Monday, July 27, 2015

She was considered the most beautiful woman in the world


                  ...but for her they never shot an arrow

As a seafarer who has navigated all the seas and oceans,
I lived strange experiences and strong emotions.

Those thirty years I saw and heard incredible things,
but a story of them, semicolons, questions and doubts brings...

Once while I was sailing along the coast of ancient Troy,
inevitably I was thinking of the Homeric Trojan campaign to destroy
the one who had control of narrow*.                                   

My poor Helen, for you they never shot an arrow...

The Trojans were holding the keys to the Black Sea
and the Greeks were tired of paying the fee....

The old stoker, suddenly interrupted my thoughts,
and together we broke into history's unknown slots.

He told me...I'm a Trojan, and my ancestors 
                                                 [came back to the region,
along with Constantine the Great and the 
                                                             [first Roman legion.                   
Aeneas fleeing Troy.......   to Latium
Eight miles away from Troy is Dardanos,                                                                   [my hometown.
After the fall of Troy, Aeneas would not                                                                            [bow down                                                    
and he sailed from my city along with                                                           [other Trojan fighters.... 

They went to Italy as mentioned by Virgil   
                                             [and many writers.

There, they defeated the Latins and 
                                           [created an empire,
so large that without refueling today 
                      [you could not cross in an airliner...

These descendants of Aeneas and the
became masters of the world, and called 

They never forgot Troy though thousands 
                                                             [of years passed,
with plans to return home with armies they massed....

The return trip was made in 330 AD..

In order not to be forced, as in the Trojan war, to flee,
they founded the capital of they empire in Byzantium, a fortified position,
several miles farther from Troy, as the base of each expedition....

In Byzantium the people were speaking Greek

and over the years each Roman Greek will speak.....
Finishing the old man, the stoker, said:


When I was born.....
Greek was the language of my bred..

Am I...    A Trojan?               
                A Roman? 
                A Greek?
                A Hellen?

Two mysteries of history, I and queen of Sparta, Helen ...

___________* *___________

*Hellen, in Greek mythology, king of Phthia was the eponymous ancestor of all true Greeks, called Hellenes in his honour.

The Hellenes consisted of the Aeolians, Dorians, Ionians, and Achaeans, traditionally descended from and named for Hellen’s sons, Aeolus and Dorus, and his grandsons (by his third son, Xuthus), Ion and Achaeus.

Texts and Narration: Odysseus Heavilayias - ROTTERDAM //
Language adjustments and text adaptation: Kellene G Safis - CHICAGO//
Digital adaptation and text editing: Cathy Rapakoulia Mataraga - PIRAEUS//
Νο: 49

*Helen of Troy, In Greek mythology, Helen of Troy (Greek Ἑλένη Helénē, pronounced [helénɛː]), also known as Helen of Sparta, was the daughter of Zeus and Leda, and was a sister of Castor, Pollux, and Clytemnestra. In Greek myths, she was considered the most beautiful woman in the world. By marriage she was Queen of Laconia, a province within Homeric Greece, the wife of King Menelaus. Her abduction by Paris, Prince of Troy, brought about the Trojan War. Elements of her putative biography come from classical authors such as Aristophanes, Cicero, Euripides and Homer (both The Iliad and The Odyssey).

*Dardanos : Eight miles to the ancient city of Troy.

*Constantine the Great,   57th Emperor of the Roman Empire

Colossal marble head of Emperor
Constantine the Great, Roman, 4th century
Constantine the Great (Latin: Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus Augustus; Greek: Κωνσταντίνος ὁ Μέγας; 27 February c. 272 AD – 22 May 337 AD), also known as Constantine I or Saint Constantine (in the Orthodox Church as Saint Constantine the Great, Equal-to-the-Apostles), was a Roman Emperor from 306 to 337 AD of Thracian-Illyrian ancestry. Constantine was the son of Flavius Valerius Constantius, a Roman army officer, and his consort Helena. His father became Caesar, the deputy emperor in the west in 293 AD. Constantine was sent east, where he rose through the ranks to become a military tribune under the emperors Diocletian and Galerius. In 305, Constantius was raised to the rank of Augustus, senior western emperor, and Constantine was recalled west to campaign under his father in Britannia. Acclaimed as emperor by the army at Eboracum (Modern-day York) after his father's death in 306 AD, Constantine emerged victorious in a series of civil wars against the emperors Maxentius and Licinius to become sole ruler of both west and east by 324 AD.

