The Battle of Maniaki was fought on May 20, 1825 in Maniaki, Greece (in the hills east of Gargalianoi) between Ottoman Egyptian forces led by Ibrahim Pasha and Greek forces led by Papaflessas.
The battle ended in an Ottoman victory, during which both Greek commanders, Papaflessas and Pieros Voidis, were killed in action.
With 3,000 Greek soldiers, Papaflessas chose to position his troops near Mount Malia in order to acquire a decent view of the plain near Navarino. From that entrenched position, Papaflessas awaited Ibrahim's forces. During the night, many Greeks from within Papaflessas's ranks fled after seeing Ibrahim's enormous armies. (Finlay places the number of remaining Greek soldiers at 1500.)
Ibrahim, in person, advanced towards the Greek position leading a force of over 6,000 soldiers. (Phillips calls the Egyptian force 'innumerable'). Papaflessas provided an eloquent speech that enhanced the morale of the remaining Greeks that decided to stay and fight. As the Arabs in Ibrahim's army attacked, the Greeks held their positions staunchly but were eventually overwhelmed. Ultimately, a large part of the remaining Greeks including Papaflessas and 400 Arabs perished in the aftermath of the battle. (Finlay places the number of Greek casualties at 1000.) The head and body of Papaflessas were recovered and placed upright on a post; not in dishonour, but as a mark of respect for a valiant foe.
Despite the defeat of Papaflessas, the battle itself helped to change and strengthen the declining morale of other Greeks who contributed to the independence movement.
- ^ a b c d e Finlay, p. 75. "He quitted Nauplia with great parade, attended by a body of veteran soldiers; and when he reached the village of Maniaki, in the hills to the east of Gargaliano, his force exceeded three thousand men. The bold priest possessed no military quality but courage. He posted his troops in an ill-selected position and awaited the attack of Ibrahim, who advances in person to carry the position at the head of six thousand men on 1 June. Many of the archimandrite's troops, seeing the superior force of the Egyptians, deserted during the night, and only about fifteen hundred men remained. The pasha's regulars were led on to storm the Greek intrenchments in gallant style, and a short and desperate struggle ensued. The Greeks were forced from their position before they fled. The affair was the best contested during the war, for a thousand Greeks perished by the Arab bayonets, and four hundred Arabs lay dead on the field. In spite of the defeat and the severe loss sustained by the Greeks, they gained honour and courage by the battle of Maniaki."
- ^ Phillips, pp. 177-178. "With a body of 3,000 troops, Dikaios marched southward, and at Maniaki, on a spur of Mount Malia, took up a position commanding a view of the plain towards Navarino, and there awaited the arrival of the Egyptians. Presently the plain below them seemed to be covered with marching battalions; and, when the Greeks saw an apparently innumerable host advancing upon them with a steadiness and fateful deliberation as disconcerting as it was strange to their experience, many of them lost courage and fled."
- ^ Phillips, pp. 177-178.
- ^ Phillips, p. 178. "About a thousand, however, held their ground and Dikaios stimulated their courage with the eloquence which made him so great a power in the revolt. Victory was always possible, he cried, but if they fell, many Turks would also bite the dust, and this battle would be as famous among posterity as the immortal stand of Leonidas and his three hundred Spartans. For once, courageous words were followed by courageous deeds."
- ^ Phillips, p. 178. "The Arabs advanced to the attack; but the Greeks held their ill-constructed entrenchments with obstinate valour. At last, however, the discipline and numbers of the enemy prevailed; but not before 800 of the Greeks and over 400 Mussulmans had fallen. Dikaios himself fought like a lion; and the headless trunk of the burly priest was discovered surrounded by piles of slain Arabs."
- ^ Phillips, p. 178-179. "Ibrahim caused the head to be sought; and, when it was found, had it set upon the trunk, and the figure of the dead leader placed upright against a post." Ibrahim kissed the head of the dead Papaflessas and said If all Greeks were like him, I would not take charge of this campaign.
- ^ Phillips, p. 179. "The exploit of Dikaios revived the drooping courage of the Greeks; and when Kolokotrones, raised from his prison to the supreme command, took the field, he made his dispositions with a certain confidence."
- Finlay, George. History of the Greek Revolution. Blackwood and Sons, 1861 (Harvard University).
- Phillips, Walter Alison. The War of Greek Independence, 1821 to 1833. Smith, Elder and Company, 1897 (University of Michigan).