HUGHES, Thomas Smart. Travels in Sicily Greece and Albania… Illustrated with engravings of maps scenery plans…, vols I-II, London, J. Mawman, 1820.


Reverend Thomas Smart Hughes (1786-1847) was an excellent classical scholar and theologian, who had graduated from Cambridge. He only travelled to the East once, as tutor to R.T. Parker. The two travellers arrived on Zacynthos in 1812 and from there journeyed to Patras. They visited a number of archaeological sites and towns in the Peloponnese. Later on, while in Athens, they took a lively interest in cultural life and education.

In 1814 Hughes travelled to Ioannina in the company of R. Cockerell. He gives a detailed description of the mansion of their host Nicolos Argyris (Vrettos), where both Lord Byron and Hobhouse had stayed four years earlier. They were received by the local notables and Ali Pasha himself (Hughes describes his first audience with the vizir with vivid emotion). He sketches Ali Pasha’s personality by making shrewd observations. At the same time, he is very judicious as to the situation in “the satrap’s land”, in particular religious beliefs and education.

Hughes had first-hand knowledge of the dramatic events of Parga and attempts to record them objectively. A fervent philhellene, he was later very active in supporting the Greek Revolution, in London, and published various pamphlets on the subject in the following years. His book, which circulated in 1820, is written with sensitivity, without prejudice and describes people and events in detail. It is considered a major travel chronicle of the time of Ali Pasha.

Written by Ioli Vingopoulou

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