Klephts


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Related to Klephts: klephtic

Klephts

 

Greek peasant partisans who fought against Turkish domination. For the most part they attacked the local Turkish feudal lords and representatives of the Turkish administration, as well as the Greek landowners (kotsabasai), who gave them their nickname, which means “bandits.” In the 17th and 18th centuries their guerrilla movement, despite the punitive measures of the Turkish authorities, became widespread, a development that forced the Turkish government at the end of the 17th century to legalize some of their detachments, the Armatoles, and assign them the functions of an internal guard. In the Greek National Liberation Revolution of 1821–29, the klephts and Armateles constituted the backbone of the insurgent forces. Numerous folk songs about the exploits of the klephts have been preserved.

References in periodicals archive ?
Leaving off her translation of Muller, in her own words she reports that, having once made agreements with the Klepht, "soon the Turks found that too much had been granted, and a course began of treachery and indirect tyranny" ("Romaic" 157).
At this point, with the sympathies of her Dial audience assured and her analogy played out to its completion, Fuller made explicit what she hoped her readers had all along understood: "The Klepht, on his guard all the time against his treacherous and powerful foe, with no friends, but his sword, his mountains, and his courage, was trained to utmost hardihood, agility, presence of mind, and brilliant invention.
In translating a ballad in which the outnumbered Klepht fight heroically against "a thousand and five hundred" Turkish soldiers, for example, Fuller tells us that when the battle was over, among the Klepht "but three braves were absent." Then, in case the reader missed the word, she glosses the poem with the comment that the Klepht "use, like our Indians, the word brave, braves, as the highest title for a man" ("Romaic" 160).
In other words, Fuller wants Indian song and lore to be preserved in the same manner that the Klepht ballads have been preserved: "Had we but as complete a collection as this!
The collection of Klepht ballads thus stood as a just monument to "the atmosphere which a high civilization, though mostly forgotten, does not fail to leave behind" ("Romaic" 138).
Fuller assumed, in short, that--like the Klepht ballads--Indian narratives would prove "entirely destitute of...symbolical character," offering instead "a plain transcript of realities....
Still, it was precisely this gross misunderstanding of Indian languages that helped cement for Fuller her association of Indian oral traditions with the features of Klepht ballads.
Within this overall framework of a unity born essentially of oppression, Villemain does, however, bring out the specific contributions to the struggle for national survival and revival made by different social groupings, notably the fanariots, the klephts and the ship-owning bourgeoisie of the islands.
The most active agents in this movement were universally acknowledged to be the klephts. Criticism of the Greek national character certainly remained.
Apart from heroizing the klephts and usually criticizing the fanariots, most contemporary accounts of the Greek revolution by liberal observers saw a tri-partite division in Greek society.
...il y avait dans la simplicite a demi sauvage de quelques cantons de la Grece chretienne, dans la vie rude des klephtes, un germe de liberte plus puissant; et la souffrance du peuple ne lui permettait guere d'attendre qu'il fut eclaire pour commencer a s'affranchir.
Her account's temporal ambiguity, which allows her to equate unproblematically the contemporary Klepht with the thirteenth-century Robin Hood, monumentalizes this southern space as the site of northern heritage.