Lorentzos Mavilis


Poet (1860 – 1912)

Lorentzos (Laurence) Mavilis was a poet, translator, Member of the Greek Parliament, chess problems composer and an impassioned patriot, considered the last representative of the Heptanesian School. A restless spirit with pure nationalist ideals, Mavilis is regarded as Greece’s most important sonet writer.

He was born in Corfu. He was of Spanish descent from his father’s side, while his mother was of Greek descent, and was the niece of John Kapodistria, the first Governor of Greece. Mavilis studied philology in the Universities of Athens, Munich and Freiburg and was appointed professor of classical studies in the University of Erlangen.

Mavilis occupied a high position in the Greek letters primarily as a sonet writer. A member of the Heptanesian School since his return to Greece in 1893, his writings were influenced to a great extent by Dionysios Solomos, the founder of the Heptanesian School, as well as by the German literary movements of his time. The core theme that predominates in all of Mavilis’ works is his love for Greece. His most notable sonets, including Fatherland, For the Fatherland, Olive and In the Fullness of Time are all odes to Hellenism, an encomium to all those who sacrificed their lives for Greece and the higher values of life that lead to man’s virtue.

Apart from his career in writing, Mavilis was also an avid chess player and a renowned chess problems composer, having won multiple matches, most notably the 3rd Bavarian Chess Association Congress in Resenburg in 1890 under the pseudonym Dr. L. Greco. As a polyglott, he translated multiple works, among them Shelley, Lord Byron, Virgil and an excerpt of the Indian epic Mahabharata.

Throughout his whole life, Mavilis was a fighter. Immediately after he returned to Greece from Germany, he joined the revolt of Crete as the leader of a small force for the liberation of the island from the Ottoman yoke, while in 1897 he joined the Greek army as a volunteer during the Graeco-Turkish War. His life’s highest act, however, was during the Balkan Wars in 1912 when Mavilis, having yet again joined the army voluntarily, fell heroically in the Battle of Driskon when he was fatally shot in the neck. His gratitude for the final act of his sacrifice is forever reflected by his final words: “I was expecting honours from this war, but not the honour to die for Greece”.


  1. Λορέντζος Μαβίλης: «Δὲν είχα φανταστεί ποτέ ότι θα είχα την μεγάλη τιμή να πεθάνω για την Ἑλλάδα». Πεμπτουσία. Pemptousia.gr. November 29, 2017. Web.
  2. Λορέντζος Μαβίλης. Σαν Σήμερα. Sansimera.gr. Web.
  3. Lorentzos Mavilis…a poet, a fighter, a chess player. www.chess.com. March 10, 2019. Web. <https://www.chess.com/blog/introuble2/lorentzos-mavilis-a-poet-a-fighter-a-chess-player>
Lorentzos Mavilis

Pavlos Santorinis


Physicist, Engineer, Inventor (1893 – 1986)

Pavlos Santorinis was a physicist, civil engineer and professor of experimental physics in the National Polytechnic School of Athens. He was one of the most important researchers and inventors of the 20th century, with expertise in numerous fields such as statistics, electromagnetic waves, hydraulics and energy from natural resources. He is most widely known today as the inventor of the radar.

Santorinis published over 100 original scientific research papers in the most presitgious French and German science journals. Among his most notable contributions were the discovery of the discontinuous internal deformation of concrete and its experimental proof, the measurement of elastic oscillations of metallic bridge using electronic layouts which he himself invented, the discovery of new phenomena of electrons and electromagnetic waves and the invention of a device that measured the wavelength of very low frequency electromagnetic waves. In 1936 he formulated the principle of bomb explosion above the ground’s surface in a given height, which was applied by the Americans during the bombing of Hiroshima. The same year, Santorinis invented the fuze, upon which was based the Proximity Fuze used by the Allied Forces in 1944, termed “the 2nd most dangerous weapon in America”.

