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Tragedies


Strange quirks of history
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A WARNING FOR KING ALEXANDER III

On November 1st 1285, the King of Scotland, Alexander III, remarried. He had lost his first wife, two sons and a daughter, and the heir to the kingdom was now his young grand-daughter. It was a delicate situation and so he decided to try to have a male heir. He himself had been 8 years…

LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR

Lucia di Lammermoor is Donizetti’s best-known opera. It’s the story of a young, aristocratic Scottish girl who is in love with with a noble and handsome, but poor young lord, whose parents are against their union. Lucy is forced to break up with him and he moves far away. Her parents make Lucy marry a…

THE PIRATES, MELIDONI

We cross a hill near Aghia Elessa then begin our descent into the unknown. There is a dirt track, rocks and stones and the sea. Nothing else. There are no houses, no roads, no telegraph poles. The hills rise up in the distance, the sea is an intense blue and there are no signs of…

ROSA HERN

In 1850, an Irish doctor by the name of Charles Hern was appointed by the British authorities as resident physician on the island of Kythera. He was young and was blessed with the typical charm of the Irish. One evening, at a ball at the British governor’s palace, he met a young Kytheran girl, Rosa…

THE HANGED MEN

That morning, October 9th 1821, an inhabitant of Karava saw everything. He went straight to Hora and denounced the killers. The English governor ordered a police inspector to go immediately to Karava. The inspector’s name was Jean Kasimatis, and he was a member of one of the dynasties which had ruled over Kythera for a…

THE PIANIST AND THE TWO SISTERS

It was during, or at the end of the World War. A young Austrian pianist arrived on a Greek island. He was handsome, and alone. He was talented. The two sisters belonged to the island’s aristocracy. Among their numerous properties, they prefered one they had called “happiness”. It was situated on top of a hill…

YANNI’S GREAT-GRANDMOTHER

Yanni is the head of the largest family on the island of Spetses. He is also one of the most renowned butterfly experts in the Balkans. He is a contemporary of mine, and a friend. His family has an interesting history. In the early 19th century, his ancestors were shipowners. But at the time, there…

MANDU THE SULTAN AND THE DANCER

Not far from Maheshwar, Mandu was the capital of a vast and extremely wealthy Islamic sultanate. In the 14th century, it was the biggest city in India with a million inhabitants. One of the sultans had returned from a trip to Africa with 150,000 baobab saplings. With their strange, unique forms, they still stand proudly…

Patmos: The Sailor, Innocent Victim

As our caïque neared the coast, I was lost in contemplation of the magnificent Patmian countryside before me. The beach was bordered with old tamaris trees, forming a perfect semicircle. Behind, green fields extended to the foot of the rocky hills. A white peasant home stood at the far end of the beach. It once…

Vaya con Dios

Tatiana Metternich, Princess Metternich, formerly the Russian born Princess Vassiltchikov, was one of the grandest ladies I have ever known. Beautiful, courteous, an aristocrat to the bone, with her sleek blue eyes she was the epitome of a class that no longer exists. When I think of her, I am reminded of one particular anecdote…