Kyriakos D. Kassis
Kyriakos Kassis (born March 1946) is a Greek multidimensional personality involved in many an area, as poetry, painting, history, writing, having provided big pushes forward in Greece in all the sectors he intervened at. He studied at the Legal Faculty of the University of Athens, in the department of Law, Political and Economic studies and in the Stavrakou Faculty, the art of cinema and film making. Apart from developing many anti-dictatorial actions from 1968 until 1974. He rekindled the study of our popular culture, giving it breadth and depth. He made big sections and inversions in ancient and more recent Greek History and also history of the wider European area. He has traveled frequently on invitation for lecturing in institutions of higher education in Greece and abroad (such as Germany, France, India, Australia, Istanbul, Sofia and Bucharest).
Kyriakos Kassis was born in the Palyro of Mani to father Dimitrios Kassis, and he was bred in the land of Laconia. At the time when history of time immemorial was untouched for many centuries, and people and society were uneventful in the region of Paratainaria Mani. The same applied to the sense of life and the knowledge of ancient experience.
Evan as a preschooler he already painted on stones of the surroundings and wrote folkloric verses, being gifted naturally with an amazing memory and painting and writing aptitudes. Kyriakos grew up speaking the local Laconian dialect (a primordial survival of archaic Greek language). In 1958, at the age of twelve, he went to Athens in order to continue his education. There, coming in contact with the epic work of Homer, he realised that the language used by Homer and the many usages and customs described were very familiar to him from his local region.
He joined in 1964 the Legal Faculty of the University of Athens (Legal, Political and Economic Study). Simultaneously, between 1971 and 1973 he attended the Stavrakou Faculty for film making (studying Script/Directing) and the art of animation in Greece. He worked from 1973–74. He also attended seminars about Fresco/Wall Paintings preservation in Paris through 1978.
Coming from a family of old democratic leanings and having a personal deep need for personal freedom, he developed throughout of the duration of the Greek military dictatorship (1968–1974) an active anti-dictatorial action. Being one of the ringleaders of the student movement, he was heavily wounded at the occupation of Law school in February 1973. Kassis was saved due to the coordinated efforts of the Moraki family. Andreas Morakis operated on him saving him at the last moment. As one from the principal personalities involved in the movement of Polytexneio, he sought the change of the entire political system before, during and after the dictatorship, aiming at a state of righteousness. He is the narrator in the disk that circulated "illegally" in the December of 1973. Not having any particular political placement to any party or policy (he always opposed to the existence of political parties in Greek politics), he gave his all in a non-lucrative fight for the overthrow of deeply established social problems part of Greek reality.
After the change of the political regime, many political parties offered him a place inside them, proposals that he always categorically denied, due to his belief that he served diachronically human values shared by every real sophistical thinker and fair person, regardless of political allegiance.
First period of Painting
Kassis painted passionately since his childhood, so by his ten years of age he was quite "adept" in drawing. His work was displayed publicly many times in many expositions in the decade from 1968 to 1978, particularly in places like the literary association "Parnassus", the Hellenic American Union, in the "New Thought " gallery and other galleries in Athens, Piraeus, Sparta, Gythion and other provincial cities. His work was full of influences of genuinely folkloric work, full of passion and imposition but without any artistic populism or pyrrhonism. The subjects of his painting do not follow the trends of modernism, as on the contrary he seeks the genuine depiction of Greek folklore and history. In his work he portrayed rural work like the one he himself had experienced, such as the harvest, thresher work, olive harvest, olive pressing, fishing, hunting quails with abstention etc.. He also frequently painted historical compositions in big surfaces (2 to 3 metres) in a post-modern “naif” style.
At the same time with the painting, he works from 1970 for a time in the editing of the Historical Dictionary of the Academy of Athens. He donates a small part of his linguistic research regarding the dialect of Mani in the Linguistic Company of the Academy of Athens and earns the first award (1968–1971). He was fired from there in 1973, while the dictatorial regime still existed. Afterwards, he worked at the advertising company “Aronis-Eythymiadis”, illustrating animation. It was then that he began assembling systematically the Greek comics and the Greek popular literature, in a collection that turned out the first and bigger in Greece until today.
