Mastrokolias, O. (2022). The Warrior and the Maiden: The Participation and Representations of Laskarina Bouboulina and Manto Mavrogenous in the Greek Revolution. Unc Charlotte Electronic Theses And Dissertations.
This thesis explores the participation and representations of two popular and exceptional heroines of the Greek Revolution of 1821-1832, Laskarina Bouboulina and Manto Mavrogenous, and how their legacies have been used as symbols of nationalism by Greeks and philhellenes. Although decent scholarship exists on the Greek Revolution, attention to gender has been limited, and this particular revolution has been overlooked in the broader study of gender, war, and politics during the Age of Revolutions. In addition to offering their biographies to an Anglophone audience, this thesis aims to deepen our understanding of how Greek women, despite a strict patriarchal society, became involved in the political and social turmoil of war. Much like the studies on women in the French Revolution, the cases of Bouboulina and Manto are vital to understanding how revolution both reinforced and rejected traditional gender roles in the process of Greece’s independence. Unlike in France, for instance, I argue that prior to the revolution Ottoman Greek women had more economic autonomy because of Greece's unique religious, geographical and maritime context. Even after independence, Greek women were included in the nation-building project to promote the expansion of its borders and people through ethnic means. By focusing on the commercial, military, and political activities of Laskarina Bouboulina and Manto Mavrogenous, this thesis argues that these elite patriotic women went beyond traditional methods of participation such as philanthropy and fundraising, serving —as warriors. An analysis of personal letters, naval correspondence, paintings, memoirs, statues, newspapers, folk history, literature and lithographs reveals that these women were unique in the history of nineteenth-century revolution and, for that reason, recognized for their heroism by European sympathizers. The use of their image increased alongside the peak of the philhellenic movement from 1825-1827 and shifted according to political and social motives. Manto’s image as the Mykonian Maiden remained fixed and the western counterpart to Bouboulina's Amazon and more "eastern" masculine role. I argue that these two tropes, whether physically or allegorically, were used to legitimize the Greek state by promoting investment and diplomatic support from the west and then later by Greek leaders and people to distinguish its revolutionary narrative from both west and east.