As you know, I’m fresh back from my holidays, so here’s a little sharing. First of all, many thanks to the lovely Michelle Proulx, whose Imminent Danger bookmarks and related swag were waiting for us upon our arrival! Yay!
We went to Pelion, home of the mythical Centaurs. Sadly, we didn’t come across any of those, but we did see a dolphin that chased tunas a few yards from the beach. My camera was not fast enough, though, so you have to imagine it. It was very pretty (as you can tell from my books, I just love elaborate descriptions).
In a more modern claim to fame, we stayed in Damouhari, the village where part of the Mamma Mia movie was shot. While there, the countdown deal for the Pearseus bundle was at full swing, and the book went on to reach #1 in the Greek & Roman category and #5484 in total, selling over 120 copies within a week. I was unable to get a screenshot due to computer trouble, but here is today’s rank, which is slightly lower since the sale has ended. I’d like to thank you all for your help with this, since so many of you kindly tweeted and reblogged my relevant post. I couldn’t have done it without you!
Except for the ancestral revelations of this holiday, to be found below, I also realized that Meli (our dog) makes a great pillow; that Electra (my wife) is a fig cleptomaniac and that loukoumades (donut-like sweet, minus the hole) can be filled with feta cheese mousse and served with raspberry jam to create a unique savoury starter. Oh, and that, no matter how many gadgets you have with you, if the hotels router breaks down, they’re basically no more than expensive dumbbells…
…And my Divine Ancestry
During my holidays, I had a unique opportunity to catch up with my reading. As I often joke, the only thing that grows faster than my waistline is my TBR list, and it felt good to trim it back down to a few hundred books… I read some excellent genre fiction, including Theresa Snyder’s Farloft Chronicles, Fires of Man by Dan Levinson, Chasing Athens by Marissa Tejada and Kasper Beaumont’s Reloria series. I’ll be posting reviews on Amazon, Goodreads etc in the next few days.
One of the most revealing bits of information, however, was inconspicuously buried in the footnotes contained inside a Greek, non-fiction book I came across. This is a book published in 1976 by Estia, written by Dionisios Romas, and titled Periplous (1570-1870). Among other historical facts, it has a number of notes on genealogy, and you can imagine my surprise when I found my very own ancestors among the names mentioned. You see, my mother’s maiden name is a Corfiot corruption of Komnenou. Related to imperial families like the Angelos, Doukas and Paleologos, all of whom ruled the Byzantine empire at some point, the Komnenoi as a rule seemed to enjoy, well, ruling. The ruled the Byzantine empire from ca. 1081 to ca. 1185; the Empire of Trebizond from 1204 to 1461; the Despotate of Epirus (1204-1479) and even, for a few years, Cyprus (1184-1191).
That much I knew, though. What I had failed to realise is that their claim to the throne was based on their relation to Constantine the Great, 57th Emperor of the Roman Empire and venerated as a saint by the Church. So, I’m suddenly related to the Great man himself. Now, let’s see how far back I can trace this. Constantine’s full name was Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus Augustus. The first name here, Flavius, is a reference to the Flavian dynasty, a Roman Imperial Dynasty which ruled the Roman Empire between AD 69 and AD 96.
As the Gens Flavia was not related to the Julio-Claudian dynasty, their main claim to the throne was the fact that their soldiers had defeated the other three contenders’ armies, following Nero’s suicide. So, they had to come up with a better story to support their imperial aspirations. They found it in Aeneas, claiming the progenitor of Romans was, in fact, their ancestor. Obviously, that’s a bit like saying that since we all come from Adam, I’m related to Einstein, but that’s a tale for another time.
Anyway, for those unfamiliar with Greco-Roman mythology, Aeneas was a Trojan hero, son of the prince Anchises and goddess Venus (Aphrodite), Zeus’ daughter. His father was the second cousin of King Priam of Troy, mentioned in Homer’s Iliad, and Aeneas receives full treatment in Roman mythology as the legendary founder of what would become Ancient Rome, most extensively in Virgil’s Aeneid.
So, there you have it. Through my rather
tenuous impressive reasoning, I’m actually related to none other than the daddy of all gods himself, Zeus. Sadly, the only divine quality I have been able to locate so far, is my ability to effortlessly expand the afore-mentioned waistline. If only I had a little less Dionysus/Bacchus and a little more Apollo in me…