After the change for democratic regime, for a small interval time he worked at writing film reviews, until March 1975 with the pseudonym D. Pikasis. He stopped after that small break in film criticism, however, due to his military service, after which, in 1976, he dedicated a long portion of his time to working to preserve wall paintings and murals in the Byzantine Falcon of Mystra, and the churches of the Peloponnese, Delos, Santorini, Thebes and many other spots of Greece.
From 1981 to today Kassis has been a film maker, under many positions, behind more than 10 documentaries, such as "The Other Greece" (1981) by G. Sgoyraki, (the first in the line was "Mani" with poetic speech and recitation by Mr Kyriakos D. Kassis, the second one was "Monemvasia" with speech and recitation by Yannis Ritsos, third was the "Mansions of Mitilini" with speech and recitation of Odysseus Elytis, the fourth was the "Pilion" by Kitsos Makris, etc.). The triptych film "Walking in Mani", shot in 1988 by a TV crew of ERT 2 with Lefteri Haroniti and Kyriakos Kassis as speaker and scientific collaborator, and also as sent representative of the Greek production to the Canne Festival.
Kassis has also made as off 2013 two discographic works, "MANIATIKA" in 1980 for the LYRA company of Mr. Patsifa, and "DORIC ODES" in 1999 (in which Alkistis Protopsalti and Nikolas Mitsovoleas sang vocals). In these songs, the music and lyric frame is Kassis' own personal sense of Mani municipal identity born from decades of research, some of the songs (p. ex.: "Sun Wait") being entirely his (such as pieces from his grandiose poetic composition "Liokaris", first written in 1964.
Work for "cultural rescue" of Mani
With the surge of the technological progress in the beginning of 1970, slowly little by little the Greek province starts to transform: in the two following decades, streets are made and most villages of Mani begin to get electric power, and as consequence the old, primordial way of life starts to disappear. From the beginning of 1960, traveling all over the then alive settlements of Mani and her brusque mountains and paths, Kassis contacted with many old and lonely people "confess to him" (in Kassis' own words), and so he connected and lived with them for a big amount of time, capturing memories of many centuries and encoding them, creating an enormous reccord of memories and historical, linguistic and philosophical conclusions.
The records register the comparisons of elegies and their histories, but also each form of speech (songs, funeral songs, elegies, folklore, proverbs, fairy tales, ethos and customs, linguistic idioms etc.), occupying thousands of handwritten pages and 250 cassette-tapes, spending like with this recording activity his spare time during decades. With a completely pioneering glance he rekindled the research of Greek folkloric culture before considered long gone, presenting much authentic and rich material, much unknown and neglected. Thus, his work became an important source for many following researchers.
The Author's Work
The amount of work of Kyriakos Kassis dedicated to Mani history, folklore and language is constituted by 25 rather bulky volumes (cf. Bibliography), some written in the daily newspapers of Greece and having been disseminated in a lot of dithyrambic reviews from important critics and researchers (Helen Vlahou, Tasos Leivaditis, Tasos Vournas, Kostas Stamatiou, Fani Petralia, Dimitris Stamelos, Kostas Romaios, Samouel Beau Bovy, Mixalis Meraklis, etc.).
During the presentation of his book of "FLOWERS of the STONE" in the Municipal Theatre of Piraeus in 1990, Nikiforos Vrettakos said: "I have watched the polymorphic activity of Mr. Kassis that extends in a lot of creative fields. Poet – Historian – Folklore researcher – Teacher. A teacher that teaches the love for the homeland and the respect for its history. Him I greet with particular love", a point with which many at the spot agreed with. After Kassis read his poetic collection "IVASMATA", a reviewer wrote on him, at 15 November 1990: "Each intellectual person is a guide that proposes a movement in the game of our social and aesthetic life and this movement or happening or not, winning or losing, is played in the same game. Kyriakos Kassis suggests in his entire creative course ANOTHER game with its base at the sense and the experiences of centuries, the life and the mind of centuries. He suggests an opinion purified, that has its starting line before the beginning of the current culture, before its decay. This concealed meaning is diffusive in all his work…".
