Wind-bound in Nicaria, circa 1740

 Old stone shelter near Langada in Ikaria
Hello readers!
I don’t expect this long article to become too popular. It’s just that several modern-day Ikarians show a lot of interest in knowing as much as they can about the more recent history of the island and they are usually very disappointed. Compared with other islands of the Aegean Sea, there is so little to say about Ikaria! No glorious battles, no illustrious rulers, no forts and fleets, no trading towns, no towers, cathedrals and famous monasteries; only mossy stonewalls and old thrifty houses scattered in the ravines, the valleys and the forests in the hills.
Εxcept one Greek Orthodox clergyman in the 17th century, no other educated person from East or West felt the urge to visit the island and write an account. If I’m not mistaken, the first book about the history of Ikaria appeared in the middle of the 20th century. Until then, there was no big narrative but only countless little stories told by the fireplace; persistent little stories which by force of repetition, became local legends; local legends some of which today, by force of time and culture gap, may sound like wild fairy tales.

Imaginary depiction of Charles Perry's ship wind-bound under Cape Papas in Ikaria
Neverthelss, there were some short descriptions of the life in the island during the Obscurity («Αφάνεια») as we like to call in Ikaria the first hard centuries of the Ottoman occupation. These were written by the very few European travelers who touched at our rough, inhospitable shores, often by chance or accident. In Pr A.J. Papalas’ book «Ancient Icaria» I found a reference to one of these documents, which, although brief and trivial, capticated my imagination. It is by Charles Perry, a wealthy medical doctor from England who travelled in the Levant from 1739 to 1742. After visiting Egypt, Perry sailed from Alexandria to Athens. On his way across the Aegean he visited and described the islands of Cos and Patmos. But after that island, as he was heading for Mykonos, his ship was caught in a storm and was forced to drop anchor in Ikaria.

Old settlement in Karkinagri Ikaria I liked Perry’s account. Reading his one and a half page about his accidental visit to Ikaria, I felt the genuine puzzlement of a man of the Century of Lights for the unwelcoming, extremely mountainous environment of the island and his also genuine astonishment (and contempt) for the attitude and the way of life of its inhabitants. But, most of all, I liked his account for a more personal reason: through the eyes of the good old British doctor, I saw some places of western Ikaria which I know very well, such as Karkinagri, Agios Isidoros and Langada, looking as uncanny and wild, as if we were talking about a remote, unfriendly rock in the middle of the South Pacific!
I found that very exciting! In my mind it fitted in with the other tales of my island and their mixture generated cores for several imaginary storylines! Maybe some day I’ll sit down Drawing of Imaginary Ikarians fiesting in the 18th century and write a similar story, this time not from the side of an enlightened European physician, probably wearing a powdered wig, but from the side of the «wretched, almost naked and savage» Ikarians!

 ∴  ∴  ∴  ∴  ∴  ∴  ∴  ∴  ∴  ∴  ∴  ∴  ∴  ∴  ∴  ∴  ∴  ∴

Wind-bound in Nicaria, p.484 «We spent three days in Patmos, not disagreeably; and the fourth in the morning we set sail for Myconos; but the wind, which was otherwise pretty favorable, grew slack, next to a calm; so that it was with much-ado, with what wind we had, and the help of our oars, that we reached the west end of Nicaria in two days. We much lamented our hard fate, that we should thus long want a wind at such a favourable (for it) crisis of the year, it being near the Autumnal Equinox.
However, that night, about an hour after sunset, even whilst we were reproaching the malice of our stars, a fine gale sprang up. We failed not to embrace it immediately, and we went driving on, Jehu-like, with our sails full of wind and our hearts full of joy: But alas! How frail and transitory are human hopes and happiness, especially upon the sea? Within an hour after, the wind turned against us, and blew a storm; so that we were forced to change our course, and to seek shelter under a rock at the west end of Nicaria, which we did not attain, however, without much difficulty and danger.»

Wind-bound in Nicaria, p.485 «Here we lay wind-bound four nights, and above three days; during which irksome interval we amused ourselves in the best manner we could with fishing: But after we had spent two days without other recreation than fishing, that sport grew dull and tedious; and whilst we were looking out for some sport and divertissement, kind Providence (of its grace and favour) sent us the glad tidings that about a mile off, on the side of a high rocky mountain, there was a spring of excellent water, which was resorted to by great number of partridges. Upon this intelligence, (which we got the third day of our detention there) we immediately got ready arms and ammunition of all sorts, as well for the belly as the barrel -such as bread, butter, cheese, salt, pepper, wine, glasses, etc. We marched on directly, (flushed with the hopes of new game) with uncommon ardour, or rather avidity; and we were well recompensed our pains; for we passed that day very agreeably.
The mountain (though in general very steep) admits a sort of level in that place; and the spring of water issues out of a rock, in a very convenient and delightful spot, where nature or chance has formed a sort of grot, large enough to receive and accommodate a dozen or 15 persons. This natural grot (if we may so call it) is covered over, and secured against the weather, by a large flat stone of about 24 feet in diameter: This rests upon and is supported by other stones on all sides, except to the eastward; where, being open, it presents to view a sort of alcove. Here we passed the whole day (which but for that retreat would have been tedious) very agreeably -reclining upon the bed of our grot, with the water trilling along close by us, whilst our partisans upon the hunt for partridges, wild goats, and the like, of which they brought us in good store.»

