consolidated by Othman his son, who extended his kingdom to the
cities on the coast and invested his subjects with his own name. In 1355
the Narrows of Gallipoli passed into Ottoman hands, and opened a bridge to
unexpected conquests in Europe. Serbia and Bulgaria collapsed at the first
attack, and the hosts which marched to liberate them from Hungary and from
France only ministered to Ottoman prestige by their disastrous
discomfiture. Before the close of the fourteenth century the Ottoman
sultan had transferred his capital to Adrianople, and had become
immeasurably the strongest power in the Balkan peninsula.

After that the end came quickly. At Constantinople the Romaic dynasty of
Palaiologos had upheld a semblance of the Empire for more than a century
after the Latin was expelled. But in 1453 the Imperial city fell before
the assault of Sultan Mohammed; and before his death the conqueror
eliminated all the other Romaic and Latin principalities from Peloponnesos
to Trebizond, which had survived as enclaves to mar the uniformity of the
Ottoman domain. Under his successors the tide of Ottoman conquest rolled
on for half a century more over south-eastern Europe, till it was stayed
on land beneath the ramparts of Vienna,[1] and culminated on sea, after
the systematic reduction of the Venetian strongholds, in the capture of
Rhodes from the Knights of St. John.[2] The Romaic race, which had been
split into so many fragments during the dissolution of the Empire, was
reunited again in the sixteenth century under the common yoke of the Turk.

[Footnote 1: 1526.]

[Footnote 2: 1522.]

Even in the Dark Age, Greece had hardly been reduced to so desperate a
condition as now. Through the Dark Age the Greek cities had maintained a
continuous life, but Mohammed II depopulated Constantinople to repeople it
with a Turkish majority from Anatolia. Greek commerce would naturally have
benefited by the ejection of the Italians from the Levant, had not the
Ottoman Government given asylum simultaneously to the Jews expelled from
Spain. These Sephardim established themselves at Constantinople, Salonika,
and all the other commercial centres of the Ottoman dominion, and their
superiority in numbers and industry made them more formidable urban rivals
of the Greeks than the Venetians and Genoese had ever been.

Ousted from the towns, the Greek race depended for its preservation on the
peasantry, yet Greece had never suffered worse rural oppression than under
the Ottoman regime. The sultan's fiscal demands were the least part of the
burden. The paralysing land-tax, collected in kind by irresponsible
middlemen, was an inheritance from the Romaic Empire, and though it was
now reinforced by the special capitation-tax levied by the sultan on his
Christian subjects, the greater efficiency and security of his government
probably compensated for the additional charge. The vitality of Greece was
chiefly sapped by the ruthless military organization of the Ottoman state.
The bulk of the Ottoman army was drawn from a feudal cavalry, bound to
service, as in the mediaeval Latin world, in return for fiefs or 'timaria'
assigned to them by their sovereign; and many beys and agas have
bequeathed their names in perpetuity to the richest villages on the
Messenian and Thessalian plains, to remind the modern peasant that his
Christian ancestors once tilled the soil as serfs of a Moslem timariot.
But the sultan, unlike his western contemporaries, was not content with
irregular troops, and the serf-communes of Greece had to deliver up a
fifth of their male children every fourth year to be trained at
Constantinople as professional soldiers and fanatical Moslems. This corps
of 'Janissaries'[1] was founded in the third generation of the Ottoman
dynasty, and was the essential instrument of its military success. One
race has never appropriated and exploited the vitality of another in so
direct or so brutal a fashion, and the institution of 'tribute-children',
so long as it lasted, effectually prevented any recovery of the Greek
nation from the untimely blows which had stricken it down.

[Footnote 1: Yeni Asker--New soldiery.]


_The Awakening of the Nation_

During the two centuries that followed the Ottoman conquest of
Constantinople, the Greek race was in serious danger of annihilation. Its
life-blood was steadily absorbed into the conquering community--quite
regularly by the compulsory tribute of children and spasmodically by the
voluntary conversion of individual households. The rich apostasized,
because too heavy a material sacrifice was imposed upon them by loyalty to
their national religion; the destitute, because they could not fail to
improve their prospects by adhering to the privileged faith. Even the
surviving organization of the Church had only been spared by the Ottoman
Government in order to facilitate its own political system--by bringing
the peasant, through the hierarchy of priest, bishop, and patriarch, under
the moral control of the new Moslem master whom the ecclesiastics
henceforth served.

The scale on which wholesale apostasy was possible is shown by the case of
Krete, which was conquered by the Turks from Venice just after these two
centuries had closed, and was in fact the last permanent addition to the
Turkish Empire. No urban or feudal settlers of Turkish blood were imported
into the island. To this day the uniform speech of all Kretans is their
native Greek. And yet the progressive conversion of whole clans and
villages had transferred at least 20 per cent. of the population to the
Moslem ranks before the Ottoman connexion was severed again in 1897.

The survival of the Greek nationality did not depend on any efforts of the
Greeks themselves. They were indeed no longer capable of effort, but lay
passive under the hand of the Turk, like the paralysed quarry of some
beast of prey. Their fate was conditional upon the development of the
Ottoman state, and, as the two centuries drew to a close, that state
entered upon a phase of transformation and of consequent weakness.

The Ottoman organism has always displayed (and never more conspicuously
than at the present moment) a much greater stability and vitality than any
of its oriental predecessors. There was a vein of genius in its creators,
and its youthful expansion permeated it with so much European blood that
it became partly Europeanized in its inner tissues--sufficiently to
partake, at any rate, in that faculty of indefinite organic growth which
has so far revealed itself in European life. This acquired force has
carried it on since the time when the impetus of its original institutions
became spent--a time when purely oriental monarchies fall to pieces, and
when Turkey herself hesitated between reconstruction and dissolution. That
critical period began for her with the latter half of the seventeenth
century, and incidentally opened new opportunities of life to her subject

Substantial relief from their burdens--the primary though negative
condition of national revival--accrued to the Greek peasantry from the
decay of Ottoman militarism in all its branches. The Turkish feudal
aristocracy, which had replaced the landed nobility of the Romaic Empire
in Anatolia and established itself on the choicest lands in conquered
Europe, was beginning to decline in strength. We have seen that it failed
to implant itself in Krete, and its numbers were already stationary
elsewhere. The Greek peasant slowly began to regain ground upon his Moslem
lord, and he profited further by the degeneration of the janissary corps
at the heart of the empire.

The janissaries had started as a militant, almost monastic body, condemned
to celibacy, and recruited exclusively from the Christian
tribute-children. But in 1566 they extorted the privilege of legal
marriage for themselves, and of admittance into the corps for the sons of
their wedlock. The next century completed their transformation from a
standing army into a hereditary urban militia--an armed and privileged
_bourgeoisie_, rapidly increasing in numbers and correspondingly jealous
of extraneous candidates for the coveted vacancies in their ranks. They
gradually succeeded in abolishing the enrolment of Christian recruits
altogether, and the last regular levy of children for that purpose was
made in 1676. Vested interests at Constantinople had freed the helpless
peasant from the most crushing burden of all.

At the same moment the contemporary tendency in western Europe towards
bureaucratic centralization began to extend itself to the Ottoman Empire.
Its exponents were the brothers Achmet and Mustapha Koeprili, who held the
grand-vizierate in succession. They laid the foundations of a centralized
administration, and, since the unadaptable Turk offered no promising
material for their policy, they sought their instruments in the subject
race. The continental Greeks were too effectively crushed to aspire beyond
the preservation of their own existence; but the islands had been less
sorely tried, and Khios, which had enjoyed over two centuries[1] of
prosperity under the rule of a Genoese chartered company, and exchanged it
for Ottoman sovereignty under peculiarly lenient conditions, could still
supply Achmet a century later with officials of the intelligence and
education he required, Khiots were the first to fill the new offices of
'Dragoman of the Porte' (secretary of state) and 'Dragoman of the Fleet'
(civil complement of the Turkish capitan-pasha); and they took care in
their turn to staff the subordinate posts of their administration with a
host of pushing friends and dependants. The Dragoman of the Fleet wielded
the fiscal, and thereby in effect the political, authority over the Greek
islands in the Aegean; but this was not the highest power to which the new
Greek bureaucracy attained. Towards the beginning of the eighteenth
century Moldavia and Wallachia--the two 'Danubian Provinces' now united in
the kingdom of Rumania--were placed in charge of Greek officials with the
rank of voivode or prince, and with practically sovereign power within
their delegated dominions. A Danubian principality became the reward of a
successful dragoman's career, and these high posts were rapidly
monopolized by a close ring of official families, who exercised their
immense patronage in favour of their race, and congregated round the Greek
patriarch in the 'Phanari',[2] the Constantinopolitan slum assigned him
for his residence by Mohammed the Conqueror.

