Greek Constitutional Monarchy or Bust!

Sad to see no Othon/Otto, would be nicer to see him arrive but with a better attitude towards ruler ship and a set constitution.
 
Greek Constitutional Monarchy or Bust!

Sad to see no Othon/Otto, would be nicer to see him arrive but with a better attitude towards ruler ship and a set constitution.
I actually really like Othon of Greece, despite all his faults, of which there were more than a few, I get the impression he genuinely cared for his kingdom, unfortunately he accepted a Greece that was ravaged by war, on the verge of bankruptcy, and essentially in a state of anarchy. Otto would definitely be better off in a scenario where Ioannis Kapodistrias isn't killed in 1831 and survives to become his Prime Minister, or he becomes king of a Greece that is less devastated by the war, but his absolutist tendencies and his apparent infertility were really problematic for him in Greece and I couldn't find a reasonable solution to those. That's not including the terrible regency he had for three years as well which really burned through his early support. That said, I do have plans for Otto of Bavaria in the future. Whether his fate in TTL will be any better than that of OTL, I honestly can't say at this point.
 
Part 8: The Assembly of Nafplion
Part 8: The Assembly of Nafplion

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The Constitution of Epidauros

During the early months of 1823, a curious event took place across war torn Greece. Elections were held for the first time to elect representatives for the Second National Assembly where over 250 delegates would gather to revise the Greek Constitution. The current constitution of Greece, the Provisional Constitution of Epidauros, had been written by 59 delegates at the National Assembly of Epidauros during the opening days of January 1822. Declaring the independence of Greece from the Ottoman Empire and establishing Greece as the “Hellenic Republic”, the Constitution of Epidauros detailed a vast array of political institutions that were to be implemented in Free Greece.[1]

Among other things the Constitution established voting rights for Greek men above the age of 30. The Greek Orthodox Church was established as the preeminent and official religion of Greece and would form the basis of civil rights for the Greek people. There was to be equality before the law for all Greek citizens, the security of property was to be established across Greece, and finally, the tenant of no taxation without proper legalization was enshrined in the document. Most importantly, the Constitution created and defined the three separate but equal branches of the government, a Legislature, an Executive, and a Judiciary.

The Legislative Branch, or Hellenic Senate, was a legislative body of 70 elected representatives from the provinces of Greece each serving a one year term. Their powers and responsibilities included the power to write, vote on and pass legislation for the State of Greece, declare wars, make peace treaties, and create a budget for the state. The Executive was to be a 5-person body whose members were to be appointed by the Assembly with each member serving a 1 year term. The Executive would be responsible for running the government, appointing ministers to the various departments of government, and most importantly it would control the military and conduct the war effort. Finally, the Judiciary would be an institution independent of the Senate and Executive, and would provide judicial oversight of the laws in Greece. Until the time a new legal code could be written for the state, Byzantine law would be the dominant legal code of Greece in all matters except commercial, where French law would take precedence.

The Constitution of Epidauros was in many ways meant to be a temporary solution for the many political and economic problems facing the people of Greece. The delegates had the foresight to include one last clause in the document, scheduling a second assembly in one year’s time which would revise many of the faults found within the document and by the beginning of 1823, it had become abundantly clear that it was in desperate need of attention. While the members of the Senate, were supposed to be elected by the people of the Provinces, the ongoing war disrupted that effort and in many cases the local Primates elected themselves due to their wealth and influence. The Judiciary had not been established in any definitive manner and in its absence local magnates took the law into their own hands to the displeasure of the people. The Senate and Executive were constantly prone to infighting over the scope and scale of their powers especially when it came to financing and directing the war.

So, it was that the final clause of the Provisional Constitution of Epidauros was invoked on the 15th of March 1823 calling for a new National Assembly to be held at Nafplion to amend the text. Nafplion had been chosen as the site for a variety of reasons, firstly Tripolitsa was dealing with a terrible plague which ravaged the city and its hinterland, any site in Rumelia was too close to the front for an event of this importance to take place, and the Moreots and Rumeliotes explicitly refused to venture to the islands for the Assembly. So it was decided that Nafplion would host the event due to its strong defensive fortifications, its central location and ease of access for many of the delegate. It also held a significant symbolic importance to the Greeks having just recently being liberated from the Ottomans. Demetrios Ypsilantis, as commandant of the city following the capture of the castles Palamidi and Akronafplion, acquiesced to the Government’s request, effectively making the city the capital of Greece, a matter that was quickly made de jure in the opening days of the Assembly in a near unanimous vote.[2]

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Nafplion, Capital of the Hellenic Republic and site of the Second National Assembly

After the introduction of delegates and the exchange of platitudes, the Assembly elected the Maniot, Petros “Petrobey” Mavromichalis as President of the Assembly.[3] Turning their attention to the main topic of debate at the Assembly, amending the constitution, Mavromichalis appointed Alexandros Mavrokordatos with the task of revising the document. As a skilled orator and diplomat, Mavrokordatos was in many ways the perfect candidate for the job and after several days Mavrokordatos and his committee revealed their amended constitution. The Constitution of Nafplion would retain many of the same principles of the prior Constitution of Epidauros, but there were several distinct differences between the two namely:

· The members of the Executive shall be appointed by the Senate.