Wind-bound in Nicaria, p.486 «There are some few inhabitants on this island, but those almost naked and savage, seldom seeing or conversing with any of the human species, except those of their own isle. The second day after we put in there, we sent out some of the mariners a shooting for us, who pursuing their game to the north side of the mountain, met with some of the natives. These were so affrighted at sight of strangers, that they fled from them with precipitation; but our people calling after them, and telling them they had brought them bread and corn, they at last prevailed on them to stop, and come to a party with them. These poor wretches, being at length persuaded of our good intentions, came to see us aboard our vessel, and afterwards brought us good store of grapes and meat. We were really at a loss to guess where they found those things; for the whole island, so far as we could see of it, is the most miserable, barren rock that ever was seen.
The 4th day, towards noon, the wind changing in our favour, we set sail for Myconos, which is 40 miles distant from the westernmost point of Nicaria. This (as it is to be supposed) is a run of about 7 hours, with a good brisk gale…»

 ∴  ∴  ∴  ∴  ∴  ∴  ∴  ∴  ∴  ∴  ∴  ∴  ∴  ∴  ∴  ∴  ∴  ∴

Pages 484-486 from Charles Perry’s book, «A View of the Levant», which I have arbitrarily named «Wind bound in Nicaria», can be found in Google books

Modern books about the history of Ikaria:

Pr A.J.Papalas 'Ancient Icaria' on A presentation of the Greek translation of Pr A.J.Papalas 'Ancient Icaria' in my blog In my blog a rather personal and enthusiastic presentation of Pr A.J.Papalas 'Rebels and Radicals', a book about the history of Ikaria after 1670

Comments on this article are very welcome!



In the Name of the Goddess




A SuperProduction
° Eleni’s Channel °
brought to you by…

(come on sponsors, where are you?)



(9 total)

Damn! I will be short of money until the end of the year but I can write to The National Geographic. They will love the title! It’s about Artemis of Nas of course, the little provincial sister of the great Ephesian Artemis – «Magna Mater»

I am getting the chills…

Saturday October 11, 2008 – 09:07pm (EEST)

Do you like the photo? This is a draft page. I don’t want The National Geographic, hahaha : I just need your help. If I make a bad step, correct me. That’s all.

MAgNa MaTeR NaTurAE ….chillls & chill outs!

Sunday October 12, 2008 – 09:51am (PDT)

Of course. And you post this picture in Flickr. Besides a good photo, there is something very ‘irregular’ about these two signs put together one on top of the other.

Monday October 13, 2008 – 08:14pm (EEST)

oh, great goddess oh!


Wednesday October 15, 2008 – 11:15pm (EEST)

Hello Goddess, ‘Κυρά των Αγριμιών’! Where did you get this photo of your statue in Ephesus? Did you take it yourself? No doubt, being a goddess, you made yourself invisible and you escaped the museum guards attention.

Monday October 20, 2008 – 02:29pm (EEST)

Before you embark in your quest to break the Ephesian code, you should know that this fertility goddess is not the same Artemis of the Greeks, goddess of hunting. When the Greeks begun to colonize their near-by world, part of the colonization process was the Hellenization of the local gods by re-labeling them to something more familiar, this one happened to look like an Artemis to the Greek conquerors.
You know, history is written by the winners.

Monday October 20, 2008 – 08:16am (PDT)

Great photo! Where did you get it? Greco-Roman «oriental sytle» 1st cent. AD. and there is controversy whether those ‘things’ on her chest are tits of bull balls!!!!

Monday October 20, 2008 – 10:17pm (EEST)

Only that this is no «History Channel». This is «Eleni’s Channel». Welcome to the fiction writer’s cocktail party, Vassili! Lay back and enjoy.

