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What is Philhellenism and Are You a Philhellene? Plus 12 Quotes From Famous People Who love to Love Greece

We love Greece
We love Greece
Philhellenism comes from  from the Greek word  philos, meaning friend, and Hellenism. meaning Greekness (for want of a better word), it is  to have a love, a passion, an enthusiasm, an obsession even, for Greece, Greeks and all things Greek.

Philhellenism came onto the European scene during the 18th century.

 “The Grand Tour”, a tradition started in around 1660, which came to a head at the turn of the 19th century, saw young aristocrats touring Europe; France, Switzerland, Italy and Greece, for months, sometimes years at a time (depending on how their bank balance was holding up), rather like a modern gap-year, firmly put Greece on the map.


The Grand Tour Carl Spitzweg, . 1845
The Grand Tour
Carl Spitzweg, . 1845

The Grand Tour was a chance, to see, and get to know, first-hand, the wonders of Greece, and the roots of Western civilization, previously only read about in books and seen in great paintings.

On returning home after “The Grand tour”, the travelers, who were now totally hooked on Greece, wanted to tell the whole world what they had seen and experienced.

They wrote books, they drew pictures; they painted masterpieces of the mysterious temples, amazing Greek sculpture, and the delightful little Greek islands which seemed to float atop the deep blue Aegean Sea.

View of Athens when the Parthenon was still used as a mosque
View of Athens when the Parthenon was still used as a mosque

These new ‘philhellenes’ threw quotes from great Greek philosophers into their conversation, they told of the now famous Greek hospitality, the strange exotic dishes, the free and easy lifestyle and academics introduced classical studies into the educational system.

The result was, everyone wanted to visit Greece, and, if that wasn’t possible, then they learned all they could through reading about it, the next best thing!

Ladies of the Grand Tour
Ladies of the Grand Tour
Ladies of the Grand Tour

The European “Greek frenzy” gained more momentum during the French revolution, and the European Enlightenment, Western-educated Greeks were heartened by the enthusiasm for The French Revolution, and hoped for support from Napoleon in their quest for independence from The Ottoman Empire, which had ruled Greece for the last four hundred years.

After the fall of Napoleon, the “society of the friends of the muses” (Filomousos Eteria, Greek: Φιλόμουσος Εταιρεία), was formed;

The Filomousos Eteria of Athens, founded by Athenians in1813 with the help of the English, and The Filomousos Eteria of Vienna founded by Ioannis Kapodistrias in 1814, under the direction of Tsar Alexander I of Russia.

Greek Muses In ancient Greece.
Greek Muses In ancient Greece. The 9 Muses were considered sources of knowledge and providers of inspiration to creators of literature and art. Almost everyone should still have a shrine to honor them. Calliope (Epic Poetry) Clio (History) Erato (Love Poetry) Euterpe (Music) Melpomene (Tragedy) Polyhymnia (Hymns and sacred poetry) Terpsichore (Dance) Thalia (Comedy) Urania (Astronomy)

The purpose of the "Friends of the muses society" was to educate Greeks, to make them aware of their heritage, to improve the school system, to protect Greek art treasures from being filched by so-called lovers of Greece and to build up Philhellenism.

A year after the formation of the “society of the friends of the muses”, in 1814, a secret organization was founded in Odessa; the Filiki Eteria or Society of Friends, whose members were mainly young Phanariotes, from Phanari (modern Fener), the Greek quarter of Constantinople, the aim of this secret society was to overthrow Ottoman rule and establish an independent Greek state.


House of Filiki Eteria on Greek Square in Odessa Photo Yuriy Kvach
House of Filiki Eteria on Greek Square in Odessa Photo Yuriy Kvach

On the sixth of March 1821, Alexander Ypsilantes, one of the leaders of the Filki Eteria, announced the Greek revolt against the Turks.

