Cephalus, Hero-figure in Greek mythology, Patriarch of all Kephalonians (cephallenians)
Cephalus is a name, used both for the hero-figure in Greek mythology and carried as a theophoric name by historical persons. The word kephalos is Greek for «head», perhaps used here because Cephalus was the founding «head» of a great family that includes Odysseus. It could be that Cephalus means the head of the Sun who kills (evaporates) Procris (dew) with his unerring ray or ‘javelin’. Cephalus was one of the lovers of the dawn goddess Eos.
Sumptuous sacrifices for Cephalus and for Procris are required in the inscribed sacred calendar of Thorikos in southern Attica, dating perhaps to the 430s BCE and published from the stone in 1983. According to pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheke Cephalus was an Athenian, son of Hermes and Herse.
Cephalus is also made out to be an Aeolian, the son of Deion/Deioneos, ruler of Phocis, and Diomede, and grandson of Aeolus. Athenians further localised the myth by asserting that Cephalus was married to Procris, a daughter of Erechtheus, an ancient founding-figure of Athens. The goddess of dawn, Eos, kidnapped Cephalus when he was hunting. The resistant Cephalus and Eos became lovers, and she bore him a son named Phaethon (not to be confused with the son of the sun-god Helios). Some sources also give Tithonos and Hesperus as children of Cephalus and Eos. However, Cephalus always pined for Procris, causing a disgruntled Eos to return him to her, making disparaging remarks about his wife’s fidelity.
Once reunited with Procris after an interval of eight years, Cephalus tested her by returning from the hunt in disguise, and managing to seduce her. In shame Procris fled to the forest, to hunt withArtemis. In returning and reconciling, Procris brought two magical gifts, an inerrant javelin that never missed its mark, and a hunting hound, Laelaps that always caught its prey. The hound met its end chasing a fox (the Teumessian vixen) which could not be caught; both fox and the hound were turned into stone. But the javelin continued to be used by Cephalus, who was an avid hunter.
Procris then conceived doubts about her husband, who left his bride at the bridal chamber and climbed to a mountaintop and sang a hymn invoking Nephele, «cloud». Procris became convinced that he was serenading a lover. She climbed to where he was to spy on him. Cephalus, hearing a stirring in the brush and thinking the noise came from an animal, threw the never-erring javelin in the direction of the sound – and Procris was impaled. As she lay dying in his arms, she told him «On our wedding vows, please never marry Eos». Cephalus was distraught at the death of his beloved Procris, and went into exile.
The primary literary source for the story is the poet Pherecydes of Athens, preserved in a quoted fragment (Pherecydes Fr. 34) in the so-called «Mythographus Homericus»; a papyrus(PBerolinensis 13282) representing a parallel text based on the same source confirms the details.
In a separate episode that is simply an aition explaining the name of Cephallenia and reinforcing its cultural connections with Athens, Cephalus helped Amphitryon of Mycenae in a war against the Taphians and Teleboans. He was awarded with the island of Samos, which thereafter came to be known as Cephallenia. The people who lived on Cephallenia and nearby islands came to be known as Cephallenians.
Cephalus eventually married again, choosing a daughter of Minyas to be his wife. This woman (named Clymene, according to some sources) bore him a son named Arcesius. Arcesius succeeded Cephalus as ruler of his Cephallenian realm. This Arcesius was sometimes said to be the grandfather of Odysseus. In another version he had four sons after which four cities were named: Same, Crane, Pali, Pronnoi. These are the cities who later became the four city-states of Cephallenia. Nevertheless, Cephalus never forgave himself over the death of Procris, and he committed suicide by leaping from Cape Leucas into the sea.
The legend of Cephalus and Procris figures twice in Ovid: in the third book of Ars Amatoria and in the seventh book of the Metamorphoses. It is retold in Cephalus and Procris; Narcissus, a 1595 poem by Thomas Edwards. It is echoed in Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream (Act V, scene i), where Pyramus and Thisbe refer to «Shafalus» and «Procrus.» While Milton’s «the Attic boy» in Il Penseroso is also a reference to Cephalus.
Operatic treatments include Caccini’s Il rapimento di Cefalo (c. 1600), André Grétry’s Céphale et Procris (1773), and Ernst Krenek’s Cefalo e Procri (1934), as well as works by Hidalgo (1660), Elisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre(1694), and Johann Philipp Krieger (1690).
Odysseus of Ithaca, king of the Cephalonians
Odysseus also known by the Latin name Ulysses was a legendary Greek king of Ithaca and the hero of Homer’s epic poem the Odyssey. Odysseus also plays a key role in Homer’s Iliad and other works in that same epic cycle.
Husband of Penelope, father of Telemachus, and son of Laërtes and Anticlea, Odysseus is renowned for his brilliance, guile, and versatility (polytropos), and is hence known by theepithet Odysseus the Cunning (mētis, or «cunning intelligence»). He is most famous for the ten eventful years he took to return home after the decade-long Trojan War.
Name, etymology and epithets
The name has several variants: Olysseus, Oulixeus , Oulixes and he was known as Ulyssēs in Latin or Ulixēs in Roman mythology. Hence, «there may originally have been two separate figures, one called something like Odysseus, the other something like Ulixes, who were combined into one complex personality.»
The etymology of the name is unknown. Ancient authors linked the name to the Greek verbs odussomai (Greek: ὀδύσσομαι) ‘to be wroth against, to hate’, or to oduromai (ὀδύρομαι) ‘to lament, bewail’. Homer in references and puns, relates it to various forms of this verb. It has been also suggested that the name is of non-Greek origin, probably not even Indo-European, with an unknown etymology; R. S. P. Beekes has suggested a Pre-Greek origin.
In Book 19 of the Odyssey, where Odysseus’s early childhood is recounted, Euryclea asks Autolycus to name him. Euryclea tries to guide him to naming the boy Polyaretos, «for he hasmuch been prayed for» (19.403f). Autolycus «apparently in a sardonic mood … decided to give the child a name that would commemorate his own experience in life. ‘Because I got odium upon myself before coming here … from many … let the child’s name be Odysseus to signify this.’ The pun was prophetic as well as commemorative.» Odysseus often receives thepatronymic epithet Laertiades (Λαερτιάδης), «son of Laërtes».
In the Iliad and Odyssey there are several epithets used to describe Odysseus.
His name and stories were adopted into Etruscan religion under the name Uthuze.
Relatively little is known of Odysseus’s background other than that his paternal grandfather (or step-grandfather) is Arcesius, son of Cephalus and grandson of Aeolus, whilst his maternal grandfather is the thief Autolycus, son ofHermes and Chione. Hence, Odysseus was the great-grandson of the Olympian god Hermes. According to the Iliad and Odyssey, his father is Laertes and his mother Anticlea, although there was a non-Homeric tradition that Sisyphus was his true father. The rumor went that Laertes bought Odysseus from the conniving king. Odysseus is said to have a younger sister, Ctimene, who went to Same to be married and is mentioned by the swineherd Eumaeus, whom she grew up alongside, in Book 15 of the Odyssey.
Before the Trojan War
The majority of sources for Odysseus’ pre-war exploits—principally the mythographers Pseudo-Apollodorus and Hyginus—postdate Homer by many centuries. Two stories in particular are well known:
When Helen was abducted, Menelaus called upon the other suitors to honour their oaths and help him to retrieve her, an attempt that would lead to the Trojan War. Odysseus tried to avoid it by feigning lunacy, as an oracle had prophesied a long-delayed return home for him if he went. He hooked a donkey and an ox to his plough (as they have different stride lengths, hindering the efficiency of the plough) and (some modern sources add) started sowing his fields with salt. Palamedes, at the behest of Menelaus’s brother Agamemnon, sought to disprove Odysseus’s madness, and placed Telemachus, Odysseus’s infant son, in front of the plough. Odysseus veered the plough away from his son, thus exposing his stratagem. Odysseus held a grudge against Palamedes during the war for dragging him away from his home.
Odysseus and other envoys of Agamemnon then traveled to Scyros to recruit Achilles because of a prophecy that Troy could not be taken without him. By most accounts, Thetis, Achilles’s mother, disguised the youth as a woman to hide him from the recruiters because an oracle had predicted that Achilles would either live a long, uneventful life or achieve everlasting glory while dying young. Odysseus cleverly discovered which among the women before him was Achilles, when the youth was the only one of them showing interest to examine the weapons hidden among an array of adornment gifts for the daughters of their host. Odysseus arranged then further for the sounding of a battle horn, which prompted Achilles to clutch a weapon and show his trained disposition. With his disguise foiled, he was exposed and joined Agamemnon’s call to arms among the Hellenes.
During the Trojan War
Odysseus was one of the most influential Greek champions during the Trojan War. Along with Nestor and Idomeneus he was one of the most trusted counsellors and advisors. He always championed the Achaean cause, especially when the king was in question, as in one instance when Thersites spoke against him. When Agamemnon, to test the morale of the Achaeans, announced his intentions to depart Troy, Odysseus restored order to the Greek camp. Later on, after many of the heroes had left the battlefield due to injuries (including Odysseus and Agamemnon), Odysseus once again persuaded Agamemnon not to withdraw. Along with two other envoys, he was chosen in the failed embassy to try to persuade Achilles to return to combat.
When Hector proposed a single combat duel, Odysseus was one of the Danaans who reluctantly volunteered to battle him. Telamonian Ajax, however, was the volunteer who eventually did fight Hector. Odysseus aided Diomedes during the successful night operations in order to kill Rhesus, because it had been foretold that if his horses drank from the Scamander River, Troy could not be taken.
After Patroclus had been slain, it was Odysseus who counselled Achilles to let the Achaean men eat and rest rather than follow his rage-driven desire to go back on the offensive—and kill Trojans—immediately. Eventually (and reluctantly), he consented.
During the funeral games for Patroclus, Odysseus became involved in a wrestling match with Telamonian Ajax, as well as a foot race. With the help of the goddess Athena, who favoured him, and despite Apollo’s helping another of the competitors, he won the race and managed to draw the wrestling match, to the surprise of all.
Odysseus has traditionally been viewed in the Iliad as Achilles’s antithesis: while Achilles’s anger is all-consuming and of a self-destructive nature, Odysseus is frequently viewed as a man of the mean, renowned for his self-restraint and diplomatic skills. He is more conventionally viewed as the antithesis of Telamonian Ajax (Shakespeare’s «beef-witted» Ajax) because the latter has only brawn to recommend him, while Odysseus is not only ingenious (as evidenced by his idea for the Trojan Horse), but an eloquent speaker, a skill perhaps best demonstrated in the embassy to Achilles in book 9 of the Iliad. The two are not only foils in the abstract but often opposed in practice since they have many duels and run-ins.
Perhaps Odysseus’ most famous contribution to the Greek war effort was devising the strategem of the Trojan Horse, which allowed the Greek army to sneak into Troy under cover of darkness. It was built by Epeius and filled with Greek warriors, led by Odysseus.
Journey home to Ithaca
Odysseus is probably best known as the eponymous hero of the Odyssey. This epic describes his travails, which lasted for 10 years, as he tries to return home after the Trojan War and reassert his place as rightful king of Ithaca.
On the way home from Troy, after a raid on Ismaros in the land of the Cicones, he and his twelve ships were driven off course by storms. They visited the lethargic Lotus-Eaters and were captured by the Cyclops Polyphemus, while visiting his island. Polyphemus was eating his men. Polyphemus and Odysseus had a discussion and Odysseus told Polyphemus his name was ‘Nobody’. Odysseus took a barrel of wine and the Cyclops drank it, falling asleep. Odysseus and his men took a wooden stake, igniting it with the remaining wine, and blinding him. While they were escaping, Polyphemus cried in pain and the other Cyclopes asked him what the matter was. Polyphemus cried ‘Nobody has blinded me!’ and the other Cyclopes thought he had gone mad. Odysseus and his crew hid underneath sheep and then escaped from the island. They stayed with Aeolus, the master of the winds where he gave Odysseus a leather bag containing all the winds, except the west wind, a gift that should have ensured a safe return home. However, the sailors foolishly opened the bag while Odysseus slept, thinking that it contained gold. All of the winds flew out and the resulting storm drove the ships back the way they had come, just as Ithaca came into sight.
After pleading in vain with Aeolus to help them again, they re-embarked and encountered the cannibalistic Laestrygonians. Odysseus’ ship was the only one to escape. He sailed on and visited the witch-goddess Circe. She turned half of his men into swine after feeding them cheese and wine. Hermes warned Odysseus about Circe and gave Odysseus a drug called moly, a resistance to Circe’s magic. Circe, being attracted to Odysseus’ resistance, fell in love with him and released his men. Odysseus and his crew remained with her on the island for one year, while they feasted and drank. Finally, Odysseus’ men convinced Odysseus that it was time to leave for Ithaca.
