Friday, February 18, 2011

Σαπφώ - Sappho : Ύμνος στην Αφροδίτη - Hymn to Aphrodite

Hymn to Aphrodite

Daughter of Zeus,
Immortal Aphrodite,
Queen of the broidered throne,
distress'd I pray thee,
Weaver of wiles,
break not my heart with anguish,
O Goddess, hear me!

Now hither come, as once before thou camest,
Hearing my voice afar, and lean to listen;
Camest with golden chariot, leaving swiftly
Thy father's dwelling.

Beautiful, fleet thy sparrows drew thee hither,
Round the dark earth
from heaven's height descending,
Whirled they with wings
through deeps of middle aether,
Fluttering came they.

Then thou, blest once, with lips immortal smiling,
Didst ask -
"Why weepest thou? What is befallen?
Whom wouldst thy heart and beauty
draw to love thee?
Who wrongs thee, Sappho?

"She who spurns gifts shall give;
who flies shall follow;
If she loves not, unwilling soon shall love thee."
Ah, come, from care release, fulfil my yearning;
Help, I beseech thee.

Daughter of Zeus,
Immortal Aphrodite,
Queen of the broidered throne,
distress'd I pray thee,
Weaver of wiles,
break not my heart with anguish,
O Goddess, hear me!

By Sir Granville Bantock

Ύμνος στην Αφροδίτη

Ομορφόθρονη αθάνατη Αφροδίτη,
κόρη του Δία, σου δέομαι, δολοπλέχτρα,
με πίκρες και καημούς μη, Δέσποινα,
παιδεύεις την ψυχή μου`

μα έλα μου, αν και κάποτε, από πέρα
μακριά, το κάλεσμά μου όμοι' αγροικώντας,
ήρθες, το πατρικό παλάτι αφήνοντας
και το χρυσό σου αμάξι

ζεύοντας` κι όμορφα στρουθιά πετώντας
γοργά στη γη σε φέρανε τη μαύρη
παν' απ' τον ουρανό με φτεροκόπημα
πυκνό μεσ' στον αιθέρα`

κι ως έφτασαν ταχιά, χαμογελώντας
με την αθάνατη όψη, ω μακαρία,
με ρώτησες σαν τι και πάλι να `παθα,
τι σε καλώ κοντά μου,

τι λαχταρά η ψυχή μου η φρενιασμένη
τόσο πολύ να γίνει: - "Ποια και πάλι
θες η Πειθώ να φέρει στην αγάπη σου;
Σαπφώ, ποια σ' αδικάει;

Γιατί αν φεύγει, γοργά από πίσω θα `ρθει,
κι αν δεν παίρνει σου δώρα, θα σου φέρει`
τώρ' αν δε σ' αγαπάει, θα σ' αγαπήσει
και δίχως να το θέλει".

Ω, έλα μου και τώρα, κι' απ' τις μαύρες
τις έγνοιες λύσε με, κι ό,τι ν' αληθέψει
ποθεί η ψυχή μου τέλεσ' το κι ατή σου
συ γίνε ο βοηθός μου

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Viktor Rydberg - Atenarnas sång - Βίκτωρ Ρίντμπεργκ - Το τραγούδι των Αθηναίων

Ο Βίκτωρ Ρίντμπεργκ στο Θεατρικό του Δέξιππος είχε το ποίημα αυτό του Τυρταίου το οποίο πήρε ο συνθέτης Συμπέλιους και το έκανε χορικό και έγινε Ύμνος της Στρατιωτικής Ακαδημίας της Φιλανδίας.

Härlig är döden, när modigt i främsta ledet du dignar,
dignar i kamp för ditt land, dör för din stad och ditt hem.
Därför med eldhåg upp att värna fädernejorden!
Ila att offra med fröjd livet för kommande släkt!
Fram, I ynglingar, fram i täta, oryggliga leder!
Aldrig en känsla av skräck, aldrig en tanke på flykt!

Skam och nesa drabbar en här, då i fylkingespetsen
framom de unge man ser gubben förblöda och dö.
Detta höves ju främst en yngling, medan han ännu
älskligt i lockarne bär vårliga blommornas krans.
Fager för kvinnor, ståtlig för män må han synas i livet;
skön är han ännu som död, fallen i slaktningens mitt.

Η μετάφραση

Είναι ωραίο να έχει σκοτωθεί ο γενναίος άνδρας
αφού έπεσε ανάμεσα στους προμάχους, αγωνιζόμενος για την πατρίδα του.
Ενώ είναι το πιο ανίερο απ' όλα να γίνεται φτωχός,
αφού εγκαταλείψει την πόλη και τα εύφορα χωράφια του
γυρίζοντας εδώ κι εκεί με την αγαπημένη μητέρα του,
το γέροντα πατέρα του και τα μικρά του τα παιδιά και τη νόμιμη σύζυγό του.
Γιατί μισητός θα είναι σ' εκείνους προς τους οποίους θα έλθει,
υποκύπτοντας στην ανάγκη και στη στυγερή φτώχεια.
Και το γένος του ντροπιάζει και τη λαμπρή θωριά προσβάλλει
και τον ακολουθεί κάθε ατίμωση και προσβολή
Αλλ' αν έτσι για τον περιπλανώμενο άνδρα δεν δείχνεται
καμιά φροντίδα, ούτε σεβασμός, ούτε πρόνοια ούτε ελεημοσύνη,
τότε με αντρειοσύνη γι' αυτή τη γη ας πολεμούμε, και για τα παιδιά μας
ας πεθάνουμε, μη λογαριάζοντας τη ζωή μας

