The first revolutionary plans and movements that appeared in Macedonia and southern Greece during the 16th and 17th centuries were usually connected with the wars fought by Europeans (Italians, Spaniards and Austrians) against the Turks and with the initiative of high ranking clerics in Macedonian cities.
At the same time, however, sporadic uprisings among both the farming community and the clefts and armatoles (1564-1565, circa 1610) did occur. In the 18th century the decline of central authority, the rise in banditry by Turkish Albanians, and increased taxation, but especially the Russo-Turkish Wars (1768-1774, 1787-1792), exacerbated the Christians' discontent, opposition and ambitions.
The death of Thymios Vlachavas
Engraving, 1808 AD
During the uprisings, certain armatole and cleft leaders from Mount Olympos, such as Yero-Ziakas, Panos Zindros, Yero-Vlachavas and Yero-Lazos, earned a name for themselves. Later (1806-1808), the chieftains Thymios Vlachavas and Nikotsaras played leading roles in the last uprisings before the Revolution and have been immortalized in folk poetry.