As emperor, Constantine enacted many administrative, financial, social, and military reforms to strengthen the empire. The government was restructured and civil and military authority separated. A new gold coin, the solidus, was introduced to combat inflation. It would become the standard for Byzantine and European currencies for more than a thousand years. The first Roman emperor to claim conversion to Christianity,[notes 4] Constantine played an influential role in the proclamation of the Edict of Milan, which decreed tolerance for Christianity in the empire. He called the First Council of Nicaea in 325, at which the Nicene Creed was professed by Christians. In military matters, the Roman army was reorganised to consist of mobile field units and garrison soldiers capable of countering internal threats and barbarian invasions. Constantine pursued successful campaigns against the tribes on the Roman frontiers—the Franks, the Alamanni, the Goths, and the Sarmatians—even resettling territories abandoned by his predecessors during the turmoil of the previous century.

The age of Constantine marked a distinct epoch in the history of the Roman Empire. He built a new imperial residence at Byzantium and renamed the city Constantinople after himself (the laudatory epithet of "New Rome" came later, and was never an official title). It would later become the capital of the Empire for over one thousand years; for which reason the later Eastern Empire would come to be known as the Byzantine Empire. His more immediate political legacy was that, in leaving the empire to his sons, he replaced Diocletian's tetrarchy with the principle of dynastic succession. His reputation flourished during the lifetime of his children and centuries after his reign. The medieval church upheld him as a paragon of virtue while secular rulers invoked him as a prototype, a point of reference, and the symbol of imperial legitimacy and identity. Beginning with the Renaissance, there were more critical appraisals of his reign due to the rediscovery of anti-Constantinian sources. Critics portrayed him as a despotic tyrant. Trends in modern and recent scholarship attempted to balance the extremes of previous scholarship.

Constantine—as the first Christian emperor—is a significant figure in the history of Christianity. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built on his orders at the purported site of Jesus' tomb in Jerusalem, became the holiest place in Christendom. The Papal claim to temporal power was based on the supposed Donation of Constantine. He is venerated as a saint by Eastern Orthodox Christians, Byzantine Catholics, and Anglicans.

  the tales of a greek sailor  

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

When I traced the routes of....

                   ...the Explorers

     In the forecastle
              [of the Liberty* "Greek Pine"          
        holding a thin rope,
                                  [a heaving line*
        I had a certain strange feeling.
Holding a heaving line
        It would be better said,
                       [a thought appealing...
        It would be better said,
                             [strange rationale....

        Our ship was sailing into the 
                                 [Panama canal,
        in the westerly direction
        and this was the cause
                  [of the connection
        between me.....
                    and the Explorer....

        Panama was the origin
                        [of our restorer
        and when we arrived in the canal,
        I said to him...
            ''tell me about your country pal''.

        He willingly talked to me about it all.

        When he mentioned
                     [Vasco De Balboa*,
        I heard weeping from Raul,
        because that was also the name of his mother..
        He said to me
       "they both belonged to the same family, brother.

                         _________ * * __________

        In a few hours it was my turn
                                        [to be emotionally moved.

        I traveled many years
                                      [and I never was unmoved
        when I traced the routes
                                       [of the past explorers,
        when I was trailing traces
                                      [of those old seafarers,
        in a way I was living mentally in their time.

        In Panama,
                      I followed Balboa, but the regime,
        as I was informed
                               [had executed him long ago.

        In the Pacific I followed Magellan, but woe
        the warriors of Lapu-Lapu* killed him in battle.            

        In the Atlantic I followed Columbus.....
                                        [and a sailor from Seattle
        told me that the explorer is in prison in Spain.
        In my short story (in the history of the world).... 
                                                            [a third stain ...

*Extract from "The Broken Mooring Line", an experiential
poetic work // c48// e-mail: //
Texts and Narration: Odysseus Heavilayias - ROTTERDAM //
Language adjustments and text adaptation: Kellene G Safis - CHICAGO//
Digital adaptation and text editing: Cathy Rapakoulia Mataraga - PIRAEUS//

1. The Liberty ship was a class of cargo ship built in the United States during 
World War II.
SS John W. Brown on the Great Lakes in 2000. John W. Brown is one of only two surviving World War II Liberty Ships, the other being the SS Jeremiah O'Brien.

