The Chios Massacre (1822) and its effect on British attitudes towards the Greeks during the Greek War of Independence

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


Flinders University History Seminar Series

This thesis explores the British attitudes towards the Greeks prior to and following the 1822 Chios Massacre, where 100,000 Chiots were either killed, enslaved or displaced. Before the massacre, the Enlightenment’s classical idea of the Greeks was prevalent in Britain, with ancient Greek cultural references being popular in public discourse. Following the massacre, however, this classical idea diminished in favour of a Christian representation. This Christian attitude also led to Philhellenic intervention in the form of early British humanitarianism. Scholars of the Greek War of Independence have acknowledged that the massacre was a pivotal moment for British attitudes, although none have elaborated on this shift. To understand the nature of the shift, this research utilises both public records, such as Philhellenic pamphlets, newspapers, poems and letters, and the official record, such as diplomatic and parliamentary reports, examining them in conjunction with existing secondary literature and theory. In essence, this dissertation argues that the Chios Massacre humanised the Greeks, leading to a Christian and ultimately humanitarian perception in Britain which achieved prominence over the previously dominant classical idea.
PeriodMay 2018
Held atCollege of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
Degree of RecognitionRegional