A Greek in the Holy Land

Geia sou ti kaneis? Emena me lene (Hi, my name is) Rashed Al-Zorba. And with that, an older man who hails from Jericho city, greeted me in Greek at a hotel, in Shepherd’s Fields, the birthplace of Jesus, just outside of Bethlehem. Thanks to a very large Christian population and a high number of tourists…

The hidden Greek history of Montenegro – it’s in the Balkans

Sitting on the plane ready to fly up from Athens to Dubrovnik, which is a small ride from the Montenegro border, I couldn’t help but laugh at an American girl who was face timing her boyfriend. “Baby I am off to Croatia.” “Where?” “It’s a country in Europe” “Where?” and it went on. I asked…

When Asia was ruled by the Greeks: Seleucid Empire

When we in Australia think of Asia, we tend to think of the oriental end of the continent. In Britain, when the term Asia is used, it generally refers to the Sub – Continent (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka or wherever cricket is played), yet to the ancient Hellenes, Asia was once that area from…

The Greeks of Ukraine: from Marioupolis to Odessa

Billy Cotsis takes us on a journey through the Greek areas of the Ukraine including the historic Philiki Eteria Museum, the home of the Greek Revolution ‘Ola kala, kai panta kala (always good, forever good).’ With the clink of our glasses and the downing of another vodka drink I started to feel very much at…

Rhodes and the Colossus: the ancient Greek power

Before the Statue of Liberty, another monument stood by a great harbour welcoming ships and arrivals to the safety of a democracy. Standing at around 100 metres, this ancient Colossus celebrated victory and was built in the mould of the powerful Helios the Sun God in 292 BCE, a relative of Apollo. Where does one…

The Principality of Samos

I remember sitting at the airport waiting to be picked up by a friend, thinking what would Pythagoras make of his island, now filled with tourists and a constant stream of visitors from Turkey (just 1.6 km away at its closest point)? I wondered if I would find the inspiration to add numbers and philosophise…

Tracing the various Hellenic communities of the Mediterranean

Hellenes have been everywhere! From the shores of the Black Sea to Asia, you can find traces of ancient colonies, conquests, migration and great Hellenic and Byzantine empires. This talk provides a snapshot of those historic communities across the Mediterranean, from the ancient colonies to the modern era. A particular focus will be on Egypt,…

Icaria the Free State

It was 2004 and I was stumbling and hopping my way across the Aegean Sea and somehow, I ended up on this small island that has a long history. There are approximately nine thousand inhabitants here and every single one of them appeared welcoming. I ended up staying in Evdilos not exactly a haven for…

Exploring Greek communities around the world, lecture series

President of the Hellenic Studies Foundation at the University of New South Wales, Costa Vertzayias will be teaming up with writer Billy Cotsis to discuss a range of Greek communities around the world including those that became extinct in the last century. The pair will present information based on years of their own research and…

Hellenic Colonies and Towns: Ten of the Best Ever

From the shores of the Black Sea to the Sub Continent in Asia, the Hellenes established or re-founded hundreds of cities and towns around the world. By my estimation, there are over forty countries where cities/towns were founded. These colonies and settlements happened in waves, with a significant period coming in the Eighth to Sixth…

Phanariotes of Wallachia and Moldavia (Romania)

Under the Ottomans, there were areas of that empire that were either self governed or controlled outright by Greeks. In fact, the early Ottomans are more benign than many have given them credit for. Greeks prospered as they generally had a good handle on commerce and merchant trading. In Constantinople Greeks continued the level of…