A talk by Dr Alfred Vincent, with a performance of Rigas’ songs by Eleni Elefterias Kostakidis and John Coombs, and readings by Christine Kanellakis
Rigas Velestinlis or Pheraios (1757-1798) is known especially for his War Song (Thourios), which inspired countless Greeks in their struggles for liberation from the Ottoman Empire, sacrificing their lives, if necessary, after his example. In other writings Rigas aimed to raise awareness of the ancient Greek legacy, and to help promote a modern, educated society. In his New Political Administration he proposed a constitution for a democratic Hellenic Republic embracing all the peoples of southeastern Europe. How should we interpret this idea? What was its connection with contemporary realities? What is Rigas’ relevance for our times?