Mahmud Dramali Pasha

Mahmud Dramali Pasha

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Mahmud Pasha, called Dramalı ' onMouseout='HidePop("87148")' href="http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Drama,_Greece">Drama
Drama, Greece
Drama , the ancient Drabescus , is a town and municipality in northeastern Greece. Drama is the capital of the peripheral unit of Drama which is part of the East Macedonia and Thrace periphery. The town is the economic center of the municipality , which in turn comprises 53.5 percent of the...

 ca. 1780 - Corinth
Corinth
Corinth is a city and former municipality in Corinthia, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Corinth, of which it is the seat and a municipal unit...

, 26 October 1822) was a Beyzade, an Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 Vizier
Vizier
A vizier or in Arabic script ; ; sometimes spelled vazir, vizir, vasir, wazir, vesir, or vezir) is a high-ranking political advisor or minister in a Muslim government....

, Serdar-ı Ekrem, Pasha
Pasha
Pasha or pascha, formerly bashaw, was a high rank in the Ottoman Empire political system, typically granted to governors, generals and dignitaries. As an honorary title, Pasha, in one of its various ranks, is equivalent to the British title of Lord, and was also one of the highest titles in...

 and governor (Wali
Wali
Walī , is an Arabic word meaning "custodian", "protector", "sponsor", or authority as denoted by its definition "crown". "Wali" is someone who has "Walayah" over somebody else. For example, in Fiqh the father is wali of his children. In Islam, the phrase ولي الله walīyu 'llāh...

) of Larissa, Drama and the Morea
Morea
The Morea was the name of the Peloponnese peninsula in southern Greece during the Middle Ages and the early modern period. It also referred to a Byzantine province in the region, known as the Despotate of Morea.-Origins of the name:...

. In 1822, he was tasked with suppressing the Greek Revolution
Greek War of Independence
The Greek War of Independence, also known as the Greek Revolution was a successful war of independence waged by the Greek revolutionaries between...

, but was defeated and died shortly after.

Early life and career


Mahmud Pasha was born in 1780 in Drama
Drama, Greece
Drama , the ancient Drabescus , is a town and municipality in northeastern Greece. Drama is the capital of the peripheral unit of Drama which is part of the East Macedonia and Thrace periphery. The town is the economic center of the municipality , which in turn comprises 53.5 percent of the...

, from where he got his nickname. He came from a distinguished family of Albania
Albania
Albania , officially known as the Republic of Albania , is a country in Southeastern Europe, in the Balkans region. It is bordered by Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, the Republic of Macedonia to the east and Greece to the south and southeast. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea...

n origin: His maternal grandfather was Sultan Ahmed III
Ahmed III
Ahmed III was Sultan of the Ottoman Empire and a son of Sultan Mehmed IV . His mother was Mâh-Pâre Ummatullah Râbi'a Gül-Nûş Valide Sultan, originally named Evmania Voria, who was an ethnic Greek. He was born at Hajioglupazari, in Dobruja...

 by his mother ; Zeynep Sultan, thus his paternal grandfather Husain Agha was a Çorbaci
Çorbaci
Çorbacı was a military rank of the corps of Janissaries in the Ottoman Empire, used for the commander of an orta , i.e., approximately corresponding to the rank of colonel...

of the Janissaries and governor of Kavala, while his father Halil Mehmed Bey was the "Silahtarağası" of Sultan Selim III, after commanded an Albanian regiment in Egypt against Napoleon. Husain Agha was also the maternal uncle of Muhammad Ali Pasha of Egypt
Muhammad Ali of Egypt
Muhammad Ali Pasha al-Mas'ud ibn Agha was a commander in the Ottoman army, who became Wāli, and self-declared Khedive of Egypt and Sudan...

, making Mahmud the latter's nephew, and also a cousin of Ibrahim Pasha
Ibrahim Pasha of Egypt
Ibrahim Pasha was the eldest son of Muhammad Ali, the Wāli and unrecognised Khedive of Egypt and Sudan. He served as a general in the Egyptian army that his father established during his reign, taking his first command of Egyptian forces was when he was merely a teenager...

, who would also lead an expedition in Greece in 18251828.

Mahmud was raised and educated at the Topkapi Palace
Topkapi Palace
The Topkapı Palace is a large palace in Istanbul, Turkey, that was the primary residence of the Ottoman Sultans for approximately 400 years of their 624-year reign....

 of Sultan Selim III
Selim III
Selim III was the reform-minded Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1789 to 1807. The Janissaries eventually deposed and imprisoned him, and placed his cousin Mustafa on the throne as Mustafa IV...

 at Istanbul
Istanbul
Istanbul , historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople , is the largest city of Turkey. Istanbul metropolitan province had 13.26 million people living in it as of December, 2010, which is 18% of Turkey's population and the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Europe after London and...

