Δευτέρα 21 Νοεμβρίου 2022

Nikolaos Plastiras

 

Nikolaos Plastiras                                 ΝΙΚΟΛΑΟΣ ΠΛΑΣΤΗΡΑΣ

Born 1883 in Karditsa                                        Died 1953 in Athens


 

Plaza, Number BB

The more you read Greek history, the harder it gets to make simple judgements.  Soldier Nikolaos Plastiras was known as the  Dark Rider because of his bravery on the battlefield. Politically, he became an avid Venizelist, and was deeply involved in 5 military coups (3 successful, 2 not) between 1909 and 1935. In 1922, he was complicit in the execution of six men who would later be exonerated and later in one who perhaps did not deserve to die. To make his own story more complicated, he was himself sentenced to death by the Greek government 1935. He spent the next decade in exile in France,  but was still popular enough at home to be named the titular head of EDES a resistance group formed during the Second World War which was in need of a respectable figurehead. Towards the end of his life he was drafted into a brief premiership in 1945 because an acceptable centrist leader needed to be found and he became Prime Minister again in 1950 and 1951. By that time, he seems less of a dark rider and more of an aged war horse being paraded in a political arena where he looks just a tad out of place.

 


Plastiras in 1924

I started out thinking of him as just another of those military men who gallop through the pages of modern Greek history either saving the nation or wreaking havoc, depending on your point of view. But, against my own prejudices (5 coups!), I have found myself admiring Nikolaos Plastiras who was certainly a better soldier than a politician, but was a man who had integrity and who tried to do the right thing during an era when keeping your ethical balance was indeed a challenge.

 


Riding into history in Karditsa

 

His Life

Nikolaos was born in 1883 in the area of Karditsa in Thessaly which had only recently become part of the Greek nation. His father, Christos, was a tailor and his mother, Stergianos, a weaver. The grandfather after whom he was named had fought with Georgios Karaiskakis during the War of Independence, but Thessaly had remained in the Ottoman sphere when Greece gained its freedom.

  


                                             Thessaly was acquired in 1881

He began his schooling in Vounesi (today’s Morfovouni) and went on to High School on Karditsa. His family were not wealthy and, since the only sure way of advancement for a likely lad of his class was the army, it is not surprising that he joined as volunteer in 1903 and officially in 1904 becoming a sergeant, then a sergeant major.  This was during the period of the undeclared war to wrest Macedonia from the Ottomans and contributing to the struggle there was his first baptism into active duty.

1909: The Goudi Coup

Five years passed and Nikolaos found himself as one of the many non-commissioned officers unhappy with the army's slow rate of advancement, its failure to modernize, and the lack of meritocracy in the ranks. It was especially galling to have crown prince Constantine still in command, after the debacle of the 1897 war between Greece and the Ottomans in which Greece had suffered an ignominious defeat.  He joined the newly formed Military League, an organization begun by a group of frustrated NCOs. The government tried various ways to suppress them and matters came to a head in August 1909 when they arrested two of its leaders. The League then marched from their Goudi barracks on the outskirts of Athens to the city centre and staged their coup.

 


The Goudi Coup: the people praise the army while Greece herself tramples on the old order – a dragon of course.

It turned out to be a months-long confrontation during which the soldiers tried to rally the populace to their cause and the government tried various devices (including changing prime ministers) to stall their momentum. In October of the same year, the League took a new tack. A delegation headed to Crete to meet with Eleftherios Venizelos, then Prime Minister of the semi-autonomous island and no great friend of the Greek monarchy. Venizelos, already a consummate politician and negotiator, saw an opportunity but one that had to be handled carefully.  He advised the League members to return to Athens. He would arrive on his own in December - to mediate.

Both sides welcomed him. Changes were promised, new elections were to be held, and Venizelos was able to persuade the League to dissolve before he returned to Crete. However, he did allow allies to place his name on the Greek electoral candidate list in spite of the fact that he was not technically a Greek citizen. He not only got elected but so did a majority of his Greek political admirers. And that is how Venizelos became prime Minister of Greece in October 1910.

