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ITHAKA ON THE HORIZON: A Greek-American Journey



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24 October 2007



How did I miss this? I thought I read every post, but I hadn't read this one, and have now really enjoyed reading it - too much to take in in one reading for me though, so I'll come back to it and follow the links. I see you posted it on my younger daughter's birthday, so that's my excuse.



This one is best consumed in tiny bites. I never expect anyone to read everything I write but it is nice to know someone does.


Unfortunately you too have fallen prey to the propaganda and historical revisionism that is prevalent in the Balkans of today. The Arvanites are not and never were Albanians. Anna Komnene in her "Alexiad" (1148 AD) states the Greek Arvanites were from Arvanon (book 7) as opposed to the Albanians who she refers to as the "so-called Abanians" in contrast to the LOCALS of Dalmatia (book 6).

I enjoyed the rest of your article. Perhaps I can add to it with this tidbit.

In 212 AD, Emperor Caracalla's Constitutio Antoniniana granted all free people in all Roman provinces citizenship.

However, the Greeks transmogrified their newly acquired political title (Romans) and began to refer to themselves as Romioi (Romios/Ρωμιός for singular). The new term was created in order to establish a dualistic identity that represented the Greeks' Roman citizenship, as well as their Hellenic ancestry, culture, and language.

Hope that helps. Keep up the good work.



Thanks for the information. I will defer to your superior knowledge of the Alexiad of which I admit only cursory acquaintance.

As for the Arvanites I believe that Arvanitika is an Albanian dialect even though Arvanites are Hellenized and consider themselves Greek.

Personally, propoganda and revisionism notwithstanding, I, like Isocrates, believe that those who share our culture are Greek irregardless of whether they happen to be Vlachs, Slavs or Arvanites by blood.

Best wishes to you.

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  • Keep Ithaka always in your mind. Arriving there is what you're destined for. But don't hurry the journey at all. Better if it lasts for years, so you're old by the time you reach the island, wealthy with all you've gained on the way, not expecting Ithaka to make you rich. Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey. Without her you wouldn't have set out. She has nothing left to give you now. And if you find her poor, Ithaka won't have fooled you. Wise as you will have become, so full of experience, you'll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean. C. P. Cavafy


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