. He participated in various campaigns throughout the Empire, rising to the post of Vizier
Vizier
A vizier or in Arabic script ; ; sometimes spelled vazir, vizir, vasir, wazir, vesir, or vezir) is a high-ranking political advisor or minister in a Muslim government....

 and acquiring significant military skills. Enjoying the patronage of the Valide Sultan
Valide Sultan
Valide Sultan was the title held by the mother of a ruling Sultan in the Ottoman Empire. The Turkish pronunciation of the word Valide is . The title is sometimes translated as Queen Mother, although the position of Valide Sultan was quite different.The position was perhaps the most important...

, he was eventually posted in his home province of Drama, succeeding his father Halil as governor. In 1820 he was Pasha
Pasha
Pasha or pascha, formerly bashaw, was a high rank in the Ottoman Empire political system, typically granted to governors, generals and dignitaries. As an honorary title, Pasha, in one of its various ranks, is equivalent to the British title of Lord, and was also one of the highest titles in...

 of Larissa
Larissa
Larissa is the capital and biggest city of the Thessaly region of Greece and capital of the Larissa regional unit. It is a principal agricultural centre and a national transportation hub, linked by road and rail with the port of Volos, the city of Thessaloniki and Athens...

 and participated in the army of Hursid Pasha
Hursid Pasha
Hurşid Ahmed Pasha was an Ottoman General and Grand Vizier during the early 19th century. He was of Georgian descent.- Early life :...

 that was operating against the rebel Ali Pasha Tepelenli
Ali Pasha
Ali Pasha of Tepelena or of Yannina, surnamed Aslan, "the Lion", or the "Lion of Yannina", Ali Pashë Tepelena was an Ottoman Albanian ruler of the western part of Rumelia, the Ottoman Empire's European territory which was also called Pashalik of Yanina. His court was in Ioannina...

 of Yannina.

In the summer 1821, as the Greek uprising began, he crushed the first rebellions by Greeks in the Agrafa
Agrafa
Agrafa is a mountainous region in Evrytania and Karditsa prefectures in mainland Greece, consisting mainly of small villages. It is the southernmost part of the Pindus range...

 and Mount Pelion regions, and after the disgrace and suicide of Hursid, took over as Mora Valisi, with the task of destroying the Greek revolt in its heart, the Morea
Morea
The Morea was the name of the Peloponnese peninsula in southern Greece during the Middle Ages and the early modern period. It also referred to a Byzantine province in the region, known as the Despotate of Morea.-Origins of the name:...

. He assembled a well-equipped army of well over 20,000 men, a huge force by Balkan standards, and the largest Ottoman army to enter Greece since the Ottoman invasion of the Morea
Turkish–Venetian War (1714–1718)
The Seventh Ottoman–Venetian War was fought between the Republic of Venice and the Ottoman Empire between 1714 and 1718. It was the last conflict between the two powers, and ended with an Ottoman victory and the loss of Venice's major possession in the Greek peninsula, the Peloponnese . Venice was...

 in 1715. These comprised among others ca. 8,000 cavalry, predominantly from Macedonia and Thrace, and several thousand veterans of the campaign against Ali Pasha.

The Morea Campaign


At the head of his army, Dramali set off from Larissa in late June 1822, and swept practically unmolested through eastern Greece: his forces marched unopposed through Boeotia
Boeotia
Boeotia, also spelled Beotia and Bœotia , is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the region of Central Greece. It was also a region of ancient Greece. Its capital is Livadeia, the second largest city being Thebes.-Geography:...

, where they razed Thebes
Thebes, Greece
Thebes is a city in Greece, situated to the north of the Cithaeron range, which divides Boeotia from Attica, and on the southern edge of the Boeotian plain. It played an important role in Greek myth, as the site of the stories of Cadmus, Oedipus, Dionysus and others...

, and Attica
Attica
Attica is a historical region of Greece, containing Athens, the current capital of Greece. The historical region is centered on the Attic peninsula, which projects into the Aegean Sea...

, where however he did not attempt to retake the Acropolis
Acropolis
Acropolis means "high city" in Greek, literally city on the extremity and is usually translated into English as Citadel . For purposes of defense, early people naturally chose elevated ground to build a new settlement, frequently a hill with precipitous sides...

, which had only shortly before surrendered to the Greeks.