 


Venizelos starting a new era of reform in 1910

By any definition, the 1909 Goudi coup, the first of many in the twentieth century, was a huge success for Venizelos personally and for the army which would have perceived it as a potential blueprint for the future. The enthusiasm of soldiers like Plastiras must have been dampened slightly by the fact that Venizelos, ever the pragmatist, soon reinstated the Greek princes (Constantine and Andrew) into the army: he needed the king’s support for his reforms. (1)

 Between 1910 and 1919

Plastiras then attended  the Corfu School for non-commissioned Officers and graduated  as a second lieutenant. He fought in both Balkan Wars where he distinguished himself in many battles and won the soubriquet of Dark Rider. When these wars ended, Plastiras, now a captain, was stationed in Chios which had been ceded to Greece in 1913.

The 1916 Coup

In 1916, as the First World War raged, Venizelos staged his own coup, forming a government in opposition to the King who wanted to remain neutral. Plastiras and many others in the military joined him in Thessaloniki. When Venizelos prevailed, with a little help from the British, he exiled King Constantine (whom we have met earlier as the crown prince) and his soldier brother Andrew, but allowed Constantine’s son, prince Alexander, to remain as a kind of puppet king, very much under the government’s thumb. Plastiras continued his career fighting on the side of the Entente and taking part in many battles. Because of his competence and bravery, he was promoted to Major and then to Lieutenant-Colonel.

It was at this point that Plastiras adopted his first war orphan, a child whose entire family had been wiped out by the Bulgarians and who was wandering the streets of a small town in northern Greece.  He was touched by the youngster’s tragedy and asked the child if he would like to be adopted. He then sent him to his mother and sister in Karditsa . As time passed, he would adopt more children (three boys and three girls) and was instrumental in founding orphanages for many more whose lives had been fragmented by the war. Plastiras never married. When, in the 1920s, the wealthy Benakis family offered to shoulder the financial burden of raising his adopted children, Plastiras refused, saying that they were ‘the happiness of his family’s home’. (He did later accept a loan from Venizelos for a dowry for one of the girls.)

 


Plastiras with members of his adopted family

In 1919, Plastiras returned to Chios as governor of the island. He was so popular that they declared him an honorary citizen.

When part of the Asia Minor coast was placed under Greek military control in June of that year, Plastiras and his battalion arrived in Smyrna. This would mark both the beginning of a three year war with Turkey and the year he achieved the rank of colonel. During the three year struggle he gained another soubriquet: Black Pepper and his battalion were called the Devil’s army.

 


A map showing the Smyna zone

Just as Greece seemed poised to gain the Asia Minor coast and more, Venizelos lost the 1920 elections and went into a self imposed exile in France. It was a tremendous upset, possibly a result of war weariness. Royalist opposition leader Demetrios Gounaris had promised to bring the boys home. As a result, Greece lost not only her most accomplished politician but also the critical support of the British who were furious when Gounaris’ government brought back King Constantine from exile (King Alexander had died of a monkey bite in 1920). Britain regarded King Constantine as hostile to their interests. Inexplicably, in spite of their election promise the new government decided to continue the struggle, this time, with Prince Andrew and other military leaders in charge. The upshot: a chaotic retreat, the burning of Smyrna, many thousands dead, and the end of the Great Idea of Greek expansionism.

Plastiras, true to form, had fought bravely and engineered his soldiers’ retreat in good order while also caring for civilians in the path of his retreat to the sea at Tseme. 

 


Plastiras in Asia Minor

The 1922 Coup

Greeks were devastated and angry at the enormity of their defeat. The search for those responsible began almost immediately and fell squarely on the royalist government and some members of the Greek high command.  Plastiras, from Chios where he and his army had been evacuated, along with Colonel Stykianos Gonatas on Lesvos and navy Commander Dimitrios Fokas formed a Revolutionary Commitee that September which spearheaded the coup. This led to the government’s resignation, King Constantine’s abdication, the ascension to the throne of his son George, and the return of Venizelos at Plastiras’request to negotiate (from the difficult position of a the losing side)  what would become the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne. It was a treaty that only someone with Venizelos’ diplomatic skills could have brokered.

