Markos Botsaris (Greek: Μάρκος Μπότσαρης, c.
1788 – 21 August 1823) was a Greek general and hero of the
Greek War of Independence
Greek War of Independence and captain of the Souliotes. Botsaris is
among the most revered national heroes in Greece.
1 Early life
2 French Army and repatriation to Souli
3 Greek War of Independence
4 Family and companions
5.1 The Greek–Arbanitic dictionary
7 See also
10 External links
Botsaris was born into one of the leading clans of the Souliotes, in
the region of Souli, Epirus. He was the second son of captain
Kitsos Botsaris, who was murdered in Arta in 1809 under the orders of
Ali Pasha. The Botsaris clan came from the village of Dragani (today
Ambelia), near Paramythia.
French Army and repatriation to Souli
In 1803, after the capture of
Souli by Ali Pasha, Botsaris and the
remnants of the
Souliotes crossed over to the Ionian Islands, where he
served in the Albanian Regiment of the French army for 11 years and
became one the regiment's officers.
In 1814, he joined the Greek patriotic society known as the Filiki
Eteria. In 1820, with other Souliots, he came back to
fought against Ali Pasha in the Ottoman army at the Siege of Ioannina,
but soon the
Souliotes changed side and fought the Ottoman army with
the troops of Ali Pasha, in exchange of their former region, the
Greek War of Independence
Flag raised by Markos Botsaris, in Souli, October 1820, depicting
Saint George and with the words: Freedom-Religion-Fatherland in
Botsaris surprises the Turkish camp and falls fatally wounded by
Botsaris dying in
Karpenisi by Peter von Hess
In 1821, Botsaris took part in the revolution against the Ottoman
Empire. He and other Souliot captains, including Kitsos Tzavelas,
Notis Botsaris, Lampros Veikos, and Giotis Danglis only enlisted
fellow Souliot kin into their bands. At the outbreak of the Greek
War of Independence, he distinguished himself by his courage, tenacity
and skill as a partisan leader in the fighting in western Greece, and
was conspicuous in the defence of
Missolonghi during the first siege
of the city (1822–1823).
On the night of 21 August 1823 he led the celebrated attack on
Karpenisi by 350 Souliots, against around 3,000 Ottoman Albanian
troops who formed the vanguard of the army with which Mustafa Pasha,
the Pasha of
Shkoder (modern northern Albania) and advanced to
reinforce the besiegers. Botsaris' men ambushed the enemy camp and
inflicted serious causalties, but Botsaris was shot in the head and
Botsaris was buried with full honors in Missolonghi. After the
Ottomans captured the city, in 1826, his grave was desecrated by
Ottoman Albanian groups.
Family and companions
Many of his family members became key figures of the Greek political
establishment. Markos' brother Kostas (Constantine) Botsaris, who also
Karpenisi and completed the victory, lived on to become a
respected Greek general and parliamentarian in the Greek kingdom.
He died in
Athens on 13 November 1853. Markos's son, Dimitrios
Botsaris, born in 1813, was three times minister of war during the
reigns of Otto of
Greece and George I of Greece. He died in
17 August 1870. His daughter, Katerina "Rosa" Botsari, was in the
service of Queen Amalia of Greece.
Dimitrios Botsaris became three times Minister of War of
Greece, under Kings Otto and George I.
Evangelis Zappas, the renowned benefactor and founder of the modern
Olympic Games, was the aide-de-camp and close friend of Markos
Many Philhellenes visiting
Greece had admired Botsaris' courage and
numerous poets wrote poems about him. American poet Fitz-Greene
Halleck wrote a poem entitled Marco Bozzaris,
Juste Olivier also wrote
an award-winning poem for him, in 1825. The national poet of
Greece, Dionysios Solomos, composed a poem titled "On Markos
Botsaris", in which he likens the mourning over Botsaris' body to the
lamentation of Hector, as described in the last book of the Iliad.
His memory is still celebrated in popular ballads in Greece.
