Greek War of Independence 1821 in Art 

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The Royal Phalanx (Greek: Βασιλική Φάλαγξ) was a military body composed of veteran officers of the Greek War of Independence, established on 18 September 1835.[1] The Phalanx entailed military garrison duties, but mostly it was an honorific appointment, and a means to sustain veteran soldiers who had no other means of upkeep.


The end of the Greek War of Independence (1821–29) had bequeathed several problems to the nascent Kingdom of Greece, among them the organization of a new and reliable regular army following the collapse of the first such attempts after the murder of Governor Ioannis Kapodistrias in 1831 and the period of political anarchy and infighting that followed.[2] This process began with the arrival of the Bavarian King Otto, accompanied by Bavarian troops, in 1833. The new regime abolished the irregular forces that had been left over from the War of Independence, and organized a new military, with mixed Greek and Bavarian command staff.[3]
Establishment of the Phalanx
The soldier and MP Dimitrios Tsingourakos Grigorakis [el] in 1846, as a lieutenant of the Phalanx, wearing the rank insignia of a lieutenant colonel and the distinctive emblem of the Phalanx on his fez
A general in Phalanx dress, 1835
Photo of a Phalanx officer

Another major problem was the fate of the many warriors who had taken part in the War of Independence but had been left out of the new army; knowing no other trade and faced with poverty, they were a potentially unstable element, as had been demonstrated in the uprisings and civil wars of previous years.[4] As an attempt to solve this problem, on 18 September and 11 October 1835 two Royal Decrees were promulgated founding the "Royal Phalanx" to be recruited among deserved veterans of the War of Independence.[4] The decrees stressed the honorific nature of the Phalanx, pointing out that the new corps would precede all other military formations on parade and accompany the king.[5] For the same reason, all members of the Phalanx were automatically awarded the Silver Cross of the War of Independence, which entailed certain privileges such as the right to bear arms, the exemption from corvee labour, or the right of precedence in public ceremonies.[4][6] Further privileges included the right to serve near their place of residence, and the right to be eligible, despite their salaried position, for the distribution of public lands intended for destitute fighters of the War of Independence.[7] Finally, the uniform of the new corps was decreed as the traditional Greek foustanella dress that its members had been worn during the War of Independence, instead of the unpopular "tight" Western European-style uniforms of the regular army. The only additions were a standing collar with the Bavarian-style rank insignia of the regular army, and a special emblem on the fez, consisting of a gold-embroidered, heart-shaped wreath surrounding a royal crown.[7][8]

The decrees provided that only veteran officers of impeccable conduct—in view of the turmoils of the previous years which had convulsed all of Greek society, this meant loyalty to the Bavarian regime—and who could certify their status as veterans were eligible. Many veterans' claims had already been checked by a commission established in March 1833, but another, extraordinary, commission, composed of Richard Church, Nikitas Stamatelopoulos, Dionysios Evmorfopoulos, Ioannis Makriyannis, Nikolaos Krieziotis, and Kitsos Tzavellas, was set up to examine the claims specifically for admission to the Phalanx. In an attempt to ensure its impartiality, the new commission was formed from among the various dominant political factions—the French, English, and Russian parties—as well as the various regions of provenance of veterans, including the Souliotes and fighters from Ionian Islands, which were outside the boundaries of the Greek kingdom. Nevertheless, it is documented that the selection process was often abused: parliamentary debates from 1866 refer to people "who were not even born during the Revolution, or stableboys and cooks" as having gained admittance to the corps.[9]

According to the Decree of 11 October 1835, the Phalanx was to be divided into tetrarchies (τετραρχίαι, sing. τετραρχία), each commanded by a captain as commander or tetrarch (τετράρχης), one lieutenant, two sub-lieutenants, one ensign, four master sergeants, 54 corporals and ordinary phalangites, and one trumpeter. The ranks in the Phalanx corresponded to higher officer ranks in the Army, with a captain corresponding to colonel with a monthly pay of 250 to 300 drachmas, a lieutenant (180 drachmas) corresponding to lieutenant colonel, a sub-lieutenant (140 drachmas) to major, an ensign or master sergeant (90 drachmas) to captain, a corporal (60 drachmas) to lieutenant, and an ordinary phalangite (48 drachmas) to sub-lieutenant. The poorer lower ranks also had the right to additional free flour and free lodgings for their use when serving away from their garrison, as well as free healthcare.[10]