[Footnote 1: 1346-1566.]

[Footnote 2: 'Lighthouse-quarter.']

The alliance of this parvenu 'Phanariot' aristocracy with the conservative
Orthodox Church was not unnatural, for the Church itself had greatly
extended its political power under Ottoman suzerainty. The Ottoman
Government hardly regarded its Christian subjects as integral members of
the state, and was content to leave their civil government in the hands of
their spiritual pastors to an extent the Romaic emperors would never have
tolerated. It allowed the Patriarchate at Constantinople to become its
official intermediary with the Greek race, and it further extended the
Greek patriarch's authority over the other conquered populations of
Orthodox faith--Bulgars, Rumans, and Serbs--which had never been
incorporated in the ecclesiastical or political organization of the Romaic
Empire, but which learnt under Ottoman rule to receive their priests and
bishops from the Greek ecclesiastics of the capital, and even to call
themselves by the Romaic name. In 1691 Mustapha Koeprili recognized and
confirmed the rights of all Christian subjects of the Sultan by a general
organic law.

Mustapha's 'New Ordinance' was dictated by the reverses which Christians
beyond the frontier were inflicting upon the Ottoman arms, for pressure
from without had followed hard upon disintegration within. Achmet's
pyrrhic triumph over Candia in 1669 was followed in 1683 by his brother
Mustapha's disastrous discomfiture before the walls of Vienna, and these
two sieges marked the turn of the Ottoman tide. The ebb was slow, yet the
ascendancy henceforth lay with Turkey's Christian neighbours, and they
began to cut short her frontiers on every side.

The Venetians had never lost hold upon the 'Ionian' chain of islands--
Corfu, Cefalonia, Zante, and Cerigo--which flank the western coast of
Greece, and in 1685 they embarked on an offensive on the mainland, which
won them undisputed possession of Peloponnesos for twenty years.[1] Venice
was far nearer than Turkey to her dissolution, and spent the last spasm of
her energy on this ephemeral conquest. Yet she had maintained the contact
of the Greek race with western Europe during the two centuries of despair,
and the interlude of her rule in Peloponnesos was a fitting culmination to
her work; for, brief though it was, it effectively broke the Ottoman
tradition, and left behind it a system of communal self-government among
the Peloponnesian Greeks which the returning Turk was too feeble to sweep
away. The Turks gained nothing by the rapid downfall of Venice, for
Austria as rapidly stepped into her place, and pressed with fresh vigour
the attack from the north-west. North-eastward, too, a new enemy had
arisen in Russia, which had been reorganized towards the turn of the
century by Peter the Great with a radical energy undreamed of by any
Turkish Koeprili, and which found its destiny in opposition to the Ottoman
Empire. The new Orthodox power regarded itself as the heir of the Romaic
Empire from which it had received its first Christianity and culture. It
aspired to repay the Romaic race in adversity by championing it against
its Moslem oppressors, and sought its own reward in a maritime outlet on
the Black Sea. From the beginning of the eighteenth century Russia
repeatedly made war on Turkey, either with or without the co-operation of
Austria; but the decisive bout in the struggle was the war of 1769-74. A
Russian fleet appeared in the Mediterranean, raised an insurrection in
Peloponnesos, and destroyed the Turkish squadron in battle. The Russian
armies were still more successful on the steppes, and the Treaty of
Kutchuk Kainardji not only left the whole north coast of the Black Sea in
Russia's possession, but contained an international sanction for the
rights of the sultan's Orthodox subjects. In 1783 a supplementary
commercial treaty extorted for the Ottoman Greeks the right to trade under
the Russian flag. The territorial sovereignty of Turkey in the Aegean
remained intact, but the Russian guarantee gave the Greek race a more
substantial security than the shadowy ordinance of Mustapha Koeprili. The
paralysing prestige of the Porte was broken, and Greek eyes were
henceforth turned in hope towards Petersburg.

[Footnote 1: 1699-1718.]

By the end of the eighteenth century the condition of the Greeks had in
fact changed remarkably for the better, and the French and English
travellers who now began to visit the Ottoman Empire brought away the
impression that a critical change in its internal equilibrium was at hand.
The Napoleonic wars had just extinguished the Venetian Republic and swept
the Ionian Islands into the struggle between England and France for the
mastery of the Mediterranean. England had fortified herself in Cefalonia
and Zante, France in Corfu, and interest centred on the opposite mainland,
where Ali Pasha of Yannina maintained a formidable neutrality towards
either power.

The career of Ali marked that phase in the decline of an Oriental empire
when the task of strong government becomes too difficult for the central
authority and is carried on by independent satraps with greater efficiency
in their more limited sphere. Ali governed the Adriatic hinterland with
practically sovereign power, and compelled the sultan for some years to
invest his sons with the pashaliks of Thessaly and Peloponnesos. The
greater part of the Greek race thus came in some degree under his control,
and his policy towards it clearly reflected the transition from the old to
the new. He waged far more effective war than the distant sultan upon
local liberties, and, though the elimination of the feudal Turkish
landowner was pure gain to the Greeks, they suffered themselves from the
loss of traditional privileges which the original Ottoman conquest had
left intact. The Armatoli, a local Christian militia who kept order in the
mountainous mainland north of Peloponnesos where Turkish feudatories were
rare, were either dispersed by Ali or enrolled in his regular army. And he
was ruthless in the extermination of recalcitrant communities, like
Agrapha on the Aspropotarno, which had never been inscribed on the
taxation-rolls of the Romaic or the Ottoman treasury, or Suli, a robber
clan ensconced in the mountains Immediately west of Ali's capital. On the
other hand, the administration of these pacified and consolidated
dominions became as essentially Greek in character as the Phanariot regime
beyond the Danube. Ali was a Moslem and an Albanian, but the Orthodox
Greeks were in a majority among his subjects, and he knew how to take
advantage of their abilities. His business was conducted by Greek
secretaries in the Greek tongue, and Yannina, his capital, was a Greek
city. European visitors to Yannina (for every one began the Levantine tour
by paying his respects to Ali) were struck by the enterprise and
intelligence of its citizens. The doctors were competent, because they had
taken their education in Italy or France; the merchants were prosperous,
because they had established members of their family at Odessa, Trieste,
or even Hamburg, as permanent agents of their firm. A new Greek
_bourgeoisie_ had arisen, in close contact with the professional life of
western Europe, and equally responsive to the new philosophical and
political ideas that were being propagated by the French Revolution.

This intellectual ferment was the most striking change of all. Since the
sack of Constantinople in 1204, Greek culture had retired into the
monasteries--inaccessible fastnesses where the monks lived much the same
life as the clansmen of Suli or Agrapha. Megaspelaion, the great cave
quarried in the wall of a precipitous Peloponnesian ravine; Meteora,
suspended on half a dozen isolated pinnacles of rock in Thessaly, where
the only access was by pulley or rope-ladder; 'Ayon Oros', the
confederation of monasteries great and small upon the mountain-promontory
of Athos--these succeeded in preserving a shadow of the old tradition, at
the cost of isolation from all humane influences that might have kept
their spiritual inheritance alive. Their spirit was mediaeval,
ecclesiastical, and as barren as their sheltering rocks; and the new
intellectual disciples of Europe turned to the monasteries in vain. The
biggest ruin on Athos is a boys' school planned in the eighteenth century
to meet the educational needs of all the Orthodox in the Ottoman Empire,
and wrecked on the reefs of monastic obscurantism. But its founder, the
Corfiot scholar Evyenios Voulgaris, did not hesitate to break with the
past. He put his own educational ideas into practice at Yannina and
Constantinople, and contributed to the great achievement of his
contemporary, the Khiot Adhamandios Korais, who settled in Paris and there
evolved a literary adaptation of the Romaic patois to supersede the
lifeless travesty of Attic style traditionally affected by ecclesiastical
penmen. But the renaissance was not confined to Greeks abroad. The school
on Athos failed, but others established themselves before the close of the
eighteenth century in the people's midst, even in the smaller towns and
the remoter villages. The still flourishing secondary school of
Dhimitzana, in the heart of Peloponnesos, began its existence in this
period, and the national revival found expression in a new name. Its
prophets repudiated the 'Romaic' name, with its associations of ignorance
and oppression, and taught their pupils to think of themselves as
'Hellenes' and to claim in their own right the intellectual and political
liberty of the Ancient Greeks.

