Κυριακή, 17 Αυγούστου, 2014
The mountains look on Marathon,
And Marathon looks on the sea.
And musing there an hour alone,
I dreamed that Greece might still be free,
For standing on the Persian’s grave,
I could not deem myself a slave.
(Lord Byron, The Isles of Greece)
In his 1846 review of Grote’s “History of Greece”, John Stuart Mill wrote:
“The interest of Grecian history is unexhausted and inexhaustible. As a mere story, hardly any other portion of authentic history can compete with it. Its characters, its situations, the very march of its incidents, are epic. It is an heroic poem, of which the personages are peoples. It is also, of all histories of which we know so much, the most abounding in consequences to us who now live. The true ancestors of the European nations (it has been well said) are not those from whose blood they are sprung, but those from whom they derive the richest portion of their inheritance. The battle of Marathon, even as an event in English history, is more important than the battle of Hastings. If the issue of that day had been different, the Britons and the Saxons might still have been wandering in the woods.”
The Battle of Marathon is important for many reasons. Lord Byron and John Stuart Mill stated some of the them in the passages quated above.
It also has many layers.
The military layer is one of them.
The other is Persians against Greeks.
There is also one though that is not apparent at first sight. Democracy against oligarchy and aristocracy.
Democracy in Athens
One clarification is required at the outset. The Athenian Polis included all of Attica, not only the geographic area of Athens.
Marathon is one of the areas of Attica, and thus was part of the Athenian Polis.
Most historians agree that Democracy in Athens was established by Cleisthenes in 508/507.
In 510 BC, with the help of the Spartans, Cleisthenes overthrew Hippias, the ruler of Athens, son of tyrant Peisistratos, who ruled the City until 528 BC.
But he did not rule straight away, because the Spartans favoured his rival, Isagoras, and they expelled Cleisthenes from the city.
After returning to power, Cleisthenes made some significant reforms that strengthened democratic rule (8):
- He established legislative bodies run by individuals chosen by lottery, a true test of real democracy, rather than kinship or heredity.
- He reorganized the Boule, created with 400 members under Solon, so that it had 500 members, 50 from each tribe.
- He also introduced the bouletic oath, “To advise according to the laws what was best for the people”.
- The court system (Dikasteria — law courts) was reorganized and had from 201–5001 jurors selected each day, up to 500 from each tribe.
It was the role of the Boule to propose laws to the assembly of voters, who convened in Athens around forty times a year for this purpose. The bills proposed could be rejected, passed or returned for amendments by the assembly.
It is important to stress that Democracy did not arrive in Athens suddenly. The wheels were set in motion in the 7th century. It just so happens that it all came together when Cleisthenes ruled.
Given the nature of direct democratic rule in Athens, it comes as no surprise that Hippias did not fit in. It was nothing personal. Athenian democracy was incompatible with oligarchy and monarchy. Hippias had no chance to rule Athens again, if this was left to the Athenians to decide.
For this reason during the Ionian Revolt, which I will briefly discuss in the next section, he decided to join the Persians and return to Athens as a victor with the Persian army and navy.
The Ionian Revolt (499-493 BC)
The Ionian Revolt is the precursor of the Greek-Persian Wars on Greek soil and sea.
By the time of Darius I, the Persian empire covered most of southwest Asia and Asia Minor, reaching as far as the easternmost boundaries of Europe. The Persians demanded tribute and respect from all they dominated. (7)
The Ionian revolt started at 499, when the Ionian cities of Minor Asia rebelled against the Persian King Darius.
The Athenians and Eretrians sent a task force of 25 triremes to Asia Minor to aid the revolt. (5)
From 499 to 494 there were a lot of campaigns without any decisive effect.
By 494, the Persian army and navy had regrouped and made straight for the rebellion epicentre at Miletus. (6)
The decisive confrontation took place at sea, off the small island of Lade. The Persians convinced the Samians to defect, leaving the Ionian navy exposed. Although the Ionians and their allies fought bravely, they lost to the Persians. This was the beginning of the end of the Ionian revolt.
During the revolt, the deposed tyrant of Athens Hippias, fled to the Persian Palace and became an “advisor” to the Persian King Darius I.
We will meet Hippias again in the battle of Marathon.
When it all ended, in 493, one thing was certain. Darius wanted revenge. The Athenians and Eretrians had to pay for their role in the Ionian Revolt.
The first Persian invasion of Greece (492 – 490 BC)
The Persians invaded Greece because they wanted to punish Athens and Eretria for their role in the Ionian Revolt. Darius I also wanted to expand his control of the Eastern Mediterranean.
There were two campaigns in the first Persian invasion of Greece.
The first in 492 under Mardonius, saw the Persians take over Thrace and Macedon. In 491, Darius sent ambassadors to all Greek Cities, demanding their submission. Almost all cities submitted, except Athens and Sparta. Darius knew that he had to proceed to the next campaign.
In 490, under the command of his nephew Artaphernes and the Median admiral Datis, this Persian armada allegedly consisted of 600 ships (troop and transport, provided and manned by subject allies) and an unspecified number of Persian infantry and cavalry, described by Herodotus as ‘powerful and well-equipped’.