Tuesday October 21, 2008 – 02:00pm (EEST)

Αγγελε, κοκτειλ παρτυ ειπες? φτου, και εγω νομιζα «φιλολογικόν τέϊον» και δεν ειμαι ντυμενος καταλληλα, κατσε μια στιγμη να αλλαξω…
Τωρα ειμαι ετοιμος, ααα η μυρωδια ξερου βερμουθ και πρασινης ελιας.
Για να δουμε τι θα δουμε…

Wednesday October 22, 2008 – 12:36am (PDT)

Instead of Urban Legends here is a FolkTale




This photo is by my friend ‘simonsterg’ -a teller of tales like me. It shows a piece of ironwork (see details). There is a tale under it. The tale starts like this:

«A tiger once fell into a trap, and the trap was the hole in the ground.

Now normally tigers are good climbers and jumpers, but this hole was so steep-sided, so smooth that try as he might the Tiger couldn’t get out.

And there he waited, until a boy came along…»

I was amazed by the image and the tale, so I asked the question which I reserve for story tellers only. «What does it teach?» And good Simon reacted with another tale. ‘Cause tales pose questions to get answered by other tales (my love, Secherazade …). Read that too. Oh and ye Greeks, who among you over 20 doesn’t know Nasrudin? The old bugger is coming back via I don’t know where… My grandmother’s spirit sent him.

Δεν ειμαι λεχωνα πια. Ειμαι κανονικος ανθρωπος . Φευγω και παω για δουλεια πολυ συντομα.
I’m not a *lechona* anymore. I am a regular human now and I’m going for work very soon.



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So it’s a fact. You are raising steam to get back to work. There can’t be better proof than this entry. Bonne chance alors. I don’t want to know how you will manage. It will probably be something beyond my imagination.

Tuesday February 6, 2007 – 10:01am (EET)

I’d say it means that if you juggle scorpions you might get stung, that whitewashing a fence is a pleasure if you perceive it to be, and that no matter what, you keep on chopping wood.

Tuesday February 6, 2007 – 09:45am (PST)

Ah, it’s the side of Eleni that I hate, but I can’t deny that the «what does it teach?» question works…

Wednesday February 7, 2007 – 10:14pm (EET)

Well I am of course flattered to – again! – feature in the blog… especially after such a long silence…

I’m also glad to see that the «steam is raised» and that you are canonical again.

But turning to Ahina – why is that a hateful thing? And how does it work?

Wednesday February 7, 2007 – 09:34pm (CET)

Oh, and I almost forgot to say: I Didn’t Know that Nasrudin had a Greek passport too!!!
So I have come back for «payment» from all greeks over the age of 20 who even glance at my photo: I want a Nasrudin story.

As small change – and since i am now a StoryTeller – let me tell you that he did in fact come to London. He had heard that in that Great Metropolis even people who don’t work are paid – «The streets are paved with gold.» When he was told that the only work you had to do was to pick the money up, he could hardly credit it.
So, having found his way from Heathrow Airport via Picadilly Line train and number 36 bus (not without a number of bizarre encounters) to his cousin’s flat, he was amazed to see a ten pound note on the walkway in front of the door. He stared at it in amazement and then bent to pick it up.
But before his hand touched the note he straightened up again.
«No,» he said aloud, «I will start work tomorrow…»

Wednesday February 7, 2007 – 09:56pm (CET)

oops Athina, I left out your h… (English could really do with its theta – its «thorn» back again – it would make teaching children to read and write a little easier.)

Wednesday February 7, 2007 – 10:01pm (CET)

Hi All. I would add Rumi to the list of story-tellers from Konya. «Though water prevails over fire in might, Yet it boils by fire when in a cauldron» (from «Masnavi» translated by E.H. Whinfield). Also, anybody familiar with Calvin & Hobbes?

Friday February 9, 2007 – 01:40am (EST)


A man from an island walks in a street of a big city one day. Suddenly he stumbles on an old oil lamp and falls down. Very angry he turns and grabs the lamp; he is ready to smash it when a jinn comes out.
– There we go again! Couldn’t you be more careful? Say your wish very fast now and let’s get over with it.
– Can I ask for anything?
– Yes, anything. But make it fast. We are not going to stay here all day.
– Oh don’t worry; It’s something I always wanted to ask. You see I come from an island and I don’t want to travel there by boat or plane anymore. Can you build me a highway over the sea so that I can drive to my island?
– How far is your island?
– About 200 miles.
– What? This is impossible! I’m just a simple jinn! I am not God. I can’t make what you asked. Say another wish.
– Ok, no problem; don’t be so upset. Here is my other wish: can you make my wife obey me in everything; that when I tell her to sit that she sits and when I tell her to stand that she stands and I when I tell her to shut up that she shuts up; in one word, that she always does what I tell her to do without objecting and quarreling?
– How many lanes did you say you wanted your highway to have?