Johan Ludvig Runeberg (1804 - 1877) - Βίκτωρ Λούντβιχ Ράνεμπεργκ

The national poet of Finland, who wrote in Swedish, and also exercised a great influence on Swedish literature. Runeberg's poetry has been compared to that of the great European romantics, such as Hugo, Shelley, Keats, Lermontov and Petöfi. He was the first Finnish writer to achieve a broad national significance and a wide international fame.
Who has given the wind wisdom,
Lent the air a tongue so lightsome,
Ready speech to the yard's rowan,
And the small birds' tender bevy?
(from 'All Seemed to Be Speaking, Speaking', transl. by C.E. Tallqvist - 'Tala, tala tycktes alla' in Ett litet öde, 1845)
Johan Ludvig Runeberg was born into a relatively poor Swedish-speaking family in Jakobstad (Pietarsaari), on the shores of the Gulf of Bothnia. His father, Lorenz Ulrik Runeberg, was a ship's captain, who had briefly studied theology. Anna Maria (Malm) Runeberg, the poet's mother, came from a family of merchants. Among Runeberg's famous relatives was Jacob Tengström, Archbishop of Turku. At the age of eight, Runeberg was sent to Oleåborg (Oulu), where he was taken care of by his uncle. He entered the school there, and after his uncle died, he studied at the Vaasa Gramar School, and at the University of Åbo (Turku). In the 1820s he became friends with J.L. Snellman and Zachris Topelius, who gained later fame with historical novels. Runeberg's early erotic poems were inspired by Frederika or "Frigga" Juvelius, a pastor's daughter. In Vasa (Vaasa) Runeberg had started to read Swedish poets, such as Bellman, and in Turku he started to contribute to newspapers.
When his economic situation became difficult, Runeberg took a job as a personal tutor to a family, who lived in Saarijärvi in central Finland. Making acquaintance with the ordinary Finnish-speaking people affected him deeply. During this period he heard tales of the Russo-Swedish war of 1808-09. The war led to the cession of Finland from Sweden to Russia, and Finland became an autonomous Grand Duchy. Runeberg started to develop his idealized picture of the rural population. In this he was influenced by classical antiquity, Greek literature, and German idealism. Later the war formed the background for his ideal of patriotism.

In 1827 Runeberg received his Master of Arts degree. When the university moved its activity to Helsinki after the fire of Turku, Runeberg continued his studies in Helsinki and in 1830 he became a lecturer in Rhetoric. After reading Serbian folksong in a German translation, he was so impressed that he published a translation of them in Swedish. Runeberg's first collection of poems, DIKTER (1830), reflected his love of Finland's landscape and the heroic inhabitants of the backwoods. One of its most famous poems, 'Bonde Paavo' ('Saarijärven Paavo'), was about a peasant, who repeatedly loses his harvest to the frost, never complaining of his lot
When he has nothing else to eat, he nibbles hard bread, pettu, made from pine bark. The figure of Paavo has become a proverbial representantive of the Finns, and an enduring personification of the concept "sisu" (endurance, stick-with-it-ness). Later Runeberg's vision has been criticized patriarchal – honest, hard-working common people are not supposed to rebel against their fate, or against God, but to understand instinctively their proper position, shown by the poet. This picture of the people, adopted by the educated elite, was shattered eventually during the Civil War (1917-18). However, in a prosaic description "A Few Words about the Nature, Native Character and Way of Life in the Parish of Saarijärvi", Runeberg did not hide the poverty and misery of the inland areas.
Runeberg was secretly engaged to Maria Juliana Nygren, but he married in 1831 Fredrika Charlotta Tengström; they had eight children (see Frederika Runeberg below). Their son Walter Runeberg (1838-1920) gained fame as a sculptor and his statue of his father was unveiled in Helsinki in 1885. Between the years 1831 and 1836 Runeberg worked as a teacher at the Helsingfors privatlyceum (private secondary school) With his wife Frederika Runeberg he contributed to Helsingfors Morgonblad. To earn extra money the Runebergs took lodgers – Zachris Topelius was one of them. In his diary Topelius wrote that Frederika was hard of hearing, she was shy and silent, and had poor health. Their first child, Anna, died in 1833.
Frederika Runeberg (1807-1879) was a pioneer of historical novel in Finland, whose work show the influence of Walter Scott. She was also a talented drawer, and while she was studying at the University of Turku, she earned money by selling her paintings and drawings. As a writer Frederika started her career about in the same years as J.L. Runeberg finished his last great works. Frederika Runeberg's Fru Catharina Boije and hennes döttrar (1858) could be called Finland's first historical novel. The story was set during the Great Wrath of 1710-21. Sigrid Liljeholm (1862) contrasted the domestic world of women with the world of men. The female protagonist, Sigrid, is a fictional character, but the ruthless governor of all Finland, Klaus Fleming, is a real historical person. Frederika Runeberg tries to prove, that Fleming was not so black as he was painted. The book got bad press from J.V. Snellman, her husband's friend, and Frederika decided to publish no more fiction. However, she wrote for the magazines Litteraturblad, Finsk Tidskrift (1877-79), Helsingfors Dagblad, Litteraturbladet, Svenska Familj-Journalen (1872-75, 1877, 1882), Tidskrift fö Hemmet (1860-69). - Selected works: Fru Catharina Boije och hennes döttrar (1858, Rouva Catharina Boije ja hänen tyttärensä); Teckningar och drömmar (1861, Kuvauksia ja unelmia); Sigrid Liljeholm, (1862, suom.); Anteckningar om Runeberg: Mina pennas saga (1946, Kynäni tarina). Muistiinpanoja Runebergista; Brev till sonen Walter 1861-1879, 1971. - For further reading: Den frivilligt ödmjuka kvinnan: en bok om Fredrika Runebergs verklighet och diktning by Åsa Stenwall (1979).
Runeberg's second collection of poems appeared in 1833. His breakthrough work was the short epic HANNA (1836), an example of bourgeois romanticism written in the spirit of J.H. Voss – nowadays a nearly forgotten work. When Runeberg's hopes to be appointed professor of Latin and Greek at the university were crushed, he took in 1837 a post as a lecturer in classics at Porvoo Gymnasium (the college of Borgå). Next year he founded the Borgå Tidning and worked as its editor. His liberal views and attacks on pietistic narrow-mindedness provoked one of the most important debates about religion of the period. Porvoo, a small town, found also a good source of gossip in Runeberg's relationship with the beautiful daughter of Hauho's head pastor, Emilie Björkstén, who was nearly 20 years younger. Their passionate correspondence started in the 1840s. Emilie and Frederika Runeberg also had a lively correspondence and she was a regular guest at the poet's house. "What can I do, if I have got a man, who feels attraction towards young women," complained Frederika once. But she also admitted later: "My husband was a fierce lover".
As a teacher Runeberg was rigid, he did not spare the rod. Runeberg's disciplinary actions with the students strained his relationship with some of the parents. In 1839 Runeberg received in Sweden the Academy's highest award for poetry. For his literary merits he was granted a state pension. As an answer to growing interest in his work in Russia, Runeberg wrote NADESCHDA (1841), about two brothers, one good, the other bad, who love the same girl. In 1847 Runeberg was appointed rector of the college. He moved with his family in 1852 to a new home, which was later transformed into a museum and opened to the public in 1882.
In the 1850s Runeberg wrote a several hymns – he also was a member of the Cathedral Chapter of the Diocese of Porvoo, and a bishopric was not an impossible idea for him. During a hunting trip in 1863 – he was an enthusiastic fisher and hunter – Runeberg suffered a stroke and was unable to write for the last 13 years of his life. Frederika left the house only once during in period, when her husband needed her. She sat by his bed 12 hours a day, and read him books. Runeberg died on May 6, 1877, in Borgå. The poet's death was the occasion for national mourning.
Among Runeberg's best-known works are ELGSKYTTARNE (1832, The Elk Hunters), composed in Homeric Hexameters, KUNG FJALAR (1844), in which the setting was taken from old Norse sagas and Macpherson's Ossian, and the greatest Finnish classical epic poem FÄNRIK STÅLS SÄGNER (1848-1860, The Songs of Ensign Stål; The Tales of Ensign Stål), about Finland's war of 1808-09. Although the war ended in defeat, Runeberg transformed it into a patriotic praise of its known and unknown figures. However, Runeberg himself never served in any army. The different characters soldiers, from generals like von Döbeln to ordinary infantrymen, are treated empathetically with emphasis on personal traits. All of them are eager to die in the name of the fatherland: "And if I am one, both in joy and woe, / Of the valiant soldiery, / Then say when to battle or death we go! / God grant it tomorrow be!" Noteworthy, the Russians are threated in the poem with respect, and the censor passed the collection for publication after only a couple of small revisions.
Perhaps the most memorable Finnish character is Sven Dufva, not too bright but a brave hero. When the others retreat, Dufva doesn't, and dies in defending a bridge. Väinä Linna (1920-1992) has later criticized in his essay 'Runeberg and suomalainen kansallismentaliteetti' (1980) the poet's cult of sacrifice and death. After Paavo Cajander (1846-1913) translated the work into Finnish it was used as compulsory reading in schools.
"Ty visst var tanken" mente man, "hos Dufva knapp till mått,
ett dåligt hufvud hade han, men hjertat det var godt."
The first poem in Fänrik Ståls Sägner, 'Vårt land', set to music by Fr. Pacius, became the Finnish national anthem ('Maamme', Our Land). It was enthusiastically sung at the student's traditional spring festival on May 13, 1848, after the official speech and in between heavy drinking, In the following decades the patriotic heroism of Fänrik Ståls Sägner colored Finnish attitudes to Russia. However, Runeberg himself had been loyal to the government. By the end of the century, the relatively harmonious political situation in autonomous Finland as part of the Russian Empire had began to shake, and Runeberg's poems were adopted in political debate by promoters of the independence movement. Runeberg's work also served as a cultural weapon in the Civil War (1917-18), and again in the Second World War. A line from The Tales of Ensign Stål, "Let not one devil cross the bridge", served a slogan directed against the Russians.
Several of Runeberg's poems have been set to music by such composers as Karl Collan, Axel Ingelius, and Jean Sibelius. Albert Edelfelt's illustrations for The Tales have done much to shape the commonly accepted visual image of the heroes of the Russo-Swedish war. Among the famous historical paintings inspired by Runeberg's poems is The Wounded Soldier (1880) by Helen Schjerfbeck. 'Runeberg Day' is celebrated in Finland on the 5th of February. A delicacy connected to the festival is called 'a Runeberg tart'. It is a small, cylindrical sponge cake decorated with a spoonful of jam. The cake was introduced as early as the 1840s.
For further reading: Johan Ludvig Runeberg: hänen elämänsä ja runoutensa I-II by Werner Söderhjelm (1904-08); Runeberg ja hänen maailmansa by Yrjö Hirn (1937); Runebergin runoilijaolemus by Yrjö Hirn (1942); Fredrika Runeberg by Karin Allardt Ekelund (1945); Runoilijan sydän, ed. by Lauri Viljanen (1946); Runeberg ja hänen runoutensa (tr. Runeberg och hans diktning) by Lauri Viljanen (1948); Vänrikki Stoolin maailma: runojen elämää ja taustaa by O. Nousiainen (1961); A History of Finnish Literature by Jaakko Ahokas (1973); Runebergin Suomi by Rafael Koskimies (1977); Vapauden muunnelmat: J. L. Runebergin maailmankatsomus hänen epiikkansa pohjalta by Pertti Karkama (1982); Se kansa meidän kansa on, Runeberg, vänrikki ja kansakunta by Johan Wrede (1988); Finland: a Cultural Outline by Veikko Kallio (1994); Albert Edelfelt ja Runebergin Vänrikki Stoolin tarinat by Ville Lukkarinen (1996); 100 Faces From Finland, ed. by Ulpu Marjomaa (2000); Poliitinen Runeberg by Matti Klinge (2004); J.L.Runebergi Kreikka ja Rooma by Teivas Oksala (2004); Världen enlight Runeberg by Johan Wrede (2005) - Runeberg Award: founded 1986 - J.L. Runeberg's Day is celebrated in Finland on February 5. -Suom.: Runebergin teoksia ovat suomentaneet mm. Eino Leino, Otto Manninen, August Ahlqvist, Juhani Aho - See: Free electronic texts in Scandinavian languages: Project Runeberg - See also:
Selected works:
• translator: Serviska folksånger, 1830 (from a work by Vuk Stefanovic Karadzic)

