Andreas Moustoxidis was one of the most important figures in Ionian scholarship. From a noble Corfiot family, he was a close friend and colleague of Ioannis Capodistrias.
He studied in Italy, as did many young people from the Ionian ruling class. He returned to Corfu in 1805, having finished Law. He took a position as teacher of ‘Italian, Latin and Writing’ in the school at Tenedos, the first school for state employees, which had been founded that year by Septinsular Republic law.
The dissolution of the Septinsular Republic and the entry of the islands into firstly, the French Empire (1807-1814) and then British rule (1815) changed his plans, as was the case for many young people who were forced to leave Corfu. He sought work in the Russian Embassy in Turin, which is where he found himself when the Greek Revolution broke out (1821).
Through his writing, Moustoxidis played an important role in informing European scholars about the course of the revolution. Through his letters and articles, he propagandised the Greek Revolution abroad.
In 1828, he followed Capodistrias to liberated Greece, actively participating in the founding of the new state. He organised the administration of the orphanage in Aegina, oversaw the setting up of the National Press, and the Central School and became the first director of the National Library, which was founded in 1829. He was greatly concerned about securing the ancient Greek wealth of the country and, thanks to his efforts, the first ancient artefacts were gathered that would become the core of the collection of the Archaeological Museum, the first museum in the country.
He was deeply shaken by the murder of Capodistrias, as can be seen from a letter he wrote to his friend Typaldos: ‘The sad news, Emilo, will have already reached you. You can understand my hopelessness. For the last twelve days, I have lived on only pain and tears. My dreams were blackened and cut short, there is an unbearable weight on my heart, my eyes grow dim. The loss is serious and irreparable: peace and order had almost been restored when murderous hands destroyed a life our wishes and holy mercy should have extended beyond the usual natural limits’. His work was also cut short by the murder. In 1833, he returned to Corfu, where he was elected as a representative (member of parliament) and then as a senator of the Ionian Parliament. His concern for educational matters led him to undertake the duty of organising and supervising public education.
Despite his studies in law, he became famous for his history books, particularly those regarding the history of Corfu. Between 1843 and 1853, he published the periodical Hellenomnemon. He died in Corfu in 1860, and was buried at Platytera Monastery, near to the monument to Capodistrias.
‘I intend to write a history of our wonderous and brave revolution…’
Education for the young was a lifelong concern for both Ioannis Capodistrias and his friend and colleague Andreas Moustoxidis. From the time of the Septinsular Republic, the two men were occupied by matters of education, each from his own position. However, later, when they both returned to Europe, they discussed the importance of an education for a new generation of Greeks and new teaching methods that were already employed in countries such as France and Switzerland.
However, the Greek Revolution would create more pressing needs as regarded the care of children and youths. In a letter written in 1827 from Berlin, Ioannis Capodistrias asked Andreas Moustoxidis to take care of the orphaned Greek children in Venice. He asked him to draw up a list of the orphans who, due to the revolution, had ended up on the shores of Italy, including names, home, age, level of education and behaviour and to bring it to him in person or to send it to Paris.
That same year would find him in the Flagginio School in Venice, as superintendent together with the distinguished Emilios Typaldos and Konstantinos Kavakos. There, he would connect with the great scholar Bartholomeos Koutloumousianos. He took steps for the reconstitution of the Flagginio Library at the school, providing for the education of the new generation of Greeks.
Ioannis Capodistrias recognised Andreas Moustoxidis’ possibilities and trusted him to take on an important role in founding the newly formed Greek state. Accepting the Governor’s invitation, he came to Greece in 1828 and participated in, amongst other things, the organisation of public education, the committee supervising the orphanage in Aegina, and the Ephorate of the Central School. He also served as the first director of the National Library, which was founded in 1829.