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Philhellenism and party politics in Victorian Britain: the Greek Committee of 1879–1881

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Pandeleimon Hionidis
Pandeleimon Hionidis


The Greek Committee, a body organised and run by Sir Charles Dilke, was publicly launched in May 1879 and functioned as a pressure group to advance Greek territorial claims during the various phases of the question concerning the rectification of the Greek frontier (1879-1881). The timing of the committee’s establishment, its membership and appeal to the British public, and the changes brought about in its operations by the change of government in 1880 form a case study of the interweaving of British party politics with philhellenism. In the late 1870s, British philhellenism, that is, interest in the affairs of modern Greece and the advocacy of the “Greek cause”, should be viewed within the framework of liberal and radical concerns for the formation of a “true English policy” in foreign affairs, based on the long-standing British interest in continental nationalities.

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