Athanasios Diakos

Story: My great, great grandfather, George, was born in the village Athanasios Diakos – I have no idea how to spell that, you can look it up later. The village, Athanasios Diakos, was named after a very famous Greek war hero in the war against the Ottoman Empire – who had invaded Greece and had been occ- *coughs* – occupying it for almost 400 years by that time. He fought heroic battles against them with a very small group of freedom fighters, until he got captured captured them them. He was impaled and burnt to death on a spit. When he was captured, he was offered a chance to live and be made an officer in the Ottoman army but he had to denounce his Christianity and converting to Islam! Instead he said: “I was born a Greek, I will die a Greek”!*informant yells and lifts fist* His brutal death is said to have been the rallying point for all Greeks who fought tooth and nail against the Ottoman army and, although vastly outnumbered, ended up driving them out of the country.

Format: The informant told these to me in person, and I recorded them to better transcribe them later.

Context: The informant was told these stories by his father, who was handed down these stories from his father, who was told some of these stories by his father. They are stories about the informant’s great great grandfather, George, and the village he is from. When asked about why this story is significant to them, the informant responded saying that this was told to them ‘hundreds of times’ over the course of their childhood. They would always ask for the story to be told before bed, and it was always a little bit different every time.

Analysis: This legend is super intriguing to me as a writer, because it is both a story about tragedy and victory. It has true roots in history, as Athanasios Diakos was in fact a Greek military commander during the Greek War of Independence. However, there are details in the story, like the manner in which he died, that I have not been able to find online.