Petrobey Mavromichalis, leader of the Spartan forces in the war of independence
One of the famous Greek revolutionaries stands in Aeriopoli square. Petrobey Mavromichalis is credited with uniting the Mani clans and leading the Spartan forces through the war. Mavromichalis' home was in Lemeni, very close to my great Great grandfathers home in Kelfa. . Even during the Ottoman rule, the Mani had remained autonomous and free from the Turkish/Ottoman rule (which lasted almost 400 years). The Turks stayed out of the Mani after several years of trying to bring control to the wild region. The Maniotes were fierce fighters and kept the Turks from ever establishing a stronghold. Since Mani was not living under strict repression of the Turks their region was wild with bandits and militaristic captains who gained power from military might. The Maniotes joined together, however, when it came to defending their land from Turkish intrusion. They felt very strongly about protecting their privileges they had fought so hard to achieve.