Kyriakos Kassis’ writing work is of big size, pioneering and omnifarious. As of 2013 he has written and published 63 volumes of poetry, drama, history, folklore, essays, and research. Overall he published seven poetry books, three being epic and lyrical compositions, some of archaic and little understandable language and imagery. Many of his poetry volumes circulate under a title that encompasses and includes lots of "familial" work, researches or reports that, if each one had title, the books would not be only over 63 titles, but over many hundreds of titles.
In 1982 he published in theatrical form the plays " Hipparchus, the cynic philosopher" and “Sappho'", in 1986 the study about the popular "Theatre in the mountain", in 2006 twenty four essays of historical theatre and in 2008 the comedy "Othello".
His other large amount of research are the pioneering publications above in the Folkloric Literature- Alter-Literature -Comics, with five published studies "Greek Popular Novels 1840 -1940" (1981/1983), "Sotiris Hristidis, great popular painter" (1983), "the Alter-Literature in Greece" (1985) and "The written Karagkiozis" (1985). On these topics they were produced many documentaries.
In 1998, Kassis causes some interest with his study of "Greek alternative literature" (i.e., folkloric literature and comic books), "Greek alter-literature and comic books 1598–1998", a full itemization and study of this type of literature in Greece. Kassis himself owns a rich archive of at least 15.000 rare books and 85.000 magazines, documents and private manuscripts.
Apart from writing books he wrote entries in the encyclopedia YDRIA, in the WORLD LITERATURE of Athens Publishing, among others. He also edited books for the Ministry of Culture like Mayakovsky, Varnalis, Simone Bolivar, Hungarian painters, Kostis Palamas, Greece-Venezuela- Approximations and Figurative Testimonies from the National Resistance among others.
In his historiographical work he makes meaningful inversions and corrections of the traditional knowledge of Greek and word history based on new theories of his own, new sources and knowledge taken from recent archeological excavations. Among his history works are: "The true and inside History of Hellenism" (two volumes 1998, 2000), "Atlantis, Ancient Populations and Hellenism, the Prehistory of Mediterranean" (2000), "Antiauthoritarians and Thieves in the mountains of Greece 1821–1871" (2000), "Forgotten or Unknown Heroes and Heroines of the Greek Revolution 1821–1827" (2003), "The Conquest of Rhodes from Ottomans in 1523" (2005), “Jesus was Greek" (2007), "Greek-Bible" (2010). He formulated a completely unprecedented theory for the fusion of glaciers in Northern Europe, the erosion of the Bosphorus, with the discharge of waters in the Mediterranean, the activation of volcanoes in Aigiida and therefore the activity of her tectonic plates, the sinking of Atlantis, that Kassis places in Western Africa, the conjunction of parts of areas of Africa with the mud that in the end became the sand of Sahara, linking Ethiopia, the Tritonida, Kyrini and Atlantis and condensing with the foamy sea, the so-called "Afrika". In this work maps and many linguistic and historical reports on the documentation of these opinions are included. In addition, opinions about the primordial genealogy and dissemination of peoples Kassis identifies as Greeks (Minion[disambiguation needed], Leleges, Havana, Myrmidons, Minoans, Arkadians etc.).
Kassis work, although being much influential, is at the same time until today the object of many a bad imitation and even plagiarism, since many draw information and entire units of research from his work and presenting them as their own, even doing so in doctoral theses in Greece and abroad, without even referencing him as source.
- Poetry – Theatre
- (1968). "Liokaris". p80. Publications: Ihoe (reprints: 1974, 1980, 1986, 1990, 1996)
- (1975). "Poems A". p80.
- (1975). "Poetry 7". Publications: Kastanioti
- (1985). "Am'agalmata". p64.
- (1986). "The theatre in the Mountain" – Unknown Comedies. p160.
- (1983). "Sappho'". p56.
- (1983). "Hipparchus, the cynic philosopher". p56.
- (1992). "Iva'smata". p48.
- (1999). "Orfalwn". p142.
- (1999). "Kyrikos". p50.