(I heard this the other day from a man who is about to get married. He is a lover of Nasrudin’s stories as well as of anything like it. Even nowadays that Greece is clearly oriented towards the west, the Nasrudin circle remains part of the Greek culture. Though the name -pronounced «Neshradin»- of the famous mullah is hardly ever mentionned, the stories are there: «The Camel’s way», «The Oven on Wheels», «The donkey who learned not to eat» e.t.c. )

Oop! Welcome, latest commentator Can! We share the same admiration for Mevlana Jelaledin Rumi! I used to have a copy of his Masnavi in French.

Friday February 9, 2007 – 01:05pm (EET)

@ simonsterg : I hate Eleni’s «what does it teach?». I am a very restless person and I can’t stand still and speculate on meanings. (I like reading though). Yet I admit that it works! Brings more stories about. We are grateful. Makes this blog so much richer. «The streets paved with gold» story is a typical Greek immigrant joke about New York. I didn’t know Nasrudin started it.
@ AKK : thanks; none of us knew the joke. It is very appropriate given the situation. In fact it sums up the situation. I’m going to tell it to Stavros on Sunday. He ‘d rather build a 200 mile bridge across the sea than make Eleni (+ me) listen to him right now.
@ ‘Can’ : welcome newcomer! Rumi? Why did the name make me think of the turning dervishes? I was sure there must have been something deeper behind the folkloric festival in Konya, Turkey. I’m not very much for mysticism, but these people (are they monks?) actually DO something. I like outgoing action -& if possible, miracles.

My name is Athina like the name of the city with the stress in the last syllable. But I’d hate to be called «Athens». So you may call me by the nice diminutive NANA

Friday February 9, 2007 – 11:18pm (EET)

Έλληνες φίλοι και φίλες στενάχωριεστε, το ξέρω, που όλα αυτά είναι στα Αγγλικά. Πάλι καλά να λέτε γιατί θα μπορούσε να είναι στα Γαλλικά ή στα Ιταλικά ή και στα Τούρκικα. Για παρηγοριά σας θυμίζω πως 3 από τους σπουδαιότερους Έλληνες ποιητές (κι ανάμεσά τους κι ο Εθνικός ποιητής μας) τα Ελληνικά δεν ήταν η πρώτη τους γλώσσα. Κάλβος, Σολωμός, Καβάφης. Ξέρω προσωπικά έναν Αλβανικής καταγωγής που βγάζει το ψωμί τους σαν μαραγκός στην Αθήνα και γράφει ωραιότατα ποιήματα στα Ελληνικά. Μην ήσαστε «ανάδελφοι» λοιπόν. Διάβαστε αργά και θα τα καταλάβετε. Αργά -λέω μωρέ! Οι Έλληνες άμα θέλουν όλα τα καταλαβαίνουν.

Friday February 9, 2007 – 11:26pm (EET)

Thanks Nana and AKK. As far as I know, Rumi inspired the creation of the Mevlevi order which is more popularly known as the whirling dervishes. There is so much symbolism in their mystical dance, a ritual called “Sema” in Turkish. It is of course a means for spiritual development for these dervishes and I agree this is more outgoing than mystics who live in a cave or remain secretive. In these whirling dervish performances you hear some amazing music too. To me the main miracle is they are able to dance for so long and the scientific explanation has something to do with the way they hold their heads at a certain angle. This supposedly helps them to adjust to the tilt and the movement of the earth.

Sunday February 11, 2007 – 09:55am (EST)

There are too a few «Nasrudin» stories form Rumi…
This one «means» there is a limit to how useful «information» can be:

«I can read minds,» said Nasrudin.
«Really? Then, tell me, what have I got in my pocket?»
A look of deep concentration came over the Mulla’s face: «Mmm.. it’s something produced by a chicken… smoothe… fits in the palm of your hand… it’s edible… brown… shaped like an egg…»
«Yes, but what is it?»
«Some kind of cake?»

@AKK – I did, actually, LOL with «how many lanes?»

Sunday February 11, 2007 – 09:06pm (CET)

Now let me say «what this teaches». It teaches that information is nothing (no matter the wonderous way we got it), if we are unable to read it. In other words it’s sometimes better for us to know less and be able to understand more.
I’m not much of a philosopher -I just know this from everyday life.

Monday February 12, 2007 – 02:03am (PST)

Legends about Ikaria : THE MYTH OF ICARUS


(Στα Ελληνικά εδώ)


(An interview with Doubting Thomas)

Is Ikaria the island where Icarus fell?

I can’t tell you. I hadn’t been born yet and there is no video-tape of the accident. The nearest we have to a video is Brueghel’s painting but this is not enough evidence. It’s a painting made in Holland thousands of miles away from the Aegean, many centuries later. Though it’s a fact that it looks like those amateur videos that are focused on an innocent scene and accidentaly captured a tragedy. Then they become famous and their makers sell them to the media for a lot of money. It could be a video, but it’s not. It’s an oil painting -a artistic fancy, in other words.