 By now, thanks to The Grand Tours, Greek literature, and knowledge of Greece in general, thousands, all over Europe were in love with Greece and rushed to her aid against the Turks, Philhellenic societies sprung up like wildfire, the first in Stuttgart, Germany, followed by Greek societies around the country, the French and Swiss rallied, The London Philhellenic Committee was born in 1823, European support for Greece was massive.

Hundreds left their homes to fight alongside the Greek palikaria, Lord Byron, English Poet, reached Missolonghi, Greece in 1884 after paying four thousand pounds of his own money to spruce up the Greek fleet, but died of a fever before he had the chance to fight beside the Greeks.

Byron wrote his poem “The Isles of Greece” in support of the Greek War of Independence.

The reception of Lord Byron at Missolonghi Teodoros Vryzakis
The reception of Lord Byron at Missolonghi
 Teodoros Vryzakis

Video clip on Philhellenism



With their sheer courage and determination, and much welcome help from European Philhellenes, Greece won independence from the Turks, after more than ten years of fighting, in July 1832, the Turkish sultan recognized Greek independence (Treaty of Constantinople; July 1832).


Grateful Hellas by Theodoros Vryzakis
Grateful Hellas
 by Theodoros Vryzakis

 Since becoming an independent state, Greece has been through thick and thin; two world wars, German occupation, a civil war and a dictatorship, and has come out the other side.

Greece is being tested again, this time with a financial crisis, hold your head up Greece, push on, you can do it, we’re all on your side, like true philhellenes, read these twelve  quotes from famous people about their love and respect for Greece, and take courage!

1. "Without Greek studies there is no education"

 Tolstoy

2. "I have never come across someone who could inspire more respect than the Greek philosophers"

Nietzshe

3. "If in the library of your house you do not have the works of the ancient Greek writers then you have a house with no light"

Bernard Shaw

4. "Among all the enemies who stand against us, the Greek soldier fought with the most courage"

 Hitler

5. "How can any educated person stay away from the Greeks? I have always been far more interested in them than in science"

Albert Einstein

6. "I would prefer to be Greek rather than a heir apparent of a throne"

 Ludwig I King of Bavaria

7. "I am sorry because I am getting old and I shall not live long to thank the Greek People, whose resistance decided WW II."

Joseph Stalin

8.  “Global civilization owes a lot to Greece and we must never forget that”

Stephen Fry

9. Whatever, in fact, is modern in our life we owe to the Greeks. Whatever is an anachronism is due to medievalism.

Oscar Wilde

10. “We are all Greeks. Our laws, our literature, our religion, our arts have their root in Greece”

 Percy Bysshe Shelley

11.  “If the violin is the most perfect musical instrument, the Greek language is the violin of the human thought.”

 Helen Keller

12.  “If the Gods speak, they will surely use the language of the Greeks.”

  Cicero

See more More Glorious Greek Words



How to Have a Greek Christmas With Just One Click; Greek Themed Christmas Gifts, Cards & Tree Ornaments at Amazon


  Have a 'Greeker' Christmas with Amazon
Have a 'Greeker' Christmas with Amazon

I’ve been in cyber space all day, searching Amazon for you, that wonderful place (a bit like a Greek kiosk, in that you can find things least expected), for anything that will make your Christmas ‘Greeker’!

And oh what a big fat Greek Christmas you’ll have with what I’ve unearthed!
The most exquisite, delicate, glass Christmas tree ornaments, quirky little figurines, Christmas cards, gifts for children and for those of us who wish we were still children, all with a Greek theme.

Amazon Affiliates, reward me, by allotting to me, a teensy-weensy commission (With no extra cost to you), on items bought by customers, sent to them from my blog, I've chosen for you, the best that Amazon has to offer, Items with the most favourable reviews, and, there is nothing on this list, that I would not purchase for myself, in these times of Greek crisis, every little helps!

Amazon Affiliate Links:

Why not send you Christmas wishes in Greek this year?