Guided by Circe’s instructions, Odysseus and his crew crossed the ocean and reached a harbor at the western edge of the world, where Odysseus sacrificed to the dead and summoned the spirit of the old prophet Tiresias to advise him. Next Odysseus met the spirit of his own mother, who had died of grief during his long absence. From her, he learned for the first time news of his own household, threatened by the greed of Penelope’s suitors. Odysseus also managed to talk to his fallen war comrades and the mortal shade of Heracles.
Returning to Circe’s island, they were advised by her on the remaining stages of the journey. They skirted the land of the Sirens, passed between the six-headed monster Scylla and the whirlpool Charybdis, where they rowed directly between the two. However, Scylla dragged the boat towards her by grabbing the oars and ate six men.
They landed on the island of Thrinacia. There, Odysseus’ men ignored the warnings of Tiresias and Circe and hunted down the sacred cattle of the sun god Helios. Helios told Zeus what happened ordered for Odysseus’ men to be punished or else he would take the sun and shine it in the Underworld. Zeus fulfilled Helios’ demands where he caused a shipwreck during a thunderstorm in which all but Odysseus drowned. He was washed ashore on the island of Ogygia, where Calypso compelled him to remain as her lover for 7 years before he finally escaped upon Hermes telling Calypso to release Odysseus.
Odysseus finally escapes and is shipwrecked and befriended by the Phaeacians. After telling them his story, the Phaeacians led by King Alcinous agree to help Odysseus get home. They deliver him at night, while he is fast asleep, to a hidden harbor on Ithaca. He finds his way to the hut of one of his own former slaves, the swineherd Eumaeus, and also meets up with Telemachus returning from Sparta. Athena disguises Odysseus as a wandering beggar in order to learn how things stand in his household.
When the disguised Odysseus returns, Penelope announces in her long interview with the disguised hero that whoever can string Odysseus’s rigid bow and shoot an arrow through twelve axe shafts may have her hand. «For the plot of the Odyssey, of course, her decision is the turning point, the move that makes possible the long-predicted triumph of the returning hero». Odysseus’ identity is discovered by the housekeeper, Eurycleia, as she is washing his feet and discovers an old scar Odysseus received during a boar hunt. Odysseus swears her to secrecy, threatening to kill her if she tells anyone.
When the contest of the bow begins, none of the suitors is able to string the bow of Apollo but then, after all the suitors have given up, the disguised Odysseus comes along, bends the bow, shoots the arrow, and wins the contest. Having done so, he proceeds to slaughter the suitors (beginning with Antinous whom he finds drinking from Odysseus’ cup) with help from Telemachus and Odysseus’ servants Eumaeus the swineherd and Philoetius the cowherd. Odysseus tells the serving women who slept with the suitors to clean up the mess of corpses and then has those women hanged in terror. He tells Telemachus that he will replenish his stocks by raiding nearby islands. Odysseus has now revealed himself in all his glory (with a little makeover by Athena); yet Penelope cannot believe that her husband has really returned—she fears that it is perhaps some god in disguise, as in the story of Alcmene—and tests him by ordering her servant Euryclea to move the bed in their wedding-chamber. Odysseus protests that this cannot be done since he made the bed himself and knows that one of its legs is a living olive tree. Penelope finally accepts that he truly is her husband, a moment that highlights their homophrosýnē (like-mindedness).
The next day Odysseus and Telemachus visit the country farm of his old father Laertes. The citizens of Ithaca follow Odysseus on the road, planning to avenge the killing of the Suitors, their sons. The goddess Athena intervenes and persuades both sides to make peace.
Many, many years after those events and his safe return to Ithaca, his son by the witch Circe, named Telegonus, had grown to manhood. The boy wanted to meet his long lost father, and so set out to sea in search of him. But when he landed on the island of Ithaca, hungry and alone, and killed some sheep to feed himself, King Odysseus thinking he was a pirate, went down to the shore armed with his spears to drive him off. The pair fought, not knowing who the other was, and Odysseus fell in the fight, pierced through the chest by a spear tipped with the poison sting of a ray. So the prophecy of Odysseus’ death was fulfilled — death had come to him from the sea.
The story went on a little further, with Telegonus taking Penelope and Odysseus’ Ithacan son Telemachus to the island of Circe, where they were all made immortal by the witch. The two sons also married each other’s mothers.
Epiphanes, was born on Cephalonia in the late 1st Century or early 2nd Century to Carpocrates (his father), and Alexandria of Kephallenia. He is the legendary author of On Righteousness, a notable Gnostic literary work that promotes communist principles.
Epiphanes is the legendary author of On Righteousness, a notable Gnostic literary work that promotes communist principles, that was published and discussed by Clement of Alexandria, in Stromaties, III. Epiphanes was also attributed with founding Monadic Gnosis. G.R.S. Mead however thinks that Epiphanes was a legend and may not have been an actual person, that the real author of On Righteousness may be the Valentinian, Marcus.
According to Clement, Epiphanes was born on Cephalonia in the late 1st Century or early 2nd Century to Carpocrates (his father), and Alexandria of Cephalonia (his mother). Epiphanes died at the age of 17. Clement wrote that Epiphanes was «worshipped as a god with the most elaborate and lascivious rites by the Cephalonians, in the great temple of Samē, on the day of the new moon.» Mead discusses that the idea of temple worship is probably a misunderstanding, that Clement may have mistaken the worship of the moon god Epiphanes with a person of the same name. The Epiphany was a sun-moon festival at the Samē temple. The new moon’s life of 17 days (in the lunar cycle) may have been misunderstood as Epiphanes’ 17 years of life.
On the other hand, Vanderbilt Professor Kathy L. Gaca (The Making of Fornication:Eros, Ethics, and Political Reform in Greek Philosophy and Early Christianity, University of California Press, 2003) promotes a view of Epiphanes as one of the voices in early Christianity who held a positive and liberationist view of sexual pleasure, and who was among those like him who were ultimately silenced by the victorious sex-negative leadership represented by Clement of Alexandria, Tatian, Ambrose, Jerome and Augustine.
Another legend that Epiphanes led Monadic Gnosis, may have come from misunderstanding of the Greek word eiphanes which may have been mistaken as a personal name if in text, when in fact the Greek meansdistinguished, as in a distinguished teacher.
A notable belief attributed to Epiphanes and described in On Righteousness was the idea of communal living or communism, including shared property and spouses. The text begins: «The righteousness of God is a kind of sharing along with equality.» The idea of communal living may have come from Plato’s ideas in the The Republic. Clement took this very seriously as a sign of libertine promiscuity, but the real followers were likely to be more philosophical and merely observant of the Early Christian practice of Agape, communal feasts and property.
Gaius Antonius Hybrida
Gaius Antonius Hybrida, was the uncle of the famed triumvir Mark Antony and co-consul of Cicero was exiled to Cephalonia in 59 BC. Gaius Antonius Hybrida (flourished 1st century BC) was a politician of the Roman Republic. He was the second son of Marcus Antonius Orator and brother of Marcus Antonius Creticus; his mother is unknown. He was the uncle of the famed triumvir Mark Antony.
His military career started as a legate and cavalry commander of Lucius Cornelius Sulla during the Mithridatic Wars. After Sulla’s return to Rome, Hybrida remained in Greece with a force of cavalry. He was supposed to maintain peace and order but ended in plundering the countryside and sacking for his own profit several temples and holy places. It was the rumors of his plundering and atrocities committed on the local population, which included maiming and torture, that earned him the nickname Hybrida («half-beast») (Pliny, Nat. Hist.viii. 213).
In 76 BC, he was prosecuted for his malpractices by the young Julius Caesar, but escaped punishment because he successfully appealed to the people’s tribunes. Years later, in 70 BC, he was removed from the Senate and stripped of senatorial rank by the censors, still on charges due to the atrocities committed in Greece. In spite of his bad reputation, however, he was elected tribune in 71 BC, which meant that he again joined the Senate; then praetor in 66 BC, and finally consul with Marcus Tullius Cicero in 63 BC.
For, when Marcus Cicero had become consul with Gaius Antonius, and Mithridates no longer caused any injury to the Romans, but had destroyed himself…
He secretly supported Lucius Sergius Catiline, but Cicero won him to his side by promising him the governorship of the rich province of Macedonia.
This alarm Cicero first sought to allay by getting the province of Macedonia voted to his colleague, while he himself declined the proffered province of Gaul; and by this favour he induced Antonius, like a hired actor, to play the second role to him in defence of their country.
On the outbreak of the Catilinarian conspiracy, Hybrida was obliged as consul to lead an army into Etruria, but handed over the command on the day of battle to Marcus Petreius, on the ground of ill health.
He then went to Macedonia, where he made himself so detested by his oppressive rule and extortions over the people, that he was forced to leave the province. In 59 BC, Hybrida was accused in Rome, by Marcus Caelius Rufus, both of having taken part in the Catilinarian conspiracy and of extortion in his province. It was said that Cicero had agreed with Gaius to share his plunder. Cicero’s defence of Hybrida two years before in view of a proposal for his recall, and also on the occasion of his trial, increased the suspicion. Despite Cicero’s defence, Hybrida was condemned and went into exile at Kefalonia.
The latter, while governor of Macedonia, had inflicted many injuries upon the subject territory as well as upon that which was in alliance with Rome, and had suffered many disasters in return. For after ravaging the possessions of the Dardanians and their neighbours, he did not dare to await their attack, but pretending to retire with his cavalry for some other purpose, took to flight; in this way the enemy surrounded his infantry and forcibly drove them out of the country, even taking away their plunder from them. When he tried the same tactics on the allies in Moesia, he was defeated near the city of the Istrians by the Bastarnian Scythianswho came to their aid; and thereupon he ran away. It was not for this conduct, however, that he was accused, but he was indicted for complicity in Catiline’s conspiracy; yet he was convicted on the former charge, so that it was his fate to be found not guilty of the crime for which he was being tried, but to be punished for something of which he was not accused. That was the way he came off. But Cicero, who defended him at this time because Antonius had been his colleague, made a most bitter attack upon Caesar, whom he held responsible for the suit against him, and even went so far as to heap abuse upon him.
He seems to have been recalled by Caesar, since he was present at a meeting of the Roman Senate in 44 BC and was censor in 42 BC.
Hybrida married an unnamed Roman woman. By his wife, he had two daughters:
- Antonia Hybrida Major (Major Latin for the elder) married Roman tribune Lucius Caninius Gallus
- Antonia Hybrida Minor (Minor Latin for the younger) married her first paternal cousin Mark Antonyas his second wife
From his daughter’s marriages, he had at least two grandchildren who were a younger Lucius Caninius Gallus and Antonia.
Middle Ages – 1800
Juan de Fuca (Ioannis Phokas) (1536–1602), captain and explorer
Ioánnis Phokás (Greek: Ιωάννης Φωκάς), better known by the Spanish transcription of his name, Juan de Fuca (born 1536 on the Ionian island of Cefalonia; died there 1602), was a Greek maritime pilot in the service of the King of Spain, Philip II. He is best known for his claim to have explored the Strait of Anián, now known as the Strait of Juan de Fuca, between Vancouver Island (now part of British Columbia, Canada) and the Olympic Peninsula (northwestern Washington State, United States).
Phokás’s grandfather, Emmanouíl Phokás (Gr: Εμμανουήλ Φωκάς), fled Constantinople at its fall in 1453, accompanied by his brother Andrónikos (Gr: Ανδρόνικος). The two settled first in the Peloponnese, where Andrónikos remained, but in 1470 Emmanouíl moved to the island of Cefalonia. Iákovos (Gr: Ιάκωβος), Ioánnis’s father established himself in the village of Valerianos (Gr: Βαλεριάνος) on the island and came to be known as «the Valeriáno Fokás» (Gr: ο Φωκάς ο Βαλεριάνος) to distinguish him from his brothers.
It was in this village of Valeriáno that Phokás was born in 1536. Little to nothing is known about his life before he entered the service of Spain, some time around 1555.