Yet people say that’s where he fell.

People say a lot of things. For example in every encyclopedia and guide book we read, «Ikaria, known from the fall of Icarus, e.t.c.» People love to be told stories especially when accidents are involved.

Yes but what about the name of the island?

Oh, names may mean something or may mean nothing. We can go to the registrar and change our names according to our fancies and make various connections and associations. Or without changing the name, we can change it’s meaning or it’s origin to suit our convenience. For example, there is a Greek island called Karpathos, that is, it’s got the same name as the Karpathian mountains in Transylvania, Romania. Now the Karpathians (of the island) are free to associate the name of their island with Dracula; to claim, for example, that the mountains of Romania got their name from their island; evenmore, that Dracula was born in Karpathos and after having sucked all the blood out of the inhabitants as a kid, when he grew up, he flew (he was a vampire) to a larger place with a larger population and an endless supply of blood. Nevertheless, today, even if the Aegean Karpathians had thought of doing this, they are too late. The Romanians have taken every advantage of the tale already and Dracula’s castle is the biggest tourist attraction of their country. There would be a huge diplomatic clash between Greece and Romania, if the Aegean Karpathians claimed their island as the birthplace of Dracula. There is so much money and prestige involved, you see.

So the association between Ikaria and Icarus is a lie?

I don’t say it’s a lie. All I say is I don’t know. There is no video and there were no reliable eye-witnesses, BBC, CNN, SKY NEWS and so on. Maybe there was an amateur video (by a cousin of that plower in the painting, for example) or a pilot shot for a documentary on a rustic subject; because it had captured «The Fall» it survived till the 16th century and that’s what Brueghel saw and he made the famous painting. All I’m saying is that we must find and watch the original video to be sure of the fact. For example, something like this.

The drowning of Icarus


Next week a new episode of the interview with Doubting Thomas.
Subject-matter : «Ikaria political« : Red Rock, Dry Rock, Devil’s island, Island of Exile

Athina Sk.


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Yes, we must definitely find the Icarus video. I am also interested in the videos of other high flyers such as Abbas Ibn Firnas, Leonardo da Vinci, Hezarfen Ahmet Celebi etc. I looked at youtube but none is available. Leonardo’s depiction of the Icarus accident is a collector item and would be OK instead of the original video. I wonder if Doubting Thomas has seen any of those?

Tuesday February 13, 2007 – 04:56pm (EST)

Keep looking. Doubting Thomas is right. In the times we live, what’s not on a photo or a video, just doesn’t exist!..

Thursday February 15, 2007 – 01:14am (PST)

That’s interesting to know that… will browse thru youtube and dailmotion to find anything on this… and add it to my documentary collection @

Wednesday February 21, 2007 – 07:54am (GMT)


Related to: «Icarus in the pool»


The Myth of Icarus, the flying man, belongs to the ‘Circle of Theseus’, which in its turn belongs to a larger group of closely related myths, all of them being the foundation of the Ionian Greek heritage and identity.
In simple words, to know these myths meant that you were Greek.
Though it is certain that the Ionians conducted savage warfare against the Carians, the Cretans and other peoples who inhabited the coasts of the Aegean, their myths speak very little about it. They speak about achievements of the mind instead; ingenious devices, machines, new political ideas (‘the city-state’ for instance was supposed to be Theseus’ invention), new kind of ships (‘the 50oared that could sail against any sea current), new gods like Dionysus who was –what else?- the difficult art of wine making and drinking personified or rather deified, as it should be.

To know these myths meant that you were Greek.

Thursday January 24, 2008 – 10:59pm (EET)

To know these myths meant that you were Greek.
It is very interesting how little magic is involved in them. For example, in the myth of Deadalus and Icarus, unlike the similar myths about flyers from Persia and India, we are told bluntly that it was enough for a man to glue feathers with wax to make wings and fly away! We are not even told that the flyer had to move his arms very fast! Isn’t it absurd?
There is no magic and yet, there precisely lies the magic. The myth is a challenge to the mind. How on earth did Deadalus and Icarus do it? How did Theseus come up with the idea to seduce Ariadne and how did she come up with the idea to give him the string, Ariadne’s clue, to find his way in the Labyrinth?
These are logical myths. Their purpose is not to make you stand in awe but to make you want to do the same.
For example, you see that you weren’t able to fly with feathers glued with wax tied around your arms? Your head is in bandages? Don’t worry. Blame Dedalus who probably knew a few tricks that he didn’t say. But if you were patient enough to do all that feather and wax and leather straps work, if you were as crazy as to jump from a high place trying to fly, you can build yourself a nice little boat now. Plant a nice mast, rigging and sail and set off towards the unknown.
These are logical myths. And there is nothing more crazy than logic. But it’s magic because it makes us move. Not too often against each other, I hope.

