Greek Historiography of the Bavarian Rule

by Stathis Pavlopoulos (Panteion University, Athens)


The Bavarian rule in Greece covers a period of almost 30 years, officially beginning in 1833 with the arrival of Otto as the first King of Greece (January 25, 1833) and ending in 1862 with his expulsion. This period seemed very remote in the collective memory of contemporary Greek society until a decade ago, and only the emergence of the economic crisis re-generated a public debate on the common Greek-German past. Although the Bavarian Rule, due to its chronological distance, was not the most controversial topic in public discourse, it has left its mark. New publications during the years of the crisis, such as the book From Otto’s Reichenbach to Merkel’s Reichenbach: 180 years of Germanocracy in Greece [in Greek], published in 2014, offer us the opportunity to reflect on the use and especially the abuse of history in public discourse. Weiterlesen

Otto after Otto

by Effi Pavlogeorgatou (Panteion University, Athens)


King Otto I, the “slow learning” or “noble”, “idealist” or “dangerous”, “authoritarian” or “paternal” ruler, represents an important chapter in the history of Greece, perhaps not so much for his political perceptiveness, nor for the importance of the work he left behind, as for the significance of the role and position represented by the first King of a nation-state that was trying to establish itself and to develop into a modern political entity. Throughout his reign, he was confronted by a recurring series of challenges (rebellion of his Greek subjects, financial uncertainty, and ecclesiastical issues) and he governed his country in an autocratic fashion until he was forced to become a constitutional monarch in 1843. Attempting to expand Greek territory at the expense of the Ottoman Empire, he failed1 and he was finally overthrown by a rebellious opposition in 1862.2 This essay will focus on how the Greek Press dealt with his memory in 1867, the year of his death, in comparison with the attitude of the Press in 1862, the time of his expulsion. 24 newspapers have been studied, dating mainly from July 20, 1867 until August 11, 1867. Weiterlesen

  1.  Κ. Kostis, Τα κακομαθημένα παιδιά της Ιστορίας. Η διαμόρφωση του νεοελληνικού κράτους 18ος– 21ος αιώνας (Spoiled children in History. The shaping of the Modern Greek State 18th – 21st centuries) Polis publications, Athens 2013, pp. 260-264.
  2.  G. Hering, Τα πολιτικά κόμματα στην Ελλάδα 1821- 1936 (Political parties in Greece 1821-1936), National Bank Cultural Foundation, Athens 2004, pp. 353, 358.

German Philhellenism and the Failure of King Otto of Greece

by Jürgen Kilian (University of Passau)

When the European Great Powers proclaimed Otto of Wittelsbach King of Greece in 1832, a long-cherished dream came true for many Philhellenes. The assumed close relationship between Germans and the Hellenes of the ancient world seemed to have become reality. Yet, disillusionment was not long in coming: Bavarian rule in Greece turned out to be a strange mixture of the romantic perception of the country as a mirror image of the world of Homer and the simultaneous attempt to establish an administration following Central European examples of state-building. A lack of understanding and disappointment both of Greeks and Germans was the immediate consequence, which finally led to the overthrow of King Otto. This essay shall give some information about the public opinion in Bavaria at the beginning and at the end of his rule. Weiterlesen