Archeological museum In Lefkás Town

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.

Best wishes

Angela

Kosmas of Aetolia Greek monk and historian 1714-1779

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

He is the second part of my Famous Greeks series.

Pavlos Santorinis

Theodore Stephanides

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?

Best wishes

Angela

Poem No. 176: “This Then Is I” (From Axion Esti = Gepriesen Sei) – by Odysseas Elytis

Poem No. 176: “This Then Is I” (From Axion Esti = Gepriesen Sei) – by Odysseas Elytis

https://theredboxcom.wordpress.com/2019/05/23/poem-no-this-then-is-i-from-axion-esti-gepriesen-sei-by-odysseas-elytis/
— Read on theredboxcom.wordpress.com/2019/05/23/poem-no-this-then-is-i-from-axion-esti-gepriesen-sei-by-odysseas-elytis/

One of the Greek poets that I have written about so I thought you aught to see some of his work.Odysseus Elytis

Best wishes

Angela

Andreas Emberikos Greek poet 1901-1975

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.

Here are the personal details of his life Andreas Embirikos.

This is the ninth post in the series of Greek but mainly Lefkádian writers and poets which includes a bonus post from Sententiae Antiquae on Sappho.

Aristotle Valaoritis

C F Cavafy

Angelos Sikelianos

Lefkadia Hearn

George Seferis

C G Karyotakis

Ioannis Valaoritis

Odysseus Elytis

Other series include Greek Authors, Musicians, Famous Greeks, Foreigners who have an interest in Greece and Rural Villages in Lefkás. All the links can be found here Series links.

Best wishes

Angela

Odysseus Elytis pen name of Odysseus Alepoudellis Greek poet 1911-1996

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.

Aristotle Valaoritis

C F Cavafy

Angelos Sikelianos

Lefkadia Hearn

George Seferis

C G Karyotakis

Ioannis Valaoritis

Other series include Greek Authors, Musicians, Famous Greeks, Foreigners who have an interest in Greece and Rural Villages in Lefkás. All the links can be found here Series links.

Best wishes

Best wishes

Angela

Ioannis (Nanos) Valaoritis Greek poet 1921-

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.

Additionally, he met with Henry Miller and Lawrence Durrell. He is certainly one of the most well connected poets of that era.

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.

He also met TS (Thomas Stearns) Eliot along with George Seferis. It really was quite an involved connected group of poets and artists at this time.

He was also awarded by the Greek government the state poetry prize in 1983 and the Academy of Athens poetry prize in 2004. Plus having a street named after him in Lefkás town.

His personal life is here Ioannis Valaoritis

This is the seventh post in the series of Greek but mainly Lefkádian writers and poets which includes a bonus post from Sententiae Antiquae on Sappho.

Aristotle Valaoritis

C F Cavafy

Angelos Sikelianos

Lefkadia Hearn

George Seferis

C G Karyotakis

Best wishes

Angela

C G Karyotakis 1896-1928 Greek poet

I’m sure your all getting the feeling now that the area surrounding Lefkás known for its poetry because of the amount of poets I have so far covered. Also, I rather like poetry which is not a thing you would initially think considering I’m quite logical and a scientist.

This poet deserves a post because I was struck by the beauty of his poetry and he lived such a short life.

He also talks about Preveza, the biggest town in the area. Which from everything I’ve ever heard and seen about the place, hasn’t changed at all and will inspire the same melancholic poetry in yourself. (The poet committed suicide shortly after writing that poem).

Kostas Karyotakis suffered the fate of most people born before there time in that his work was only appreciated after he died. He knew his brilliance but couldn’t convince others so this gave him great pain. This is sometimes reflected in his work especially later on.

He was highly intelligent, studied law and became employed in clerical work which he highly disliked. This comes across in his poems but he was able to revolutionise the way poetry was written so there is always a silver lining to everything in life.

He had syphilis which at the time couldn’t be cured which is mainly responsible for his suffering, inability to settle into any position and therefore constant changing of where he was living.

He was sad, suicidal and unfulfilled for the majority of his life so it’s no surprise that he ended his life rather quickly by shooting himself through the heart under a eucalyptus tree.

This is the sixth post in the series of Greek but mainly Lefkádian writers and poets which includes a bonus post from Sententiae Antiquae on Sappho.