This spiritual 'Hellenism', however, was only one manifestation of
returning vitality, and was ultimately due to the concrete economic
development with which it went hand in hand. The Greeks, who had found
culture in western Europe, had come there for trade, and their commercial
no less than their intellectual activity reacted in a penetrating way upon
their countrymen at home. A mountain village like Ambelakia in Thessaly
found a regular market for its dyed goods in Germany, and the commercial
treaty of 1783 between Turkey and Russia encouraged communities which
could make nothing of the land to turn their attention to the sea.
Galaxhidi, a village on the northern shore of the Korinthian Gulf, whose
only asset was its natural harbour, and Hydhra, Spetza, and Psara, three
barren little islands in the Aegean, had begun to lay the foundations of a
merchant marine, when Napoleon's boycott and the British blockade, which
left no neutral flag but the Ottoman in the Mediterranean, presented the
Greek shipmen that sailed under it with an opportunity they exploited to
the full. The whitewashed houses of solid stone, rising tier above tier up
the naked limestone mountainside, still testify to the prosperity which
chance thus suddenly brought to the Hydhriots and their fellow islanders,
and did not withdraw again till it had enabled them to play a decisive
part in their nation's history.

Their ships were small, but they were home-built, skilfully navigated, and
profitably employed in the carrying trade of the Mediterranean ports.
Their economic life was based on co-operation, for the sailors, as well as
the captain and owner of the ship, who were generally the same person,
took shares in the outlay and profit of each voyage; but their political
organization was oligarchical--an executive council elected by and from
the owners of the shipping. Feud and intrigue were rife between family and
family, class and class, and between the native community and the resident
aliens, without seriously affecting the vigour and enterprise of the
commonwealth as a whole. These seafaring islands on the eve of the modern
Greek Revolution were an exact reproduction of the Aigina, Korinth, and
Athens which repelled the Persian from Ancient Greece. The germs of a new
national life were thus springing up among the Greeks in every direction--
in mercantile colonies scattered over the world from Odessa to Alexandria
and from Smyrna to Trieste; among Phanariot princes in the Danubian
Provinces and their ecclesiastical colleagues at Constantinople; in the
islands of the Aegean and the Ionian chain, and upon the mountains of Suli
and Agrapha. But the ambitions this national revival aroused were even
greater than the reality itself. The leaders of the movement did not
merely aspire to liberate the Greek nation from the Turkish yoke. They
were conscious of the assimilative power their nationality possessed. The
Suliots, for example, were an immigrant Albanian tribe, who had learnt to
speak Greek from the Greek peasants over whom they tyrannized. The
Hydhriot and Spetziot islanders were Albanians too, who had even clung to
their primitive language during the two generations since they took up
their present abode, but had become none the less firmly linked to their
Greek-speaking neighbours in Peloponnesos by their common fellowship in
the Orthodox Church. The numerous Albanian colonies settled up and down
the Greek continent were at least as Greek in feeling as they. And why
should not the same prove true of the Bulgarian population, in the
Balkans, who had belonged from the beginning to the Orthodox Church, and
had latterly been brought by improvident Ottoman policy within the Greek
patriarch's fold? Or why should not the Greek administrators beyond the
Danube imbue their Ruman subjects with a sound Hellenic sentiment? In
fact, the prophets of Hellenism did not so much desire to extricate the
Greek nation from the Ottoman Empire as to make it the ruling element in
the empire itself by ejecting the Moslem Turks from their privileged
position and assimilating all populations of Orthodox faith. These dreams
took shape in the foundation of a secret society--the 'Philiki Hetairia'
or 'League of Friends'--which established itself at Odessa in 1814 with
the connivence of the Russian police, and opened a campaign of propaganda
in anticipation of an opportunity to strike.

The initiative came from the Ottoman Government itself. At the weakest
moment in its history the empire found in Sultan Mahmud a ruler of
peculiar strength, who saw that the only hope of overcoming his dangers
lay in meeting them half-way. The national movement of Hellenism was
gathering momentum in the background, but it was screened by the personal
ambitions of Ali of Yannina, and Mahmud reckoned to forestall both enemies
by quickly striking Ali down.

In the winter of 1819-20 Ali was outlawed, and in the spring the invasion
of his territories began. Both the Moslem combatants enlisted Christian
Armatoli, and all continental Greece was under arms. By the end of the
summer Ali's outlying strongholds had fallen, his armies were driven in,
and he himself was closely invested in Yannina; but with autumn a deadlock
set in, and the sultan's reckoning was thrown out. In November 1820 the
veteran soldier Khurshid was appointed to the pashalik of Peloponnesos to
hold the Greeks in check and close accounts with Ali. In March 1821, after
five months spent in organizing his province, Khurshid felt secure enough
to leave it for the Yannina lines. But he was mistaken; for within a month
of his departure Peloponnesos was ablaze.

The 'Philiki Hetairia' had decided to act, and the Peloponnesians
responded enthusiastically to the signal. In the north Germanos,
metropolitan bishop of Patras, rallied the insurgents at the monastery of
Megaspelaion, and unfurled the monastic altar-cloth as a national
standard. In the south the peninsula of Maina, which had been the latest
refuge of ancient Hellenism, was now the first to welcome the new, and to
throw off the shadowy allegiance it had paid for a thousand years to
Romaic archonts and Ottoman capitan-pashas. Led by Petros Mavromichalis,
the chief of the leading clan, the Mainates issued from their mountains.
This was in April, and by the middle of May all the open country had been
swept clear, and the hosts joined hands before Tripolitza, which was the
seat of Ottoman government at the central point of the province. The
Turkish garrison attacked, but was heavily defeated at Valtetzi by the
tactical skill of Theodore Kolokotronis the 'klepht', who had become
experienced in guerrilla warfare through his alternate professions of
brigand and gendarme--a career that had increased its possibilities as
the Ottoman system decayed. After Kolokotronis's victory, the Greeks kept
Tripolitza under a close blockade. Early in October it fell amid frightful
scenes of pillage and massacre, and Ottoman dominion in the Peloponnesos
fell with it. On January 22, 1822, Korinth, the key to the isthmus, passed
into the Greeks' hands, and only four fortresses--Nauplia, Patras, Koron,
and Modhon--still held out within it against Greek investment. Not a Turk
survived in the Peloponnesos beyond their walls, for the slaughter at
Tripolitza was only the most terrible instance of what happened wherever a
Moslem colony was found. In Peloponnesos, at any rate, the revolution had
been grimly successful.

There had also been successes at sea. The merchant marine of the Greek
islands had suffered grievously from the fall of Napoleon and the
settlement at Vienna, which, by restoring normal conditions of trade, had
destroyed their abnormal monopoly. The revolution offered new
opportunities for profitable venture, and in April 1821 Hydhra, Spetza and
Psara hastened to send a privateering fleet to sea. As soon as the fleet
crossed the Aegean, Samos rid itself of the Turks. At the beginning of
June the rickety Ottoman squadron issued from the Dardanelles, but it was
chased back by the islanders under the lee of Mitylini. Memories of
Russian naval tactics in 1770 led the Psariots to experiment in
fire-ships, and one of the two Turkish ships of the line fell a victim to
this attack. Within a week of setting sail, the diminished Turkish
squadron was back again in the Dardanelles, and the islanders were left
with the command of the sea.

