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Hatzimichalis Dalianis
Born 1775
Died 1828-03-17 (1828-03-18) (aged 52)
Place of birth Delvinaki, Ioannina or Delvinaq, Përmet District[1] or Bularat, Gjirokaster District[2]
Place of death Sfakia, Chania
Allegiance  Greece
Years of service 1821–1828
Battles/wars Greek War of Independence
Battle of Phaleron
Battle of Frangokastello (1828)

Hatzimichalis Dalianis (Greek: Χατζημιχάλης Νταλιάνης, 1775–1828) was a commander of the Greek War of Independence (1821–1830) and revolutionary leader in Crete in 1828.

Greek War of Independence

According to some Greek historians he was born in the Greek-speaking town of Delvinaki, Epirus, when the region was under Ottoman rule.[3][4][5] Consequent research, however, by other Greek historians dispute this fact, nevertheless they all agree that he was born in Epirus. Alexander Mammopoulos attributes his birthplace conclusively in an Albanian-speaking village of the same name in modern Përmet District,[3] while Stavros Karkaletsis, claims that he was born in the Greek-speaking village of Bularat, Dropull.[6]

He has also been related to the Dalani clan of Konispol, but that is unlikely and probably arose as a theory due to a misconception in primary sources research as there was a notable individual of that clan, (Haxhi) Mahmut Dalani that lived in the same period (1775-1828).[7] He grew up in Trieste, where his father worked as a merchant.[7] In 1816 he became a member of the Greek patriotic organization Filiki Etaireia.[5]

In March 1826, while the War of Independence was in full swing, he participated together with other revolutionary leaders (Nikolaos Krieziotis, Vasos Mavrovouniotis and Stavros Liakopoulos) in an attempt to create an alliance with the Emir of Lebanon Bashir Shihab II against the Ottoman Empire. However, when Dalianis landed in Beirut in order to incite a revolt there, the local emir was far from certain that he would defy the Ottomans.[3][8]

Back to Greece, Dalianis fought in the Battle of Phaleron (1827). In January 1828 he became the leader of an expeditionary force to assist the faltering uprising in Crete.[9] In an attempt to revive the revolution there, Dalianis together with 700 men (600 on foot, 100 with horses and mules),[4] landed initially at Gramvousa on 5 January 1828 but decided to restart their expedition from Sfakia.[4] In March he took possession of Frangokastello castle, a 14th-century Venetian fortification in the Sfakia region. The local Ottoman ruler, Mustafa Naili Pasha, gathered an army of 8,000 men in order to suppress the revolt and attacked Frangokastello. The castle's defence was doomed, when Mustafa's Ottoman-Albanian force of 8,000 men and 300 cavalry arrived on 13 May 1828, [4][10] after several days the fortress fell back into Ottoman hands, and Dalianis perished along with 385 men.[4][11][12] Mustafa's force also lost 800 men.[4] The few men that remained at the fort continued to resist for a few more days.[13]

It is said that Hatzimichalis Dalianis was buried by a nun at the nearby monastery of Saint Charalambos. Mustafa's troops were ambushed on their return at a nearby gorge by a group of Cretan rebels, and suffered ca. 1,000 casualties.[11]


This failed revolt of 1828, is the basis for the local legend of the ghost army of the Drosoulites (Δροσουλίτες, "dew shadows").[13][14] According to the local Cretan tradition, the spirits of the fallen revolutionaries return each year to Frangokastello.[15] This unexplained phenomenon usually occurs on the anniversary of the battle where images of advancing troops (Drosoulites) appear at dawn to hover above the tragic location. The subject has been investigated and various scientific interpretations have been suggested.[16]

Later, in early 20th century, volunteer groups from Crete, in order to repay the sucrifice of Dalianis and his Epirote men in 1828, joined the Epirus front of the First Balkan War, as well as the armed struggle for the establishment of the Autonomous Republic of Northern Epirus, against annexation to Albania.[3]


  1. according to Alexander Mammopoulos cited by Ruches, 1967: 61
  2. according to S. Karkaletsis.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Ruches, Pyrrhus (1967). Albanian historical folksongs, 1716-1943: a survey of oral epic poetry from southern Albania, with original texts. Argonaut. pp. 61-61. "For many years, it was believed by some Greek historians that Dalianes was a native of the Greek-speaking town of Delvinaki on the present Greco-Albanian border. Mammopoulos, however, proves nearly conclusively that he came from the Albanian-speaking village of Delvinaki in the district of Premeti ... Whether from Premeti or Pogoni, Dalianes was an indubitable son of Epirus-which is to say a son of Greece-who had made his mark with the forces of the Greek Revolution and had risen to the rank of commanding general of the Greek irregular cavalry."" 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Detorakis, Turkish rule in Crete, p. 383
  5. 5.0 5.1 Στεργίου, Άννα. "Γιορτή τιμής στον Ηπειρώτη οπλαρχηγό Χατζημιχάλη Νταλιάνη". Retrieved 25 November 2012. 
  6. Karkaletsis, Stavros (January 2004). "Φραγγοκάστελλο: Η ιστορία του και ο Θρύλος των Δροσουλλιτών". Retrieved 9 April 2013. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 Pango, Apostol (2002). Enciklopedia e Delvinës dhe e Sarandës. Botimet Toena. p. 81. ISBN 9789992715970. 
  8. Θέματα Νεώτερης Ελληνικής Ιστορίας. Εκδόσεις Παπαζήση, 2000. ISBN 978-960-02-1408-6, p. 103 (Greek)
  9. Sakellariou M.V.. Epirus, 4000 years of Greek history and civilization. Ekdotike Athenon, 1997. ISBN 978-960-213-371-2, p. 286
  10. Bakker, compiled by Johan de (2001). Across Crete : from Khania to Herakleion (1st ed. ed.). Amsterdam: Logos Tekstproducties. ISBN 9781850433873. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 Bakker, Johan de (2003). Across Crete: From Khania to Herakleion. I.B.Tauris. pp. 82–83. ISBN 978-1-85043-387-3. 
  12. Dana Facaros, Michael Pauls. Crete. New Holland Publishers, 2003. ISBN 978-1-86011-106-8, p. 148.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Detorakis, Turkish rule in Crete, p. 384
  14. Omnibus vol. 15-20. Joint Association of Classical Teachers. J.A.C.T., 1991, p. 10
  15. Athanassouli E., Pavlidou S., Theodossiou I.. W. Crete and Gavdos Island. Institute of Geology & Mineral Exploration. ISBN 978-960-98903-0-4, p. 6.
  16. Costis Davaras, Kōstēs Davaras. Guide to Cretan antiquities. Noyes Press, 1976. ISBN 978-0-8155-5044-0, p. 103.


  • Detorakis, Theocharis (1988). "Η Τουρκοκρατία στην Κρήτη ("Turkish rule in Crete")". In Panagiotakis, Nikolaos M. (in Greek). Crete, History and Civilization. II. Vikelea Library, Association of Regional Associations of Regional Municipalities. pp. 333–436.

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