· The extent of the Executive’s veto power is to be reduced from those of an absolute veto to those of a suspending veto.

· The office of Foreign Minister is to be dissolved and its duties and responsibilities absorbed into the Executive.

· The office of War Minister shall be expanded into a three-member Committee of War.

· The Freedoms and Privileges of the Press are to be protected throughout all the lands of Greece.

· The institution of slavery is to be henceforth abolished throughout all the lands of Greece.

· Voting rights are to be expanded to Greek Men no less than 25 years of age, down from the previously established minimum age of 30 years of age.

These amendments were generally acceptable to the assembly and were quickly adopted by relatively large margins. This unity would not last as two additional resolutions of great contention came to the fore following these revisions. Up to this point Greece was more of a patchwork of disparate communities working together in a loose alliance, an alliance that could be broken at any time, rather than a centralized state that was united in perpetuity.[4] To rectify this, several members within the Assembly put forth a measure calling for the establishment of 60 districts, from the mainland to the Aegean Islands, with each under the control of a Government appointed official. Politics created strange bedfellows, however, as this measure was ultimately rejected by the combined representatives of Hydra, Spetses, and the Morea. Their opposition was derived primarily from the fact that the measure would provide them even less autonomy than what they had enjoyed under the Turk, autonomy they refused to surrender.

The only matter that the islanders agreed to budge on was the abolition of the regional legislatures. As they held a strong grip on the Hellenic Senate, the delegates of Islanders, chiefly Hydra and Spetses, proved amenable to stripping the mainlanders of their regional senates. Despite the vigorous opposition of the Moreots they lacked a figure with which to rally around resulting in a boisterous but incoherent opposition. Ultimately, they were overruled by the rest of the assembly and the measure was passed by a narrow margin, abolishing the Senate of the Morea, the Western Rumelian Senate, and the Eastern Rumelian Senate.

The second proposal dealt with the raising of money through the sale of vacant Turkish property. Though this measure was promoted to finance the war effort, it was a coalition of military captains from the Morea and Rumelia which opposed the bill. Believing it to be a scheme to further enrich the Primates at the expense of the people, they threatened mutiny unless the measure was shelved. Taking a different course, the property was proposed as collateral for foreign loans, and despite the continued resistance of the Captains, this new measure passed by a healthy margin.

The last item up for debate at the National Assembly of Nafplion were the elections for the new Executive and Senate Presidency. When it came to the nomination of a new President of the Executive, Alexandros Mavrokordatos declined a second term as President of the Hellenic Republic, and was instead appointed to serve as General Secretary of the Executive, while Petros Mavromichalis would be elected President of the Executive in his stead. The Presidency of the Senate was granted to Ioannis Orlandos, a minor merchant from Hydra and brother in law of the wealthy and powerful merchant Georgios Kountouriotis. To mollify the angered Moreots over their reduced autonomy, the Executive was primarily stocked with Moreots and Islanders owing to their great influence over the assembly, with Andreas Zaimis, Sotiris Charalamvis, Ioannis Kolettis, and Panayiotis Botasis rounding it out.[5] By the end of the Second National Assembly on the 15th of April, the only major office left unfilled was that of Commander in Chief, which had remained vacant since Theodoros Kolokotronis’ death in December.


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Petros “Petrobey” Mavromichalis, 2nd President of the Hellenic Republic (Left) and Ioannis Orlandos, 2nd President of the Hellenic Senate (Right)

The office had been created specifically for Theodoros Kolokotronis in the lead up to Dervenakia, and many of his former friends and supporters desired to have the rank retired in honor of his service to Greece. Others wanted to fill the position themselves or with a candidate of their liking.[6] Ultimately, it fell to Demetrios Ypsilantis. Ypsilantis for better or worse was a man of influence in the Assembly. His wealth, education, and background demanded attention and his efforts thus far had been commendable. The castles of Palamidi and Akronafplion, which overlooked the grounds upon which the assemble met provided a constant reminder to the delegates of his achievement in securing Nafplion where even Theodoros Kolokotronis had failed.

The main motivation for his candidacy, however, was politics. Demetrios had thus far been a prominent supporter of the civilian government and its control over the military which made him amenable to the Primates in the Assembly. He was also well respected by many officers and Captains at the Assembly as he lived among them and worked alongside them as an equal. Most importantly, he was an outsider, as a Phanariot, he had been shielded from the intricate feuds and heated rivalries between the various parties at the Assembly. It was no secret that groups and individuals in attendance at Nafplion were distrusting of each other at best and downright hostile towards one another at worst. Recognized as an impartial adjudicator and a neutral actor in the party politics, Ypsilantis represented a moderate solution for many at the Assembly who sought merely to prevent their rivals from taking the position for themselves. With a consensus built, Demetrios arose as a compromise candidate for the office of Commander in Chief of the Greek Military.