Starting from the island of Naxos, the Persians captured a number of other Greek cities and islands en route, and besieged Eretria which succumbed after six days, weakened from within by party political strife and a pro-Persian faction which betrayed the city. A few days later, the Persians sailed for Attica, ‘in high spirits and confident’ (Herodotus). Marathon was selected as the best spot to invade, being closest to Eretria and also the most suitable for cavalry manoeuvres. At least, such was the advice of Hippias who was with this Persian force which he hoped would restore him to power. It was here that his father Pisistratus had landed in 546 for his successful bid for the tyranny in Athens. (1)
Liberty and Equality of civic rights are brave spirit stirring things, and they who, while under the yoke of a despot, had been no better men of war than any of their neighbours, as soon as they were free, became the foremost men of all. For each felt that in fighting for a free commonwealth, he fought for himself and whatever he took in hand he was willing to do the work thoroughly. Herodotus
The Athenian Army
The army was managed by the polemarch, together with ten generals, one elected from each of the tribes. Starting with Kleisthenes, there were ten tribes in the Polis of Athens, therefore there were 10 generals, one elected from each tribe. In their attempt to ensure equality, the Athenians by the 5th century allotted most offices, even the highest archonships. Some positions, however, such as treasurers and the water commissioner, required “technical” knowledge and could not be left to the luck of the draw; these remained elective.
The generalships are the clearest example of this practice, of electing rather than allotting, and many of the leading statesmen of Athens held the position. Perikles, for instance, never served as eponymous archon-nominally the highest post in the state-but he was elected general of his tribe year after year, and from that position he guided Athenian affairs for decades.
The army was made of oplites (men bearing arms), who were Athenian citizens. All oplites were volunteers, and were providing for their arms and equipment. It was considered one of the highest honors to be able to fight for the Polis, as became known to the world with Pericles’ Funeral Oration.
At the time of the Marathon Battle, each tribe (phyle) nominated 1,000 oplites.
Contrary to the Athenian Army, the Persian Army consisted mostly of people who were conscripted from various occupied territories, including Ionia. Only the officers were Persians.
From a technical perspective, the Athenian Army had two major disadvantages compared to the Persian. The Athenians had no cavalry and no arch men.
In overall charge of the Athenian Army was the War-Archon (polemarch), Callimachus, who had been elected by the whole citizen body. (5)
Initially there was a big disagreement among the generals. Should they go to Marathon and battle the Persians, or should they stay in Athens and protect the city?
The argument was won by Miltiades, who convinced Callimachus that they should battle the Persians in Marathon.
Militiades was one of the ten generals under the polemarch, but after the crucial decision was made, by the consensus of the generals he was placed in command. The win in Marathon is attributed to Miltiades’ genius by many historians.
The forces of the Athenians and the Plataeans totaled only 11,000 men (the column of the Plataeans was 1,000 strong) – the Persian force was perhaps 20-25,000 strong. (11)
While the two armies were facing each other on the Marathon plain, the Spartans were celebrating a period of peace and could not move to the aid of the Athenians before the pweriod was over, somewhere around the middle of August 490.
Therefore, it appears to have been to the benefit of the Athenians to wait.
We do not know who attacked first. But the battle bagan before the Spartans even left their city to march to Athens.
Early in the morning of the batle, the Persians followed Hippias’ advice and sent most of their ships and cavalry to Phaleron, the port of Athens. They thus thought that after the battle in Marathon they could easily capture the city that was not defended, as all armed units were in Marathon. This journey from Marathon to Phaleron would take 6 to 8 hours.
The Athenians were informed by Ionian soldiers in the Persian Army that the fleet had sailed and Miltiades decidd to attack.
The battle started at arounf 05:30 in the morning and it was over in three hours.
At the time of the battle commencing there was only around one mile (1.5 kilometres) separating both armies.
The formation of the Greek army was one with the central armed forces having soldiers in rank of 4 while the flanking forces had soldiers in rank of 8. This formation then either marched or ran (most likely marched) the distance to the Persian forces and stopped some 200 metres short of the Persian army.
At this point the Greek army went into a mad run to the enemy. Upon battle commencing the Greek middle ranks of four were pushed back slightly, but the flanks routed the Persians flanks that then fled back to their ships.
After the battle was over, and decidely won by the Athenians, Miltiades left a small contingent to guard the area so that the Persians would not be able to land again in Marathon, and with the rest of the Army marched back to Athens. They made it on time, so that when the PErsian navy arrived in Phaleron, they found the Athenian Army ready to welcome them.
After an assessment of the situation, the Persians decided to abort the mission to conquer Athens and sailed back to their land.
Hippias is said to have died at Lemnos, on the journey back “home”.
Herodotus on the Battle of Marathon (10)
112. The lines were drawn up, and the sacrifices were favorable; so the Athenians were permitted to charge, and they advanced on the Persians at a run. There was not less than eight stades in the no man’s-land between the two armies. The Persians, seeing them coming at a run, made ready to receive them; but they believed that the Athenians were possessed by some very desperate madness, seeing their small numbers and their running to meet their enemies without support of cavalry or archers. That was what the barbarians thought; but the Athenians, when they came to hand-to-hand fighting, fought right worthily. They were the first Greeks we know of to charge their enemy at a run and the first to face the sight of the Median dress and the men who wore it. For till then the Greeks were terrified even to hear the names of the Medes.
113. The fight at Marathon went on for a long time, and in the center the barbarians won, where the Persians themselves and the Sacae were stationed. At this point they won, and broke the Greeks, and pursued them inland. But on each wing the Athenians and the Plataeans were victorious, and, as they conquered, they let flee the part of the barbarian army they had routed, and, joining their two wings together, they fought the Persians who had broken their center; and then the Athenians won the day. As the Persians fled, the Greeks followed them, hacking at them, until they came to the sea. Then the Greeks called for fire and laid hold of the ships.
114. At this point of the struggle the polemarch [Callimachus] was killed, having proved himself a good man and true, and, of the generals, there died Stesilaus, son of Thrasylaus. And Cynegirus, the son of Euphorion, gripped with his hand the poop of one of the ships and had his hand chopped off with an axe and so died, and many renowned Athenians also.
115. In this fashion the Athenians captured seven of the ships. With the rest of the fleet, the barbarians, backing water, and taking from the island where they had left them the slaves from Eretria, rounded Cape Sunium, because they wished to get to Athens before the Athenians could reach it. There was a slander prevalent in Athens that they got this idea from a contrivance of the Alcmaeonidae, in accord with a covenant they had made with the Persians, showed a signal, the holding-up of a shield, for those barbarians who were on shipboard.