 


Plastiras and other coup leaders being welcomed in Athens after the 1922 coup

No one, except some members of the international community, complained when several politicians and military leaders were court martialed by an extraordinary military tribunal especially created by the Revolutionary Committee . Six (5 politicians and one general) (2) were sentenced to death for treason. Venizelos did not interfere. He later claimed that he would have asked for clemency after the verdict, but the six were executed within hours of their conviction – possibly to prevent just that. Only Prince Andrew escaped a trial at the insistence of Britain. He was evacuated with his family (including the future Prince Phillip of England) and spent the rest of his life in exile. Professional soldiers like Plastiras no doubt felt that their fate was richly deserved.

 


The six during their trial

Between 1922 and 1924, Plastiras had done his best to take care of the needs of the Asia Minor refugees in Greece. He would come to be idolized by many who named their children after him and hung his picture in their makeshift homes. The Coup leaders relinquished their hold in 1924, just in time for the civilian government to create the Second Hellenic Republic. By then Plastiras had retired with the rank of Lieutenant General and in gratitude was awarded the title "Worthy of the Fatherland(Άξιος της Πατρίδος) by the nation. He was in his 41st year.

In the following years, Plastiras dealt with a bout of tuberculosis and divided his time between Italy and Greece. Politicians, meanwhile, had to deal with a changed Greece whose population had swollen by close to one and a half million refugees and whose needs would be a destabilizing force for many years.  A coup and counter coup in 1925-6 did not help and, when in 1928 Venizelos again entered the political arena and gained 223 seats out of 250, Venizelists like Plastiras had high hopes for a reprise of the successful decade after his first election to parliament in 1910.

It was not to be.

The Wall Street crash of 1929, a host of other economic woes, and the slow rise of the communist party (3) in the 20’s offered much more radical solutions than the Liberal Party.  Even Venizelos’ friendship pact with Turkey in 1930, a tremendous diplomatic accomplishment, had alienated many refugees because it included a clause disallowing them from seeking compensation for property lost in Turkey.  All this contributed to Venizelos losing in 1933 to Tsaldaris, the royalist leader of the conservative People’s Party. 

A disappointed Plastiras initiated an unsuccessful coup that even Venizelos could not support and he fled to France to avoid repercussions (4). He tried another unsuccessful coup in March 1935, this time with Venezelos’ blessing. But these were not the heady days of the 1909 and 1916 coups. Venizelos fled to France where he died a year later. Both he and Plastiras were tried in absentia and sentenced to death.

 


Venizelos in 1935

After a plebiscite that no one believed reflected public opinion, King George was brought back in Triumph in 1935 and in 1936, he named future dictator Ioannis Metaxas as his prime minister.  Plastiras stayed in exile in France during the Metaxas dictatorship and during the Italian campaign and German occupation. He might have been confined to the dust heap of history were he not still popular enough to be persuaded to become titular head of EDES, a resistance movement meant to counter the left wing EAM_ELAS because its leader on the ground, Napoleon Zerva did, not have a sterling reputation.(5)

The Centre Cannot Hold...

This same reputation for integrity came into play after 1944 when the newly returned from exile Greek government, backed by British troops arrived in Athens and almost immediately became embroiled in pitched battles in Athens between EAM-ELAS and their own forces which led to bloodshed in December 1944 (the so called DeKemvriana (Δεκεμβριανά).

 


The government needed to restore trust so they invited Plastiras to take on the premiership because he was the most acceptable figure to both sides. Plastiras’attempt at finding a middle ground in 1945 was doomed from the start. There was too much distrust and political ambition on both sides. Still, during his tenure, the Varkiza Agreement (6)was signed, possibly the last real attempt on anyone’s part to avert the coming civil war.