Following some delays, in early 1836 eleven provisional tetrarchies were established, but the first formal organization of the Phalanx came with the publication of an Army Order on 25 April 1836, whereby 800 veterans were assigned to 13 tetrarchies. These were:[11]
Tetrarchy Garrison Commander
1st Lamia Nakos Panourgias
2nd Vonitsa Georgios Tsongas
3rd Nafplion Giannakis Staikos
4th Areopolis Georgios Kitsos
5th Missolonghi Dimitrios Makris
6th Nafpaktos Diamantis Zervas
7th Thebes Dionysios Evmorfopoulos
8th Athens Ioannis Makriyannis
9th Corinth Gennaios Kolokotronis
10th Patras Vasileios Petmazas
11th Sparti Panagiotis Giatrakos
12th Arcadia Dimitrios Plapoutas
13th Chalcis Nikolaos Kriezotis

The organization and membership of the Phalanx and the tetrarchies was very fluid, reflecting the role of the corps as an honorary appointment rather than an actual military unit, and underwent many changes and modifications during its existence.[12] For instance, on 1 April 1837 three new tetrarchies of modified composition (80 corporals and phalangites with 16 officers) were established for veterans who could lay no claim to public land. The composition and roles assigned to each of them shows how much the institution of the Phalanx reflected ad hoc priorities and needs: The first new tetrarchy, under Colonel Giatrakos, was composed of the younger veterans, and doubled as a transit unit for the other tetrarchies. The second, under Nikolaos Tzavellas, was composed of Souliotes and other Epirotes as well as Aetoloacarnanians, and tasked with garrisoning Nafpaktos. The third tetrarchy contained veterans of advanced age, who were not called upon for active service.[13]

The Royal Phalanx survived until c. 1873.[14]
"Endowed Phalanx"

The cost of the Phalanx, with the extensive privileges it afforded to its members, quickly became a major burden on the budget of the cash-strapped Greek state. By 1838, it comprised over 900 members, whose upkeep required over one million drachmas annually.[15] In an attempt to reduce this exorbitant expenditure, on 1 January 1838, a new law proposed the award of land to members of the Phalanx with no other sources of income, provided that they renounced their previous salary. If they agreed, the members of the Phalanx were to receive a year's salary as capital and a promissory note for a value of public land, to be purchased at public auctions. The value of the land given was graded according to the salary, e.g. ordinary phalangites who received a pay of 48 drachmas were entitled to land worth 2,880 drachmas, those with a salary of 90 drachmas land worth 5,440 drachmas, and those with a salary of 140 drachmas and above land worth 8,400 drachmas, with the difference paid as salary.[16] The lands thus acquired would be inalienable for three years without prior royal approval, but could be mortgaged. The members of this "Endowed Phalanx" (προικοδοτημένη φάλαγξ) maintained their privileges of rank and uniform, and were further eligible for appointments to the National Guard, while those who remained in the ordinary Phalanx faced curtailment of the privileges and pay, although it was possible to be transferred to the status of seniors (πρεσβύτες), which was reserved for particularly distinguished officers of the War of Independence "in need of special assistance".[17]

Many phalangites made use of this provision, and from 1838 until 1843, promissory notes to the value of 5,493,639 drachmas were issued, with the membership of the Phalanx declining during this time to around 400. However, as most of the phalangites lacked the funds to adequately establish themselves as farmers, usually these notes were not used for the purchase of land, but immediately resold at a fraction (usually 25%–30%) of their value, with the result that the veterans remained destitute, and public land was acquired by profiteers. As a result, the "Endowed Phalanx" proved a failure, and many of the veterans who joined it were left with no choice than to petition—in most cases successfully—to be readmitted to the Royal Phalanx.[18]

Note: Greece officially adopted the Gregorian calendar on 16 February 1923 (which became 1 March). All dates prior to that, unless specifically denoted, are Old Style.
Malesis 1993, pp. 45–52.
Malesis 1993, pp. 53–141.
Malesis 1993, p. 193.
Malesis 1993, pp. 193–194.
Mylonas 1998, p. 226.
Malesis 1993, p. 194.
Mylonas 1998, pp. 225–226.
Malesis 1993, pp. 195–198.
Malesis 1993, pp. 198–199.
Malesis 1993, pp. 199–202.
Malesis 1993, pp. 202–203.
Malesis 1993, p. 203.
Mylonas 1998, p. 225.
Malesis 1993, p. 205.
Malesis 1993, p. 204.
Malesis 1993, pp. 204, 213 (note 25).

