View Full Version : The Greek Presidential Guard

02-26-2007, 06:05 AM

The Presidential Guard (Evzones) has a history which stretches over more than a century. It was founded on 12 December 1868 as a combatant and at the same time ceremonial force. Gradually its role became solely ceremonial, as can be seen by its changing names: The Palace Guard, the Flag Guard, the Guard of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier*, the Royal Guard and finally, since 1974 and the restoration of democracy, the Presidential Guard.
The barracks where the Presidential Guard is based has been in the same place since the force was founded. It is situated close to the present Presidential Mansion (formerly the Palace) on Herod Atticus st. and is called after the chieftain and hero of the Revolution of 1821, George Tzavellas (George Tzavellas Camp).
From 1909-1946, the eight or nine Evzone battalions operated independently on the vanguard or the flanks of the army and distinguished themselves for their fighting spirit, but suffered high casualties, especially among officers. The Evzone units, totalled at their height five regiments: 1st Evzone Rgt/former 38th Infantry Rgt, 2/39, 3/40, 4/41, 5/42 Evzone Regiment.
Mounted Evzones of the 5/42 Evzone Regiment. This unit was the only Evzone Regiment that organized, cavalry section. These mounted Evzones fought as dismounted cavalry, like the 17th century dragoons

Today the Presidential Guard has the following duties:

-the deployment of a guard of honour on a round-the-clock basis at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, at the Presidential Mansion and at the gate of the barracks

-the official raising and lowering of the flag on the Sacred Rock of the Acropolis

-serving as guard of honour to the President of the Republic and to the leaders of foreign countries

-serving as guard of honour to the ambassadors of foreign countries while they present their credentials to the President of the Republic.

The Evzone uniform

The uniform of the Evzones has a long history, which begins with the warriors (euzones) at the time of Homer and culminates in the "phoustanella" and "tsaroukhi" at the time of the Turkish Occupation. From 1821 onwards the Evzone uniform was established as the official Greek national costume.

The making of the Evzone uniform is not a simple procedure. It requires knowledge and experience on the part of the makers, as well as a great deal of time and expense. The uniforms are completely hand-made. There are two types of uniform: that of the officer and that of the private and each has a summer and a winter version.

The main parts of the Evzone uniform are:

-The pharion, a scarlet garrison cap with a long black tassel, similar to the Ottoman fez. However, it is totally inapropriate, and not allowed, to anyone in the guard to call it a fez

-The shirt (ypodetes), white with very wide sleeves
-The waistcoat (phermeli), hand embroidered with great skill. Various designs of great traditional and folklore importance are embroidered on the waistcoat in white or gilt thread

-The kilt (phoustanella), made from 30 metres/98 feet of white material, with 400 pleats, representing the 400 years of the Turkish occupation
-Τhe breeches (periskelis), the long red trousers for the officers and the white woollen stockings for the Euzones
-The cartridge belt
-The garters (epiknemis), black for the Euzones and blue for the officers
-The gaiters (touzloukia), the red boots (stivalia) and the 1821 sabre of the officers, and the inside garter (anaspastos), which holds the stockings in position, the fringe (krossia, blue and white coloured braids, the colours of the Greek flag)

and the "tsaroukhia", the traditional shoes of the Euzones

The tsaroukhia are completely hand-made from hard red leather and each sole has 60 nails. Each pair weighs about three kilos/7 lbs. The toe of the shoe turns up in a point which is covered by a black pompom.
The uniform described above is the official uniform of the evzones of the Presidential Guard, worn on special occasions. The daily evzone uniform is one-piece, dark blue for winter, desert khaki for the summer. This uniform is called Doulamas
Winter Doulamas

Summer Doulamas

From the left: Cretan Uniform, Winter Doulamas, Ceremony Uniform, Summer Doulamas, Pontian Uniform

