Abstract detail

Title On national symbols and dress: who is the man with the kilt (φουστανέλλα)?

Wars and conflicts are some of the favourite, repeated and well-researched topics in the turbulent social and political Greek history. What shines through, though, and becomes an instantly recognizable symbol in these well documented moments of national history from 1453 to 1940 is the legendary figure of the heroic Greek Evzonas or Tsolias, the kilted soldiers. The first part of this paper presents the story of the Evzones regiments through selected images, products of folklore and popular iconography trying to throw some light on their longstanding appeal as a national symbol in reference to war, national costume and national memory in Greece. In particular, it explores associations with mythical notions of bravery, tradition and Greekness. The second part of the paper discusses where this myth stands at present and whether the Evzones or Tsoliades, who nowadays are officially known as the Presidential Guards and refrain from any involvement in active combat, continue to be a living part of Greek history and a symbol of national identity for the Greeks who reside in Greece and abroad.

Primary author
Anna Efstathiadou