2. Heaving line (nautical term) : A rope with a heavy knot on the end light enough for a seaman to throw to a dock or another vessel. The bitter end of the heaving line is secured to the end of a heavier dockline or towing line so that it can then be hauled over

3. Lapu-Lapu (fl. 1521) was a ruler of Mactan in the Visayas. The Philippines regards him as the first Filipino hero because he was the first native to resist Spanish colonization through his victory over the explorer Ferdinand Magellan. Monuments of Lapu-Lapu have been built in Manila and Cebu while the Philippine National Police and the Bureau of Fire Protection use his image in his honor.

He is best known for the Battle of Mactan, which happened at dawn on April 27, 1521. The battle halted the Magellan expedition and delayed Spanish occupation of the islands by over forty years until the expedition of Miguel López de Legazpi in 1564.

Besides being a rival of Rajah Humabon of Cebu, little is known about the life of Lapu-Lapu and the only existing documents about his life are those written by Antonio Pigafetta. His name, origins, religion, and fate are still a matter of controversy.

The Battle of Mactan (Cebuano: Gubat sa Mactan; Filipino: Labanan sa Mactan; Spanish: Batalla de Mactán) was fought in the Philippines on 27 April 1521, prior to Spanish colonization. The warriors of Lapu-Lapu, a native chieftain of Mactan Island, defeated Spanish forces under the command of Ferdinand Magellan, who was killed in the battle.

4. Vasco Núñez de Balboa: The 16th-century Spanish conquistador and explorer Vasco Núñez de Balboa (1475-1519) helped establish the first stable settlement on the South American continent at Darién, on the coast of the Isthmus of Panama. In 1513, while leading an expedition in search of gold, he sighted the Pacific Ocean. Balboa claimed the ocean and all of its shores for Spain, opening the way for later Spanish exploration and conquest along the western coast of South America. Balboa’s achievement and ambition posed a threat to Pedro Arias Dávila, the Spanish governor of Darién, who falsely accused him of treason and had him executed in early 1519.

  the tales of a greek sailor  

Saturday, July 11, 2015

“Get The F.... Out of My Way

                Botany Bay* Mooring*

After successive wild seas and gales
we reached Sydney, the state capital of New South Wales,
the port we used to call "The cat o' nine tails".
I'll tell you why but I will not go into details.
Grueling and long working hours to hold 
                                            [the ship in place.

We were already exhausted and please note 
                                               [the strange case.

A MONTH EARLIER  (70's, the era of disco),
after drunkenness, our ship departed from 
                                               ["Little San Francisco,
(so, Vakparaizo in Chile, call the sailors).

The Pacific greeted us with consecutive hailers
and with unprecedented huge waves.

"Chief Engineer strangely behaves"
donkeyman* said with concern to me,
and he was right......
                  in two hours the ship was wayward in the sea
and the engineer was saying that engine was out of order..

It looked like generalized anxiety disorder
displayed by the engineers when every attempt failed..

We need much luck to live, the terrified Captain revealed,
while others were crying and others were praying,

Suddenly everyone saw the old former fisherman 
                                                              [running and saying...
"I got it, the engineers are idiots, the cause is the filter
and by saying to Chief engineer 
                                 ["get the hell out of my way, mister",
he went and washed the filter from the engine of the ship.

Thanks to him, we were saved and continued our trip.

The former fisherman was not a magician,
but in his boat was the captain, the engineer and the technician.

The story should end here, and with it, a happy ending
but when my microwave hood brown down and said 
                                       [the technician there is no mending,

I pointed out to him to clean the filter
and the microwave hood worked...... Τhe guy said 
                                             ''how did you know this mister?''

*Extract from "The Broken Mooring Line", an experiential
poetic work // c47// e-mail: //
Texts and Narration: Odysseus Heavilayias - ROTTERDAM //
Language adjustments and text adaptation: Kellene G Safis - CHICAGO//
Digital adaptation and text editing: Cathy Rapakoulia Mataraga - PIRAEUS//


*Mooring,   The act of making fast a vessel.