From 1936 to 1940, Pavlos Santorinis developed one of the most groundbreaking inventions known to man, the radar. Developed only a few years earlier than Robert Watson Watt’s radar, the Hellenic Radar, as it came to be known, was an ecatostometric radar, meaning it had the ability to detect electromagnetic waves with wavelength ranging from 5 cm to 200 km. In 1940 the radar successfully detected the first aircraft, which was a British airplane travelling over Melos, 160 km away. Santorinis’ invention revolutionized the airforce. Prior to the radar, the airforce relied on watchers with binoculars and rudimentary acoustic instruments for the detection of enemy aircrafts. Santorinis’ radar enabled the army to detect enemy aircrafts from very long distances and track the enemy’s movements safely and in secrecy. Upon its first successful operation, Ioannis Metaxas passed the blueprints to the British government, resulting in the radar’s debut in the Second World War in 1942.

Following his success with the radar, Santorinis accomplished the production of electromagnetic waves beyond the visible specturm while in 1942 he invented the “Electronic Brain H” (Ἠλεκτρονικὸς Ἐγκέφαλος Η), a complex system that enabled the automatic piloting of missiles against a moving object. The device’s full potential was only realized in 1953, when it was utilized by the US and was named “Nike” meaning Victory. He had numerous other scientific achievements, namely improving the usage methods of solar energy and wind energy for various applications.

Pavlos Santorinis was also cocnerned with theoretical and sometimes philosophical aspects of physics. In 1968 he formulated the theory of multiple successive micro-explosions of the universe, which came to overthrow the Big Bang theory while in 1974 he hypothesized a new principle, that of “The Declining Entropy of the Universe”. Santorinis was also a personal friend of Albert Einstein; he would solve him various mathematical and physics problems that Einstein couldn’t. He spoke 6 languages and taught in multiple universities both inside and outside of Greece.

Even though today Pavlos Santorinis’ name is not as well-known as would be expected, he received widespread recognition worldwide and was celebrated internationally. He was the recipient of the Fermat Prize by the Academy of Sciences of Toulouse in 1961, the Vermeil Prize by the Academy of Sciences of Paris in 1968 and 1969, and the French Society of Progress prize in 1969. The same year, the British awarded Santorinis for his invention of the radar, acknowledging that he invented it 4 years before them. Finally, Santorinis was awarded the Order of the Phoenix by the royal family of Greece. He died in 1986 at the age of 93.


  1. Ἀϋφαντῆς, Γεώργιος. Ἄνθρωπος καὶ Ἐπιστήμη Τόμος Α’: Ἐνημέρωσις. Ἐκδόσεις Ἑλληνικὸν Σέλας. Ἀθῆναι: 2009. Print.
  2. Παύλος Σαντορίνης, ο Ἕλληνας που ανακάλυψε το ραντάρ. Δίοδος, Η Πύλη της Γνώσης. Diodos.gr. May 15, 2019. Web.
  3. Σαντορίνης Παῦλος. Μεγάλη Στοὰ τῆς Ἑλλάδος. Grandlodge.gr. May 15, 2019. Web.
  4. Spanopoulos. B.A. “Pavlos Santorinis”. Helios New Encyclopaedic Dictionary. Passas, I. Athens: 1946. Print.
Pavlos Santorinis

Iannis Xenakis


Composer, Architect, Engineer, Mathematician (1922 – 2001)

Iannis Xenakis was one of the most important Greek philosopher-composers and architects of the 20th century. A pioneer in electronic music, he expressed the universe through music by transforming mathematical and physical laws into music. In this way, Xenakis founded what is known as stochastic music.

Born in Romania, Xenakis studied architecture in Athens and continued his studies in music in France, where he also worked for most part of his life. As most pioneers on their field, Xenakis was almost self-taught in music and would frequently be a subject of opposition by the mainstream composers of his time; few could see the potential he had within him, one of them being Olivier Messiaen, who encouraged him to take his own path, saying that he had the privilege of being an architect, having knowledge of applied mathematics and being a Greek.

Xenakis revolutionized the world of music by introducing the philosophy of unification of mathematics, music, physics and Greek philosophy. He applied at least 15 mathematical laws that govern the natural world to music in order to create what he would call stochastic music. Among these were the set theory, theory of probabilities, Boolean algebra, thermodynamics, game theory and the theory of numbers, the Fibonacci sequence and the Golden ratio. The fist of this genre was Metastaseis, composed in 1954. It marked Xenakis’ starting point in his music career.

