Dionysios Solomos (1798-1857)

What is special about Dionysios Solomos, who was born in the same year as Schubert, and who wrote poetry for the Greek and Cypriot national anthem, the "Hymn to Freedom"?

His life is connected to the Ionian Islands , a very special part of Greece that has never been under the Ottoman rule. On the contrary, Italian culture is still omnipresent today, since the islands (from Corfu in the north to Zakynthos in the south) were under Venetian rule until 1797.


The Greeks of the Ionian Islands are not only known for their melodic dialect, which is blurred with many Italian words. Above all, they are known for their love of music. It is sung everywhere in Ionion, in choirs, on the streets, in company and in the salon. The Kandades (from the Italian word "Cantata") of male choirs are still popular in Zakynthos (see the video channel at the bottom of the page). A beautiful opera house in Corfu was unfortunately bombed by the Germans in World War II, while the magnificent theater in Zakynthos, built by Radebeuler Ernst Ziller, was destroyed in one of the island's numerous earthquakes.

Zakynthos is a green island that has produced many poets and composers. In addition to Dionysios Solomos, the composer Pavlos Carrer and the writer Grigorios Xenopoulos come from the island.

And something else interesting about the connections between Italy and Greece in the Ionian Islands, we see in the film with Nicolas Cage and Penelope Cruz "Captain Corelli's Mandolin", which was filmed in Kefalonia.


Dionysios Solomos (April 8, 1798 - February 9, 1857) was a Greek poet from Zakynthos. He is best known for writing the hymn to freedom, of which the first two stanzas, set to the music of Nikolaos Mantzaros, became the Greek national anthem in 1865, he was the central figure of the Heptanese School of Poetry, and is considered to be the national poet of Greece - not only because he wrote the national anthem, but also because he contributed to the preservation of the earlier poetic tradition and emphasized its usefulness for modern literature. Other notable poems such as "Τhe Cretan", "The Free besieged and many others. It is characteristic of his work that no poem was completed except for the hymn to freedom, and almost nothing was published during his lifetime. Born in 1798, Dionysios Solomos was the illegitimate child of a wealthy count, Nikolaos Solomos, and his housekeeper, Angeliki Nikli.Nikolaos Solomos was of Cretan origin; his family were Cretan refugees who settled on Zakynthos in 1670 after the Ottoman Empire conquered Crete in 1669 the Italian version of the family name is described as: Salamon, Salomon, Salomon, and Solomone ( Read more at www.projectcorfu.com )

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