By Ioannis Michaletos
6 November 2006

Dimitrios Karatasos was a Greek born in Naousa in 1798. His family was “Armatoloi”, meaning armed paramilitary forces, often in conflict with the Ottoman troops. During the Serbian revolution in 1804, Karatasos’s father,Anastasios- took part and helped the forces led by the Karageorgevic. In 1821 the Karatasos family rebelled along witht the rest of the Greeks, against the Ottoman rule.They conducted operations mostly in modern day Macedonia in the areas of Naousa, Veria and Olympus mountain. In 1828 at the period when the first governor of Greece was appointed- Kapodistria- Dimitrios became a Commander of a 1,000 regural troops and responsible for the protection of Northern Greek borders (Present day Lamia). The continuous political strife in Greece found Karatasos siding with the “Russian” party, a fraction in Greece in support of the Russian policy. Eventuallu that costed him his credentials in the Army and was sent to prison between 1833-34. Later own in 1841 during an uprizing of the Greeks in the unliberated areas of Thessaly and Epirus, Karatasos formed a paramilitary group of volunteers and invaded Ottoman territory at that time. He moved on to initiate an uprising in Macedonia with the help of Mt Athos monks, but the vast superiority of the Turkish Army brough a near collapse in his forces and he returned to Greece the following year.

Like his father, Dimitrios Karatasos was a staunch supporter of a Greek-Serbian Entente in order to relieve the Balkans fro the Ottoman occupation. During the period 1844- 1853 he ventured in the Serbian communities in Trieste and in Skopje in order to find support for a common cause. His assignments were semi-official and one could statet hat he was a kind of modern day political agent trying to forge alliances within the realm of secret diplomacy.

In 1854 during the Crimean war Karatasos assembled a force of just 1,000 troops and invaded the area of Chalkidiki in Macedonia. Despite his initial successes, when he arrived close to Thessaloniki, he was forced to retreat due lack of logistic support. Eventualy he returned to the Kassandra peninsula and from there escaped to Southern Greece.

This latest failure, further convinced Karatasos that only a Greek-Serbian agreement could accelerate the process of driving the Ottoman presence from the Balkans. In 1859 he made his claims public by writing articles in a Greek newspaper, whilst cajoled the representatives Serbian community in Greece in order to get support and advice for his goal. The Greek King at that time the Bavarian born Otto I, was affirmative and promoted Karatassos contacts.Therefore in 1861 he ventured to Belgrade in order to sign the first official treaty between the two states. During his stay there he died from unspecified reasons, presumably form an illness. A few months later King Otto would be expeled from the country due to a popular uprising and the Greek-Serbian agreement will have to wait 25 years until the Greek Prime Minister Trikoupis and his Serbian counterpart, sign the first agreement in 1887.

Dimitrios Karatasos is one of the many Greeks and Serbians alike, that believed that the cordial relations between their states are beneficial for them, as well as for the overall stability in the Balkan area.


Greek dictionary of biographies, Athens publishing house, Athens, 1991, P.289

Papyros-Larousse-Britanika encyclopedia, Papyros press, Athens, 1996, Vol. 32, P. 100

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