With the term stochastic, Xenakis attempted to convey a philosophical meaning, that the transfer of mathematical laws and probability systems in music can allow expression of mass phenomena. It was a means of decoding the music that was hidden inside mathematics. To compose his music he began using an electronic computer, thus becoming one of the first composers to inaugurate its use in the composition of music worldwide. He combined his music with sounds of man and nature, such as the sound made by a cicada in summer or the rustle of a fallen autumn leaf, conferring to music a whole new energy. In all of his compositions, the ancient Greek spirit is present. Works like Herma, Oresteia, Persephassa, Pleiades, Psappha, Mycenes, Nomos all derive their names from ancient Greek mythology and denote Xenakis’ passion with the ancient Greek philosophy, from where he drew inspiration. As such, many did not hesitate to refer to him as a Neopythagorean philosopher.

Throughout his long-lasting career, Xenakis composed a staggering number of compositions, ranging from electronic music to orchestrals and opera, which earned him international recognition as a pioneer in music. His career in architecture did not fall behind not least; he had collaborated with Le Corbusier in France in a number of projects, the most well-known being the Philips Pavilion at the Brussels World Fair in 1958, which he himself designed and for which he received universal acclaim.

Xenakis’ last composition, Omega, signified the end of his highly productive career in 1997. By then, he had been made professor in many universities in Europe and the United States. He taught in the University of Sorbonne, founded the School of Mathematical and Autonomic Music in 1966 as well as the Center of Contemporary Music Research in Athens, published several books and was honoured with numerous international accolades.


  1. Ιάννης Ξενάκης 1922 – 2001. Σαν Σήμερα. Sansimera.gr. February 9, 2019. Web.
  2. Κιούση, Βάσω. Ο «νεοπυθαγόρειος» Ιάννης Ξενάκης, η ζωή και το έργο του: από τη «στοχαστική» στη «συμβολική» μουσική. Fractal Η γεωμετρία των Ιδεών. Fractalart.gr. July 20, 2016. Web. February 9, 2019.
  3. Ιάννης Ξενάκης: Ἔνας «Νεοπυθαγόρειος» συνθέτης. TVXS. Tvxs.gr. February 4, 2011. Web. February 9, 2019.
Iannis Xenakis

George Seferis


Poet (1900 – 1971)

George Seferis was a poet, translator and diplomat, widely regarded as one of the greatest men of letters in modern Greek history. As the main representative of the “Generation of the 30’s”, a group of writers who made their debuts in the letters in the 30’s, Seferis dominated the world of literature and poetry at his time, becoming a figure of international influence. He was the first Greek to be awarded the Nobel Prize.

He was born in Smyrna. He studied in Athens and in Paris, where he obtained a degree in law. Upon his return to Athens, he was admitted in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This was the start of a long and successful career in diplomacy. Throughout his career, he held important posts, most notably Royal Ambassador to the United Kingdom.

Seferis’ first major work published was Strophe (Turning Point) in 1931, which indeed would mark a turning point not just in the author’s life but also on the world of modern literature. The interest that was sparked by the poem helped establish young Seferis as an important and promising poet, thus gaining acceptance from the higher echelons of literature, in spite of some inadvertent controversies from certain circles.

Seferis’ poetry inaugurated a new era of literature in Greece. 1935 marked an important year in Seferis’ life, with the publication of his work Mythistorema, a collection of 24 short poems alluding to works and myths of the grandfather of world literature, Homer. Indeed, Seferis’ mature poetry draws inspiration from Greece’s ancient past and it is through his poetry that the ancient Greek miracle translates into the present world.

Beginning from the 50’s Seferis’ work was translated and published abroad, further boosting his fame worldwide. He wrote essays, though fewer in number than his poems, as well as compiled translations, most importantly the works of T.S. Elliot. By 163, George Seferis had been recognized as the “representative Hellenic poet”, with his monumental poetry being a product of the ancient Greek thought and spirit.

He died in 1971 during the junta and his funeral became a national outcry against the regime in Greece. He was one of the few poets to enjoy recognition while he was still alive. Throughout his life, he received several honorary doctorates from international universities, was elected Honorary Fellow of the Modern Language Association as well as Honorary Foreign Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 1963, the Swedish Academy awarded him with the Nobel Prize of Literature “for his eminent lyrical writing, inspired by a deep feeling for the Hellenic world of culture”.