Ypsilantis would quickly find that his office was largely toothless. As Commander in Chief of the Greek Military he was officially responsible for the organization and execution of the war effort under the purview of the Executive’s Committee of War. The government, however, provided him with little support or direction as petty infighting continued to gridlock the Senate and Executive over the coming months. The Committee frequently interfered with Ypsilantis’ stratagems, limiting his offensive and defensive capabilities, and the Senate strictly regulated his resources, limiting what men and supplies he could draw upon. Whatever funding that had been allocated for the purchase of arms or the raising of armies was instead wasted on corrupt policies and individuals that did little more than line the pockets of their benefactors.

Demetrios also found himself in charge of an army which no longer existed in any meaningful form, as the regular army had been all but abolished due to rising expenses and diminishing returns. While a few units still existed, they accounted for less than 1,500 soldiers spread out across all of Greece. The irregulars, the klephts and the militias who had provided the bulk of the Greek manpower thus far in the war, openly refused to obey his commands as their loyalty remained first and foremost with their captains and their kin. The only troops which actively listened to him were the Philhellenes that had journeyed to Greece and the soldiers paid from his own pockets, an act which would nearly bankrupt him. Even still, he managed to dispatch some trusted supporters to the various fronts in Greece, from Missolonghi to Corinth, to assist in the efforts there and hopefully rein in the more autonomous commanders.

One last insult was that his appoint to his office was prerequisite on his surrendering of Palamidi to the Government, an act which rendered him completely impotent politically and susceptible to replacement. The retention of his position would be based solely upon his results and the favor of the Government. So, it was that Demetrios Ypsilantis was cast adrift as the head of a military that barely existed and the leader of men who hardly obeyed him.

Next Time: Karpenisi


[1] While Greece was established as a Republic at the Assembly of Epidauros, there was a general concern among the delegates that this would deter foreign support, which they desperately needed. As a result, they left the door open to a monarchy being established in Greece after the war was concluded.

[2] When the Second National Assembly was being organized, the Government asked Theodoros Kolokotronis permission to have it set in Nafplion. Theodoros refused, believing it was a ploy by his rivals to seize the city from him. Eventually, when the Greek Government forced Theodoros out of Nafplion during the First Greek Civil War in 1823, they immediately designated the city as the capital of Greece, so I see no reason why they wouldn’t do so here as well especially without Theodoros’ resistance.

[3] Petros Mavromichalis was an interesting character. Petrobey was the Bey of the Mani Peninsula, an autonomous or semi-independent region of the Morea with a long history of unrest against the Ottoman Empire. When Alexander Ypsilantis sparked the rebellion in the Danubian Principalities it was Petros Mavromichalis who started the war in the Morea by attacking the Ottoman garrison at Kalamata. After that his role in the war was relatively limited until the Second National Assembly in Astros in OTL where he was elected President of the Assembly.

[4] The government of Greece during the war of independence was akin to the United States under the Articles of Confederation. The Central Government was incredibly weak with no real authority over the many islands, cities, and regions of Greece. Establishing this authority was incredibly difficult in OTL and it will still be difficult even in this timeline.

[5] The makeup of the Executive is a combination of the 1823 and 1824 Members. The Executive that was formed in the Second National Assembly was entirely comprised of Theodoros Kolokotronis and his supporters, Petros Mavromichalis, Sotiris Charalamvis, Konstantinos Metaxas, and Andreas Zaimis. With him dead, there is no need to mollify Theodoros in this manner, resulting in a more balanced Executive like the 1822 one. Lastly, no one cares about the concerns or interests of the Roumeliotes which is the same as OTL.

[6] In OTL it was actually Kolokotronis’ opponents who had the office of Commander in Chief abolished to rein in the Old Man. With his death, the rationale behind that decision has been reversed from an attempt to weaken him to an attempt to honor him, if somewhat begrudgingly.
 
Yes, summon the 'Gods' of Olympus! They will find you summoned them for no reason and wasted their time. You will be banished to work with Atlas in pulling up the Boulder up the hill.
I hope you are satisfied. :p

It was Sisyphus who had to roll the boulder up the hill never to reach the top, Atlas had to hold the world on his shoulders, until Heracles came along, took over the job for a little while, and then tricked Atlas to take it back

No it not a heresy yet, it would be heresy if Sparta made the Capital

Why not? Sparta, Corinth or nearly any other city in Greece with ancient conotations could have just as easily replaced Athens, FWIG.

Ares: Yes! Eat it, sister!

Athena: You brute!

