ABSTRACT

The economic crisis transformed itself into an ideological and social crisis as bandits, fugitives from the law, anarchists, socialists and various kinds of Greek Orthodox radicals roamed over the countryside of the Peloponnese. In 1978, N. Mouzelis referred explicitly to Vergopoulos when arguing that ‘contrary to a widespread myth, the land which had belonged to the Turkish landlords was not taken over on their leaving by their Greek counterparts, but by the State’. The participants in the debate repeatedly referred to the egalitarian character of Greek society, as opposed to the extreme inequalities prevailing in Western Europe, which debased the working class to ‘the state of beasts’. The same basic assumptions on class structure and class antagonism in the countryside are to be found in all analyses of nineteenth-century Greek society. Historians consider these phenomena as the prelude to the modern urban working movement in Greece.