  1. George Seferis. Poetry Foundation. www.poetryfoundation.org. November 27, 2018. Web.
  2. Giorgos Seferis – Biographical. NobelPrize.org. Nobel Media AB 2018. Tue. 27 Nov 2018.
  3.  Γιώργος Σεφέρης. Σαν σήμερα. Sansimera.gr. Web. Retrieved November 27, 2018.
George Seferis

Markos Vamvakaris


Musician (1905 – 1972)

Markos Vamvakaris was a famous bouzouki player and pioneer of the rebetiko style, regarded as one of the founding fathers of the rebetiko music. With a career spanning over 50 years and collection of over 200 songs, Vamvakaris became Greece’s most recognizable voice in the music industry of his time.

He was born in the island of Syros as the first of a family of six children. He did not graduate from school but instead, at the age of 12 he went to Piraeus where he worked various jobs to earn a living, namely as a butcher, coal-worker, paper boy, shoe-polisher and greengrocer before being captivated by music, being played in the taverns where he hanged out. He decided to become a musician, namely the greatest autodidact bouzouki player in the world.

He started writing his own songs as soon as he was discharged from the military and by 1933 he had written over 50 songs, which he recorded on disk under the company Odeon. These were the very first disks on rebetiko music ever published in Greece. As Vamvakaris’ name started becoming a household, he formed a music band together with 3 of his friends called The Famous Tetrad of Piraeus, which performed their songs.

1935 was the year Vamvakaris wrote his most famous song Frankosyriani, a classic love song that would solidify his dominant position in the world of music. During World War II, he composed songs to stimulate the soldiers’ esteem and inspire patriotism. He later held concerts all over Greece, touring in Thessaloniki, Trikala and Larisa multiple times. His discs were highly sought and garnered enormous success.

Vamvakaris continued to be a prolific songwriter and performer with a massive audience until 1954 when he stopped playing the bouzouki due to health problems. When he attempted to make a comeback a few years later, his music was considered outdated and he was disregarded by the music industry. This changed in the 60’s when fellow bouzouki player Vasilis Tsitsanis published a collection of Vamvakaris’ songs sung by him and numerous other acclaimed singers. This re-established Vamvakaris’ fame and allowed him to continue his career. From that point onward, he attended multiple concerts and worked with famous music talents such as Grigoris Bithikotsis.

Markos Vamvakaris, the Patriarch of Rebetiko as he came to be known passed to eternity in 1972, becoming a musical legend, leaving behind him a musical legacy unparalleled by any other rebetiko musician. He remained loyal to the music he served, choosing not to blend with politics of any sort and to leave his name unstained. Greece honours him today in several ways, namely with post stamps and with his own museum, while his songs continue to be published in disks.


  1. Μάρκος Βαμβακάρης. Σαν σήμερα. Sansimera.gr. Web. Retrieved November 3, 2018.
  2. The Patriarch of the rebetiko song. Ellines.com. Web. Retrieved November 3, 2018.
Markos Vamvakaris

Eugene Antoniadis


Astronomer, Architect (1861 – 1944)

Eugene Antoniadis was the greatest Greek astronomer of the modern era and one of the greatest observational astronomers of all time. A self-taught, multi-talented scientist, Antoniadis gained widespread recognition and respect for his work on planet Mars, placing his name among those of the greatest observational astronomers, namely Giovanni Virgionio Schiaparelli and Nicolas Camille Flammarion.

Antoniadis was from Constantinople. He did not attend university and did not have a degree in astronomy. He worked for most of his life in France, being invited there for the first time in 1893 by Flammarion to become his assistant after witnessing young Antoniadis’ exceptional skills on astronomy. He served as member of the board of administration of the French Astronomical Society as well as chairman of the Department of Mars of the British Astronomical Association.

Like every great mind, Antoniadis began by challenging the beliefs that were held by the astronomical establishment. As an observational astronomer, he proved that the infamous and so-called Martian canals, which were thought to be water channels flowing on the surface of Mars, built by an ancient Martian civilization, were in fact optical illusions created by the telescope. This discovery, along with all the work he compiled on Mars paved his way to become one of the most significant scientific authorities on astronomy, especially on Mars.