*Botany Bay, Australia,    An open oceanic embayment, is located in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 13 km (8 mi) south of the Sydney central business district
Lieutenant James Cook first landed at Kurnell, on the southern banks of Botany Bay, on Saturday 29 April 1770, when navigating his way up the east coast of Australia on his ship, HMS Endeavour. Cook's landing marked the beginning of Britain's interest in Australia and in the eventual colonisation of this new ‘southern continent’. Initially the name Sting Ray Harbour was used by Cook and other journal keepers on his expedition, for the stingrays they caught. That name was also recorded on an Admiralty chart. Cook's log for 6 May 1770 records "The great quantity of these sort of fish found in this place occasioned my giving it the name of Stingrays Harbour". However, in the journal prepared later from his log, Cook wrote instead:(sic) "The great quantity of plants Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander found in this place occasioned my giving it the name of BotanistBotany Bay".

*Donkeyman,  (nautical) The person in charge of a ship's engine room.

*Distances,  Puerto Valparaiso, Chile to Port of Sydney , Australia, 12869 nautical miles.

*Valparaíso,  played an important geopolitical role in the second half of the 19th century, when the city served as a major stopover for ships traveling between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans by crossing the Straits of Magellan. Valparaíso mushroomed during its golden age, as a magnet for European immigrants, when the city was known by international sailors as "Little San Francisco" and "The Jewel of the Pacific". In 2003, the historic quarter of Valparaíso was declared a United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World HeritageSite.

*Sydney,  is the most populous city in Australia and Oceania. Located on Australia's east coast, the metropolis surrounds the world's largest natural harbour, and sprawls towards the Blue Mountains to the west.Residents of Sydney are known as "Sydneysiders".

*The cat o' nine tails, commonly shortened to the cat, is a type of multi-tailed whip that originated as an implement for severe physical punishment, notably in the Royal Navy and Army of the United Kingdom, and also as a judicial punishment in Britain and some other countries.

*Disco music,  was a worldwide phenomenon, but its popularity declined in the United States in the late 1970s. On July 12, 1979, an anti-disco protest in Chicago called "Disco Demolition Night" had shown that an angry backlash against disco and its culture had emerged in the United States.

  the tales of a greek sailor  

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

It's not for everyone to go to Corinth

The Isthmus of Corinth is the narrow land bridge   
which connects the Peloponnese peninsula with the
rest of the mainland of Greece. Corinth, in ancient 
times was one of the wealthiest cities of the Greek   
world. In that era lived there Lais Corinthia, the     
famous courtesan.                                                      
She was so beautiful  that painters had as standard.

  My American relatives visited Corinth one time,
and told me that the view was magnificent, sublime...

In the city however,

         [there was something that made them mull,
locals were talking a lot about some ancient trull,
but they could not comprehend how a slut
was in the history of a city,

                                 [[instead of being cut.

        When....  they asked my opinion about it
I told them that she was
the courtesan Lais
                                      [and I know only a bit.

She was not just a slut,

              [I would say something like an escort,
a private dancer, like a geisha, a leeward port.

What I do know well is that her company

                      [had cost some four thousand bucks,

and soon made a fortune as the money

                           [was in incessant process of flux..

I never understood my ancient ancestors
                                               [and their practices,
also the role of ancient prostitutes and actresses.

But also nor my newer fellows,
and my sorrow is permanent,

                        [never mellows.

They always have a reason

                                    [to be divided,
as from an evil fate, they are guided.

Note that during the war of independence,

                                          (which lasted eight years),
we had two civil wars

      [inside what was the rebellious region's frontiers.

Texts and Narration: Odysseus Heavilayias - ROTTERDAM //
Language adjustments and text adaptation: Kellene G Safis - CHICAGO//
Digital adaptation and text editing: Cathy Rapakoulia Mataraga - PIRAEUS//

Νο: 46


     *Corinth, in ancient times was one of the wealthiest cities of the Greek world. The trade provide great riches and life there was very accurate to the point of the whole stay is accessible only to very rich.

* The title, Then came the saying "it's not for everyone to go to Corinth", (''Ού παντός πλείν είς Κόρινθον''). As was next with leftades gathered at Corinth and prosferan love women with fee, from ordinary prostitutes, who frequented in groves, buying or chamaitypeia, as the eminent courtesans that interaction with them cost a fortune.

