Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Greek National Anthem

The National Anthem of Greece is part of the poem "Hymn to Freedom", in specific the two first paragraphs. It was written in May 1823 in Zante by the famous Greek poet Dionysios Solomos. A year later it was published in Mesolongi and the same year Foriel included it in a collection of Greek folk songs. In 1828 Nikolaos Chalikiopoulos Mantzaros from Corfu, a musician and Solomo's friend, set the music to the poem based on folk motifs, for a four-voice male chorus. Since then the "Hymn to Freedom" was heard regularly on national holidays.
In 1844 different music was given to the poem by Mantzaro and was presented to King Otto, hoping to establish it as the national anthem. Despite Matzaros receiving an honorary award, the Silver Cross of the Order of Christ  and Solomos the Gold Cross of the same Order, the poem together with the melody given was not adopted as the national anthem, instead it was given the title "Thourios".


In 1861 the Minister of War requested from Mantzaro to compose a march melody on the "Hymn to Freedom". The musician altered the rhythm of Solomo's hymn and gave it a melody used for marching. After the union of the Ionian Islands with Greece (1864) it was established as the national anthem. 
The poem consists of 158 four-liner paragraphs, of these the first 24 were established as the National Anthem. Specifically the two first are those used when lowering and raising the flag and during official ceremonies. Within this poem it is evident that Solomos combines elements of romanticism and classicism. 
Dionysios Solomos, by writing the "Hymn of Freedom", contributed towards the national liberation struggle of 1821. 

2 comments:

  1. could you kindly publish the entire poem? i could only find the first two paragraphs, but we also sing the following other three. Thank you! efcharisto!

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  2. you can find all of the verses of the Greek National Anthem in the following link: http://www.matia.gr/7/78/7801/7801_1_1b.html

    Hope this is helpful!

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