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El Greco,the great Cretan artist
posted 20.3.2014 by I.Stef.
El Greco was born in Crete, which was at that time part of the Republic of Venice, and the center of Post-Byzantine art. He trained and became a master within that tradition before travelling at age 26 to Venice, as other Greek artists had done. In 1570 he moved to Rome, where he opened a workshop and executed a series of works. During his stay in Italy, El Greco enriched his style with elements of Mannerism and of the Venetian Renaissance. In 1577, he moved to Toledo, Spain, where he lived and worked until his death. In Toledo, El Greco received several major commissions and produced his best-known paintings.
El Greco's dramatic and expressionistic style was met with puzzlement by his contemporaries but found appreciation in the 20th century. El Greco is regarded as a precursor of both Expressionism and Cubism, while his personality and works were a source of inspiration for poets and writers such as Rainer Maria Rilke and Nikos Kazantzakis. El Greco has been characterized by modern scholars as an artist so individual that he belongs to no conventional school.He is best known for tortuously elongated figures and often fantastic or phantasmagorical pigmentation, marrying Byzantine traditions with those of Western painting
The Natural Pharmacy of Crete
In Crete we never burned witches to get rid of pagan practices, but modernity gradually replaced the traditional herbal remedies of our ancestors with modern medicine and new scientific knowledge. This is not necessarily bad. However, many valuable recipes, practices and legends are in danger of being lost. And who wants to lose cultural heritage?Older people living in Cretan villages still carry the ancient knowledge from which herbal remedies originate. When hospitals and modern pharmacies didn’t exist, Cretan people took what they needed from the land and were connoisseurs of the numerous healing qualities of endemic plants and herbs. In fact, herbs were always connected to physical and mental health, spirituality, mythology, traditions and... love!
Today, the most common use of herbs in Crete is in the cuisine, adding flavour and aroma to local dishes. Thyme, oregano, bay leaves and rosemary are commonly used in cooking. But take oregano, for example. Apart from cooking it can also be used to cure stomach problems, poisoning and toothache! Thyme was believed that it could restore physical vigour and cure melancholy. Plus, in ancient times it was used in rituals for purification and was burned as incense at funerals to assure the passage of the deceased into the ‘other side’. Dittany’s (Origanum dicatmus) therapeutic qualities are considered to be very strong, as it fastens the healing of wounds. Laurel on the other hand is known for its hair care qualities and pain comforting. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, actually used bay leaves to ease the pain after childbirth, and cure various gynaecological problems! Nowadays, most Cretans still boil mountain sage (faskomilo) or Cretan mountain tea (malotira) and drink them with honey to sooth coughing.
Culture of Crete
Posted by I.stef. 28/11/14
Crete has its own distinctive Mantinades poetry. The island is known for its Mantinades-based music (typically performed with the Cretan lyra and the laouto) and has many indigenous dances, the most noted of which is the Pentozali.
Cretan authors have made important contributions to Greek Literature throughout the modern period; major names include Vikentios Kornaros, creator of the 17th century epic romance Erotokritos (Greek Ερωτόκριτος), and in the 20th century Nikos Kazantzakis. In the Renaissance, Crete was the home of the Cretan School of icon painting, which influenced El Greco and through him subsequent European painting.
Cretans are fiercely proud of their island and customs, and men often don elements of traditional dress in everyday life: knee-high black riding boots (stivania), vráka breeches tucked into the boots at the knee, black shirt and black headdress consisting of a fishnet-weave kerchief worn wrapped around the head or draped on the shoulders (the sariki). Men often grow large mustaches as a mark of masculinity.
Cretan society is well known for notorious family and clan vendettas which remain on the island to date. Cretans also have a tradition of keeping firearms at home, a tradition lasting from the era of resistance against the Ottoman Empire. Nearly every rural household on Crete has at least one unregistered gun. Guns are subject to strict regulation from the Greek government, and in recent years a great deal of effort to control firearms in Crete has been placed by the Greek Police.
It has antimicrobial qualities and prevents cancer. The darker it is, the more potent in antioxidant activity.
The Cretan herb contains more than 40 nutrients. It cures cold-related cough, minor gastrointestinal disorders, minor skin inflammations and bruises. However, it shouldn’t be used by pregnant or breast-feeding women.
Protects against heart disease, heart attack, stroke, breast and rectum cancer, and eradicates the helicobacter pylori that causes stomach ulcer.
Olive Tree Leaves
The beverage made from olive tree leaves has diuretic properties while the extract helps reduce high blood pressure and reduces sugar level in diabetes cases.
Crete Mountain Tea
Fights microbes, it is antioxidant, prevents osteoporosis and can be used against Alzheimer’s disease. And tastes great!