Hera: I don't mind Argos at all. (OOC: Hera was in fact the protector of Argos. See the Heraion of Argos.) But Sparta? That won't do.

Ares:...Yes mother...

Feel that Poseidon would weigh in on Ares' side against Athens, though not necessarily in favour of Sparta. Just my two cents

Anyhow, great work so far. Know next to nothing about the period's events, but am thoroughly enjoying this, and learning something new as I go.
 
Awesome timeline! I love the idea of a more stable, liberal modern Greece. The attention to detail is great and I look forward to the nature of the nation’s independence ITTL.

As for the capital discussion, there is of course only one city from whence Greece should rightfully rule. Unfortunately, it would be a bit tricky to get the Ottomans to stop ruling from it as well :winkytongue:
 
Anyhow, great work so far. Know next to nothing about the period's events, but am thoroughly enjoying this, and learning something new as I go.
Thank you I'm glad you like it!

Awesome timeline! I love the idea of a more stable, liberal modern Greece. The attention to detail is great and I look forward to the nature of the nation’s independence ITTL.

As for the capital discussion, there is of course only one city from whence Greece should rightfully rule. Unfortunately, it would be a bit tricky to get the Ottomans to stop ruling from it as well :winkytongue:
Thank you very much! Well just because the capital is Nafplion now, doesn't mean that it won't change in the future. In OTL it was Nafplion from 1824 to 1832 and then it switched to Athens, so anything is possible.:p
 
Love this!

So, can we see a surviving Byron in this timeline? His continued impact upon literature and politics would be awesome to explore (albeit, as a side tale, sine the main focus will remain Greece)
 
Love this!

So, can we see a surviving Byron in this timeline? His continued impact upon literature and politics would be awesome to explore (albeit, as a side tale, sine the main focus will remain Greece)
Thank you, I'm glad you like it!

Byron will be coming up shortly as I see no reason why his decision to go to Greece would be any different in TTL given the limited effects of the POD thus far. I will say that Byron's time in Greece will be different from OTL and that a certain figure that we will be meeting in the next update will be the main reason behind this difference.
 
Part 9: Karpenisi
Part 9: Karpenisi

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The Souliotes March to War

In July 1823, the War with Persia was finally concluded freeing up tens of thousands of soldiers. Though most wouldn’t see service in Greece, the increase in manpower was certainly welcome following the loss of Dramali’s army. Of the 26,000 men who entered the Morea in July, only 6,000 remained come March. Nearly 8,000 had been lost at Dervenakia, killed, captured or missing, and over the winter, another 10,000 had been lost to starvation, disease and attrition from the Greeks beyond their walls. Those that remained soon abandoned Corinth and made their way for the safety Patras, leaving 1,000 wounded and disease-ridden men behind.

Within hours of their departure from Corinth they were beset by Greek marauders under the command of Panos Kolokotronis and Niketas Stamatelopoulos who ruthlessly hunted their beleaguered prey across the Morean littoral. Chasing the fleeing Turks to town of Akrata, the growing number of Moreots quickly surrounded those that remained and began to besiege their enemy. When word reached Yusuf Pasha in Patras a week later, he immediately dispatched ships and riders to aid in the rescue of his countrymen, but by the time his men arrived, barely 2,000 Turks remained. Surprisingly, those left at Corinth would manage to withstand the Greek attacks until September, when starvation finally forced their surrender.

While they had ceded Corinth to the Greeks in the Morea, the Ottomans were preparing for another offensive across the Gulf in Rumelia. Following the withdrawal of Omer Vrioni from Missolonghi, he was replaced by Mustafa Pasha Bushatli. Mustafa, like Vrioni, was an Albanian from a distinguished and powerful family, a family that had grown incredibly powerful under the sovereignty of the Ottoman Sultans gaining dominion over the Sanjaks of Scutari and Berat. Mustafa had proven himself to be a talented and influential figure in Western Rumelia and thus was appointed control over the Ottoman Army in Western Greece after Vrioni’s failures the year before.

Raising a force of 10,000 Albanian mercenaries and Ottoman soldiers, Mustafa Pasha departed south from his base in Ohrid in late July. In his path lay the imposing 5 mile stretch of the Makrinoros mountains south of Arta. The mountains, ranged one behind the other in endless ranks, separated by deep valleys and narrow ravines. Their jagged rocks pierced the blue orb of the sky and their mighty peaks challenged the heavens above. The road was especially perilous, with shifting rocks underfoot and falling stones overhead. Nowhere in all of Greece was there a place better to stage an ambush or conduct a determined defense than the Mountains of Makrinoros.

Unfortunately, Mustafa’s scouts confirmed his worst fears, the Makrinoros had been reclaimed by the Greeks. Vrioni in his hasty retreat, had failed to properly garrison the region, enabling the enemy to reestablish themselves over the winter. Not wishing to waste countless days and numerous lives on a needless assault in the mountains, Mustafa Pasha marched his army inland, away from the Epirote coast and the perilous roads of the Makrinoros, traveling first to Trikala and then onto the small village of Karpenisi in the highlands of the Pindos Mountains. His advance had not gone unnoticed however as his journey had taken him squarely into the sights of the Souliotes.