*The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

In 1925 Greece decided to build a Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, an idea which had first been proposed and implemented by the French after the end of the First World War.
In 1926 a panhellenic competition was announced for a design for a Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It was to be built in front of the main entrance of the Parliament building, facing Constitution Square.
On 9 October 1926 the Ministry for the Military with ordinance number 219188 awarded the prize to the architect Emmanuel Lazarides . However the decision to erect the tomb in the afore-mentioned place was delayed as it met with many objections and differing opinions. A new committee was formed in June of 1928 and the Cabinet accepted its proposals. In April 1929 work began and the monument was completed on March of 1932 . Its inauguration took place at the time of the National Holiday (March 25th) of the same year
The tomb for the unknown soldier depicts a carved or anastatic figure of a fallen ancient Greek hoplite. The names of all places where Greek soldiers have died, are engraved on the wall. On the left side of the tomb is written: "One empty bier decked for the missing". On the right side of the tomb is written: "Heroes have the whole earth for their tomb". Both are taken from Pericles' Funeral Oration).
The Tomb contains the remains of unknown Greek soldiers from the Balkan Wars.

02-26-2007, 06:08 AM
The Mylonas Rifle , usually referred as the M1872 Greek Mylonas was a Greek-designed falling block black powder rifle It was designed and developed in 1872 by Greek Artillery Major Eustathios Mylonas . The 11 mm caliber rifle was a modification of the M1870 Belgian Comblain but with a larger protruding hammer and uniquely styled actuating lever. It was adopted by the Greek Army and, as there was no facility in the country able to produce quantities with the required rate, its construction was ordered to Emile et Leon Nagant of Liege, Belgium . Thus, only the prototype was built in Greece. The Mylonas was shortly replaced by the M1874 French Gras rifle . The Mylonas rifle was used during the Thessaly campaign of 1878 and as a reserve in later conflicts, while some equipped police units. Due to its early replacement, a total of only approximately 8,500 were built


02-26-2007, 07:09 AM
What's with the fluffy boots?

02-26-2007, 06:44 PM
Hemlines are getting shorter as the years progress.

Excuse my ignorance, what is the name of the 'skirt' and what part of Greece is its origin? Is it traditional folk wear like the "Kilt"? or only associated with the military?

02-27-2007, 07:01 AM
Excuse my ignorance, what is the name of the 'skirt' and what part of Greece is its origin? Is it traditional folk wear like the "Kilt"? or only associated with the military?

The name of the 'skirt' is Phoustanella & yes, it is a traditional folk wear worn almost everywhere in mainland Greece (except the islands):




Central Greece (Roumeli)



For more information: Greek Traditional Costumes (in English) (http://www.endymasies.gr/en/costumes.htm)

03-01-2007, 08:33 PM
as you scroll down teh pics, you can see the puffy things on the boots get larger and larger rofl........shouldve nipped it in the bud LONG ways back

03-02-2007, 02:15 AM
I had heard that the Phoustanella originated from the ancient Greeks. The ancients wore the same except with metal *****s.

08-04-2009, 04:00 AM
Thanks very much for those. Greeks down, Japanese, Russians and Italians to go (I hope!)

08-10-2009, 05:52 PM
great post.

08-10-2009, 07:52 PM
No disrespect, but I can't get over the pom-poms on the shoes. What's the origin of those?

08-11-2009, 09:52 AM
No disrespect, but I can't get over the pom-poms on the shoes. What's the origin of those?

i don't know the origin of the pom-poms but i know that there was often an iron tip hiding under them to kick ass. p-)

Also is known that under the foustanela skirt they were hiding weapons.

Man ,wait a minute to scratch my balls (and suddenly boom:))

08-11-2009, 01:30 PM
No disrespect, but I can't get over the pom-poms on the shoes. What's the origin of those?

During our war of independence (1821-1829), the tsaroukhia boots was the most reliable footgear to scramble up the rocks of the harsh terrain of the Greek mountains. The pom-poms (as Diogenes correctly put it) was used to hide the iron tip (usually made of steel) of the boot but it had its practical use too: the pom-poms were useful to remove mud or dirt from the 60-nail sole of the boot.