Κυριακή, 8 Ιουνίου 2008

from the dodecanesian calendar 1924 alexandria

I love old stories.This story I will share with you today,came in a very peculiar way to my knowledge.I was in Alexandria in Egypt,and was looking through some old books,in a shacky place that once might have been a bookstore.I can spend hours in shops like this.Anyways,as you all might know,Alexandria was inhabited by some 100,000 Greeks until the late 1950's.Then they were all thrown out by Nasser the then socialist president of Egypt.Alexandria at that time was a center of Greek cultural life and a very cosmopolitan city.Well while I was looking through the old books,a Greek book came to my hands.The title "The Dodecanesian calender,published in 1924 in Alexandria.In this fascinating book,i found so much information,old stories,photos of the Dodecanese islands of the times.Traditional songs,costumes of each island and so forth.A real and rare treasure.The following story comes from this rare book,and its a forgotten story about the island of kasos and how the 6 new villages of the island were created (including one Albanian-Arvanitochori ) after its total distraction by the pirates,why the people there are mixed with Egyptian blood,and more interestingly why society on kasos is matriarchal(run by women) instead of being run by men like the rest of Greece.This story was recited by an old man in the 1920's.So it must be about 200 years old.I translated it for you from Greek to English.I hope you enjoy it and if there is anybody from kasos,I hope they keep this story and pass it down.By the way,Kasos Island, the most remote and unspoiled island of the Dodecanese.
When the Algerian pirates raided the islands and the shores of the Mediterranean,among others,they plundered the island of kasos,they pillaged the land,and abducted its inhabitants,taking them as slaves,and only a small part of them managed to escape to lands in Egypt,where it was safe from the raids of the pirates.They remained there waiting for better days to come,so that they could return to their beloved little island.During this period,where no-one was living on the island anymore,while travelling about five or six seamen arrived on kaso's shores.Among them as also an Albanian.They moored there,and decided to establish themselves permanently on the island.However because they did not have any plans to become monks,but to create a settlement,and to leave descendants,they found themselves in the same situation,as the first inhabitants of Rome had before.They were out of women as well.The inhabitants of Rome found women by deception.They new settlers of kasos decided to find women by asking and taking.They therefore made in a council,and were thinking together which island girls would be better as wives.For being closer and faster,the first proposal was to ask for wives from the island of karpathos."No" replied one of them.The women from karpathos are wicked,and they don't grow old with only one man."Should we go to Rhodes then?""Not there either said another one.In Rhodes women are so hairy and they shave.In the beginning,their face looks so shiny but in a few days,it looks like bread with sesame seeds.""why we don't ask from the island of Chalki?""From Chalki? But as we arrive there,we will go honorably and quietly to ask for wives,but they will misunderstand us,and since they are very bullish,they will drive us out by beating us up."Should we head for the island of Simi?""No! no! The men and women from Simi go to the taverns,they get together there,drink and get drunk,turn of the lights,and who ever finds whom.The Northern winds were an obstacle for them to think of heading for islands farther up.For this reason they decided to leave for the island of Crete.In Crete during that time there was a horrible famine.Much hunger existed on the island.When the Cretan men and women saw the ship arriving ,they all went down to the shore to find out what cargo was being brought."We brought nothing" answered the future grooms,dressed in their best clothes and trying to give the greatest impression."And what is your purpose for coming here?" asked the CretansThe seamen told them their intentions and since they came in peace,they were allowed to disembark.Before they gave them an answer,the Cretan women thought that it would be good to ask what were their jobs first."We are seamen" they answered."Seamen?!Go look somewhere else! We don't take seamen as husbands! We want our men all the time in our beds! Not every six months or even more to have them"!Being very disappointed from there,they took for the island of Santorini,but