Costis Palamas

Posted by: Maria Atalanti

Published on: 13/12/2020

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Costis Palamas is one of the greatest Greek poets. He was also a novelist, play writer, historian, and journalist. He was born on January 13, 1859 in Patras. He lost his parents at the age of 6 and grew up in Mesolongi with an uncle.

From 1886 he began to write in the vernacular, which was more friendly to the people (before that time writers were using a formal language called “katharevousa”). He is the poet who composed the poem of the Olympic anthem, which is sung up to date in the Olympic Games and has been translated into almost all languages.

He wrote many important poems, but perhaps the most famous is “The Twelve words of the Gypsy”. It was published in 1907, and it consists of twelve units (words). It is considered the leading expression of the poet’s “lyrical thinking”. The protagonist of the poem, the gypsy, symbol of the free and unscrupulous soul, will renounce all the values of society, work, love, religion, antiquity, Byzantium, and all homelands. Slowly – slowly it will restore all these values, through art. He will praise the freedom of the people of his race and end up by worshipping Nature and Science. I note that the twelfth word, the Last Word, is entitled: To a woman.

He was nominated 14 times for the Nobel Prize in Literature, from 1926 to 1940, but he was never awarded.

He died on February 27, 1943, and his funeral turned into a German anti-occupation event. Thousands of people attended and in front of the surprised German conquerors, singing the national anthem, accompanied the dead to the 1st cemetery of Athens.



Information and photo: from the Internet (Wikipedia)

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