Marcus Aurelius – Roman philosopher

He is very famous as he wrote a set of rules for living a more organised and therefore peaceful life. He also happened to be a Roman emperor so this was quite crucial for him to get everything done on time. He has much in common with Seneca and Stoicism in this respect. So the 2 are often read together to see how they compare and contrast.

A major point that Marcus mentions is to live your life as though you are going to die soon. While this may sound rather morbid and counterproductive; it is in fact sound advice. You are now motivated to do the most important things in life and that is to spend time with your family, friends and enjoying yourself by indulging in hobbies. You are no longer exclusively focused on hard work.

Marcus is part of the group of stoic philosophers that include Seneca the younger, Cato and Epictetus. There all from around the same time but with widely different viewpoints due to their unique lives. This helps enormously as you will always be able to find something useful since they will most likely have experienced it.

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This is what the ancient world practised to ensure that they made the best use of their time. They didn’t have all of the electronic distractions that we do but they did have a lot more children so their issues were more immediate and pertinent. Such things as hunger, thirst and death from diseases which we have mainly stopped. So they had good reason to optimise the short lives that they had. It also means that if we follow their lead we will also benefit from there advice as it has passed the test of time.

Watch Seneca here for some golden rules to follow for better time management.

Seneca was a famous Roman philosopher who has been used through the ages by many people to gain an insight into how they can be the most productive version of themselves. Recently Americans interested in promoting alternative lifestyles that are now possible like the location independent or digital mimialistic ones use stoicism as there cornerstones. Look here at Cal Newport for more information on the subject. There are many others who talk about this like Gary Vaynerchuk, Tony Robbins, Tim Ferris and Scott H Young. I don’t get money from any of them.

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Linguistic insights into the shared Greek and Russian cultures

Since I love both history and language I thought this video was both amazing in giving new insights and intriguing as it makes you want to learn more.

What a love for the Russian language can do for you.

Sky Arts programs

These are another fantastic resource to use to learn languages with. There are many European programs where the people being interviewed do not speak English but subtitles are provided for your benefit. This can range from a program about the influence font (sizing, spacing, arrangement, case, style and colour of letters) has on us. The show travels from France, Germany, Spain, Portugal to French Canada, the USA and finally the UK to give a wide variety of signs throughout history with a knowledgeable local in each location.

Another program I have watched was set in France and it demonstrated all of the sketches that the famous fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent did during his working career including his cartoon sketches that he did when he needed a break. They interviewed those closest to him and the majority of the program was in French with subtitles.

The most recent program I have been watching is Sky Arts Master of Photography. I believe this is set in Italy as that’s where the challenges take place. Some of the contestants are Italian so you get to hear them interacting with locals during the course of their day. It’s very European as you get contestants from Germany, UK, Switzerland etc. There are subtitles for the Italian but to stop any more linguistic confusion the main content is in English.

Is there any other bilingual programs that you like to watch and would recommend me to check out?

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This is a brilliant platform to watch foreign language films on subjects that you are interested in. I have already posted about watching The First Line which is English but with plenty of Greek to keep me happy. I have also been watching Cathedral of the Sea which is Spanish (English subtitled) history, The Medici which is Italian history, Bolivar which is Spanish (English subtitled) Latin American history and the Last Csars which is Russian history. That last one is part dramatisation, part historical program. For pure drama in Russian with English subtitles watch Trotsky. This is not for the faint hearted as it’s quite raunchy from the start.

If you need to practice your English I recommend watching Peaky Blinders. This is on BBC IPlayer as well as on Netflix. You have 4 seasons so far to sink your teeth into. This is set in Birmingham just after World War One and the language is quite raw but it’s highly enjoyable. Not one for children but then neither are any of the above programmes either.

Do you have programs to recommend that I should watch as you don’t tend to hear about any of the ones above when asking people for viewing suggestions?

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The First Line

This is a movie on Netflix about the Parthenon marbles. They were taken by Lord Elgin in the 18th century for safe keeping in the British Museum. This is the attempt by some Greek lawyers to get them back. It has lots of Greek conversation on which to practice which is very useful for me. I hope you all enjoy the film as much as I did.

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Patrick Leigh Fermor British author 1915-2011

A British author who went to school at the Kings School Canterbury, was a scholar, polyglot and a soldier. He traveled extensively in Greece and Europe becoming friends with Lawrence Durrell. He is referenced by Lawrence in Bitter Lemons which is Lawrence’s book on Cyprus.