Aristotle Valaoritis

C F Cavafy

Angelos Sikelianos

Lefkadia Hearn

George Seferis

Best wishes

Angela

George Seferis, pen name of Yiorgos Seferiades – Greek poet 1900-1971

He is another renown Greek poet who was an inspiration to Lawrence Durell amongst many others that I have or will talk about at some point. It wasn’t just his poetry that was inspirational though. He studied law in Paris, became a diplomat working for 30 years overseas and translated the works of T S Eliot into Greek.

He was also the first Greek to become a Nobel laureate in 1963 as Angelos Sikelianos and Nikos Kazantzakis were only nominated several times in the 1950’s. The second and last was Odysseus Elytis. As you can see George Seferis knew the right people as he moved in the right circles. He was therefore able to inspire changes in the world due to his wide knowledge of the world at that time.

This is why he is one of the more famous Greek poets of recent times. Upon reading his poetry you realise why he deserves that fame. His poetry is so easy to read in English as I happily read 70 pages worth in quite a short period of time. It’s evocative and succinct which is why the Greek language is so good for poetry.

The King of Asini is a poem that includes Greek and references to the Iliad. It’s in both my massive anthology of Greek poems that I have in the UK of which is shown in the pictures and previous posts as well as in the specific George Serefis book that is the initial picture that I have in Greece.

It is not the only poem that references the Odyssey as “Helen” starts off as a play with words from Euripides and then continues as a poem. It’s a what if imagining if simply the idea of Helen started the war for Troy.

George Seferis likes to reference the Odyssey as I found another poem in my Complete poem book that I liked and I’m going to share it with you.

Here below is a poem that contains a word rarely used and since I love words it warranted inclusion.

I included this poem “Last stop” as it includes a word I’ve never seen before and it might be an explanation for why Americans call there children abcde- abecedary.

An abecedarium is a writing exercise that practices all the letters mostly in alphabetical order like when you see cross stitch samplers or you write “the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” because that sentence uses all the letters of the Latin English alphabet. For more information and for other languages see here Abecedary. (Thanks wiki).

He was an outspoken critic of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus as he was both born in Smyrna which was then Turkey and he had a deep love of Cyprus itself. He unfortunately didn’t live to to see the end of the junta as it’s been called so his funeral was a protest against this. It was very well attended as the people wanted to make a statement. I mention this in my Angelos Sikelianos article too as he was the main instigator here.

Here is the personal details of his life from Wikipedia George Serferis. For a more authentic viewpoint here is a native that’s been able to research even more than I have.https://greatestgreeks.wordpress.com/2018/11/27/george-seferis/

This is the fifth post in the series of Greek primarily Lefkadian poets and authors. The bonus post is from Sententiae Ancientae on Sappho.

Aristotle Valaoritis

C F Cavafy

Angelos Sikelianos

Lefkadia Hearn

Other series include Greek Poets, Painters, Authors, Musicians, Famous Greeks, and Rural Villages in Lefkás. All the links can be found here Series links.

Which particular writers inspire you to be your very best?

Best wishes

Angela

Meganisi – A Greek Ionian Island

Meganisi means big island in Greek and it is comparable to all the other Princess Islands as they are locally known. The Princess Islands are so called because of the involvement of Onassis. They comprise Meganisi, Skorpios, Skorpidi and Sparti. These are not to be confused with the Prince Islands which are a group of 9 small islands off the coast of Turkey. (Thankyou Google for this).

Ancient History

Meganisi was said to be Krocylea from the Odyssey by Wilhelm Dörpfeld who will be discussed in another article as he made many important evacuations in this area.

Recent history

Papanikolis Cave is famous in this area for its sheer size and breathtaking natural beauty. All of the boat trips from Nidri harbour take you past it as it’s such a unique feature. The legend talks about a World War 2 submarine the “Papanikolis” from which the cave takes its name hiding out here after engaging in battle with the Italians. If you wish to know more about incident read all about it on the Wikipedia page Papanikolis Submarine.

The Olive Oil museum above shows the process that they used to have to go through to extract the oil from the olives. It’s a big mill stone that has to grind the olives to a pulp. The olive harvest takes place every November so the production was always a winter activity when there was less to do elsewhere. The mill is now preserved as a tourist attraction.

