These are disposable tablecloths that cover many of the tables in restaurants around here. It’s nice that you can learn about the culture of the place your staying through such a simple gesture.
This one tells a brief history of Apolokarnanina which is the area that houses Preveza airport that you fly into to visit Lefkás.Kosmas of Aetolia-Acarnania. He founded a school in Preveza which upset the Venetians who were ruling at the time leading to his death. For a Greek perspective Cosmas of Aetolia
There are also poems by Angelos Sikelianos “The first rain” which describes the beauty rain can inspire in you when you let it touch your soul and you dance in it. ”
It says above that the poet was born in Lefkás in 1884.
It says below he was born in Lefkás in 1850 and he was the national poet of Japan. His house is still there in Kithera.Lefkada Hearn There is also an Aristotle Valaoritis poem, biographical information and another poem. e
Other series include Greek poets, authors, Musicians, Rural villages in Lefkás and Foreigners who have become interested and or benefited Greece in some ways. All the links can be found here Series links.
Do you have any simple gestures like to help inform visitors to your country?
I was inspired to write this post because one of my comments previously mentioned about the connections between India and Greece which I was unaware of and the Wikipedia article he suggested was very lacking in information. I would like to thank my readers for giving this feedback and ideas to write posts that your actually interested in, rather than just stuff I’m personally interested in. Also for the fact that comments are sometimes worth exploring in greater detail later on when I have the time.
Theodore Stephanides was part of the ancient raj that was the ruling British culture of India until independence in 1947. His parents were Greek but his mother was born in Russia to a wealthy family from Chios (Greek island). He grew up in Bombay (now Chennai) and moved to Greek at 11 where he learnt his Greek.
He was a poet translating Kostis Palamas from Greek to English after World War One when he was a gunner. He later studied medicine and started the first Xray machine in Corfu as shown on the Durells.
He was lifelong friends with both Gerald Durrell and Lawrence Durrell assisting with the completion of their novels, My family and other animals as well the Greek Islands.
He also wrote his own books on radiology, Corfu and botany.
Other series include Greek poets, Painters, Authors, Musicians, Rural villages in Lefkás and Foreigners who have become interested and or benefited Greece in some ways. All the links can be found here Series links.
He is the founder of the scientific approach to archeology for he came up with the theory of stratigraphy which is the recording of strata to enable you to use the objects found in the correct manner. He is however most famous here for his Bronze Age excavations that took place
and he was the originator of the thought that Lefkás was Homer’s Ithaka. Displayed below is the Odyssey boat but here it’s in the harbour on Meganisi.
I have even watched a BBC4 program where they went in search of the physical evidence based on passages from the Odyssey itself ending in Lefkás with a trip on the boat in the picture which I have been on and it’s very informative. Dörpfeld did many evacuations in the area including Meganisi
but anything more than hearsay cannot really be proven which is unfortunate. I think the modern conclusion to the theory is that it is Ithaka that Homer lived on, not Lefkás despite Dörpfeld’s exhaustive efforts.
He is however commemorated on the island by having the bus stops in Nidri dedicated to his memory. This is because he believed that the bay of Nidri (this picture is also on display in the Gramophone museum Lefkás town)
was Homer’s base for the setting of the start and end of the Odyssey. He also thought the bay of pigs was Sivota bay.
You can also get hold of a book Wilhelm Dorpfeld in Lefkás that tells you all about himself and the work that he did on the island. I have read it and it’s quite informative. It’s the best source of information around and the black and white pictures in this post come from that book.
The picture of his grave is at Geni which is across the water from Nidri and very close to Agia Kiriaki church. He also has the honour of a street named after him in Lefkás town.
There is an Archeological museum In Lefkás Town with a room full of his finds in Lefkás town but more were destroyed by a fire that happened not long after they were discovered in the place that they were being stored nearby the excavation site.
It is quite difficult to get hold of information about him in English but the above mentioned book and museum I linked to earlier is your best bet here. You can find out more about him in the museums in Athens.
However, the majority of it is in German. I have previously come across a PHD document written by a Greek that is in English online. However, as with all things you find when your not really looking for them; there really difficult to locate when you actually need them. Wilhelm Dörpfeld founded a school of archeology in Athens so you do occasionally come across gems like that document but just like gems they are very hard to discover again after you have initially found them.
As a consolation prize here is the Wikipedia article on him
Today is archeology day hence there will be 2 posts in quick succession. One about Ancient Greece and the Greek mainland which is this one and the other being more localised and modern which is mine but still about an ancient time period.
Now he is an interesting fellow for not only was he a Greek surrealist and this is not something you would usually associate with Greece; he was also the first Greek psychoanalyst. This is in addition to his more well known poetic side or his linguistic side which we will find out more about later on. The reason for him being slightly different to the average Greek was that he was born in Romania but soon moved back to Greece. He would travel far and wide throughout his life resulting in him documenting his life in exhaustive photographic detail as will also discover later on.