Malesis 1993, pp. 205–207.

Malesis, Dimitris (1993). Ο Ελληνικός Στρατός στην πρώτη Οθωνική δεκαετία (1833–1843). Πολιτική οργάνωση και πελατειακές σχέσεις [The Greek Army in the First Othonian Decade (1833–1843). Political Organization and Clientelistic Relations] (Ph.D. thesis). Panteion University. doi:10.12681/eadd/3258. hdl:10442/hedi/3258.
Mylonas, Yiannis (1998). Οι Εύζωνοι [The Evzones] (in Greek). Athens: Ioannis Floros. ISBN 960-7178-39-4.


Greek War of Independence (1821–1829)
Ottoman Greece

Armatoloi Proestoi Klephts Dionysius the Philosopher Daskalogiannis Panagiotis Benakis Konstantinos Kolokotronis Lambros Katsonis Cosmas of Aetolia Ali Pasha Maniots Phanariots Souliotes Gregory V of Constantinople


Orlov Revolt Souliote War (1803)

Greek Enlightenment

Athanasios Christopoulos Theoklitos Farmakidis Rigas Feraios Anthimos Gazis Theophilos Kairis Adamantios Korais Eugenios Voulgaris


Ellinoglosso Xenodocheio Filiki Eteria
Nikolaos Skoufas Athanasios Tsakalov Emmanuil Xanthos Panagiotis Anagnostopoulos Philomuse Society Society of the Phoenix


Adelphiki Didaskalia Asma Polemistirion Hellenic Nomarchy Pamphlet of Rigas Feraios Salpisma Polemistirion Thourios or Patriotic hymn

European intervention and
Greek involvement in
the Napoleonic Wars

Russo-Turkish War (1768–1774) Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca Greek Plan of Catherine the Great Russo-Turkish War (1787–1792) French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars
Fall of the Republic of Venice Republican French rule in the Ionian Islands Septinsular Republic Greek Legion Imperial French rule in the Ionian Islands Albanian Regiment Adriatic campaign of 1807–1814 1st Regiment Greek Light Infantry United States of the Ionian Islands


Nationalism Eastern Orthodox Christianity Liberalism Constitutionalism


Patras Salona Navarino Livadeia 1st Acropolis Tripolitsa Arta Acrocorinth Nauplia 1st Messolonghi 2nd Messolonghi 3rd Messolonghi 2nd Acropolis


Kalamata Wallachian uprising Alamana Gravia Valtetsi Doliana Lalas Vasilika Dragashani Sculeni Vasilika Trench Peta Dervenakia Karpenisi Greek civil wars Sphacteria Maniaki Lerna Mills Mani Distomo Arachova Kamatero Phaleron Chios expedition Martino Koronisia Petra


Constantinople Thessaloniki Navarino Tripolitsa Naousa <a href="MassacreOfSamothrace.html">Samothrace</a> <a href="ChiosMassacre.html">Chios</a> Psara Kasos

Naval conflicts

Eresos Chios Nauplia Samos Andros Sphacteria Gerontas Souda Alexandria Volos Itea Navarino


Greek sloop Karteria Greek brig Aris

Greek regional councils and statutes

Messenian Senate Directorate of Achaea Peloponnesian Senate Senate of Western Continental Greece Areopagus of Eastern Continental Greece Provisional Regime of Crete Military-Political System of Samos

Greek national assemblies

First (Epidaurus) (Executive of 1822) Second (Astros) Third (Troezen) Fourth (Argos) Fifth (Nafplion)

International Conferences,
Treaties and Protocols

Congress of Laibach Congress of Verona Protocol of St. Petersburg (1826) Treaty of London Conference of Poros London Protocol of 1828 London Protocol of 1829 Treaty of Adrianople London Protocol of 1830 London Conference Treaty of Constantinople


Greek expedition to Syria (1825) Russo-Turkish War (1828-29)


