Portrait: MANTO MAVROGENOUS 1ο

 

 

Trieste, 1796 - Paros, Ιούλιους 1848

 

Manto Mavrogenous (Greek: Μαντώ Μαυρογένους) (1796 – July 1848) was a Greek heroine of the Greek War of Independence. A rich woman, she spent all her fortune for the Hellenic cause. Under her encouragement, her European friends contributed money and guns to the revolution.

Manto Mavrogenous was born in Trieste, then in the Habsburg Monarchy, now part of Italy. She was daughter of the merchant and member of the Filiki Eteria, Nikolaos Mavrogenes, and Zacharati Chatzi Bati. One of her ancestors, the great-uncle of her father, Nicholas Mavrogenes, was Dragoman of the Fleet and Prince of Wallachia.

A beautiful woman of aristocratic lineage, she grew up in an educated family, influenced by the Age of Enlightenment. She studied ancient Greek philosophy and history at a college in Trieste, and spoke French, Italian and Turkish fluently.

In 1809, she moved to Paros with her family, where she learned from her father that the Filiki Eteria was preparing what would become known as the Greek Revolution and later, in 1818, after her father's death, she left for Tinos. When the struggle began, she went to Mykonos, the island of her origin, and invited the leaders of Mykonos to join the revolution.

She equipped, manned and "privateered" at her own expense, two ships with which she pursued the pirates who attacked Mykonos and other islands of Cyclades. On 22 October 1822, the Mykonians repulsed the Ottoman Turks, who had debarked on the island, under her leadership. She also equipped 150 men to campaign in the Peloponnese and sent forces and financial support to Samos, when the island was threatened by the Turks. Later, Mavrogenous sent another corps of fifty men to Peloponnese, who took part in the Siege of Tripolitsa and the fall of the town to the Greek rebels. Together, she spent money for the relief of the soldiers and their families, the preparation of a campaign to Northern Greece and the support of several philhellenes.

Mavrogenous led enlightenment expeditions in Europe and addressed an appeal to the women of Paris, to side up with the Greeks. She moved to Nafplio in 1823, to be in the core of the struggle, leaving her family as she was despised even by her mother because of her choices. It is at this time that Mavrogenous met Demetrius Ypsilanti, with whom she was soon engaged. Soon, she became famous around Europe for her beauty and bravery. But in May of the same year, her home was totally burnt, and her fortune was stolen, and as a result she went to Tripoli to live with Ypsilanti, while Papaflessas provided her with food.

When the war ended Ioannis Kapodistrias awarded her the rank of the Lieutenant General and granted her a dwelling in Nafplio, where she moved.

The central plaza in the capital town of Mykonos bears her name and contains a larger than life bust of her. The main square in the port town of Paroikia in Paros has also been given her name. Greece has honored this heroine by naming several streets across the country after her.

Source from Wikipedia