116. They rounded Sunium, all right; but the Athenians, rushing with all speed to defend their city, reached it first, before the barbarians came, and encamped, moving from one sanctuary of Heracles – the one at Marathon – to another, the one at Cynosarges. The barbarians anchored off Phalerum – for in those days that was the harbor of Athens – and, after riding at anchor there for a while, they sailed back, off to Asia.
117. In this battle of Marathon there died, of the barbarians, about six thousand four hundred men, and, of the Athenians, one hundred and ninety-two. Those were the numbers of the fallen on both sides. . . .
Aeschylus and Cavafy
One of Marathon’s more renowned combatants, the ancient Greek playwright Aeschylus, who ultimately was recognized as the ‘Father of Tragedy’ purportedly composed his own epitaph. An indication of the battle’s significance is that he did not mention any of the great works in his distinguished oeuvre, only of his exploits on this highly venerated battlefield.
Beneath this stone lies Aeschylus, son of Euphorion, the Athenian,
who perished in the wheat-bearing land of Gela;
of his noble prowess the grove of Marathon can speak,
or the long-haired Persian who knows it well
Αἰσχύλον Εὐφορίωνος Ἀθηναῖον τόδε κεύθει
μνῆμα καταφθίμενον πυροφόροιο Γέλας·
ἀλκὴν δ’ εὐδόκιμον Μαραθώνιον ἄλσος ἂν εἴποι
καὶ βαθυχαιτήεις Μῆδος ἐπιστάμενος
Ο Αισχύλος, ο Αθηναίος γιός του Ευφορίωνα βρισκεται σε τουτο το μνημα
Έκλεισε τα μάτια στη Γέλα, την εύφορη σε δημητριακά
Τη δοκιμασμένη του γενναιότητα μαρτυρεί το δάσος του Μαραθώνα
και ο πυκνόμαλλος Μήδος που τη γνώρισε καλά
The inscription on his graveyard signifies according to Castoriadis (4) the primary importance of “belonging to the City”, of the solidarity that existed within the collective body of soldiers – citizens.
Castoriadis (4) also mentions the actor in Cavafy’s “The yound men of Sidon” who protests that the inscription on Aeschylus’ grave is unacceptable:
“…to set down for your memorial
merely that as an ordinary soldier, one of the herd,
you too fought against Datis and Artaphernis.”
(translation Edmund Keeley/Philip Sherrard)
Marathon Memorial Stele – Epigram by Simonides of Ceos
- Ἑλλήνων προμαχοῦντες Ἀθηναῖοι Μαραθῶνι
- χρυσοφόρων Μήδων ἐστόρεσαν δύναμιν
- Fighting in the forefront of the Hellenes, the Athenians at Marathon
- destroyed the might of the gold-bearing Medes.
(1) Re-running Marathon, Bruce Baldwin, History Today, 1998
(2) THE FIFTEEN DECISIVE BATTLES OF THE WORLD by Edward Shepherd Creasy 1851
(3) The Battle of Marathon, Written by Peter Fitzgerald
(4) Castoriadis, Cornelius. “What Makes Greece, 1. From Homer to Heraclitus.” (2004)
(5) Battle of Marathon, Wikipedia
(6) Battle of Lade, Wikipedia
(7) Battle of Marathon, Historynet
(8) Cleisthenes. Wikipedia
(10) The History of Herodotus, trans. David Grene, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987), pp.454-456 (sourced from the “History Guide“).
(11) Lectures on Ancient and Medieval History. Lecture 7. The History Guild.
Venetokleion Gymnasium of Rhodes – Class of 1968-1973 / Βενετόκλειο Γυμνάσιο Ρόδου – Η Τάξη του 1968 – 1973
Σάββατο, 2 Αυγούστου, 2014
Εισαγωγη – Introduction
Σημερα κλεινω εξι χρονια απο την ημερα που αρχισα αυτο το μπλογκ, και ανασυρω απο την μνημη την μαθητεια μου στο Βενετοκλειο Γυμνασιο Ροδου, απο το 1968 εως το 1973.
Today is my sixth WordPress anniversary. I started this blog six years ago, and I felt necessary to reminisce about my Gymnasium in Rhodes, where I grew up. Its name is Venetokleion and is still operational. This post features photos I took in excursion with the teachers and the class.
Εχω υπεροχες αναμνησεις απο το Βενετοκλειο για δυο λογους.
This is a time and space specific post, and language is crucial. The post must be in Greek. So I stop here with the English part, and wish the visitor a happy visit.
Ο πρωτος ειναι οτι γνωρισα εξαιρετικους ανθρωπους, συμμαθητες, συμμαθητριες, καθηγητες και καθηγητριες.
Ο δευτερος ειναι οτι πηρα τις πρωτες συγκινησεις της μαθησης, μαζι με καποιες αλλες.
Θα αναφερθω στους συμμαθητες και τις συμμαθητριες με τα μικρα τους ονοματα, ενω στους καθηγητες και τις καθηγητριες και με τα επιθετα τους. Οσοι διαβασουν αυτο το κειμενο και δουν τις φωτογραφιες θα αναγνωρισουν τους συμμαθητες και τις συμμαθητριες.
Η αναφορα σε επιλεγμενους καθηγητες και καθηγητριες με τα πληρη ονοματα τους οφειλεται κυριως στο οτι θελω να υπαρχει καπου στο διαδικτυο γραπτα και επιφατικα το υπεροχο εργο που επιτελεσαν οι ανθρωποι αυτοι. Ετσι απλα.
Ζητω προκαταβολικα συγγνωμη, αλλα καποιους απο τους απεικονιζομενους δεν τους ενθυμουμαι με τα ονοματα τους.