• GRAVEN I PERHO, 1831 - Lepo-kammio Perhosa (suom. 1845) / Hauta Perhossa (suom. 1845, teoksessa Lukemisia Suomen kansan hyödyksi. 1, toim. P. Tikkanen; A. Törneroos, teoksessa Annikka, taikka suomennoksia kauniista kirjallisuudesta, 1872)
• DIKTER I-III, 1830-43 (Dikter I-II contains Idyll och epigram) - Runoelmia (suom. A. Oksanen, 1845) / Runoelmia (suom. E[dvin] A[vellan], 1874) / (Runoja 1, teoksessa Teokset 1, 1902; Runoja 3, teoksessa Teokset 2, 1903) / Runoja 1 (suom. Tarmo Manelius, 1987) / Runoja 2-3 (suom. Tarmo Manelius, 1989) / Idyllejä ja epigrammeja (suom. Risto Ahti, kuvitus Björn Landström, 2004) / Idyll och epigram = Idyllejä ja epigrammeja; Horatius-oden = Horatius-oodeja (suomentanut ja selitykset laatinut Teivas Oksala, 2006)
• ELGSKYTTARNE: NIO SÅNGER, 1832 - Hirven ampujat yhdeksässä runouksessa (suom. Malakias Costiander, 1855) / Hirvenhiihtäjät: runoelma (suom. E. J. Blom, 1876) / Hirvenhiihtäjät: yhdeksän laulua (suom. Arvid Genetz, 1884) / Hirvenhiihtäjät (Arvi Jänneksen suomennosta pohjana pitäen uudestaan suomentanut O. Manninen, 1936)
• EN JULKVÄLL I LOTSKOJAN, 1832 - Joulu ilta luutsin majassa: kertomus (suom. 1856)
• FRIAREN FRÅN LANDET: LUSTSPEL, 1834 - Maalaiskosija (suom.)
• HANNA: EN DIKT I TRE SÅNGER, 1836 - Hanna: kolmilauluinen runoelma (suom. P. Cajander, 1880) / Hanna: kolme laulua (suom. O. Manninen, 1940)
• JULQVÄLLEN: EN DIKT I TRE SÅNGER, 1841 - Joulu-ilta: kolmi-lauluinen runoelma (suom. P. Cajander, 1881) / Jouluilta: kolmilauluinen runoelma (suom. Valter Juva, 1921) / Jouluilta: kolme laulua (suom. O. Manninen, 1941)
• NADESCHDA: NIO SÅNGER, 1841 - Nadeschda: yhdeksæn laulua (suom. K. Kiljander, 1860) - Nadeschda: A Poem in Nine Cantos (translated from the Swedish by Marie A. Brown, 1879)
• KUNG FJALAR: EN DIKT IN FEM SÅNGER, 1844 - Fjalar kuningas: runoelma viidessä laulussa (suom. K. Kiljander, 1876) / Kuningas Fjalar (suom. Otto Manninen, 1944) - King Fjalar: A Poem in Five Songs (transl. by Anna Bohnhof; with an Introduction by Bernhard Estlander, 1904) / King Fialar: A Poem in Five Songs (translated by Eiríkr Magnússon, 1911)
FÄNRIK STÅLS SÄGNER, 1848-1860 - Vänrikki Stoolin tarinat. 2 (suom. 1870) / Wänrikki Stoolin tarinat (suom. 1877) / Vänrikki Stoolin tarinat (suom. Paavo Cajander, 4. p. 1889) / Vänrikki Stoolin tarinat (suom. Otto Manninen, 1909) / Vänrikkj Toolin tarinoita (Johal Lutviikkj Ruuneperim mukkaam Puavo Kajanterin suomennoksej jäläkeen savoks survassu Pirskasej Jooko, 2003) /
• Vänrikki Stålin tarinat: Ensimmäinen kokoelma (suom. Juhani Lindholm, 2007) & Vänrikki Stålin tarinat: Jälkimmäinen kokoelma (suom. Juhani Lindholm, 2008) / Fänrik Ståls sägner = Vänrikki Stoolin tarinat (suom. Teivas Oksala, 2008) - Selection from the Series of Poems Entitled Ensign Stål's Songs (transl. by Isabel Donner, 1907) / Songs of Ensign Stål: National Military Song-Cycle of Finland (transl. by Clement Burbank Shaw; foreword by Lawrence F. Nordst, 1925) / Tales of Ensign Stål (selected and translated from the Swedish by Charles Wharton Stork; with an introduction by Yrjö Hirn, 1938) - film Sven Tuuva (1958), based on Runeberg's poem; dir. by Edvin Laine, starring Veikko Sinisalo, Edvin Laine, Fanni Halonen
• VÅRT LAND, 1851 - Maamme (suom. K.K., 1851, 1853; later translations in Vänrikki Stoolin tarinat)
• SMÅ BERÄTTELSER, 1855 - Pieniä kertomuksia (suom., teoksessa Johan Ludvig Runebergin teokset 1, 1902)
• Döbeln Juutaassa, 1856 (suom. A. Oksanen, later translations in Vänrikki Stoolin tarinat)
• Salapurjehtija, 1857 (suom. R. M-s)
• Neljä virttä Runebergin virsikirjasta, 1858 (suom. A. Oksanen)
• KAN EJ: FAMILJEMÅLNING I 2 AKTER, 1862 - En voi, perhekuvaus kahdessa näytöksessä (suom. Tuokko, 1880)
• KUNGARNE PÅ SALAMIS: TRAGEDI I FEM AKTER, 1863 - Salaminin kuninkaat, murhe-näytelmä viidessä näytöksessä (suom. K. Kiljander, 1880)
• Suorasanaisia runoelmia, 1884 (suom. Aatto S.)
• Lyyrillisiä runoelmia 1-2, 1885 (suom. Kaarlo Forsman)
• Vähemmät eepilliset runoelmat, 1887 (suom. Kaarlo Forsman)
• SAMLADE ARBETEN, 1899-1902
• Johan Ludvig Runebergin teokset I-IV, 1902-09 (ed. by Juhani Aho et al.)
• Runoteokset, I-II, 1948 (suom. Otto Manninen)
• Runon vuodenajat. Erillisrunoja I-II, 1979
• Runoja I-III, 1987-89
North!: to the North!: Five Swedish Poets of the Nineteenth Century, 2001 (edited and translated by Judith Moffett