The general Christian revolution thus seemed fairly launched, and in the
first panic the threatened Moslems began reprisals of an equally general
kind. In the larger Turkish cities there were massacres of Christian
minorities, and the Government lent countenance to them by murdering its
own principal Christian official Gregorios, the Greek patriarch at
Constantinople, on April 22, 1821. But Sultan Mahmud quickly recovered
himself. He saw that his empire could not survive a racial war, and
determined to prevent the present revolt from assuming such a character.
His plan was to localize it by stamping out the more distant sparks with
all his energy, before concentrating his force at leisure upon the main

This policy was justified by the event. On March 6 the 'Philiki Hetairia'
at Odessa had opened its own operations in grandiose style by sending a
filibustering expedition across the Russo-Turkish frontier under command
of Prince Alexander Hypsilantis, a Phanariot in the Russian service.
Hypsilantis played for a general revolt of the Ruman population in the
Danubian Principalities and a declaration of war against Turkey on the
part of Russia. But the Rumans had no desire to assist the Greek
bureaucrats who oppressed them, and the Tsar Alexander had been converted
by the experiences of 1812-13 to a pacifistic respect for the _status
quo_. Prince Hypsilantis was driven ignominiously to internment across the
Austrian frontier, little more than a hundred days after his expedition
began; and his fiasco assured the Ottoman Government of two encouraging
facts--that the revolution would not carry away the whole Orthodox
population but would at any rate confine itself to the Greeks; and that
the struggle against it would be fought out for the present, at least,
without foreign intervention.

In the other direction, however, rebellion was spreading northward from
Peloponnesos to continental Greece. Galaxidhi revolted in April, and was
followed in June by Mesolonghi--a prosperous town of fishermen,
impregnably situated in the midst of the lagoons at the mouth of the
Aspropotamo, beyond the narrows of the Korinthian Gulf. By the end of the
month, north-western Greece was free as far as the outposts of Khurshid
Pasha beyond the Gulf of Arta.

Further eastward, again, in the mountains between the Gulf of Korinth and
the river Elladha (Sperkheios), the Armatoli of Ali's faction had held
their ground, and gladly joined the revolution on the initiative of their
captains Dhiakos and Odhyssevs. But the movement found its limits. The
Turkish garrison of Athens obstinately held out during the winter of
1821-2, and the Moslems of Negrepont (Euboia) maintained their mastery in
the island. In Agrapha they likewise held their own, and, after one
severely punished raid, the Agraphiot Armatoli were induced to re-enter
the sultan's service on liberal terms. The Vlachs in the gorges of the
Aspropotamo were pacified with equal success; and Dramali, Khurshid's
lieutenant, who guarded the communications between the army investing
Yannina and its base at Constantinople, was easily able to crush all
symptoms of revolt in Thessaly from his head-quarters at Larissa. Still
further east, the autonomous Greek villages on the mountainous
promontories of Khalkidhiki had revolted in May, in conjunction with the
well-supplied and massively fortified monasteries of the 'Ayon Oros'; but
the Pasha of Salonika called down the South Slavonic Moslem landowners
from the interior, sacked the villages, and amnestied the monastic
confederation on condition of establishing a Turkish garrison in their
midst and confiscating their arms. The monks' compliance was assisted by
the excommunication under which the new patriarch at Constantinople had
placed all the insurgents by the sultan's command.

The movement was thus successfully localised on the European continent,
and further afield it was still more easily cut short. After the
withdrawal of the Turkish squadron, the Greek fleet had to look on at the
systematic destruction of Kydhonies,[1] a flourishing Greek industrial
town on the mainland opposite Mitylini which had been founded under the
sultan's auspices only forty years before. All that the islanders could do
was to take off the survivors in their boats; and when they dispersed to
their ports in autumn, the Ottoman ships came out again from the
Dardanelles, sailed round Peloponnesos into the Korinthian Gulf, and
destroyed Galaxidhi. A still greater catastrophe followed the reopening of
naval operations next spring. In March 1822 the Samians landed a force on
Khios and besieged the Turkish garrison, which was relieved after three
weeks by the arrival of the Ottoman fleet. A month later the Greek fleet
likewise appeared on the scene, and on June 18 a Psariot captain,
Constantine Kanaris, actually destroyed the Ottoman flag-ship by a daring
fire-ship attack. Upon this the Ottoman fleet fled back as usual to the
Dardanelles; yet the only consequence was the complete devastation, in
revenge, of helpless Khios. The long-shielded prosperity of the island was
remorselessly destroyed, the people were either enslaved or massacred, and
the victorious fleet had to stand by as passively this time as at the
destruction of Kydhonies the season before. In the following summer,
again, the same fate befell Trikeri, a maritime community on the Gulf of
Volo which had gained its freedom when the rest of Thessaly stirred in
vain; and so in 1823 the revolution found itself confined on sea, as well
as on land, to the focus where it had originated in April 1821.

[Footnote 1: Turkish Aivali.]

This isolation was a practical triumph for Sultan Mahmud. The maintenance
of the Ottoman Empire on the basis of Moslem ascendancy was thereby
assured; but it remained to be seen whether the isolated area could now be
restored to the _status quo_ in which the rest of his dominions had been

During the whole season of 1821 the army of Khurshid had been held before
Yannina. But in February 1822 Yannina fell, Ali was slain, his treasure
seized, and his troops disbanded. The Ottoman forces were liberated for a
counterattack on Peloponnesos. Already in April Khurshid broke up his camp
at Larissa, and his lieutenant Dramali was given command of the new
expedition towards the south. He crossed the Sperkheios at the beginning
of July with an army of twenty thousand men.[1] Athens had capitulated to
Odhyssevs ten days before; but it had kept open the road for Dramali, and
north-eastern Greece fell without resistance into his hands. The citadel
of Korinth surrendered as tamely as the open country, and he was master of
the isthmus before the end of the month. Nauplia meanwhile had been
treating with its besiegers for terms, and would have surrendered to the
Greeks already if they had not driven their bargain so hard. Dramali
hurried on southward into the plain to the fortress's relief, raised the
siege, occupied the town of Argos, and scattered the Greek forces into the
hills. But the citadel of Argos held out against him, and the positions
were rapidly reversed. Under the experienced direction of Kolokotronis,
the Greeks from their hill-fastnesses ringed round the plain of Argos and
scaled up every issue. Dramali's supplies ran out. An attempt of his
vanguard to break through again towards the north was bloodily repulsed,
and he barely succeeded two days later in extricating the main body in a
demoralized condition, with the loss of all his baggage-train. The Turkish
army melted away, Dramali was happy to die at Korinth, and Khurshid was
executed by the sultan's command. The invasion of Peloponnesos had broken
down, and nothing could avert the fall of Nauplia. The Ottoman fleet
hovered for one September week in the offing, but Kanaris's fire-ships
took another ship of the line in toll at the roadsteads of Tenedos before
it safely regained the Dardanelles. The garrison of Nauplia capitulated in
December, on condition of personal security and liberty, and the captain
of a British frigate, which arrived on the spot, took measures that the
compact should be observed instead of being broken by the customary
massacre. But the strongest fortress in Peloponnesos was now in Greek

[Footnote 1: Including a strong contingent of Moslem Slavs--Bulgarian
Pomaks from the Aegean hinterland and Serbian Bosniaks from the Adriatic.]

In the north-west the season had not passed so well. When the Turks
invested Ali in Yannina, they repatriated the Suliot exiles in their
native mountains. But a strong sultan was just as formidable to the
Suliots as a strong pasha, so they swelled their ranks by enfranchising
their peasant-serfs, and made common cause with their old enemy in his
adversity. Now that Ali was destroyed, the Suliots found themselves in a
precarious position, and turned to the Greeks for aid. But on July 16 the
Greek advance was checked by a severe defeat at Petta in the plain of
Arta. In September the Suliots evacuated their impregnable fortresses in
return for a subsidy and a safe-conduct, and Omer Vrioni, the Ottoman
commander in the west,[1] was free to advance in turn towards the south.
On November 6 he actually laid siege to Mesolonghi, but here his
experiences were as discomfiting as Dramali's. He could not keep open his
communications, and after heavy losses retreated again to Arta in January

[Footnote 1: He was a renegade officer of Ali's.]