The name of the man known to history as Juan de Fuca is the source of some confusion. While Juan de Fuca is clearly a Spanish rendering of Ioánnis Phokás (Gr: Ιωάννης Φωκάς), some sources cite Apóstolos Valeriános (Gr: Απόστολος Βαλεριάνος) as his «real» name. It is possible that Phokás was baptized Apóstolos and later adopted the name Ioánnis/Juan (i.e., John) because Apóstol is not much used as a name in Spanish. Given that Fokás/Fuca was the family name borne by the seafarer’s father and grandfather, Valeriános is likely to be a nickname used on the island which would have been quite meaningless in the Spanish Empire.
De Fuca’s early voyages were to the Far East, and he claimed to have arrived in New Spain in 1587 when, off Cabo San Lucas in Baja California, the English privateer Thomas Cavendish seized his galleon Santa Ana and deposited him ashore. He was a well-traveled seaman, perfecting his skill as a pilot in the Spanish fleet. The King of Spain, he also claimed, recognized him for his excellence and made him pilot of the Spanish navy in the West Indies (a title he held for forty years), but there is no record in Spanish Archives of his name or position or of his visit to the royal court. Before he made his famous trip up the northwest coast of the North American continent, he sailed to China, the Philippines and Mexico. The Strait of Juan de Fuca between the United States of America and Canada was named for him by British Captain Charles Barkley because it was at the same latitude that Juan de Fuca described as the location of the Strait of Anian.
According to de Fuca’s account, he undertook two voyages of exploration on the orders of the Viceroy of New Spain, Luis de Velasco, marqués de Salinas, both intended to find the fabled Strait of Anián, believed to be a Northwest Passage, a sea route linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The first voyage saw 200 soldiers and three small ships under the overall command of a Spanish captain (with de Fuca as pilot and master) assigned the task of finding the Strait of Anián and fortifying it against the English. This expedition failed when, allegedly due to the captain’s malfeasance, the soldiers mutinied and returned home to California. (Note that in this period, Spanish doctrine divided control of ships and fleets between the military commander, who was an army officer, and the sailing and navigation commander, who was a mariner.)
In 1592, on his second voyage, de Fuca enjoyed success. Having sailed north with a caravel and a pinnace and a few armed marines, he returned to Acapulco and claimed to have found the strait, with a large island at its mouth, at around 47° north latitude. The Strait of Juan de Fuca is in fact at around 48° N, although Fuca’s account of sailing into it departs from reality, describing a region far different from what actually existed there. During the voyage, de Fuca also noted a «high pinnacle or spired rock», which may have been Fuca Pillar, a tall, almost rectangular, rock on the western shore of Cape Flattery on the northwestern tip of Washington beside the Strait of Juan de Fuca – although de Fuca noted it being on the other side of the strait.
Despite Velasco’s repeated promises, however, de Fuca never received the great rewards he claimed as his due. After two years, and on the viceroy’s urging, de Fuca travelled to Spain to make his case to the court in person. Disappointed again and disgusted with the Spanish, the aging Greek determined to retire to his home in Kefalloniabut was in 1596 convinced by an Englishman, Michael Lok (also spelled as Locke in English and French documents from the period), to offer his services to Spain’s archenemy, Queen Elizabeth. Nothing came of Lok and Fokás’ proposals, but it is through Lok’s account that the story of Juan de Fuca entered English letters.
Because the only written evidence for Fokás’s voyages lay in Lok’s account — researchers being unable to find records of the expedition in Spanish colonial archives — there was long much controversy over his discovery and, indeed, whether he had ever even existed as a real person; several scholars have dismissed Juan de Fuca as entirely fictitious, and the 18th-century British explorer Captain Cook strongly doubted that the strait Fokás claimed to have discovered even existed (although Cook actually sailed past the Strait of Juan de Fuca without entering it and did stop at Nootka Sound on the west coast of Vancouver Island). With later English exploration and settlement of the area, however, Fokás’s claims seemed much more credible.
Finally, in 1859, an American researcher, with the help of the U.S. Consul in the Ionian Islands, was able to demonstrate not only that Fokás had lived but also that his family and history were well known on the islands. While we may never know the exact truths that lay behind the account published by Lok, it must be considered unlikely that the man himself was a fiction.
When the English captain Charles William Barkley, sailing the Imperial Eagle in 1787, (re)discovered the strait Fokás had described, he renamed it the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
The Juan de Fuca Plate, a tectonic plate underlying much of the coastline he explored, is named for the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
Juan de Fuca Provincial Park on Vancouver Island’s West Coast is named for the strait, as is the hiking trail of the same name.
Constantine Phaulkon (1647–1688), adventurer, first counsellor to King Narai of Ayutthaya
Constance Phaulkon, born Κωσταντής Γεράκης or Costantin Gerachi (Greek: Κωνσταντῖνος Γεράκης, Konstantinos Gerakis, «γεράκι», is the word for «falcon») also known by the French simply as Monsieur Constance, Chao Phraya Wichayen and the Portuguese Constantino Falcão (1647 – June 5, 1688) was a Greek adventurer, who became prime counsellor to King Narai of Ayutthaya, assuming the title Chao P’raya Vichayen.
Born within the fortress of Asso in the region of Erisso (pertinenza di Erisso) on northern Cephalonia (then under Venetian rule) to Greek Orthodox parents. The Γεράκη / Gerachi (Gerakis) family was already established there, in the village of Plagia (Πλαγιά), since the 16th century. Phaulkon came to Siam (today’s Thailand) as a merchant in 1675 after working for England’s East India Company. He became fluent in Thai in just a few years and began to work at the court of King Narai as a translator (he was also fluent in English, French, Portuguese, and Malay). Due to his experience with the East India Company, he was soon able to become a prime counsellor of the king. He worked in the Treasury.
In 1682, Phaulkon abandoned Anglicanism for Catholicism and soon after married a Catholic woman of mixed Japanese-Portuguese-Bengali descent named Maria Guyomar de Pinha. They lived a life of affluence as Phaulkon rose to become highly influential at the Siamese court of king Narai. Their marriage brought two sons, João and Jorge, the first of whom died before their father.
Following troubles with the English and the Dutch, Phaulkon engineered a Franco-Siamese rapprochement leading to the exchange of numerous embassies between France and Siam, as well as the dispatch of an expeditionary force by the French in 1687. Phaulkon, called Monsieur Constance by the French and addressed Cher ami by their king, was their main ally for several years. In recognition king Louis XIV of France awarded him with the knighthood of the Order of Saint Michael, a hereditary title in the French nobility as well as the French citizenship for him and his family.
The Abbé de Choisy, who was part of the first French embassy to Thailand in 1685, wrote about M. Phaulkon’s character:
«He was one of those in the world who have the most wit, liberality, magnificence, intrepidity, and was full of great projects, but perhaps he only wanted to have French troops in order to try and make himself king after the death of his master, which he saw as imminent. He was proud, cruel, pitiless, and with inordinate ambition. He supported the Christian religion because it could support him; but I would never have trusted him in things in which his own advancement was not involved»
— Abbé de Choisy, Mémoires pour servir à l’histoire de Louis XIV, 1983:150.
Phaulkon’s closeness to the king naturally earned him the envy of some Thai members of the royal court, which would eventually prove to be his undoing. When King Narai became terminally ill, a rumor spread that Phaulkon wanted to use the designated heir, Phra Pui, as a puppet and actually become ruler himself. As unlikely as this was, it provided an excuse for Pra Phetracha, the foster brother of Narai to stage a coup d’état, the 1688 Siamese revolution. Without the king’s knowledge, both Phaulkon and his followers as well as the royal heir were arrested and executed on June 5, 1688 in Lopburi. When King Narai learned what had happened, he was furious—but was too weak to take any action. Narai died several days later, virtually a prisoner in his own palace. Phetracha then proclaimed himself the new king of Siam and began a xenophobic regime which expelled almost all foreigners from the kingdom.
The different interpretations of Phetracha’s motivation for ordering the arrest and execution of Phaulkon have made the Greek’s position in Thai history somewhat controversial. Supporters of Phetracha’s actions have depicted Phaulkon as an opportunistic foreigner who sought to use his influence to control of the kingdom on behalf of Western interests. More skeptical historians believe that Phaulkon was simply a convenient scapegoat – a means for Phetracha to seize the throne from the rightful heir by capitalizing on the envy and suspicion Phaulkon had engendered.
Doctor (1659–1718), gave the first smallpox inoculation outside of Turkey and contributed to the later development of vaccination against smallpox, by Edward Jenner. Giacomo Pylarini (Jacob) (1659–1718) was a Venetian physician and consul for the republic of Venice in Smyrna who in 1701 on the children of the English ambassador to Constantinople, gave the first smallpox inoculation outside of Asia. This early immunization effort was called «variolation».
He studied law and then physic at Padua before receiving his degree of MD. He traveled to different parts of Asia and Africa and practised both at Smyrna and Constantinople. In Moscow he was appointed physician to the Russian Tsar Peter the Great.
He returned to Smyrna for the second time and resided there as the Venetian Consul as well as practising physician.
Ilias Miniatis (1669–1714), clergyman, writer and preacher.
Ilias Miniatis (1669 at Lixouri – 1714 at Patras) was a Greek clergyman, writer and preacher. At the Flanginian School he learned Ancient Greek and Latin and became interested in mathematics and philology. He was ordained very early. He preached God’s word at his home island, Cephalonia, at Zakynthos, at Corfu and at Constantinople. His preachings are considered exemplars for modern ecclesiastical rhetoric. As of his language, it is simple Modern Greek and his style has something dramatical and hymnographic. His eloquent preachings are collected into the book «Διδαχαί» (Teachings), first published at Venice on 1725. An older book is «Η Πέτρα του Σκανδάλου» (The Start of the Scandal) about the Photian schism. Many historians consider him a student of Frangiscos Scoufos and others an imitator of Paolo Segneri. With his speeches he helped the development of ecclesiastical rhetoric and the configuration of Modern Greek language.
Leichoudes brothers, founders of the Slavic Greek Latin Academy in Moscow
The Likhud Brothers (Russian: Братья Лихуды) were two Greek monks from Cephalonia who founded and managed the Slavic Greek Latin Academy in Moscow between 1685 and 1694. Their names were Ioannikios Leichoudes (Greek: Ιωαννίκιος Λειχούδης) or Ioannikii Likhud (Russian: Иоанникий Лихуд, 1633–1717) and Sophronios Leichoudes (Greek:Σωφρόνιος Λειχούδης) or Sofronii Likhud (Russian: Софроний Лихуд, 1653–1730).
The brothers received their education at the Padua University in Italy. Patriarch Dositheos II of Jerusalem persuaded them to visit Moscow where they were given a warm welcome by Prince Vasily Galitzine (the head of Sophia’s government). On their arrival they were allowed to establish the Slavic Greek Latin Academy on the premises of Zaikonospassky Monastery inKitay-Gorod. It was effectively the first high school in Russia.
The Likhuds authored a series of bilingual manuals and guidebooks on philosophy, physics, logic, grammar, and poetics. The Muscovites regarded these books as a novelty, although they essentially regurgitated the ancient Aristotelian tenets. In the dispute between the pro-Latin and pro-Greek scholars the Likhuds supported the latter. Their opponents included Symeon of Polotsk and Sylvester Medvedev. In 1688 the elder brother was sent on a diplomatic mission to Venice.
After Galitzine’s fall from grace the Likhud brothers were removed from the academy on charges of «latinism». Following a brief exile at the Hypatian Monastery in Kostroma, the brothers moved their educational activities to Novgorod. After Ioannikios’ death in 1717 Sophronios was sent to administer the Solotcha Monastery near Ryazan where he was taunted by the brethren and had to confine himself to his cell.
The Likhud Brothers are remembered as the pioneers of higher education in Russia. In 2007 their statue was unveiled in front of the Epiphany Monastery in Kitay-Gorod.
Andreas Metaxas (Greek: Ανδρέας Μεταξάς) (1786 – September 19, 1860), prime minister of Greece born on the island of Cephalonia.
Andreas Metaxas was a Greek politician, fighter of the Greek War of Independence and diplomat from Cephalonia. He was prime minister of Greece from September 3, 1843 to February 16, 1844. The military leaders of the revolution gave him the ironic nickname of Conte Lalas due to his injury during the battle of Lalas.
Born in 1786 in Argostoli he belonged to the historical Metaxas family, which originated in Istanbul and moved to Kefalonia in the 15th century. He was the second son of Petrod Metaxas and Violeta Loverdou and had three brothers, Anastasios, Paisios and Ioannis. Konstantinos Metaxas was his cousin. Although he didn’t receive any special education, other than Greek he was fluent in Italian and French and was a scholar of ancient Greek history. A few years before the Greek Revolution he married Marietta Vourvachi, sister of a Greek officer in the French army, Dionysios, with whom he had two sons (Spyros and Petros) and two daughters. In pre-revolutionary years, he worked as a solicitor.
