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Hatzimichalis Dalianis

Hatzimichalis Dalianis (Greek: Χατζημιχάλης Νταλιάνης, 1775–1828) was a hero of the Greek War of Independence (1821–1830) and the revolutionary leader of Crete in 1828.

Greek War of Independence
For more details on this topic, see Greek War of Independence.

Dalianis was born in the town of Delvinaki, Epirus,[1] when the region was under Ottoman rule. At 1816 he became a member of the Greek patriotic organization Filiki Etaireia.

In March 1826, while the War of Independence was in full swing, he participated together with other revolutionary leaders (Nikolaos Krieziotis, Vasos Mavrovouniotis and Stavros Liakopoulos) in an attempt to create an alliance with the Emir of Lebanon Bashir Shihab II against the Ottoman Empire. However, when Dalianis landed in Beirut in order to incite a revolt there, the local emir was far from certain that he would defy the Ottomans.[2][3]

Back to Greece, Dalianis fought in the Battle of Phaleron (1827). In January 1828 he became the leader of an expeditionary force to assist the faltering uprising in Crete.[4] In an attempt to revive the revolution there, Dalianis together with 700 men (600 on foot, 100 with horses and mules),[1] landed initially at Gramvousa on 5 January 1828 but decided to restart their expedition from Sfakia.[1] In March he took possession of Frangokastello castle, a 14th-century Venetian fortification in the Sfakia region. The local Ottoman ruler, Mustafa Naili Pasha, gathered an army of 8,000 men in order to suppress the revolt and attacked Frangokastello. The castle's defence was doomed, when Mustafa's force of 8,000 men and 300 cavalry arrived on 13 May 1828,[1] after several days the fortress fell back in to Ottoman hands, and Dalianis perished along with 385 men.[1][5][6] Mustafa's force also lost 800 men.[1] The few men that remained at the fort continued to resist for a few more days.[7]

It is said that Hatzimichalis Dalianis was buried by a nun at the nearby monastery of Saint Charalambos. Mustafa's troops were ambushed on their return at a nearby gorge by a group of Cretan rebels, and suffered ca. 1,000 casualties.[5]


This failed revolt of 1828, is the basis for the local legend of the ghost army of the Drosoulites (Δροσουλίτες, "dew shadows").[7][8] According to the local Cretan tradition, the spirits of the fallen revolutionaries return each year to Frangokastello.[9] This unexplained phenomenon usually occurs on the anniversary of the battle where images of advancing troops (Drosoulites) appear at dawn to hover above the tragic location. The subject has been investigated and various scientific interpretations have been suggested.[10]


^ a b c d e f Detorakis, Turkish rule in Crete, p. 383
^ Θέματα Νεώτερης Ελληνικής Ιστορίας. Εκδόσεις Παπαζήση, 2000. ISBN 9789600214086, p. 103 (Greek)
^ Ruches, Pyrrhus (1967). Albanian historical folksongs, 1716-1943: a survey of oral epic poetry from southern Albania, with original texts. Argonaut. pp. 61–63.
^ Sakellariou M.V.. Epirus, 4000 years of Greek history and civilization. Ekdotike Athenon, 1997. ISBN 9789602133712, p. 286
^ a b Bakker, Johan de (2003). Across Crete: From Khania to Herakleion. I.B.Tauris. pp. 82–83. ISBN 9781850433873.
^ Dana Facaros, Michael Pauls. Crete. New Holland Publishers, 2003. ISBN 9781860111068, p. 148.
^ a b Detorakis, Turkish rule in Crete, p. 384
^ Omnibus vol. 15-20. Joint Association of Classical Teachers. J.A.C.T., 1991, p. 10
^ Athanassouli E., Pavlidou S., Theodossiou I.. W. Crete and Gavdos Island. Institute of Geology & Mineral Exploration. ISBN 9789609890304, p. 6.
^ Costis Davaras, Kōstēs Davaras. Guide to Cretan antiquities. Noyes Press, 1976. ISBN 9780815550440, p. 103.


Detorakis, Theocharis (1988). "Η Τουρκοκρατία στην Κρήτη ("Turkish rule in Crete")". In Panagiotakis, Nikolaos M. (in Greek). Crete, History and Civilization. II. Vikelea Library, Association of Regional Associations of Regional Municipalities. pp. 333–436.

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