In 1823 the struggle seemed to be lapsing into stalemate. The liberated
Peloponnesos had failed to propagate the revolution through the remainder
of the Ottoman Empire; the Ottoman Government had equally failed to
reconquer the Peloponnesos by military invasion. This season's operations
only seemed to emphasize the deadlock. The Ottoman commander in the west
raised an auxiliary force of Moslem and Catholic clansmen from northern
Albania, and attempted to reach Mesolonghi once more. But he penetrated no
further than Anatolikon--the Mesolonghiots' outpost village at the head of
the lagoons--and the campaign was only memorable for the heroic death of
Marko Botzaris the Suliot in a night attack upon the Ottoman camp. At sea,
the two fleets indulged in desultory cruises without an encounter, for the
Turks were still timid and incompetent, while the growing insubordination
and dissension on the Greek ships made concerted action there, too,
impossible. By the end of the season it was clear that the struggle could
only definitively be decided by the intervention of a third party on one
side or the other--unless the Greeks brought their own ruin upon

This indeed was not unlikely to happen; for the new house of Hellenism had
hardly arisen before it became desperately divided against itself. The
vitality of the national movement resided entirely in the local communes.
It was they that had found the fighting men, kept them armed and supplied,
and by spontaneous co-operation expelled the Turk from Peloponnesos. But
if the co-operation was to be permanent it must have a central
organization, and with the erection of this superstructure the troubles
began. As early as June 1821 a 'Peloponnesian Senate' was constituted and
at once monopolized by the 'Primates', the propertied class that had been
responsible for the communal taxes under the Romaic and Ottoman regimes
and was allowed to control the communal government in return. About the
same time two Phanariot princes threw in their lot with the revolution--
Alexander Mavrokordatos and Demetrius, the more estimable brother of the
futile Alexander Hypsilantis. Both were saturated with the most recent
European political theory, and they committed the peasants and seamen of
the liberated districts to an ambitious constitutionalism. In December
1821 a 'National Assembly' met at Epidauros, passed an elaborate organic
law, and elected Mavrokordatos first president of the Hellenic Republic.

The struggle for life and death in 1822 had staved off the internal
crisis, but the Peloponnesian Senate remained obstinately recalcitrant
towards the National Government in defence of its own vested interests;
and the insubordination of the fleet in 1823 was of one piece with the
political faction which broke out as soon as the immediate danger from
without was removed.

Towards the end of 1823 European 'Philhellenes' began to arrive in Greece.
In those dark days of reaction that followed Waterloo, self-liberated
Hellas seemed the one bright spot on the continent; but the idealists who
came to offer her their services were confronted with a sorry spectacle.
The people were indifferent to their leaders, and the leaders at variance
among themselves. The gentlemanly Phanariots had fallen into the
background. Mavrokordatos only retained influence in north-western Greece.
In Peloponnesos the Primates were all-powerful, and Kolokotronis the
klepht was meditating a popular dictatorship at their expense. In the
north-east the adventurer Odhyssevs had won a virtual dictatorship
already, and was suspected of intrigue with the Turks; and all this
factious dissension rankled into civil war as soon as the contraction of a
loan in Great Britain had invested the political control of the Hellenic
Republic with a prospective value in cash. The first civil war was fought
between Kolokotronis on the one side and the Primates of Hydhra and
Peloponnesos on the other; but the issue was decided against Kolokotronis
by the adhesion to the coalition of Kolettis the Vlach, once physician to
Mukhtar Pasha, the son of Ali, and now political agent for all the
northern Armatoli in the national service. The fighting lasted from
November 1823 to June 1824, and was followed by another outbreak in
November of the latter year, when the victors quarrelled over the spoils,
and the Primates were worsted in turn by the islanders and the Armatoli.
The nonentity Kondouriottis of Hydhra finally emerged as President of
Greece, with the sharp-witted Kolettis as his principal wire-puller, but
the disturbances did not cease till the last instalment of the loan had
been received and squandered and there was no more spoil to fight for.

Meanwhile, Sultan Mahmud had been better employed. Resolved to avert
stalemate by the only possible means, he had applied in the course of 1823
to Mohammed Ali Pasha of Egypt, a more formidable, though more distant,
satrap than Ali of Yannina himself. Mohammed Ali had a standing army and
navy organized on the European model. He had also a son Ibrahim, who knew
how to manoeuvre them, and was ambitious of a kingdom. Mahmud hired the
father's troops and the son's generalship for the re-conquest of
Peloponnesos, under engagement to invest Ibrahim with the pashalik as soon
as he should effectively make it his own. By this stroke of diplomacy a
potential rebel was turned into a willing ally, and the preparations for
the Egyptian expedition went forward busily through the winter of 1823-4.

The plan of campaign was systematically carried out. During the season of
respite the Greek islanders had harried the coasts and commerce of
Anatolia and Syria at will. The first task was to deprive them of their
outposts in the Aegean, and an advanced squadron of the Egyptian fleet
accordingly destroyed the community of Kasos in June 1824, while the
Ottoman squadron sallied out of the Dardanelles a month later and dealt
out equal measure to Psara. The two main flotillas then effected a
junction off Rhodes; and, though the crippled Greek fleet still ventured
pluckily to confront them, it could not prevent Ibrahim from casting
anchor safely in Soudha Bay and landing his army to winter in Krete. In
February 1825 he transferred these troops with equal impunity to the
fortress of Modhon, which was still held for the sultan by an Ottoman
garrison. The fire-ships of Hydhra came to harry his fleet too late, and
on land the Greek forces were impotent against his trained soldiers. The
Government in vain promoted Kolokotronis from captivity to
commandership-in-chief. The whole south-western half of Peloponnesos
passed into Ibrahim's hands, and in June 1825 he even penetrated as far as
the mills of Lerna on the eastern coast, a few miles south of Argos

At the same time the Ottoman army of the west moved south again under a
new commander, Rashid Pasha of Yannina, and laid final siege on April 27
to Mesolonghi, just a year after Byron had died of fever within its walls.
The Greeks were magnificent in their defence of these frail mud-bastions,
and they more than held their own in the amphibious warfare of the
lagoons. The struggle was chequered by the continual coming and going of
the Greek and Ottoman fleets. They were indeed the decisive factor; for
without the supporting squadron Rashid would have found himself in the
same straits as his predecessors at the approach of autumn, while the
slackness of the islanders in keeping the sea allowed Mesolonghi to be
isolated in January 1826. The rest was accomplished by the arrival of
Ibrahim on the scene. His heavy batteries opened fire in February; his
gunboats secured command of the lagoons, and forced Anatolikon to
capitulate in March. In April provisions in Mesolonghi itself gave out,
and, scorning surrender, the garrison--men, women, and children together--
made a general sortie on the night of April 22. Four thousand fell, three
thousand were taken, and two thousand won through. It was a glorious end
for Mesolonghi, but it left the enemy in possession of all north-western

The situation was going from bad to worse. Ibrahim returned to
Peloponnesos, and steadily pushed forward his front, ravaging as steadily
as he went. Rashid, after pacifying the north-west, moved on to the
north-eastern districts, where the national cause had been shaken by the
final treachery and speedy assassination of Odhyssevs. Siege was laid to
Athens in June, and the Greek Government enlisted in vain the military
experience of its Philhellenes. Fabvier held the Akropolis, but
Generalissimo Sir Richard Church was heavily defeated in the spring of
1827 in an attempt to relieve him from the Attic coast; Grand Admiral
Cochrane saw his fleet sail home for want of payment in advance, when he
summoned it for review at Poros; and Karaiskakis, the Greek captain of
Armatoli, was killed in a skirmish during his more successful efforts to
harass Rashid's communications by land. On June 5, 1827, the Greek
garrison of the Akropolis marched out on terms.

It looked as if the Greek effort after independence would be completely
crushed, and as if Sultan Mahmud would succeed in getting his empire under
control. In September 1826 he had rid it at last of the mischief at its
centre by blowing up the janissaries in their barracks at Constantinople.
Turkey seemed almost to have weathered the storm when she was suddenly
overborne by further intervention on the other side.