the northern winds brought them back to Crete again.When the Cretans saw them returning,say they felt sorry of them,say they didn't know why,they made them the offer to marry them with their servant girls brought over from Egypt.In their desperation,and in their impatience to find wives,the grooms accepted the offer even if their women would not be Greek.However the offer was not without any conditions.The Cretan women demanded for a contract to be signed in which the following draconian terms would be implemented.The women should rule over the men.The women should hold the money.The women should marry their daughters with out asking their husbands.The contract was signed,the weddings were performed,and the seamen with the Egyptian women,embarked on the ship heading for deserted kasos where they would multiply the human spices.On Kasos each created his own settlement,and today kasos has six villages including the village of the Albanian seaman.In this settlement,the women ruled over the men,the women were in charge of the money,and the women married their daughters without asking for the permission of their husbands.These women became the best wives anybody can imagine.Times got better,and the kasians who survived the slaughter from the pirates returned back to kasos.At least those that could returned.The kasian women adopted the privileges of the Egyptian wives of the seamen,because it was in their self interest,and with these,many of their attributes.The men,whether they liked it or not,surrendered under the authority of the women,as an extension of the Cretan contract,and since then,in kasos,the women rule over the men.They run matters in their households and they are the head of the family and they are thrifty as it cannot be imagined.If one takes away these privileges from the women of Kasos,they could die,because they will never give them away willingly.However,the men of the island don't take them away,and the household is always clean,and economy with peace and order reigns in it. (nostos)


Birth NameAntoine Malliarakis
Mini BiographyAntoine Malliarakis, aka Mayo, was born in 1905 in PORT SAID Egypt, the son of a Greek engineer FROM KASOS ISLAND and a French mother. Although he kept a Greek passport throughout his life, he was culturally French and lived in France for half of his life after leaving Egypt. He came to France to study architecture but started frequenting artistic circles in the Paris of the roaring twenties and decided to become a painter instead. He made a living decorating cabarets and, later, designing costumes for stage productions, while continuing to paint. In 1944 his friend, writer Jacques Prévert, recommended him as costume designer for the classical period piece "Les Enfants du Paradis". The film was a hit and allowed Mayo to lead a 20-year career in French cinema, designing the costumes (and sometimes the scenery) of several classics. In the meantime, he also worked as art director on many commercials. With the early 60s, and the coming of the "Nouvelle Vague", period pieces became less frequent, and Mayo had less work offers. He ultimately decided to leave movies to concentrate on his paintings. Having moved to Rome, Italy, in the mid-sixties, he finally managed to make a good living with his paintings alone. Unfortunately, in the early eighties, Mayo gradually lost his eyesight. In 1984 he moved back to France and died in 1990, aged 85.

history of kasos Island

Kasos Island HistoryKasos, the southernmost island in the Dodecanese and the closest to Crete, is essentially the last link in the insular chain between Asia Minor and Crete. The earliest traces of human habitation on the island date from the Final Neolithic/Early Bronze Age (4th and 3rd millennia BC). There are indications of permanent settlement, with strong Minoan influences, at the southwest end of the island, around the safe Khelastros bay, during the Middle and Late Bronze Age (until circa 1450 BC). In Mycenaean times the centre of activity was transferred to the north part of Kasos, to the naturally fortified site of Poli. Homer, in Rhapsody II of the lliad, mentions Kasos as participating, along with other Dodecanesian islands, in the Trojan War. In historical times the ancient capital, also called Kasos according to Strabo, remained in the area of Poli, arround the hill of the Mycenaean citadel. Potsherds scattered over the hilltop date from the Final Neolithic/Early Bronze Age to the Early Christian period and attest to the continuous occupation of the site, which together with the strip of land linking it with the harbour at Emboreio constituted