High-quality cards, with envelopes, blank inside, Merry Christmas in Greek, a Greek olive branch to send peace and goodwill, and, just to be on the safe side, to keep away those pesky Greek Christmas goblins, the Kallikantzaroi, the Greek ‘Mati’, eye.

Greek themed Christmas & Greetings cards
Greek themed Christmas & Greetings cards

 Greek Christmas - Greeting Card, Note Card, Birthday Card, Blank Inside 

MATI-GREEK EYE - Greeting Card, Note Card, Birthday Card, Blank Inside 

 OLIVE BRANCH Greeting Cards - Greeting Card, Note Card, Birthday Card, 

Kala Christouyenna, Merry Christmas in Greek - Greeting Card, 6 x 6 inches, single 

It’s so difficult to choose from these Greek-themed tree decorations, do I want the Greek Santa, the Parthenon, or the sweet Greek Christmas boat?

I want them all!

Have a very merry Greek Christmas
Have a very merry Greek Christmas

Jim Shore for Enesco Heartwood Creek Greek Santa Figurine, 7-Inch

Just look at this lovable couple, Greek traditional dress to boot, I don’t envy her ironing his foustanella (The Greek man skirt!).

I wish them both a very merry Christmas

Greek couple in traditional dress Christmas tree ornaments
Greek couple in traditional dress
Christmas tree ornaments
De Carlini Greek Couple Italian Mouthblown Glass Christmas Ornaments a SET of TWO

Did you know the Greeks invented theater?

Well they did, Thespis was the very first actor, way back in 520 BC, hence, the Thespians!

Owing to the lack of actors, masks were worn so that the same actor could take on more than one role; love this ‘tragi-comedy’ bauble.

The pomegranate is a symbol of good luck and fertility in Greece; they have them all over the gaff to ensure a lucky new year, great fun is had smashing pomegranates against the wall of a newly wed’s house, the more seeds spill out, the more children the couple will have!

Greek 'tragi-comedy' theater masks and a luck pomegranate Christmas decorations
Greek 'tragi-comedy' theater masks and a luck pomegranate
Christmas decorations
Old World Christmas Pomegranate Glass Blown Ornament

Old World Christmas Comedy & Tragedy Glass Blown Ornament


Maximus the Orthodox priest looks rather fed up with these Christmas shenanigans, Santa, on the other hand, looks ready to roll, all dressed up in blue and white, the colours of Greece.

Santa , feeling Greek in blue & white Maximus the Orthodox priest Christmas decorations
Santa , feeling Greek in blue & white
Maximus the Orthodox priest
Christmas decorations
Glitterazzi International Grecian Greece Santa Polish Glass Christmas Ornament

Pipka 7141216 Christmas Gifts Santa "Greece" Resin Figurine 7141216


Alkota Genuine Russian Collectible Christmas Ornament "Maximus the Greek", 6.5"H



These mouth-blown, hand-painted, detailed glass Christmas ornaments, made in Poland from Christopher Radko, are sent to you nestling in an official Radko gift box, all crosses have a height of around thirteen centimeters.

They’re magnificent; I would certainly be hard put to pick out only one, why not starts a collection?

What a superb Christmas gift for anyone, but especially for a baby’s first Christmas.

Handmade, glass Christmas crosses
Handmade, glass Christmas crosses
Christopher Radko Crowning Cross Cross Christmas Ornament

Christopher Radko Golden Scrolls Cross Glass Christmas Ornament 2014

Christopher Radko Mosaic Masterpiece Christmas Ornament

Christopher Radko Baroque Blessings Cross Christmas Ornament

Handmade, glass Christmas crosses
Handmade, glass Christmas crosses
Christopher Radko Byzantine Emblem Christmas Ornament

Christopher Radko Ornament Christmas Cross

Christopher Radko Faith, Hope, & Love Cross Christmas Ornament

Christopher Radko Every Cross Has a Thorn Religious Christmas Ornament

More quality, handmade, glass decorations from Christopher Radko, it doesn’t specify, but the ‘Holy Sanctuary’ does look as if it’s Agia Sophia, the Greek Orthodox Church in Istanbul, Turkey.

