Rhegas Pheraeos or Velestinlis (Velestinles) Rigas Feraios was born in 1757 (24 June 1798) into a wealthy family in the village of Velestino Ottoman Empire ( modern Thessaly Greece). He was at some point nicknamed Pheraeos of Feraios after the nearby Ancient Greek city of Pherae.

His father was named after Kyriazis and his mother Maria. He was supposed to have sister named after Asimo. According to Pouqueville he probably had a brother who also participated in the Greek Revolution 1821.

Bios and Revolution.

Rigas was said to be first educated at Velestino by a priest and later on studied at the Hellenic School of Zagora. He was also educated at the school of Ampelakia, Larissa. Later on he became a teacher in the village of Kissos. At the age of 20 he killed an important Ottoman figure and fled to the uplands of Mount Olympus, where he enlisted in a band of soldiers led by Spiros Zeras. Later on he travelled to the Monastic community of Mount Athos, where he was hosted by Cosmas, hegumen of the Vatopedi Monastery.

From there he moved to Constantinopole (Instanbul) at the Phanariote Alexander Ypsilantis' premises where he studied the French, Italian and German Language. He also became his secretary. Arriving in Bucharest, the capital of Ottoman Wallachian, Rigas eventually became a clerk for the Wallachian Prince Nicholas Mavrogenes. When the Russo – Turkish was broke out he was charged with the inspection of the troops.

Around 1793, Rigas moved on to Vieanna, the capital of the Holy Roman Empire and home to a large Greek community, as part of an effort to ask the French General Napoleon Bonaparter for assistance and support. While in the city, he edited a Greek – Language newspaper, Ephemeris ( ie. Daily) and published a proposed political map of Great Greece which included Constantinople and many other places, including a large number of places where the Greeks were in the minority such as Constantinople.

He entered into communication with general Napoleon Bonaparte and eventually he set out with a view to meeting the general of the Army of Italy in Venice. While travelling there, he was betrayed by Demetrios Oikonomos Kozanites, a Greek businessman, had his paper confiscated, and was arrrested at Trieste by the Austrian authorities. It was believed that the French Revolution might provoke similar upheavals in its realm and later formed the Holly Alliance.

He was handed over with his accomplices to the Ottoman governor of Belgrade, where he was imprisoned and tortured. From Belgrade, he was to be sent to Constantinople to be sentenced by Sultan Selim III. While in transit, he and his five collaborators were strangled to prevent their being rescued by Riga's friend Osman Pazvntoglu. Their bodies were thrown into the Danube River.

His last words are reported as being: I have sown a rich seed; the hour is coming when my country will reap its glorious fruits.

Copyricht: Stamatios Georgoudis


Piraeus Bank

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