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Author: Athena Minerva
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He is one of those people that Wikipedia has deemed only important enough to have an article in Greek and not in English. There is also practically nothing online about him. His son Spiridon Zampelios suffers the same fate for some unknown reason.
Yet, dig a little deeper and you find that both father and son were involved in deep linguistical debates about the use of language in prose and life. Which is why he is important enough to have his life discussed here in the above photo talking about the impact his poetry and songs have had on the theatre back in 1818. Its not the kind of thing that the average Wikipedia reader or editor is interested in. Hence the absence of data.
He is famous enough in Lefkás to have not only a street but also a square with a statue of himself named after him in Lefkás town. There is also a sign for his house but I’m yet to find it as directions are hard to come by and it’s non existent on the world’s worst tourist map as it’s so incomplete. It’s free so I can’t complain that much.
This is a picture that is on the stairs going up to the first floor of the building that houses the National Library and Post Byzantine collection of art showcasing how traditional Lefkadian art is different from most other western art because of the Heptanese (7 Ionian islands) style. He is among all of the other famous Lefkadians like Angelos Sikelianos, Lefkáda Hearn, Aristotle Valaoritis who I have already written about at length and lots of others which I will feature but they may have to be mini posts. They is only so many times one can update a post due to new information.
This is the eleventh post in the series of Greek but mainly Lefkádian writers and poets which includes a bonus post from Sententiae Antiquae on Sappho.
It’s a strange thing that I’m writing this post but the thoughts will not stop and refuse all efforts to wait until morning so here goes.
I’m now approaching the awkward teenage phase in my life according to my progress in Greek. It was bad enough doing this the first time around in English and now I have to do it again for Greek?!?!?
It’s excruciatingly painful trying to have meaningful conversation that lasts any longer than γιασυς hi, το κάνε η πος εις how are you, καλά I’m good. Tonight I couldn’t even understand τι νέο what’s new as although I’m used to hearing the person speak English and they are Greek, I’m not used to hearing them speak Greek to me even though they obviously have to for their job and I don’t pay any attention when that happens. “(In fact that’s what another friend says, this one said που πάμε where are you going/have you been?)”
As an aside I sadly can replicate there English voice in my head and have used it to have many conversations with them over the years. I know I’m weird.
I always wondered when I went back to my parents how they had to tune in to how I spoke each time like how could they forget? I wasn’t accounting for my own voice changing which it does frequently. I’ve also been told off for speaking incorrectly but in order to get a new language you have to speak incorrectly as new abilities just don’t turn up out of nowhere.
As a second aside I was never allowed to display any autistic tendencies growing up hence I can do accents better now but there still pretty inauthentic. It’s probably why my diagnosis was so late. I learned to fake it too well.
So now I can have to continue past shop keeper dialogue and basic questions into conversation land. This is a very scary place.
Hopefully this is right what my brain came up with. Ψεματα, πάντα γλυκά λίγο ψεματα “I forget this bit” στόμα σου. Lies, always sweet little lies that come out of your mouth. Σου έχει α γλυκά γλώσσα. You have a honeyed tongue. Actually it’s not but it’s also not nice to be so nasty even though I do get pissed off at the 2 of them; they mean well and there only trying to help.
Other phrases I have thought of later are θέλω ένα παπούτσια γιά μενα τριάντα έξι παρακαλώ after leaving the shoe shop “I want some shoes size thirty six please.” I don’t think that’s entirely correct either.
The ones which got aborted as they got busy were about my latest dinner with friends as I tried twice, once to invite another to that meal and second to say to someone what happened. There too lengthy to put here. At least this is calming and peaceful that someone now knows my latest language struggles.
Nicopolis means Victory City in Greek and it is what Octavian built after taking part in battles in the nearby area. It is now in ruins but they are extensive. It must have been a fabulous city in its heyday. It housed a significant portion of the population of Lefkás as well as being the major city for trade, administration and religion in the surrounding vicinity. You can find details about the building of the city in the Archeological museum In Lefkás Town.