- See more at: http://greece.greekreporter.com/2015/01/01/greek-superfoods-good-for-you-good-for-greece/#sthash.nhsiUhf3.dpuf
|Christmas Carols in Crete
Greek tradition calls for children to go out with triangles from house to house on Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve and Epiphany Eve, and sing the corresponding folk carols, called the Kálanda (Κάλαντα, the word deriving from the Roman
calends). There are separate carols for each of the three great feasts, referring respectively to the Nativity, to St. Basil and the New Year, and to the Baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan, along with wishes for the household. In addition to the carols for the winter festive season, there are also the springtime or Lenten carols, commonly called the "Carols of Lazarus", sung on the Saturday before Palm Sunday as a harbinger of the Resurrection of Christ to be celebrated a week later.
In older times, caroling children asked for and were given edible gifts such as dried fruit, eggs, nuts or sweets; during the 20th century this was gradually replaced with money gifts – ranging from small change in the case of strangers to considerable amounts in the case of close relatives.
Vitsentzos Kornaros,the Cretan poet
|Erotokritos (Greek: Ἐρωτόκριτος) is a romance composed by Vikentios (Vitsentzos, "Vincenzo", Vincent) Kornaros in early 17th century Crete. It consists of 10,012 fifteen-syllable rhymed verses, the last twelve of which refer to the poet himself. It is written in the Cretan dialect of the Greek language. Its central theme is love between Erotokritos (only referred to the work as Rotokritos or Rokritos) and Aretousa. Around this theme, revolve other themes such as honour, friendship, bravery and courage. Erotokritos and Erophile by Georgios Hortatzis constitute classic examples of Greek Renaissance literature and are considered to be the most important works of Cretan literature. It remains a popular work until today, largely due to the music that accompanies it when it is publicly recited. A particular type of rhyming used in the traditional mantinades was also the one used in Erotokritos.Term searched aristotle cornaros
Vitsentzos or Vikentios Kornaros (Greek: Βιτσέντζος or Βικέντιος Κορνάρος) or Vincenzo Cornaro (March 29, 1553 – 1613/1614) was a Cretan poet, who wrote the romantic epic poem Erotokritos. He wrote in vernacular Greek, and was a leading figure of the Cretan Renaissance.
Vitsentzos Kornaros is considered to be the greatest of all the Cretan poets and one of the most significant and influential figures in the entire course of Greek poetry. The son of a Venetian-Cretan aristocrat and a scion of the noble Venetian family of Cornaro, he was born near Sitia, Crete in 1553. Later, when he married, he came to live in Candia (now Heraklion) where he joined the Accademia dei Stravaganti. Kornaros died in 1613 (or 1614), just before his contemporaries, William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes.
Not many biographic sources exist about Kornaros apart from the last verses of Erotokritos. It is believed that he was born to a wealthy family in Trapezonda (Τραπεζόντα), a village near Sitia, Crete, in 1553, and lived there roughly up to 1590. He then moved to Candia (modern Iraklion), where his marriage to Marietta Zeno took place. Together they had two daughters named Helen and Katerina.In 1591 Kornaros became an administrator, and during the outbreak of plague from 1591 to 1593 he worked as a sanitary supervisor. He showed interest in literature and was a member of a literary group called Accademia degli Stravaganti (Academy of the Strange Ones), which was founded by his brother and fellow writer Andrea Cornaro.He died in Candia, in 1613 (or 1614), and was buried at the church of San Francesco. The cause of his death remains unknown.Alternate spellings of his first name include Vicenzo and Vitzentzos.Kornaros' "Erotokritos" was a source of inspiration for Dionysios Solomos and influenced Greek poets such as Kostis Palamas, Krystallis and Seferis.
Cretan Greek, or the Cretan dialect (Greek: κρητική διάλεκτος), is a variety of Modern Greek spoken in Crete and by the Cretan diaspora.
inda? versus ti? In Standard Greek, the interrogative pronoun 'what?' is ti. In most of the Aegean Islands (except at its geographical fringe: Rhodes in the south-east, Lemnos, Thasos and the Sporades in the north; and Andros in the west), it is inda as it is for Cyprus.
Usage and settings
Today the Cretan dialect is rarely used in writing. However, Cretan Greeks usually communicate with each other in this dialect. Cretan is not much different from the Greek dialects or Standard Greek, and has a fairly high level of mutual intelligibility. Many organizations of Cretans aim to preserve their culture, including their dialect, and the dialect does not seem to be in danger of extinction. Some academics speculate that Cretan could have become the basis of Modern Standard Greek, given its flourishing history and achievements. According to them, this process was interrupted by the Ottoman conquest in 1669.
