Yiannos “Astrapogiannos” was an 18th-century Greek armatolist, ruler of Dorida. He was one of the most important and well known thieves and revolutioners of the pre-revolutionary period. He was worshiped by the enslaved Greeks as a popular hero and punisher of the Turks. Tradition wants him generously with the poor and merciless with the powerful.
His real name was Yiannis Dimitriou and he came from Agia Efthimia Fokidas. Initially he was a warrior under the flag of the brothers Lambros and Mitros Tsecura. Because of his bravery, he was recognized as the leader of his own group of warriors, with whom he terrorized the Turks.
When the Ottoman leader of Salon, Mirzas raped a woman from the territory of Astrapogiannos, Yiannos campaigned against Mirzas and killed him and all his gunners.
After years in Armatoliki and many victories, he was tragically killed in a battle with the Turks in the Palace of Dorida. He had been mortally wounded by betrayal, and he ordered his friend Lampete to kill him, so as not to fall into the hands of a Turk.
In 1970, a film titled “Astrapogiannos”, starring Nikos Kourkoulos, was based on the legend of Astrapogiannos, but was played in another era and period. The first screening of the film was on October 12, 1970 and totaled 391,874 tickets during its first screening period. Audiences and critics quoted it, with one award succeeding the other.
The word “Astrapogiannos”
The word “Astrapogiannos” is a compound word that came from its name (Yiannos) and the word “Astrapi” which means “lightning”, which probably showed how fast it was. Yiannos, in popular tradition, presents himself as a fearless warrior who was kind and generous with the Greeks but cruel and relentless with the Ottomans.
Today, with the word “astrapogiannos” we metaphorically call a clever man with leadership talents, but opposed to the establishment and the hierarchy.