“The Modern Greek Enlightenment and Revolution” – An original history research paper by rootsnwingz

Historical Background

On the 29th of May 1453, the capital of the Byzantine Empire, Constantinople, was conquered after a long siege by the Ottoman armed forces, led by the twenty-one-year-old Fatih Sultan Mehmed II. The siege of Constantinople by the Ottomans signified the fall of Byzantium and the end an era, that is its millennium-long reign in the Mediterranean region. In addition, it meant that most of the geographical area that is today known as Greece, fell under Turkish rule.   The Ottoman occupation of Greece lasted for the following four hundred years, a period commonly referred to as Tourkokratia (Τουρκοκρατία) (Cogg C 1992, 3). The Tourkokratia is usually considered an oppressive time, mainly due to the imposition of religious restrictions, heavy, unjust taxation and the practice of Paidomazoma (Παιδομάζωμα) or Janissary levy, which translates from Greek as the gathering of children. This practice refers to the enforced obligation of each and every Christian family to surrender their best looking and most intelligent children to be raised as Muslim; the corps of the Janissaries would then conscript these Greek-in-origin youths and train them to be elite soldiers (Clogg C 1992, 14). Significantly, because of the Paidomazoma, Greeks were forced to fight alongside Turks and, most often, against fellow Christian populations.

However, the outbreak of the Greek Revolution, also known as the Greek War of Independence, did not begin until March 1821, after nearly four hundred year of atrocities, economic decline and oppression. The outbreak is celebrated on March 25th every year by tradition not because the revolution actually began that day. In the 18th and 19th century, we observe in Europe the growth of certain liberal movements, including revolutionary nationalism, Philhellenism and the Diafotismos (Διαφωτισμός), i.e. the modern Greek Enlightenment. Furthermore, in 1814, a secret organization, Philiki Etairia (Φιλική Εταιρεία), is founded. Driven by the ideas of the Enlightenment, the goal of these Greek revolutionaries was to overthrow Turkish rule.

In 1828, following seven years of violent revolts and battles, both on land and at sea, the Ottomans surrendered and were forced out of the Peloponnese and Central Greece. In May 1832, the Convention of London takes place, where Greece is finally recognized by the Great Powers (Russia, France, U.K.) as a free, independent, but monarchical, nation. The Greek Kingdom’s initial territory after the end of the revolution solely included the limited territorial gains of the war. Interestingly, Greece did not have jurisdiction over the entire geographical region it controls today until as late as 1947, that is after World War II.

Introduction of Topic & Methodology

            In a nutshell, my project consists of using primary sources in order: a) to assess to what extent the Diafotismos was an anti-imperial and anti-colonial ideology and b) to gain an in-depth understanding of how the transmission of its radical ideas contributed to the successful Greek uprising and revolution in 1821 against the Ottoman rule. These were my central initial research questions. Therefore, my intention is to take advantage of my knowledge of modern Greek and use the writings of the key intellectuals of the movement, i.e. Adamantios Korais and Rigas Pheraios, with the goal of forwarding my central argument, mainly that the Diafotismos was vital to the Greek uprising. Since there is notable overlap between the Greek Enlightenment and the Philhellenism in Western Europe, I also intend to use the writings of second-generation English Romantic poets, especially Lord Byron. The aim here is to better comprehend the Western powers’ attitude towards Greek nationalists as well as the Turkish rulers. In effect, the literary work of these intellectuals, both the philhellenes and the proponents of the Diafotismos, prepared the grounds for an uprising and influenced the outcome of the revolution. Finally, I will attempt to determine whether one can rightfully speak, in general, of a subaltern, anti-colonial Enlightenment. Secondary sources on the Philiki Etairia and its role are also implemented. Moreover, some secondary sources are used on the humanitarian intervention at the battle of Navarino to better comprehend the Western powers’ a) sympathetic attitude towards Greek nationalists and b) their problems with the Turkish rulers.