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The Dance of Zalongo[1]

The Souliotes were an Albanian people who tended to have more in common with their Greek neighbors than their Albanian kinsmen to the North. While they spoke an Albanian dialect, they shared the Orthodox faith of the Hellenes, wore Greek clothing, followed Greek customs, and were for all intents and purposes considered Greeks by the Ottoman bureaucracy. The Souliotes drew their name from the crescent valley of Souli in Epirus which had been their homeland for generations. Renowned as a warlike and rebellious people the Souliotes, fought tooth and nail to defend it from all outsiders.

Despite their conviction and their strength of arms, they were eventually driven from their valley by Ali Pasha of Ioannina in 1803 when a traitor by the name of Pelios Gousis guided a force of Turks into the Souli Valley. With no other choice, the defeated Souliotes were forced into exile, with many fleeing to the Ionian Islands for refuge. While in exile the Souliotes earned a reputation as excellent soldiers, fighting alongside the French, British, and Russians during the later years of the Napoleonic Wars. Despite numbering only 12,000 people at their height, nearly 3,000 Souliot Men and boys would travel to Greece to take up arms against the Ottoman government once more during the Greek War of Independence. No Souliot was more vigorous, nor more noble in the cause of independence than the man widely believed to be their leader, Markos Botsaris.

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Markos Botsaris, Souliot leader and Strategos of the Western Greek Army

Markos Botsaris was a leading captain among the Souliotes, hailing from the powerful Botsaris clan. As the son of a family renowned for its warrior tradition and unwavering resistance against the Ottomans, Markos led a life of conflict. Like the rest of his kin, Markos had fought against Ali Pasha in the Souliot War of 1803, a conflict which resulted in the death of his father and the expulsion of his people from their homeland. Forced into exile in the Ionian Islands, Markos entered the service of the French Empire of Napoleon in the French Souliot Regiment. While many of his kin chose to side with the British when they took the Ionian Islands, Botsaris instead remained loyal to France and traveled with them to the mainland. Markos would continue fighting alongside the French and even rising to the rank of Captain before the surrender of Napoleon in 1814.

With the war over, the Greek and Souliot units formed in the Ionian islands were disbanded. Botsaris and many Souliot and Greek exiles finding themselves unemployed, quickly became destitute without their former occupation. With no other option, Botsaris and a company of fellow Souliotes traveled to the Court of Tsar Alexander of Russia seeking commissions in the Russian Army. While their request was politely declined by the Tsar, their venture was not entirely fruitless. While in St. Petersburg, Botsaris and many of his company encountered representatives of the newly founded Filiki Eteria, the Society of Friends.[2] Enticed by its promises of liberty, justice, and independence, Markos Botsaris joined the society as one of its first members and upon his return to Corfu he began building support for the eventual return of his people to the mainland in preparation for the coming rebellion. This support would come from an unlikely source.

Ali Pasha of Ioannina had been the one to drive the Souliotes from their homeland in 1803 and yet in 1820 he himself invited them back in return for their aid in fighting the Ottomans. Ali Pasha had been provoked into rebellion by Sultan Mahmud II, who seeking to curtail the power of his vassals instigated the conflict between them. Encouraged by the prospect of reclaiming their homeland, Markos Botsaris and the Souliotes jumped at the offer and joined with their former enemy. While Ali Pasha was eventually defeated in January 1822, the Souliotes had returned to their hills and were determined to hold them against the vengeful Ottomans. Recognizing the need for new allies, the Souliotes, under the encouragement of Botsaris and his allies, aligned themselves with the Greeks and joined them in their cause of independence. Sadly, despite the attempts of the Greeks to aid them, Botsaris and the Souliotes were forced to flee their homeland once more and flee to the refuge of Missolonghi.

Nearly a year later, Markos Botsaris prepared to travel North once more to confront the approaching Ottoman Army of Mustafa Pasha. While he had initially set out with only 350 men, several local captains joined with Botsaris, swelling his ranks over 1200 by the time he reached Karpenisi on the night of the 21st. Among his men was a certain Alexander Kantakouzenos, the personal assistant of Demetrios Ypsilantis.[3] Seeking to sure up support in Western Rumelia, Ypsilantis had dispatched his close friend to the region with whatever men he could muster on short notice. Arriving in time to join Botsaris in his mission, Kantakouzenos traveled north with the Souliot to Karpenisi ready to aid him however he could. Even with the added men, Botsaris was still greatly outnumbered against Mustafa Pasha’s host of 10,000 and a pitched battle would certainly favor the more numerous Ottomans over his men.