Plastiras quickly disappointed the government and the British who felt he was too soft on EAM-ELAS. He was dismissed after only three months in office, ostensibly after a letter was leaked to the press suggesting that he had flirted with the Nazis while in exile in an effort to mediate in the Greco-Italian war. (7)

Undaunted, Plastiras founded a new party in 1949 after the civil war: the National Progressive Centre Union (EPEK). The multi-worded name itself suggests an attempt to coalesce the varied middle ground of liberals and left leaning democrats into a force able to counter the conservative political climate of the time. In 1950 he was part of a short lived liberal coalition and in 1951 in a longer one in partnership with Venizelos’son, Sophocles.  He was unwell and in hospital for much of a tenure concerned with economic recovery and reconstruction. The most famous result of that effort was the damming of the Tavropos River west of Karditsa which created the Lake that now bears his name.

 


Lake Plastiras today

On the downside, his government was in power during the conviction and execution of returned communist leader Nikos Belogiannis in March 1952, despite international protest. There were other efforts on the part of his government to quell fears of a futher civil war but Plastiras also incurred the wrath of his own partners when he wanted to release 130 communist prisoners in detention on Makronissos. It is ironic that this small step for reconciliation caused the New York Times to call him a communist!  Greeks would not be in the mood for reconciliation for another thirty years. Some are still not.

Plastiras lost the elections of November 1952 and died shortly after in Athens.  He had never acquired wealth. In his will he left 216 drachmas and a 10 dollar bill to his adopted daughter Kyriakoula. At his own request his doctor, Antonios Papaioannou, surgically removed his heart which lay in a casket in the National Bank for 27 years until, draped in the Greek flag, it was placed in the folk museum of Karditsa, his home town.  Echoing the placing of Byron’s heart in Messolonghi, Kanaris’ heart in the Historical Museum of Athens, and many other hearts of Greek heroes preserved over the years suggests that he saw himself in the same heroic mode.

 


 The Grave 


 

Plaza, Number B

The Map

 




Footnotes

(1)  Eleftherios Venezelos perhaps the most astute politician Greece has ever had. He understood power and expedience and could charm the birds out of the trees.

(2) Dimitrios Gounaris, Georgios Baltatzis , Nikolaos Stratos, Nikolaos Theotokis and Petros Protopapadakis and General Georgios Hatzianestis who was the last commander-in-chief of the Asia Minor campaign. Dora Stratou, the subject of one of our biographies was Nikolaos Stratos’ daughter.

 

(3). The Communist Party (first called the Socialist Labour Party) was founded in 1918. Although never a large percentage of any election, it had disturbed Venizelos’ Liberal Party enough for them to ban communists from civil service positions such as teachers. It was banned outright by the Metaxas dictatorship in 1936 and became for that government, the cause of all social evils. The rest is history...

(4). Apparently Plastiras was smuggled out of the country in a barrel

 

(5) For the checkered career of Napoleon Zervas, see http://athensfirstcemeteryinenglish.blogspot.com/2020/08/naopoleon-zervas.html

(6)  on February 12, 1945 The Treaty of Varkiza was signed calling for a plebiscite to be held within the year to resolve constitutional issues. both signatories agreed that members of the EAM-ELAS would be permitted to participate in political activities if they surrendered their weapons. Moreover, all civil and political liberties would be guaranteed and the army would be established as a non political organization.

(7)  Apparently the Nazis had approached Plastiras. They considered him a prime taget, SS Gruppenfurhrer  Nosek was sent to sound him out. Plastiras would have been delighted if he could have brokered some sort of deal between Italy and Greece. It would be a stretch to say that made him a Nazi-sympathiser. Of course many important Greek figures were also attempting to reach out to Germany before their invasion of Greece.