Thesis & Original Contribution

Essentially, Greece’s successful revolution was not an isolated event but more of a seven year long process. It can be attributed to numerous anti-imperial factors, both internal (e.g. Philiki Etairia, Diafotismos) and external (e.g. philhellenism, the decline of the Ottoman Empire, military and navy assistance, other European intellectual movements, complex diplomatic relations, etc.). So how important was the Diafotismos really? Would Greece have gained independence regardless? In this essay, I will argue that, as a matter of fact, the Modern Greek Enlightenment’s most important accomplishment and contribution to the War of Independence is that it served as the awakening instrument, which laid down the intellectual foundations for the Greek struggle of independence by exacerbating nationalism and by planting the seed of freedom. Beyond that, other factors led up to the ultimate success of the revolution and Greece’s recognition as an independent nation. In this light, my essay’s original contribution to the subject of Empire is the challenge to the notion of a general anti-imperial European Enlightenment movement, whereas its chief goal is to delineate the roles of philhellenism, Diafotismos and intervention within the framework of the Greek revolution. Continue reading


Fi Di Youth Dem

Two all new motivational roots reggae tunes caught my attention today: “Get It In Your Head” by Jamaican singers Exco Levi and Romain Virgo and “Generation” by UK / Jamaican MC, Gappy Ranks.  Romain Virgo’s and Exco Levi’s track is a reminder of how important knowledge and education are, while Gappy Ranks tells the story of how he grew as an artist and how he never gave up trying to reach his goals.  Both tracks have that oldschool roots reggae feel; “Generation” is in fact off the upcoming “Old Fashion Riddim” by Kemar “Flava” McGregor, which is a tweaked rendition of the classic “Ba Ba Boom Riddim” aka “Shine & Criss Riddim”.  “Get it in Your Head” is off Exco Levi’s new album “Country Man”, produced by Penthouse Records. Get Your Education and remember Knowledge is Power!


The Structure of Guilt, Anxiety & BOREDOM!!

“The Structure of Awareness”, 1969, Thomas C. Oden

Part III, the structure of boredom, analogously, is as follows: The self (1) relates to the now or present actuality in the mode of immediate experiencing (2). When that present (3) is symbolized as being devoid of values regarded as necessary for one's existence, one experiences boredom (5). Boredom is the awareness that the essential values through which one fulfills himself are not able to be actualized under these present circumstances. To the degree to which these limited values are elevated to absolutes which appear to be unactualizable (6), one is vulnerable to intensive, depressive, demonic boredom.
Part III, the structure of boredom, analogously, is as follows: The self (1) relates to the now or present actuality in the mode of immediate experiencing (2). When that present (3) is symbolized as being devoid of values regarded as necessary for one’s existence, one experiences boredom (5). Boredom is the awareness that the essential values through which one fulfills himself are not able to be actualized under these present circumstances. To the degree to which these limited values are elevated to absolutes which appear to be unactualizable (6), one is vulnerable to intensive, depressive, demonic boredom.

Epistemology: Belief, Knowledge & Pragmatism, an original essay by 420randomness

Guest Post by 420randomness, translated from Greek into English by rootsnwingz for our English-speaking readers!

Epistemology: Belief, Knowledge & Pragmatism

According to recent scientific evidence … living within reason … we find ourselves in a blind existence without any archetypes, where everything seems to happen anyways, for no reason at all !

~ 1.1 Expression ~

one stimulus makes you twice as stimulated becomes one stimulus does not stimulate you at all

In other words, “Once bitten, twice shy,” becomes “Once bitten, never shy,”

But what can we do, if we can’t learn about a subject when we lack the relevant experience in that subject matter?

~~And thus, the rhythms of the natural world are still unappreciated~~

However, let us take a closer look

Passage from: “How We Believe”, Michael Shermer. Scientific American,

‘’I argue that our brains are belief engines: evolved pattern-recognition machines that connect the dots and create meaning out of the patterns that we think we see in nature. Sometimes A really is connected to B; sometimes it is not. When it is, we have learned something valuable about the environment from which we can make predictions that aid in survival and reproduction. We are the

ancestors of those most successful at finding patterns

This process is called association learning, and it is fundamental to all animal behavior, from the humble worm C. elegans to H. sapiens.’’

~ 1.2 Scientific Reference ~

Using evolutionary modeling and having a demonstration through it, Harvard University biologist Kevin R. Foster and University of Helsinki biologist Hanna Kokko in ’08, tested the theory and tried to have a gist out of it:

They begin with the formula pb > c,

where a belief may be held when the cost (c) of doing so is less than the probability (p) of the benefit (b). For example, believing that the rustle in the grass is a dangerous predator when it is only the wind does not cost much, but believing that a dangerous predator is the wind may cost an animal its life!!