Julius Christian Sibelius - Τζούλιους Κρίστιαν Σιμπέλιους

Είναι ένας από τους μεγαλύτερους συνθέτες της Φιλανδίας αλλά και γενικότερα του 20ου αιώνα. Γεννήθηκε το 1865 στην Χάμεενλινα και έζησε μέχρι το 1957. Αν και δεν προερχόταν από οικογένεια μουσικών, όπως βλέπουμε σε συνθέτες σαν τον Μότσαρτ ή τον Μπαχ, αλλά ούτε και η ίδια η Φιλανδία χαρακτηριζόταν από τη μουσική της ιστορία, ο ίδιος μπόρεσε και ασχολήθηκε με τη μουσική σύνθεση.
Η Φιλανδία, που μέχρι και το 1809 ήταν ενωμένη με τη Σουηδία, αναζητούσε μία εθνική ανεξαρτησία, μιας και αποτελούσε μέρος της Ρωσίας. Η προσπάθεια για τη δημιουργία της δικής της κουλτούρας είχε ξεκινήσει. Ο Sibelius σπούδασε στο Ελσίνκι, στην πρώτη σχολή που είχε δημιουργηθεί και διδασκόταν η φιλανδική γλώσσα. Εκεί γνώρισε τη φιλανδική λογοτεχνία και ιδιαίτερα το εθνικό έπος Καλεβάλα, ένα έπος που σχεδόν σε όλη τη μουσική του πορεία είχε αποτελέσει ανεξάντλητη πηγή έμπνευσης. Αν και ο ίδιος προοριζόταν από την οικογένειά του για σταδιοδρομία νομικού, σύντομα εγκατέλειψε τις σπουδές του, για να αφιερωθεί στη μουσική.
Από μικρός έπαιζε βιολί και η επιθυμία του ήταν να γίνει βιολιστής, στην πορεία όμως συνειδητοποίησε ότι οι ικανότητές του στη μουσική σύνθεση ήταν πολύ μεγαλύτερες. Έτσι αφοσιώθηκε σύ αυτό. Μεγάλο ρόλο, σε αυτή την αλλαγή, έπαιξε ο Martin Wegelius. Ο Wegelius ήταν αυτός που ίδρυσε την πρώτη μουσική ακαδημία της Φιλανδίας, το 1882. Με την καθοδήγηση λοιπόν αυτού του ανθρώπου συνέθεσε πολλά έργα μουσικής δωματίου και ενόργανης μουσικής. Εικοσιπέντε χρονών περίπου εγκατέλειψε την Φιλανδία και πήγε στο Βερολίνο, όπου και μελέτησε δίπλα στον Albert Becker. Από το 1890 και μετά συνέχισε τις μουσικές του σπουδές στη Βιέννη.

