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…

Greek speakers of Jordan: Ramadan and a Greek spirit

As I was planning my trip to Jordan, a representative of the Greek Youth innocently pointed out, “you do realise its Ramadan here in Jordan!” I had of course completely and utterly forgotten it was Ramadan.

The Kingdom of Commagene

As witnessed by an ancient traveller… Around 163 BCE I happened upon a mountainous kingdom located on the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, in what is now Turkey, bordering Syria. This was the year when this kingdom was truly recognised, after breaking away from the Greek ruled Seleucid Kingdom. The name Commagene refers…

Pericles: an interview from 5th Century Athens

After years of being turned down by Pericles for an interview, finally he has taken the time out to speak me after he delivered the Funeral Oration. Here Pericles tells us about his childhood, his love of Athens, democracy and why Sparta must be defeated. BC: You are known as the First Citizen of Athens,…

Lesvos: fall in Love and the liberation of the island

Event held on November 9, 2016 delivered at Mytilene House with 200 people in attendance “Lesvos will continue to function as an island. That is what we are, an island. It is not a Dubai, it is a remote island.”  Good evening, how is everyone? I’m here to talk you a little about a film…

Ten of the best Greek islands by a seasoned traveller

Billy Cotsis has travelled to 65 Greek islands and counting. Here he recalls HIS top ten favourite islands based on personal experiences, beauty, aura and history. They say that Greece has 227 inhabited and 6000 uninhabited islands. They also say that each one has a story to tell; I have been lucky enough to have…