the principal settlement core on the island over the centuries. Kassians are mentioned for the first time in the Athenian Tribute lists of the 5th century BC, while the ethnic Kasos, written in Hellenistic inscriptions from beyond the bounds of the Rhodian state, point to the island's independence in that period. Kassian emissaries (theoroi) are recorded on Delos in 275/4 BC and they are included in the list of independent cities, among which is Rhodes. Nonetheless, the presence of Late Hellenistic inscriptions with Rhodian deme-names indicates the eventual subjection of Kasos to the Rhodian state, which event must have taken place in the first half of the 2nd century BC. On present evidence, it seems that Kasos did not mint its own coinage but used the Rhodian. However, our knowledge of the history of Kasos during the period of incorporation into the Rhodian state, which is attested into Roman times, is limited. During the Roman and Early Christian periods the main settlement on the island was apparently transferred to the coast around Emboreio bay, where there are traces of two Early Christian basilicas. Another two basilicas stood at Maritsa, to the east, while a fifth should be sought in the area of Panagia. The concentration of large public buildings of luxurious construction bears witness to the island's prosperity in Early Christian times. With the division of the Roman empire into provinces, in the reign of Diocletian (AD 284-305), Kasos was assigned to the XXVIII Provincia, the governor of which was based in Rhodes, to which the Episcopal Sees were subject too. With the division of the Byzantine state into Themata, however, Kasos was detached from the XVIII Thema of Kibyrrhaiotoi and included in the Thema of Crete. Information about the island in Byzantine and Medieval times is scant. In 1207 the island was captured by the Venetians occupying Crete. In 1311 it was taken by the Knights of St John of Jerusalem, but following the intervention of the pope, Kasos and Karpathos were returned to the possession of Venice in 1315, so remaining until 1537, when they were conquered by the Ottomans. Suleiman the Magnificent granted the Kasians self-government, in return for an annual tax (maktu) of 1,000 grossi. Kasos is referred to as a deserted island by travellers in the 16th century. Nonetheless, it was repopulated, as borne out by patriarchal documents of 1622, mentioning that it was removed from the Archbishopric of Karpathos and became a patriarchal eparchy, which was ceded to the patriarchal official Hyaleas. The new settlements of Arvanitochori and St. Marina were built inland, because of fear of raids by pirates, who from before the Sack of Constantinople (1204) and for the ensuing five centuries were the scourge of the islands. Throughout the centuries life continued in the settlement around the acropolis of Poli. Destruction of Kasos Hussein after the crash of Greek revolution in Crete, plans on May 1824, the total destruction of Kasos, 20 miles far from Siteia and that because Kasian boats have caused serious damages to the Turkish-Egyptian navy and the heroic border island could become a base of operations and campaigns of exiled Cretans. Kasian navy has transferred 600 Cretans with chiefs Dimitris Kourmoulis and Astrinos at the proud rocky island. Kasians from years of Napoleon came in touch with the charm of sea and the wealth it’s hiding at its guts. They became ship masters and dealt with trade in Alexandria. They made a lot of money. Kasos was very famous. At the revolution of ’21 desolated Kasos has a navy which numbers 100 ships that outfits heavily. Magical air of Freedom come to Kasos and flutters the spirit of shipmen. They raise revolutionary flags. They are making traps at the passages and confiscate English and French merchandises that have as destination the coast of Minor Asia. They are also crushing or capturing Turkish ships that dare to pull out in the open sea. They are warning that the Greek state will pay the foreclosings. Nevertheless Turks allying with Mohamed Ali of Egypt due to their weakness of vanquishing revolutionized Greeks. Thus on 18th January 1824 squadron with 14 Egyptians ships pass out of the island and cannoning but Kasians reply with heavy fires. Heroic Kasians feel the danger and ask help from Greek government, without it doing something. May with its perfumes makes the island smells sweetly. But the air comes silent and mystic. The island is out of money and the tremendous kasian navy can’t take action. The heroic Kasians are looking the sea during the day. They hope that Greek battleships from Hydra