Thursday January 24, 2008 – 11:02pm (EET)


When the Ionians who of course knew well the myths of the ‘Circle of Theseus’, came from Miletus and settled in Ikaria in the 7th century B.C. or while they were sailing past and round it, they must have observed the resemblance of the island’s Phoenician name, Ikor, (most of the Aegean islands bear Phoenician names) to the name of Ikaros (Icarus) and they must have told their brothers, the Athenians. As the Phoenicians weren’t there anymore to contradict them, the Athenians thought: Nice! We can complete the myth of Deadalus and Icarus. That place must have been where Icarus fell and drowned! There is wild wind-beaten sea around it, called “Sea of Ikor”? That’s it!
And so you have an entire sea and an entire island dragged out of nothingness and into the Ionian universe: “The place where Icarus fell” = Island Icarus (in Thucydides) = Ikaria (in the archives of Venice and to the present day).
The myth was a great one and the Ikarians were lucky to have acquired it. Even Nero the mad Roman emperor loved that story and he had tried to adapt and stage set it in the theater! Only that he was soon short of actors because the play was too realistic. The Icaruses dropped themselves from the ceiling and died!
Meanwhile the Ikarians worked on their myth and even claimed they had found the tomb of Icarus. In fact it is said that they showed it to visitors in the Roman time (‘tourism’ as we know it was born exactly then).

Thursday January 24, 2008 – 11:05pm (EET)


So it was all propaganda, you will say. Of course it was. Isn’t it all? Those myths were heavy with propaganda and partiotic stuff. What else is a myth after all if not a way to turn reality the way we want it?
I find this fascinating. The mind connects and works with whatever finds handy.
Cabet and the utopians started and social conditions made so as today the Myth of Icarus is associated with the idea of Freedom. Since the 19th century people refer to it as “The Flight of Icarus” rather than “The Fall of Icarus”. Ikaria again takes advantage. By some game of coincidence, it so happened that its inhabitants have never been slaves to nobody, were never invaded, lived primitive perhaps, but free –sometimes (good times) carefree. “Welcome to the Island of Icarus” reads the big sign in the harbour of the capital. Agios Kyrikos. Does it mean “This is the site of the most famous flying accident in the world”?
No. For the people I know at least, it means (consciously, unconsciously or subconsciously) “Welcome to the Island of Freedom”.

The Island of Freedom… What a heavy weight our own propaganda has put on our shoulders!

Why couldn’t we rather have something lighter and more neutral like “Welcome to the Island of Windmills” instead?



Thursday January 24, 2008 – 11:09pm (EET)

Είπα στο
ότι θα γράψω τα παραπάνω και στα Ελληνικά, ε;
Ε, λοιπόν πολύ αμφιβάλλω…

Thursday January 24, 2008 – 11:11pm (EET)

Οχι μωρε. Αστο. Δεν χρειαζεται. Τρεχα γυρευε – που λες κι εσυ…
«Το Νησι της Ελευθεριας» -αυτο μονο ας μεινει. Πραγματι, τι μεγαλο βαρος.
«Το Νησι της Ισοτητας» -να προσθεσω εγω (αν και ασχετο με το μυθο). Κι αυτο ειναι βαρος.
Χριστε μου ευτυχως που υπαρχει το κρασι! 🙂

Friday January 25, 2008 – 04:22am (PST)

«Με το κεφάλι δεμένο μέσα σε επιδέσμους; Μη χολοσκάς. Μπορείς τώρα να φτιάξεις ένα ωραίο σκάφος…»
Χαχαχα – Μ’ άρεσε πολύ!

Saturday January 26, 2008 – 02:02pm (EET)

All propaganda?
Of the muses, children of Memory, perhaps.
Reality the way we want it?
No, I think it’s reality the way we don’t want it.
Think of Oedipus (Tiresias: ‘What made me forget? I never should have come.’)
Or Agamemnon returning home. Or Odysseus for that matter.
There is a political dimension, but you can’t limit it to just that!

Thursday February 14, 2008 – 12:20am (CET)

But now I’ve argued with AKK it looks like I don’t appreciate him setting out the myth and so much background for us.
So to cover up the argumentativeness, can I add Auden’s poem?

About suffering they were never wrong,
The Old Masters; how well, they understood
Its human position; how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along;
How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting
For the miraculous birth, there always must be
Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating
On a pond at the edge of the wood:
They never forgot
That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course
Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot<
Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer’s horse
Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.
In Breughel’s Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
Water; and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.

