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In Byron's ShadowModern Greece in the English and American Imagination$
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David Roessel

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780195143867

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195143867.001.0001

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On the Ruins of Missolonghi

On the Ruins of Missolonghi

(p.72) 3 On the Ruins of Missolonghi
In Byron's Shadow

David Roessel

Oxford University Press

The town of Missolonghi, situated in a salt marsh in western Greece just north of the Corinthian Gulf, had been under siege since April 27, 1825. By the middle of April 1826 the Greeks were in a desparate situation: food was scarce and ammunition low. Rather than surrender to the attacking Ottoman and Egyptian armies, the defenders of Missolonghi decided to try to break through Turkish lines on the night of April 22, 1826. Out of 9,000 men, women, and children who took part, only about 2,000 eventually reached safety. On April 24, the last remaining Greek soldiers blew themselves up in the town's powder magazine. This chapter argues that Byron's Minotti had expired exactly the same way at the end of The Siege of Corinth and that, in Western European eyes, these Greek soldiers also lived and died a Byronic fiction. The rest of the world revered Missolonghi. And it was Byron who was primarily responsible for placing one of the more obscure and unappealing locations in Greece on the map of the world.

Keywords:   Missolonghi, Greece, Greek soldiers, War of Independence, soldiers, Byron

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