Flora Vgontza and Eleni-Filothei Kalathas are educators, philologists, both with a love for Greek History and Greek education. Their book, which was recently published by En plo Publications, is also the work of a collaboration, on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the Revolution of 1821. Title of the book: Rejoice, O Rejoice Freedom! 1821 at a glance!
The beginnings, the main events and the protagonists of the Revolution of 1821 are presented in an easy-to-read book for children and teenagers, ideal also as a parallel History book for school and in Primary and Secondary Education. The authors attempt this by facilitating students and teachers without excluding adult readers, who have a lot to learn from their book.
The authors feel History and present it with images as if they were walking us through an art gallery. So they take us through a journey from the beginning of the Revolution in 1821 to the establishment of the first Greek state in 1830, with references to the most important events and persons, trying to manage the issues of the Revolution according to the age of the readers. I note the hurdles they had to overcome and successfully overcome: the issue of historical time, simplification, completeness in historical information, and accuracy.
Impressive at the beginning of the book is the Chronology of the decade 1821-1831. Next, structure is very important to historical knowledge. In short and meaningful words, the basics are mentioned: Why? Who; Where; Never; What; Result; In an inventive way, they motivate the students, younger as well as teenagers, to get to know Philiki Etairia that has "A secret", they present the cryptographic alphabet of Philiki Etairia as well as the watchwords of Philiki. Then we travel and know by year an entire important decade 1821-1831: The beginning – 1821, Victories and defeats – 1822, The struggle continues. A black page begins – 1823, Philhellenes – 1824, In the face of danger the Greeks awaken and unite – 1825, Free besieged – 1826, The naval battle that changed the facts – 1827, The arrival of the first Governor John Kapodistrias – 1828, Attempts at Organization and Administration – 1829, Greece, a new independent state is born – 1830, Governor assassinated – 1831.
As the authors write: "Historical events are not easily decoded, we are never sure what exactly happened, who were the protagonists, the truth is intertwined with the myth." They go beyond the historical events and plan a powerful scenario with "A mighty explosion"! And that's how they attract the readers' interest. Each dynamic element "awakens" thought and imagination - beyond historical knowledge. The Revolution of the Greeks is therefore characterized as a Strong Explosion with flammable materials:
kindling: the unfavorable economic position,
fuse: the Friendly Company,
spark that lit the fire: the passion for independence with the faith for Liberty,
fire: the Greek fighters,
wind: the Philhellenes!
Excerpts from poems, folk songs, quotations intersperse the book, which is complemented by two separate works: 1) The "Hymn to Freedom" by Dionysios Solomos and 2) "Thurios", the poetic epic of Rigas Velestinlis-Ferai, of Sporeas of freedom. Here we singled out the phrase: "He who thinks freely, thinks well", which inspired the fighters of 1821, becoming the anthem for the Freedom of the Greeks, and awakened the whole of Europe.
The explosion that took place in 1821, Flora Vgontza and Eleni-Filothei Kalathas report, has many mosaics, one next to the other, it is a great event in world history, a feat and a legend that justly elevates its worthy pioneers to the realm of heroes. And a hero "is he who Hanging the fair lyre on his shoulder! he pulls forward, where many would stop and while he is afraid, he rises above death".
The book Hail, O Hail, Freedom! 1821 at a glance! is a legacy from the two excellent authors, this year on the 200th anniversary of the start of the Greek Revolution, for all of us, teachers and students, who live in free Greece, the "sanctuaries carved from the bones of the Greeks".
Hail, O Hail, Freedom!
1821 at a glance!
Flora Vgontza – Eleni-Filothei Kalathas