Thursday February 14, 2008 – 10:53am (CET)

Simon G, maybe AKK should have put the word ‘propaganda’ between quotes. Yet for the Greeks, politics has run in their veins since always, so terms like this sound much less heavy. They are part of the culture.

I don’t know why, the epigram on Aeschylus grave came in my mind. It didn’t read anything about him being a big shot playwright. It read «The long curly haired Persians will remember his valour in battle». The poet wanted to be remembered as the young soldier who had been and had fought for the freedom of his city in Marathon.

Thursday February 14, 2008 – 11:33am (PST)

Heh heh heh! You caught me :)) Auden’s poem was behind my choice of Brughel’s painting to go with Nana’s hilarious interview of DT.

Thursday February 14, 2008 – 11:40am (PST)

You are right. I over-simplified. Put ***propaganda*** in many quotes.


Friday February 15, 2008 – 02:04pm (EET)

Μύθοι για την Ικαρία : Ο ΜΥΘΟΣ ΤΟΥ ΙΚΑΡΟΥ

(In English)

(Μια συνέντευξη με τον Άπιστο Θωμά)


Είναι η Ικαρία ο τόπος που έπεσε ο Ίκαρος;

Δεν μπορώ να σου πω. Δεν είχα γεννηθεί τότε και δεν υπάρχει βίντεο που να δείχνει το ατυχές περιστατικό. Το το πιο κοντινό που έχουμε σαν βίντεο είναι ο σχετικός πίνακας του Μπρύγκελ, όμως δεν είναι αρκετή απόδειξη. Είναι μια ελαιογραφία που έγινε στην Ολλανδία, πολλά μίλια μακριά από το Αιγαίο και πάρα πολλούς αιώνες αργότερα. Είναι γεγονός όμως ότι ο πινακας μοιάζει σαν κάποια ερασιτεχνικά βίντεο που ενώ κεντράρουν σε μια αθώα σκηνή, τυχαίνει και πιάνουν ένα τραγικό περιστατικό που συμβαίνει την ίδια στιγμή στον ίδιο τόπο. Ξέρετε, απ’ αυτά που γίνονται διάσημα και οι δημιουργοί τους τα πουλούν στα μήντια για πολλά λεφτά. Ο πίνακας μοιάζει με βίντεο, όμως δυστυχώς δεν είναι βίντεο. Είναι μια ελαιογραφία -μια καλλιτεχνική φαντασίωση, με άλλα λόγια.

Ωστόσο, όλος ο κόσμος λέει ότι στην Ικαρία έπεσε ο Ίκαρος.

Ο κόσμος λέει πολλά. Για παράδειγμα, κάθε εγκυκλοπαίδεια και ταξιδιωτικός οδηγός γράφουν : «Η Ικαρία, γνωστή από τον μύθο της πτώσης του Ικάρου, κτλ.» Οι άνθρωποι αγαπούν τις ιστορίες, ειδικά άμα έχουν σχέση με δυστυχήματα.

Ναι, αλλά το όνομα του νησιού;

Α, τα ονόματα μπορεί να σημαίνουν κάτι ή μπορεί να μην σημαίνουν και τίποτα. Μπορούμε να πάμε στον ληξίαρχο και να αλλάξουμε το όνομά μας όπως γουστάρουμε και να κάνουμε διάφορους συσχετισμούς. Ή το όνομα που έχουμε, να του αλλάξουμε το νόημα και τη προέλευση, όπως μας βολεύει. Για παράδειγμα, υπάρχει ένα Ελληνικό νησί, η Κάρπαθος, που συμβαίνει να έχει το ίδιο όνομα με τα Καρπάθια όρη στη Τρανσυλβανία της Ρουμανίας. Οι Καρπάθιοι (οι νησιώτες), ας πούμε, είναι ελεύθεροι να συσχετίσουν το όνομα του νησιού τους με τον Δράκουλα. Να ισχυριστούν, για παράδειγμα, ότι βουνά της Τρανσυλβανίας πήραν το όνομά τους από το νησί τους. Επιπλέον να πουν ότι ο Δράκουλας είχε γεννηθεί στην Κάρπαθο και αφού ως παιδί ρούφηξε όλο το αίμα από τους κατοίκους, όταν μεγάλωσε, πέταξε (βρυκόλακας ήταν) σε ένα μεγαλύτερο μέρος με μεγαλύτερο πληθυσμό και ατελείωτες προμήθειες αίμα. Παρ’ όλα αυτά, σήμερα, ακόμα κι αν οι Καρπάθιοι (οι νησιώτες) ήθελαν να κάνουν έναν τέτοιο συσχετισμό, είναι πάρα πολύ αργά. Οι Ρουμάνοι έχουν εκμεταλλευτεί στο έπακρο τον μύθο του Δράκουλα και το κάστρο του είναι η μεγαλύτερη τουριστική ατραξιόν της χώρας τους. Θα γινόταν τρομερό διπλωματικό επεισόδιο ανάμεσα στην Ελλάδα και τη Ρουμανία, αν οι Καρπάθιοι (οι νησιώτες) έβγαιναν κι έλεγαν το νησί τους ήταν ο τόπος γέννησης του Δράκουλα. Είναι βλέπετε, το γόητρο και τόσα πολλά λεφτά στη μέση.

