Crete is a land of plenty and a land of contrasts. There are deserts, there are woods, there are mountains, there are beaches… There are cities, there is wilderness… One of Greek literature’s finest romance poems (in 10,010 lines and approximately 100,000 words over 340 pages) was written by Vitzentzos Kornaros, who was born and lived on Crete. His romance Erotocritos (pronounced ErotOcritos) was written around 1587, a good three years before Shakespeare’s first play was produced, and it has influenced Greek poets ever since, including the great George Seferis. Here are a few lines as translated by Theodoros Stephanides, a close friend of the Durrell brothers, Lawrence and Gerald:
In Crete’s great isle were many plains and hills,
And fertile meadows slaked by singing rills,
And orchard fruits, and butterflies, and birds,
And homesteads with their many flocks and herds…
The photo was taken on the Akrotiri peninsula in the Chania prefecture.
All text and photos © 2019 John Freedman. If you wish to reproduce, repost or use any of the text or any photo, please ask for permission.