 <.Think about it as you consider the following image.>


natural selection will favor patternicity

Continue reading

“Getting to Zero” – No-Maddz with EveForLife and the UN Joint Team on AIDS (New Official Music Video December 2014)

aidsJamaican reggae band and dub poetry group “No-Maddz” present their brand new official music video “Getting to Zero”, directed by Kurt Wright.  A groovy riddim and powerful, touching and educational message on AIDS discrimination in Jamaica and the rest of the world.  A great positive video, released today, World Aids Day, to accompany a great song.  Respect to the youths of No-Maddz for contributing to another important cause by effectively raising awareness and by educating on the social seriousness and reality of AIDS and its prevention.  Watch the music video now and share the good vibes now:

Don’t forget sharing is caring!


“Critical analysis of the concept of the witch”, original essay by rootsnwingz

What is a witch? Most people imagine witches as evil, ugly, old and dangerous women; others associate the word “witch” with magic and depictions of witches as shown in the popular media, e.g. Bewitched, Harry Potter, etc. Regardless of whether the word “witch” has a positive or negative connotation in today’s language, culture and understanding, when one examines witches and their persecution in historical perspective it becomes evident that these stereotypes are misconceptions. In reality, the witch-hunts were a very sad story of injustice and cruelty, involving the vilification and torment of countless innocent women.

The witch hunts took place over many centuries and over both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Therefore, the witch hunts were not uniform; they happened for different reasons and in different societies. Furthermore, the true nature of the witch hunts has been masked by the misinformation, biased superstition and propaganda that has been fed to the public by those groups who were in power and responsible for these massacres. In my view, this is why the word “witch” has a negative connotation in the modern English language. Calling someone a witch is rarely meant as a compliment. Consequently, I hope to demonstrate that it is not analytically sound to generalize about witches and witch hunts for that is what has led to the majority’s confusion about what these women actually were and about what really happened to them.

So were witches real? Yes, that is to say witch beliefs and practices indeed existed. However, not all the people who were killed during the witch hunts were witches. As mentioned above, most of them were innocent of the crimes they were accused of.  This brings us to the meaning of witchcraft.

Witchcraft is a kind of explanatory system –not based on science- used by society to explain natural misfortunes. In other words, witches were the scapegoats , i.e. they were blamed for undermining the world and their sacrifice was not only considered just, but also beneficial for the rest of society. Continue reading

‘Are women treated “egalitarianly” in egalitarian societies?’, an original essay by rootsnwingz


Members of an egalitarian society are, by definition, considered to be equals, i.e. they have the same status despite their diversity in terms of race, social class, income, or in this case, gender. Therefore, in principle, women in egalitarian societies have an equally important social role and responsibility as men do, or there is a general semblance of equality. In an egalitarian society, both men and women have equal influence and thus have equal opportunity to assume positions of authority. Nevertheless, although hunter-gatherer societies were more egalitarian than today’s segregated socioeconomic cultures, one may still observe differences between men and women’s roles, and even some degree of inequity.

The experiences of women in egalitarian foraging societies as described by Marjorie Shostak in her book, “Nisa, the life and words of a !Kung woman”, testify to a higher degree of gender equality in bushman societies than in non-egalitarian modern ones. However, they also shed some light into why men still managed to assume greater authority in some instances and why their contribution was often valued more than women’s. In spite of these slight gender differences, the author argues that foraging societies were a lot less stratified than today’s market-based societies, where gender hierarchies are prevalent. In other words, she suggests that:

Perhaps the extremes of subordination of women by men found in many of today’s more socioeconomically ‘advanced’ cultures are only a relatively recent aberration in our long, human calendar.” (Shostak 2000, 214)

In my view, the emergence of gender hierarchies is directly related to the shift from hunting and gathering towards a settler’s life and the development of market economies. Continue reading

“Cannabis: Mesopotamia & Egypt”, essay by Conner North

Published by the online magazine INITY, this essay explains how ancient hieroglyphics record the medicinal use of cannabis by ancient civilizations. The well written article presents some very informative and important evidence. Here’s an interesting excerpt:

Mesopotamia (3000 BC) & Egypt (2000 BC)

Trickling from ancient China, cannabis made its way to Mesopotamia and Egypt, and only recently, in the 19th and 20th Centuries, has ancient hieroglyphics been deciphered along with cannabis’ medicinal use. As with the ancient Chinese, Mesopotamians and Egyptians overstood and embraced the significance of natural remedies, including cannabis, and were in harmony with their environment and the cosmos.

