In a recent post, the Zaharakis/Zacharakis Family of Theologos, I mentioned that the earliest member of this family that I could find was Ioannis, born approximately 1798 in Theologos.
Ioannis is found on line 236 of the 1844 Election List for Theologos, where he is listed as being age 46.
I was thrilled when my friend, Giannis Michalakakos, sent me documentation that cites Ioannis as being the recipient of an Aristeia for his military service in the 1821 Revolution. Aristeia comes from the word άριστος (aristos) which is defined as “excellent.” In Greek warfare, an aristeia (αριστείο) is an award of great prestige and distinction. It is earned by a soldier for his exemplary actions in battle. In the eyes of his comrades, he is a hero and is recognized as such.
This is a copy of the Application of Ioannis for an Aristeia:
Document #261 – Application dated 1839
The request and application of Ioannis Zaharakis for certification of military service. The request was made to the Royal Secretary of Lacedaimon under the existing law 3028, to receive medals and certifications. I am making use of this law and I submit my certification for the Aristeia.
This document #266 contains the signature of Ioannis at the bottom.
Document #309 – Certificate, dated 1839
The man that is holding this paper certifies that Ioannis Zaharakis of Theologos of Sellasia, in the beginning of the war, with his fellow villagers, willingly fought under orders of my brother, the captain (Georgios Giatrakos).In the start of the revolution with other people of the government of Greece, Ioannis Karakasou or Kastasou; he participated in many battles: Valtetsi, Doliana, the siege of Tripoli, the city of Naplion, city of Argos, city of New Kastorio Pylos during the invasion…. We certify and give this certification to Ioannis Zaharakis for any use. Date: Aug 4, 1840 in Mystra.
Signed by: George Giatrakos; Nikos Giatrakos; Dimitri Nikolopoulos; Ioannis Matalas; Georgios Sklavahoritis (possibly); last signature is the mayor of the area, unintelligible. (Link to document online at website of General State Archives of Greece: http://arxeiomnimon.gak.gr/search/resource.html?tab=tab02&id=561094)
I am always excited to find any document for any member of my family — it is a clue to who they are, where they were, and what they did.
Knowing that Ioannis received an Aristeia brings me a profound feeling of both joy and pride. His blood runs in my veins which makes me the descendant of a hero!