Monemvasia [the Queen of the Seas]

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Precipitous rock – all day long drinking the scorching sun, 

holding it in its entrails as it faces the sea,

and you with your back leaning against the rock, with your breast

bared to the sea – half fire, half coolness,

cut vertically, double, in a struggle only

to unite water with stone.

The words of the great poet Yiannis Ritsos, who was born here in 1909, encapsulate the ambiguous and intriguing nature of Monemvasia in a fascinating synthesis that only poetry can create: a promontory overlooking the Aegean, which exists by way of a precarious harmony of opposites: the blue of the sea and the ochre of the roof tiles, the grey of the mountains and the azure of the sky, the verticality of the rock and the horizontal marine plain, the severity of the stone and the delicacy of the Byzantine friezes. It is the “perfect harmony of opposites” which the philosopher Heraclitus spoke of, and the harmony of the bow and the lyre. Monemvasia is a coming together of styles and eras. In just over a square kilometre, fifteen hundred years of history coexist and communicate. Byzantines, Venetians, and Ottomans have fought over this spur of rock for centuries; they decorated it with churches and sumptuous buildings, walls, and towers; they dug into it to create a labyrinth of streets and alleyways, stairways, and vaults; they admired it, flattered it, desired it, conquered it and failed to retain it. This book undertakes the difficult task of retracing in brief these twenty-five centuries of history, by using documents, artistic testimonies, and oral traditions, to reconstruct the image of a village that deserves, among many others, the sobriquet of the “Lady of the Sea”.

50 Articoli

Scheda tecnica

Autore
Massimo Cazzulo
Pagine
152
ISBN
9786185752286
Collana
Saggi & Critici
Lingua
inglese
Numero della serie
29b
Fotografie e immagini
yes