Rebel leader Captain Kazanis had an important role in Kritsotopoula, Girl of Kritsa, and is a main character in my sequel, with the working title, Rodanthe’s Gift.
I’d been writing a scene where Kazanis meets the poet Lord Byron before the siege of Missolonghi when I decided to take a break to read one of my favorite blogs by Kathryn Gauci. Serrendipity indeed, as her blog post was Ode to Liberty: Lord Byron and Dionysios Solomos. Therefore, with thanks to Kathryn, I’m pleased to reblog her post here:
In the centre of Athens, within walking distance to Syntagma Square and Parliament House, stands one of Athens’s finest museums – the Benaki Museum. In keeping with the ideals and traditions of the 19th century benefactors, its founder, Antonis Benakis (1873-1954) deployed his entire fortune in projects for the public benefit. A fervent patriot, he was a great friend of Eleftherios Venizelos (1864-1939), the pre-eminent statesman of Modern Greek history. Whenever I am in Athens, I revisit the museum. I never tire of it. Not only does it have an excellent bookshop, regular world-class exhibitions and a great roof-top coffee-shop with a stunning view of Athens towards the Acropolis, it houses one of the most important collections of memorabilia on The Greek War of Independence (1821- 32) and the events leading up to and after it. The third floor is devoted entirely to this.
In the first gallery are artefacts from the early years of the Struggle for Independence in Central Greece, the Peloponnese and the islands. Central to this gallery are contents dedicated to the “two towering poets who embraced the ideals of the national Insurgence”. The first is Dionysios Solomos (1798-1857), the Greek national poet who expressed the visions of the Struggle in his work, and the second is Lord Byron (1788-1857), the foremost representative of the Romantic Movement.
Lord Byron, as most of us know, gave his life at The Battle of Missolonghi. Though he died of a fever and not in battle, never-the-less, his death on the 19th April 1824, sparked international sentiment for the Greek cause, a cause that was already gathering momentum with Delacroix’s paintings depicting “The Massacre at Chios” in 1822 and which were shown to the public at the prestigious Paris Salon in 1824.