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Philhellenes: Modern Era Guardians of Greece Abroad

US archaeologists were honored as great philhellenes on Philhellenism Day in Athens. Credit: Presidency of the Hellenic Republic

Greece honored acclaimed US philhellenes, the archaeologists Sharon Stocker, Jack Davis and Charles Williams on the occasion of Philhellenism Day on Monday.

The Greek President, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, gave the scholars medals of the Order of the Phoenix, an honor which was first established in 1926.

The Order is bestowed not only on Greek citizens who have excelled in the arts and literature, science, public administration, shipping, commerce, and industry, but also on foreigners who have helped contribute toward Greece’s international position and prestige.

The modern face of Philhellenism in Greece

April 19, the day of the tragic death of Lord Byron, the British poet who offered his fortune and his very life to the Greek War of Independence in 1821, was established as Philhellenism Day in Greece.

“In the context of the celebrations for the 200th anniversary of the Greek Revolution, and wanting to honor the timeless value of philhellenism, we award the medal of the Order of the Phoenix to three distinguished American archaeologists, Dr. Jack L. Davis, Dr. Sharon R. Stocker and Dr. Charles K. Williams,” President Sakellaropoulou said in her speech.

Dr. Charles K. Williams II is the director emeritus of the Corinth excavations at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens.

“His 31-year stay in Greece and his devotion to the excavation work in the area of Ancient Corinth have made him one of the leading archaeologists in the world, for the promotion of our culture.

“His love for Greek customs, for the people and the life of the Greek countryside, as well as his intense philanthropic activity, are unique characteristics of his philhellenic personality,” the Greek President added.

Referring to Dr. Jack L. Davis and Dr. Sharon R. Stocker, from the University of Cincinnati, President Sakellaropoulou praised their overall excavation work and archaeological research in the areas of Nemea, Kea and Messinia as a practical contribution to Greek archeology contributing to the promotion of Greek culture internationally.

“During their co-direction of the excavation of the Palace of Nestor, in ancient Pylos, the discovery of the Griffin Warrior tomb was crucial for a fuller understanding of Greek prehistory, enriching knowledge about the interaction of Mycenaean civilization with other Eastern Mediterranean cultures in the Bronze Age,” the Greek President pointed out.

Honoring Philhellenes of the past and present

Earlier on Monday, President Sakellaropoulou attended the memorial ceremony at the Cathedral of Athens for the Day of Philhellenism and International Solidarity and laid a wreath at the Monument of the Unknown Soldier at the Parliament building.

“Today we honor the Philhellenes, who saw the Greek Revolution as a source of inspiration and aspirations and sided with it,” she told local media.

“The Europeans and Americans who fought beside the insurgent Greeks, all those who strengthened morally and materially the struggle of 1821 and internationalized it, contributing to its favorable outcome. We remember them with emotion and gratitude.”

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