He was initiated into Filiki Eteria. When the revolution was declared, he rushed to Peloponnese and established, along with his brother Anastasios and his cousin Konstantinos, a military contingent of 350 men from Kefalonia quipped with two cannons, contribution of Evangelinos Panas. Among the leaders were Victor Gerasimos Fokas, Konstantinos Fokas Karandinos and others. Claiming that they were chasing pirates, they boarded a ship belonged to Anastasios and Fokas Theodoratou brothers, which was equipped with 18 cannons, 50 sailors and 50 gunmen. They disembarked in early May 1821 in Glarentza and marched to Manolada. There, they were joined by other military captains (Vilaetis, Sisinis and Plapoutas) and then marched to Lalas, which was the foothold of notorious Albanian fighters. During the battles that took place in the region and until June 13, when all the people from Lalas had to resort to Patra, Metaxas was among the noteworthy. He even got wounded in both hands by bullets. Later, after Demetrios Ypsilantis’ suggestion, he was sent, along with the rest of the army, to Patra. Soon, due to his injury, he was only active in the political part of the revolution.
On May 25, 1822 in a unanimous decision, the «Executive Body» passed an act by which Metaxas, was naturalized as a Greek Peloponnese citizen for his service to his country. He was appointed Minister of Police in 1822, while in April 1826 was appointed Minister of War. He was a member of the National Assembly of Argos and member of the Provisional Government. Along with Georgios Mavromichalis and Germanos III of Old Patras, he was sent by the Government to Verona in search for financial resources but also to persuade the Great Powers to not act against Greece, in which he succeeded with the help of his friend Ioannis Kapodistrias.
Andreas Metaxas was the prime mover behind Ioannis Kapodistrias election. He was a devout supporter of Kapodistrias and remained his faithful ally to the end. In return Kapodistrias honored him by promoting him to high dignities. On his own initiative, he joined the «Panhellenic”, was appointed Head of the army and Emergency Commissioner of Peloponnese. From this position Metaxas mainly helped organizing the tactical army. After the assassination of Kapodistrias in 1831, although pro-Russian, Metaxas opposed the election of Augustine Kapodistrias which he found disastrous. Nevertheless, he kept away from Ioannis Kolettis’ disruptive tendencies. Despite that, he remained a member of the provisional government until the arrival of king Otto.
During the regency, he was appointed Prefect of Laconia and later, in October 1835, member of the State Council. Soon, however, he was exiled to Marseille by the Regency for his liberal views. He was later called back and sent to Spain as ambassador of Greece. After his return to Greece in 1839, he was re-appointed member of the State Council. He served as Minister of Military in the government of Alexandros Mavrokordatos during July and August 1841. After his resignation, he got involved in the Revolution of September 3, 1843, demanding the granting of a constitution. He took over the leadership of the Russian Party after Theodoros Kolokotronis’ death.
On the 3rd of September 1843, as a consequence of the movement that erupted on the same day, he received a mandate by Otto to form a government to vote on the Constitution. A few days later, under the threat that he would resign unless his proposal was accepted, he managed to convince the cabinet to broaden the government with the participation of Alexandros Mavrokordatos and Ioannis Kolettis, leaders of the English and French party respectively. Metaxas was the first government leader in the political history of Greece who was named prime minister.
During his premiership, Metaxas managed to maintain order and conduct elections in order to form the First National Assembly. He was elected Honorary Vice-President in five regions and participated in its actions. In next year’s elections for the First Period (1844-1845), he was elected Attica MP. He was appointed Minister of Finance in Kolettis’ government, a position he held from August 1844 until August 1845, when he resigned after Kolettis’ effort to overthrow the constitution. He served as a senator during the years 1846 and 1847 and from 1850 until 1859 as an Attica MP. In 1850, he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant and was decorated by King Otto with the Grand Cross of the Order of the Redeemer. On the 15th of September of the same year, he was sent to Istanbul as ambassador of Greece.He resigned on the 10th of March 1854, after the start of the Crimean War, and returned to Athens where he retired from politics. It appears that he secretly supported the revolt movement of Thessaly and Epirus and changed the King’s hasty decision to get involved, when he secretly rushed to the palace and convinced him not to go there, thus preventing any suffering for Greece. Shortly before his death, Otto assigned him to form a government but he refused.
Andreas Metaxas also served as president of the Society for the Promotion of Education and Learning and many charity foundations. Throughout his life he was brave, honest, patriotic and had a strong character. He died in Athens in September 1860.
Spiridonos Louzis (ca. 1741–1815), Greek scholar, diplomat, politician and naturalized ambassador of Prussia.
Spiridonos Louzis was a Greek scholar, diplomat, politician and naturalized ambassador of Prussia. Spiridion Lusi was of Greek origin. He was born on the island of Cephalonia in 1741, at that time a possession of the Republic of Venice. He migrated to Italy where he resided for many years and was educated in the Greek College of Venice, and later at the University of Padua. He was eventually sent as Venice’s minister to London, and in Prussia and Berlin. From 1763 to 1765, he translated the four volumes of a translation of Lucian from the Greek language into Italian, in four volumes published in London and Venice in 1764. Lusi added some dialogue translated by Gasparo Gozzi. Several years later he moved to Vienna.
In 1775, whilst Lusi was in Breslau, he made the acquaintance of Frederick the Great. He came to Berlin in 1777, where he was introduced into society and presented to the king atPotsdam. During the War of the Bavarian Succession, he joined the volunteer corps as a Captain, fought with distinction against the Austrians and was soon promoted to Major. In 1780 he was hired as Prussian ambassador to London, a position he assumed in February 1781. With the improvement of Prussia’s relations with England, which occurred in the last years of Frederick’s reign, Lusi managed to exert a more fruitful ambassadorial activity. In 1784 he was appointed Colonel. He was recalled in October 1788 from London, and in 1790 he accompanied the new king, Frederick William II, who contracted an army against Austria. In January 1792 he had a son, Friedrich Wilhelm Ludwig August Spiridion (Φρειδερίκος Λούζης), who would eventually become captain in the Guards Regiment. In 1792 he was appointed Major General by King Frederick William III, and Lieutenant General in 1798. In 1800 he was appointed ambassador at St. Petersburg, but he was dismissed two years later at his own request. Thereafter he lived quietly and withdrawn in Potsdam, where he died in 1815.
His descendants settled both in Germany and in Ireland. The name died out in Ireland in 1919 with the death of his granddaughter Countess Elise de Lusi, but his other Irish descendants include the physicist Professor John Joly FRS (1857–1933). In Germany still are living descendants.
Petros Melissinos (ca. 1726–1797)
Petros Melissinos was a General of the Army of the Russian Empire and was widely considered the best Russian artilleryman of the 18th century. He was born as Petros Melissinos on the Greek island of Cephalonia in 1726, he was of Greek origin and his father was a physician who belonged to the noble Greek family of Melissenos (Greek Μελισσηνός). Throughout his life, he prided himself on his Greek origin. He received a thorough education in his youth and was fluent in many languages including Russian, German, Italian, French, Turkish as well as his native Greek, he also knew some Latin and English. Melissinos arrived in Russia during the reign of Peter the Great and ended his career as Vice-President of the Commerce Collegium in 1740-45.
During the Russo-Turkish War, 1768-1774, Pyotr Melissino was in charge of the Russian artillery. His efficient command helped Russian forces prevail against a fourfold numerical superiority of the Ottomans at Khotin, Larga, and Kagula. In 1783, he was appointed Director of the Artillery and Engineering Corps in St. Petersburg. He is remembered as an organizer of the artillery education in the Russian Empire. After the ascension of Emperor Paul, Melissino was put in charge of the entire Russian artillery but died the following year.
Melissino was instrumental in promoting the career of one of Paul’s favourites, Aleksey Arakcheyev. His son Aleksey Melissino, a Major General, was killed in the Battle of Dresden (1813). His brother, Ivan Melissino, was Dean of the Moscow University under Catherine the Great.
1800 – Recent Past
Andreas Laskaratos was born in Lixouri in 1811. He lived on the island in the period of the great machinations when British rule was showing its authoritarian face. He studied law in the Ionian Academy, Paris, and Pisa. He met and was influenced by Andreas Kalvos and Dionysios Solomos. In 1856, he wrote Mysteries of Kefalonia in which he satirized the church and the radicals. He was excommunicated as a result. He wrote in the simple, unrefined language of the people and his works were very popular despite the persecutions he suffered. He spent some time self-exiled in London and then returned home. He published the Lyxnos magazine and suffered new persecutions for his criticisms. He died in 1901 in Lixouri. Other works of his are A Reply to the Excommunication (1856), Pieces in Verse (1872), and Ecce homo (1886).
Panayis Athanase Vagliano
Panaghis Athanassiou Vallianos, (1814–1902) was a merchant and shipowner, acclaimed as the ‘father of modern Greek shipping. He joined his brothers Marinos and Andreas, initially settling in Taganrog, Russian Empire around 1840. Together they formed Vaglianos Bros. as grain-merchants and shippers, making good profits from the high prices of grain during the Crimean War. It is said that they sometimes bought the whole Russian wheat export crop, and were pioneers of exchange-traded wheat contracts.
After the war ended, fellow Greeks had problems finding shippers for their cargoes from the Great Powers; Vaglianos Bros. stepped in and offered them financing and transport on their own ships. Vagliano moved his business to London in 1858, as grain merchants, bankers, and shippers, but kept in contact with Russia through his brothers. There was already a well-established Greek merchant community in London, and they assisted his membership of the Baltic Exchange from where his business thrived. His operation based in London avoided restrictive Greek commercial laws, enabling him to loan money to other Greeks for shipbuilding, and he was quoted as wishing for ‘the seas covered with a thick forest of Greek masts’. Vagliano Bros. continued operating after his death, and survived the loss of its traditional markets in Russia and Turkey after World War I by concentrating on shipping and finance; in this way they helped develop Greek shipping dynasties.
However, he is probably best remembered in his native Greece for a donation that funded the National Library of Greece in Athens. He was also a philanthropist in London, and donated money towards Saint Sophia Cathedral in London and the Greek Orthodox cemetery within West Norwood Cemetery, where he is interred next to his brother Marinos in a grand neoclassical Greekmausoleum modelled on the Tower of the Winds, now listed Grade II. At his death he was enormously wealthy (his estate was valued at £3M) and he willed a considerable legacy to Kefalonia for charitable purposes.
Georgios Bonanos, sculptor
Georgios Bonanos was born in Vouni, Kefalonia in 1863. He studied sculpture at the School of Fine Arts in Athens. His teachers were Lazaros Fytalis, Leonidas Drosis, and Dimitris Filippotis. He completed his studies in Rome. His work is characterized by vigour, skill, and dynamism. He died in Athens in 1940. Among his most significant works are «Greek Slave», which received an award at the International Fair of Paris in 1889 and «Huntress», which also received an award in 1900. Other works of his include «Hours», «Dead Woman» in the 1st cemetery of Athens, the monument of Iakovati in Lixouri, and the Toole monument in the English cemetery of Argostoli. He also made busts such as that of Panagiotis Vallianos in the National Library of Athens, Miaoulis in Syros, Odysseas Androutsos in Gravia and others.He made several statues and busts, placed all over Greece.
Nikolaos Xydias Typaldos (1826–1909), painter
Nikolaos Xydias Typaldos was a Greek painter, best known for his portraits. His first studies were in Italy, followed by some time at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where he held several exhibitions to good critical response. Although initially influenced by the Heptanese School of painting, his time in France opened him up to modern trends. He continued to live in Paris for many years, but spent much of his career travelling, spending time in London, Italy and Saint Petersburg. In 1890, he returned to Greece and won a gold medal at an exhibition in Parnassos.
In addition to his portraits, he also created still-lifes and genre scenes.
Marinos Korgialenios, the island’s benefactor, was born in Argostoli in 1830. In his youth he worked in the trading houses of Smyrna and Odessa. He was involved in trade and founded his own enterprises in London and Marseille, in 1859 and 1863 respectively. In 1875, he established a bank agency in London, where he died in 1911. After his death, he bequeathed a large fortune to his birthplace, which, among other things, helped build the «Korgialenio Museum» in Argostoli.