Μια αλλη διασταση που επιβαλλει ο χρονος ειναι η χρηση του παρελθοντος στην αφηγηση και τα ρηματα. Αυτο βεβαια δεν σημαινει οτι καποιος δεν ζει πια. Απλα αναφερομαι στο παρελθον και σε αυτα που θυμαμαι απο τοτε.
Οι φωτογραφιες ειναι ολες απο το αρχειο μου, οι περισσοτερες παρμενες σε σχολικες εκδρομες.
Αρρενων, αλλα και … ολιγον θηλεων
Την εποχη εκεινη το Βενετοκλειο ητανε Γυμνασιο Αρρενων. Επειδη ομως η πρακτικη κατευθυνση σπουδων (το πρακτικο) υπηρχε μονο στο Βενετοκλειο, στις τρεις τελευταιες ταξεις (Τεταρτη, Πεμπτη και Εκτη) ερχοντουσαν να φοιτησουν στο Βενετοκλιεο και μαθητριες, απο το Καζουλειο Γυμνασιο Θηλεων. Θυμαμαι οτι η πρωτη φουρνια απο το θηλεων ητανε η ταξη της αδελφης μου. Ακολουθησαμε εμεις.
Ετσι λοιπον στην φωτογραφια που βλεπετε παραπανω, απεικονιζονται ορισμενοι νεοι με ορισμενες νεες.
Οι σχεσεις μας ητανε πολυ καλες. Τις ειχαμε τις κοπελλες στα οπα οπα. Ομολογω δε οτι ουδεποτε καταλαβα για ποιον λογο χωριζανε τα παιδια σε αρρενες και θηλεις στα σχολεια.
Μεσα σε μια περιοδο εξι χρονων, ειναι επομενο να εχει κανεις πολλους καθηγητες, και ολιγες καθηγητριες. Τωρα που το αναπολω, οι καθηγητριες ητανε πολυ λιγοτερες.
Καποιο ομως ξεχωρισαν και παραμενουν στην μνημη μου εντονα και με σεβασμο και αγαπη.
Ξεκινω λοιπον απο τον Γιωργο Μανδραγο, Φυσικο, που παρολον οτι δεν τον ειχαμε για πολυ στην ταξη, τον αγαπησα πολυ. Ημουνα και συμμαθητης με τον γυιο του τον Μιχαλη Μανδραγο, που χαθηκε προωρα το 2012. Ο Γιωργος Μανδραγος ητανε αυθορμητος, απλος, και αξιαγαπητος. Πηγαινα πολλες φορες στο σπιτι του, γιατι παιζαμε με τον Μιχαλη. Με τον Μιχαλη πηγαιναμε μαζι και στον Ναυτικο Ομιλο Ροδου, Ν.Ο.Ρ. στην ΕΛΛΗ, οπου ιστιοπλοουσε με σκαφη τυπου “Οπτιμιστ”. Μετειχε και σε αγωνες, και πηγαινε πολυ καλα.
Συνεχιζω με την μεγαλη μου αδυναμια, τον Μαθηματικο Γιωργο Μανιατακη. Ισως ενας απο τους λογους που αγαπησα τα μαθηματικα ητανε ο Μανιατακης. Εξαιρετικος δασκαλος, με οξυτατη αισθηση του χιουμορ και σεβασμο προς ολους τους μαθητες. Με τη χαρα της ζωης, σοβαροτητα και μετρο. Εξαιρετικος ανθρωπος και δασκαλος.
Τωρα ενθυμουμαι και τον αλλον αγαπημενο μου μαθηματικο, τον Αντωνη Μπαϊραμη απο την Καλυμνο, που χαθηκε προωρα. Ειμασταν στην ιδια ταξη με την αδελφη του την Ποπη, που εικονιζεται στην φωτογραφια της εισαγωγης.
Ενας αλλος αξεχαστος δασκαλος, ητανε ο Σεβαστιανος Πολιτης, Φιλολογος. Ο,τι εμαθα στα αρχια το χρωσταω στον Πολιτη και την μητερα μου. Ο Πολιτης ητανε ανθρωπος χαμηλων τονων, και δημιουργουσε την περιεργεια να μαθεις τι κρυβεται πισω απο τις λεξεις. Εξοχος! Περναγε η ωρα και δεν το καταλαβαινα.
Και μια και ζουμε σε κοσμο αντιθεσεων, δεν μπορω να μην αναφερω εναν αλλο φιλολογο, που ητανε μαλλον κακολογος. Το τι φωνες ακουγαμε δεν περιγραφεται. Και ειχε πει και το απαραμιλλο “τι νομιζετε οτι ειναι ο ανθρωπος; μια λεκανη εντερα”.
Ο θεολογος Κωνσταντινιδης θα μου μεινει αξεχαστος για την ευγενεια και την προσχαρη φυση του. Και το λεγω αυτο επειδη ειχαμε και εναν αλλο θεολογο που μας ειχε τρελανει στις φαπες. Εκρηκτικος τυπος, ξεσπουσε ξαφνικα και οποιον παρει ο … χαρος. Σε αντιθεση λοιπον με τον ευεξαπτο αλλον, ο Κωνσταντινιδης ητανε οαση. Παντα με το χαμογελο. Και μαθαμε και ολιγα θρησκευτικα.
Πολλες φορες οταν θυμομαστε κατι απο την νεοτητα μας, εχομε την ταση να υποθετομε ή και να δηλωνουμε ευθεως οτι τοτε ητανε καλα τα πραγματα, ενω σημερα… Δεν ξερω πως ειναι σημερα τα πραγματα, αλλα τοτε που ημουνα στο Βενετοκλειο, χωρις να ειναι ολα τελεια, μαθαιναμε. Ολοι μαθαιναμε. Και δεν παπαγαλιζαμε. Και μπορουσε ο καθενας να τα βγαλει περα χωρις φροντιστηρια. Και οι καθηγητες νοιαζοντουσαν. Υπηρχανε βεβαια και εξαιρεσεις, ολιγες ομως.