Chian Committee Odysseas Androutsos Anagnostaras Markos Botsaris Laskarina Bouboulina Constantin Denis Bourbaki Hatzimichalis Dalianis Kanellos Deligiannis Athanasios Diakos Germanos III of Old Patras Dimitrios Kallergis Athanasios Kanakaris Constantine Kanaris Ioannis Kapodistrias Stamatios Kapsas Panagiotis Karatzas Georgios Karaiskakis Nikolaos Kasomoulis Ioannis Kolettis Theodoros Kolokotronis Georgios Kountouriotis Antonios Kriezis Nikolaos Kriezotis Kyprianos of Cyprus Georgios Lassanis Lykourgos Logothetis Andreas Londos Yannis Makriyannis Manto Mavrogenous Alexandros Mavrokordatos Petrobey Mavromichalis Andreas Metaxas Andreas Miaoulis Theodoros Negris Nikitaras Antonis Oikonomou Ioannis Orlandos Papaflessas Dimitrios Papanikolis Emmanouel Pappas Christoforos Perraivos Nikolaos Petimezas Panagiotis Rodios Georgios Sachtouris Georgios Sisinis Iakovos Tombazis Anastasios Tsamados Meletis Vasileiou Demetrios Ypsilantis


António Figueira d'Almeida Michail Komninos Afentoulief Joseph Balestra Lord Byron François-René de Chateaubriand Richard Church Giuseppe Chiappe Lord Cochrane Vincenzo Gallina Charles Fabvier Thomas Gordon Frank Abney Hastings Carl von Heideck Vasos Mavrovouniotis Johann Jakob Meyer
Ellinika Chronika Karl Normann Maxime Raybaud Giuseppe Rosaroll Santorre di Santa Rosa Friedrich Thiersch Auguste Hilarion Touret German Legion [el] Serbs Olivier Voutier

Moldavia and Wallachia
(Danubian Principalities)

Alexander Ypsilantis Sacred Band Nikolaos Ypsilantis Alexandros Kantakouzinos Georgios Kantakouzinos Athanasios Agrafiotis Giorgakis Olympios Yiannis Pharmakis Dimitrie Macedonski Tudor Vladimirescu Konstantinos Xenokratis Anastasios Manakis Stamatios Kleanthis

Ottoman Empire, Algeria, and Egypt

Sultan Mahmud II Hurshid Pasha Nasuhzade Ali Pasha Ismael Gibraltar Omer Vrioni Kara Mehmet Mahmud Dramali Pasha Koca Hüsrev Mehmed Pasha Reşid Mehmed Pasha Yussuf Pasha Ibrahim Pasha Soliman Pasha al-Faransawi

Britain, France and Russia

George Canning Stratford Canning Edward Codrington Henri de Rigny Lodewijk van Heiden Alexander I of Russia Nicholas I of Russia

Financial aid

London Philhellenic Committee Ludwig I of Bavaria Jean-Gabriel Eynard Lazaros Kountouriotis Ioannis Papafis Georgios Stavros Ioannis Varvakis Rothschild & Co

Morea expedition

Nicolas Joseph Maison Antoine Simon Durrieu Antoine Virgile Schneider Auguste Regnaud de Saint-Jean d'Angély Camille Alphonse Trézel


Jean Baptiste Bory de Saint-Vincent Léon-Jean-Joseph Dubois Pierre Peytier Stamatis Voulgaris Guillaume-Abel Blouet Gabriel Bibron Prosper Baccuet Eugène Emmanuel Amaury Duval Pierre-Narcisse Guérin Charles Lenormant Edgar Quinet


Dimitrios Ainian Fotis Chrysanthopoulos Ioannis Filimon George Finlay Ambrosios Frantzis Konstantinos Metaxas Panoutsos Notaras Panagiotis Papatsonis Anastasios Polyzoidis Georgios Tertsetis Spyridon Trikoupis


Eugène Delacroix Louis Dupré Peter von Hess Victor Hugo François Pouqueville Alexander Pushkin Karl Krazeisen Andreas Kalvos Dionysios Solomos Theodoros Vryzakis Hellas The Reception of Lord Byron at Missolonghi Greece on the Ruins of Missolonghi Le siège de Corinthe The Massacre at Chios The Free Besieged Hymn to Liberty The Archipelago on Fire Loukis Laras The Apotheosis of Athanasios Diakos


25 March (Independence Day) Hymn to Liberty Eleftheria i thanatos Pedion tou Areos Propylaea (Munich) Garden of Heroes (Missolonghi) Royal Phalanx Evzones (Presidential Guard)

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