The Modern Greek Enlightenment (Greek : Διαφωτισμός, Diafotismos, "enlightenment," "illumination") was the Greek expression of the Age of Enlightenment.
The Greek Enlightenment was given impetus by the Greek predominance in trade and education in the Ottoman Empire. Greek merchants financed a large number of young Greeks to study in universities in Italy and the German states. There they were introduced to the ideas of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution.It was the wealth of the extensive Greek merchant class that provided the material basis for the intellectual revival that was the prominent feature of Greek life in the half century and more leading to 1821. It was not by chance that on the eve of the Greek War of Independence the most important centres of Greek learning, schools-cum-universities, were situated in Ioannina, Chios, Smyrna (Izmir) and Ayvalik, all major centres of Greek commerce.
The Phanariotes were a small caste of Greek families who took their collective name from the Phanar quarter of Constantinople where the Ecumenical Patriarchate is still housed. They held various administrative posts within the Ottoman Empire, the most important of which were those of hospodar, or prince, of the Danubian principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia. Most hospodars acted as patrons of Greek culture, education, and printing. These academies attracted teachers and pupils from throughout the Orthodox commonwealth, and there was some contact with intellectual trends in Habsburg central Europe. For the most part they supported the Ottoman system of government, too much to play a significant part in the emergence of the Greek national movement; however, their support of learning produced many highly educated Greek scholars who benefited from the cosmopolitan environment the Phanariotes cultivated in their principalities.
This environment was in general a special attraction for young, ambitious and educated Greek people from the Ottoman Empire, contributing to their national enlightenment. The Princely Academies of Bucharest and Iasi also played a crucial role in this movement. Characteristically the authors of the Geographia Neoteriki , one of the most remarkable works of that era, Daniel Philippidis and Grigorios Konstantas, were both educated in this environment.
One effect was the creation of an atticized form of Greek by linguistic purists, which was adopted as the official language of the state and came to be known as Katharevousa (purified). This created diglossia in the Greek linguistic sphere, in which Katharevousa and the vernacular idiom known as Dimotiki were in conflict until the latter half of the 20th century.
The transmission of Enlightenment ideas into Greek thought also influenced the development of a national consciousness. The publication of the journal Hermes o Logios encouraged the ideas of the Enlightenment. The journal's objective was to advance Greek science, philosophy and culture. Two of the main figures of the Greek Enlightenment, Rigas Feraios and Adamantios Korais, encouraged Greek nationalists to pursue contemporary political thought.
Greek Enlightenment concerned not only language and the humanities but also the sciences. Some scholars such as Methodios Anthrakites, Evgenios Voulgaris, Athanasios Psalidas, Balanos Vasilopoulos and Nikolaos Darbaris had a background in Mathematics and the Physical Sciences and published scientific books into Greek for use in Greek schools. Rigas Feraios also published an Anthology of Physics.
Adamantios Korais or Koraïs was a Greek scholar credited with laying the foundations of Modern Greek literature and a major figure in the Greek Enlightenment. His activities paved the way for the Greek War of Independence and the emergence of a purified form of the Greek language, known as Katharevousa. Encyclopædia Britannica asserts that "his influence on the modern Greek language and culture has been compared to that of Dante on Italian and Martin Luther on German".
Rigas Feraios or Velestinlis ) ; 1757 – 24 June 1798) was a Greek writer, political thinker and revolutionary, active in the Modern Greek Enlightenment, remembered as a Greek national hero, a victim of the Balkan uprising against the Ottoman Empire and a pioneer of the Greek War of Independence.
Theophilos Kairis was a Greek priest, philosopher and revolutionary. He was born in Andros, Cyclades, Ottoman Greece, as a son of a distinguished family.
The First National Assembly of Epidaurus was the first meeting of the Greek National Assembly, a national representative political gathering of the Greek revolutionaries.
Anthimos Gazis or Gazes was a Greek scholar, revolutionary and politician. He was born in Milies (Thessaly) in Ottoman Greece in 1758 into a family of modest means. In 1774 he became a deacon; his career later brought him to Constantinople where he was promoted to archimandrite. He left for Vienna in 1789, where he preached at the Church of Saint George, while simultaneously pursuing his academic interests. His efforts to promote education in Greece through the Filomousos Eteria, translation work and contributions to the first Greek philological periodical, Hermes o Logios, played a significant role in the development of the Greek Enlightenment.
Neophytos Doukas or Dukas was a Greek priest and scholar, author of many books and translations from ancient Greek works, and one of the most important personalities of the modern Greek Enlightenment (Diafotismos) during the Ottoman occupation of Greece. His contributions to Greek education have been neglected because of the traditional ideas he advocated concerning the Greek language question.
Alexandros Vasileiou was a Greek merchant and scholar, one of the representatives of the modern Greek Enlightenment.
Athanasios Parios was a Greek hieromonk who was a notable theologian, philosopher, educator, and hymnographer of his time, and one of the "Teachers of the Nation" during the Modern Greek Enlightenment. He was the second leader of the Kollyvades Movement, succeeding Neophytos Kausokalyvites (1713–1784). He also authored the lives of various saints. Athanasios was born in Kostos, a small village of Paros, in the year 1722 and died in Chios in 1813. He is commemorated by the Greek Orthodox Church on June 24.
