The Cenotaph of Athanasios Diakos

The Cenotaph of Athanasios Diakos

At Kalyva Bakoyannis Street, in the city of Lamia is located the cenotaph of the hero of the National Resistance, Athanasios Diakos, at the exact point where his martyrdom was made. The monument is marble and has the plaster bust of Athanasios Diakos in the center. Right in front is the stone tomb of the hero. The grave is empty and that is the reason why it is called the cenotaph. Above the stone tomb, at the top, there is a stone cross with the relevant inscription:

 

«Ούτος ο τόπος ένθα τήν 23ην Απριλίου 1821 υπό των Τούρκων ανασκολοπισθείς εμαρτύρησε υπέρ Πίστεως καί Ελευθερίας ο Αθανάσιος Διάκος»

Translation:

“This is th place where Athanasios Diakos suffered the impalement by the Ottomans on April 23 in favor of Faith and Freedom”

After the unequal battle that took place in Alamana, where many Greeks fell, Athanasios Diakos was arrested by the Ottomans and led to Lamia. It was the day that would affect the pan-hellenic people’s soul and the outcome of the national struggle.

On the night of April 23 of 1821, he was interviewed by Hail Bey and Omer Vryonis. Originally Omer Vryonis, who was of Greek descent but had joined the Ottomans, urged him to detach himself from the religion of Christianity to take up Mohammedanism by taking on the duties of an officer in the Ottoman army. Athanasios Diakos strongly refused. The death penalty was issued on April 24th, impalement.

The Ottomans believed that the exemplary punishment of Athanasios Diakos would devaste the Greeks. But the attitude and bravery that the hero showed was a source of inspiration for Hellenism and heightened their minds to fight for the nation’s freedom. His sacrifice became a symbol that inspired many poets and prose writers.