Meganisi also hosts the tourists for a traditional dance evening. This is where the ladies are invited to try to repeat what “Mama” did when she was younger. This is to carry the water up from the harbour side to the village of Spartahori on the hill by way of balancing the container on your head and walking a few steps.

(C)Hori [χωρι] is the Greek word for village which you will come across in lots of names like Neohori on Lefkás is New village or Katohori also in Lefkás is Under village. The c sound doesn’t exist in Greek hence it is sometimes represented as above.

“Mama” had to do this a couple of times a day but I have no idea how she managed as nobody ever completes the challenge. Even with the incentive of a bottle for the winner. You are also taught some traditional dance steps. One is for the women which can be done regardless of age or ability and one for the men. It’s a very enjoyable evening with food laid on too. The performance of the dances is spectacular.

More recent history

This is not a war memorial which it appears to be at first but a dedication to a 25 year old coastguard Marinos Zampelios who lost his life battling at sea. There are the same memorials in Corfu (Thankyou internet) where this actually happened. If you believe the Golden Dawn website and I wouldn’t because there so heavily biased it’s unbelievable; “He died preventing Albanian scum from conducting drug wars here.” That language in itself tells you that is not what happened at all but due to lack of other sources I can’t tell you what did happen. It’s quite a shocking event though on an island that only has 3 villages, Spartochori, Vathy as will be mentioned later and Katomeri which has practically no facilities. The entire population of the island is roughly 1 thousand.

Here is a picture of a nice bell tower after that scandalous paragraph to lighten the mood once more.

Sailing

Meganisi is also good for the sailors as they come into Vathy harbour and there are a couple of restaurants here.

(Βάθη) Vathy is another one of those brilliantly named places as it means depth and it most certainly has a deep harbour. It’s always filled to the brim with sailing boats.

Again the spelling is different because beta is a v sound in reality so vita.

I have been on a sailing boat many times to the harbour and have eaten there too. There is a nearby bay that is known as “No Name Bay” and this is where we would stop to swim. There are lots of little bays and inlets here that offer the opportunity to sample unparalleled views without the need to go ashore.

However, if you wish a sojourn on the island; the ferry comes across from Nidri on a regular basis. This allows you to visit without the need to have friends with a boat. Or to go on the Odyssey which is how I have visited in the past. Along with the Ionian Star. Many other commercial boats ply the waters here too so you have quite a pick of transportation.

Are there any relatively unknown corners that are near where you live?

Best wishes

Angela

Saints associated with Lefkás, their churches and shrines

Lefkáda – Panagia Fanoroemeni Monastery (the Virgin Mary) is revealed on August 15th. There are many churches with the same name with the most famous in Cyprus thanks again Google. There is a monastery for her on Lefkás about 3km from Lefkás town. It includes a religious history museum, maritime museum and a zoo. The Venetians had some input to the architectural structure too. This is why it’s the best looking, most well maintained and well known monastery on the island. I am yet to visit this place but you can see many pictures online and on the Wikipedia article there is some info Lefkás but best check elsewhere as it’s rather lacking.

Lefkás town – Santa Maura 3rd May. There is a fort dedicated to her at the top most point of the island. I haven’t visited her either as it was closed the day I wanted to go.

Nidri When they have weddings here it is traditional to honk your horn all the way through the village until they get home which can be quite some distance. It is a very noisy affair as the horn is sounded whenever they feel like it so about every couple of minutes. This is every vehicle in the procession so it can be a cacophony of noise. Just like the Easter celebrations except more vibrant as this is early evening instead of midnight.

White church – This is the church on the top of the island that everyone sees and sometimes they have weddings up here. The panoramic views across the entire area are phenomenal.

Sappho’s leap – St Nicholas the patron saint of Fishermen. St Nicolas 19th December.

Geni – Kiriaki 7th July Agia Kyriaki

This is the shrine below dedicated to her and the church that is nearby. I’ve been inside too for a lovely christening but I didn’t take any pictures as there were 2 professional photographers but I don’t know if I’ll ever see the photos of that event.

As you can see I have visited some areas and not others due to there location.

Do you have any special saints that you worship where you are?

Best wishes

Angela