Sunday, January 26, 2014

Les Femmes Souliotes (1827)

Ary Scheffer: Les Femmes Souliotes

In December of 1803, the Souliotes began evacuating Souli after their defeat by Ali Pasha's forces. During the evacuation, a small group of Souliot women and their children were trapped by Ottoman troops in the mountains of Zalongo in Epirus. In order to avoid capture and enslavement, the women threw first their children and then themselves off a steep cliff, committing suicide. They did this while singing and dancing the syrtos, jumping down the precipice one after the other. The incident soon became known in Europe. At the Salon of 1827, a French artist named Ary Scheffer exhibited two Romantic paintings, one of which was entitled Les Femme souliotes ("The Souliot Women"). Today, a monument on the site of Mount Zalongo in Kassope commemorates their sacrifice. There is also a popular dance-song about the event, which is known and danced throughout Greece today. [Wikipedia]

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