Botsaris is also widely considered to be the author of a
Greek–Albanian lexicon written in Corfu in 1809, at the insistence
of François Pouqueville, Napoleon Bonaparte's general consul at the
court of Ali Pasha in Ioannina. The dictionary is of importance
for the knowledge of the extinct Souliot dialect. However,
although the book is known as the Botsaris dictionary, scholar Xhevat
Lloshi has argued in several works that Botsaris couldn't have
possibly written that dictionary by himself, both because of his young
age, and because of a note of Pouqueville that clearly says that the
dictionary was drafted under the dictation of Marko's father, uncle,
and future father-in-law.
In Greek music, the Zakynthian composer
Pavlos Carrer composed in 1858
the opera “Marco Bozzari” to his honour. In 1858 excerpts from the
opera were performed in
Athens in the presence of King Otto. Also,
there are several folk songs dedicated to Botsaris, like a Tsamiko
from Central Greece, named Song of
Markos Botsaris (Greek: του
Μάρκου Μπότσαρη), and from the Greek minority of
Albania (Northern Epirus) (Καημένε Μάρκο
Μπότσαρη). Popular dramas and school plays were written
soon after his death.
Botsaris was depicted on the reverse of the Greek 50 lepta coin of
1976–2001. He often adorns posters in Greek classrooms,
government offices, and military barracks, as a member of the Greek
pantheon of national heroes.
The Greek–Arbanitic dictionary
The original manuscript of the dictionary is at the National Library
in Paris (Supplément Grec 251). Botsaris titled his dictionary
“Lexicon of the simple Romaic and Arbanitic language”
(Λεξικόν της Ρωμαϊκοις και
Αρβανητηκής Απλής (sic)). The Greek terms are in
columns on the left of the pages, not in alphabetical order, and the
Albanian words on the right, written in Greek letters. Apart from
single words, the dictionary includes complexes of words or short
phrases. The Greek entries are in total 1701 and the Albanian 1494.
On the first page there is a hand-written notice by Pouqueville: “Ce
lexique est écrit de la main de Marc Botzari à Corfou 1809 devant
moi.” This manuscript, which includes also a kind of
Greek–Albanian self-teaching method with dialogues written by
Ioannes Vilaras and a French-Albanian glossary by Pouqueville, was
donated by the latter to the Library in 1819. The dictionary was
dictated to the young M. Botsaris by his father Kitsos (1754–1813),
his uncle Notis (1759–1841) and his father-in-law Christakis
Kalogerou from Preveza. Titos Yochalas, a Greek historian who studied
and edited the manuscript, noticing that some Greek words are
translated into Albanian in more than one way, believes that M.
Botsaris was writing the Greek words and the elders were translating
into Albanian. As many of the entries seem unlikely to be useful
either for the Suliots or the Albanians of that time and
circumstances, Yochalas believes that the dictionary was composed
after Pouqueville’s initiative, possibly as a source for a future
French-Albanian dictionary. He also observes that the Albanian phrases
are syntaxed as if were Greek, concluding that either the mother
tongue of the authors was the Greek or the
Greek language had a very
strong influence on the Albanian, if the latter was possibly spoken in
Souli (Yochalas, p. 53). The Albanian idiom of the dictionary
belongs to the Tosk dialect of south Albanian and retains many archaic
elements, found also in the dialect spoken by the Greco-Albanian
communities of South Italy and Sicily. In the Albanian entries there
are many loans from Greek (approx. 510), as well as from Turkish
(approx. 190) and Italian (21).
An oil painting on canvas of
Markos Botsaris by Jean-Léon Gérôme,
Markos Botsaris in Missolonghi, copy by Georgios Bonanos. The
original by French sculptor
David d'Angers is in Athens.
Markos Botsaris by Giovanni Boggi, 1826.
The death of Markos Botsaris. Painting by Ludovico Lipparini, Civico
Museo Sartorio, Trieste, Italy.
The death of Markos Botsaris. Painting by Marsigli Filippo, Benaki
The death of
Markos Botsaris by Georg Emanuel Opitz, Benaki Museum,
Death of Markos Mpotsaris by Athanasios Iatridis
Katerina Rosa Botsaris (daughter of Markos) in Amalia dress. painted
by Joseph Karl Stieler, Schönheitengalerie, Munich.
Botzaris Metro Station
^ a b Brigands with a Cause, Brigandage and Irredentism in Modern
Greece 1821–1912, by John S. Koliopoulos, Clarendon Press, Oxford.