Τότε λοιπόν ο συσχετισμός Ικαρίας και Ικάρου είναι ένα ψέμα;

Δεν είπα ότι είναι ψέμα. Όλο που είπα είναι ότι δεν ξέρω. Δεν έχουμε βίντεο και δεν έχουμε αξιόπιστους αυτόπτες μάρτυρες, το BBC, το CNN, το SKY NEWS και όλα αυτά. Ενδεχομένως υπήρξε κάποιο ερασιτεχνικό βίντεο (που τράβηξε π.χ. ο ξάδελφος του ζευγολάτη που φαίνεται πρώτο πλάνο στον πίνακα) ή μπορεί να ήταν μια δοκιμαστική λήψη για κάποιο ντοκυμαντέρ με θέμα την αγροτική ζωή. Επειδή είχε συλλάβει τη «Σκηνή της Πτώσης», γι’ αυτό φαίνεται διασώθηκε μέχρι τον 16ο αιώνα και το είδε ο Μπρύγκελ και το μετέφερε στον διάσημο πίνακά του. Όλο κι όλο που λέω είναι ότι πρέπει να βρούμε και να δούμε το αρχικό βίντεο για να ήμαστε σίγουροι για το γεγονός. Μπορεί να είναι κάτι σαν αυτό.

The drowning of Icarus

Την άλλη εβδομάδα νέο επεισόδιο της συνέντευξης με τον Άπιστο Θωμά.

Θέμα : «Πολιτική Ικαρία» : Κόκκινος Βράχος, Ξερονήσι, Νησί του Διαβόλου, Νησί της Εξορίας.

Αθηνά Σκ. ^^’



(3 total)

Παιδιά, δεν τρελαθήκαμε, οκ; Πλάκα κάνουμε. Καρναβάλι είναι, εντάξει; Μην παρεξηγηθεί κανένας, οκ; Είναι ξενέρωμα που το λέω, αλλά πρέπει να το πω γιατί θα ακολουθήσουν κι άλλα χ-ει-ρο-τε-ρα. Ο «Άπιστος Θωμάς» είναι στα φόρτε του…

Monday February 12, 2007 – 11:05pm (EET)

Ωραίος ο «Άπιστος Θωμάς»…περιμένουμε τα επόμενα!!! Φοβερό το Carousel!!!

Tuesday February 13, 2007 – 06:27pm (EET)

Ευχαριστουμε Α. Αν δεις ποτε αυτο το αρχαιο βιντεο (π.χ. στο youtube), να μας κανεις ενημερες, παρακαλουμε. Ομως πρεπει να φαινεται πως ειναι η Ικαρια απο πισω -να φαινεται στο βαθος π.χ η αρχαια Μαντουβαλα η ακομα καλιτερα το πλοιο «Δημητρουλα» (σιγουρα υπαρχει απο τοτε)

Thursday February 15, 2007 – 01:10am (PST)

Captured in a moment of irrational fright


Sometimes there is fright in nature. Evil spirits, they say, come out of their holes at midnight as well as at noon. This is a rare capture of myself in apprehension. Fortunately it didn’t last long. The sudden burden on my chest went away as soon as I whispered my Ikarian grandmother’s name.


Ikaria 302 - Standing in apprehension

Taken in Chalares canyon, Ikaria 2003
Copyright © Eleni Ikanou



(3 total)

Oh Eleni I am familiar with this feeling – demons strike right at the best moment. I know what you’re talking about. I have seen their eyes. Have you felt it again after that year?
Monday March 13, 2006 – 02:53am (CET)

Yes, Erietta, I have but it was never as strong. It was about the part of a personal story I didn’t dare blogwrite because it was too frightening, but for a very short moment. A kind of Steven King experience 😦 😮

Monday March 13, 2006 – 03:07am (PST)

Deep contact with pire nature can be bewildering. My mother told me a quick prayer. But the secret is to keep your mind focused on the ones you love.
Discarding everything, WOW! this is a very beautiful picture! ^^’ ⭐ ⭐

Monday March 13, 2006 – 10:20pm (EET)