Παρολο που δεν τον εχω σε φωτογραφια, ο Βασιλης Λεβεντης, Γυμναστης, ητανε απο τους ανθρωπους που με τον ενθουσιασμο και την καλη καρδια του με ειχε εμπνευσει. Δεν ημουνα ποτε καλος στη Γυμναστικη. Ομως προσπαθουσα. Ο Βασιλης Λεβεντης υποστηριξε την προσπαθεια μου. Και οχι μονο τη δικη μου. Ολων των παιδιων που δεν ημασταν αστερια. Πριν μερικα χρονια μιλησαμε σοτ τηλεφωνο, βρισκοτανε στις Καλυθιες και τα ειπαμε για λιγο.
Θεωρω επισης απαραιτητη την μνεια στον Έξαρχο των Γυμναστων, τον Χρηστο Παλαιολογο. Που με την βραχνη, μπασα φωνη του μας εβαζε στη σειρα.
Θα ητανε παραλειψη να μην αναφερθω και στον εξαιρετο Μανωλη Παπαμανωλη, που τον θυμαμαι ως Γυμνασιαρχη. Εξαιρετικος ανθρωπος, χαμηλων τονων, παντοτε με εγνοια για τους μαθητες και το σχολειο.
Σε συγκριση με τους αντρες, οι γυναικες στο Γυμνασιο ητανε πολυ λιγοτερες.
Περιττο να αναφερω οτι η συγκινηση των αγοριων ανεβαινε σε υψηλα επιπεδα οταν η καθηγητρια ητανε νεα και ωραια.
Ειχαμε βεβαια ολον τον σεβασμο στις αλλες καθηγητριες, ομως η προτιμηση μας ητανε σαφως στις νεες.
Θυμαμαι στη δευτερα γυμνασιου ειχε ελθει μια νεαρα καθηγητρια γαλλικων. Ολοι θελαμε να μαθουμε γαλλικα.
Βεβαια εκεινη την εποχη οι ξενες γλωσσες στο γυμνασιο ητανε ανεκδοτο. Οι καθηγητες και καθηγητριες ελαχιστες, που μετετιθεντο συνεχως.
Με την καθηγητρια μας των γαλλικων δεν θυμαμαι καν αν κλεισαμε ολοκκληρη τη χρονια.
Ομως η συγκινηση θα παραμειενει αξεχαστη στο υποσυνειδητο των 14 ετων.
Οπως ειναι φυσικο, με καποιους απο τους συμμαθητες ειμασταν πιο κοντα, μια παρεα ας πουμε.
Ανακαλω πρωτο τον Μιχαλη Σταματιου, ενα χρυσο παιδι που χαθηκε προωρα και αυτος.
Ο Μιχαλης Σταματιου ητανε ενας υπεραθλητης και ενας υπεροχος ανθρωπος. Μεσα σε ολα, και καλος μαθητης. Παντα με το χαμογελο. Τον θυμαμαι σα να ειμασταν μαζυ εχθες. Πριν απο μερικα χρονια συναντησα στην Αθηνα ολως τυχαιως εναν συγγενη του και τιμησαμε την μνημη του.
Το γυμνασιο της εποχης εκεινης ειχε και μια ιδιομορφια γεωγραφικου τυπου. Πολλα παιδια ερχοντουσαν απο τα χωρια με λεωφορειο το πρωι και γυρναγανε στο χωριο τους το απογευμα.
Ειχαμε λοιπον ενα εξαιρετικο μιγμα απο παιδια της πολης και των χωριων.
Η μεγαλη ομαδα απο τα χωρια ητανε οι Αρχαγγελιτες. Ερχοντουσαν συντεταγμενοι και παντα χαρουμενοι.
Το Αρχαγγελιτικο χιουμορ ειναι αξεπεραστο. Δωρικο αλλα και Ιωνικο μαζυ.
Το τι ιστοριες εχω ακουσει δεν λεγεται.
Ο Κλεοβουλος ερχοτανε απο τη Σορωνη. Τον συναντησα προσφατα και τα ειπαμε. Παντα με ευγενεια και μετρημενος.
Ειχαμε βεβαια και τις συναγωνιστικες μας διαδικασιες, παντα στα πλαισια του “ευ αγωνιζεσαθι”.
Ενας συναγωνιστης ητανε ο Λεωνιδας, σοβαρος και μετρημενος, και ταλαντουχος.
Παντα τον θυμαμαι με αγαπη. Ειχαμε μιλησει και στο τηλεφωνο πριν μερικα χρονια.
Ομως αυτος που εχει παραμεινει παντα κοντα, παρολη την γεωγραφικη αποσταση, ειναι ο παιδικος φιλος, συμμαθητης και υπεροχος ανθρωπος, ο Γιωργος. Συναντηθηκαμε προσφατα στην Αθηνα και περασαμε πολλες ωρες μαζι.
Το 2005 ειχα κατεβει στη Ροδο και με πρωτοβουλια του Γιωργου συναντηθηκαμε παρα πολλοι απο την ταξη του Βενετοκλειου.
Η συναντηση αυτη θα μου μεινει αξεχαστη.
Κι αν κατι θελω κασι το εκφραζω και απο εδω, ειναι να ξαναβρεθουμε οι συμμαθητες του Βενετοκλειου που αποφοιτησαμε το 1973.
Θα ειναι μεγαλη χαρα και τιμη μου.
Ευχαριστω σε Βενετοκλειο, ευχαριστω σε Ροδο!