Δάσκαλός του ήταν ο Ούγγρος συνθέτης Karl Goldmark. Κοντά του έμαθε πολλά πράγματα για τον τρόπο που διευθύνεται μια ορχήστρα. Εκεί ξεκίνησε μια νέα πορεία για τον Sibelius. Μέχρι τότε ήταν ένας συνθέτης μουσικής δωματίου. Στη Βιέννη έγινε και συνθέτης συμφωνικής ορχήστρας. Η πόλη αυτή όμως είχε κι ένα άλλο αντίκτυπο στον ψυχισμό του συνθέτη. Του ξύπνησε το ενδιαφέρον για τη Φιλανδία, για τη λογοτεχνία της, για τη γλώσσα της. Από εκεί και μετά αφοσιώθηκε στη μελέτη του μυθικού έπους "Καλεβάλα" και ανακάλυψε ένα νέο μυθικό κόσμο. Όπως έλεγε και ο ίδιος, το έπος αυτό ήταν σαν τη μουσική. Αποτελούνταν από ένα κύριο θέμα και διάφορες παραλλαγές του. Όταν επέστρεψε στη Φιλανδία συνέθεσε το πρώτο μεγάλο του έργο, το "Κουλέρβο", από τον ομώνυμο τραγικό ήρωα. Η πρεμιέρα του έγινε τον Απρίλιο του 1892 και είχε πολύ μεγάλη επιτυχία. Ήταν αυτό που τον έκανε γνωστό στον κόσμο. Σε αυτή τη συμφωνία φαίνεται αρκετά έντονα η επιρροή που είχε από τον Tsaikowsky.
Στη συνέχεια ακολούθησαν πολλά μεγάλα έργα, όπως το Εν Σάγκα(1892), το Καρελια(1893) και Ο κύκνος της Τουονέλας(1893). Το συμφωνικό του ποίημα "Φιλανδία"(1900) ήταν αυτό που τον έκανε γνωστό στον κόσμο. Από εκεί και ύστερα τον καλούσαν να συμμετάσχει σε πολλές μουσικές διοργανώσεις.
Ο Sibelius όμως, αν και έδωσε κάποιες συναυλίες σε διάφορες χώρες, προτίμησε να αποσυρθεί από το Ελσίνκι γιατί, όπως έλεγε ο ίδιος, "στο Ελσίνκι η μουσική πέθαινε μέσα μου". Αυτό το έκανε το 1904 μαζί με τη γυναίκα του Αino Jarnefelt, όταν πήγε στην απομακρυσμένη αγροικία του στο Γέρβενπεε και έμεινε για το υπόλοιπο της ζωής του.
Έγραψε περίπου 100 σόλο τραγούδια και 7 συμφωνίες. Πέρα από τα έργα που αναφέρθηκαν παραπάνω, κάποιες άλλες χαρακτηριστικές συνθέσεις του είναι οι "Ιστορικές στιγμές", το πένθιμο εμβατήριο "Εις μνήμην", ο "Βάρδος", η σουίτα "Λεμινκέινεν", το τρίτο μέρος της οποίας είναι ο περίφημος "Κύκνος του Τουονέλα", "Η κόρη της Πογιόλα", "Ταπιόλα", το "Valse Triste", που παίχτηκε σύ όλη την Ευρώπη και έκανε το όνομά του ακόμα πιο γνωστό απ' όσο τον είχε κάνει το συμφωνικό ποίημα "Φιλανδία".
Επίσης έγραψε πολλά έργα που προορίζονταν για το θέατρο, αλλά και διάφορα κονσέρτα και σονάτες για βιολί και άλλα για πιάνο ή για έγχορδα, όπως το κονσέρτο για βιολί (1904), που ήταν ουσιαστικά ένα αντίο στο ρομαντισμό του 19ου αιώνα. Από τις πολυάριθμες συνθέσεις του οι 7 συμφωνίες είναι αυτές που καταλαμβάνουν κεντρική θέση στο έργο του συνθέτη. Οι συμφωνίες 1,2,3 (1899-1907) χαρακτηρίζονται από την καθαρότητα και την ευθυμία στις μελωδικές γραμμές, σε αντίθεση με την αμφιλεγόμενη τέταρτη συμφωνία(1911), όπου κυριαρχούν πιο σκοτεινά και βαριά τονικά μοτίβα. Στις τρεις τελευταίες συμφωνίες διαφαίνεται περισσότερο η μουσική ωριμότητα του συνθέτη.
Ο Sibelius θεωρείται ένας από τους τελευταίους ρομαντικούς. Θεωρήθηκε αρκετά συντηρητικός για τον 20ο αιώνα, αν και πολλές συνθέσεις του αποδείκνυαν το αντίθετο! Το σίγουρο είναι ότι αποτελεί ένα παράδειγμα συνθέτη, που αναπτύχθηκε και εξελίχθηκε πέρα από τις μεθόδους της εποχής του και μπόρεσε να δημιουργήσει ένα δικό του είδος σύνθεσης. Μαζί με τον Nielsen μπόρεσαν να δημιουργήσουν ένα νέο είδος νεοκλασικισμού. Όπως έλεγε και ο ίδιος, ήθελε να προσφέρει στο κοινό "αγνό νερό" αντί για περίτεχνα μουσικά κατατόπια, κάτι που θα περίμενε κάποιος από ένα μουσικό της εποχής του βλέποντας την πορεία που είχε πάρει η μουσική τότε. Σημαντικός παράγοντας για τη στάση του αυτή, ήταν η αντίδρασή του (όπως και πολλών άλλων συνθετών της γενιάς του) στην επιρροή που ασκούσε εκείνο τον καιρό ο Wagner. Επίσης φανερή είναι και η επιρροή του από την παραδοσιακή μουσική της Φιλανδίας,γι΄ αυτό και βλέπουμε στις περισσότερες συνθέσεις του ρυθμούς και μελωδίες που είναι χαρακτηριστικές της λαϊκής ποίησης και μουσικής.
Όπως και πολλοί άλλοι σύγχρονοί του, στο χώρο της τέχνης και όχι μόνο, είχε ιδιαίτερες σχέσεις με τον εσωτερισμό, αλλά κυρίως με τη Θεοσοφία αλλά και με κάποιες σχολές τεκτόνων. Μάλιστα το έργο του "Μusique Religieuse" το είχε αφιερώσει σε κάθε έναν από τους βαθμούς μύησης που συναντάμε στους τέκτονες, όπου και ήταν μέλος.
Χαρακτηριστική είναι επίσης η δύναμη που ασκούσε πάνω του η φύση. Από μικρό παιδί τη λάτρευε. Αυτός ήταν και ο λόγος που είχε εγκαταλείψει το Ελσίνκι κι εγκαταστάθηκε σε μια κατοικία όπου μπορούσε να έχει άμεση επαφή με τη φύση. Ήταν για αυτόν μια μυστική, ποιοτική δύναμη.
Η μουσική του πάντως επηρέασε ιδιαίτερα την πορεία της ίδιας της Φιλανδίας προς την ανεξαρτησία. Η Φιλανδία το 1917 πέτυχε την ανεξαρτησία της, καθώς αποτελούσε μέχρι τότε μέρος της Ρωσίας. Το έργο του "Φιλανδία" ήταν ένα σύμβολο προσφοράς στον αγώνα της για την ανεξαρτησία. Ένα μέρος του έργου αυτού αποτελεί και τον εθνικό ύμνο της χώρας. Το 1937, όταν ο Sibelius έκλεινε τα 70 του χρόνια, παρουσιάστηκε για τελευταία φορά στο κοινό.
Περίπου 7000 άνθρωποι, μεταξύ των οποίων ήταν και ο πρόεδρος της χώρας αλλά και άλλες αξιοσημείωτες προσωπικότητες, παρακολούθησαν το κονσέρτο για τα γενέθλιά του. Το 1957 πέθανε δοξασμένος και κηδεύτηκε σαν εθνικός ήρωας. Ο Sibelius είχε γίνει το σύμβολο της Φιλανδικής μουσικής και της ίδιας της Φιλανδίας. Άξιο αναφοράς είναι το γεγονός ότι η μουσική ακαδημία στο Ελσίνκι, όπου σπούδασε και όπου ακόμα και σήμερα είναι μια από τις καλύτερες στην Ευρώπη, από το 1939 ονομάστηκε Ακαδημία "Sibelius".