In order to became the first and most prominent psychoanalyst, he first starts studying philosophy in Athens in the 1920’s as a gentleman of his pedigree would do having failed to go into the family shipping business. I think the world is a much better place for him not becoming Onassis. Before he finishes his degree he moves to Paris and becomes interested in psychoanalysis. Through this he is introduced to Andre Breton the leading figure in that circle. This allows him to learn French in addition to his Swiss French gained from time spent in Lausanne after his parents divorced in and visits to Geneva. He wrote his books on psychoanalysis in French as a result of this. He continues to participate in this area throughout his life but stops actively practising in 1950. He also didn’t talk about this area of his life to others.
In the 1930’s he is one of the poets that radically changes the way Greek poetry is conceptualised along with the powerhouse that is George Seferis.
Being a literary critic as well a poet and author can mean that society views you as a troublemaker and if they can’t silence you then they will make sure that your work is jolly hard to to get hold of and you really have to search to find it in your language. He was a rather subversive member of society which the majority of people didn’t agree with. Along with studying psychoanalytics, Russian and French, he wrote rather saucy poetry and novels. This has meant his work has been subject to the usual censorship of non promotion as he doesn’t fit in with the ideals of society. This is a review of his poetry and life from a fellow blogger that I found explaining that yet again he is another poet whose work doesn’t exist much outside of Greece or in English. Andreas Emberikos.
He develops a friendship with Odysseus Elytis and they are invited by the Greco-Soviet society to travel to USSR as it is then known along with Yorgos Theotokas. The reasoning for this was that Andreas’s mother was half Russian and he himself fell in love with Tolstoy in his youth. He also spoke Russian and was widely read in the language. He visited Russia as a child every summer until 1914 when war broke out.
He was a prolific photographer as well with an archive of over 30,000 negatives being made by himself during his lifetime. These were however mostly for his personal use as he only exhibited them once in 1955 in the Ilissos Gallery in Athens. A retrospective exhibition happened in 2001 to commemorate his lives work at the Technopolis Art Centre in Athens. There was also another more recent photographic exhibition held in Athens to mark Greek Independance day in 2018.
He grew up on Lesbos, the home of the most famous female Greek poet of antiquity Sappho. So that was a good start for him in terms of poetical leanings and he did write about her but it was at the insistence of George Seferis that he published his first poem in the journal New Letters in 1935. Ioannis Valaoritis later assisted in this process due to a shared interest in French surrealism. It was however the fact that he remained rather moderate in his beliefs throughout the course of his life that he became so popular. He wasn’t outspoken, religious or scandalous in terms of sexual content. He didn’t even look back to Ancient Greece or Byzantium. Instead he focused on the here and now.
He went to the University of Athens to study Law being from an industrial family but didn’t graduate and instead became a leader in romantic modernist poetry. He also changed his name so that he wasn’t associated with his family and it was explained in the New York Times that his name was a composite meaning Greece, hope, freedom and Eleni a figure from Greek mythology personifying beauty and sensuality. As a result of his values he exiled later himself to Paris in 1967 during the start of the military junta that lasted until 1974.
During the Second World War he was involved in the army and afterwards in the Greek National Radio Foundation. He was twice the programme director of the National Radio Foundation, a member of the National Theatre’s administrative council, President of the administrative council of radio and television as well as a member of the consultative committee of the national Tourist’s Organization for the Athens festival. As a result for all of his efforts in helping to grow the culture in Athens I’m sure its why he became the second Greek poet in 1979 to win the Nobel prize in Literature. He also received the state literature prize in 1960, the Order of the Phoenix in 1965 and an honorary doctorate from the University of Thessaloniki in 1975. Also no doubt as a result of his popularity, some of his work has been set to the music of Mikis Theodorakis.
He was well travelled during his life visiting the UK, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, the USA as well as time spent in Russia, Bulgaria and Albania during the war. He led a fulfilled if rather uninteresting life compared to many of the other poets I have written about here. I’m not even sure whether he married or had children. For a Greek view on things Odysseus Elytis
Details of the rest of his personal life can be found here Odysseas Elytis.
This is the eighth post in the series of Greek but mainly Lefkádian writers and poets which includes a bonus post from Sententiae Antiquae on Sappho.
He is a poet who has lived in various places in his life like Greece, the UK, France and the United States. This has given him the ability to absorb the qualities of that country’s poetry and to popularise them in all of the other countries he has lived in. He currently lives in Athens. It’s unusual for me to be writing about a poet that is still alive but as you can tell he is quite elderly.
He is said to be one of the best poets of the Hellenic diaspora (community of Greeks outside of Greece) since Constantine Cavafy. He is also linked to George Seferis because of the well known book of their correspondence. Not only that, he assisted with translating the poem King Asini which I mention in my earlier post into English for publication abroad.
Once again we come across a Valaoritis and he was the great grandson of Aristotle Valaoritis who I have written about in great detail. This Valaoritis was a poet and once again we come across a man who studied law but this time in Athens. This is a common theme for men of this era to study law but they don’t always complete their degrees like this one did.
Just like Angelos Sikelianos he met his American wife in Paris in the 1920’s. That really must have been quite a heady place at that time with the surrealists, Andre Breton and Pablo Picasso also being present at the same time.