Photinos Panas, (January 30, 1832 – 1903)
Photinos Panas was an ophthalmologist, born on the Greek island of Cephalonia, Spartia. In 1860 he obtained his medical degree at Paris. He was the first professor of ophthalmology at the University of Paris, and in 1879 established the ophthalmology clinic at the Hôtel-Dieu de Paris. In 1894 he published Traité des maladies des yeux, which at the time was considered to be the best French textbook on eye diseases. Panas is credited with introducing an operation for entropion in trichiasis, as well as an operation for attachment of the upper eyelid to the occipitofrontalis muscle for treatment of blepharoptosis. Each of these techniques is sometimes referred to as «Panas’ operation» in medical literature.
The composer and musician Dionysios Lavragas was born in Argostoli in 1864. He studied violin, piano, organ, theory of music, composition, and conducting in Naples and Paris. He began his career as conductor of melodrama in Italy and France. In 1894, he was appointed director of the Music Society of Athens and at the same time taught music in the Arsakeio School. In 1897, he founded the musical department of the G. Fexis Musical Publishing House. In 1898, he started giving performances of professional melodrama. Between 1901 and 1905, he taught in the Greek Conservatory. He worked as a journalist for the Eleftheron Vima and Ethnos newspapers. He was awarded the Medal of Letters and Arts for his contribution to the Greek melodrama and modern Greek music. He died in Argostoli in 1941. His compositions include «The First Greek Suit» (1903), the symphonic piece «Fuga», the melodramas «Dido» and «Life is a Dream», the opera «Fakanapa’s Torments», the dramas «The Redeemer» and «The Black Butterfly», and the operettas «White Hair» and «Double Fire». Of particular note is his religious work «Misa Solemnis». He also wrote books about the theory of music like the Manual of Harmony, Theory of Music and The Handbook of Musical Art.
Ioannis Metaxas (April 12, 1871 – January 29, 1941)
He was a Greek general and dictator, serving as Prime Minister of Greece from 1936 until his death in 1941. He governed constitutionally for the first four months of his tenure, and thereafter as the strongman of the 4th of August Regime.
Born in Ithaca, Metaxas was a career military officer, first seeing action in the Greco-Turkish War of 1897. Following studies in the German Empire, he returned to join the General Staff and was part of the modernizing process of the Greek Army before the Balkan Wars (1912–1913), in which he actively participated. He was appointed as Chief of the Greek General Staff in 1913 and was promoted to Lieutenant General in 1916. He prepared the military attack plans and conducted the diplomacy in the First and Second Balkan Wars that led to the liberation of what today forms the northern provinces of Greece of Epirus, Macedonia and Thrace.
A staunch monarchist, Metaxas supported Constantine I and opposed Greek entry into World War I. Eleftherios Venizelos, the prime minister, resigned over the refusal of Metaxas to aid the Allies’ unsuccessful Dardanelles campaign and used the war as the major issue in the elections. When Venizelos won the May 1915 elections, he mobilised the army to aidSerbia, but was dismissed by the king. This dismissal solidified the rift between monarchists and Venizelists, creating the «National Schism» that would plague Greek politics for decades. In August 1916, Venizelist officers launched a revolt in Greece’s northern city of Thessaloniki, which resulted in the establishment of a separate «Government of National Defence» under Venizelos. The new government, with the Allies’ support, expanded its control over half the country, and entered the war on the Allies’ side. In June 1917, with Allied support, King Constantine was deposed and Venizelos came to power, declaring war on behalf of the whole country on 29 June 1917.
Metaxas followed the king into exile in Corsica. Both returned, however, in 1920 with the electoral defeat of Eleftherios Venizelos. Metaxas was one of the few who publicly opposed the ongoing Asia Minor Campaign, citing military considerations, and refused to assume any military office in the war. Following the defeat of Greek forces in Asia Minor, King Constantine was again forced into exile by a revolution led by Colonel Nikolaos Plastiras. Metaxas moved into politics and founded the Freethinkers’ Party on 12 October 1922. However, his association with the failed royalist Leonardopoulos-Gargalidis coup attempt in October 1923 forced him to flee the country. Soon after, King George II (son of Constantine I) was also forced into exile. The monarchy was abolished, and the Second Hellenic Republic proclaimed, in March 1924.
Metaxas returned to Greece soon after, publicly stating his acceptance of the regime change. Despite a promising start, and his status as one of the most prominent royalist politicians, Metaxas’ foray into politics was not very successful. In the 1926 elections, his Freethinkers’ Party claimed 15.78% of the vote and 52 seats in Parliament, putting it almost on a par with the other main royalist party, the People’s Party. As a result, Metaxas became Communications Minister in the «ecumenical government» formed under Alexandros Zaimis.
However, infighting within the party and the departure of many members plunged the party to 5.3% and a single seat in the 1928 elections. The 1932 and 1933 elections saw the percentage drop to 1.59%, although the party still returned three MPs, and Metaxas became Interior Minister in the Panagis Tsaldaris cabinet. In the 1935 elections, he cooperated in a union with other small royalist parties, returning seven MPs, repeating the performance in the1936 elections.
After a heavily rigged plebiscite, George II returned to take the throne in 1935. The elections of 1936 produced a deadlock between a right-wing coalition led by Panagis Tsaldaris and a centre-left bloc led by Venizelos’ successor, Themistoklis Sophoulis. The political situation was further polarized by the gains made by the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), which held the balance of power. Disliking the Communists and fearing a coup, George II appointed Metaxas, then minister of war, to be interim prime minister on 13 April 1936, and the appointment was confirmed by the Greek parliament.
Widespread industrial unrest gave Metaxas justification to declare a state of emergency on August 4, 1936. With the king’s support, he adjourned parliament indefinitely and suspended various articles of the constitution guaranteeing civil liberties. In a national radio address, Metaxas declared that for the duration of the state of emergency, he would hold «all the power I need for saving Greece from the catastrophes which threaten her.» The regime created as a result of this self-coup became known as «the 4th of August» after the date of its proclamation.
The regime’s propaganda presented Metaxas as «the First Peasant», «the First Worker» and «the National Father» of the Greeks. Metaxas adopted the title of Arkhigos, Greek for «leader» or «chieftain», and claimed a «Third Hellenic Civilization», following ancient Greece and the Greek Byzantine Empire of the Middle Ages. State propaganda portrayed Metaxas as a «Saviour of the Nation» bringing unity to a divided nation.
Patterning his regime on other authoritarian European governments of the day (most notably Fascist Italy), Metaxas banned political parties (including his own), prohibited strikes and introduced widespread censorship of the media. National unity was to be achieved by the abolition of the previous political parliamentary system, which was seen as having left the country in chaos (see National Schism). Metaxas disliked the old parties of the political landscape, including traditional conservatives. Along with anti-parliamentarism, anti-communism formed the second major political agenda of the 4th of August regime. Minister of Security Konstantinos Maniadakis quickly infiltrated and practically dissolved the Communist Party of Greece by seizing its archives and arresting Communist leader Nikos Zachariadis. Metaxas himself became Minister of Education in 1938, and had all school texts re-written to fit the regime’s ideology. Suppressing Communism was followed by a campaign against ‘Anti-Greek’ literature viewed as dangerous to the national interest. Book burnings targeted authors such asGoethe, Shaw, and Freud, and several Greek writers. Arthur Koestler, who visited Athens in 1938, noted that even Plato’s «Republic» was on Metaxas’ list of prohibited books — which in Koestler’s view made the Metaxas dictatorship «stupid as well as vicious». At that time Koestler met secretly with members of the underground opposition, hearing from them «horrifying stories of police brutality, especially the case of unspeakable torture inflicted on a young girl Communist».
Trying to build a corporatist state and secure popular support, Metaxas adopted or adapted many of Fascist Italy’s institutions: a National Labour Service, the eight-hour workday, mandatory improvements to working conditions, and the Social Insurance Institute still the biggest social security institution in Greece. In terms of symbolism, the Roman salute and the Minoan double-axe, the labrys, were introduced. Unlike Mussolini, however, Metaxas lacked the support provided by a mass political party; indeed, he deliberately positioned himself as being above politics. The regime’s only mass organization was the National Organisation of Youth (EON), whose literature and magazines were promoted in schools. Throughout his rule, Metaxas’s power rested primarily upon the army and the support of King George II.
In foreign policy Metaxas followed a neutral stance, trying to balance between the UK and Germany. In the late 1930s, as with the other Balkan countries, Germany became Greece’s largest trading partner. Metaxas himself had a reputation as a Germanophile dating back to his studies in Germany and his role in the National Schism. The regime’s literature gave praise to fellow European authoritarian states, especially those of Franco, Mussolini and Hitler. However, events gradually drove Metaxas to lean toward France and Britain. King George and most of the country’s elites were staunchly anglophile, and the predominance of the British Royal Navy in the Mediterranean could not be ignored by a maritime country such as Greece. Furthermore, the expansionist goals of Mussolini’s Italy pushed Greece to lean towards the Franco-British alliance.
Metaxas’s efforts to keep Greece out of World War II came undone when Mussolini demanded occupation rights to strategic Greek sites. When the Italian envoy presented these demands on 28 October 1940, Metaxas curtly replied in French: «Alors, c’est la guerre» («Then it is war»). However, according to popular legend, Metaxas simply told the Italian envoy in Greek, «Ohi!» («No!»)–an incident that has become encapsulated in Greek popular feeling. «Ohi Day» is still celebrated in Greece each year. A few hours later, Italy invaded Greece from Albania and started the Greco-Italian War.
Thanks to preparations and an inspired defence, the Greeks were able to mount a successful defence and counteroffensive, forcing the Italians back and occupying large parts of Southern Albania, often called by Greek «Northern Epirus», where a sizeable Greek minority still lives today.
Metaxas never saw the German invasion of Greece during the Battle of Greece because he died in Athens on 29 January 1941, of a phlegmon of the pharynx which subsequently led to incurable toxaemia. He was succeeded byAlexandros Koryzis. After the death of Metaxas, the German invasion of Greece had to take into account the fortifications constructed by Metaxas in Northern Greece. These fortifications were constructed along the Bulgarian border and were known as the Metaxas Line.
To this day, Metaxas remains a highly controversial figure in Greek history. He is reviled by some for his dictatorial rule, and admired by others for his popular policies, patriotism, defiance to aggression, and his military victory against Italy.
4th of August Regime
The 4th of August Regime commonly also known as the Metaxas Regime, was an authoritarian regime under the leadership of General Ioannis Metaxas that ruled Greece from 1936 to 1941. It took its name from a self-coup carried out by Metaxas, with royal support, on 4 August 1936.
Metaxas imposed his regime primarily to fight the turbulent social situation prevalent in Greece in the 1930s, in which political factionalization had disrupted Greek parliamentary democracy. The sinking credibility of the Parliament was accompanied by several coup attempts; in March 1935, a Venizelist putsch failed, and in the following October, elections reinforced the Royalist majority, which allowed the exiled King George II to return to Greece.
The king re-established the monarchy in the country, but the parliament, split into incompatible factions, was unable to shape a clear political majority so that the government could govern. Meanwhile, the increasing activity of the Communists, whose 15 deputies from the 1936 elections held the balance between 143 Monarchists and 142 Liberals, Agrarians, and Republicans, created a deadlock.
In May 1935 widespread agrarian unrest (tobacco farmers) and industrial unrest in the north of the country erupted, which eventually brought General Metaxas, to suspend the parliament on the eve of a major strike, on August 4, 1936. Endorsed by the King, Metaxas declared a state of emergency, decreed martial law, annulled various articles of the constitution and established a crisis cabinet to put to an end the growing riots and to restore social order. In one of his first speeches, Metaxas announced: «I have decided to hold all the power I need for saving Greece from the catastrophes which threaten her.»
Thus the Metaxas dictatorship was born, and the period of time which would follow was named after the day Metaxas rose to absolute power: the 4th of August. The new regime was backed by small extreme political parties, and by conservatives expecting a crackdown on the communists.
The roots of Metaxas’ «New State» were sought in Greece’s classical history. Metaxas thought Hellenic nationalism would galvanize «the heathen values of ancient Greece, specifically those of Sparta, along with the Christian values of the Medieval empire of Byzantium». Ancient Macedonia was also glorified as the first political unifier of the Hellenes. As its main symbol, the youth organization of the regime chose the labrys/pelekys, the symbol of ancient Minoan Crete.
The traditional Greek values of «Country, Loyalty, Family and Religion», which Metaxas praised repeatedly, were also close to those of the ancient Spartans. The regime promoted the perceived Spartan ideals of self-discipline, militarism and collective sacrifice, while Byzantium provided an emphasis on a centralized state and devotion to the monarchy and Greek Orthodox Church.