Tsar Alexander, the vaccillator, died in November 1825, and was succeeded
by his son Nicholas I, as strong a character and as active a will as
Sultan Mahmud himself. Nicholas approached the Greek question without any
disinclination towards a Turkish war; and both Great Britain and France
found an immediate interest in removing a ground of provocation which
might lead to such a rude disturbance of the European 'Balance of Power'.
On July 6, 1827, a month after Athens surrendered, the three powers
concluded a treaty for the pacification of Greece, in which they bound
over both belligerent parties to accept an armistice under pain of
military coercion. An allied squadron appeared off Navarino Bay to enforce
this policy upon the Ottoman and Egyptian fleet which lay united there,
and the intrusion of the allied admirals into the bay itself precipitated
on October 20 a violent naval battle in which the Moslem flotilla was
destroyed. The die was cast; and in April 1828 the Russian and Ottoman
Governments drifted into a formal war, which brought Russian armies across
the Danube as far as Adrianople, and set the Ottoman Empire at bay for the
defence of its capital. Thanks to Mahmud's reorganization, the empire did
not succumb to this assault; but it had no more strength to spare for the
subjugation of Greece. The Greeks had no longer to reckon with the sultan
as a military factor; and in August 1828 they wore relieved of Ibrahim's
presence as well, by the disembarkation of 14,000 French troops in
Peloponnesos to superintend the withdrawal of the Egyptian forces. In
March 1829 the three powers delimited the Greek frontier. The line ran
east and west from the Gulf of Volo to the Gulf of Arta, and assigned to
the new state no more and no less territory than the districts that had
effectively asserted their independence against the sultan in 1821. This
settlement was the only one possible under the circumstances; but it was
essentially transitory, for it neglected the natural line of nationality
altogether, and left a numerical majority of the Greek race, as well as
the most important centres of its life, under the old regime of servitude.

Even the liberated area was not at the end of its troubles. In the spring
of 1827, when they committed themselves into the hands of their foreign
patrons, the Greeks had found a new president for the republic in John
Kapodistrias, an intimate of Alexander the tsar. Kapodistrias was a
Corfiote count, with a Venetian education and a career in the Russian
diplomatic service, and no one could have been more fantastically
unsuitable for the task of reconstructing the country to which he was
called. Kapodistrias' ideal was the _fin-de-siecle_ 'police-state'; but
'official circles' did not exist in Greece, and he had no acquaintance
with the peasants and sailors whom he hoped to redeem by bureaucracy. He
instituted a hierarchically centralized administration which made the
abortive constitution of Mavrokordatos seem sober by comparison; he
trampled on the liberty of the rising press, which was the most hopeful
educational influence in the country; and he created superfluous
ministerial portfolios for his untalented brothers. In fact he reglamented
Greece from his palace at Aigina like a divinely appointed autocrat, from
his arrival in January 1828 till the summer of 1831, when he provoked the
Hydhriots to open rebellion, and commissioned the Russian squadron in
attendance to quell them by a naval action, with the result that Poros was
sacked by the President's regular army and the national fleet was
completely destroyed. After that, he attempted to rule as a military
dictator, and fell foul of the Mavromichalis of Maina. The Mainates knew
better how to deal with the 'police-state' than the Hydhriots; and on
October 9, 1831, Kapodistrias was assassinated in Nauplia, at the church
door, by two representatives of the Mavromichalis clan.

The country lapsed into utter anarchy. Peloponnesians and Armatoli,
Kolokotronists and Kolettists, alternately appointed and deposed
subservient national assemblies and governing commissions by naked
violence, which culminated in a gratuitous and disastrous attack upon the
French troops stationed in Peloponnesos for their common protection. The
three powers realized that it was idle to liberate Greece from Ottoman
government unless they found her another in its place. They decided on
monarchy, and offered the crown, in February 1832, to Prince Otto, a
younger son of the King of Bavaria. The negotiations dragged on many
months longer than Greece could afford to wait. But in July 1832 the
sultan recognized the sovereign independence of the kingdom of Hellas in
consideration of a cash indemnity; and in February 1833, just a year after
the first overtures had been made, the appointed king arrived at Nauplia
with a decorative Bavarian staff and a substantial loan from the allies.


_The Consolidation of the State_

Half the story of Greece is told. We have watched the nation awake and put
forth its newly-found strength in a great war of independence, and we have
followed the course of the struggle to its result--the foundation of the
kingdom of Hellas.

It is impossible to close this chapter of Greek history without a sense of
disappointment. The spirit of Greece had travailed, and only a
principality was born, which gathered within its frontiers scarcely
one-third of the race, and turned for its government to a foreign
administration which had no bond of tradition or affinity with the
population it was to rule. And yet something had been achieved. An oasis
had been wrested from the Turkish wilderness, in which Hellenism could
henceforth work out its own salvation untrammelled, and extend its borders
little by little, until it brought within them at last the whole of its
destined heritage. The fleeting glamour of dawn had passed, but it had
brought the steady light of day, in which the work begun could be carried
out soberly and indefatigably to its conclusion. The new kingdom, in fact,
if it fulfilled its mission, might become the political nucleus and the
spiritual ensample of a permanently awakened nation--an 'education of
Hellas' such as Pericles hoped to see Athens become in the greatest days
of Ancient Greece.

When, therefore, we turn to the history of the kingdom, our disappointment
is all the more intense, for in the first fifty years of its existence
there is little development to record. In 1882 King Otto's principality
presented much the same melancholy spectacle as it did in 1833, when he
landed in Nauplia Bay, except that Otto himself had left the scene. His
Bavarian staff belonged to that reactionary generation that followed the
overthrow of Napoleon in Europe, and attempted, heedless of Kapodistrias'
fiasco, to impose on Greece the bureaucracy of the _ancien regime_. The
Bavarians' work was entirely destructive. The local liberties which had
grown up under the Ottoman dominion and been the very life of the national
revival, were effectively repressed. Hydhriot and Spetziot, Suliot and
Mainate, forfeited their characteristic individuality, but none of the
benefits of orderly and uniform government were realized. The canker of
brigandage defied all efforts to root it out, and in spite of the loans
with which the royal government was supplied by the protecting powers, the
public finance was subject to periodical breakdowns. In 1837 King Otto,
now of age, took the government into his own hands, only to have it taken
out of them again by a revolution in 1843. Thereafter he reigned as a
constitutional monarch, but he never reconciled himself to the position,
and in 1862 a second revolution drove him into exile, a scapegoat for the
afflictions of his kingdom. Bavarian then gave place to Dane, yet the
afflictions continued. In 1882 King George had been nineteen years on the
throne[1] without any happier fortune than his predecessor's. It is true
that the frontiers of the kingdom had been somewhat extended. Great
Britain had presented the new sovereign with the Ionian Islands as an
inaugural gift, and the Berlin Conference had recently added the province
of Thessaly. Yet the major part of the Greek race still awaited liberation
from the Turkish yoke, and regarded the national kingdom, chronically
incapacitated by the twin plagues of brigandage and bankruptcy, with
increasing disillusionment. The kingdom of Hellas seemed to have failed in
its mission altogether.

[Footnote 1: King George, like King Otto, was only seventeen years old
when he received his crown.]

What was the explanation of this failure? It was that the very nature of
the mission paralysed the state from taking the steps essential to its
accomplishment. The phenomenon has been, unhappily, only too familiar in
the Nearer East, and any one who travelled in the Balkans in 1882, or even
so recently as 1912, must at once have become aware of it.

Until a nation has completely vindicated its right to exist, it is hard
for it to settle down and make its life worth living. We nations of
western Europe (before disaster fell upon us) had learnt to take our
existence for granted, and 'Politics' for us had come to mean an organized
effort to improve the internal economy of our community. But a foreigner
who picked up a Greek newspaper would have found in it none of the matter
with which he was familiar in his own, no discussion of financial policy,
economic development, or social reconstruction. The news-columns would
have been monopolized by foreign politics, and in the cafes he would have
heard the latest oscillation in the international balance of power
canvassed with the same intense and minute interest that Englishmen in a
railway-carriage would have been devoting to Old Age Pensions, National
Health Insurance, or Land Valuation. He would have been amazed by a
display of intimate knowledge such as no British quidnunc could have
mustered if he had happened to stumble across these intricacies of
international competition, and the conversation would always have
terminated in the same unanswered but inconscionable challenge to the
future: 'When will the oppressed majority of our race escape the Turkish
yoke? If the Ottoman dominion is destroyed, what redistribution of its
provinces will follow? Shall we then achieve our national unity, or will
our Balkan neighbours encroach upon the inheritance which is justly ours?'