Botsaris, however, had a solution. Rather than wait for the Albanians to come at them in the morning, they would attack now while the radiance of the moon still glistened in the night sky. Under the cover of darkness Botsaris and a small group would quietly infiltrate the Ottoman camp and sew chaos in their ranks. As his men were Albanians speakers themselves, Botsaris and his Souliotes would make the initial move while the others waited for the signal to join in support. Two days before the scheduled attack, Botsaris and his men made their way into camp of Mustafa Pasha in a dry run of the planned raid, taking note of weapons caches, supply dumps, the location of the stables, and the area where tents for officers were stationed. The Souliotes blended in seamlessly with their Muslim cousins, making their way in and out of the camp with ease and by the night of the 21st, they were ready for the real thing. At midnight, the attack was sprung.

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The Valleys of Karpenisi

Tents were suddenly cast aflame sending the Ottoman camp into Pandemonium. Horses ran wild through the camp, while soldiers, awoke in the dead of night to the horror unfolding before them. In the chaos of it all, the Souliotes fell upon the confused and weary Albanians, killing many in the process. During the engagement, however, Botsaris suffered an injury to the groin while attempting to climb a barricade in clear view of an awaiting Albanian soldier from Shkoder. According to accounts of the battle, Botsaris bravely stood amidst a hail of bullets, flying in both directions, emerging from unscathed but for a blow to his right ear and cheek. His assailant had, however, been cut down by the timely arrival of Kantakouzenos and his men who had joined the fray as instructed.[4] While still alive, the injury forced his withdrawal from the engagement and would unfortunately plague him for the remainder of his life. The retreat of Botsaris combined with the very apparent arrival of more Ottoman soldiers signaled the end of the battle.

Regardless, the encounter had been an extraordinary victory for Botsaris and his men. A vast trove of horses, mules, sheep, muskets, and pistols had been seized, and over 1,000 enemy soldiers had been slain or wounded at the cost of only a dozen Souliotes. The Battle of Karpenisi was an unfortunate setback for Mustafa Pasha, but not an insurmountable one.[5] It had also alerted him to the significant threat posed by Botsaris and his men, a threat he endeavored to mitigate should they meet again. While it would take another two days for the Albanians to regroup, by the morning of the 24th, they set out once more towards Missolonghi.

Botsaris and his men also regrouped further down the road near Mount Kaliakouda with the intention of ambushing Mustafa Pasha once again as they passed through the valley below. By this time word of his attack at Karpenisi had spread like wildfire, causing his small force to rise from 450 to nearly 2,000 Souliotes and Roumeliotes. Botsaris’ injuries unfortunately began to take their toll. Lacked the same vigor as before, the Souliot was soon bedridden with a terrible illness, preventing him from leading the second attack personally as he had done at Karpenisi. Without their leader, the Souliot attacks proved to be a sloppy mess. Lacking the discipline and Elan of Botsaris, they were successfully repulsed by Mustafa Pasha’s Albanians who were now alert to the stratagems of their enemy. With Botsaris and his men forced to retreat once more into the hills, the road to Missolonghi was finally clear. The only obstacle remaining in their path was the tiny hamlet of Anatolikon.

Next Time: Water from Fire


[1] The Dance of Zalongo was an event near the end of the Souliot War of 1803, when 20-30 Souliot women and their children committed suicide to avoid capture by Ali Pasha.

[2] Despite its name, the Filiki Eteria was a secret organization dedicated to the liberation of Greece and the defeat of the Ottoman Empire. Originally founded in 1815, it quickly became a popular movement of Greek intellectuals, merchants, and soldiers within the Ottoman Empire. Its members include Alexander Ypsilantis as its leader from 1818 to 1821, his brother Demetrios Ypsilantis, Theodoros Kolokotronis, Markos Botsaris, Petros Mavromichalis, and many, many more.

[3] Alexander Kantakouzenos was a close friend and companion to Demetrios Ypsilantis. The two traveled to the Morea together in the opening days of the war with Kantakouzenos effectively acting as Ypsilantis’ secretary and confidant. I know little about him, except for his name and relation to Demetrios Ypsilantis, so everything I am will be writing regarding will be conjecture. If anyone does know more please let me know.

[4] In OTL Botsaris was killed in the Battle of Karpenisi in a moment of very bad luck on his part. I rationalize Botsaris’ survival at Karpenisi to the involvement of Kantakouzenos and his men. In the OTL battle, Botsaris was effectively fighting alone with only his own men, which left him dangerously exposed. The Greek Captains that had joined with him refrained from joining the battle either due to cowardice or incompetence resulting in the death of Botsaris. With the addition of Kantakouzenos and his men, however meager they may be, he manages to survive, albeit barely.

[5] Coincidently, the battle of Karpenisi in OTL was fought entirely between Albanians, the Souliotes on the Greek side and Mustafa Pasha’s Shkodrans.
 