Our knowledge of ancient medicine is derived almost exclusively from the great library of clay tablets gathered throughout history. Roughly 30,000 fragments of ancient Mesopotamian and Egyptian clay tablets exist, which may have well numbered over 100,000 when complete.

Throughout Mesopotamian tablets and Egyptian scrolls, similar references are made to the medicinal use of cannabis as a remedy for:

Acute pain
Trench foot/gout/sore feet
Gynecological disorders
Colorectal illness

It’s interesting to note some of the ancient medicinal uses of cannabis are the same as today’s conditions that enable eligibility to get a red card (in Colorado and some other states) and become a legal MMJ patient, like acute, or chronic, pain.

While medical technology and philosophy has evolved leaps and bounds and epic discoveries have been made, as we technologically advance, it’s hard to ignore the detachment from the environment and nature that comes with these advancements. Granted, we shouldn’t be heading back to the Stone Age anytime soon, medically speaking, but in retrospect and in comparison to ancients, we have lost touch with naturalness. Plants and other natural elements were used by ancients to combat medical issues that we still face today.

For the full article go to: http://inityweekly.com/mmj-mesopotamia-egypt/

To view an original Assyrian tablet with a translation listing cannabis as a natural remedy for treating bruises and swelling click here: http://antiquecannabisbook.com/chap2B/Assyria/K6261.htm

“Drugs World” Visual Venn Diagram


Accurate Venn diagram showing and categorizing natural and chemical drugs according to their effects and uses. The simple and self-explanatory design by David McCandless successfully depicts each drug in terms of its effects as a depressant, hallucinogen, stimulant and anti-psychotic. Thus emerges a clear image of the nature of drugs and their effects / uses. I won’t say much more, except look at where cannabis lies on the diagram… How much more in our face could the truth be??!! Could it be that nature provided us with a medicine that is superior to pharmaceuticals? Nah, it couldn’t, could it? 😉

*For those who still don’t get it, the diagram conclusively shows cannabis as the only drug with active ingredients that can cause depressive, hallucinogenic, stimulant and anti-psychotic effects (all 4 types of psychoactive effects). Its medicinal benefits and superiority to pills become evident when we consider the range of uses the plant could therefore have. Moreover, this brings to question the necessity for synthetic pharmaceuticals even existing, when there already is a drug found in nature that covers the entire spectrum of psychoactive effects. What a threat to these corporations’ current profits it would be if there was a scientific consensus on cannabis…

Legalize it!

Visualization of the major causes of death in the 20th century

In November, two years ago, I was lucky enough to visit the Wellcome Collection in London, UK. The unique exhibition was entitled “Death: A self-portrait – The Richard Harris Collection” and focused on the iconography of death and humanity’s complicated attitudes towards it. From rare paintings, medical documents to scientific specimen and ancient skulls. The first exhibition I visited at the Wellcome Collection was about the brain and was a lot more disturbing than this one, yet I loved it and found it amazing. So I was mentally prepared for what awaited me. Albeit macabre, the exhibits were remarkably interesting and the analysis and explanations provided were very insightful and well-researched. Essentially, the exhibition succeeded in depicting humans’ journey in history to come to terms with and comprehend death.

On the wall of the final exhibit room was the most impressive, in my opinion, piece: a massive visual diagram showing and effectively ranking the major causes of death (counted in millions) in the 20th century. Simply and elegantly designed, this artwork was commissioned by the Wellcome Collection to David McCandless of http://www.informationisbeautiful.net, who created an extremely helpful visualization of greatly significant, very well researched facts and data about death. I particularly appreciated the original statistical information on the leading causes of death and risks in life. Note that diarrhea killed 226 million people in the 20th century, while only 6 million were killed by snake bites. Kind of makes you re-prioritize your fears, doesn’t it? Another good one is that illegal drugs caused 6,5 million deaths, whereas tobacco caused a stunning 100 million deaths in the 20th century alone! Click on the image to see for yourself the diagram in full size and zoom to explore the information easily.

Entrance to the Wellcome Collection is free to the public and its exhibitions are always on topics of extraordinary relevance and interest. For instance, the current exhibition, which I really hope I get a chance to go to, is on the history of the human study and perception of sexuality (on till September 2015).