In the last few decades many studies have underlined the role of philhellenism in shaping the Risorgimento as a transnational movement. But philhellenism also had a significant impact in embodying the pre-unification Italian state in a new imaginative framework, marked by the binary oppositions of civilized/barbarian, liberal/despotic and north/south. This article analyses the influence of philhellenism in shaping the imagery of the Kingdom of Sardinia in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and the role played by this local imagery in promoting opposing patriotisms within the national political sphere in the years leading up to the unification of Italy. Cavour’s moderate party stressed the positive impact of the Piedmontese domination over the island of Sardinia in order to underline Piedmont's image as a force of modernization of a land strongly marked by feudal despotism and pastoral violence. By contrast, Mazzini and the democrats also deployed a philhellenic narrative scheme to explain the backwardness of Sardinia with reference to the despotic and ‘oriental’ character of the Piedmontese domination in an attempt to encourage opposition to unification under the leadership of the subalpine government.

The Greek Mirror. Philhellenism and Southern Italian Patriotisms (1750-1861)

Salice, Giampaolo
2015

Abstract

In the last few decades many studies have underlined the role of philhellenism in shaping the Risorgimento as a transnational movement. But philhellenism also had a significant impact in embodying the pre-unification Italian state in a new imaginative framework, marked by the binary oppositions of civilized/barbarian, liberal/despotic and north/south. This article analyses the influence of philhellenism in shaping the imagery of the Kingdom of Sardinia in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and the role played by this local imagery in promoting opposing patriotisms within the national political sphere in the years leading up to the unification of Italy. Cavour’s moderate party stressed the positive impact of the Piedmontese domination over the island of Sardinia in order to underline Piedmont's image as a force of modernization of a land strongly marked by feudal despotism and pastoral violence. By contrast, Mazzini and the democrats also deployed a philhellenic narrative scheme to explain the backwardness of Sardinia with reference to the despotic and ‘oriental’ character of the Piedmontese domination in an attempt to encourage opposition to unification under the leadership of the subalpine government.
Philhellenism; Risorgimento; patriotism; Greek diaspora; Kingdom of Sardinia; Italy
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11584/143352
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