Medieval works suggest that Modern Greek started shaping as early as the 10th century, with one of the first works being the epic poem of Digenis Acritas. However, the first literary activity which was important enough to be identified as "modern Greek literature" was done in the Cretan dialect during the 16th century.Erotokritos is undoubtedly the masterpiece of the Cretan literature, and a supreme achievement of modern Greek literature. It is a romantic work written around 1600 by Vitsentzos Kornaros (1553-1613). In over 10,000 lines of rhyming fifteen-syllable couplets, the poet relates the trials and tribulations suffered by two young lovers, Erotokritos and Aretousa, daughter of Heracles, King of Athens. It was a tale that enjoyed enormous popularity among its Greek readership.The poets of the period of Cretan literature (15th-17th centuries) used the spoken Cretan dialect. The tendency to purge the language of foreign elements was above all represented by Chortatsis, Kornaros and the anonymous poets of Voskopoula and the Sacrifice of Abraham, whose works highlight the expressive power of the dialect. As dictated by the pseudo-Aristotelian theory of decorum, the heroes of the works use a vocabulary analogous to their social and educational background. It was thanks to this convention that the Cretan comedies were written in a language that was an amalgam of Italicisms, Latinisms and the local dialect, thereby approximating to the actual language of the middle class of the Cretan towns. The time span separating Antonios Achelis, author of the Siege of Malta (1570), and Chortatsis and Kornaros is too short to allow for the formation, from scratch, of the Cretan dialect we see in the texts of the latter two. The only explanation, therefore, is that the poets at the end of the sixteenth century were consciously employing a particular linguistic preference – they were aiming at a pure style of language for their literature and, via that language, a separate identity for the Greek literary production of their homeland.The flourishing Cretan school was all but terminated by the Turkish capture of the island in the 17th century. The ballads of the klephts, however, survive from the 18th century; these are the songs of the Greek mountain fighters who carried on guerrilla warfare against the Turks.Many Greek authors have integrated Cretan literary elements in their respective works. Among these authors were Nikos Kazantzakis who was known for his literary contributions mainly written in standard Greek. This paradigm, overall, has helped Kazantzakis to write significant works such as Zorba the Greek and thus establish for himself recognition in various international circles. His Captain Michalis – set in 19th-century Crete – is notable for using many Cretan Greek words and idioms, the book's popularity making them widely known to other Greeks.
Cretan Revolt 1866-1869
The Cretan Revolt of 1866–1869 (Greek: Κρητική Επανάσταση του 1866) or Great Cretan Revolution (Μεγάλη Κρητική Επανάσταση) was a three-year uprising in Crete against Ottoman rule, the third and largest in a series of Cretan revolts between the end of the Greek War of Independence in 1830 and the establishment of the independent Cretan State in 1898.
The Christian Cretans had risen up together with the rest of Greece in the Greek Revolution of 1821, but despite successes in the countryside, the Ottomans held out in the four fortified towns of the northern coast (Chania, Rethymno, Irakleio and Agios Nikolaos) and the island was eventually reconquered by 1828, becoming an Egyptian province (Muhammad Ali's Egypt was a vassal of the Ottoman Empire, but a powerful and semi-independent one with its own military). In 1840, Crete was returned to direct Ottoman rule, followed by an unsuccessful 1841 uprising in support of Union with independent Greece. Another uprising in 1858 secured some privileges, such as the right to bear arms, equality of Christian and Muslim worship, and the establishment of Christian councils of elders with jurisdiction over education and customary and family law. These concessions were resented by the Muslim community, while the Christians pressed for more, while maintaining their ultimate aim of Union with Greece.
As tensions ran high in the island, and several petitions to the Sultan went unanswered, armed bands were formed, and the uprising was officially proclaimed on August 21, 1866. The revolt caused immediate sympathy in Greece, but also elsewhere in Europe. The rebels initially managed to gain control of most of the hinterland although as always the four fortified towns of the north coast and the southern town of Ierapetra remained in Ottoman hands.
One particular event caused strong reactions among the liberal circles of western Europe, the "Holocaust of Arkadi". The event occurred in November 1866, as a large Ottoman force besieged the Arkadi Monastery, which served as the headquarters of the rebellion. In addition to its 259 defenders, over 700 women and children had taken refuge in the monastery. After a few days of hard fighting, the Ottomans broke into the monastery. At that point, the abbot of the monastery set fire to the gunpowder stored in the monastery's vaults, causing the death of most of the rebels and the women and children sheltered there. As reported by the American writer and consul William Stillman and others over the recently introduced telegraph, this event caused enormous shock in the rest of Europe and in North America and decreased the perceived legitimacy of Ottoman rule.