My windsurfing crazy son would just love the God Poseidon (Neptune), dressed up as Santa, riding a dolphin!

  Holy Sanctuary & Santa Poseidon on a dolphin Christmas ornaments by Christopher Radko
Holy Sanctuary & Santa Poseidon on a dolphin
Christmas ornaments by Christopher Radko
Christopher Radko Holy Santuary Christmas Ornament

Christopher Radko King of the Sea Surf & Sun Santa Christmas Ornament

A touch of Greek mythology here with the winged horse, Pegasus, oh, and just so he’s not lonely; there’s his pal the winged unicorn!

Looks like Pegasus is on his way to the Parthenon atop the Acropolis in Athens, to wish all Ancient Greeks a merry Christmas, but wait, they didn’t have Christmas then, I wonder what they said instead, Happy winter solstice maybe?

  Winged horse Pegasus & winged unicorn Athens Parthenon Christmas ornaments
Winged horse Pegasus & winged unicorn Athens Parthenon
Christmas ornaments
4.5"noble Gems Unicorn/pegasus

Parthenon - Athens Greece - Polish Glass Christmas Tree Ornament
You never can be too careful, so say the Greeks, hang garlic everywhere, that’ll keep demons, evil spirits, and unwanted visitors away!

Lucky Greek garlic
Lucky Greek garlic
Handmade Greek Christmas Tree Garlic Ornament

What a fun way to teach kids Greek mythology!

They’ll know the Greek Goddess’s names by heart in no time while enjoying the first four volumes of Suzanne Williams’s beloved books, Athena the Brain; Persephone the Phony; Aphrodite the Beauty; Artemis the Brave, all members of Mount Olympus Academy.

Box set two, ‘The Glittering Collection’ includes volumes five to eight, where we meet Athena the Wise; Aphrodite the Diva; Artemis the Loyal and Medusa the Mean.
Box set three ‘The Charming Collection’ books 9-12 introduces Pandora the Curious; Pheme the Gossip; Persephone the Daring and Cassandra the lucky
All three box sets include a sparkling Goddess Girl charm bracelet
Suitable for children from eight to twelve Years

Goddess Girls Books Box Sets Susanne Williams
Goddess Girls Books
Box Sets
Susanne Williams
Goddess Girls Books 1-4 (Charm Bracelet Inside!): Athena the Brain; Persephone the Phony; Aphrodite the Beauty; Artemis the Brave

Goddess Girls The Glittering Collection (Charm Bracelet Inside): Athena the Wise; Aphrodite the Diva; Artemis the Loyal; Medusa the Mean


The Goddess Girls Charming Collection Books 9-12 (Charm Bracelet Included!): Pandora the Curious; Pheme the Gossip; Persephone the Daring; Cassandra the Lucky



Follow Percy’s adventures with Greek gods and monsters.

 All five, best-selling volumes of the ‘Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan, together in one box set, which includes The Lightning Thief, The Sea of Monsters, The Titan's Curse, The Battle of the Labyrinth, and The Last Olympians. (Includes a poster)

Suitable for ages from ten to fourteen.

The five volumes of The Heroes of Olympus Series, together in a box set;
The Lost Hero, The Son of Neptune, The Mark of Athena, The House of Hades and The Blood of Olympus.(Includes a poster of  of the Greek and Roman demigods)

Suitable for ages from ten to fourteen.

What better way to get to know your Greek gods than with ‘Percy Jackson's Greek Gods’ by best-selling author Rick Riordan who makes learning about Greek mythology child’s play! Suitable for ages from eight to twelve.

