The Byzantine Gibraltar – impressions of monemvasia in Kostas Ouranis’ Travelogue

Authors

  • Michał Bzinkowski Jagiellonian University, Krakow

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.12797/CC.23.2020.23.07

Keywords:

Kostas Ouranis, Reception of Byzantium, Byzantine heritage, Modern Greek Reception of Byzantium, Peloponnese, Monemvasia, Greek Travel Writing

Abstract

Kostas Ouranis (1890–1953), a Greek poet and essayist, lesser known abroad, was regarded as one of the first to introduce “travel writing” in Greece. As a correspondent of different newspapers, he travelled to many countries in Europe and abroad and recorded his impressions in travel books, of which the best known is his travelogue on Spain, Sol y sombra (1934). However, the book that is of special interest as regards the Greek perspective of the writer, is Travels in Greece (Ταξίδια στην Ελλάδα, 1949), where Ouranis describes impressions from his travels in his homeland which took place in 1930. In the present paper, basing on the brief chapter on Monemvasia from the above-mentioned book, I will shed some light on the reception of Byzantium in Ouranis’ view, trying to answer, among others, the question whether the writer conveys any specific knowledge of the subject. In my opinion, his view of Byzantine heritage deserves special attention as regards the broad framework of the European approach to the legacy of the Eastern Roman Empire. Firstly, because his impressions on this Byzantine town constitute a vivid example of a clearly Greek perspective in this regard, which is relatively poorly known. Secondly, his deeply personal account on Monemvasia reveals the general attitude of the Greeks to their legacy and as such it may be regarded as a characteristic miniature which, like a lens, focuses their approach to the past.

References

Arampatzidou L., 2012, ‘Nikos Kazantzakis and Travel Writing: Innovating in Poetics and Politics’, The Historical Review/La Revue Historique 8, pp. 179–208, https://doi.org/10.12681/hr.281. DOI: https://doi.org/10.12681/hr.281

Argyriou A. Argyrίoy A., 2002, Istorίa thς ellhnikής logotechnίaς kai h prόslhpsή thς sta chrόnia toy Mesopolέmoy (1918–1940), Tόmoς V’, Athήna [Istoría tīs ellīnikís logotechnías kai īpróslīpsí tīs sta chrónia tou Mesopolémou (1918–1940), Tómos V’].

Beaton R., 2004, Introduction to Modern Greek Literature, Oxford.

Beaton R., 2019, Greece: Biography of a Modern Nation, Chicago. DOI: https://doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226673882.001.0001

Bien P., 2007, Kazantzakis. Politics of the Spirit. Volume 2, Princeton–New Jersey, https://doi.org/10.1515/9781400824427. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/9781400824427

Dimadis A. K. Dhmάdhς A. K., 2018, Pezografίa kai eksoysίa sth neόterh Ellάda, Athήna [Pezografía kai exousía stī neóterī Elláda, Athína].

Hatzantonis E., 1980, ‘Spain and the Genesis of Neohellenic Travel Literature’, Hispanófila 69, pp. 73–88.

Tsoύchlīς, G., 2010, The Travel Literature of Kostas Ouranis, Athina [PhD thesis], [on-line:] https://phdtheses.ekt.gr/eadd/handle/10442/25967.

Kalligas H. A., 2010, Monemvasia: A Byzantine City State, London–New York. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203875759

Karalis V. Karalής V., 2011, ‘To taksίdi ston Moriά kai sthn moίra toy topίoy’ [‘To taxídi ston Moriá kai stīn moíra tou topíou’, [in:] R. Beaton (ed.), Eisagogí sto érgo tou Níkou], [in:] R. Beaton (ed.), Eisagwgή sto έrgo toy Nίkoy

Kazantzάkh. Epilogή kritikώn meletώn, Hrάkleio [Eisagogí sto érgo tou Níkou Kazantzákī. Epilogíkritikón meletón, Īrákleio], pp. 263–270.

Kazantzakis N., 1965, Journey to the Morea, trans. F. A. Reed, New York.

Kinga E. Kίgka E., 1985, ‘To laloύdi thς Monovasiάς’, Dwdώnh. Filologίa 14 [‘To laloýdi tīs Monovasiás’, Dodónī. Filología 14], pp. 103–130. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00483494.1985.9943186

Koliopoulos J. S., Veremis T. M., 2010, Modern Greece: A History since 1821, New Jersey, https://doi.org/10.1002/9781444314823. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/9781444314823

Kourelis K., 2011–2012, ‘Byzantine Houses and Modern Fictions: Domesticating Mystras in 1930s Greece’, Dumbarton Oaks Papers 65–66, pp. 297–331.

Liakos A., 2008, ‘Hellenism and the Making of Modern Greece: Time, Language, Space’, [in:] Hellenisms: Culture, Identity, and Ethnicity from Antiquity to Modernity, K. Zacharia (ed.), Aldershot, pp. 201–236.

Mackridge P., 2008, ‘Cultural Difference as National Identity in Modern Greece,’ [in:] Hellenisms: Culture, Identity, and Ethnicity from Antiquity to Modernity, K. Zacharia (ed.), Aldershot, pp. 297–320.

Marciniak P., Smythe D. C., 2019, The Reception of Byzantium in European Culture since 1500, London.

Miklosich F., Müller J. (eds.), Acta et Diplomata Graeca Medii Aevi Sacra et Profana, Vol. 2: Acta Patriarchatus Constantinopolitani MCCCXV–MCCCCII Tomus Posterior, Cambridge 2012.

Miller W., 1907, ‘Monemvasia’, The Journal of Hellenic Studies 27, pp. 229–241; 300–301, https://doi.org/10.1017/S0075426900061607. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0075426900061656

Nicol D. M., 1992, The Immortal Emperor: The Life and Legend of Constantine Palaiologos, Last Emperor of the Romans, Cambridge. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511583698

Ouranis K. Oyrάnhς K., 2008, Taksίdia. Ellάda, Athήna [Taxídia. Elláda, Athína.].

Schmitt J., 1904, The Chronicle of Morea = To chronikon tou Moreos: A History in Political Verse, Relating to the Establishment of Feudalism in Greece by the Franks in the Thirteenth Century, London.

Tsouchlis G. Tsoychlής G., 2010, H taksidiwtikή pezografίa toy Kώsta Oyrάnh [Ī taxidiotikí pezografía tou Kósta Ouránī], Athens [unpublished doctoral dissertation].

Vounelakis G. N. Voynelάkhς G. N., 2001, Monemvasίa. Apό thn apeleythέrwsh ewς sήmera (1821-2001), Athήna

Wittek P., 1957, ‘The Castle of Violets: From Greek «Monemvasia» to Turkish «Menekshe»’, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 20, pp. 601–613. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0041977X00062170

Downloads

Published

2021-08-06

How to Cite

Bzinkowski, M. “The Byzantine Gibraltar – Impressions of Monemvasia in Kostas Ouranis’ Travelogue”. Classica Cracoviensia, vol. 23, Aug. 2021, pp. 161–174, doi:10.12797/CC.23.2020.23.07.

Issue

Section

Byzantina et Neograeca