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Voyage de la Grèce

Book cover of Voyage de la Grèce
Title page of Voyage de la Grèce

Voyage de la Grèce is one of the most famous cultural touring books of the 19th century featuring Greece. Its French author, François Pouqueville, was seen more as an historian rather than a traveller by the Greek people. He formed strong ties with Greece and was honoured by King Otto with the cross of the Order of the Redeemer.

External appearance

Voyage de la Grèce (Voyage in Greece) by F.C.H.L. Pouqueville is 12 cm (width) x 19 cm (height). It has 418 pages and consists of 5 volumes.


The 5-volume book Voyage de la Grèce describes Greece at the time, and the manners and customs of its people. The opus was considered fundamental in terms of the formation of the modern Greek state. It became a very well-known cultural touring book of the 19th century, featuring Greece.

A French man with close ties to Greece

François Charles Hugues Laurent Pouqueville (1770-1838) was a French doctor, traveller, diplomat, historian, writer and scholar. In Greece he was seen more as an historian rather than a traveller.

He formed strong ties with Greece and was honoured by King Otto with the cross of the Order of the Redeemer. His tombstone is inscribed with the phrase: “With his writings he played a big part in returning to the oppressed Greeks their ancient nationality.”

A prisoner of the Ottomans

The ties between Pouqueville and Greece began to form during the Franco-Turkish war, when he served as a doctor in one of Napoleon's campaigns in Egypt. On his return to France, he was captured by Algerian pirates near Calabria. From there he was taken to Tripolitsa, where he was detained for around 10 months.

During his capture, Pouqueville provided excellent medical services to the governor of the Morea, Mustafa Pasha. In 1798 Mustafa Pasha, at the order of the Sultan, sent him to the Yedi Kule prison in Istanbul. Pouqueville stayed there for 2 years, until 1801.

During his imprisonment, he started learning Greek and:

  • Composed lyrics inspired by his love for the Ottoman-conquered Greece.
  • Recorded his memories and impressions of the Peloponnese.
  • Translated Ancient Greek writers.

A consul at Ioannina

Once released, Pouqueville returned to Paris, where he started working on and publishing his 1st major opus, Voyage en Morée, à Constantinople, en Albanie, et dans plusieurs autres parties de l'Empire Ottoman, 1798-1801 (Voyage to Morea, Constantinople, Albania, and in many other parts of the Ottoman Empire, 1798-1801). The book was published in 1805 and was met with success. It was translated into Greek by Greek Enlightenment scholar and poet Georgios Sakellarios.

Right after this publication, Napoleon appointed Pouqueville as a Consul General in Ioannina. Pouqueville stayed there from 1805 to 1815, forming a close relationship with Ali Pasha. He then returned to France and wrote Voyage de la Grèce.

He subsequently published other books and many political articles on Greece and the Greeks.

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