 

 

 

Sources

 

https://www.sansimera.gr/biographies/184

 

Τετάρτη 26 Οκτωβρίου 2022

Eleni Boukoura Altamoura

 

 

Eleni Boukoura Altamoura          ΕΛΕΝΗ ΜΠΟΥΚΟΥΡΑ ΑΛΤΑΜΟΥΡΑ

                Born 1821                                        Died 1900


 

Section One, Number 134

Let me do the weeping.

You just write the reasons

in case I’m still

in debt to sadness.

I want to have

my conscience clear,

that I have been tortured

for everything.

(Kiki Dimoula)

 

 

 


 Eleni Boukoura Altamoura, a self-portrait

In the small island of Spetses, famous for its war heroes Bouboulina and  Andreas Miaoulis, a heroine of a different sort was born in 1821, the same year as the Greek War of Independence began. Her name was Eleni Boukoura and she became a painter. Her father, Ioannis, an Arvanitis (1) like so many in Spetses, was a member of the Filiki Etairia and a ship master who fought for Greece’s independence. 

Ioannis was a man very much ahead of his time when it came to the education of women. He had not learned his letters until adulthood, but he wanted his two daughters and son to receive the best education possible. He moved his family to Nauplio so that the children could study at the French school there and, subsequently, on to Athens so his daughters could attend the Hill School (2) in the Plaka. Getting an education was an uphill battle for talented women during this era and Eleni had talent. Just how far she and her father were willing to go to nurture that talent is an amazing tale of daring, adventure, and ultimately, of tragedy. There is a reason why Eleni’s work is not found in Athens’ wonderful National Galley today...

Eleni’s Youth

Her talent was recognized and encouraged early on. At the Hill School Eleni would set up her own private ‘atelier’ during recess and create portraits of her fellow students. They were her first models. Because higher education was not open to women in those days, Ioannis Boukouras encouraged her development by securing private lessons for her with Italian painter Raffaello Ceccoli.

Raffaello Ceccoli was no run of the mill teacher. An accomplished painter, he had initially come to Greece with his young daughter in 1837 in a vain attempt to find a cure for her tuberculosis. He subsequently became a professor at the Athens School of Fine Arts from 1843 to 1852.  His work can be seen today in the National Gallery in Athens:


 

Ceccoli painted portraits of Greek war heroes and scenes like the above in the romantic vein so popular at the time.

Eleni’s young life was unusual. It was not just her art lessons. There was more.  In 1844, her father had bought a theatre in Athens from its Italian owner and became its manager for many decades. The Boukoura Theatre, as he named it, may have been a tad less grand than the theatres of European capitals, but it was Athens’ first major effort to emulate them and it was loved and patronized by Athenians during the many years of its existence. Boukouras never made money on the theatre and, in fact, had sold a sailing ship, the Sea Horse in order to buy it. He was truly an early benefactor to the state.  It is amazing that a mere 10 years after war torn Athens had become the capital of Greece, it had established both a thriving school of Fine Arts and a Theatre bringing European culture to its population. The plan to make Athens into the ‘Paris of the south’ was not an idle one.


 

A sketch of the theatre when it was on its last legs, but you get the idea.

Eleni must have enjoyed the rehearsals and performances at her father’s theatre. It would have been exciting to watch dramas and operas unfold with actors taking on roles so different from their everyday lives. Perhaps that experience encouraged her to attempt her solo debut in 1848 - with all of Italy for a stage.

The Metamorphosis of Eleni

Her world was a man’s world. She desperately wanted to be accepted as a student at Italian Schools of Fine Arts but they, like the Fine Arts School in Athens, prohibited women from attending. What could be simpler than arriving as a young man in a country where no one knew her real identity and attending academies there, as a young man?

So it happened that, at the age of 27, Eleni travelled to Italy with her father, and became Chrisinis Boukouras, a young man in European dress, fully qualified to study at the art academies of Naples and Rome.

 




Eleni / Chrisinis Boukouras studied in Rome and at the Overbeck School in Naples as well as in Florence.