This preoccupation with events beyond the frontiers was not caused by any
lack of vital problems within them. The army was the most conspicuous
object of public activity, but it was not an aggressive speculation, or an
investment of national profits deliberately calculated to bring in one day
a larger return. It was a necessity of life, and its efficiency was barely
maintained out of the national poverty. In fact, it was almost the only
public utility with which the nation could afford to provide itself, and
the traveller from Great Britain would have been amazed again at the
miserable state of all reproductive public works. The railways were few
and far between, their routes roundabout, and their rolling-stock scanty,
so that trains were both rare and slow. Wheel-roads were no commoner a
feature in Greece than railways are here, and such stretches as had been
constructed had often never come into use, because they had just failed to
reach their goal or were still waiting for their bridges, so that they
were simply falling into decay and converting the outlay of capital upon
them into a dead loss. The Peiraeus was the only port in the country where
steamers could come alongside a quay, and discharge their cargoes directly
on shore. Elsewhere, the vessel must anchor many cables' lengths out, and
depend on the slow and expensive services of lighters, for lack of pier
construction and dredging operations. For example, Kalamata, the economic
outlet for the richest part of Peloponnesos, and the fifth largest port in
the kingdom,[1] was and still remains a mere open roadstead, where all
ships that call are kept at a distance by the silt from a mountain
torrent, and so placed in imminent danger of being driven, by the first
storm, upon the rocks of a neighbouring peninsula.

[Footnote 1: The four chief ports being Peiraeus, Patras, Syra, and

These grave shortcomings were doubtless due in part to the geographical
character of the country, though it was clear, from what had actually been
accomplished, that it would have been both possible and profitable to
attempt much more, if the nation's energy could have been secured for the
work. But it is hard to tinker at details when you are kept in a perpetual
fever by a question of life and death, and the great preliminary questions
of national unity and self-government remained still unsettled.

Before these supreme problems all other interests paled, for they were no
will-o'-the-wisps of theoretical politics. It needs a long political
education to appreciate abstract ideas, and the Greeks were still in their
political infancy, but the realization of Greater Greece implied for them
the satisfaction of all their concrete needs at once.

So long as the _status quo_ endured, they were isolated from the rest of
Europe by an unbroken band of Turkish territory, stretching from the
Aegean to the Adriatic Sea. What was the use of overcoming great
engineering difficulties to build a line of European gauge from Athens
right up to the northern frontier, if Turkey refused to sanction the
construction of the tiny section that must pass through her territory
between the Greek railhead and the actual terminus of the European system
at Salonika? Or if, even supposing she withdrew her veto, she would have
it in her power to bring pressure on Greece at any moment by threatening
to sever communications along this vital artery? So long as Turkey was
there, Greece was practically an island, and her only communication with
continental Europe lay through her ports. But what use to improve the
ports, when the recovery of Salonika, the fairest object of the national
dreams, would ultimately change the country's economic centre of gravity,
and make her maritime as well as her overland commerce flow along quite
other channels than the present?

Thus the Greek nation's present was overshadowed by its future, and its
actions paralysed by its hopes. Perhaps a nation with more power of
application and less of imagination would have schooled itself to the
thought that these sordid, obtrusive details were the key to the
splendours of the future, and would have devoted itself to the systematic
amelioration of the cramped area which it had already secured for its own.
This is what Bulgaria managed to do during her short but wonderful period
of internal growth between the Berlin Treaty of 1878 and the declaration
of war against Turkey in 1912. But Bulgaria, thanks to her geographical
situation, was from the outset freer from the tentacles of the Turkish
octopus than Greece had contrived to make herself by her fifty years'
start, while her temperamentally sober ambitions were not inflamed by such
past traditions as Greece had inherited, not altogether to her advantage.
Be that as it may, Greece, whether by fault or misfortune, had failed
during this half-century to apply herself successfully to the cure of her
defects and the exploitation of her assets, though she did not lack
leaders strong-minded enough to summon her to the dull business of the
present. Her history during the succeeding generation was a struggle
between the parties of the Present and the Future, and the unceasing
discomfiture of the former is typified in the tragedy of Trikoupis, the
greatest modern Greek statesman before the advent of Venezelos.

Trikoupis came into power in 1882, just after the acquisition of the rich
agricultural province of Thessaly under the Treaty of Berlin had given the
kingdom a fresh start. There were no such continuous areas of good arable
land within the original frontiers, and such rare patches as there were
had been desolated by those eight years of savage warfare[1] which had
been the price of liberty. The population had been swept away by wholesale
massacres of racial minorities in every district; the dearth of
industrious hands had allowed the torrents to play havoc with the
cultivation-terraces on the mountain slopes; and the spectre of malaria,
always lying in wait for its opportunity, had claimed the waterlogged
plains for its own. During the fifty years of stagnation little attempt
had been made to cope with the evil, until now it seemed almost past

[Footnote 1: 1821-28]

If, however, the surface of the land offered little prospect of wealth for
the moment, there were considerable treasures to be found beneath it. A
metalliferous bolt runs down the whole east coast of the Greek mainland,
cropping up again in many of the Aegean islands, and some of the ores, of
which there is a great variety, are rare and valuable. The lack of transit
facilities is partly remedied by the fact that workable veins often lie
near enough to the sea for the produce to be carried straight from mine to
ship, by an endless-chain system of overhead trolleys; so that, once
capital is secured for installing the plant and opening the mine,
profitable operations can be carried on irrespective of the general
economic condition of the country. Trikoupis saw how much potential wealth
was locked up in these mineral seams. The problem was how to attract the
capital necessary to tap it. The nucleus round which have accumulated
those immense masses of mobilised capital that are the life-blood of
modern European industry and commerce, was originally derived from the
surplus profits of agriculture. But a country that finds itself reduced,
like Greece in the nineteenth century, to a state of agricultural
bankruptcy, has obviously failed to save any surplus in the process, so
that it is unable to provide from its own pocket the minimum outlay it so
urgently needs in order to open for itself some new activity. If it is to
obtain a fresh start on other lines, it must secure the co-operation of
the foreign investor, and the capitalist with a ready market for his money
will only put it into enterprises where he has some guarantee of its
safety. There was little doubt that the minerals of Greece would well
repay extraction; the uncertain element was the Greek nation itself. The
burning question of national unity might break out at any moment into a
blaze of war, and, in the probable case of disaster, involve the whole
country and all interests connected with it in economic as well as
political ruin. Western Europe would not commit itself to Greek mining
enterprise, unless it felt confident that the statesman responsible for
the government of Greece would and could restrain his country from its
instinctive impulse towards political adventure.

The great merit of Trikoupis was that he managed to inspire this
confidence. Greece owes most of the wheelroads, railways, and mines of
which she can now boast to the dozen years of his more or less consecutive
administration. But the roads are unfinished, the railway-network
incomplete, the mines exploited only to a fraction of their capacity,
because the forces against Trikoupis were in the end too strong for him.
It may be that his eye too rigidly followed the foreign investor's point
of view, and that by adopting a more conciliatory attitude towards the
national ideal, he might have strengthened his position at home without
impairing his reputation abroad; but his position was really made
impossible by a force quite beyond his control, the irresponsible and
often intolerable behaviour which Turkey, under whatever regime, has
always practised towards foreign powers, and especially towards those
Balkan states which have won their freedom in her despite, while perforce
abandoning a large proportion of their race to the protracted outrage of
Turkish misgovernment.

Several times over the Porte, by wanton insults to Greece, wrecked the
efforts of Trikoupis to establish good relations between the two
governments, and played the game of the chauvinist party led by Trikoupis'
rival, Deliyannis. Deliyannis' tenures of office were always brief, but
during them he contrived to undo most of the work accomplished by
Trikoupis in the previous intervals. A particularly tense 'incident' with
Turkey put him in power in 1893, with a strong enough backing from the
country to warrant a general mobilization. The sole result was the ruin of
Greek credit. Trikoupis was hastily recalled to office by the king, but
too late. He found himself unable to retrieve the ruin, and retired
altogether from politics in 1895, dying abroad next year in voluntary
exile and enforced disillusionment.

