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The dance of Zalongo The dance of Zalongo
by The Ovi Team
2017-12-16 10:46:58
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The term Dance of Zalongo (Greek: Χορός του Ζαλόγγου Horós tou Zalóngou) refers to an event in Greek history, and to a popular dance song commemorating this event. During the war between the Souliotes and Ali Pasha, when the villages of Souli were being evacuated by the defeated population, a group of 22 Souliot women and their children were trapped by Ottoman troops in the mountains of Zalongo in Epirus, on 16 December 1803.

zalongo01_400In order to avoid capture and enslavement, they threw first their children and then themselves off a steep cliff, committing suicide. According to tradition they did this while dancing and singing, jumping down one after the other. Today, a monument on the site of the event commemorates their sacrifice. There is also a popular dance song about the event, which is known and danced throughout the two countries today.

The incident became soon known in Europe. In 1827, a French artist, Ary Scheffer (1795–1858) created a Romantic picture depicting the event (The Souliot Women, now held in the Louvre in Paris).


The Greek folk song "Dance of Zalongo" has the following lyrics:


Farewell poor world,
Farewell sweet life,
and you, my poor country,
Farewell for ever

Farewell springs,
Valleys, mountains and hills
Farewell springs
And you, women of Souli

The fish cannot live on the land
Nor the flower on the sand
And the women of Souli
Cannot live without freedom

Farewell springs,
Valleys, mountains and hills
Farewell springs
And you, women of Souli

The women of Souli
Have not only learnt how to survive
They also know how to die
Not to tolerate slavery


     
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Alan2009-12-16 18:46:26
the heroism of the people


Nikos Laios2017-12-16 14:22:29
I'm a native Greek from these mountains of Epirus,and when i go back every year to the family farm,and often find myself alone taking care of a flock of sheep on a high mountaintop on the roof of Greece, with just the sounds of tinkling sheep bells and the haunting sound of an Epirote clarinet echoing in the valley below.....

....i survey the misty blue coloured mountain peaks spread out before me like an inpressionist painting...

..and i gaze at wonder northwestern towards Zalongo and also towards nearby Selso where these brave and stoic people made these heroic sacrifices by choosing freedom and death over slavery and jumped off the cliffs.

My chest wells up with powerful emotions of awe,humility and pride...for these are my people...fellow Epirote Greeks...tough laconic people of few words and grand gestures and actions. .a people of steely gazes,who throw back 100% proof moonshine back like it's coffee.

..i finger my loaded gun at my feet as i my legs dangle over the edge of the cliff. ..and their actions completely make sense to me..because for us...there is no other choice. ..freedom is both our treasure and lifeblood.

....these are the same mountains that bred Queen Olympias and her son Alexander the Great....a rugged landscape that breeds rugged people. ..and Zalongo all makes sense...it all makes sense!


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