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This Week in History: June 11th to 17th

JUNE 13TH:

On this day in 1904, Nikiphoros Lytras, the Greek painter, died at the age of 72 after a short illness that is believed to have been caused by inhalation of chemical substances in the paints he used. Born on the island of Tinos, Lytras was the son of a popular marble sculptor. He was trained in Athens at the School of Arts and then at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of Munich. After completing his studies, he became a professor at the Academy of Arts – a position he held for almost 40 years. In 1879, Lytras married Irene Kyriakidi, a daughter of a tradesman from Smyrna and they had six children – one of which followed in his father’s artistic footsteps. Lytras’ subjects ranged from figures of Greek mythology and Greek history, to more Asiatic themes after his travels to Asia Minor and Egypt, and finally to scenes about aging, loneliness, and the fear of death in his later years. His most well-known landscape was a depiction of the region of Lavrio.

JUNE 15TH:

On this day in 1946, Demis Roussos, the Greek singer and performer, was born in Alexandria, Egypt to a Greek father and an Egyptian mother of Italian origin. Demis was raised in Egypt until his parents moved to Greece in the early 1960s after losing their possessions following the Suez Crisis. Best known for his solo hits in the 1970s and 80s, Demis sold more than 60 million albums worldwide before dying at the age of 68. After ‘retiring’ from making music, Demis was famously caught up in a plane hijacking when flight TWA from Athens to Rome was hijacked by members of Hezbollah in 1985. It was reported that he and his third wife at the time were held at gunpoint for five days before they were released. Some of his fellow passengers endured more than two weeks in captivity. Demis said that the experience changed his life and afterwards he decided the best way he could help others and promote understanding in the world was by returning to music

JUNE 17TH:

On this day in 2018, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras witnessed the signing of a deal to let the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia be called North Macedonia. Tsipras described the signing of the agreement as a "brave, historic, and a necessary step for our peoples." He added that, "We are here to heal the wounds of time, to open a path for peace, fraternization, and growth for our countries, the Balkans, and Europe." This preliminary deal launched a long process that lasted several months, coming to fruition in January of 2019, when FYROM agreed to stop using the name Macedonia and rename itself the Republic of North Macedonia.

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