Part 10: Water from Fire
Part 10: Water from Fire

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Anatoliko on the Lagoon[1]

With the Souliotes beaten back Mustafa Pasha halted to gather his supplies at the town of Agrinion, nearly a day’s march from Missolonghi. In the two battles, thus far with the at Karpenisi and Mount Kaliakouda, the Ottomans had lost thousands of muskets and pistols, and an unknown number of horses, mules, and livestock leaving them desperately short of resources. Nearly a sixth of his army had also been lost to injury or death in the two battles thus far, stretching his already thin ranks even further. After a week of waiting Omer Vrioni finally arrived with reinforcements amounting to 5,000 men and nearly 700 wagons laden down with food, clothing, and munitions, restocking the depleted arsenal of Mustafa Pashas army.

By mid-September the combined Ottoman armies departed Agrinion for Missolonghi and subsequently laid siege to the city for the second time on the 20th of September. Leading the defense of the city was an Eptanesian named Konstantinos Metaxas from the isle of Cephalonia.[2] Metaxas had been appointed by the government as the Governor General of Western Greece, a position of little to no power, and established himself in Missolonghi due to its strategic importance and strong defensibility. Though he was tasked with pushing the Ottomans from the region, most of his efforts were exhausted settling disputes between the separate factions in the city, with the Souliotes generally being the most obnoxious and disruptive bunch. Were it not for the efforts of Markos Botsaris and the other more reasonable captains of the Souliotes, it is likely that the Greeks would have fought against them rather than with them.

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Konstantinos Metaxas, Governor General of Western Greece in 1823

It was unfortunate for Metaxas then that Botsaris had still not returned by the time Mustafa Pasha arrived outside Missolonghi. It was undeniable that Markos Botsaris held incredible sway in all Western Greece, a fact that was made infamous by the open disregard of Metaxas by the Souliotes within the cities walls. They were fiercely loyal to their own chieftains and openly flaunted Metaxas’s meager authority, they constantly demanded extensive bribes for their services however minor they may have been, some even resorted to blackmail against Metaxas to gain his obedience. Still, despite their slights Konstantinos Metaxas proved himself to be an able administrator and most importantly, a relatively talented military man in defensive situations.

Mustafa Pasha soon learned, much as Vrioni had before him, that the lagoon upon which Missolonghi sat, provided the city with excellent defenses as well as a near infinite supply of fish. There also existed a number of hidden routes crossing the lagoon where the water was shallower than the rest enabling easier travel by foot, which the Greeks used to great success, smuggling men, munitions, and food into the city. To take the city, the Mustafa Pasha would need to deny the Greeks access to the lagoon by securing it in its entirety. It would be a long and grueling process as the Greeks had fortified the islands, sandbanks, and townships that dotted across the lagoon over the last year.

The first target was to be the small village of Anatoliko located at the northern end of the lagoon. Situated upon an island amidst the delta spanning the Missolonghi lagoon and the Anatoliko lagoon, it provided the first line of defense for Missolonghi. In the days leading up to the first siege of Missolonghi, Anatoliko had been left undefended allowing Omer Vrioni to brush past it on his way to his main target. This time however, Konstantinos Metaxas had recognized its importance and stationed a company of no more than 200 men in total on the island. Their only orders were to hold as long as possible against a force at least 10 times their own.

When the Ottomans attempted to cross over to the island on the 22nd, they were easily repelled by the Greek defenders when they became stuck in the thick mud surrounding the islet. Mustafa Pasha, realizing that further assaults on the island would be detrimental to his attack on Missolonghi, chose to starve Anatoliko out instead. Both banks of the lagoon were seized by the Ottomans and cannons were brought in to reduce the Greeks defenses on the island to rubble. Metaxas initially managed to work around the Ottoman besiegers by smuggling food and water onto the island, but within days their route into Anatoliko was discovered by the Ottomans who quickly closed this last corridor to the Greeks. With their only supply line to the outside world cut, conditions rapidly began to deteriorate in Anatoliko.

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The Siege of Anatoliko

While food was still plentiful due to the large bounty of fish in the waters surrounding the town, their supplies of fresh water were becoming increasingly scarce. Adding to their woes a stray cannon ball careened into the town’s chapel setting the structure ablaze. With their church in flames, it looked as if God himself had abandoned them. Falling into a deep despair, the Greeks considered surrender, but from their darkest depression emerge a new hope as water began to rise from beneath the ruined church. The cannon ball had revealed a hidden spring of fresh water from underneath the chapel’s floor. Whether this turn of events was a miracle sent from god or an incredible act of luck, no one can say.

