Thematic sections

5.4 The Cretan War in the Literature

The Cretan War was one of the most dramatic military events of the 17th c. The impact of the long siege and fall of Candia influenced the scholar and folk literature, by eponymous and anonymous authors, Greek, Italian, French and Ottoman, who eventually eye-witnessed the events, and from this point of view their testimony is of historical value. In Greek literature, there are five poetic texts, mainly with a mourning context, inspired by the events of the Cretan War.

Joachim archimandrite from Cyprus wrote a poem in 10.240 iambic 15sylab verses, which was probably composed before the final outcome.

The Cretan physician and scholar Athanasios Pikros, who wrote in ancient greek, was the chief-physician of Candia. During the war he lost his son and finally he died five years before the Fall.

The Cretan scholar and later patriarch of Alexandria Gerasimus Palladas, who lived in Crete until the Fall, dedicated to the Cretan War his fourth poem under the title “Lamentation of Crete”.

The monk Akakios-Anthimos Diakrousis from Cephalonia found himself by hazard in Chania, where he recorded the events until some point of the siege.

But the most important poem, in terms of literature, language and history, according to the scholar Stylianos Alexiou, was the Cretan War by Marinos Zane Bounialis, who lived in his home town Rethymnon until its fall, then found a refuge in Candia and in Corfu, and finished his poem in Venice. In the part for the siege of Candia he describes the narration of the refugees who arrived in Venice after 1669, but also includes elements taken from the poem of Akakios-Anthimos Diakrousis.

Here we present excerpts from these two poems, in which the reader can sense the dramatic hours of the besieged and their deep sorrow for the abandonment of their home town in the hands of the Ottomans.

Same thematic section texts (6)

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5. The “Cretan War”
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5.1 The Siege and the Fall of Candia (1648-1669)
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5.2 Cretan War and sank of La Thérèse
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5.3 The evacuation of Candia
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5.4.1 Anthimos (Akakios) Diakrousis
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5.4.2 Marinos Tzanes Bounialis