King's College London
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Byron & politics: ‘born for opposition’

51. Divers sièges de Missolonghi

KCL Rare Books Collection

Reproduction of Zografos' painting depicting the town of Missolonghi under siege.‘Divers sièges de Missolonghi’ by Panagiotis Zografos. In Ioannis Makrygiannis. Histoire Picturale de la Guerre de l’Indépendance Hellénique. KCL Rare Books CollectionDuring the Greek War of Independence General Ioannis Makrygiannis led the Greeks to victory in numerous battles against the Turks. In the late 1830s he commissioned a series of paintings from the Greek painter Panagiotis Zografos depicting episodes from the war. This image is reproduced from a large published edition of the series and depicts the various sieges at the town of Missolonghi.

In the late autumn of 1822 the Turks reached Missolonghi. Mavrokordatos resisted their assaults during the first siege in winter, forcing them to retreat on Christmas Day. Later, in 1825, Ottoman forces again besieged the town and, in January 1826 Ibrahim, the son of the Egyptian viceroy, provided reinforcements on the Turkish side.

The Greeks resisted until April, but, faced with starvation, they planned a mass exodus for the eve of Palm Sunday. As the inhabitants attempted their escape under the cover of darkness, the Turkish and Egyptian forces attacked. Only a minority managed to flee, while the remainder were captured or slaughtered in the town.

A description for the plate lists the parties involved in the sieges, identifying the Turkish and Egyptian forces (1) and the town and Greek camp (2). Lord Byron is listed among the brave philhellenes present during the first siege; the first siege took place, however, before the poet had landed on Greek soil.

In this exhibition

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