Percy Jackson's Greek adventures Rick Riordan Box Sets
Percy Jackson's Greek adventures
Rick Riordan
Box Sets
Percy Jackson and the Olympians 5 Book Paperback Boxed Set (new covers w/poster) (Percy Jackson & the Olympians)

The Heroes of Olympus Paperback Boxed Set

Percy Jackson's Greek Gods

‘The Greek who Stole Christmas’, book number seven of the Diamond brothers series by Anthony Horowitz.

Tim Diamond, a young private detective from London, with the help of his younger brother, thirteen year old Nick, have trouble on their hands when famous Greek pop star, Minerva, who has made many enemies on her way to the top, starts receiving death threats.

Suitable for ages eight to twelve.

The Greek who stole Christmas Anthony Harowitz
The Greek who stole Christmas
Anthony Harowitz
The Greek Who Stole Christmas (Diamond Brothers, Book 7)


Chock full of interesting facts, sayings and tid bits about ancient Greece, told in a wonderful story-like way by Lise Lung-Larsen, the Amazon introduction says it all;

"Did you know that museums were initially temples built to worship the nine muses?

 That Janus was the god of doorways and hallways, and after him we have named janitors?

Where did these words, and other words, such as chaos, genius, nemesis, panic, and echo, come from?

 From the ancient stories of the Greeks, stories that rang so true and wise that the names of the characters have survived for centuries as words we use every day."

Gifts from the gods Words of wisdom Lise Lung-Larsen & Gareth Hinds
Gifts from the gods
Words of wisdom
Lise Lung-Larsen & Gareth Hinds
Gifts from the Gods: Ancient Words and Wisdom from Greek and Roman Mythology

The best selection of children’s Greek mythology books Amazon has to offer.
 Best-sellers, all with dazzling reviews, suitable from age eight to twelve or thirteen, Edith Hamilton’s Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes, I think is suitable for older children and adults, a world-renowned classic, which, since its publication in 1942 has been read and enjoyed by millions.

Treasury of Greek Mythology Donna Jo Napoli
Treasury of Greek Mythology
Donna Jo Napoli
Greek Mythology
Greek Mythology 


Treasury of Greek Mythology: Classic Stories of Gods, Goddesses, Heroes & Monsters

Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes

Child's Introduction to Greek Mythology: The Stories of the Gods, Goddesses, Heroes, Monsters, and Other Mythical Creatures

D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths

Aw, look at this little chap, my children had one just the same, bought in Heathrow Airport, London, but his T-shirt bore the Union Jack!

Teddy bear Greek style!
Teddy bear Greek style!

 GREECE FLAG - Teddy Bear Cute Soft Cuddly 

It’s not Christmas is it, unless you tread on Lego in bare feet?


These are Greek, the pain won't be as bad!


Greek themed Lego
Greek themed Lego
Lego figure Zeus Greek
Lego figure Zeus Greek

M762 II Lego Greek God & Goddess - Athena Neptune & Hades Custom Minifigures 


Lego Custom God Minifigure Castle Greek Zeus Jupiter White Wizard 


Never mind “watch out, watch out, Jack Frost is about”, we have Zeus on the loose, escaped from mount Olympus.

Catch him if you can with the help of Apollo, Poseidon, or all-powerful Hera.

Two to four players, age eight and upwards

Zeus on the Loose Children's game
Zeus on the Loose
Children's game
Zeus on the Loose

Fun for all the family with this 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle, I advise you to put it together before the Christmas spirit kicks in!

 After a few festive whiskies, Uncle Harry may try to fit Aphrodite’s head onto Zeus’ body, and all hell will be let loose when the dog runs off with Poseidon’s trident!

Blurb says suitable from fifteen years and upwards, I'm sure younger children are able to tackle this.
1000 piece jigsaw Greek gods & goddess'
1000 piece jigsaw
Greek gods & goddess'
"Greek Gods & Goddess" 1000 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle for Adults, Teens and Family

I don’t really know what I think about Nikos Dimou’s book ‘On the Unhappiness of Being Greek”, written during the time of the Military junta in Greece (1967–1974), and published after its fall in 1975.

