Petrobey Mavromichalis

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Petros Mavromichalis (Greek: Πέτρος Μαυρομιχάλης; 1765–1848), also known as Petrobey (Greek: Πετρόμπεης [peˈ]), was a Greek general, politician and the leader of the Maniot people during the first half of the 19th century. His family had a long history of revolts against the Ottoman Empire, which ruled most of what is now Greece. His grandfather Georgios and his father Pierros were among the leaders of the Orlov Revolt.

Petrobey Mavromichalis
Πετρόμπεης Μαυρομιχάλης
Prince Petro Mavromichali, Chief of the Mainottes or old Spartans - Friedel Adam De - 1830.jpg
Portrait of Petros Mavromichalis by Adam de Friedel; 1830
President of the Provisional Administration of Greece
In office
10 May 1823 – 31 December 1823
Preceded byAlexandros Mavrokordatos
Succeeded byGeorgios Kountouriotis
Personal details
Born(1765-08-06)6 August 1765
Limeni, Mani
Died17 January 1848(1848-01-17) (aged 82)
Athens, Kingdom of Greece
RelationsAntonios Mavromichalis
Konstantinos Mavromichalis
Periklis Pierrakos-Mavromichalis
ChildrenGeorgios Mavromichalis
ResidenceLimeni (Areopolis), Mani
OccupationBey of Mani
AwardsGRE Order Redeemer 1Class.png Grand Cross of the Order of the Redeemer
Military service
AllegianceFlag of Greece (1822-1978).svg First Hellenic Republic
Greece Kingdom of Greece
Branch/serviceFiliki Eteria flag.svg Filiki Etaireia
Greek Revolution flag.svg Greek Revolutionary Army  Hellenic Army
CommandsCommander in Chief of Maniot forces
Battles/warsGreek War of Independence


Sketch of Petros Mavromichalis by Pierre Peytier (1828)

Petros was born on 6 August 1765, the son of leader Pierros "Mavromichalis" Pierrakos and Katerina Koutsogrigorakos, a doctor's daughter.

Mavromichalis' family had a long history of uprising against the Ottoman Empire, which ruled most of what is now Greece. His grandfather Georgakis Mavromichalis and his father Pierros "Mavromichalis" Pierrakos were among the leaders of the Orlov Revolt. The revolt was followed by a period of infighting between the leaders of Mani; soon, young Petros gained a strong reputation for mediating the disputes and reuniting the warring families. Due to the failure of several uprisings against the Turks, he was successful in helping many klephts and other rebels to escape to the French-controlled Heptanese, which gave him a useful contact with a potential ally. During that period he possibly made an alliance with Napoleon Bonaparte, who was fighting in Egypt; Napoleon was to strike the Ottoman Empire in coordination with a Greek revolt. Napoleon's failure in Egypt doomed that plan.

Petros Mavromichalis by Peter von Hess

By 1814, the reorganized Maniots again became a threat to the Ottomans, and the Sultan offered a number of concessions to Pierrakos, including his being named Bey, or Chieftain, of Mani - in effect formalizing the de facto status of autonomy the region had maintained for years. Under the leadership of Petrobey, as he was now called, the Maniot state and the Pierrakos family in particular were powerful enough to control the areas of the southern Peloponnese against Albanian raiders on behalf of the Sultan. Still, Petrobey was an active participant in the various designs of the Moreot kapetanei (καπεταναίοι, 'captains, commanders of warbands') for an uprising. In 1818, he became a member of the Filiki Eteria, and in 1819 he brokered a formal pact among the major kapetanei families. On 17 March 1821 Petrobey raised his war flag in Areopolis, effectively signaling the start of the Greek War of Independence. His troops marched into Kalamata and took the city on 23 March.

A monument of Petros Mavromichalis in Areopoli

After the summer of 1822, Petrobey retired from battle, leaving the leadership of his troops to his sons (two of whom were killed fighting). He continued to act as a mediator whenever disputes arose among the kapetanei, and acted as the leader of the Messenian Senate, a council of prominent revolutionary leaders. He also tried to seek support from the West by sending a number of letters to leaders and philhellenes in Europe and the United States.

After the revolution, Petrobey became a member of the first Greek Senate, under the leadership of Ioannis Kapodistrias. The two men soon clashed as a result of Kapodistrias' insistence on establishing a centralized regional administration based on political appointees, replacing the traditional system of family loyalties. Petros' brother Ioannis led a revolt against the appointed governor of Lakonia; the two brothers were invited to meet Kapodistrias and negotiate a solution but when they showed up, they were arrested. From his prison cell, Petros tried to negotiate a settlement with Kapodistrias; the latter refused. The crisis was then settled by more traditional means: Petros' brother Konstantinos and his son Georgios assassinated Kapodistrias on 9 October 1831. Petros publicly disapproved of the murder. Kapodistrias was succeeded by King Otto, whose attitude towards the kapetanaioi was much friendlier. Petros became vice-president of the Council of State, and later a senator. He was also one of the few Greeks to be awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of the Redeemer.[1]

He died in Athens on 17 January 1848 and was buried with the highest honors.


  1. ^ A.I. Kladis (1837). "Κεφάλαιον Όγδοον. Περί της συστάσεως Τάγματος Αριστείας δια το Βασίλειον της Ελλάδος." [Chapter Eight. On the establishment of an Order of Excellence for the Kingdom of Greece]. ΕΦΕΤΗΡΙΣ (Almanach) του Βασιλείου της Ελλάδος δια το έτος 1837. Athens: Βασιλική Τυπογραφία και Λιθογραφία. pp. 123–136.


  • Κ. Ζησίου, Οι Μαυρομιχάλαι. Συλλογή των περί αυτών γραφέντων, (K. Zisiou, The Mavromichalai. Collection of their own scripts, Athens,1903)
  • Ανάργυρου Κουτσιλιέρη, Ιστορία της Μάνης, (Anargiros Koutsilieris, History of Mani, Athens, 1996)
  • Αγαπητός Σ. Αγαπητός (1877). Οι Ένδοξοι Έλληνες του 1821, ή Οι Πρωταγωνισταί της Ελλάδος σελ. 40-47. Τυπογραφείον Α. Σ. Αγαπητού, Εν Πάτραις -ανακτήθηκε 13 Αυγούστου 2009-. (Agapitos S. Agapitos, The 1821 Glorious Greeks, The Protagonists of Greece, pg 40-47. A.S. Agapitou Press, Patras -1877 - reimpression 8.13.2009)
Political offices
Preceded by President of the Executive
May 10, 1823 – December 31, 1823
Succeeded by