Αν καπου η μνημη μου επαιξε παιχνιδια, προσκαλω την ευγενικη αναγνωστρια να με βοηθησει, υποδεικνυοντας την αστοχια, και – αν μπορει – προτεινοντας και την επανορθωση.
Σάββατο, 12 Ιουλίου, 2014
“Only ruins remain and the beauty of the natural environment.” Lord Byron
Γύρισα στα ξανθά παιδιάτικα λημέρια,
γύρισα στο λευκό της νιότης μονοπάτι,
γύρισα για να ιδώ το θαυμαστό παλάτι,
για με χτισμένο απ’ τών Ερώτων τ’ άγια χέρια.
Το μονοπάτι το ‘πνιξαν οι αρκουδοβάτοι,
και τα λημέρια τα ‘καψαν τα μεσημέρια,
κ’ ένας σεισμός το ‘ρριξε κάτου το παλάτι,
και μέσ’ στα ερείπια τώρα και στ’ αποκαΐδια
απομένω παράλυτος· σαύρες και φίδια
μαζί μου αδερφοζούν οι λύπες και τα μίση·
και το παλάτι ένας σεισμός το ‘χει γκρεμίσει.
Ασάλευτη ζωή, 1904
‘Απαντα, τομ. Γ´, σελ. 72
I RETURNED TO MY GOLDEN PLAYGROUNDS,
I RETURNED TO MY WHITE BOYHOOD TRAIL,
I RETURNED TO SEE THE WONDROUS PALACE,
BUILT JUST FOR ME BY LOVE’S DIVINE WAYS.
BLACKBERRY BUSHES NOW COVER THE BOYHOOD TRAIL,
AND THE MIDAY SUNS HAVE BURNED THE PLAYGROUNDS,
AND A TREMOR HAS DESTROYED MY PALACE SO RARE,
AND IN THE MIDST OF FALLEN WALLS AND BURNED
TIMBERS, I REMAIN LIFELESS; LIZARDS AND SNAKES
WITH ME NOW LIVE THE SORROWS AND THE HATES;
AND OF MY PALACE A BROKEN MASS NOW REMAINS
Translated by A. Moskios
On the question of the Greek poet’s relation to his tradition, it has always seemed to me that the Greek poet has an advantage over his Anglo-Saxon counterpart who makes use of Greek mythology and sometimes even of Greek landscape. I remember years ago when I was writing a thesis on what I thought were English influences in the poetry of Cavafy and Seferis, I asked you about certain images that crop up in your landscape, for example, the symbolic meaning of the statues that appear in your work. You turned to me and said: “But those are real statues. They existed in a landscape I had seen.” What I think you were saying is that you always start with the fact of a living, actual setting and move from there to any universal meaning that might be contained in it.
An illustration of that from someone who is a specialist in classical statues came the other day from an English scholar who was lecturing about the statuary of the Parthenon. I went up to congratulate him after his lecture, and he said to me, as I remember: “But you have a line which expresses something of what I meant when you say ‘the statues are not the ruins—we are the ruins.’” I mean I was astonished that a scholar of his caliber was using a line from me to illustrate a point.
The statues are not the ruins—we are the ruins
From an Interview to “The Paris Review”, 2005 (epopteia)
“Unless we can relate it to ourselves personally, history will always be more or less an abstraction and its content the clash of impersonal forces and ideas. Although generalizations are necessary to order this vast, chaotic material, they kill the individual detail that tends to stray from the schema. . . . Afterwards all that remains of entire centuries is a kind of popular digest.”
Czesław Miłosz, Native Realm
Ruins come out of ruins. The story of the Acropolis is a good example. The original temple of Athena has been destroyed at least nine times in its two-and-a-half-thousand-year history. Burned by Heruli barbarians in ad 267, it was restored by Julian in ad 360, and then in 438 Christian priests hacked away at the nude sculptures and crowned the temple with a cross. The Ottoman Turks in 1456 replaced the cross with a minaret. There are still-bitter feelings about the damage done by the Venetians in 1687 when they bombed the Parthenon on September 26 under Francesco Morosini. Then there was also the sale of seventy-five sculptures by the Ottomans to Lord Elgin, the British ambassador to Greece, in 1802.
Adrianne Kalfopoulou, Ruin
You said: “…Wherever I turn, wherever I happen to look,
I see the black ruins of my life, here,
where I’ve spent so many years, wasted them, destroyed them totally.”
Translated by Edmund Keeley/Philip Sherrard
Σάββατο, 21 Ιουνίου, 2014
In this post I present two arguments relevant to Bacon’s thesis. With each argument I offer a quotation and an example.
This was originally written as an essay to a course I have taken on the relationship between management and philosophy.
I do not claim to exhaust the subject, I merely touch upon it.
But it is a fascinating subject, especially in view of the fact that Bacon was one of the great fathers of the technological approach that today is a key pillar of our economy, culture and life.
Argument 1: I claim that Bacon is putting forward an argument to support his inductive approach to human knowledge and power. What he is saying in effect is that before we master nature (and take advantage of it by commanding it) we must understand it. Therefore knowledge begins from the observation of nature, not the other way around.
In substantiating my point of view, I will refer to “Novum Organum”, from which the quotation-theme of this essay originates (Book One, III).
Quotation 1: “Man, being the servant and interpreter of Nature, can do and understand so much and so much only as he has observed in fact or in thought of the course of nature. Beyond this he neither knows anything nor can do anything.” (1)
Bacon is saying that man should approach nature with humility, because there are so many things that our senses cannot sense and our minds do not understand. Instead of wasting time on pointless meditations, speculations and glosses, we should be studying nature.
All of this makes sense in the context of the time Bacon wrote “Novum Organum”. It was time when Aristotelian thought was still strong. Bacon wanted to break away from Aristotle, and march on towards command of nature. In this sense he can be considered as one of the fathers of engineering.
