On this day in 1939, Prince Michael of Greece and Denmark was born in Rome, Kingdom of Italy to Prince Christopher of Greece and Denmark and his second wife Princess Francoise d’Orleans of France. His father passed away when he was a year old, leaving Michael as an only child, and his mother died in 1953 when he was 14, leaving him an orphan. He studied political science in Paris and then repatriated to Greece for military duty, serving a term in the Hellenic Coast guard. Later in life, Prince Michael became a historian and author and has written several historical books and biographies of Greek and other European figures, in addition to working as a contributing writer to Architectural Digest. He married Marina Karella, daughter of Theodore Karella and Ellie Chalikiopoulos. Marina is a Greek artist and sculptor of international reputation whose work has been exhibited in Athens, Paris, and New York. Their wedding was held at the Royal Palace in Athens and was non-dynastic – which obtained the legally required authorization of King Constantine II only after Michael renounced all rights of succession to the Greek throne for him and his descendents.
Also on this day in 1944, Napoleon Lapathiotis, the Greek poet, died at the age of 56. A native of Athens, he began writing and publishing poetry when he was just 11 years old. In 1907, along with others, he established the Igiso magazine, in which he published his works. In 1909, he graduated from the law school of the University of Athens and published his first book of poems in 1939. Lapathiotis was openly gay and had communist beliefs. Poor in later life and an opium addict, he committed suicide with a revolver. The 1985 film, Meteor and Shadow, was based on his life.
On this day in 1955, Spyros Livathinos, the former Greek soccer player and coach and current Panathinaikos scout, was born in Patras, Greece. Livathinos started his career in the Panathinaikos youth system. In 1975, he made it to the greens’ first team where he played a total of 267 league games in 10 seasons, winning three Alpha Ethniki and four Greek Football Cup titles. He also made 27 appearances and scored one goal for the Greek national football team. Livathinos then moved to Cyprus where he became a player/coach of Pezoporikos. In 1988, he led the Larnaca club to the championship of Cyprus and retired as a player. He continued his coaching career with Ethnikos Asteras, Kaisariani Club, and Panachaiki. Livathinos is currently a scout for Panathinaikos.
On this day in 1941, the Greek army captured the city of Kleisoura during World War II. The Capture of the Kleisoura Pass was a military operation that took place between January 6-11 in 1941 in southern Albania, and was one of the most important battles of the Greco-Italian War. The Italian Army, initially deployed on the Greek-Albanian border, launched a major offensive against Greece on October 28, 1940. After a two-week conflict, Greece managed to repel the invading Italians in the battles of Pindus and Elaia-Kalamas. Beginning on November 9th, the Greek forces launched a major counteroffensive and penetrated deep into Italian-held Albanian territory. The Greek operations culminated with the capture of the strategically important Kleisoura Pass in January 1941.