Metaxas considered António Salazar’s Estado Novo of Portugal his main inspiration and surrounded himself with elements from this and other dictatorial regimes of the time. Thus his main ideological slogan was also «New State» (Neon Kratos) and the 4th of August regime used its own military-like uniforms, greetings, songs and rituals, including theRoman salute (which Metaxas considered Greek in origin as a salutation to the sun god Apollo, and he referred to it as the «Hellenikos Hairetismos» («Hellenic Hailing»)).
In Metaxas’ case we can speak as well of some characteristics typical of authoritarian states such as 1930s Italy and Germany: the regime’s propaganda presented Metaxas as «the First Peasant», «the First Worker» and as «the National Father» of the Greeks. Like his contemporaries Hitler with Führer and Mussolini with Duce, Metaxas adopted the title of Arhigos, Greek for «leader» or «chieftain», and claimed that his regime had to lay the foundations for the appearance of a glorious «Third Hellenic Civilization» combining the best of ancient Greece and the Greek Byzantine Empire of the Middle Ages.
Having come to power with the stated intent of restoring public order, Metaxas’ state largely achieved this goal, under the supervision of what can be described as its most fascist member, minister of public order Konstantinos Maniadakis.
Metaxas’ policies such as the censorship of the media, the banning of political parties and prohibition of strikes copied contemporary European authoritarian regimes. As its far-right contemporaries Italy and Germany, the Greek State also had its political police force, the Asfaleia, based upon the Gestapo (its chief Maniadakis maintained a close relationship with Himmler on methods and techniques). The objective of Asfaleia was to secure public order.
The regime also repressed the rebetiko music due to the uncompromising lyrics and favoured the traditional Greek folk music. Hashish dens, baglamas and bouzouki were banned, or at least playing in the eastern-style manner and scales.
Soon after its inception the regime severely repressed the communists and leftists. About 15,000 people were arrested and jailed, or exiled for political reasons; some were subjected to torture. Metaxas’ regime forced the Communist party underground, and also attempted to dismantle the old system of loyalties of the Royalist and Venizelist parties. Those major forces however remained, as they had for the preceding decades, and re-emerged immediately after the four-year Metaxas regime.
While Metaxas’ regime did play up a supposed communist threat in order to justify its repression, the regime is not known to have committed political murders and did not instate the death penalty. Dissidents were, rather, usually banished to tiny islands in the Aegean sea. For example, the liberal leader George Papandreou was exiled to Andros. The Greek Communist Party (KKE), meanwhile, which had already been outlawed, remained intact. Legal restrictions against it were ended in 1974 during metapolitefsi.
The role of youth
In order to keep and maintain the values of the regime in future years, Metaxas gave birth to the Ethniki Organosi Neolaias (Εθνική Οργάνωση Νεολαίας, National Organisation of Youth, EON).
The EON brought together youths of all economic and social strata into one single body. Boys’ education emphasized discipline and physical training, while girls were taught to become supportive wives and caring mothers to breed a stronger, healthier new generation. The EON published a fortnightly magazine called Neolaia (Νεολαία, Greek for «Youth»), which had much influence both in schools and in higher education.
Metaxas’ vision was to create, through the youth, the «Third Hellenic Civilization», a continuity of the ancient Greek and Byzantine civilization.
The EON was disbanded by the German-Italian occupying authority in Greece following its vigorous resistance of the invasion.
As in most other authoritarian regimes, the 4th of August regime adopted a strong nationalistic program: although Metaxas was opposed to the invasion of Asia Minor as part of the Megali Idea, he used strong nationalist language concerning Greek minorities in neighbouring countries and in answering threats from Greece’s neighbours in the still volatile southeast Europe. As with many nation states at the time, he used language exalting his people’s «race». Ethnic and religious minorities were persecuted under Metaxas’ rule.
The regime, however, was relatively tolerant to the Greek Jews, repealing the anti-Semitic laws of previous regimes. A large community of Sephardic Jews was present in the region of Thessaloniki which was annexed by Greece in 1913, and Jews were largely in opposition to Venizelism. Metaxas was firmly opposed to the irredentist factions of the Slavophones of northern Greece (consisting of Slavophone Greeks and Bulgarians mainly in Macedonia and Thrace), some of whom underwent political persecution due to advocacy of irredentism with regard to neighbouring countries.
Metaxas’ regime continued repression of the use of Slavic languages both in public and in private and of expressions of Slavic cultural distinctiveness. Despite their supposed disloyalty, however, Slavophone Greeks identified with the Greek state and fought ferociously for Greece on the Italo-Albanian front. Again in contrast to some authoritarian regimes, no mass killings were ever instituted and there is no evidence that any were planned.
One of the 4th of August government’s main objectives was the repudiation of the old capitalist system and its replacement with a corporatist economic system in order to promote national and social solidarity. This idea «harmonized perfectly with Metaxas’ convictions on social and national solidarity as well as his rejection of individualism and class struggle». The plan for the creation of a corporatist state was manifest in the early days of the regime by public declarations by Metaxas and by government ministers.
To this end, Deputy Premier and Finance Minister Konstantinos Zavitsianos «published details about a horizontal (according to branches of production), not vertical (according to social class), syndicalist organization» of the state. However, due to the external crisis with Italy, the plan had to be temporarily postponed with the result that it never fully materialized.
Metaxas’ government, initially unpopular, also gained popularity through an elaborate program to socialize the Greek economy, including:
- introduction of a minimum wage.
- unemployment insuranceand the creation of a public employment agency.
- maternity leave.
- a five-day, 40-hour workweek.
- guaranteed two-week vacations with pay (or two weeks’ double pay in place of the vacation).
- stricter work safety standards.
Many elements of this program persist in Greek economic policy. Metaxas’ regime founded the Workers’ Center, which was established to look after workers’ housing and recreation, among other things.
The 4th of August regime initially stabilized the drachma, which had been suffering from high inflation. Exploiting the newfound solidity of the currency, Metaxas’ government embarked on large public works programs, including land drainage, construction of railways, road improvements, and modernization of the telecommunications infrastructure.
Metaxas’ economic program met with initial success, with a marked rise in per capita income and temporary decline in unemployment in Greece between 1936 and 1938 (unemployment skyrocketed after 1938). Capitalizing on this success, the government instituted debt relief for farmers and instituted price floors on some agricultural goods to redistribute wealth to the countryside.
Differences from other authoritarian regimes
There is some debate over how the regime relates to other authoritarian regimes of the 1930s, especially Italian Fascism and German Nazism. Richard Clogg argues that while the regime had «superficial trappings of Fascism» and Metaxas «did not disguise his admiration for Nazism and Fascism», it is «more correctly categorised as paternalist-authoritarian rather than fascist». Some of the main and important differences of Metaxas’ regime include:
- The anti-imperialist speech of the regime.
- The pro-Jewish stance of Metaxas and tolerance to religious minorities.
- The emphasis on the progress of the Greek Arts and Culture (as a plan for the «Third Hellenic Civilization»).
- No representative architecture or monuments.
The end of the 4th of August regime
Foreign policy was one of the main concerns of the 4th of August regime. Metaxas, who had studied in Germany as a youth, was pro-German, while the King was pro-British. This caused heated discussions between the two, but the reality of 1930s Europe was that Greece’s security depended more on her traditional protector, the United Kingdom, which was the superpower dominating the Eastern Mediterranean Sea with her fleet, than on Germany. In addition, Italian leader Benito Mussolini’s grandiose schemes to create a new Roman Empire in the Mediterranean directly clashed with Greek pretensions to control the Aegean Sea and the Dodecanese islands (by then under Italian control) and to exert stronger influence in Albania.
As the drums of war sounded increasingly stronger in Europe just before World War II, the situation was almost exactly the same as the position before World War I, when Greece had strong pro-German affinities in government, but it depended on Britain for its security. Most observers were anticipating Greece would attempt to remain neutral. Metaxas indeed attempted to maintain strict neutrality, but Italian expansionism eventually led to an Italian ultimatum and to the Greco-Italian War. However, Greek forces repelled the Italian invasion completely and brought the Italian soldiers back into Albania, where the invasion had been launched. In fact, some territories in Albania where a Greek minority lives were claimed to be ‘alliberated’ and Metaxas’ plans were to unite them with the rest of Greece.
Metaxas died suddenly in January 1941 among dark circumstances. His death raised hopes of a liberalization of his regime and the restoration of parliamentary rule, but King George quashed these hopes when he retained the regime’s machinery in place. In the meantime, Adolf Hitler was reluctantly forced to divert German troops to rescue Mussolini from defeat, and attacked Greece through Yugoslavia and Bulgaria on 6 April 1941.
Despite British assistance, by the end of May, the Germans had overrun most of the country. The King and the government escaped to Crete, where they stayed until the end of the Battle of Crete. They then transferred to Egypt, where a government in exile was established. Meanwhile in Greece a fascist puppet government was placed into power by the Axis.
As the Axis occupation ended, Greece descended into civil war between the communist-dominated forces of the left, operating in Greece and from bases in the south of Yugoslavia, and the U.S.- and UK-aligned forces of the political right. This was the first major protracted combat of the Cold War, one of the first exercises in U.S. policy of Containment, and a subject of the Truman Doctrine of U.S. President Harry Truman. The alignments were quite different from the Venizelist-Monarchist National Schism, as most Venizelists supported the right-wing alliance during the civil war.
Marinos Antypas (1872–1907), lawyer and journalist, one of the country’s first socialists
Marinos Antypas (Greek: Μαρίνος Αντύπας, 1872–March 8, 1907) was a Greek lawyer and journalist, and one of the country’s first socialists. He was born in the village Ferentinata, near Antypata Pylarou, in Kefalonia, the eldest son of Spiros Antypas and Angelin Klada. He had two siblings, Mpampis and Adelais.
During his studies in Athens, he became a member of the Central Socialist Society. He participated as a voluntary soldier in the Cretan Insurrection of 1896, during which he was injured. On account of his later criticism of the role of the Greek monarchy in the insurrection, he was imprisoned and exiled to the island of Aegina. An order from the Ministry of Justice declared: «Antypas should be placed in isolation and no one should talk to him. If he doesn’t comply with this he should be confined to his cell and be served food without salt».
In 1900 he returned to Kefalonia, where he published the journal Anastasi, which was closed down by the authorities because of its content. In the same period he worked with his father, a carpenter but also a wood sculptor (one of his works is preserved in the Church of Saint Gregory in Hamolako Pilarou).
At that time he fathered two girls, naming one Anarchia (Anarchy) and the other Epanastasi (Revolution). He also established the «People’s Reading Place» (Greek: Λαικό Αναγνωστήριο) «Equality» which became the centre of political and spiritual debate on the island.
In 1903 he visited his uncle Gerasimos Skiadaresis in Bucharest and convinced him to buy farming land in Greece. Antypas returned again to Kefalonia and republished his Anastasi newspaper, for which he was arrested but found innocent in the following trial. His Socialist Radical party participated in the 1906 general election, but won few votes.
After that he left for Pyrgetos (Larissa regional unit) where his uncle had bought a large estate. There he began to agitate over the rights of farmers. One of his suggestions was that the farmers should not work in Sundays but use that day to take their children to school. His teachings were received positively by the farmers but the owners of the agrarian estates disliked him. They paid 30,000 drachmas to a supervisor named Kyriakou to kill Antypas, which he did on March 8, 1907.
His killer was never brought to justice for the crime. After the death of his nephew, Skiadaresis sold his estates and left the area.
Christian Zervos 1889–1970) art collector, writer and publisher
Christian Zervos was a Greek-French art historian, critic, collector, writer and publisher.
Better known as an art critic in his own right, Zervos founded the magazine Cahiers d’art (1926–1960) in Paris, and ran an art gallery.
He was a connoisseur of modern painting in his time, and of Greek art and prehistoric art. He published several books, of which the most important are: The Art of Crete, The Art of the Cyclades, L’art de l’époque du Renne en France, and a catalogue raisonné of the work of Pablo Picasso.
- Christian Durquet, Conservator of Patrimony at the Musée de l’Art Contemporain, ordered the establishment of a Zervos Museum at Vézelay.
Mikelis Avlichos (1844–1917) Greek Anarchist
Mihail G. «Mikelis» Avlichos was a Greek poet and scholar. He was born in Lixouri, Kefalonia. He remained in Lixouri until his graduation from the Petritsio high school and then completed his philosophical and philological education in Bern, Switzerland and other centres of Europe.
