Antonis Katsantonis
Antonis Katsantonis was a notable Greek klepht
Klephts were self-appointed armatoloi, anti-Ottoman insurgents, and warlike mountain-folk who lived in the countryside when Greece was a part of the Ottoman Empire...

 who lived in the era before the Greek War of Independence
Greek War of Independence
The Greek War of Independence, also known as the Greek Revolution was a successful war of independence waged by the Greek revolutionaries between...


Early life

According to the local historical tradition of the Evrytania
Evrytania is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the region of Central Greece. Its capital is Karpenisi .-Geography:...

 Prefecture, he was a Sarakatsanos
The Sarakatsani are a group of Greek transhumant shepherds inhabiting chiefly Greece, with a smaller presence in neighbouring Bulgaria, southern Albania and the Republic of Macedonia. Historically centered around the Pindus mountains, they have been currently urbanised to a significant degree...

 klepht leader born in the village of Marathos, Agrafa
Agrafa (Municipality)
Agrafa is a village and a municipality in Evrytania, Central Greece. Its administrative center is the village Kerasochori. It is named after the wide mountainous region of Agrafa, of which it occupies only the SW part....

. His real name was Antonis Makriyannis, son of Yannis Makriyannis (born in Petrovouni
Petrovouni may refer to several places in Greece:*Petrovouni, Achaea, a village in the municipality of Aigialeia, Achaea*Petrovouni, Arcadia, a village in Arcadia...

, Epirus
The name Epirus, from the Greek "Ήπειρος" meaning continent may refer to:-Geographical:* Epirus - a historical and geographical region of the southwestern Balkans, straddling modern Greece and Albania...

, not to be confused with Yannis Makriyannis born in Avoriti, Doris
Doris (Greece)
Doris , is a small mountainous district in ancient Greece, bounded by Aetolia, southern Thessaly, the Ozolian Locrians, and Phocis; the original homeland of the Dorian Greeks...



In 1802 he abandoned his life as a shepherd and began participating in raids by klephts; it was then that he acquired the nickname kaçak ("fugitive" in Turkish). During the years 1803-1808, he successfully battled several times against the army of Ali Pasha
Ali Pasha
Ali Pasha of Tepelena or of Yannina, surnamed Aslan, "the Lion", or the "Lion of Yannina", Ali Pashë Tepelena was an Ottoman Albanian ruler of the western part of Rumelia, the Ottoman Empire's European territory which was also called Pashalik of Yanina. His court was in Ioannina...

, the most notable of them being the Battle in the Mount Prosiliako (Μάχη στου Προσηλιάκου) in 1807. He is mentioned as having killed Veli Gega, a member of Ali Pasha's Supreme Council.

Capture and death

In the summer of 1809 he is said to have been struck down by a serious illness (identified then as ευλογιά "smallpox") and thus appointed his brother Kostas Lepeniotis ( or Kostas from Lepenou) as the leader of the Agrafa
Agrafa is a mountainous region in Evrytania and Karditsa prefectures in mainland Greece, consisting mainly of small villages. It is the southernmost part of the Pindus range...

's klephts; according to the tradition, when Ali Pasha got informed of that, he sent an army leader, called Mühürdar, to capture him in the cave where he had been transferred and being treated by his doctor Thanasis Doufekias ; eventually, Katsantonis and his second brother Yorgos Chasiotis ( or Yorgos from Chasia
Chasia, Trikala
Chasia is a former municipality in the Trikala peripheral unit, Thessaly, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Kalampaka, of which it is a municipal unit. Population 3,736 . The seat of the municipality was in Asprokklisia....

) were arrested and were led to the paşa
Pasha or pascha, formerly bashaw, was a high rank in the Ottoman Empire political system, typically granted to governors, generals and dignitaries. As an honorary title, Pasha, in one of its various ranks, is equivalent to the British title of Lord, and was also one of the highest titles in...

, where they were tortured to death. The legend mentions that Markos Botsaris
Markos Botsaris
Markos Botsaris was a Souliote captain and a hero of the War of Greek Independence. Markos Botsaris is among the most revered national heroes in Greece.-Early life:...

 avenged Katsantonis' death by killing Mühürdar in the Battle of Kefalovryso
Kefalovryso may refer to several places in Greece:*Kefalovryso, Argolis, a village in Argolis, part of the municipality Lyrkeia...

 (in Karpenisi
Karpenisi is a town in central Greece. It is the capital of the peripheral unit of Evrytania. The area around Karpenisi is mountainous while farmlands are mainly in valley areas....

) in 1823.

Cultural impact

His legend had a considerable impact on post-Independence Greek culture, since he has been recognized as one of the people who had prepared the Revolution and had envisioned the ideal of an independent Greek nation, well before the popularization of the corresponding
The Modern Greek Enlightenment was an ideological, philological, linguistic and philosophical movement among 18th century Greeks that translate the ideas and values of European Enlightenment into the Greek world.-Origins:...

 organized ideological Movement in Greece.


The distinguished poet Aristotelis Valaoritis
Aristotelis Valaoritis
Aristotelis Valaoritis was a Greek poet and politician. He was also the great-grandfather of Nanos Valaoritis, one of the most distinguished writers of Greece.-Biography:...

 (1824–1879), member of the literary Heptanese School
Heptanese School (literature)
The term Heptanese School of literature denotes the literary production of the Ionian Island's literature figures from the late 18th century till the end of the 19th century...

, wrote a poem called "Ο Κατσαντώνης (άρρωστος)" inspired by the klepht's sickness and death (published in the third quarter of the 19th century).

Shadow play

He has also been featured as a minor character in the popular Greek shadow play Karagiozis
Karagiozis or Karaghiozis is a shadow puppet and fictional character of Greek and Turkish folklore...

 along with his legendary opponent in the Battle of 1807, the Turkish Gheg Albanian dervent-ağa ("mountain-gate chief", δερβέναγας in Greek) Veligekas (Βεληγκέκας).


A TV series (docudrama style), in 12 parts, called "Chomata me Istoria" hosted by Elias Mamalakis and based on Katsantonis' biography was broadcast from November 2008 till January 2009 on ERT3
ET3 is the third television network of the ERT, the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation. It broadcasts nationwide from Thessaloniki. It has regional studios operating in various cities across the country, including Florina, Komotini and Alexandroupolis and on the islands of Paros, Mytilini and...


External links

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