Jean Sibelius
original name Johan Julius Christian Sibelius (b. Dec. 8, 1865, Hämeenlinna, Fin.—d. Sept. 20, 1957, Järvenpää), Finnish composer, the most noted symphonic composer of Scandinavia.
Sibelius studied at the Finnish Normal School, the first Finnish-speaking school in Russian-held Finland, where he came into contact with Finnish literature and in particular with the Kalevala, the mythological epic of Finland, which remained for him a constant source of inspiration. (Many of his symphonic poems, such as Pohjola’s Daughter [1906] and Luonnotar [1913], drew on this source.) Although intended for a legal career, he soon abandoned his law studies at Helsinki, devoting himself entirely to music. At first he planned to become a violinist. Under the guidance of Martin Wegelius he composed much chamber and instrumental music. He adopted the name Jean, which he used throughout his professional career in preference to his baptismal names. In his mid-20s he left Finland to continue his studies in Berlin and Vienna, where his teachers included the composers Robert Fuchs and Karl Goldmark.
On his return to Finland a performance of his first large-scale orchestral work, the Kullervo Symphony (1892), created something of a sensation. This and succeeding works, En Saga (1892), the Karelia music, and the Four Legends, established him as Finland’s leading composer. The third of the four symphonic poems in Four Legends is the well-known The Swan of Tuonela (1893). In 1897, before the appearance of his Symphony No. 1 in E Minor (1899), the Finnish Senate voted Sibelius a small life pension in recognition of his genius. His tone poem Finlandia was written in 1899 and revised in 1900. Sibelius’ compositions of the 1890s are those of a nationalist composer working in the Romantic tradition.
In the first decade of the 20th century Sibelius’ fame penetrated the European continent. The pianist-composer Ferruccio Busoni, whose friendship he had made in Helsinki as a student, conducted his Symphony No. 2 in D Major (1901) in Berlin, and the British composer Granville Bantock commissioned his Symphony No. 3 in C Major (1907). With this work Sibelius turned his back on the national romanticism of the second symphony and the Violin Concerto in D Minor (1903) and moved toward the more searching and uncompromising mode of utterance of En Saga and the Symphony No. 4 in A Minor (1911). After World War I he published his greatest works, the last three symphonies (No. 5 in E-flat Major, No. 6 in D Minor, and No. 7 in C Major) and Tapiola (1925) but then lapsed into the long silence of his last years. Rumours of an eighth symphony (promised for performance in the early 1930s) and even a ninth symphony were unfounded. No manuscripts survived his death.

The 1930s saw a vogue for Sibelius prompted by such writers as Cecil Gray and Constant Lambert in England and Olin Downes in the United States. Despite a reaction against this vogue in the following generation, Sibelius retained his firm hold over the musical public. Although his inspiration is intimately connected with the Scandinavian landscape, it is not primarily as a nature poet that he is remembered. His achievement both in the symphonic poems and the seven symphonies lies principally in his remarkable mastery of form. The first movement of the third symphony has the clarity of construction of a Haydn or Mozart first movement, yet its organic unity and architecture even surpasses its models. It was in this capacity for organic growth that the secret of his genius lay.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Τι Τιμή στο Παλληκάρι

Υπό Σπυρίδωνος Τρικούπη **

(Σήμερα το άσμα αυτό αποτελεί τον ύμνο της Στρατιωτικής
Σχολής Ευελπίδων στο Ελσίνκι της Φιλανδίας!)

