History has shown us that some nations are born, thrive for some years and then disappear, while others live on and survive till today and for ever. In spite of invasions and occupations by many vicious conquerors the Greek nation continues to thrive today in modern day Greece and Cyprus and many parts of the globe. Its celebrated history has not been forgotten and is still
evident in its temples and monuments that stretch from Macedonia in the north all the way down to the Aegean Archipelago, the Peloponnese, Crete in the south and Cyprus in the south east.
The Hellenes from 1000 BC, through their expeditions, wars and adventures, live on today in the world of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey. Among those Greeks of the early diaspora after the Trojan War was Tefkros of Salamis, near Athens, who traveled all the way to Cyprus to found the Ancient city of Salamis, naming his new home city after the city of his initial homeland.
The Greeks spread all over the Mediterranean for half a millennium, 1000-500 BC, establishing the Great Greece of the Mediterranean. However, the highest ideals of humanity, the fundamental principles of Freedom and Democracy which we cherish today were born and flourished in ancient Athens. Athens after 600 BC was the centre of arts, letters, philosophy and
politics. It was the era of heroes and sacrifice in the pursuit of freedom: heroes such as Leonidas and his three hundred fighters who died defending Athens and Greece from myriads of Persians at Thermopylae in 480 BC; heroes like Themistocles who declared at Salamis when fighting the Persians: “I would rather die a Greek free and standing than a
kneeling slave to you Persians!” The Greeks united in moments of danger but were extremely divided at other times. Self destructive wars eventually led to the decline of Greek Polis and Kingdoms but not to its extinction as a nation. It rose again under Alexander the Great who, around 330 BC, led the Greek nation on the biggest expedition of ancient times up to the highlands of China.
Alexander the Great spread Hellenism to the East but his premature death meant the end of another Greek Golden era. The arrival of the Romans did not mean the end of the Greek civilisation but the emergence of a new one. Married to the new Roman one it rose again like a phoenix to become the great Byzantine Empire that dominated the East for over one thousand years, spreading the Greek language and establishing Christianity and Christian Orthodoxy as the religion of the entire
Eastern Roman – Byzantine Empire.
The fall of Constantinople in 1453 meant the decline of mainland Greece too. It fell to the Ottoman Turks and remained under its yoke for four hundred years till 1821, when it regained its freedom and began to lay the foundations of modern Greece.
Beginning with the small area of FREE Peloponnese and Attica, it grew gradually, eventually becoming the modern Hellas of today stretching from Corfu to Rhodes, from Komotini to Crete. Hellenism and Hellenes have survived for four thousand years and continue to survive in Greece, Cyprus and centres of Hellenism around the world.
Through this exhibition we honour the Hellenes and philhellenes through the ages. Wehonour all those heroes who died in the name of freedom, democracy and humanity; those who came to the defence of Hellenism, be they poets, philosophers, artists, common people, rich or poor. We honour the resilience of the Greek people which has enabled them to survive as a nation for millennia and calls upon this same spirit, these same Greeks and philhellenes to unite and assist Hellas of today to overcome the difficulties it faces as a free and independent nation.
1. Euterpe Ionides (1816-1892)
Freedom Fighters in Constantinople, circa 1860-70
signed, oil on canvas
61 x 81 cm
Property of a Lady, London until 2000
Rags or Riches by Peter Constant page 412, illustrated in colour
Illustrated Parthenon Exhibition, 10th March- 10th April 2015, The Cyprus Brotherhood Centre, London
back cover illustration of catalogue
Price on request
The struggle of the Greek for freedom has been the main preoccupation of the Greek nation ever since 500 BC. It has always been a fight and battle against much stronger opponents from Marathonas to Thermopylea, from Salamina to Navarino, from Pindos to SKRA 1940-41.
Even after Greek Independence against a much stronger Ottoman Turkey, many parts of Greece were still under slavery for many years, and this scene, in Istanbul’s Slave Bazaar portraying the sale of Greek women as slaves and children taken away from their mothers to be turned into fierce Janissaries, continued for decades after independence.
9. A.C. Ingrald-Lund ( 20th Century)
Queen Anna Maria of Greece, aged three, with her Mother Queen Ingrid, at the Palace in Copenhagen
signed, oil on canvas, 94 x 118 cm
Christie’s London, 1990
Hallam Fine Art, London, May 1992, Number 49 in the catalogue
‘Rags or Riches’ by Peter Constant, London, 2013, page 236 illustrated in colour
Price on request
Some paintings are special because they are unique, rare and historical. The image of the child princess Anna Maria, destined to become the Queen of Greece, falls into a category of paintings that makes it a gem for collectors and especially collectors of Royalty images. This unique painting of the future Queen of Greece at the tender age of three with
her mother Queen Ingrid is a very important painting for Royal Collections and the History of Royals in Greece. His Royal Highness King Constantine of Greece confirmed the setting of the image as the palace in Copenhagen and the age of the princess, his future wife, in May 1992. We are grateful to His Royal Highness for his assistance in cataloguing this important painting.
12. Aggelos Papadopoulos ( 1953- )
In the Coffee Shop, Athens a pair
signed and dated 2004, 60 x 80 cm
The artist 2004
Cypriot Brotherhood Centre, November 2004, Number 38
‘Rags or Riches’ by Peter Constant, page 452 illustrated in colour
Price: £ 3000
The coffee-shop is a distinctive cultural part of life for men in Greece. The older male frequents the coffee shop for a Greek coffee, a little chat on all events from politics to sport, a game of cards or a session of backgammon or ‘tavli’. The modern cafe, where the younger generation of Greeks congregate, talking till dawn, is the new, modern coffee shop.
23. Yiannis Papanelopoulos (1936 – )
signed, oil on canvas 80 x 120 cm
The artist 2004
The Cypriot Brotherhood Centre, London, November-December 2004, Number 21
Papanelopoulos came to prominence as an artist because of his work on the theme of Man and Machines. In this image the artist shows us how man is striving to control and direct the machines even though they are at times uncontrollable when faced with the forces of nature.