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Chr. Perraivos, a painting at the National Historical Museum, Athens.

Christoforos Perraivos (Greek: Χριστόφορος Περραιβός) was a Greek officer of the Greek War of Independence, member of the Filiki Eteria and author. In non-Greek sources his name is usually found as Per(r)evo(s).


Perraivos was born c. 1773 in Pieria. His family name was Chadzivassilis (Χατζηβασίλης), but adopted the nickname “Perraivos” alluding to the Perrhaebi, an ancient Greek tribe of Thessaly. It is believed that he was an illegitimate son of a certain monk Hieronymos, official at the bishopry of Larissa.

In 1793, with the help of the said Hieronymos, he left Greece to study at the Greek School in Bucharest and in 1796 to study medicine in Vienna. There he met the Greek humanist and revolutionary Rigas Feraios and entered an underground revolutionary organization. In 1797 Perraivos was arrested with Rigas and others by the Austrian authorities in Trieste but, unlike Rigas Feraios who was handed over to the Turks, Perraivos was released.

Afterwards he left for Corfu, then under French administration, and enlisted in the foreign units of the French army. He remained there when the Russians took over the Ionian Islands in 1798. He fell into disfavour with the Russians but he managed to stay in Corfu and to serve in the army, thanks to the protection of the Greeks Eleutherios Benakis (Russian agent) and George Palatinos (secretary of the Russian Admiral). In Corfu he worked also as a teacher in Greek schools from 1804. During 1805-1806 he was attached to the Russian admiral Michael Dolgorukov and later was given the rank of major by the Russian admiral Dmitry Senyavin. As a commander of 4 units of 100 men ("hekatontarchies") he defended the island of Lefkada (one of the Ionian islands, then "Santa Maura") that was threatened by Ali Pasha.[1] When the French occupied the Ionian Islands for second time in 1807 he retained his rank and became member of the Albanian Regiment, established the same year (Boppe, p. 11). Memoirs of his service under the Russians and the French are included in his “History of Souli and Parga”. This work was written in Corfu, where he stayed till 1817. Its first volume was published in 1803 in Paris and includes the earliest historical essay on Souli based on first-hand informations gathered from Souliotes refugees fighters in the island. It also includes information on the activities of Russia, France and Britain in the Ionian and Adriatic during the Napoleonic Wars and the wars against Ali Pasha and the Ottomans.

In 1817, after the departure of French from Corfu, he migrated to Russia. In Odessa he met the leaders of the Filiki Eteria and became member of this organization. Following the orders of the Eteria he travelled to the semi-autonomous Mani Peninsula to organize the revolution against the Ottoman Empire. In Wallachia he met Alexander Ypsilantis, the political and military head of the Greek revolution, in 1820 and tried to persuade him to postpone the uprising. However, Ypsilantis, resolved to begin the revolution in March 1821, sent Perraivos to Epirus to coordinate with the Souliotes and other captains whom he knew from Corfu. He was in Epirus on the outbreak of the revolution (March 1821) and fought with the Souliotes in various battles, as in the siege of the Riniassa castle. After the treaty between Souliotes and Ottomans and the evacuation of Souli, he went to Missolonghi and then to other parts of Greece, participating in many military campaigns and political missions. In 1829 participated in the Fourth National Assembly at Argos as a representative of Thessaly. After independence he authored his "War memoirs".[2]

He served in the regural army of the new Greek Kingdom as a colonel, and was promoted to Major General by King Otto of Greece in 1844. He died on 4 May 1863 in Athens.




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