Regardless, the belief that God was on their side, stiffened the resolve of the Greeks on Anatoliko who continued to resist the Ottomans besieging them. Mustafa Pasha’s efforts at Missolonghi had also been lacking as well as he proved unable to seize control of the lagoon from the Greeks. His efforts at Anatoliko were just one failure out of many, his attempts to seize the island of Dolmas had been successful, but at a steep cost, over 1,000 casualties to 100 for the Greeks, and his efforts to take Klisova to the East of Missolonghi had been bloodily repulsed. As had been the case the year before, the winter rains continued to make a mess of the Ottoman camp and malaria once again made it way through the Ottoman ranks. Worst of all was the arrival of Markos Botsaris who had finally recovered from his injuries at Karpenisi on the 21st of October. Alongside him were 600 Souliotes and Roumeliotes and his longtime rival Kitsos Tzavelas.[3]

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Kitsos Tzavelas, Souliot Captain and archrival to Markos Botsaris

The arrival of the Souliotes to his rear, while not an existential issue for Mustafa Pasha, was a problematic one, especially for his already tenuous supply situation. As was the case at Karpenisi, the Souliotes easily infiltrated the Ottoman camp on several occasions much to the ire of Mustafa and Vrioni. Despite all their efforts to oppose Botsaris and Tzavelas, they continually managed to find a way through their pickets. At first the Souliotes simply attacked the supply lines running from the north and guards sent out to protect them, but as the siege progressed the raids quickly became more daring and bold, eventually they even expanded to the Ottoman camp.

The heated rivalry between Botsaris and Tzavelas spurred their men to engage in increasingly grander attacks against the Ottoman forces. When Tzavelas and his Souliotes captured four wagons, Botsaris would capture eight. When Botsaris and his followers stole ten horses from the Ottoman’s stables, Tzavelas and his men made sure that they took twenty. The French diplomat and historian Francis Pouqueville in letters to his brother the Consul, Hughes Pouqueville, he described the petty rivalry between the two as a game played between children. The winner of this competition would ultimately be Tzavelas as his raid upon the Ottoman food stores proved to be decisive in the siege of Missolonghi. Under the cover of darkness, Tzavelas and 50 men made their way into the Ottoman camp. Stealing what they could before destroying the rest, he had denied the Ottomans of their primary store of food.

For Mustafa Pasha, he had had enough. His efforts to starve the Greeks into submission had backfired tremendously as his force had itself been worn down by the constant raids on his own supply lines, and suffered from rising casualties. Recognizing that he would be unable to maintain the siege across the entire lagoon with his diminished numbers, Mustafa Pasha was ultimately forced to lift the siege and withdraw on the 13th of November.[4] For the second time in a year, the Greeks had won a great victory at Missolonghi cementing their hold on the region and furthering Sultan Mahmud’s II rage towards the city. The “Miracle of Anatoliko” as it was later called, established Missolonghi as a sacred city in the minds of the Greeks. It was a city blessed by God, a city that no enemy would ever overcome, a city that would stand forever. With the Ottomans in retreat once more, the Greeks began preparations for an offensive of their own, one that if successful would finally drive the Ottomans from the Gulf of Corinth.

Next Time: The Baron Byron


[1] Anatoliko, or Aitoliko, is a small town located on an island seperating the Missolonghi lagoon in the south from the Aitoliko lagoon in the north.

[2] Eptanesians were Greeks from the Ionian islands.

[3] The Tzavelas Clan had urged surrender during the Souliot Wars which earned them the ire of Markos Botsaris and his family who advocated for continued resistance against the Ottomans an Ali Pasha. While this rivalry waned over the years, Kitsos and Markos remained bitter rivals during the first two years of the war.

[4] Mustafa Pasha Bushatli’s 1823 campaign in OTL was rife with problems as well stemming from the continual infiltration of his camp by the Souliotes. Both at Karpenisi and again at Missolonghi, the Souliotes wreaked havoc on his supply lines ultimately forcing his withdraw. With Markos Botsaris surviving from his wounds at Karpenisi in TTL I don’t see why this wouldn’t continue to be the case here as well, in fact it would probably be a lot worse for the Ottomans than OTL.
 
Why do I fear that I've detected some foreshadowing that Missolonghi is going to get wiped off the face of the earth before this war is over?

On a side note - I wish I had your output! I can only usually manage one to two chapters a month for my timeline and you've been steadily giving us one or more a day since this began!
 
Why do I fear that I've detected some foreshadowing that Missolonghi is going to get wiped off the face of the earth before this war is over?
The Greeks of OTL had the same belief as well, but...

On a side note - I wish I had your output! I can only usually manage one to two chapters a month for my timeline and you've been steadily giving us one or more a day since this began!
Thank you, although to be fair I stockpiled about 12 parts before I started posting this timeline on Tuesday, and another 4 parts that are essentially finished but in need of some significant editing. It also helps that I have a lot of free time at the moment seeing as I am currently in between jobs.

As of now, I have the entire war outlined to about 30 parts, including the peace treaty, but many of those are mostly blank entries at this time. The biggest time consumer is going to be making maps when they become more relevant, as at the moment there haven't been any real territorial changes yet.
 
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