In his early years he was influenced by the radicals Andreas Laskaratos and Andreas Momferatos and during his teenage years was already associated with them. While in Bern, he met the Russian anarchists Mikhail Bakuninand Peter Kropotkin and he adopted their philosophies.
His poetry follows the Heptanisian tradition and he was the last to write in this style. His reasoning was revolutionary and he opposed the social order he lived in.
As the poet Kostis Palamas wrote in his obituary, «He was negative to the current social structure and he hated militarism and war».
In his poetry referred to political or social affairs, treating them satirically or ironically. He is characterized as an atheist, a theoretical anarchist and a radical.
In 1887, after ten years of study abroad, he moved to Corfu due to health reasons and at the age of 34, he returned to Lixouri, where he lived until his death.
His poems where published posthumously and many of them became songs.
Recent Past – Present
Giorgos Kalafatis (1890-1964), founder of Panathinaikos A.O., his family descended from Cephalonia
Giorgos Kalafatis was a Greek footballer, manager, track and field athlete and the founder of thePanathinaikos sports club.
Being a big athletic talent, he distinguished himself in track and field sports. But football was his big passion. He played for Ethnikos G.S. Athensand when his later club Panellinios decided to discontinue its football team, Kalafatis together with 40 other athletes broke away and established in February 1908 the first team of Panathinaikos, named Podosfairikos Omilos Athinon (Football Club of Athens) at the time. Kalafatis appointed the Englishman John Cyril Campbell as coach for the new team. It was the first time that a foreigner was appointed as the coach of a Greek team.
Apart from Giorgos Kalafatis, other establishing members of POA were: his brother Alexandros, who was the first president, Emmanouel Chrysis, Dimitris Doukakis, Periklis Mpoumpoulis, Granitsas, Mantzakos, Papageorgiou, Gaetas, Demertzis, Stavropoulos, Paschos, Misakian, Reppas, Sapounias and Garoufalias.
In 1919, he was a member of the Greek national team that participated in the Inter-Allied Games in Paris. In Paris, Kalafatis collected information also about basketball and volleyball (sports unknown then in Greece) and after his return to Athens, started his efforts on creating new teams withPanathinaikos. He was also a player/manager for Greece in the 1920 Olympic Games in Antwerp.
Kalafatis played football until the early 1920s. After he retired, he remained in Panathinaikos as an official.
He was born in Exarcheia, Athens, which was a few hundred meters away from Apostolos Nikolaidis Stadium. The family of Kalafatis was from Dilinata, a village in the island ofCephalonia. While being an athlete, he graduated also from the Health Department of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. He pursued a career in the Hellenic Navy, taking part in the Balkan Wars and in World War I and reaching up to the rank of Rear Admiral.
He died on 19 February 1964.
Spyridon Marinatos (1901–1974), archaeologist
Marinatos began his career in Crete as director of the Heraklion Museum along with Georgia Andrea in 1929 where he met Sir Arthur Evans. He conducted several excavations on Crete at Dreros, Arkalochori, Vathypetro and Gazi, all of which resulted in spectacular finds. In 1937, he became director of the Antiquities service in Greece for the first time. Shortly afterwards, he became professor at the University of Athens. He turned his attention to theMycenaeans next, regarding them as the first Greeks. He excavated many Mycenaean sites in the Peloponnese, including an unplundered royal tomb at Routsi, near Pylos. He also dug at Thermopylae and Marathon uncovering the sites where the famous battles had occurred.
His most notable discovery was the site of Akrotiri, a Minoan port city on the island of Thera. The city was destroyed by a massive eruption which buried it under ashes and pumice. The tsunamis created by the eruption destroyed coastal settlements on Crete as well. Guided by the local Nikos Pelekis, Marinatos began excavations in 1967 and died at the site in 1974, after suffering a massive stroke. According to another version, he died during the excavation as he was hit by a collapsing wall.
He was director-general of antiquities for the Greek Ministry of Culture during the Greek military junta of 1967–74 (Regime of the Colonels). The acquaintance he cultivated with the colonels who were in power in Greece, especially the leader of the military junta, Georgios Papadopoulos, was ideologically based. Professor Marinatos was a nationalist in many regards whose ideals, some of his political opponents allege, influenced his archaeological work. Although no evidence of so-called «ideological influence» regarding his actual work (which was highly respected, and world-renowned to this day) has ever been proven, his political affiliation created controversy among his academic peers nonetheless, since most of his peers who had political affiliations with communists or criticized the military junta, were fired or legally persecuted by the government of Papadopoulos. Eventually, Marinatos was fired too, by the dictator Ioannides, who made sure to get rid of all the close associates of Papadopoulos when he seized power, in 1973.
His Crete and Mycenae was originally published in German in 1960. His most important article was about «the volcanic destruction of Minoan Crete» [Antiquity 1939]. His excavations at Thera have been published in six slender volumes (1968–74). «Life and Art in Prehistoric Thera» was one of his last publications in 1972.
His name is mentioned in the video game Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, which also features a plot involving Thera and the legendary underwater lost city.
Antiochos Evangelatos (1903–1981), composer and conductor
Antiochos Evangelatos (sometimes spelled Evanghelatos) was a Greek composer and conductor. He was born in Lixouri, Cefalonia on 25 December 1903. He studied composition and conducting in Leipzig, Basel and Vienna with Max Ludwig, Kofler and Felix Weingartner. From 1933 on he taught composition and counterpoint at the Hellenic Conservatory of Athens. In 1957 he was elected president of the Union of Greek Composers in 1957. Evangelatos’ compositions are based thematically on folk music, their style is Romantic and their elaboration contrapuntal.
He died in 1981 in Athens.
Titles of his work:
- Sinfonietta (1927)
- Symphony no.1 (1930)
- Larghetto and Scherzo (1932)
- Suite (1934)
- Byzantine Melody (1936)
- Overture to a drama (1937)
- Variations and Fugue on a Greek Folksong (1949)
- The Death and the Maiden (1941)
- 5 Songs (A. Sikelianos) (1941-3)
- String Quartet (1930)
- String Sextet (1932)
- Coasts and Mountains of Attica
Nikolaos Platon (1909–1992), archaeologist
Nikolaos Platon was a renowned Greek archaeologist. He discovered the Minoan palace of Zakros on Crete.
He put forward one of the two systems of relative chronology used by archaeologists for Minoan history. It is based on the development of the architectural complexes known as «palaces» at Knossos, Phaistos, Malia, and Kato Zakros, and divides the Minoan period into Prepalatial, Protopalatial, Neopalatial, and Post-palatial periods. The other system is based on pottery styles, as suggested by Arthur Evans.
Nikos Kavadias (1910–1975), poet and author
Nikos Kavvadias was a Greek poet and writer; who used his travels around the world as a sailor, and life at sea and its adventures, as powerful metaphors for the escape of ordinary people outside the boundaries of reality.
Kavvadias was born in Nikolsk-Ussuriysky (now Ussuriysk in the Primorsky Krai region of Russia). This, he believed to have permanently linked him to the Far East as he wrote in one of his short stories titled «Li». His parents were Greek, originating from the island of Cefalonia and as a young child he had the opportunity to travel extensively. His family returned to their island home for a few years before finally moving to Pireus, Athens’ port, in 1921. He wrote his first poems while in grammar school.
In 1928, after having graduated from high school he sat an entrance exam for medical school but as his father fell sick that same year, young Kavvadias was forced to get a job as an office clerk in a shipping company to help his family. He lasted only a few months and after his father’s death, he went on board the freighter ship Agios Nikolaos (Saint Nicholas) as asailor. For the following years he worked on freighter boats, returning home wretched and penniless. At that point he aspired to train as a captain but settled for a diploma as a radioofficer instead, which he got in 1939. By that time however, World War II had started and he was sent to fight in Albania.
During the German occupation of Greece, he joined the National Liberation Front (EAM) and became a member of the Communist Party. When the war ended in 1944, he embarked again and traveled continuously, this time as a radio officer, until November 1974. These experiences at sea and the exotic ports he visitited became the material for his poetry. Returning from his last trip and as he was preparing the publication of his third collection of poems, he died suddenly from a stroke on February 10, 1975, after only three months off sea.
Since his death, his poetry has been popularized in Greece, partly because of Thanos Mikroutsikos who released an album with Kavvadias’ poetry set to his music in his very popular albums Σταυρός του Νότου (Southern Cross)  and Γραμμές των Οριζόντων (Horizons’ Lines) .
His first collection of poems, Marabou was published in 1933 when Kavvadias was in his early twenties and carries the spirit of a romantic young man, impressed with the marvels of the world. Most of the poems tell half-fictitious stories transpiring at sea and at the different ports Kavvadias visited during his journeys. The collection begins with a poem written in the first person about the writer’s tragic love for a young wealthy girl he met on board and who later ended as a poor prostitute that he could barely recognise. Other poems recount the stories of a washed out Norwegian captain who died homesick watching a ship sailing to the Lofoten and of an enchanted dagger carrying the curse that its owner shall kill someone they love. Artistically, he was influenced by French literature and the poet Charles Baudelaire whom he cites in many of his works. Like a lot of Greek poetry, Kavvadias’ work is characterized by a deep feeling of nostalgia.
His other collections are titled Fog, published in 1947 and Traverso published after his death 1975. His second and last short story «Of War» was also published after his death in 1987, and recounts the story of his rescue by a local during a storm. The war affected deeply and these later collections are increasingly political, in support of both the Communists in Greece and the general leftist movements throughout the world. One of these poems is about the death of Argentinian revolutionary Ernesto (Che) Guevara, written as an answer to the criticisms received by some of his more polemic comrades who thought that his poems over-romanticized the harsh and dangerous life of sailors who were potential symbols of class struggle. Another is about the execution of Andalusian poet and writer Federico García Lorca by the Franco dictatorship which, in the poem, is connected with the destruction of the Greek village of Distomo and the executions at Kaisariani which were carried out by the Nazi forces that occupied Greece.
His only novel The Shift was published in 1954 and recounts the stories told by the sailors on their night shift at the ship’s bridge. Images from exotic places, prostitutes, captains gone mad and memories of the war blend together, to form a dreamy world of lucid forms, part fictional, part true.
A selection of his poetry, with some of his shorter prose, translated into English by Simon Darragh, is available under the title Wireless Operator from the London Publisher Enitharmon.
Gerasimos D. Arsenis, (1931- ) politician, former minister of Finance, Defense and Education.
Gerasimos Arsenis who served as a Member of the Hellenic Parliament and as a Minister in several Governments with the Panhellenic Socialist Movement.
Gerasimos Arsenis was born in Lourdháta, on the Greek island of Kephalonia. He went on to study Law at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and after obtaining his degree, he continued his post-graduate studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). It is claimed that he is trilingual, fluent in Greek, English and French.From 1960 until 1964, Arsenis served as an economist with the United Nations Secretariat (working for the Prebisch Group), preparing for the establishment of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). In 1964, he quit his post with the UN and was appointed to the position of Director of the Research Division of the OECDDevelopment Centre in Paris, where he remained until 1967.
In 1967, Arsenis was appointed to the position of Senior Economist of the UNCTAD and, in 1974, he was promoted to the seat of Director. During this period as director, Arsenis engaged in research and participated in negotiations concerning reform of the International Monetary System. From 1974 until 1980, Arsenis also served as an independent expert with UNCTAD, providing consultancy to the Ministerial Committee of Twenty on the Reform of the International Monetary System (later known as the IMF «Interim Committee»). While serving as Director of UNCTAD, Arsenis contributed to the development of numerous proposals – including the creation of special drawing rights (SDR), developmental assistance and coordination of program assistance for the World Bank and the generation of balance-of-payments financing that the IMF subsequently used for effective stabilization and development support schemes.
In November, 1981, he was appointed as Governor of the Bank of Greece, where he remained until February, 1984. During this period, Arsenis oversaw the liberalization of the Greek financial system and modernization of its financial regulatory system. Arsenis acted as a policy advisor to numerous governments regarding foreign exchange, external financing and debt rescheduling.
Gerasimos Arsenis is married to Louka Katseli, with whom he has raised four children, and currently resides in the Greek capital of Athens.
Gerasimos Arsenis began his career in politics in 1982, when he was appointed to the position of Minister of National Economy with the Panhellenic Socialist Movement, a position that he held until 1985. In 1984, he served as a Minister of Economics and was appointed to the Ministry of Mercantile Marine a year later, a position that he held for only a month due to a disagreement on a few matters of economic policy with the Prime Minister, Andreas Papandreou. He was replaced by Costas Simitis.
