The Greek Enlightenment involves all intellectual and conscious phenomena of Greek history that occurred during the fifty years period 1774 – 1821. Although the beginning of the Enlightenment is placed in the beginning of 18th century, however the year 1774 is considered an historic landmark because following the Russo-Turkish war the Treaty of Kuchuk - Kainarji was concluded, which comprised mainly favourable economic terms for the peoples under ottoman Empire, an event that allowed the intellectual development of Greeks.


This period of modern Greek history was characterized by scholars as the Greek Enlightenment in contrast to the European Enlightenment that appeared in the 17th and 18th century in Europe, and particularly in France. The Enlightenment or Age of Reason was the economic, scientific, political and in general ideological movement that focused on improving human society. The Enlightenment was a very important movement that changed attitudes and way of thinking throughout Europe; it had an impact on almost all fields of human activity and led to the French Revolution.


The last decay of the 18th century and the first two decays of the 19th century are key years and very significant for modern Hellenism. Everything shows that the enslaved nation is now directed towards a new composition and eventually its freedom. Economic prosperity, the upraise of middle class, the widening of interests, thirst for education and at the same time the progressive national emancipation and the desire for freedom are the main features of the reviving new Hellenism.

Social, economic and intellectual progress is also expressed intensely in writers’ works. Multiple publications of original as well as translated works, magazines, and newspapers gradually increase and provide young Greeks with the opportunity to come in contact with different disciplines.

As regards Greek Literature, writers’ works in the Enlightenment mainly involve history and philosophy works and fiction to a lesser degree. This is normal considering that at that historical moment the objective was to teach the enslaved people their national and historical origins and to make them understand their historical perspective. Therefore, during the Enlightenment scholars mainly turn to ancient Greek writers and try through several works to contribute to the national awareness raising. However, we do have the first noteworthy works of poetry, which show precisely that awareness rising in the Enlightenment period was widespread in the entire intellectual world.


In this chapter we include works covering the entire range of literature (poetry, prose, letters, and essay) and representing all forms of language used by literature writers and scholars of that time (vernacular, archaic, mixed language).

Works were chosen in an attempt to provide a comprehensive picture of different views as regards the Language Question, which was dominant during the Enlightenment period and caused conflicts among the scholars at that time. Thus, the works reflect the views of three ideological movements, the supporters of the vernacular language (Ath. Christopoulos, I. Vilaras, Rigas Velestinlis), the archaists (N. Doukas) and the supporters of the mixed language (Ad. Korais). Another criterion was also the importance of the works from an historical point of view that is to what extent it captures political and social problems of its time (Ελληνική Νομαρχία, Ρωσσαγγλογάλλος ).


Details of Period’s Anthology


Α. Writers: 7

Β. Texts: 14

   1. Poetry /texts in verse: 7

   2. Prose: 2

   3. Letter: 1

   4. Essay : 4

C. Text language: Vernacular, archaic, mixed.

Period Authors
Anonymous (Greek Enlightenment)   
Christopoulos Athanasios   
Doukas Neofytos   
Korais Adamantios   
Velestinlis (Feraios) Rigas   
Vilaras Ioannis