He passed through the defiles of the Megaris
Megaris
This is also the ancient Greek name of a small island off Naples, site of the Castel dell'Ovo.Megaris or the Megarid was a small but populous state of ancient Greece, west of Attica and north of Corinthia, whose inhabitants were adventurous seafarers, credited with deceitful propensities...

 unmolested, and entered the Peloponnese. He arrived at Corinth in mid-July, and found the strong fort of Acrocorinth
Acrocorinth
Acrocorinth , "Upper Corinth", the acropolis of ancient Corinth, is a monolithic rock overseeing the ancient city of Corinth, Greece. "It is the most impressive of the acropoleis of mainland Greece," in the estimation of George Forrest. Acrocorinth was continuously occupied from archaic times to...

 abandoned without a fight by its Greek garrison. He wed the widow of the fort's murdered former commander, Kiamil Bey, and was joined by Yusuf Pasha of Patras
Patras
Patras , ) is Greece's third largest urban area and the regional capital of West Greece, located in northern Peloponnese, 215 kilometers west of Athens...

, who advised him to remain in Corinth, using it as a base, and to build up strong naval forces in the Corinthian Gulf and isolate the Morea, before advancing on Tripoli
Tripoli, Greece
Tripoli is a city of about 25,000 inhabitants in the central part of the Peloponnese, in Greece. It is the capital of the prefecture of Arcadia and the centre of the municipality of Tripolis, pop...

. But Dramali, by now utterly self-confident by the Greeks' apparent reluctance to oppose him, decided to march at once to the south, towards the Argolis
Argolis
Argolis is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the region of Peloponnese. It is situated in the eastern part of the Peloponnese peninsula.-Geography:...

.

His advance caused a panic among the Greeks: the siege of Nafplio was abandoned just as the garrison was preparing to surrender, and the provisional government fled Argos
Argos
Argos is a city and a former municipality in Argolis, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Argos-Mykines, of which it is a municipal unit. It is 11 kilometres from Nafplion, which was its historic harbour...

 and embarked on ships for safety. However, on arriving at Argos on 11 July, Dramali made two critical mistakes: he did not secure his main supply and retreat route through the Dervenakia Pass, and ignored the fact that the absence of the Ottoman Navy
Ottoman Navy
The Ottoman Navy was established in the early 14th century. During its long existence it was involved in many conflicts; refer to list of Ottoman sieges and landings and list of Admirals in the Ottoman Empire for a brief chronology.- Pre-Ottoman:...

 meant that he could not be supplied by sea. Instead, he focused on taking the town's fort, stubbornly defended by a 700-strong Greek garrison under Demetrios Ypsilantis, which held out for twelve vital days, before breaking through the besiegers' lines and escaping. During that time, the Greeks, under Theodoros Kolokotronis
Theodoros Kolokotronis
Theodoros Kolokotronis was a Greek Field Marshal and one of the leaders of the Greek War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire....

, rallied their forces, and occupied the surrounding hills and defiles, including the Dervenakia. The Greeks systematically looted the villages of the Argolic plain, even setting fire to the crops and damaging the springs, so as to starve the Turkish army.

Trapped in the sweltering summer heat of the Argolic plain, without water and food, Dramali was forced to plan withdrawing back to Corinth
Corinth
Corinth is a city and former municipality in Corinthia, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Corinth, of which it is the seat and a municipal unit...

. On 26 July he sent out his cavalry as an advance guard towards the Dervenakia pass. But the Greeks were expecting the move, and had taken up positions there. The resulting battle was a complete Greek victory, with few Ottomans managing to escape. Finally, two days later, Dramali set out with his main army. Although he and his bodyguard managed to pass, the majority of his army, as well as the treasury and most baggage and equipment, were trapped in the pass and massacred. The result of Dramali's campaign, which had started so well, was a complete disaster: out of more than 30,000 soldiers, only 6,000 returned to Corinth, where Dramali died of high fever.

Dramali's defeat saved the Greek uprising from an early failure. The extent of the defeat was such that it entered into the modern Greek
Modern Greek
Modern Greek refers to the varieties of the Greek language spoken in the modern era. The beginning of the "modern" period of the language is often symbolically assigned to the fall of the Byzantine Empire in 1453, even though that date marks no clear linguistic boundary and many characteristic...

 language as a proverb
Proverb
A proverb is a simple and concrete saying popularly known and repeated, which expresses a truth, based on common sense or the practical experience of humanity. They are often metaphorical. A proverb that describes a basic rule of conduct may also be known as a maxim...

: "η νίλα του Δράμαλη" (Dramali's fiasco), which is used to denote a complete disaster.

Sources