Τι τιμή στο παλληκάρι, όταν πρώτo στη φωτιά,
σκοτώθη για την Πατρίδα με τη σπάθα στη δεξιά!
Πόσο λυπηρό ν’ αφήνει την πατρίδα τη γλυκεία,
τα καλά του τα χωράφια και να ζει με διακονιά,
με γονιό να παραδέρνη, με γυναίκ’ ομορφονιά
με γερόντισσα μητέρα και μ’ ανήλικα παιδιά,
κι’ απ΄ τη στέρηση και φτώχεια, όπου πάει, όπου σταθή,
να γνωρίζη ότι είν’ όλους η ζωή η μισητή!
Να ντροπιάζη τη γενιά του, να ντροπιάζεται κι αυτός
και ποτέ να μη του λείπη απ’ τα χείλη ο στεναγμός!
Τέτοιον άνθρωπο καθένας ζωντανό καταφρονά,
μήτ’ αφού στον τάφο πέση τ’ όνομά του μελετά.
Εις την μάχην ας χυθούμεν όλοι μ’ άφοβη καρδιά,
ο καθένας ας πεθάνη για πατρίδα, για παιδιά.
Στη φωτιά παλληκαράδες, γενήτ’ όλοι ένα κορμί,
στη φωτιά μην ντροπιασθήτε, σαν φυγάδες, σαν δειλοί.
Λεοντόκαρδο το στήθος καθενός σας ας φανεί,
τους εχθρούς σας πολεμούντες μην ψηφάτε τη ζωή.
Να μη φύγετε κι αφήστε τα σεβάσμια γερατειά,
πώχουν αχαμνά τα χέρια και τα γόνατα βαριά.
Εντροπή σας, εντροπή σας, απ’ οπίσω ναν΄ο νιός
κι ο αδύναμος ο γέρος να πεθαίνει μπροστινός,
πώχει κάτασπρα τα γένεια, κάτασπρη την κεφαλή,
κι εις τα χώματα ν’ αφήνει την αδούλωτη ψυχή.
Όλ’ οι κίνδυνοι, οι πολέμιοι, όλοι πρέπουν εις το νιό,
εις το νιό πολέμιοι πρέπουν, που το σώμα εχ’ ανθηρό.
Σεβαστός είναι στους άνδρας, στές γυναίκες ποθητός,
εύμορφος αν πρωτοπέση κι εις τον πόλεμο νεκρός.
Ας ριφθή μπροστά στο γέρο κι άσειστος ας στυλωθή,
και τα δόντια τους ας σφίξη, μες στο αίμα ας κυλισθή.

(Λέγεται και «Το Θούριον του Τυρταίου» ή «Πολεμιστήριον Άσμα του Τυρταίου» ή «Άσμα του Τυρταίου» ) .

Ο πατέρας μου Χρήστος Αρχ. Δημητρακός (Τρίγλια 1912-Ραφήνα 2002) έλεγε: « Μέχρι και το ποίημα- Το Άσμα του Τυρταίου, μαθαίναμε τα παιδιά στο σχολείο στην Τρίγλια!».

*Ο Τυρταίος ήταν ελεγειακός ποιητής, που έζησε τον 7ο π.Χ. αιώνα. Ο ίδιος και άλλοι ποιητές της αρχαϊκής περιόδου έγραψαν ελεγειακά ποιήματα με στίχους που βοηθούσαν στην εξύψωση του πνεύματος των στρατιωτών στο πεδίο της μάχης. Ο Τυρταίος με τις ελεγείες και τους παιάνες του τόνιζε την αγάπη προς την πατρίδα, εξυμνούσε την ανδρεία και την αυτοθυσία . Κατά την παράδοση, η ζωή του συνδέθηκε στενά με την ιστορία της Σπάρτης, που πιεζόταν από τον αρχηγό των Μεσσηνίων, Αριστομένη. Οι Σπαρτιάτες επειδή υπέφεραν πολλά δεινά και ήταν πολύ απογοητευμένοι, ζήτησαν χρησμό από το μαντείο των Δελφών. Η Πυθία τους είπε πως εάν ζητούσαν να πάρουν στρατηγό από την Αθήνα, θα σώζονταν. Οι Αθηναίοι όμως, επειδή ζήλευαν τους Σπαρτιάτες και δεν ήθελαν να τους δώσουν στρατηγό, αλλά και δεν τολμούσαν ν' αρνηθούν, γιατί φοβούνταν το θεό Απόλλωνα, που έδωσε το χρησμό στους Σπαρτιάτες, τους έστειλαν το χωλό ποιητή Τυρταίο. Ο Τυρταίος, φτάνοντας στη Σπάρτη, σύνθεσε ελεγείες που τόνιζαν την αγάπη προς την πατρίδα και με τις οποίες καλούσε τους πολεμιστές της Σπάρτης να φανούν αντάξιοι της πατρίδας τους. Mε τα τραγούδια του, τους έδωσε θάρρος, τους ενθουσίασε και ξαναζωντάνεψε την ανδρεία και την καρτερία τους, ώστε να ανακτήσουν τα μέρη που τους αφαίρεσαν οι γείτονές τους Μεσσήνιοι (Β΄ Μεσσηνιακός Πόλεμος).

** Μια από τις ελεγείες του Τυρταίου είναι αυτή που παρέφρασε στη δημοτική γλώσσα και τους χρόνους της Επανάστασης, ο Σπυρίδων Τρικούπης.
Σπυρίδων Τρικούπης ( Μεσολόγγι 1788- Αθήνα 1873): Λόγιος, πολιτικός και ιστοριογράφος της Επανάστασης του 1821, μετά την οποία και διορίστηκε πρόεδρος του υπουργικού συμβουλίου (πρώτος πρωθυπουργός του ελεύθερου ελληνικού κράτους). Διετέλεσε επανειλημμένα πρωθυπουργός, υπουργός Εξωτερικών, πρεσβευτής, αρχηγός κόμματος κ.α. Ήταν πατέρας του μετέπειτα πρωθυπουργού Χαρίλαου Τρικούπη.

1. «Νέα Ανθολογία Περάνθη», Τόμος Β΄.
2. «Θησαυρός Γνώσεων» Χαρ. Θ. Μηχιώτη, Εκδόσεις Κασταλία, Αθήνα 1983.
3. Εγκυκλοπαίδεια «Νέα Δομή»
4. Εγκυκλοπαίδεια «Υδρία».
5. «Πρόσωπα που σημάδεψαν την ιστορία των Ελλήνων», Τόμος 20, Εκδόσεις «Δομή».