will bring good news but in vain. At night they are looking the sky and the stars. They are begging for mercy and their smooth light greatens their souls. Women and children are going to churches, but also Saint’s faces are silent. Their one and only hope is bravery. Men, teens and old people demand from themselves self-sacrifice. Freedom needs blood. On 14th May 1824 birds stop singing and the light wave stops its erotic song. A squadron of Egyptian navy has appeared. Souls are steeled. The border island that is singing the song of freedom and is heard up to the edge of Mediterranean is in fever of war. Powerful firearms are placed at beaches and Cretans along with Kasians take their positions at bastions, while women and children go to the upper. On 27th May the rest Egyptian navy appears. Chief is Ishmael Gibraltar with 25 battleships, up to 40 transports and 4.000 Albanians in his own. The flesh of sea trebles. The air remains silent. The yell of freedom cuts the sky and God blesses the heroic souls. For three days the heroic island sustains fire and steel but doesn’t give up. “Oh God, see how Greeks are fighting and bless the steps of their Freedom.” But which nightmare guided at unguarded path Turks and Albanians? Was it scorner Zaharias? Thousands people of the enemy disembark at the back of heroic fighters. A lot of Cretans are helped to escape, souls are needed for other fights. Kasos, the proud border island is on fire and women with children are taken by Turks and Albanians. Oh God, why this curse to our race. One thousand of Kasians died, but so many women and children have been killed. Fresh Kasian women have been captured. Kasos is a mass of burnings. Freedom goes around the island, at a timeless altar of sacrifice for its priceless name. Recent History The recent history of Kasos is characterized by periods of prosperity as well as by major catastrophes. From early times the inhabitants of this barren island turned to the sea and succeeded in enhancing Kasos as a flourishing maritime and mercantile centre. In the second half of the 17th century Kasos had 80-100 sailing ships, whose activities brought home significant profits. By the early 19th century, the Kasiot fleet of trading vessels numbered some 700, which were later turned into warships for the needs of the Greek Struggle for Independence. 1818: Kasos becomes a member of the Philike Hetaireia (Friendly Society). 1821: Kasos has a population of about 8,000. In April, revolutionary activity commences. In July, the Kasiot fleet fights for the liberation of Crete, and Kasos become a refuge for many Cretan civilians. It is then that the Egyptians decide to destroy the island. 1824: The Destruction of Kasos. The Egyptians invade the island, which is looted, ravaged and left deserted for a long period of time. 1829: Kasos temporarily under Greek governance. Those Kasiots who survived the destruction begin gradually to return to the island, whose economy is based on the few ships that have remained. 1830: After the end of the Greek War of Independence, Kasos remains under Ottoman rule, under the terms of the London Protocol. 1843: The Kasiot merchant fleet numbers over 75 ships. 1859: Many Kasiots emigrate to Egypt, to work on the construction of the Suez Canal. 1866: A new wave of emigrants from Kasos to Egypt. 1890: The countdown begins for the Kasiot sailing ships, after the development of stream-powered ships. 1908: Greek labourers on the Suez Canal found the “Phoenix” Mutual Assistance Society, which operated with the participation of many Kasiots, until 1918. 1912: The Italians capture Kasos, which was until then under Ottoman Occupation. 1914: World War I. Thriving Kasiot shipping suffers great losses in ships and manpower. 1919: 27 July. Venizelos-Tittoni Accord. Italy resigns her rights in the Dodecanese. Only Rhodes remains under Italian Occupation. 1920: July. The new Italian government headed by Giolitti denounces the agreement. 10 August. Treaty of Sevres on the Dodecanese. This treaty was to come into force after Turkey’s ratification of the Peace Treaty of Serves, something which never happened. 1923: Second period of Italian Occupation. 1945: The British in provisional control of the Dodecanese. 1947: The Dodecanese are liberated from the Italians and incorporated in Greece. The liberation is due to the many years of activity of the Central Executive Committee of Dodecanesian Unions, which was founded in Alexandria in 1923. On 7 March the Unification of Kasos with Greece is celebrated. 2001: The population of Kasos, once 12,000 in its heyday, is now only about 1,080.