Research Centre for the Humanities (RCH)
Research Centre for the Humanities (RCH)

Conference: “Revolution and Empire in the Mediterranean: The Greek Revolution in context”

11 November 2022


Organized by HISTOREIN

In collaboration with the British School at Athens & the Research Centre for the Humanities

With the support of Initiative 1821-2021


Attendance in person is limited and upon invitation by the organizers.

Attendance for the public only via Zoom. Please register by contacting


The Greek Revolution of 1821 took place in a moment of reaction and restoration that came after the first revolutionary wave of the Age of Revolutions and the Napoleonic wars. Be that as it may, the revolution became a reference, if not a model for other movements around the world, changed the geopolitical map of the Eastern Mediterranean, caused a rethinking of international affairs, and had a profound impact on the Ottoman state. Like all revolutions of the revolutionary age, it had manifold currents and contradictions, bringing together diverse social and cultural groups. Like some successful revolutions, it resulted in the secession of some provinces from an Empire and the creation of a new state. An understanding, thus of the outbreak and course of the revolution (as well as its “success”—a problematic term in itself) has to consider this larger context. Historians have for sometime now shown that this larger context was by and large defined by a ‘World crisis’, that was shaped to a large extent by empires. Hence the recent renewed focus on these latter, and the transnational (and in fact, inter-imperial) movement of people, ideas, and goods as the context for understanding the transformations of the Age.

We want to take this opportunity and discuss the Greek Revolution by situating it in this larger context. That it is appropriate to do is evidenced by the state of the Greek world at the conjuncture of the late eighteenth-early nineteenth century. Indeed, during this time Greeks inhabited empires (Ottoman, Russian, Austrian, Venetian, French, British) which afforded them enormous mobility and opportunity, while at the same time imposing (more familiar) limits. By the time of the 1820s—a period of imperial crises and of the first cracks of the Vienna system—the Greek world was at its most expansive. In seeking to think about this larger context and the Greek Revolution, the workshop will give special attention to the Mediterranean and the many imperial contexts in which this was a part. At the same time, and while discussing the Greek Revolution as a Mediterranean event, it will also interrogate into the particular character of the revolutionary wave of the 1820s.

Some of the papers do so by focusing on the interconnections and the shared features of the revolutionary developments taking place in the Mediterranean during the time (complex and region-wide events that included elections, constitutional and financial reforms, state-building, border-making, population politics etc.). Others focus more on the dynamic relationships such developments had with how people thought about the new political and social conditions in the region, and the political projects (national, imperial etc.) that they put into effect (or, sought to do so). Most papers show that the Greek revolution had an important role in debates about empire, revolution, statehood, and the international order that took place with particular force during this time. They also show that these debates were framed by an interplay between imperial visions—with the emphasis here being on those of Britain and Russia—and national and colonial projects.

Thus, the workshop has four aims: i) to reflect on the validity of using the largely ignored geography of the Mediterranean for understanding this period, ii) to revise our understanding of the Age of Revolutions, conventionally centered on the North Atlantic and France, and in this way to rethink the role of empires (not least of the Ottoman) and the Mediterranean in the coming of political modernity, iii) to reassess the 1820s as a foundational moment for the transition from a world of empires to a world of nation-states, iv) to expand the geographic/spatial scope of the Greek Revolution and thus go beyond the West-European perspective in which the Greek revolution has been conventionally examined.



10:30 10:40 Welcome

10:40 11:00 Despoina Valatsou, Adjunct Lecturer of Digital Humanities, Athens School of Fine Arts; RCH Administrator; HISTOREIN

Presentation of the 1821 Digital Archive Project


11:00 12.30 Panel 1: The Greek Revolution and the Mediterranean: Connections, resonances and cultural geographies

Maurizio Isabella, Professor of Modern History, Queen Mary University of London

A Petitionary Moment? Communitarian and Individual Rights during the 1820s Revolutions in Greece, Portugal Spain and Naples


Juan Luis Simal, Associate Professor of Modern History, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
Revolution and Finance in the Mediterranean in the 1820s


Elisavet Papalexopoulou, PhD Candidate, European University Institute

The long gowns of female slavery: between confinement and the revolutionary world outside


12:30 – 12:45 Coffee Break


12:45 – 14:15 Panel 2: Liberalism and Empire in the Mediterranean during the 1820s

Μark Philp, Professor of History, University of Warwick

Liberalism and Revolution: British responses to Greece and the Mediterranean in the 1820s


Andrew Arsan, Professor in Arab and Mediterranean History, University of Cambridge

Greece as Laboratory: Population Politics, Sovereignty, and Border-Making in the Eastern Mediterranean, c.1821-1867 


Giuseppe Grieco, Postdoctoral Fellow, Luigi Einaudi Foundation

Connections across Central Mediterranean: Empires, Two Sicilies, and Greece in the early 19th century


14:15 15:30 Lunch Break


15:30 – 17:00 Panel 3: The Greek Revolution and the Ottoman Mediterranean

Peter Hill, Lecturer in History, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne

Mount Lebanon and Greece: Mediterranean Crosscurrents, 1821-1841


Yusuf Ziya Karabicak, PhD, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz

Being a Moreot: Kocabaşıs between Morea and Constantinople before the Revolution


Antonis Hadjikyriacou, Assistant Professor, Panteion University

Respatialisation in the Eastern Mediterranean: Cyprus and the Ottoman age of revolutions


17:00 17:15 Coffee Break


17:15 – 18:45 Panel 4: Imperial and colonial visions of the Mediterranean and the Greek Revolution

Yanni Kotsonis, Professor of History & Russian & Slavic Studies, NYU Jordan Center

The Greek Revolution as an Imperial Event


Ada Dialla, Professor of European History, Athens School of Fine Arts; President of the Board of the Research Centre for the Humanities; HISTOREIN

What is a revolution in the Age of Revolutions? The Greek case of 1821


Michalis Sotiropoulos, 1821 Fellow in Modern Greek Studies, British School at Athens

The Declaration of Greek Independence in a Global context


18:45 19:15: Quo vadis?

20:00 Dinner

Download the full program here.

Academic Committee:

Ada Dialla, Athens School of Fine Arts; Research Centre for the Humanities; HISTOREIN

Antonis Liakos, Professor Emeritus, University of Athens; HISTOREIN

Michalis Sotiropoulos, British School at Athens

Athena Syriatou, Democritus University of Thrace; HISTOREIN

Konstantina Zanou, Columbia University


Organizing Committee:

Athena Bozika, Research Centre for the Humanities

Christos Chrysanthopoulos, Initiative 1821-2021

Ada Dialla, Athens School of Fine Arts; Research Centre for the Humanities; HISTOREIN

Michalis Sotiropoulos, British School at Athens



Mavrocordatos prenant un fort defendu par des turcs
Charles-Henri Loeillot-Hartwig

© National Historical Museum – Historical and Ethnological Society of Greece
Retrieved by: 1821 Digital Archive