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Rineia

      Ρήνεια (5/3/2006 v.1) Rineia (5/3/2006 v.1)
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Author(s) : Hadjidakis Panayotis (9/10/2005)
Translation : Hadjidakis Panayotis (8/2/2005)

For citation: Hadjidakis Panayotis, "Rineia", 2005,
Cultural Portal of the Aegean Archipelago

URL: <http://www.ehw.gr/l.aspx?id=10448>

 
 
The poet C. P. Cavafy arrives at Rineia

On Friday, 16 July 1901 at 6:30 p.m., C. P. Cavafy arrived at the lazaretto of Rineia on his first trip to Greece. The poet, whose work was only minimally concerned with the description of nature, for which his contemporaries criticised him, was charmed by the beauty of the landscape and devoted a few lines in his personal diary to describe it: “We have reached Delos [Rineia]… At 5 a.m. the sea under the rising sun presented a beautiful appearance; and beauteous also looked the islands that studded the horizon … The sea’s colour and form are wonderful – intensely Greek … The island is pretty to look at. The bay most picturesque. But it appears that there are very few inhabitants at Delos, and almost no cultivation – whether owing to the natural bareness of the soil or to the carelessness of the population, I am not aware. Fair weather this morning. Thermometer at 780…”

Edition of Cavafy’s complete prose in Greek, including the diary of his first trip to Greece which he wrote in English. Ed. Giorgos F. Fexis, presentation and commentary by Giorgos Papoutsakis, Athens 1963, p. 260-262.


The shards of Rineia

“The crows are going to roost on Delos – which means that it’s already darkening… A long-lived winged creature is the crow, and throughout its long life, this same journey through day and night is what it has to remember. But just once a man appeared to disturb the deserted hollows of Delos, the peaceful nights: Dimitris Stavropoulos. Ephor of Antiquities of the Cyclades toward the end of the last century, he used to read Thucydides, the ancient, and saw it written that the Athenians proclaimed Delos to be sacred, and not only forbade burying or bearing mortals on this land, but that they also dug up the graves in the year 424, unearthed the bones with whatever else was left, and took them opposite, to Megales Diles, which was called Rineia. And now, this same job was done again by Dimitris Stavropoulos: to dig on Megales Diles, to disturb the solitary birds… Because there, he had got to find the “the purification pit”. What jewellery there was to be found, what vases, what vessels, in the jumble of that pit, plates and dishes and oil jars, oil lamps, whatever things could be found in the households of the rich and the poor, their ornaments, which the living person needed and wanted, they wanted to accompany them to the underworld. And all the small and large things were found in smithereens, a mountain of broken shard … but the learned person will never call anything a broken pot, but rather calls it a “shard”… And the other result of the “purification pit” discovered with the help of his great brain, was that the name of the Ephor, Dimitris Stavropoulos, has remained in history, the island acquired a great museum, Greece enriched its collections, humanity filled in some gaps in its knowledge of ancient civilisations and Georgis Polykandriotis, the tailor from Mykonos who stuck them all together, went blind after spending his whole life stooping over these vessels, gluing them together.”

Axioti M. Το σπίτι μου (My Home), Athens 1965
 

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