Posted by: Maria Atalanti
Published on: 21/02/2021Back to Blog
Dionysios Solomos is the national poet of the Greeks. He wrote the Hymn to Freedom, the first two turns of which became the national anthem of Greece and Cyprus.
He was born in Zakynthos on the 8th of April 1798 and died in Corfu on the 9th of February 1857. He was an out-of-wedlock kid. His father, Nicholas, was a wealthy nobleman and his mother was a maid in his home. Although his father recognized him and his brother as his own children, after his death there were many legal disputes over his estate, which deeply affected Dionysios Solomos.
He lived during the Greek revolution, and the struggle of the Greeks for freedom inspired his work. In addition to the Hymn to Freedom, his other works are The Cretan, Free Besieged (regarding the siege of Mesologgi by the Turks) Porphyras (the shark), The Woman of Zakynthos, Lambros etc.
Although his original language was not Greek but Italian, he was taught the Greek language to write his masterpieces, which are the culmination of his work. He wrote in the people’s language (vernacular) and contributed to its establishment. Seferis (the Nobel prized Greek poet) calls him the “father of literature” and goes on to state that “… the course of the Greek language was carved once and for all by the intellect of Solomos”.
Porphyras (the shark) is a poem describing the death of a young English soldier by a shark. Through this unequal struggle, the soldier reaches self-awareness, just before his death.