Athanasios Psalidas, was a Greek author, scholar and one of the most renowned figures of the modern Greek Enlightenment.
The Fall of Constantinople in 1453 and the subsequent fall of the successor states of the Eastern Roman Empire marked the end of Byzantine sovereignty. Since then, the Ottoman Empire ruled the Balkans and Anatolia, although there were some exceptions: the Ionian Islands were under Venetian rule, and Ottoman authority was challenged in mountainous areas, such as Agrafa, Sfakia, Souli, Himara and the Mani Peninsula. Orthodox Christians were granted some political rights under Ottoman rule, but they were considered inferior subjects. The majority of Greeks were called rayas by the Turks, a name that referred to the large mass of subjects in the Ottoman ruling class. Meanwhile, Greek intellectuals and humanists who had migrated west before or during the Ottoman invasions began to compose orations and treatises calling for the liberation of their homeland. In 1463, Demetrius Chalcondyles called on Venice and “all of the Latins” to aid the Greeks against the Ottomans, he composed orations and treatises calling for the liberation of Greece from what he called “the abominable, monstrous, and impious barbarian Turks.” In the 17th century, Greek scholar Leonardos Philaras spent much of his career in persuading Western European intellectuals to support Greek independence. However, Greece was to remain under Ottoman rule for several more centuries. In the 18th and 19th century, as revolutionary nationalism grew across Europe—including the Balkans —the Ottoman Empire's power declined and Greek nationalism began to assert itself, with the Greek cause beginning to draw support not only from the large Greek merchant diaspora in both Western Europe and Russia but also from Western European Philhellenes. This Greek movement for independence, was not only the first movement of national character in Eastern Europe, but also the first one in a non-Christian environment, like the Ottoman Empire.
Eugenios Voulgaris or Boulgaris was a Greek scholar, prominent Greek Orthodox educator, and bishop of Kherson. Writing copiously on theology, philosophy and the sciences, he disseminated western European thought throughout the Greek and eastern Christian world, and was a leading contributor to the Modern Greek Enlightenment.
Hermes o Logios, also known as Logios Ermis was a Greek periodical printed in Vienna, Austria, from 1811 to 1821. It is regarded as the most significant and longest running periodical of the period prior to the outbreak of the Greek War of Independence, containing contributions by key scholars and intellectuals. Hermes o Logios aimed at creating intellectual contacts between the Greek communities of the Ottoman Empire and the Diaspora in Western Europe, as well as the preparing national awakening of the Greek people.
The Fourth National Assembly at Argos was a Greek convention which sat at Argos from 11 July to 6 August 1829, during the Greek War of Independence.
The Athonite or Athonias Academy is a Greek Orthodox educational institution founded at 1749 in Mount Athos, then in the Ottoman Empire and now in Greece. The school offered high level education, where ancient philosophy and modern physical science were taught. With the establishment of the Athonite Academy the local monastic community took a leading role in the modern Greek Enlightenment during the 18th century. It aroused the hostility of more conservative circles and was shut down in 1821, but reopened in 1842. The Academy's function was also suspended in 1916–1930 and 1940–1953 due to the World Wars.
Daniel Philippidis was a Greek scholar, figure of the modern Greek Enlightenment and member of the patriotic organization Filiki Etaireia. He was one of the most active scholars of the Greek diaspora in the Danubian Principalities and Western Europe. Philippidis mainly wrote geographical and historical works as well as translated important handbooks of science and philosophy.
Hellenic Nomarchy was a pamphlet written by "Anonymous the Greek" published and printed in Italy in 1806. It advocated the ideals of freedom, social justice and equality as the main principles of a well-governed society, making it the most important theoretical monument of Greek republicanism. Its author, arguing for both social autonomy and national sovereignty, supported the Greek struggle for national liberation and turned to the moral greatness of ancient Greece in order to stimulate collective pride. Although this work was widely read by Greeks before the outbreak of the Greek War of Independence in 1821, from its first appearance it was received with discomfort by contemporary scholars, and generated debates on the identity of its author.
Modern Greek literature refers to literature written in common Modern Greek, emerging from the late Byzantine era in the 11th century AD. During this period, spoken Greek became more prevalent in the written tradition, as demotic Greek came to be used more and more over the Attic idiom and the katharevousa reforms.
Some Serbs joined the Greeks, their co-religionists, in the Greek War of Independence (1821–29). Volunteers arrived from Serbia, Montenegro, and territories still under Ottoman rule, to fight alongside the Greek rebels against the Ottoman Empire. Several of the volunteers were veterans of the Serbian Revolution, such as Hadži-Prodan,
Theoklitos Farmakidis was a Greek scholar and journalist. He was a notable figure of the Modern Greek Enlightenment.
Theoklitos Polyeidis was a Greek scholar, teacher, translator, priest and monk during the period of the Modern Greek Enlightenment.