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Letter to Editor

Letter to the Editor: On Dionysios Solomos, National Poet of Greece

March 31, 2023

To the Editor:

 

As we celebrated the start of the Greek Revolution on March 25th… I would like to mention something I read in the newspaper that surprised me. In the discussions a few days ago about language and globalization, in a comment someone, whose name and date I unfortunately did not retain, wrote “…and Solomos wrote the Hymn in Italian.” This is the biggest historical inaccuracy and many will notice it.

Dionysios Solomos not only wrote in Greek, but is in a way the creator of our artistic vernacular. He left Zakynthos for Italy at the age of 10 with his Greek mother tongue fully developed and accompanied. When he returned after a decade, Spyridon Trikoupis urged him to read Christopoulos, a pioneer of Demotic Greek, and he did. At the same time, together with the entire Greek literature, he diligently studied the vernacular poems and songs and assimilated the rhythm, the feeling, the language idioms.

With the acuity that distinguished him, he became a deep connoisseur of the language, the national conditions, the psyche of the Greeks, their history, and led the Heptanesian School with all the intellectuals of the time. His speech, full, dense, unsparing, with high ideas and moral values, captivates and moves us in the masterpiece ‘Hymn to Liberty’, the first two of its 158 stanzas were later institutionalized as the National Anthem in music, first as a song, by Nikolaos Mantzaros, ‘The Free Besieged’, and his other numerous works. He gave poetic meaning to the National Uprising of the 20th century, the Revolutionary Struggle of the Greeks and Freedom – national, individual, universal. He was fully deservedly established as the National Poet of Greece.

On this occasion, I would like to note the advantages of the full-page digital edition of the newspaper. In trying to locate the writer of the above, I went back online to many previous days and pages. I haven’t found it yet, but I found out how quickly and efficiently we are able to navigate through the file. The special technicians of TNH have done a proper job and the website is very well organized, easy, and functional.

 

Sincerely,

Vasiliki Kekela

New York, NY

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