While deduction is the anticipation of nature, and deductive theories may refer to nonobservable entities, induction is driven by empirical observation and study.
I do not suggest that Bacon was alotgether against deduction. But at the time of his writing, he wanted to push forward the notion that man can command nature, provided he understands it well. Bacon saw knowledge and power as interconnected.
Example 1: “There are and can be only two ways of searching into and discovering truth. The one flies from the senses and particulars to the most general axioms, and from these principles, the truth of which it takes for settled and immovable, proceeds to judgment and to the discovery of middle axioms. And this way is now in fashion. The other derives axioms from the senses and particulars, rising by a gradual and unbroken ascent, so that it arrives at the most general axioms last of all. This is the true way, but as yet untried.” (2)
Bacon’s true way is induction.
Argument 2: Karl Popper introduced his theory of a hypothetico-deductive system in the philosophy of sciences. Popper argued that most of the scientific theories are deductive and they can be falsified, or refuted, but not confirmed.In this he appears to be on the opposite side of Bacon’s argument. However, I claim that in a sense Popper provides the mirror image of Bacon’s thesis. Bacon seeks to derive most of theories from experience, while Popper seeks to falsify theories from experience. Thus experience (as senses, observations from nature) is essential in both philosophers’ theories.
Quotation 2: “In other words: I shall not require of a scientific system that it shall be capable of being singled out, once and for all, in a positive sense; but I shall require that its logical form shall be such that it can be singled out, by means of empirical tests, in a negative sense: it must be possible for an empirical scientific system to be refuted by experience.” (3)
The example I want to offer comes from Einstein’s theory of reletivity.
Example 2: “Einstein’s theory made one or two predictions which distinguished it from Newton’s theory, and, if true, these predictions would show that Einstein’s model was closer to reality. For example, Einstein predicted that a gravitational field should bend rays of light much more than was expected by Newton’s theory of gravity. Although the effect was too small to be observed in the laboratory, Einstein calculated that the immense gravity of the massive sun would deflect a ray of light by 1.75 seconds of arc – less that one thousandth of a degree, but twice as large as the deflection according to Newton, and significant enough to be measured. During a lunar eclipse in 1919, Eddington compared his eclipse photos with images taken when the sun was not present, and announced that the sun had caused a deflection of roughly 1.61 seconds of arc, a result that was in agreement with Einstein’s prediction, thereby validating the theory of general relativity.” (4)
Here experience comes to NOT falsify a hypothesis. Until a hypothesis is falsified, it remains valid. But when a theory is falsified once, it is falsified for good.
(1). Francis Bacon. Novum Organum.Book One. I.
(2) Francis Bacon. Novum Organum.Book One. XIX.
(3) Karl Popper, The Logic of Scientific Discovery, 1959.
(4) 1919. Eclipse and General Relativity. Times Literary Supplement.
Σάββατο, 14 Ιουνίου, 2014
Terroir is a concept almost untranslatable, combining soil, weather, region and notions of authenticity, of genuineness and particularity — of roots, and home — in contrast to globalized products designed to taste the same everywhere. (1)
Terroir was the theme of the family reunion dinner I hosted in Marathon, Greece.
It is a long way from Chicago, Illinois to Marathon!
But my cousin and his family made it, and here we were, having dinner in the piazzetta of my hunting lodge.
I had some ideas about the menu, but my inner voice was telling me to take it easy and not rush to the market with a shopping list. Instead, I was going to get the best produce and ingredient I would find on the day.
What follows is the result of this process that never fails me.
Inevitably, the menu was based on the ingredients and produce of the terroir, comprising air, soil and sea.
To start with the vegetables, Peter likes beetroot. So I got the best from Vassilis in Marathon.
In addition to the bulb, which I boiled and peeled the skin off, I boiled the leaves. Both were served au naturel, with olive oil, salt, chopped garlic and lemon juice as optional dressing on the side. I particularly enjoy the beetroot with the chopped garlic, much more than with garlic dip (skordalia in Greek). It has a powerful taste, and I particularly like the contrast of the sweetness of the beetroot with the uncompromising sting of the garlic.
Vassilis is also producing zucchini, which are unbelievably tasty.
So, zucchini were my second choice for a summer vegetable to enjoy on the table.
I boiled the zucchini and served them au naturel, with the dressing on the side. The taste of the zucchini without anything is so delicious, that sometimes I eat a couple without dressing, and only after I Add some olive oil, salt and lemon juice.
Moving on, I got some green peas from Livanates, a small town near Thebes.
I cooked them with pomodori, onion, chilli pepper, and parsley.
Another one in the bag.
The next round of dishes comes from the sea.
My fishmonger is just fantastic, and one more he proved himself to be one.
When he saw me he pointed at a skate on the icebed and said. “This is for you”.
I do not argue with statements like this.
I just obey. For my own good.
I boiled the fish, took the flesh off the bones and mixed it in a big bowl with chopped garlic, olive oil, a touch of salt, lemon juice and a little chilli pepper.
Then came the shrimp.
Fished from a bay east of Nafplion, they looked fantastic.
I grilled them as they came off the sea. I add a few bay leaves on the side of the grill, for extra flavor.
Last but not least, I got some super fresh sardines, because I love sardines, and Mary likes them too.
My fish monger gutted them and chopped their heads off. I sprinkled coarse salt over them and grilled them.
I always take them off while they are juicy and soft. My new touch was that I added some mint leaves on the side, to enhance the flavor. It worked.
The sardines were sweet, juicy and delicious.
And as Ferran Adria once said “fresh sardine is better than stale lobster”.
We had a great time, the only problem as Peter said was that there was not enough food.
Next time I will get more.
It was nice to see you guys, come again!
1. Vive le Terroir By STEVEN ERLANGER Published: August 31, 2013. The New York Times.
Δευτέρα, 9 Ιουνίου, 2014
Today is the day of Illumination and my mind goes to Arthur Rimbaud.
