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Honouring one of the first to speak out against the destructive actions of Lord Elgin

Greece has now officially designated April 19th to honour Lord Byron. The poet was known for many things, one of which was the vilification of Lord Elgin’s actions [1] in the poem Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage [2].

Balkan Travellers [3]

Greece to Officially Honour Lord Byron
16 October 2008

Greece decided on an official day on which it will honour Lord Byron and other foreigners who participated in the war for Greek independence from the Ottoman Empire at the beginning of the nineteenth century.

A decree, signed by Greek President Karolos Papoulias, declared April 19 as the Day of Greekophilia and international solidarity.

April 19 was the day on which Lord Byron died in 1824, as he was preparing an attack on the Turkish-held fortress of Lepanto, at the mouth of the Gulf of Corinth.

Some sources claim that had Byron lived, he might have been declared King of Greece. The Anglo-Scottish Romantic poet, who in addition to his work is known for his extravagant lifestyle and travels through the Balkans, is revered by Greeks as a national hero, because of his participation in fight against the Ottoman Empire in the Greek War of Independence between 1821 and 1829.

Lord Byron also seems to have served Greece in other causes too. As BalkanTravellers.com wrote, he was one of the biggest critics of Thomas Bruce, Seventh Earl of Elgin. After the latter controversially acquired and brought to Britain precious pieces of the Acropolis in Athens, which eventually became known as the Elgin Marbles, Lord Byron allegedly called him “a dishonest and rapacious vandal.” The attack, however, did not yield the desired results and the marbles are still on display at London’s British Museum.