Mapping the Megali IdeaSKU: 9609
Mapping the Megali Idea
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This map was first published by Stanford’s in 1918, and remained topical enough to be reprinted for British periodical ‘The Sphere’ the following year.
Soteriadis produced his map in the year that Allied victory – with Greece on the winning side – seemed to promise greater realisation of the Megali Idea, which included the expansion of Greece into the remaining areas of the Ottoman Empire which remained predominantly ethnically Greek. The Treaty of Sèvres, signed in 1920, granted Eastern Thrace and the hinterland of Smyrna to Greece on the basis of comparable ethnographic data to that employed on our map.
'Greater Greece' was briefly an internationally recognised reality. However, the break-up of Asia Minor sparked a revolution in Turkey, and the ensuing Greco-Turkish War – accompanied by ethnic cleansing and population exchange – changed the map swiftly, brutally and irrevocably.
Supporters of 'Greater Greece' had ambitions beyond the Ottoman Empire. The map shows two boundaries for Albania: the pre WW1 'Florence Line' and the boundary at the end of the war, by which time the Greek army had taken control of 'Northern Epirus', which had a large Greek population. Northern Epirus reverted to Albania, but Western Thrace – labelled by Soteriadis as 'in Bulgarian occupation' – was also ceded to Greece in 1920, and remains part of the modern state.
British policy was broadly pro-Greek, although when the 1922 Chanak Crisis threatened the flare up into open war, it became apparent that there was little appetite among the Allies for a resumption of hostilities with Turkey.
Condition & Materials
Lithographed map, 70.5 x 55.5 cm, printed in colours, old folds, blank verso.