Vasilis Michaelides
Vasilis Michaelides is considered by many and often referred to as the national poet of Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...


He was born in Lefkoniko
Lefkoniko is a village in the Famagusta District of Cyprus. It lies in the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus , in the northern third of the island.-History:...

, a village in the Famagusta District
Famagusta District
Famagusta District is one of the six districts of Cyprus. Its main town is the island's most important port, Famagusta. The city of Famagusta is currently controlled by the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus ....

 of Cyprus, between 1849 and 1853. In 1862 he moved to Nicosia to attend Secondary School. His first contact with the arts came in the form of hagiography
Hagiography is the study of saints.From the Greek and , it refers literally to writings on the subject of such holy people, and specifically to the biographies of saints and ecclesiastical leaders. The term hagiology, the study of hagiography, is also current in English, though less common...

, in the archbishopric in Nicosia where he trained as an artist. He subsequently moved to the Diocese of Larnaca where concentrated on painting in the care of his uncle. In 1873 he published his first poems "Usury" and "Nightingales and Owls" and in 1875 he moved to Naples
Naples is a city in Southern Italy, situated on the country's west coast by the Gulf of Naples. Lying between two notable volcanic regions, Mount Vesuvius and the Phlegraean Fields, it is the capital of the region of Campania and of the province of Naples...

, Italy for further studies in painting. Michaelides left Italy in 1877 and went to Greece where he enlisted as a volunteer in the Greek army and fought for the liberation of Thessaly. With the end of Ottoman rule of Cyprus in 1878, he returned to Limassol, Cyprus, staying at the local premises of the Diocese of Larnaca. There he began to write for the local newspaper "Alithia" .

Michaelides wrote several poems in Katharevousa
Katharevousa , is a form of the Greek language conceived in the early 19th century as a compromise between Ancient Greek and the Modern Greek of the time, with a vocabulary largely based on ancient forms, but a much-simplified grammar. Originally, it was widely used both for literary and official...

, Dhimotiki and the Cypriot Dialect
Cypriot Greek
The Cypriot dialect of Modern Greek, known as Kypriaka , Cypriot Greek is spoken by 750,000 people in Cyprus and diaspora Greek Cypriots.Cypriot Greek is distinct enough that it can be classified as a distinct dialect of the Standard Greek....

. His first poetry collection, "The Weak Lyre" , was published in 1882. In 1884 he was appointed to work as a nurse thereby securing an income, room and board. He then began to write for the newspaper "Salpigga". In 1888 he began the publication of the satirical magazine "Diavolos" .

In 1883 he wrote "The Fairy" , followed by the his most famous work "The 9th of July 1821" , a poem written in the Cypriot dialect detailing the events leading to the execution of the Greek Cypriot leadership, including Archbishop Kyprianos, by the Ottoman rulers of the time. The "9th of July" was followed by "The Woman From Chios" .

The latter part of his life was plagued by alcoholism. In 1910 he lost his job as a nurse, but the Limassol Municipality gave him a new job as a Health Inspector as well as a room to stay at the town hall. In 1911 he published "Poems". In 1915 he ended up at the Limassol poorhouse where he wrote "The Dream of the Greek".

He died penniless and an alcoholic on the 18th of December 1917.

In 1978, his portrait was depicted on one of a series of stamps themed on Cypriot poets.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.