Greek songs remember Ibrahim Pasha in a negative way. I did not realize who he was and what he almost accomplished. The online encyclopedia Britannica describes him as brilliant. None of his atrocities of the civilian population at Missolonghi or Morea (Peloponnese) are mentioned. In the Britannica article the Greek Revolution is stated in two sentence: Ibrahim landed in Greece in 1825, subdued Morea, but a combined British, French and Russian Squadron eventually compelled the Egyptian force to withdraw.”1 The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica and the most recently revised and updated article by Adam Zeidan, Assistant Editor, ignore the European and American primary sources accounts that portray a different viewpoint of Ibrahim Pasha.
Runciman points out “Ibrahim’s atrocities aroused horror in Europe and were to result in the end the Great Powers coming together to take joint action to save the Greeks. Ibrahim Pasha destroyed Mystra on September 14, 1824. Everything burnt. The British government sent Captain Hamilton “to intercept the Pasha and arrange a peaceable exchange of prisoners. When they found Ibrahim Pasha the next day (9/15/1824), he received them graciously, ‘but told them that though he regretted the necessity, he intended to burn and destroy the whole Morea. I will not cease,’ he repeated ‘till the Morea be a ruin.’” As Captain Hamilton passed through Mystra 3 days later 9/17/1824, the city was smoldering with fire and desolate. The end of the Byzantine capital of the Peloponnese.
In 1825, Ibrahim’s forces marched through the Peloponnese to complete its devastation. In 1827, Britain, France and Russia saved Greece for Greeks in the October 20th naval battle of Navarino. Ibrahim Pasha left the Peloponnese 10 months later in August 1828.8 The Greek guerrilla bands harassed his army, and in revenge he desolated the country and sent thousands of the inhabitants into slavery in Egypt.9
The Kingdom of Greece was established in 1832. King Otho, Prince of Bavaria, landed in Nafplio to take over the kingdom in January 1833. Otho and advisers were Germans deeply interested in the classical past. They had no interest for the Middle Ages. After the destruction of Mystra, a new administrative center in Laconia, was set up in Sparta, instead of Mystra. The new city of Sparta was inaugurated in 1834. No one returned to Mystra. A furthermost suburb survived to become the town of Mystra.10 Mystra today is an abandoned city visited by tourists.
An islamicized Greek, Ibrahim Pasha destroyed the Peloponnese. Britannica mentions nothing about his genocidal brutality, only his brilliance. One must question any internet accounts of Greek extermination of Muslims. The original Western sources show the opposite, emphasizing the slavery of Greek civilian population in Egypt. Ibrahim Pasha’s destruction and enslavement of Greeks led the West to say ENOUGH. The Peloponnese must be saved for Greeks and not be repopulated with immigrants from Ibrahim Pasha’s homeland.
- Neos Kosmos
- Sir Steven Runciman. Mystra, Thames and Hudson LTD., London, 1980, pp. 131, 140
- Runciman, pp. 144-145.
- Runciman, p. 146