In 1986, Arsenis was expelled from the party, due to severe disagreements with the policies of the government. Afterwards, he founded the Greek Socialist Party, which did not appeal to enough Greek voters and was therefore dissolved.
He returned to the Panhellenic Socialist Movement in 1989, which won the national elections of 1993, and Gerasimos Arsenis was appointed the Minister of Defence until 1996. He was the Minister of Defense during the Imia crisis. During his post as the Minister, he promoted the new Defense Dogma for Greece and Cyprus, restructured the Defense procurement, and pursued policies of co-operation in the Defense arena with a number of countries in the region.
After the resignation of Andreas Papandreou from the Presidency of the Party, owing to health problems, after a three-month-long hospitalization, which had incapacitated him and created a serious power-vacuum in Greece, the members of the Party asked for elections for a successor. Arsenis announced his candidacy to replace Papandreou, but he lost to Costas Simitis and trailed the second candidate, Akis Tsohatzopoulos.
In 1996, during the government of Costas Simitis, he was appointed as Minister of Education, a position that he held until 2000. Gerasimos Arsenis faced significant opposition for the educational system changes he proposed, some of which, however, stand to this day.
Antonis Tritsis (1937–1992), politician, mayor of Athens
Antonis Tritsis was a Greek politician and urban planner, born and raised in the town of Argostoli on the island of Cefalonia.
During his youth, he was an athlete of Panathinaikos A.O. A founding member of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK), he was elected MP in the Greek Parliament with PASOK in 1981 and 1985 and served as Minister of Urban Planning, and Minister for National Education and Religious Affairs. In 1989 he established the short-lived Greek Radical Movement, and in 1990, in a political shift, he was elected mayor of Athens with support from the New Democracy party. Assuming office, he appeared voluble as to his pet projects of bold planting of trees throughout Athens to restrain excessive construction and air pollution in the city, along with those of the unification of the archaeological sites in Athens’ historical centre and the re-introduction of the tram railway. He died after a stroke in April 1992.
Archie Karas (1950-), a Greek gambler known for turning $50 into $40 million before losing it all
Anargyros Karabourniotis, commonly known as Archie Karas, is a Greek American gambler, high roller, poker player, and pool shark famous for the largest and longest documented winning streak in casino gambling history simply known as The Run when he turned $50 in December 1992 into more than $40 million by the beginning of 1995, only to lose it all later that year. He is considered by many to be the greatest gambler of all time and has often been compared to Nick the Greek, another high-stakes gambler. Karas himself claims to have gambled with more money in casinos than anyone else in history.
Karas was born in 1951 at Antypata on the island of Cefalonia, Greece. He grew up in poverty and had to shoot marbles as a teenager to avoid going hungry. His father, Nickolas, was a construction worker who struggled financially.
Karas ran away from home at the age of 15 after, in a rage, his father threw a shovel at him, barely missing his head. He never saw his father again. Nickolas died four years later.
Karas worked as a waiter on a ship, making $60 a month until the ship arrived at Portland, Oregon. He then moved to Los Angeles, where he would gamble his bankroll up to $2,000,000 before losing it playing high-stakes poker.
After arriving in America, he worked at a restaurant in Los Angeles which was next to a bowling alley and a pool hall. There he honed his pool skills and eventually made more money playing pool than he did as a waiter. When his victims from the pool hall thinned out, he went to Los Angeles card rooms to play poker. He quickly became an astute poker player, building his bankroll to over $2,000,000. In December 1992, he had lost all but $50 playing high-stakes poker. Instead of reevaluating his situation and slowing down, he decided to go to Las Vegas in search of bigger games. He claims to have gone from broke to millionaire and back several times before he went to Las Vegas. What happened in the next three years would go down in legend as the greatest run in casino gambling history.
Karas drove to Vegas with $50 in his wallet. His initial run lasted for six months where he turned $50 into $17 million playing poker and pool. After arriving at The Mirage, he started gambling and went on a hot streak. Karas recognized a fellow poker player from the Los Angeles scene and convinced him to loan him $10,000, which Archie quickly turned into $30,000 playing $200/$400 limit Razz. Karas returned $20,000 to his backer, who was more than content.
With a little over $10,000 in his pocket, Karas began looking for pool action. He found a wealthy and respected poker and pool player, Karas refused to reveal the name of his opponent for the sake of his opponent’s reputation; he simply referred to him as «Mr. X». They started playing pool at $10,000 a game. After Karas won several hundred thousand dollars, they raised the stakes to $40,000 a game. Many gamblers and professional poker players watched Archie play with stakes never seen before. Karas ended up winning $1,200,000. He then relocated to Binion’s Horseshoe and played Mr. X in poker where Karas won an additional $3,000,000 from him. Karas was willing to gamble everything he made and continued to raise the stakes to a level few dared to play at.
With a bankroll of $4 million, Karas gambled his bankroll up to $7 million after spending only three months in Vegas. By now many poker players had heard of Mr. X’s loss to Archie. Only the best players dared to challenge him. Karas sat at the Binion’s Horseshoe’s poker table with 5 of his 7 million dollars in front of him waiting for any players willing to play for such stakes.
The first challenger was Stu Ungar, a three-time World Series of Poker champion widely regarded as the greatest Texas Hold’em and gin rummy player of all time. Stu was backed by Lyle Berman, another professional poker player and business executive who co-founded Grand Casinos. Karas first beat Stu for $500,000 playing heads-up Razz. Ungar then attempted to play him in 7-card stud, which cost him another $700,000. The next player wasChip Reese, widely regarded as the greatest cash game player. Reese claims that Karas beat him for more money than anyone else he ever played. After 25 games, Reese was down $2,022,000 playing $8,000/$16,000 limit.
Karas continued to beat many top players, from Doyle Brunson to Puggy Pearson to Johnny Moss. Many top players would not play him simply because his stakes were too high. The only player to beat Karas during his run wasJohnny Chan, who beat him for $900,000 after losing to Karas the first two games. By the end of his six-month-long winning streak, Karas had amassed more than $17 million.
The poker action for Karas had mostly dried up due to his reputation and stakes. He turned to dice, rolling for $100,000 per roll and was allowed to make pass line and come bets of up to $300,000 with no odds. At one point, Karas was allowed to bet a maximum of $200,000 on the 4 and 10 for 1 to 4.6 odds. With two rolls Karas won $920,000, then Jack Binion immediately lowered the limit back to $100,000. He said that he could quickly win $3 million on dice, while it would take days to weeks with poker. He said that «With each play I was making million-dollar decisions, I would have played even higher if they’d let me.»
Transporting money became a hassle for Karas as he was moving several millions of dollars in his car every day. He carried a gun with him at all times and would often have his brother and casino security guards escort him. At one point, Karas had won all of the Binion’s casino’s $5000 chips, which were the highest denomination of chips at the time. By the end of his winning streak he had won a fortune of over $40 million.
Karas’s odds defying two-and-a-half-year streak came to an end in 1995 when he lost most of his money in a period of three weeks. He lost $11 million playing dice and then lost the $2 million he won from Chip Reese back to him. Following these losses he switched to baccarat and lost another $17 million, for a total of $30 million. With approximately $12 million left and needing a break from gambling, he returned to Greece. When he came back to Las Vegas, he went back to the Horseshoe shooting dice and playing baccarat at $300,000 per bet, and in less than a month, lost all but his last million.
With his last million, he went to the Bicycle Club and played Johnny Chan in a $1,000,000 freeze out event. This time, Chan was also backed by Lyle Berman and both took turns playing Karas. He preferred playing the both of them instead of just Chan, as he felt Chan was a tougher opponent. Karas won and doubled his money, only to lose it all at dice and baccarat, betting at the highest limits in just a few days.
Since he lost his $40 million, he has gone on a few smaller streaks. Less than a year later, he turned $40,000 into $1,000,000 at the Desert Inn. He then went back to the Horseshoe and won an additional $4 million before losing it all the next day.
A few years later, Karas went on another streak at the Gold Strike Casino, 32 miles outside Las Vegas. He went with $1,800 and lost $1,600 until he was down to just $200. Then after getting something to eat, he decided to gamble the rest of it. He shot dice and ran his $200 into $9,700 and then headed to Las Vegas. He stopped at Fitzgeralds Casino & Hotel and won another $36,000 betting $1,000 with $2,000 odds. He went back to Binion’s and won another $300,000 at the Horseshoe and by the third day, had won a total of $980,000 from a low of $200.
Karas currently resides in Las Vegas. His family resides in Greece. Pete, his older brother, owns a restaurant. His older sister, Helen, is a homemaker, and his youngest sister, Dionysia, is a school teacher. Karas stays in touch with his family by phone, and tries to travel back to Greece at least once per year. He brought his mother, Mariana, to Las Vegas for six-month visits when he was on his winning streak.
Karas’s story was documented in Cigar Aficionado by American author Michael Konik and also was featured in an E! documentary special along with Stu Ungar called THS Investigates: Vegas Winners & Losers. Konik also wrote an article about Karas which was featured in a book about Las Vegas gamblers called The Man With the $100,000 Breasts.
He was interviewed along with Tony G by Tiffany Michelle during the 2008 World Series of Poker. He was also a featured player on ESPN’s coverage of the 2008 WSOP.
Karas was arrested on September 24, 2013 after being caught marking cards at a San Diego casino’s blackjack table by the Barona Gaming Commission. He was arrested at his Las Vegas home and will be extradited to San Diego to face charges of burglary, winning by fraudulent means and cheating.
Gerasimos D. Danilatos, physicist and inventor of environmental scanning electron microscope
Gerasimos D. Danilatos (also known as Gerry D. Danilatos) (born circa 1946) is a Greek-Australian physicist and inventor of ESEM, the environmental scanning electron microscope.
He was born in Cefalonia, Greece. After the 1953 Ionian earthquake, his family moved to Patras, where he attended elementary and high school.
After high school and military service, he graduated from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and completed his physics degree with distinction. In 1972, he emigrated to Australia, and got married in 1979. He received his Ph.D. from the University of New South Wales in January 1978 after completing his Thesis on «dynamic mechanical properties of keratin fibres». As a scientist at the same university, he then developed the environmental scanning electron microscope (ESEM), after prior attempts by other workers to examine wet specimens under the electron beam. For the most part, he received financial support from the Australian Wool Corporationuntil 1986. In 2003, he received the Ernst Abbe Memorial Award from the New York Microscopical Society for his lifetime achievements.
Athanassios S. Fokas, Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, University of Cambridge
Athanassios Spyridon Fokas ( born June 30, 1952) is a Greek mathematician, known for work in the field of integrable nonlinear partial differential equations.
Fokas earned a BS in Aeronautics from Imperial College in 1975 and a PhD in Applied mathematics from Caltech in 1979. His dissertation, Invariants, Lie-Backlund Operators and Backlund Transformations, was written under the direction of Paco Lagerstrom. Fokas subsequently attended University of Miami School of Medicine, earning an MD in 1986.
After medical school, Fokas was appointed Professor and Chair of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at Clarkson University in 1986. From there, he moved toImperial College in 1996 to become chair of Applied Mathematics. He has been a Professor of Mathematics at University of Cambridge and Chair in Nonlinear Mathematical Science since 2002. He was elected a Member of the Academy of Athens in 2004 and a professorial fellow of Clare Hall, Cambridge in 2005.
Fokas received the Naylor Prize from the London Mathematical Society in 2000.
Fokas is married to Regina Fokas and they have three children: Alexander, Anastassia, and Ioanna.
Broadly speaking, Fokas’ work is concentrated in applied mathematics and mathematical physics. He has examined a large class of partial differential equations, both linear and non-linear, and especially including boundary value problems. Much of his work has naturally extended to applied areas, such as fluid mechanics, medical imaging, and protein folding. His body of work has been published in over 150 peer-reviewed journal articles and he is listed as highly cited researcher in mathematics in the Institute for Scientific Information citation database.
Anna Pollatou (1983–2014) a rhythmic gymnast; she won a bronze medal at the 2000 Summer Olympics.
Anna Pollatou (Greek: Αννα Πολλάτου; was born on October 8, 1983 in Kefalonia, Greece and died on May 17, 2014 on a car-crash near Varda, Ilia, Greece. She was a Greek rhythmic gymnast. She won a bronze medal at the 2000 Summer Olympics. One year before, in 1999, Pollatou (at the age of 16) won 3 medals (a silver in the group all around and two golds in the event finals) at the World Championship in Osaka, Japan and 3 gold medals at the European Championship which took place in Budapest, Hungary.