History of Europe

Revolution 1821:With a swollen hand from the "cutting" of the Turks...

In August 1821, the Greek Revolution was still in its infancy. Despite the successes of the revolutionaries, Tripolitsa still held Moria while in Roumeli the Turks had established themselves in Lamia and also in Attica. But Tripolitsa was now in serious danger of falling. The Greeks had tightened the cord around her. However, the Turks did not stay idle. While Kiose Mehmet was in Boeotia and Omer Bryonis in Attica, a new force under Beyran Pasha was formed with the mission to move south and cross into the Peloponnese in cooperation with the other Turkish forces.

Another Turkish force of 4,000 men under Mahmud Pasha was at Domoko. Beyran had 8,000 men, Turkish cavalry and Turkish and Albanian infantry as well as artillery. He had gathered 1,000 carriages with supplies for the besieged in Tripolitsa. The Turkish plan provided for Beyran's invasion of Moria from the Isthmus and Mahmud's from Nafpaktos. Beyran would join, along the way, the forces of Kiose Mehmet, while Omer Bryonis would remain in Attica.

If the united Turkish army of Beyran, Kiose Mehmet and Mahmud reached the Peloponnese the siege of Tripoli would be lifted, no doubt and the fate of the revolution would be sealed. This was noticed by the Roumeliote chieftains, first of all the veteran elder Diovouniotis . He learned that Beyran's force had reached Zitouni (Lamia) on August 15 and notified others.

In Vasilika

The son of Panourgias, Nakos, Ioannis Gouras, Komnas Trakas, Papa-Andreas, Vassilis Bousgos, Kostas Kalivas, Kostas Bitis, Mitros Triantafyllou, George Lappas and Antonis Kontosopoulos (Gerantonos) responded to his call. ). The Greek chieftains met in Ergini (today's Reginio) in order to decide how to act. Opinions were then heard. One, chosen by Dyovouniotis, called for them to take up positions at the Vasilikoni crossing and the other at the Fontana crossing. The Turks through these two passages could move to the South.

But the crossing of Fontana, which passed through Mount Kallidromos, was difficult, especially for an army with numerous cavalry and hundreds of chariots. That is why Dyovouniotis insisted that the Turks will prefer the crossing of the Vasiliki. Finally his opinion prevailed, despite Goura's objections, and the bulk of the Greek forces marched there. Only Papa-Andreas with 200 men covered the Fontana crossing just in case. The rest of the Greeks joined the Royal Guard, having on their right Mount Knemis, in the area of ​​Stena Gremna. At the entrance to the crossing there was a forest where Dyovouniotis and his men lined up.

Behind and to the right, on the edges of the mountain, Kalyvas and Kontosopoulos lined up with their men, while behind and to the left of Diovouniotis lined up Trakas and Bitis with their warriors. At the exit of the crossing they formed the last line of defense, but also the reserve, the divisions of Gouras, Nakos Panourgias and Giorgos Diovouniotis (son of old Dyovouniotis). In total the Greeks had 1,600 warriors, of which 200 were available at Fontana. During the battle they were to be reinforced with a few more.

Turkish moves

In the meantime Beyran was delayed in starting from Lamia as Haji Bekir Pasha, one of his sub-generals, died suddenly. The event was considered a bad omen by the Turks and it had an effect on their morale. Finally Beyran, together with Sahin Ali Pasha and Memish Pasha, moved on August 22 to the South. The Turks arrived in the region of Skarfeia. There Beyran, who had no contact with the Turkish forces in Boeotia and Attica, sent reconnaissance units both to Vasiliki and Fontana.

The 200 horsemen he sent to Vasilika were beaten by the Greeks and retreated, leaving behind 40 dead. At Fontana also the 300 foot soldiers he sent were hit and retreated leaving 25 dead on the field. Beyran understood that the passes were controlled by the Greeks. However having confidence in his numerical superiority he decided to blackmail the passage to the Royal . So after leaving the carriages at Scarfeia, at dawn on August 26, he attacked. At the same time, a body under Ioannis Roukis, sent by Odysseus Androutsos, arrived at Vasilika and occupied the secondary crossing of Anivitsa.


The Turks entering the strait fired a thunderbolt with their guns to intimidate the Greeks, prayed to Allah, asked the help of the "prophet" and entered... The Turkish advance guard entered the strait without noticing the men of Dyovouniotis in the forest . Thus the Turks saw the men of Kalyvas and Kontosopoulos and attacked them. But the Greeks repelled them. Enraged, Beyran now sent 4,000 of his men against them. The Greeks were hard pressed and despite the fact that Gouras rushed to reinforce them with his body, they were forced to retreat. Kontosopoulos was hurt, but did not give up the fight.

The Greeks retreated a little further back and fortified themselves in the area where there was a small chapel of Agios Athanasios. There they stopped the Turks. Infuriated Beïran then ordered a general attack, involving all his forces in the battle. As the battle raged, shots were heard behind the Greek positions. There were 250 men under Bousgos, Triantafyllina and Lappa who rushed to reinforce. The men of Bousgos joined the men of Goura, while the others reinforced Kontosopoulos. Gouras, when he saw the body in question arriving, exclaimed loudly:"My children, the captain is coming, on top of them" meaning the terror of the Turks, Androutsos.

The Turks and especially the Turkalvans who knew, many of them Greek, panicked. The Gouras he took advantage of the momentary confusion of the enemies and leaving a few men in Ag. Athanasios, moved towards Anivitsa and after joining the body of Roukis, he maneuvered and found himself in the rear of the fighting Turks. At the same time, the priest - Andreas was also arriving at Vasilika from Fontana. A savage massacre of the trapped Turks followed. Beyran's son was among the dead. Gura's hand was swollen from slaughtering the Turks with the yatagani. The Turkish Pasha had no other choice. Terrified, he ordered a general retreat which soon turned into a panicked flight.


The Turks attempted to burn the supply wagons but managed to burn 400 leaving 600 intact. However, this saved them as the Greeks who pursued them stopped to loot. Only the 200 of Pope Andreas chased them. "If the Greeks did not fall for the loot and did not fall asleep, certainly none of them wanted to stay and wanted us to capture Beyran Pasha himself alive", Androutsos wrote the next day in his letter to Dimitrios Ypsilantis. Defeated Beyran retreated badly. He himself either committed suicide or was murdered by order of the sultan. The Turks had at least 766 dead in the battle, according to Androutsos, while others put the death toll at 1,200.

Another 1,500 were wounded and 220 captured. One of them, the Turkalvan officer Phrasaris who had previously been captured and exchanged on the condition that he would not fight the Greeks again, was scraped alive. The Greeks captured 600 Turkish carriages, eight cannons and a large number of horses, cows and other animals intended for food. Greek losses were small. According to the worst count, the Greeks had 42 dead and 35 wounded. The battle at Vasilika resulted in the saving of Morias and, about a month later, the sacking of Tripolitsa. It is no exaggeration to say that the Battle of Vasilika saved the revolution in 1821.