The National Historical Museum organizes the exhibition "My Proud Rifle, My Praised Sword - Pages from 1821", which presents unique weapons from pre-industrial Greece with their culmination point in the Greek War of Independence (1821). The weapons that are displayed come from the collections of the Museum and of the Stefanis Foundation.
The exhibition aims to highlight the various weapons (kariofili shotguns, pistols, pala swords, scimitars, palaskes etc.) which, apart from being technological items, are remarkable works of folk art, and of the role they had in the Greek society of the time.
The klephts (bandits) and armatoles (militia) during Ottoman rule and the fighters of the Greek War of Independence of 1821, followed a very special way of life that was defined by a value system with the weapons in a central position. Arms were personal items with a great sentimental value and had an important role in demonstrating the social status of their owner, so they were decorated with great care and wealth.
Folk songs describe the unconditional love and the special respect the men-in-arms felt for their weapons, since together they experienced the adversities of the Struggle and the joys of victory. Important information on weapons used in Ottoman times and during the War of Independence, can be found in the incisive reports of foreigners and Greeks of the era. So, the study and presentation of these weapons can only be combined with that of klefts and armatoles and of the Revolution of 1821.
The exhibition was organized along with the publication of the monumental volume "The Arms of Greece and Her Balkan Neighbors in the Ottoman period," by Dr. Robert Elgood (Thames & Hudson / Polaris).
The exhibition will be open from March 23 to December 31, 2010.