What was Eleni’s state of mind during these years of disguise and study?  Many have speculated.  A gripping novel published in 1998 by Rea Galanaki, Eleni, or Nobody, offers an introspective and somewhat melancholy Eleni/Chrisinis.


 

"Ελένη ή ο Κανένας, published in 1998 and has been translated into 17 languages

At one point in the novel, Eleni views her persona in a mirror and says: I got used to the figure that looked back at me in the ‘crooked’ mirrors of the Cafe Greco, a shy, monk-like, ugly, timid creature. The author goes on to have Eleni wondering what her punishment will be for breaking all the rules. Would it be exile?  This beautifully imagined account may be accurate or, it may be the author foreshadowing what she knows is a tragic dénouement.

There is the other possibility, - that Eleni sometimes revelled in her disguise as she honed her painting skills and entered into the bohemian lifestyle of artists in Italy.

I hope she did.

Certainly a life-long stint as a man was not on her mind. She fell in love with mentor and up and coming painter Franceso Saverio Altamoura, a teacher at the Naples School of Fine Art. He painted in the romantic style of his era, preferring portraits or historical subjects:

 


His works are still in demand. The above was completed in 1848 when he was still with Eleni

 


A self portrait of Altamoura in later life

He must have had charm and charisma to have persuaded her to live with him outside of marriage for several years.

 


A portrait of Eleni painted by Franceso Altamoura

They had two children, Sophia in 1851 and Ioannis in 1852. Then, in 1853 Eleni became a Catholic so they could marry, after which they had a son, Alessandro, born in 1856.  Altamoura was not faithful, having affairs, until the one with English painter Jane Benham Hay ended their marriage. This must have been especially painful to Eleni because she and Jane were friends and fellow artists.


 

This is a painting by Eleni showing herself as Chrisinis painting Jane Benham Hay

Altamoura abandoned Eleni for Hay in 1857 and took their youngest son Alessandro with him. That seems incredible today. He went on to a long life and reasonable fame and fortune, as did Hay. They had one son who also became an artist of some note.

 

In his autobiography, Altamoura would say about Eleni:

 

She was extremely melancholy, mistrustful of her own opinions and very well educated...She was unhappy when she had to wear feminine clothing.(3)

Well... hardly an impartial source...   

At the age of 36, Eleni returned to her parents’ home in the Plaka area of Athens with two of her children. It seems that Eleni was accepted as equal to the artists of the era in spite of (or because of?) her unorthodox past. Along with Nikoforos Lytras she was chosen to show work at the Olympion(4) and presented work along with Georgos Margaritis, Alexandros Rangavis, and Ernst Ziller, distinguished company indeed.

 

 



Two of Eleni’s paintings that did survive

She made a living teaching the female students of the Arsakeion School and by teaching privately. Her most well known student was Queen Olga, the wife of George 1 of Greece. In summers, she would take her children to the family home in Spetses.

Her son Ioannis became a student of Greek painter Nikoforos Lytras and, unlike Eleni, was eligible to attend the Athens School of Fine Arts.

 


 Ioannis Altamoura, a self portrait


 

He was granted a scholarship by King George 1 to study in Copenhagen under Karl Frederick Sorensen, a specialist in marine painting; Ioannis became an expert in the genre.  In 1875, while still a student, he presented The Port of Copenhagen, at the Olympion where it was awarded the silver medal.

 

 


The Port of Copenhagen

 

Critics today remark on the vivid light in his work - his bright blues, greens, yellows and greys and that his paintings were moving from academic realism towards impressionism.  Eleni may have been just a tiny bit wistful at the ease with which Ioannis had been accepted in the Athenian School of Fine Arts.

Then Eleni was dealt two heavy blows. Her beloved father died and then her daughter Sophia was diagnosed with tuberculosis, a disease that ravaged so many families in Greece during this era. Eleni took Sophia to Spetses for fresh air and isolation, the only cures available at that time, but Sophia died in 1872 at the age of 18.