1987. p. 53. ISBN 0-19-822863-5
^ Katherine Elizabeth Fleming. The Muslim Bonaparte: diplomacy and
orientalism in Ali Pasha's Greece. Princeton University Press, 1999.
ISBN 978-0-691-00194-4, p. 99"The Souliotes, a Greek-speaking
tribe of Albanian origin... Ali had tried off and over..."
^ Zamoyski, Adam (2000). Holy madness: romantics, patriots, and
revolutionaries, 1776–1871. Viking. p. 232.
^ Χατζηλύρας, Αλέξανδρος-Μιχαήλ. "H
Ελληνική Σημαία. H ιστορία και οι
παραλλαγές της κατά την Επανάσταση - Η
σημασία και η καθιέρωσή της" (PDF). Hellenic
Army General Stuff. p. 12. Retrieved 2 May 2016.
^ Dakin, Douglas (1973). The Greek struggle for independence
1821–1833. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 102.
^ Βαρβαρήγος, Ποθητός. Θρησκεία και
Θρησκευτική Ζωή κατά τον πόλεμο της
Ανεξαρτησίας (in Greek). University of Thessaloniki.
pp. 73, 98. Retrieved 17 February 2013.
^ University of Chicago (1946). Encyclopædia britannica: a new survey
of universal knowledge, Volume 3. Encyclopædia britannica, inc.
p. 957. Marco Botsaris’s brother Kosta (Constantine), who
Karpenisi and completed the victory, lived to become a
general and senator in the Greek Kingdom. Kosta died in 1853..
^ University of Chicago. Encyclopædia britannica: a new survey of
universal knowledge. Encyclopædia britannica, inc., 1946, p. 957
^ The Modern Olympics, A Struggle for Revival, by David C. Young. p.
13. 1996 The Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0-8018-5374-5
^ Poetry Archive - Marco Bozzaris
^ Mackridge, edited by Peter (1996). Ancient Greek myth in modern
Greek poetry : essays in memory of C.A. Trypanis (1. publ. ed.).
London: Frank Cass. pp. xvii.
ISBN 978-0-7146-4751-7. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list
^ Markos Botsarēs, Titos P. Giochalas: To Hellēno-Alvanikon lexikon
tou Markou Botsarē: (philologikē ekdosis ek tou autographou),
Grapheion Dēmosieumatōn tēs Akadēmias Athēnōn, 1980, 424 pages.
^ JOCHALAS, Titos, To ellino-alvanikon lexikon tou Markou Botzari,
^ Lloshi, Xhevat (2008). bocari rreth
alfabetit#v=onepage&q&f=false Rreth Alfabetit te shqipes Check
url= value (help). Logos. p. 107. ISBN 9989582688.
^ A. Xepapadakou, “The Marco Bozzari by Pavlos Carrer, a
‘national’ Opera”, in Moussikos Logos, 5, Corfu: Ionian
University-Dept. of Music Studies, 2003, 27–63.
^ Antōnēs I. Phlountzēs Akronauplia kai Akronaupliōtes,
1937–1943. Themelio, 1979, p. 286 (Greek)
^ Nikolaos V. Dēmētriou,Eleutherios N. Dēmētriou. Voreios
Ēpeiros: tragoudia kai choroi. Trochalia, 2000, p. 45.
^ Enangelides Tryfon, The education during the Turkish occupation,
Athens, 1936, vol. 2, p. 79. A school play titled "Markos Botsaris"
was played in
Greece in 1825.
^ Alkaios Theodoros, The death of Markos Botsaris, published in
Athens, undated. The author died in 1833.
^ Bank of
Greece Archived 28 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine..
Drachma Banknotes & Coins: 50 lepta Archived 1 January 2009 at the
Wayback Machine.. – Retrieved on 27 March 2009.
^ Yochalas Titos (editor, 1980) The Greek-Albanian Dictionary of
Markos Botsaris. Academy of Greece,
Athens 1980 (in Greek)
This article incorporates text from a publication now in
the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Botzaris, Marco".
Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
Botsaris, 180 Years from the Greek Revolution
Lloshi, Xhevat (2008). Rreth Alfabetit te Shqipes. Logos.
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