The city dominated until the middle age when the current city of Preveza starts to become prominent. Nikopolis then becomes known as Old Preveza. There is museum on the site dedicated to the finds found in previous archeological excavations.
This is the most well known historical site in the region as its power was immense and stretched out for approximately a thousand years. The Wikipedia article on Nikopolis is quite lengthy and you get articles in travel magazines from as far afield as Crete documenting the importance of this to the locality.
I will write again about this once I have actually visited as I plan to do soon with hopefully lots of pictures. I just thought this was important enough to write about twice.
There has been a temple to a deity of some kind for a long time. In the days of Sappho, it was Aphrodite trying to escape the rapturous attention of a mortal with the assistance of Apollo but the temple has long gone to be replaced by the chapel that is now there. If you wish to find out about that time visit Archeological museum In Lefkás Town.
The thing about Lefkás is you can’t learn a lot online, books are better but to get an actual feel for these things, you have to see them for yourself. It’s a very Lefkádian thing as they don’t really do social media even for business purposes so if you want to communicate anything you have to see them. There old fashioned and traditional which is unusual in this modern world but also kind of nice.
From the lighthouse on the promontory called Cape Dukatos or Lefkás depending on the era in question, you can see a fabulous sunset, take beautiful pictures and enjoy the view of neighbouring Ithaka and Cephalonia.
Is there any groups of famous people in your country?
This is a very interesting place to visit if your interested in the prehistory of Lefkás. It also covers the findings of the excavations of Wilhelm Dörpfeld even better than the Fagotto book that I mentioned previously Wilhelm Dörpfeld.
In this museum it goes into detail about the ancient and goddesses (Apollo etc) that were worshipped on the island and how Lefkás became associated with Sappho and unrequited love. It explains the temple that was once there and how the inhabitants worshipped female deities.
In another room it details the lengths that they went to in order to honour their dead. It contains grave goods and headstones along with descriptions of the different styles of graves.
In the main room it contains information about the basics of Greek life like bread, wine, oil, fishing, weaving, music, houses and coinage (trade). It also includes interesting language facts and all sorts of other things that you can’t find out anywhere else.
In the last room it houses all the finds from the Dörpfeld excavations along with an examination of the time period that they relate too.
It takes the average person less than an hour but I spent an hr and a half because I read everything in sight. It also costs €2, is closed on Tuesdays and you can’t take the leaflet away.
I know I’m making this sound so dull but I was fascinated by the content. It gave me a lot of insight into why Lefkás had a lot of settlements and activity for a vast period up until the Roman period. After the building of Nikopolis which I will talk more on after I have been, the decline was evident especially when the battle of Actium happened. This was a famous sea battle between Cleopatra and the Roman Empire.
After that Lefkás disappears from history for approx 800 years. It’s only when the Venetians turn up that things start happening again but that’s beyond the scope of the museum.
You know your famous when not only do you have a statue of yourself but there is a street carrying your name as there is both of these requirements in Lefkás town dedicated to the above gentleman. He also has an entire library named after him but I’m yet to find as signage is very poor here.
However due to the fact that he followed Marxist ideology it is quite difficult to find out anything about him. Once again censorship is taking place but in a rather subtle way so its only later on in history after they have died that you realise this. The fact the information about him is on the side of this rather odd statue and it’s facing away from the direction of footfall is quite telling.
He was a byzantinologist or in other words a man who studied the Byzantine era. He is an internationally respected historian of our modern era. Once again he is a guy you would never come across unless you were interested in his specific topic. He liked the economic and social history of Greece and wrote in a way that was quite different from his contemporaries which is why he stood out. If you want to know about the impact that Ottoman Turkish rule had on Greece, he is the man you need.
His family donated his work after he died and it is housed in the Nikos Svoronos library. However due to him being French, some of his work still resides in France and will remain there forever as its too delicate to transport now.
Have you any celebrated historians in your country?