Principality of the Pindus
|Principality of the Pindus|
|Πριγκιπάτο της Πίνδου
Printsipat di la Pind
Principato del Pindo
|Government||No government was ever formed|
|Historical era||World War II|
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|By region or country|
The Principality of the Pindus (also Pindo or Pindos; Aromanian: Printsipat di la Pind; Greek: Πριγκιπάτο της Πίνδου; Italian: Principato del Pindo) was an attempt to establish an autonomous puppet state set up under fascist Italian and later German control in northwest Greece in the regions of Epirus, Thessaly and West Macedonia during World War II. It was proclaimed during the Italian occupation of northern Greece in the summer of 1941 as the fatherland of ethnic Aromanians, but was never able to assert itself over the local population until its de facto disbandment in 1943.
From the 1860s onwards Romania promoted their relations with the Aromanians (Vlachs) in all the territories of the then Ottoman Empire, financing schools of Romanian language. The first attempt to form some automonous entity was undertaken in Pindos in 1917 in the brief period of Italian occupation of southern Albania, when Italian forces also entered Greek territory, when Vlachs proclaimed - requested autonomy. Among them was Alcibiades Diamandi. Although there was no support from neither Italian nor Romanians and the Greek forces entered unopposed the villages one day later, it signalled the beginning of Diamandi's association with the Italians and Romanians in pursuit of his aims.
Aromanian nationalists desired the creation of an Aromanian state in the Pindus mountains, western Macedonia, and Thessaly. A pre-war dossier for the Italian government on the subject of the Aromanians stated that they were descendants from the Ancient Romans and that the Aromanians had taken shelter in the Pindus mountains to take shelter against barbarian invasions.
After the fall of Greece to the Germans in spring 1941 and the division of the country among the Axis powers, Diamandi created a separatist organisation known as the Roman Legion, with the support of the Italian occupation authorities. Diamandi established himself as prince at Aminciu, and hoped for the creation of a state that would encompass all of north-western Greece. Diamandi also met the Greek collaborationist Prime Minister, Georgios Tsolakoglou, but Tsolakoglou refused to accommodate his demands. In reality "military authorities refused to permit any form of self-administration by the Aromanians in the awareness that their irredentist aspirations, or appeals for annexation to Italy, were a masquarade by a minority movement seeking political and economic revenge".
Alcibiades eventually left the state in June 1942 and took refuge in Romania, because in the eyes of local Aromanians he was rather pro-Italian than pro-Aromanian, while the Italians considered him a Romanian agent. His successor for a very short time was Nicola Matushi from Samarina, who tried to find a modus vivendi with the Greek leaders, but without success. After the liberation of Greece in October 1944, Matushi also left for Bucharest. From mid-1942 on, the armed Greek Resistance also made its presence felt, fighting against the Italians and their collaborators.
Whatever authority the Legion exercised, it practically ceased to exist after the Italian capitulation in September 1943, when the area was taken over by the Germans.
Another important figure in the history of the state was the Aromanian Vasil Rapotika (Vasilis Rapoutikas). According to V. Papagianni, he was responsible for the paramilitary unit of the Legion. After Matushi's (and the Italian's) departure Rapotika offered his services to the Germans. He was killed by a Greek guerrilla group just outside Larissa and his body was paraded to the local population and as a final proof that the Legion had reached its end.
Leaders of the "Roman Legion"
- Poulton, Hugh. 2000. Who are the Macedonians? Indiana University Press. p. 111
- (Greek)The capitulation of Italy from Rizospastis newspaper, 7 September 2003
- (Greek) Romanian Propaganda, from the Vlach Association of Almyros Province
- Davide Rodogno. Fascism's European empire: Italian occupation during the Second World War. Cambridge University Press, 2006. p. 105.
- Davide Rodogno. Fascism's European empire: Italian occupation during the Second World War. Cambridge University Press, 2006. pp. 105-106.
- The Pindus region also spans southern parts of present-day Albania and the Republic of Macedonia, but the "Principality" was restricted to the areas under Greek rule.
- Davide Rodogno. Fascism's European empire: Italian occupation during the Second World War. Cambridge University Press, 2006. p. 326. ISBN 0-521-84515-7
- (Greek) Η άλλη Ξένη, from the To Vima newspaper
- Arseniou Lazaros: Η Θεσσαλία στην Αντίσταση
- Andreanu, José - Los secretos del Balkan
- Iatropoulos, Dimitri - Balkan Heraldry
- Toso, Fiorenzo - Frammenti d'Europa
- Zambounis, Michael - Kings and Princes of Greece, Athens 2001
- Papakonstantinou Michael: - Το Χρονικό της μεγάλης νύχτας (The chronicle of big night)
- Divani, Lena: - Το θνησιγενές πριγκιπάτο της Πίνδου. Γιατί δεν ανταποκρίθηκαν οι Κουτσόβλαχοι της Ελλάδας, στην Ιταλο-ρουμανική προπαγάνδα.
- Thornberry, Patrick und Miranda Bruce-Mitford: - World Directory of Minorities. St. James Press 1990, page 131.
- Koliopoulos, Giannēs S. (aka John S. Koliopoulos): - Plundered Loyalties: Axis Occupation and Civil Strife in Greek West Macedonia. C. Hurst & Co, 1990. page 86 ff.
- Poulto, Hugh: - Who Are the Macedonians? C. Hurst & Co, 1995. page 111. (partly available online: )
- After the War Was Over: Reconstructing the Family, Nation, and State in Greece By Mark Mazower (partly available online: )
- Kalimniou, Dean: - Alkiviadis Diamandi di Samarina (in Neos Kosmos English Edition, Melbourne, 2006)
- Seidl-Bonitz-Hochegger: Zeitschrift für Niederösterreichischen Gymnasien XIV.
- (English) Greece-Epirus, at Worldstatesmen.org
- (Hungarian) A nemlétezők lázadása
- (French) Open University of Calalonia: Le valaque/aromoune-aroumane en Grèce
- (Greek) Η φωνή της γης