(both: Ĭp&180;sĬlăn´tē) or Hypsilanti , prominent Greek family of
Phanariots (see under Phanar ). An early distinguished member,
Alexander Ypsilanti, c.1725-c.1807, was dragoman (minister) of the
Ottoman emperor and hospodar (governor) of Walachia (1774-82,
1796-97) and of Moldavia (1786-88). Captured (1790) by the
Austrians in the Russo-Turkish War of 1787-92, he was imprisoned for
two years in the Spielberg at Brno (Brünn). He was executed by the
sultan for alleged involvement in the 1807 conspiracy. His son,
Constantine Ypsilanti, 1760-1816, was hospodar of Moldavia (1799-
1801) and became hospodar of Walachia in 1802. He was deposed in
1806 for his pro-Russian sympathies, but he was restored (1807) to
the government of Walachia by the Russians, who had occupied that
principality in their war with Turkey. Constantine Ypsilanti encouraged
the anti-Turkish rebellion in Serbia and was raising an army to free
Greece when the Treaty of Tilsit (1807) between Russia and France
cut short his plans. He took refuge in Russia, where he died. His elder
son, Alexander Ypsilanti, 1792-1828, accompanied his father into exile
and became a general in the Russian army. He accepted the
leadership of the Philike Hetairia, a secret organization that sought
Greek independence and raised (Feb., 1821) a revolt at Jassy (now
Iaşi), the capital of Moldavia, proclaiming the independence of Greece.
The Phanariot hospodar of Moldavia and the Greeks in Walachia and
Moldavia rallied to him, but the Romanian population, which had
suffered long enough under Phanariot rule, refused to support the
movement. Russia, on the pressure of the Austrian foreign minister,
Prince von Metternich, disavowed Ypsilanti, who was disastrously
defeated by the Turks. He sought asylum in Austria, but was
imprisoned there until 1827. He died at Vienna. Ypsilanti's uprising
marked the end of the rule of Moldavia and Walachia by Greek
hospodars, who were replaced by native Romanian princes. At the
same time it helped stimulate the Greek rebellion in the Peloponnesus
a month later, and it thus marked the beginning of the Greek War of
Independence. Alexander's younger brother, Demetrios Ypsilanti,
1793-1832, was to play a prominent role in that war. Like his brother,
he had served in the Russian army, and took part in Alexander
Ypsilanti's uprising at Jassy in 1821. In the same year he left Moldavia
for Morea, as the Peloponnesus was then called, and helped the
insurgent Greeks in the capture (1821) of Trípolis (then called
Tripolitza), the chief Turkish fortress in Morea. He stubbornly resisted
the forces of Ibrahim Pasha in 1825, and in 1828 was made
commander of the Greek forces in E Greece. His differences with the
Greek president, Count Capo d'Istria, led to his resignation in 1830.