Rigas Feraios bigraphy, stories - Journalists

Rigas Feraios : biography

1757 - June 13, 1798

Rigas Feraios (or Rhegas Pheraeos) or Rigas Velestinlis (or Rhegas Velestinles) ( , born Αντώνιος Κυριαζής, Antonios Kyriazis, ; also known as Κωνσταντίνος Ρήγας, Konstantinos or Constantine Rhigas; Serbian: Рига од Фере, Riga od Fere, ; 1757 – June 24, 1798) was a Greek writer, political thinker and revolutionary, active in the Modern Greek Enlightenment, remembered as a Greek national hero, a victim of the Balkan uprising against the Ottoman Empire and a forerunner of the Greek War of Independence.


Memorial plate in front of [[Nebojša Tower (Belgrade) in which Rigas Feraios was strangled.]]

He entered into communication with general Napoleon Bonaparte, to whom he sent a snuff-box made of the root of a Bay Laurel taken from a ruined temple of Apollo, and eventually he set out with a view to meeting the general of the Army of Italy in Venice. While traveling there, he was betrayed by Demetrios Oikonomos Kozanites, a Greek businessman, had his papers confiscated, and was arrested at Trieste by the Austrian authorities (an ally of the Ottoman Empire, Austria was concerned the French Revolution might provoke similar upheavals in its realm and later formed the Holy Alliance).

He was handed over with his accomplices to the Ottoman governor of Belgrade, where he was imprisoned and tortured. From Belgrade, he was to be sent to Constantinople to be sentenced by Sultan Selim III. While in transit, he and his five collaborators were strangled to prevent their being rescued by Rhegas's friend Osman Pazvantoğlu. Their bodies were thrown into the Danube River.

His last words are reported as being: "I have sown a rich seed; the hour is coming when my country will reap its glorious fruits".

Early life

Antonios Kyriazes ("Rhegas") was born in 1757 into a wealthy family in the village of Velestino, Thessaly, in Greece (then in the Ottoman Empire) - near ancient Pherae. From the ancient name of "Pherae" he was at some time given the nickname Pheraeos or Feraios, but he does not seem ever to have used this name himself. He is sometimes described as being of Aromanian ancestry, but according to Peter Mackridge "there is no sure evidence to support this".Peter Mackridge, , The Newsletter of the Society Farsarotul, Volume XXI & XXII, Issues 1 & 2 He was educated at the school of Ampelakia, Larissa.

He became a teacher in the village of Kissos, and he fought the local Ottoman presence. At the age of twenty he killed an important Ottoman figure, and fled to the uplands of Mount Olympus, where he enlisted in a band of soldiers led by Spiros Zeras.

He later went to the monastic community of Mount Athos, where he was received by Cosmas, hegumen of the Vatopedi monastery; from there to Constantinople (Istanbul), where he became a secretary to the Phanariote Alexander Ypsilantis (1725-1805).

Arriving in Bucharest, the capital of Ottoman Wallachia, Rhegas returned to school, learned several languages and eventually became a clerk for the Wallachian Prince Nicholas Mavrogenes. When the Russo-Turkish War (1787-1792) broke out, he was charged with the inspection of the troops in the city of Craiova.

Here he entered into friendly relations with an Ottoman officer named Osman Pazvantoğlu, afterwards the rebellious Pasha of Vidin, whose life he saved from the vengeance of Mavrogenes. He learned about the French Revolution, and came to believe something similar could occur in the Balkans, resulting in self-determination for the Christian subjects of the Ottomans; he developed support for an uprising by meeting Greek bishops and guerrilla leaders.

After the death of his patron Rhegas returned to Bucharest to serve for some time as dragoman at the French consulate. At this time he wrote his famous Greek version of La Marseillaise, the anthem of French revolutionaries, a version familiar through Lord Byron's paraphrase as "sons of the Greeks, arise".

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Living octopus

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