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March 22, 2023

Greek Soldiers of the Evzones Dressing, Captured by Alfred Eisenstaedt in 1935

The Evzones or Evzonoi were several historical elite light infantry and mountain units of the Greek Army. Today, they are the members of the Presidential Guard, a ceremonial unit that guards the Greek Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Presidential Mansion in Athens. An Evzone is also known, colloquially, as a Tsoliás.

Evzones are known for their distinctive uniform, which evolved from the clothes worn by the klephts who fought the Ottoman occupation of Greece. The most visible item of this uniform is the fustanella, a kilt-like garment. Their distinctive dress turned them into a popular image for the Greek soldier, especially among foreigners.

During the remainder of the 19th century, the dress of the separate line battalions of Evzones appears to have differed slightly in detail between units. After a few minor changes over the years, it became the familiar uniform seen worn today by the Presidential Guard. In 1910 a new field service uniform was adopted, substituting a khaki farion cap and khaki doulama jacket for the respectively red and dark blue garments previously worn. The long white woolen hose and turned-up tsarouchia shoes were still retained, although sometimes replaced on campaign by the standard khaki trousers and leather boots of the line infantry. The khaki and off-white field uniform of 1910 was still being worn during the Greek-Italian War of 1940-41, although without the red collar piping and shoulder straps of the earlier uniform. The traditional black fez tassel, and large pompoms on the footwear, were usually removed before battle.


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