Over 100,000 copies have been sold, and the book earned Dimou, born 1935, a writer and journalist, with more than sixty books under his belt, the label ‘anti Greek’, which, I actually think was not far wrong, but this is a book which needs to be read maybe more than once, and then needs a big think! You’ll have to read it and make up your own mind!

On the unhappiness of being Greek Nikos Dimou
On the unhappiness of being Greek
Nikos Dimou
On the Unhappiness of Being Greek

The title says it all, learn a few wise old Greek quotes, throw them into conversation now and again and come across like an ancient Greek philosopher!

Classical Greek Quotations
Classical Greek Quotations
A Dictionary of Classical Greek Quotations

Three, easy-to-read, lighthearted books, hilarious anecdotes, strange sayings and proverbs, try to figure out the Greek way of thinking!

Greek proverbs and sayings
Greek proverbs and sayings

Greek Proverbs (Sayings, quotations, proverbs)


Lost in Translation: An Illustrated Compendium of Untranslatable Words from Around the World



Tales from Greece, riveting,  romantic, sometimes moving, but unputdownable, best-sellers from Victoria Hislop.

Once you've read one, you'll want them all!

Victoria Hislop Stories born in Greece
Victoria Hislop
Stories born in Greece
The Island

The Thread: A Novel


The Sunrise: A Novel


The Last Dance & Other Stories


Cartes Postales from Greece



We all know Greeks make great chefs, so why not get your Greek God to cook Christmas lunch, or, at least wash up afterwards!

This will be my present to MGG (My Greek God), for sure!

Greek God Apron
Greek God Apron


The next few links have nothing to do with Greece at all, well, except that they are for my’ big fat Greek’ family!

My sweet Melina, my granddaughter, will absolutely adore these cute glass figures, little teddy bears and cheeky “critters’!


Glass Christmas tree figurines
Glass Christmas tree figurines

KI Store Christmas Tree Ornaments Glass Teddy Bears 4.7' Hanging Decorations Santa Claus Hand Painted Xmas Tree Cute Figurine Set of 3

Set of Woodland Critters (Fox, Raccoon and Chipmunk) Glass Blown Christmas Ornaments

 For my son John, as if we all don't see enough of the love of his life, his crazy Jack Russell , with a name to match, Loco ! 

Jack Russell glass Christmas ornament
Jack Russell glass Christmas ornament

Old World Christmas Glass Blown Ornament with S-Hook and Gift Box, Dog Collection (Jack Russell Terrier)


Jack Russell Christmas ornament
Jack Russell Christmas ornament


Last but not least, for my foxy daughter Nais, who has a thing about foxes, in any shape or form, and who could blame her, these are little darlings!

Foxy Christmas ornaments
Foxy Christmas ornaments
Old World Christmas Fox Glass Blown Ornament

Old World Christmas Red Fox Glass Blown OrnamentChristopher Radko Gifts on the Sly Fox Themed Christmas Ornament

Jay Strongwater Jubilee Fox Glass Christmas Ornament Brand New in Gift Box

Inge Glas Fox Night Fox 1-022-15 German Blown Glass Christmas Ornament Gift Box

Christopher Radko Foxy Bandit Christmas Ornament

Christopher Radko Gifts on the Sly Fox Themed Christmas Ornament


I did have some laughs looking at the animal-themed tree ornaments, some, if I hadn’t seen the title, could have been animals from another planet, the vintage Russian fox took the prize, I could have sworn it was a pig, and it was pink!

Does anyone else think this 'fox' looks like a pig, or is it only me?

Vintage Russian Christmas tree ornament
Vintage Russian Christmas tree ornament



Christmas is just around the corner, so, get ‘clicking’ away, and I wish one and all a very merry Greek Christmas.
Take care.

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