Arrival of the Ottomans
Since the mid-October victory of Mustafa Pasha's troops at Vafes, the majority of the Ottoman army was stationed in Apokoronas and were particularly concentrated in the fortresses around the bay of Souda. The monastery refused to surrender, so Mustafa Pasha marched his troops on Arkadi. First, he stopped and sacked the village of Episkopi.From Episkopi, Mustafa sent a new letter to the revolutionary committee at Arkadi, ordering them to surrender and informing them that he would arrive at the monastery in the following days. The Ottoman army then turned toward Roustika, where Mustafa spent the night in the monastery of the prophet Elie, while his army camped in the villages of Roustika and Aghios Konstantinos. Mustafa arrived in Rethymno on November 5, where he met Ottoman and Egyptian reinforcements. The Ottoman troops reached the monastery during the night of November 7-November 8. Mustafa, although he had accompanied his troops to a site relatively close, camped with his staff in the village of Messi.
On the morning of November 8, an army of 15,000 Ottoman soldiers and 30 cannons, directed by Suleyman, arrived on the hills of the monastery while Mustafa Pasha waited in the Messi. Suleyman, positioned on the hill of Kore to the north of the monastery sent a last request for surrender. He received only gunfire in response.
The assault was begun by the Ottoman forces. Their primary objective was the main door of the monastery on the western face. The battle lasted all day without the Ottomans infiltrating the building. The asseiged had barricaded the door and, from the beginning, taking it would be difficult.The Cretans were relatively protected by the walls of the monastery, while the Ottomans, vulnerable to the insurgents' gunfire, suffered numerous losses. Seven Cretans took their position within the windmill of the monastery. This building was quickly captured by the Ottomans, who set it on fire, killing the Cretan warriors inside.
The battle stopped with nightfall. The Ottomans received two heavy cannons from Rethymno, one which was called Koutsahila. They placed them in the stables. On the side of the insurgents, a war council decided to ask for help from Panos Koronaios and other Cretan leaders in Amari. Two Cretans left by way of the windows by ropes and, disguised as Muslims, crossed the Ottoman lines. The messengers returned later in the night with the news that it was now impossible for reinforcements to arrive in time because all of the access roads had been blocked by the Ottomans.
Combat began again in the evening of November 9. The cannons destroyed the doors and the Ottomans made it into the building, where they suffered more serious losses. At the same time, the Cretans were running out of ammunition and many among them were forced to battle with only bayonets or other sharp objects. The Ottomans had the advantage.
The hegumen Gabriel gathering the besieged near the powder magazine
The women and children inside the monastery were hiding in the powder room. The last Cretan fighters were finally defeated and hid within the monastery. Thirty-six insurgents found refuge in the refectory, near the ammunitions. Discovered by the Ottomans, who forced the door, they were massacred.
In the powder room, where the majority of the women and children hid, Konstantinos Giaboudakis gathered the people hiding in the neighboring rooms together. When the Ottomans arrived at the door of the powder room, Giaboudakis set the barrels of powder on fire and the resulting explosion resulted in the deaths of numerous Ottoman soldiers.
In another room of the monastery holding an equal number of powder barrels, insurgents made the same gesture. But the powder was humid and only exploded partially, so it only destroyed part of the northwest wall of the room.
Of the 964 people present at the start of the assault, 864 were killed in combat or at the moment of the explosion. 114 men and women were captured, but three or four managed to escape, including one of the messengers who had gone for reinforcements. The hegumen Gabriel was among the victims. Tradition holds that he was among those killed by the explosion of the barrels of powder, but it is more likely that he was killed on the first day of combat.Ottoman losses were estimated at 1500. Their bodies were buried without memorials and some were thrown in the neighboring gorges.The remains of numerous Cretan Christians were collected and placed in the windmill, which was made into a reliquary in homage to the defenders of Arkadi. Among the Ottoman troops, a group of Coptic Egyptians were found on the hills outside the monastery. These Christians had refused to kill other Christians. They were executed by the Ottoman troops, and their ammunition cases left behind.114 survivors were taken prisoner and transported to Rethymno where they were subjected to numerous humiliations from the officers responsible for their transport, but also by the Muslim population who arrived to throw stones and insults when they entered the city.The women and children were imprisoned for a week in the church of the Presentation of the Virgin. The men were imprisoned for a year in difficult conditions. The Russian consulate had to intervene to require Mustafa Pasha to keep basic hygienic conditions and provide clothing to the prisoners.After one year, the prisoners were released.
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