Rimbaud was born in Charleville, a provincial town of northeastern France in 1854.
When he was 21 he stopped writting and became an itinerant salesman, adventurer, opportunist.
He lived a short life, but in a sense he also lived a full life.
He died of bone cancer in 1891 in Marseille, at the Hôpital de la Conception. He was only 37 years old.
He was burried in Charleville. His tombe stone reads “Pray for him”.
“I am the saint, at prayer on the terrace . . . / /
I am the learned scholar in the dark armchair . . . / /
I am the walker on the great highway . . .
I gaze for a long time at the melancholy gold laundry of the setting sun.”
Illuminations, translated by John Ashbery (3)
I rest my elbows on the table, the lamp illuminates these newspapers that I’m a fool for rereading, these books of no interest.
At a vast distance above my underground salon, houses take root, mists assemble. The mud is red or black. Monstrous city, endless night!
Further down, the sewers. At their sides, nothing more than the thickness of the globe. Maybe gulfs of azure, wells of fire. Perhaps at those levels moons and comets, seas and fables meet.
Illuminations, translated by John Ashbery (4)
Benjamin Britten’s Illuminations (5)
Britten was deeply affected by the emotional intensity of these prose poems and decided to set them to music as soon as he had read them. As the soprano Sophie Wyss, the dedicatee of the cycle, recalled: “He was so full of this poetry he just could not stop talking about it, I suspect he must have seen a copy of Rimbaud’s works while he was recently staying with [W.H.] Auden in Birmingham.”
Britten chose a sentence from one of the poems as the motto for his cycle: “J’ai seul la clef de cette parade sauvage” (“I alone have the key to this savage parade”). This sentence also provides the “key” to Britten’s view of Rimbaud’s poetry: only the artist, observing the world from the outside, can hope to make sense of the “savage parade” that is life.
Patti Smith and Rimbaud
Draped in a mosquito net-like sheath, the “litter,” a sort of palanquin, is a recreation of that used to transport Rimbaud from Abyssinia to France for medical care, where he died just months later at the age 37. On the surface of the litter, Mr. Rimbaud’s last words are inscribed. In this way, the piece is a sick bed as well as a grave, complete with epigraph. (1)
This installation was part of Patty Smith’s “Camera Solo” exhibition back in 2011 at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Connecticut.
“Oh arthur arthur. we are in Abyssinia Aden. making love smoking cigarettes. we kiss. but it’s much more. azure. blue pool. oil slick lake. sensations telescope, animate. crystalline gulf. balls of colored glass exploding. seam of berber tent splitting. openings, open as a cave, open wider, total surrender.”
Patti Smith, from “dream of rimbaud”.
Against a snowfall a Being Beauteous, tall of stature. Whistlings of death and circles of muffled music make this adored body rise, swell and tremble like a spectre; wounds, scarlet and black, break out in the magnificent flesh. The true colors of life deepen, dance and break off around the Vision, on the site. And shivers rise and groan, and the frenzied flavor of these effects, being heightened by the deathly whistlings and the raucous music which the world, far behind us, casts on our mother of beauty, — she retreats, she rears up. Oh! our bones are reclothed by a new, loving body.
O the ashen face, the shield of hair, the crystal arms! The cannon on which I must hurl myself through the jumble of trees and buoyant air!
Illuminations, translated by George Hall (5)
Bob Dylan and Arthur Rimbaud
Suze Rotolo introduced Dylan to the works of Rimbaud:
“I came across one of his letters called “Je est un autre,” which translates into “I is someone else.” When I read those words the bells went off. It made perfect sense. I wished someone would have mentioned that to me earlier.”
Bob Dylan: “Chronicles, vol 1″
The literary characters, themes, and lines that have populated the world of Dylan’s musical landscape have been as deep and varied over the years as his references to history and the folk tradition. In his early years, Dylan was significantly touched by the American Beats—by Kerouac’s On the Road, and also by the poetry of Allen Ginsberg and Lawrence Ferlinghetti—and by French symbolists like Paul Verlaine and Arthur Rimbaud. Both Verlaine and Rimbaud are mentioned specifically in the Blood on the Tracks song “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go.” (6)
Ellen Willis writes that “[Dylan] had less in common with the left than with literary rebels—Blake, Whitman, Rimbaud, Crane, Ginsberg”—mostly poets—and later describes Dylan as a man whose admirers look at him as “a poet using rock-and-roll to spread his art.”(6)
“My day is done: I am leaving Europe. The marine air will burn my lungs; unknown climates will tan my skin.” (A Season in Hell)
The year 1878… After stopping by several cities in Africa, Cyprus welcomes Rimbaud with its tranquillity. Here in Cyprus, he works as a supervisor at a stone quarry. He turns out to be a “man of action” totally leaving aside his personality of a “ man of thought”. He takes fancy in doing hard work. Poetry is dead for him. He never mentions his ‘previous’ life and his glorious days in Paris. No one, not even his employer, knows where he is from or who he is. Upon the inquiries concerning his past he replies, “absurd” and goes on “ridiculous, disgusting”. Rimbaud, has become somebody else. He is leading a tranquil and silent life in Cyprus, where he escaped from his past or maybe from himself. (7)
1. Patti Smith: Camera Solo, by Rena Silverman
2. Arthur Rimbaud, Wikipedia
3. Illuminations by Arthur Rimbaud – review. Charles Bainbridge, The Guardian, 2011.
4. Visionary Materialism, by Adam Thirlwell
5. The Chamber Orchestra of Boston. May 2007. Program Notes by Jeremy Black.
6. The Weird and Wonderful Literary World of Bob Dylan. By Benjamin Wright.
7. A French Poet in Cyprus: Arthur Rimbaud. Il Paradiso di Beatrice.