Wednesday, 10 January 2018

No Sir, not arthour evans


I was completely surprised to discover and embarrassed not have known that there has been another Discoverer of Knossos.
For decades Arthur Evans has been credited with the discovery of the palace of Knossos in Crete.
But the person who first set foot and excavated the ruins was Cretan  merchant and scholar Minos Kalokairinos.
The chain of events of this extraordinary part of Greek history is as follows:
1843    Minos Kalokairinos is born, fifth child of merchant Andreas Kalokairinos.
1862    Minos starts studies at the Law School in Athens. At 20 h.e has lost his mother and 3 brothers. His father died in 1864. This forces him to return to Crete and get involved with the family extensive business. In 1869 he marries Skevo Kriezi with whom he had five children.
1878    Kalokairinos has read Homer and other classical writers, mainly from Korais' library, so he decides that he will dig to find Minos' palace as it was described by Homer. He finds the store rooms of the palace where the royals kept their olive oil, wine etc. He also finds the corridor leading to the Royal throne.
The (Christian!) Pasha stops the dig fearing that international recognition will promote Cretan liberation.
Kalokairinos sends samples of the findings to the biggest European museums. Arthur Evans, curator of the Oxford Museum goes to Crete and works with Kalokairinos to get permission for more digs to no avail.
1898 25th August   During the 25th August events, Turks kill the brother and son of Kalokairinos. They burn his house and with it all artefacts and treasures he had found. Kalokairinos is ruined financially.
Crete is freed this year and Evans gets approval from the Cretan National Assembly for more digs but keeps Kalokairinos out of the picture.

 And there you have it.
Whom do you blame for this injustice? 
The Turkish rulers?
Arthur Evans?
The Crete National Assembly?

Talk soon