With the removal of Trikoupis from the helm, Greece ran straight upon the
rocks. A disastrous war with Turkey was precipitated in 1897 by events in
Krete. It brought the immediate _debacle_ of the army and the reoccupation
of Thessaly for a year by Turkish troops, while its final penalties were
the cession of the chief strategical positions along the northern frontier
and the imposition of an international commission of control over the
Greek finances, in view of the complete national bankruptcy entailed by
the war. The fifteen years that followed 1895 were almost the blackest
period in modern Greek history; yet the time was not altogether lost, and
such events as the draining of the Kopais-basin by a British company, and
its conversion from a malarious swamp into a rich agricultural area,
marked a perceptible economic advance.

This comparative stagnation was broken at last by the Young Turk
_pronunciamiento_ at Salonika in 1908, which produced such momentous
repercussions all through the Nearer East. The Young Turks had struck in
order to forestall the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, but the
opportunity was seized by every restive element within it to extricate
itself, if possible, from the Turkish coils. Now, just as in 1897, Greece
was directly affected by the action of the Greek population in Krete. As a
result of the revolt of 1896-7, Krete had been constituted an autonomous
state subject to Ottoman suzerainty, autonomy and suzerainty alike being
guaranteed by four great powers. Prince George of Greece, a son of the
King of the Hellenes, had been placed at the head of the autonomous
government as high commissioner; but his autocratic tendency caused great
discontent among the free-spirited Kretans, who had not rid themselves of
the Turkish regime in order to forfeit their independence again in another
fashion. Dissension culminated in 1906, when the leaders of the opposition
took to the mountains, and obtained such support and success in the
guerrilla fighting that followed, that they forced Prince George to tender
his resignation. He was succeeded as high commissioner by Zaimis, another
citizen of the Greek kingdom, who inaugurated a more constitutional
regime, and in 1908 the Kretans believed that the moment for realizing the
national ideal had come. They proclaimed their union with Greece, and
elected deputies to the Parliament at Athens. But the guarantor powers
carried out their obligations by promptly sending a combined naval
expedition, which hauled down the Greek flag at Canea, and prevented the
deputies from embarking for Peiraeus. This apparently pedantic insistence
upon the _status quo_ was extremely exasperating to Greek nationalism. It
produced a ferment in the kingdom, which grew steadily for nine months,
and vented itself in July 1909 in the _coup d'etat_ of the 'Military
League', a second-hand imitation of the Turkish 'Committee of Union and
Progress'. The royal family was cavalierly treated, and constitutional
government superseded by a junta of officers. But at this point the policy
of the four powers towards Krete was justified. Turkey knew well that she
had lost Krete in 1897, but she could still exploit her suzerainty to
prevent Greece from gaining new strength by the annexation of the island.
The Young Turks had seized the reins of government, not to modify the
policy of the Porte, but to intensify its chauvinism, and they accordingly
intimated that they would consider any violation of their suzerain rights
over Krete a _casus belli_ against Greece. Greece, without army or allies,
was obviously not in a position to incur another war, and the 'Military
League' thus found that it had reached the end of its tether. There ensued
a deadlock of another eight months, only enlivened by a naval mutiny,
during which the country lay paralysed, with no programme whatsoever
before it.

Then the man demanded by the situation appeared unexpectedly from the
centre of disturbance, Krete. Venezelos started life as a successful
advocate at Canea. He entered Kretan politics in the struggle for
constitutionalism, and distinguished himself in the successful revolution
of 1906, of which he was the soul. Naturally, he became one of the leading
statesmen under Zaimis' regime, and he further distinguished himself by
resolutely opposing the 'Unionist' agitation as premature, and yet
retaining his hold over a people whose paramount political preoccupation
was their national unity. The crisis of 1908-9 brought him into close
relations with the government of the Greek kingdom; and the king, who had
gauged his calibre, now took the patriotic step of calling in the man who
had expelled his son from Krete, to put his own house in order. It speaks
much for both men that they worked together in harmony from the beginning.
Upon the royal invitation Venezelos exchanged Kretan for Greek
citizenship, and took in hand the 'Military League'. After short
negotiations, he persuaded it to dissolve in favour of a national
convention, which was able to meet in March 1910.

Thus Greece became a constitutional country once more, and Venezelos the
first premier of the new era. During five years of continuous office he
was to prove himself the good genius of his country. When he resigned his
post in April 1915, he left the work of consolidating the national state
on the verge of completion, and it will be his country's loss if he is
baulked of achievement. Results speak for themselves, and the remainder of
this pamphlet will be little more than a record of his statesmanship; but
before we pass on to review his deeds, we must say a word about the
character to which they are due. In March 1912 the time came for the first
general election since Venezelos had taken office. Two years' experience
of his administration had already won him such popularity and prestige,
that the old party groups, purely personal followings infected with all
the corruption, jingoism, and insincerity of the dark fifteen years,
leagued themselves in a desperate effort to cast him out. Corruption on a
grand scale was attempted, but Venezelos' success at the polls was
sweeping. The writer happened to be spending that month in Krete. The
Kretans had, of course, elected deputies in good time to the parliament at
Athens, and once more the foreign warships stopped them in the act of
boarding the steamer for Peiraeus, while Venezelos, who was still
responsible for the Greek Government till the new parliament met, had
declared with characteristic frankness that the attendance of the Kretan
deputies could not possibly be sanctioned, an opening of which his
opponents did not fail to take advantage. Meanwhile, every one in Krete
was awaiting news of the polling in the kingdom. They might have been
expected to feel, at any rate, lukewarmly towards a man who had actually
taken office on the programme of deferring their cherished 'union'
indefinitely; but, on the contrary, they greeted his triumph with enormous
enthusiasm. Their feeling was explained by the comment of an innkeeper.
'Venezelos!' he said: 'Why, he is a man who can say "No". He won't stand
any nonsense. If you try to get round him, he'll put you in irons.' And
clearly he had hit the mark. Venezelos would in any case have done well,
because he is a clever man with an excellent power of judgement; but
acuteness is a common Greek virtue, and if he has done brilliantly, it is
because he has the added touch of genius required to make the Greek take
'No' for an answer, a quality, very rare indeed in the nation, which
explains the dramatic contrast between his success and Trikoupis' failure.
Greece has been fortunate indeed in finding the right man at the crucial

In the winter of 1911-12 and the succeeding summer, the foreign traveller
met innumerable results of Venezelos' activity in every part of the
country, and all gave evidence of the same thing: a sane judgement and its
inflexible execution. For instance, a resident in Greece had needed an
escort of soldiers four years before, when he made an expedition into the
wild country north-west of the Gulf of Patras, on account of the number of
criminals 'wanted' by the government who were lurking in that region as
outlaws. In August 1912 an inquiry concerning this danger was met with a
smile: 'Oh, yes, it was so,' said the gendarme, 'but since then Venezelos
has come. He amnestied every one "out" for minor offences, and then caught
the "really bad ones", so there are no outlaws in Akarnania now.' And he
spoke the truth. You could wander all about the forests and mountains
without molestation.

So far Venezelos had devoted himself to internal reconstruction, after the
precedent of Trikoupis, but he was not the man to desert the national
idea. The army and navy were reorganized by French and British missions,
and when the opportunity appeared, he was ready to take full advantage of
it. In the autumn of 1912, Turkey had been for a year at war with Italy;
her finances had suffered a heavy drain, and the Italian command of the
sea not only locked up her best troops in Tripoli, but interrupted such
important lines of communication between her Asiatic and European
provinces as the direct route by sea from Smyrna to Salonika, and the
devious sea-passage thence round Greece to Scutari, which was the only
alternative for Turkish troops to running the gauntlet of the Albanian
mountaineers. Clearly the Balkan nations could find no better moment for
striking the blow to settle that implacable 'preliminary question.' of
national unity which had dogged them all since their birth. Their only
chance of success, however, was to strike in concert, for Turkey,
handicapped though she was, could still easily outmatch them singly.
Unless they could compromise between their conflicting claims, they would
have to let this common opportunity for making them good slip by

Of the four states concerned, two, Serbia and Montenegro, were of the same
South-Slavonic nationality, and had been drawn into complete accord with
each other since the formal annexation of Bosnia by Austria-Hungary in
1908, which struck a hard blow at their common national idea, while


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