Hymn to Liberty

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Ὕμνος εἰς τὴν Ἐλευθερίαν
English: Hymn to Liberty or Hymn to Freedom
Ýmnos is tin Eleftherían
Solomos portrait 4.jpg
Dionysios Solomos, the author of the anthem

National anthem of

Lyrics Dionýsios Solomós, 1823
Music Nikolaos Mantzaros
Adopted 1865 by Greece[1]
1966 by Cyprus [2]
Music sample

The Hymn to Liberty or Hymn to Freedom[1] (Greek: Ὕμνος εἰς τὴν Ἐλευθερίαν, Ýmnos is tin Eleftherían) is a poem written by Dionýsios Solomós in 1823 that consists of 158 stanzas, which is used as the national anthem of Greece and Cyprus. It was set to music by Nikolaos Mantzaros, and is the longest national anthem in the world by length of text.[3] In 1865, the first three stanzas and later the first two officially became the national anthem of Greece and later also that of the Republic of Cyprus. It is currently the only national anthem which is shared by two countries.


Dionysios Solomos wrote the anthem in 1823 in Zakynthos and one year later was printed in Missolonghi. The hymn was set to music in 1865 by the Corfiot operatic composer Nikolaos Mantzaros, who composed two choral versions, a long one for the whole poem and a short one for the first two stanzas; the latter is the one adopted as the National Anthem of Greece. The Greek anthem was adopted as the Cypriot anthem by order of the Council of Ministers in 1966.[4]


Inspired by the Greek War of Independence, Solomos wrote the hymn to honour the struggle of Greeks for independence after centuries of Ottoman rule.

The poet mentions the misery of the Greeks under the Ottomans and their hope for freedom. He describes different events of the War, such as the execution of Patriarch Gregory V of Constantinople, the reaction of the Great Powers, extensively the Siege of Tripolitsa and the Christian character of the struggle.

Greek originals[edit]

Polytonic orthography
Σὲ γνωρίζω ἀπὸ τὴν κόψι
Τοῦ σπαθιοῦ τὴν τρομερή,
Σὲ γνωρίζω ἀπὸ τὴν ὄψι,
Ποὺ μὲ βιὰ μετράει τὴν γῆ.
Ἀπ’ τὰ κόκκαλα βγαλμένη
Τῶν Ἑλλήνων τὰ ἱερά,
Καὶ σὰν πρῶτα ἀνδρειωμένη,
Χαῖρε, ὢ χαῖρε, Ἐλευθεριά![5]
Monotonic orthography
Σε γνωρίζω από την κόψη
του σπαθιού την τρομερή,
σε γνωρίζω από την όψη
που με βια μετράει την γη.
Απ’ τα κόκκαλα βγαλμένη
των Ελλήνων τα ιερά,
και σαν πρώτα ανδρειωμένη,
χαίρε, ω χαίρε, Ελευθεριά![5]
Se gnorízo apó tin kópsi
tou spathioú tin tromerí,
se gnorízo apó tin ópsi,
pou me via metrái tin gi.
Ap' ta kókkala vgalméni
ton Ellínon ta ierá,
ke san próta andrioméni,
hére, o hére, eleftheriá![5]

English translations[edit]

I recognize you by the fearsome sharpness,
of your sword,
I recognize you by the gleam (in your eyes)
with which you rapidly survey the earth.
From the sacred bones,
of the Hellenes arisen,
and valiant again as you once were,
hail, o hail, Liberty![5]
I shall always recognize you
by the dreadful sword you hold
as the Earth with searching vision
you survey with spirit bold
From the Greeks of old whose dying
brought to life and spirit free
now with ancient valour rising
let us hail you, oh Liberty![5]
Rudyard Kipling (1918)
We knew thee of old,
O, divinely restored,
By the lights of thine eyes,
And the light of thy Sword.
From the graves of our slain,
Shall thy valour prevail,
As we greet thee again,
Hail, Liberty! Hail![5]


An adapted version was used during the short-lived (1898–1908) Cretan State as the Cretan Anthem.

The Constitution of Cyprus of 1960 does not mention anything about an anthem. After an agreement made between the two communities, in official circumstances, a piece of classical music should be played as the anthem. However, after rejecting the amendments of the Constitution proposed by Makarios, in 1963, the Turkish representation broke away from the Government. This resulted to the decision by the Council of Ministers to adopt as the official anthem of Cyprus, the Hymn to Liberty, on 16 November 1966.[2] Hymn to Liberty was also the Greek Royal Anthem (since 1864).

This anthem has been performed at every closing ceremony of an Olympics, to pay tribute to Greece as the birthplace of the Olympic Games. The version commonly played by military bands was composed by Lieutenant Colonel Margaritis Kastellis (1907–1979), former director of the Greek Music Corps.[6]

References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b "The National Anthem". www.presidency.gr. Retrieved 30 May 2011. [dead link]
  2. ^ a b "Presidency of the Republic of Cyprus - The National Anthem". Retrieved 14 February 2011. 
  3. ^ "Greece - Hymn to Liberty". NationalAnthems.me. Retrieved 2011-11-02. 
  4. ^ http://www.presidency.gov.cy/presidency/presidency.nsf/prc34_gr/prc34_gr?OpenDocument
  5. ^ a b c d e f Last two verses are repeated twice when singing the national anthem.
  6. ^ "National Anthem". Hellenic Army Academy. Retrieved 30 January 2015. 

External links[edit]