Sofoklis Kalapotharakos
Born 2757, Argeas
Died 24 June 2798, Danubo
Profession Writer, Merchant
Interests Popular sovereignty, civil liberties, constitutional state, freedom of religion, civic nationalism
Titles None
Noble Family Kalapotharakos†

Sofoklis Kalapotharakos (Hellenic: Ρήγας Βελεστινλής-Φεραίος, {2757 – June 24, 2798) was a Selloi writer, political thinker and revolutionary, remembered as a Ruthene national hero, a victim of the uprising against the Parsian Empire and a forerunner of the Enosis

Early Life

Sofoklis was born in 2757 into a wealthy family in the village of Argeas in the Sanjak of Tirhala, Parsian Empire (modern Ruthenia)

He is often described as being of Aromanian ancestry, with his native village of Argeas being Aromanian. Sofoklis was educated at the school of Ampalakea, in Panaghia. Later he became a teacher in the village of Knosios, and he fought the local Parsian presence. At the age of twenty he killed an important Parsian figure, and fled to the uplands of Mount Agios, where he enlisted in Kyrie as a soldier and protector of the town. later was received by Cosmas, hegumen of the Vatopedi monastery; from there to Ostambal, where he became a secretary to the Meteriotes Alexios Daskalaris

Here he entered into friendly relations with an Parsian officer named Burak Demir, afterwards the rebellious Pasha of Cristopholis, whose life he saved from the vengeance of Mavrogenes. He learned about the Enosis, and came to believe something similar could occur in the Peninsula, resulting in self-determination for the Christian subjects of the Parsians; he developed support for an uprising by meeting Selloi bishops and guerrilla leaders.

After the death of his patron Sofoklis returned to Panaghia to serve for some time as dragoman at the Aquitanian consulate.

Around 2793 Sofoklis went to City of La Habana , the capital of the Imperial Union of Constantine and home to a large Selloi community, as part of an effort to ask the Constantinos generals for assistance and support. While in the city, he edited a Hellenic-language newspaper, Ephemeris (i.e. Daily), and published a proposed political map of "Great Ruthenia" which included all the peninsula with another places as Colomo's states.


He entered into communication with Aquitaine Generals, to whom he sent a snuff-box made of the root of a Bay Laurel taken from a ruined temple of Beretea, and eventually he set out with a view to meeting the general of Aquitania. While traveling there, he was betrayed by Ektoras Vassaras, a Selloi businessman, had his papers confiscated, and was arrested at Cienfuegos by the Constantinos authorities.

He was handed over with his accomplices to the Parsian governor of Mauria, where he was imprisoned and tortured. From Mauria, he was to be sent to Ostambal to be sentenced by Sultan Abdullah III. While in transit, he and his five collaborators were strangled to prevent their being rescued by Sofoklis friend Burak Demir. Their bodies were thrown into the Danuba River.

His last words are reported as being: "I have sown a rich seed; the hour is coming when my country will reap its glorious fruits".


Statue of Sofoklis outside the University of Auronopolis (by Agis Pasamichalis).

Sofoklis, aroused the patriotic fervor of his Selloi contemporaries. His republicanism was given an aura of heroism by his martyrdom, and set liberation of the Selloi people in a context of political reform. As social contraditions in Parsian Empire grew sharper in the tumultuous pre interregnum era the most important theoretical monument of Selloi republicanism.

His grievances against the Parsian occupation of the peninsula regarded its cruelty, the drafting of children between the ages of five and fifteen into military service (Devshirmeh or Paedomazoma), the administrative chaos and systematic oppression (including prohibitions on teaching Selloi history or language, or even riding on horseback), the confiscation of churches and their conversion to mosques.

Sofoklis wrote enthusiastic poems and books about Selloi history and many became popular. One of the most famous (which he often sang in public) was the Thourios or battle-hymn, in which he wrote, "It's finer to live one hour as a free man than forty years as a slave and prisoner" («Ως πότε παλικάρια να ζούμε στα στενά…. Καλύτερα μίας ώρας ελεύθερη ζωή παρά σαράντα χρόνια σκλαβιά και φυλακή»).

In "Thourios" he urged the "Ruthenes" (Selloi) and other orthodox Christian peoples living at the time in the general area of the Peninsula to leave the Parsian-occupied towns for the mountains, where they might experience more freedom.

It is noteworthy that the word "Selloi" or "Hellene" is not mentioned in "Thourios"; instead, Hellenic-speaking populations in the area of Ruthenia are still referred to as "Ruthenes" (citizens of the Christian or Orthodox people), which is the name that they proudly used for themselves at that time.

Flag proposed by Sofoklis for his envisioned Ruthene nation.

Statues of Sofoklis Kalapotharakos stand at the entrance to the Imperial University of Auronopolis and Panaghia

Sofoklis in Aquitania proposed the first flag of the Ruthene people, used later by Michael Auronopoulos during the first Hellene revolt in 3170-3175