As director of the Meudun Observatory, Antoniadis compiled extensive research on the surface of planet Mars, publishing numerous papers on the solar sun spots, planets Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn and his rings, the moon, Ganymedes and on shooting stars and comets. Antoniadis was the first to acknowledge the existence of weather changes such as windstorm on the surface of the red planet, years before being confirmed by NASA. One of his most significant contributions was compiling the very first accurate maps of the surface of Mars, attributing Greek names to hills, craters and mountains that have been preserved and are used to this day. Furthermore, he created the Antoniadi Scale, a system of categorizing weather conditions when viewing the stars at night.

Antoniadis was also an architect, a professional chess player, a writer, amateur archaeologist and artist. He wrote a book of three tomes on the art and architecture Hagia Sophia called Expression of Hagia Sophia, considered a monumental work in its field. He became a champion in chess by studying the moves of other professionals, ultimately winning first place in the chess tournament of Paris 1907 against Frank Marshall.

Eugene Antoniadis was awarded multiple times for his contributions in the scientific community. While never having been officially trained as an astronomer, he triumphantly became the world’s greatest amateur observational astronomer, his work accepted worldwide among astronomers. It is thanks to his extraordinary genius that modern astronomy knows so much about Mars and it is thanks to him that Mars speaks speaks Greek to this day.


  1. “Antoniadis Evgenios”. Helios New Encyclopaedic Dictionary. Chasapis Constantinos. Passas, I. Athens: 1946. Print.
  2. McKim, Richard. E.-M. Antoniadi, 1870 – 1944. 2009 Paris/Meudon IWCMO Conference. Kwasan.kyoto-u.ac.jp. September 29, 2018. Web.
  3. Ο ερασιτέχνης αστρονόμος που έκανε τον πλανήτη Άρη να … μιλά Ελληνικά. Newsbeast. Newsbeast.gr. November 30, 2016. Web.
Eugene Antoniadis



Archbishop (1939 – 2008)

Christodoulos was Archbishop of Athens and of All Greece, serving as the head of the Orthodox Church of Greece from 1998 until his untimely death in 2008. During this decade, Christodoulos struggled for Orthodoxy and Hellenism, always occupying the front lines in every religious and national issue. He was loved more than any other figure within the ecclesiastical circles and his legacy holds strong to this day.

Born as Christos Paraskevaidis, he studied law and theology in Athens, as well as foreign languages and music. He became Metropolitan bishop in 1974 and was involved with reorganizing the internal structure of the Church, as well as encouraging youths to study theology and become clerics.

As Archbishop, Christodoulos undertook a massive philanthropic work. He promoted the involvement of the Church in a wide range of social and national affairs by founding multiple Synodic Commissions, supported vulnerable social groups by establishing foundations for the families, abused women and immigrants, encouraged actions against AIDS, drug abuse and unemployment, bestowed scholarships to the children of the poor, implemented programs for the support of Greek families in Thrace, provided food for 3000 people daily and founded the non-governmental organization “Solidarity”, allowing the Church to expand its philanthropic work worldwide. Christodoulos inaugurated the digital technology into the Church of Greece. Furthermore, he showed interest in European issues, founding a representative branch of the Church in the European Union and UNESCO.

Christodoulos was a religious and national leader. He stood by the side of every individual regardless of their nationality, political ideology and religion. His unconditional love and devotion for the people drove hundreds of youths to the Orthodox Church, attracting a huge amount of young followers. His public appearances gathered thousands of followers who resonated with his fiery speech.

Throughout the years as Archbishop, Christodoulos strongly opposed the schemes of the New World Order, making extraordinary efforts to inform the Greeks through television, radio and public speeches about the fore coming evil. He distinguished as the strongest voice of opposition against the New World Order in Greece and a powerful proponent of Hellenism and its values, which was very rare for a Church official.

Christodoulos acted during difficult circumstances, at a time when the Greeks were devoid of any spiritual leader. He left an enduring legacy after filling this needed role. His struggle against globalization led him into multiple conflicts with the Greek government and ultimately cost him his life in 2008.


  1. xristodoulos.antibaro.gr
  2. Χριστόδουλος Παρασκευαϊδης (1939 – 2008). Σαν σήμερα. Sansimera.gr. Web. July 29, 2018.