He also had quite an effect on Ian Fleming and is extensively quoted in his book Live and Let Die due to his experience of the Caribbean and the fact he liked to live in monasteries.

He has quite the back catalogue of books to get through as he had the crazy idea to walk all the way from England to Greece. It’s serialised in his books since there is such a lot of material. I have one Roumeli- Travels in Northern Greece. Roumeli is an old name for northern Greece that is seldom used these days. He is perhaps the only man that I know of that has referred to the area by such a term.

I’m currently reading the above book and it’s a good read. It has lots of snippets of the Greek language and it shows Greece just as it was being discovered by the rest of Western Europe in the 1960’s. It was a time of great change and modernisation. It was also a time of revolution. He mentions the customs and traditions that may not be still present. I find it very informative and it’s a historical document. He does however reference his previous book Mani a lot which I haven’t got yet and you can tell he was a journalist as it’s written as a travelogue with pieces of real life interaction along with book recommendations and information about the people or history of a place.

On his gravestone is a quote from C F Cavafy and it says “In addition, he was the best of all things, Hellenic.”

Patrick Leigh Fermor

Part of foreigners with an interest in Greece series.

Series links

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Xenofontas Gregoris 1902-1988 Lefkádian doctor

Xenofontas Gregoris Lefkádian doctor
Xenofontas Gregoris Lefkádian doctor

He is commemorated on the island by not only having the above statue but by having the new hospital named after him. This is quite something and we had the current prime minster of Greece Alexis Tsipras over to open it.

Xenofontas fought against the Nazis and was against the junta that later took place in Greece. So he was extremely patriotic but google doesn’t seem to think he exists.

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Other museums in Lefkás

Since I have covered all of the museums that are in Lefkás town I though I would spread the net a little further to encompass the rest of the island. Here I have to thank tourist websites for the information especially It has Greek and English versions. This is due to the fact that neither me nor my husband drive. (Long story)

The church museum that is housed at Faneromeni Monastery and is mentioned here.Saints associated with Lefkás, their churches and shrines. Also has a maritime museum and zoo. It’s located about 3km outside of Lefkás town. For the festival which is on Monday 17th June this year, there is a huge market there and all the visit it after being blessed. It is one of many bank holidays which always occur on the actual day instead of the nearest Monday.

Folklore museum Sfakiotes (North Lefkás mountains) is a place dedicated to crafts that took place on Lefkás when it was isolated before the modern era of communication and travel. It’s very much a community place that showcases the education of the past. It celebrates the life Antreas Lazaris who was awarded by the Academy of Athens in 2013 for his extensive contribution to folkloristic history in Lefkás and to which a lot of the items used to belong to. There is also a room dedicated to Hristos Katapodis who had amassed a needlework collection and a costume room.

Radio, Phonograph and Gramophone museum Karya. (Central Lefkás mountains) This contains lots of the above equipment for listening to music. It was founded in 2015.

“Apollon” Music and Literature club Karya. This was founded in 1956 and until recently had a music school (2000) and put on theatre productions (1996). However they do still put on a 3 day representation of a rural wedding and a ‘Riganda’ festival. It has lots of documents from its operations in the past and costumes.

The museum itself was founded in 2012 to preserve Lefkádian traditions. It is in the old primary school and although it’s free you have to arrange before hand for it to be open.

Folklore museum Karya. Started in 2017 also in the Primary school, it contains more clothes, tools and everything else that was needed for life in the olden days.

Heritage museum Karya. This is the museum dedicated to the karsaniko stitch that is unique to Lefkádian embroidery.

Meli 51 Palakatouna/Neohori. (South central mountains Lefkás) This is a museum created in 2016 dedicated to bee keeping. It is however temporarily unavailable to the public.

Lefkáditiki Winery Syros. (South mountains Lefkás) This is a winery with a museum attached to it that tells you a bit about the process of wine making.

“Fabbrica” Olive oil museum Syvota, which is a tiny village at the bottom of the island. It shows the processes necessary for the production of Olive oil. It also has a tasting space for local products.

Lygia Sea museum (coastal central Lefkás) This is located in the primary school so you have to arrange with them when to visit. It was started in 1991 by pupils to encourage development of knowledge about all creatures that have lived or currently live in the sea.

The whale fin museum in Kastos which is a little tiny island that you can reach on a trip boat,

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