Lais of Corinth,
Limewood, 34.6 × 26.8 cm,
Kunstmuseum Basel

She was so beautiful that painters had as standard.
The Aristainetos writes that "the breasts were like clams.
She had relationships with the most prominent and
ploysiwteroys Greeks who flocked in Corinth to meet
(with the biblical meaning of the verb).
Among the "clients" was the student of Socrates Aristippos

* Lais of Corinth, by Hans Holbein the Younger portrays the famous Lais of Corinth, a courtesan of ancient Greece who charged a high price for her favours.
It has been suggested that Holbein is also referring to the Lais who was the lover of Apelles, the great painter of antiquity (Holbein was called "Apelles" in humanist circles).
The model, the same used for Holbein's Darmstadt Madonna and for his Venus and Amor (right), has been identified as Magdalena Offenburg, who may have been Holbein's mistress.

Venus and Amor, 1524. Holbein's Lais was painted a year or two after Venus and Amor and, in effect, acts as its companion piece, though Holbein does not appear to have originally planned the second painting.
According to some commentators, the portrayal of the sitter as a hetaera or courtesan may contain a coded message by Holbein about his relationship with her.
Art historian Peter Claussen, however, dismisses this interpretation as "pure nonsense".
Both paintings employ the same colours and depict the same costume and drapery. Holbein adopts the style of Leonardo and the Lombard muralists, whose work he may have studied during a visit to Italy.
He uses Leonardo's sfumato (smoky) technique to blend the skin tones, as well as the device of the parapet to set the subject back from the viewer.

* The Isthmus of Corinth, Α narrow land bridge which connects the Peloponnese peninsula with the rest of the mainland of Greece, near the city of Corinth. The word "isthmus" comes from the Ancient Greek word for "neck" and refers to the narrowness of the land.
The Isthmus was known in the ancient world as the landmark separating Peloponnese from mainland of Greece. In the first century CE the geographer Strabo noted a pillar on the Isthmus of Corinth, which bore two inscriptions.

One towards the East, i.e. towards Megara in Attica reading: "Here is not Peloponnesus, but Ionia" (τάδ᾽ οὐχὶ Πελοπόννησος, ἀλλ᾽ Ἰωνία) and the one towards the West, i.e. towards the Peloponnese: "Here is Peloponnesus, not Ionia" (τάδ᾽ ἐστὶ Πελοπόννησος, οὐκ Ἰωνία); Plutarch ascribed the erection of the stele to the Attic hero Theseus, on his way to Athens.

To the west of the Isthmus is the Gulf of Corinth, to the east the Saronic Gulf. Since 1893 the Corinth Canal has run through the 6.3 km wide isthmus, effectively making the Peloponnese an island. Today, two road bridges, two railway bridges and two submersible bridges at both ends of the canal connect the mainland side of the isthmus with the Peloponnese side. Also a military emergency bridge is located at the west end of the canal.

The idea for a shortcut to save boats sailing all round the Peloponnese was long considered by the Ancient Greeks. The first attempt to build a canal there was carried out by the tyrant Periander in the 7th century BC.

He abandoned the project owing to technical difficulties, and instead constructed a simpler and less costly overland stone ramp, named Diolkos, as a portage road. Remnants of Diolkos still exist today next to the modern canal.

When the Romans took control of Greece, a number of different solutions were tried. Julius Caesar foresaw the advantages of a link for his newly built Colonia Laus Iulia Corinthiensis. By the reign of Tiberius, engineers tried to dig a canal, but were defeated by lack of modern equipment.

Instead they built an Ancient Egyptian device: boats were rolled across the isthmus on logs, as the Egyptians had rolled blocks of granite to make their pyramids. This was in use by AD 32. In AD 67, the philhellene Roman emperor Nero ordered 6,000 slaves to dig a canal with spades. According to Pliny the Elder, the work advanced four stadia (about 5/8 kilometers). The following year Nero died, and his successor Galba abandoned the project as being too expensive.

In the modern era, the idea was first seriously proposed in 1830, soon after Greece's independence from the Ottoman Empire, and was brought to completion in 1893 after eleven years' work.

  the tales of a greek sailor