Eleni did return to Athens and, in 1876, Ioannis opened his own studio on Filellinon Street. He was set to do well. One commission from Patras gained him 22,000 drachmas, a large sum at the time.(5)

 

 


Ioannis Altamoura’s Naval Battle of Patras

 

But tragically, at the age of 26, Ioannis, also died of tuberculosis.

It was too much to bear. Eleni suffered a nervous breakdown during which she took all of the works from her Spetses home and burned them. Subsequently, supported economically by her brother Anastasis, Eleni, became an eccentric recluse in Spetses until her death in 1900.

She was buried on the island along with her son and daughter, and her brother apparently burned all of her accumulated papers and correspondence, the second holocaust in the garden on Spetses.


 

The family home in Spetses

Her grandchildren later had her bones and those of her two children transferred to Athens where they now rest in the Boukouras family grave.

 


Section One, Number 134

Eleni and her childrens’ grave stone in the First Cemetery

A Myth in the Making

“Because literature is not the things you find, it’s the way you ferment them” (Rea Galanaki in an interview) (6)

Why did her brother burn all of her papers? Why did she refuse Alessandro, her third child’s invitation, to come to Italy after Ioannis’ death choosing isolation in Spetses instead.(7)  Why did Eleni, rather like Keats, come to feel that her name had been ‘writ on water” (8), was her life’s work not worth recording? Was it the death of her two children, born out of wedlock, having been abandoned by her husband, her father’s death? Was she always melancholy? Surely she must have had a great sense of adventure when she was young, before tragedy drove her into seclusion. The poem by Kiki Dimoula at the beginning of this text seems to me to capture the latter part of her life. But she remains a tantalizing mystery. Her story leaves so many questions unanswered...

But one thing is certain: she retains a remarkable place in the history of art in Greece – and did pave the way for women artists to finally be accepted as students in the Athens School of Fine Arts. The first woman to be accepted on equal footing with the men was Sophia Laskaridou in 1903. She had personally petitioned King George 1 and he then decreed it.

I like to think that his wife Olga, who studied under Eleni, had something to do with that.

 

 

The Map

 


Footnotes

(1)  Arvanites are Albanian Greeks, many of whom have lived in Greece for hundreds of years. The Saronic islands and some parts of Attica had a large population of Arvanites in the early 19th century. Many spoke Albanian rather than Greek – or both.

(2)  For the story of the Hill School, see:

http://athensfirstcemeteryinenglish.blogspot.com/2018/12/fanny-hill.html

 

(3)  Francesco Saverio Altamoura (1822-1897) his life and work by Ioannis Bouroiannis-Tsaggaridis

(4)   The Olympion or Zappeian Games were precursors of the 1896 Olympics. As in Ancient Greece, these games held in 1859, 1867, and 1870 included categories for art.

(5)  See: https://www.tovima.gr/2011/03/06/culture/pethane-26-xronwn-prolabe-omws-na-damasei-ta-kymata/

(6)  See: https://www.greeknewsagenda.gr/interviews/reading-greece/7697-reading-greece-rhea-galanaki-on-delving-into-the-family-past-as-a-way-to-better-understand-oneself 

(7) Alessandros also had success as a painter showing works in Torino in 1880 and Paris in 1906. He had a nervous breakdown and apparently destroyed many of his father’s works. There is, no doubt, a story there.

 

(8)Keats’grave:

 


 

See also:

https://amarysia.gr/arthra-sxolia-main/ιωάννης-μπούκουρας-ένας-μπαρουτοκαπ  tells the story of Ioannis Boukouras

The original poem by Dimoula, far better than my translation, of course.

"'Ασε να κλαίω

Μόνο γράφε τους λόγους,

μήπως κι οφείλω

κι άλλη λύπη.

Θέλω να έχω

τη συνείδησή μου (conscience)

ήσυχη πως βασανίστηκα 

για όλα. "

Κική Δημουλά