- (2000). "The Big Greek Erotologion". p312.
- (2004). "Forgotten or Unknown genuine heroes and heroines of the Greek revolution 1821–1827". Twenty four theatrical plays of argued history. p320.
- (2005). "The Conquest of Rhodes from the Ottomans in 1522"
- (2007). "Othellos apologizes". Comedy in 1.100 verses.
- (2007). "Jesus".
- (2010). "GREEK-BIBLE". p688. Publisher: A.P.E.L.L.A of Greeks.
- (1982). "The thieves – Ntavelis".
- (1998). "The genuine and inside history of Hellenism", volume 1. p372.
- (2000). " The genuine and inside history of Hellenism", volume 2. p304.
- (2000). "Antiauthoritarians and Thieves in the mountains of Greece", volume 1. p368.
- (2000). "Atlantis: The truth for the lost Continent". p288.
- (2000). "Prehistory of Mediterranean: Ancient Populations and Hellenism". p288.
- (2000). "Sparta – Athens, Truths and Lies". p288
- (2007). "Jesus was Greek"
- (1981) "The Greek Folklore Fiction". Volume 1. p118.
- (1983) "The Greek Folklore Fiction". Volume 2. p210.
- (1983). "Sotiris Christidis, the great folklore painter". p32.
- (1985). "The Written Karagkiozis". p48.
- (1985). "The Alter-Literature in Greece". p186.
- (1998). "Greek Alter-Literature and Comicbooks". p208.
- For the Folklore Culture – History – Language etc. of Mani
- (1977). "History of Mani". p180. (reprints 1978, 1980, 1983, 1990)
- (1978/1979). "Genealogies or Clans In Mani". p68.
- (1979). "Berlina of Maniaton"
- (1979). "Funeral Songs of Mani". Volume 1. p512.
- (1980). "Funeral Songs of Mani". Volume 2. p416.
- (1981). "Funeral Songs of Mani of the 20th century – Interwar – Axis Occupation – Civil War and recent history" Volume 3. p368.
- (1980). "Folklore of Inside Mani – Material life". Volume 1. p304.
- (1981). “Folklore of Inside Mani – Intellectual Life". Volume 2. p224.
- (1981). "Folklore speech in Mani, Proverbs – Figures of Speech – Καταφωνήσεις". Volume 3. p280.
- (1982). "The linguistic idiom of Mani – Study". p80.
- (1982). " The linguistic idiom of Mani – the Dictionary". p408.
- (1982). "The forgotten and unknown old-maniatic dance (hellenic), ancestor of Syrtou". p32.
- (1983). "Folklore Speech in Mani, Magarotragouda – Ksesteroglossimata – Conundrums, etc". Volume 2. p36.
- (1983). "Satires of Mani". p372.
- (1983). "125 Fairy Tales of Mani". p340.
- (1983). "Folklore Sculpture in Mani". p140.
- (1984). "Satiric Logos in the Mani". p192.
- (1985). "Depictions and Paintings'". p64.
- (1985). "The songs and elegies of Southern Peloponnese (Mani – Taygetos – Parnonas)". Volume 1. p436.
- (1985). "Anecdotes of real persons". p414.
- (1988). "Flowers of Stone". p254.
- (1990). "Flowers of Stone-the pre-medieval, medieval and more recent families and churches in Mani". p550.
- (1993). "64 Fairy Tales of Mani". p168.
- (1993). "Weaponry and fighting condition of people of Mani during the Ottoman domination". p10
- (1993). "Supernatural Phenomena: Pretexts, Ghosts etc ". (Authentic Narrations). p48
- (1997). "The cultural presence of Lakonia in the human culture"
- (1998). "Exploits and lousier"
- (1998). "Two hundred Logografoi from Mani". p192.
- (2000). "Legends of Tainarou". p352.
- (2006). "The Ancient-Greek ancestry of Koulourianoi". p192.
- (2007). "The Family Tagarouljas – Krialakos of Mani". p80.
- (2008). "Fairy Tales of Mani", Volume 3. p580.
- (2008). "My Own Fairy tales". p112.