See what happened when Ibrahim found 2,000 Manias

The battle at Polyarabos that ended on August 28, 1826 marked the end of Ibrahim’s hopes of capturing Mani.

And this is because at Polyarabos and after his defeat, the Egyptian General understood that if he continued the campaign in Mani, his army would be destroyed. He returned to Tripolitsa while at the same time the Maniates with their triumph had (again) boosted the morale of the fighting Greeks.

It all started at the end of May 1826 when Ibrahim, under the pretext that the candidate of Mani, Giorgakis Mavromichalis, did not keep an agreement, threatened that if the Maniates did not declare submission then he would destroy the area.

Of course the Maniates rejected his proposal. The Egyptian pasha made the decision to campaign against the unruly region and in mid-August he gathered his army in the passes leading from Mystras to Mani.

Petrobeis Mavromichalis and other generals saw the movements of the Egyptian general and began to mobilize and incite the Greeks.

Ibrahim prepared to advance towards Polyarabos but 2 thousand Maniat warriors were already waiting for them.

Initially of the 12 thousand soldiers that Ibrahim had, he sent three thousand as a vanguard to open the way. they met great resistance from the Stathakos family who, ensconced in their tower in Desfina, significantly delayed the advance, giving time to the Greeks who began to gather in Polyarabos to understand Ibrahim’s intentions and take defensive positions.

The Greeks in the first defensive line that they created at the place of Prophet Elias of Polyaravus, easily pushed back the Arabs who were sent as scouts. They killed all but two of them who, returning to the main body, described the situation

Ibrahim ordered an all-out attack but still failed in the slightest. He called for more troops to attack but again the attacks were met with success.

The Egyptian troops remained in place ready to attack again with the charama. But when darkness fell, the Greek commanders consulted among themselves and withdrew to the second line of defense without the Arabs noticing them.

By chance the enemies found that the Greeks were encamped in another place, higher up.

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Before Ibrahim’s surprise at his change of plans he ordered a battalion to march in a circle to Polyarabos while attempting an all-out assault on the second line of defense.

But there the Greeks were waiting for him, who decimated them by hitting them from three sides at the same time. The Arabs in a distraction started to fire their cannons against the positions of the Greeks but due to the great slope of the ground and the difficulty of moving the wheels on the irregularity of the ground they did not achieve much.

But the worst thing was that Ibrahim’s army was fighting without cover while the Manias were in an advantageous position.

In a new attempt, he ordered a deceptive frontal attack against the defenders at the position of Derven Fourka, while he and the rest of his force marched in a circle towards Lakka Stefanakou through the Stenodiavata road and the Pera Kampou semi-road to get to the rear of the Greek defenders.

He had given the order, as soon as he got there, to intensify the frontal attack of the others and to attack simultaneously and vigorously against the defenders.

Although the plan was very clever, the coordination did not succeed because the body that attacked frontally was delayed by the resistance of the defenders and night fell.

So the coordinated and simultaneous attack, frontal and flanking of the enemy units against the defenders finally did not happen.

The Greeks, watching Ibrahim’s movements, abandoned the second line of defense at night and camped in the village.

With the advantage of their new defensive position and morale very high in contrast to the Arabs who were very tired, thirsty and with very low morale, the third day of the war dawned.

With Ibrahim having raised his entire army to Polyarabos and determined to disentangle himself in order to march forward and divide Mani in two.

At the same time the Greeks were constantly reinforced by fighters arriving from all parts of Laconia and the surrounding areas. At 8 a.m. on the 3rd day, Ibrahim ordered a frontal and flank attack and with the artillery to launch from the Lakka of Stefanakos.

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At 11 o’clock the Arabs came within shooting distance of the Greeks and began to fire, while at 2 o’clock they were pinned down by the constant firing of the defenders.

When the Greeks saw that the Arabs were in this condition and very tired, they came out of their drums and attacked them with shouts forcing them to retreat chasing them to the first defensive position near the Prophet Elias, outside the village.

A certain battalion attempting a flanking attack from the mountains, as soon as they learned that the rest were pursued, also broke up, fleeing in different directions to save themselves. A few isolated incursions made into the village and especially towards the spring for water were dealt with without problem.

At Polyarabos, Ibrahim, a powerful figure of his time, suffered another great humiliating defeat at the hands of the Maniates during the three-day battle. Disgraced and defeated, he gathered his troops, assessed the situation and decided to retreat.

It was the triumph (yet another) of the unenslaved Mani that saved the Greek Revolution, humiliated Ibrahim and a golden page was written in Polyarabos for the coming independence.

However, it is worth mentioning one more episode during the battle of Polyaravos which concerns the near assassination of Ibrahim.

This story goes like this:

During the operations against the Greeks, an assassination attempt was made against Ibrahim himself. Five daring young people from Skyfianika decided to kill him to rid Mani and all of Greece once and for all.

For this purpose, they left the village and crawled through uneven and steep ravines to the nearby mountain where Ibrahim was stationed with his staff, who was surrounded by many officers and staff.

Unseen, one of them carefully marked one, who, however, was an officer and not Ibrahim himself, as he was deceived by the plumed costume he was wearing and killed him.

In the panic of the murder, the five young men ran away, but unfortunately Ibrahim was spared, but he was very frightened and had to leave his observation post.

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