The Spartan Soldier

For it is fine to die in the front line,
a brave man fighting for his fatherland,
and the most painful fate's to leave one’s town
and fertile farmlands for a beggar's life,
roaming with mother dear and aged father,
with little children and with wedded wife.
He'll not be welcome anywhere he goes,
bowing to need and horrid poverty,
his line disgraced, his handsome face belied;
every humiliation dogs his steps.
This is the truth: the vagrant is ignored
and slighted, and his children after him.
So let us fight with spirit for our land,
die for our sons, and spare our lives no more.
You young men, keep together, hold the line,
do not start panic or disgraceful rout.
Keep grand and valiant spirits in your hearts,
be not in love with life -- the fight's with men!
Do not desert your elders, men with legs
no longer nimble, by recourse to flight:
it is disgraceful when an older man
falls in the front line while the young hold back,
with head already white, and grizzled beard,
gasping his valiant breath out in the dust
and clutching at his bloodied genitals,
his nakedness exposed: a shameful sight
and scandalous. But for the young man, still
in glorious prime, it is all beautiful:
alive, he draws men's eyes and women's hearts;
felled in the front line, he is lovely yet.
Let every man then, feet set firm apart,
bite on his lip and stand against the foe.


translated by Nicholas Ioannides

Spartan Soldier

another translation

It is beautiful when a brave man of the front ranks
falls and dies, battling for his homeland,
and ghastly when a man flees planted fields and
city and wanders begging with his dear mother,
aging father, little children and true wife.
He will be scorned in every new village,
reduced to want and loathsome poverty; and shame

will brand his family line, his noble
figure. Derision and disaster will hound him.
A turncoat gets no respect or pity;
so let us battle for our country and freely give
our lives to save our darling children.
Young men, fight shield to shield and never
succumb to panic or miserable flight,
but steel the heart in your chests with
magnificence and courage. Forget your own life
when you grapple with the enemy. Never run
and let an old soldier collapse
whose legs have lost their power. It is shocking
when an old man lies on the front line
before a youth: an old warrior whose head is white
and beard gray, exhaling his strong soul
into the dust, clutching his bloody genitals
in his hands: an abominable vision,
foul to see: his flesh naked. But in a young man
all is beautiful when he still
possesses the shining flower of lovely youth.
Alive he is adored by men,
desired by women, and finest to look upon
when he falls dead in the forward clash.
Let each man spread his legs, rooting them in the ground,
bite his teeth into his lips, and hold.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Μιχάλης Ζαβρός - Michaell Zavros

To κορυφαίο βραβείο ζωγραφικής απονεμήθηκε σε διακεκριμένο ομογενή ζωγράφο, στο πλαίσιο του εθνικού διαγωνισμού πορτραίτων "Doug Moran National Portrait Prize". Η διάκριση του Ελληνα εικαστικού, μονοπώλησε το ενδιαφέρον των αυστραλιανών ΜΜΕ.

Σύμφωνα με το κρατικό δίκτυο "ABC", "το έργο του Μιχάλη Ζαβρού, με τίτλο "Η Φοίβη είναι νεκρή", αναπαριστά με ρεαλιστικό τρόπο την πεντάχρονη κόρη του ζωγράφου, η οποία παριστάνει τη νεκρή, τυλιγμένη με ένα μαύρο μαντήλι με νεκροκεφαλές, του Αμερικανού σχεδιαστή Alexander McQueen. Ο ίδιος ο ζωγράφος, υποστήριξε ότι "το έργο εκφράζει τον φόβο του για τα παιδιά του και ιδίως για το ενδεχόμενο να τους συμβεί κάτι κακό". Το συγκεκριμένο έργο επιλέχθηκε μεταξύ 35 πορτρέτων που συμμετείχαν στην τελική επιλογή και το βραβείο συνοδεύεται από το χρηματικό ποσό των 150.000 δολαρίων Αυστραλίας.

Ο Μιχάλης Ζαβρός είναι από τους γνωστότερους νέους ζωγράφους της Αυστραλίας και το έργο του εμπνέεται συχνά από την ελληνική μυθολογία και το σύγχρονο κόσμο της μόδας.

Michael Zavros (born, Brisbane, Australia, 1974) is an Australian painter who lives and works in Brisbane.

Zavros graduated from Queensland College of Art with a Bachelor of Visual Arts with a Double Major in Printmaking in 1996. He has worked a sessional lecturer in painting and printmaking. He is currently a Board Member of the Australia Council for the Arts, Visual Arts Craft Member Board.

Michael Zavros’ work is held in numerous private and public collections, including Artbank, [National Portrait Gallery of Australia, Collex, Kedumba Art Gallery, Queensland Art Gallery, University of Queensland Art Gallery, Tweed River Art Gallery, ABN AMRO, Gold Coast City Art Gallery, Grafton Regional Art Gallery and TMAG (Tasmanian Museum and Gallery).

Michael Zavros is represented by GRANTPIRRIE Sydney, Philip Bacon Galleries, Brisbane, and Sophie Gannon Gallery, Melbourne.
2010 Winner Doug Moran National Portrait Prize with Phoebe is dead/McQueen ,.[1]
2009 Finalist Doug Moran National Portrait Prize
2007 Kedumba Drawing Award[2]
2005 Robert Jacks Drawing Prize, Bendigo Art Gallery, Victoria
2004 Primavera Collex Art Award, Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney
2002 Jacaranda Acquisitive Drawing Award.
In both 2002 and 2003 he was a finalist in the Brett Whiteley Travelling Arts Scholarship. In 2003 he was the recipient of an Arts Queensland Development Grant to support Everything I Wanted - Institute of Modern art.

Ὁ γλωσσικός ἐφησυχασμός καὶ ἡ ἄρνησις ἀποδοχῆς τῆς πραγματικότητος! Του Αντωνίου Α. Αντωνάκου

Καθηγητού – Κλασσικού Φιλολόγου
Ιστορικού – Συγγραφέως
Β΄ Αντιπροέδρου της Επιτροπής Ενημερώσεως επί των Εθνικών Θεμάτων
Αντιπροέδρου του Συνδέσμου των Απανταχού Λακώνων «Ο ΛΥΚΟΥΡΓΟΣ»

Μία πρόσφατη έρευνα του ΟΟΣΑ για τα Ελληνόπουλα, απεκάλυψε πως είναι από τα τελευταία στην Ευρώπη στην δυνατότητα δημιουργίας λόγου και σκέψεως.
Το γεγονός αυτό με συνετάραξε, διεπίστωσα όμως, δυστυχώς, ότι η έρευνα αποτύπωνε την πραγματικότητα, διότι τα ελληνόπουλα της εποχής των υπολογιστών έχουν μάθει να απαντούν μονολεκτικά μ’ ένα «ναι» η μ’ ένα «όχι». Έχουν άγνοια λεξιλογίου και ετυμολογίας. Και επειδή τα παιδιά μας μαθαίνουν απ’ τους μεγάλους, τους πολιτικούς και τους «διασήμους» της τηλοψίας, που είναι «παραδείγματα προς μίμησιν (!)» και «είδωλα» γι’ αυτά, μαθαίνουν, δυστυχώς, μαζί με τις φθηνές αξίες που τους δίνουν και την λανθασμένη χρήση των λέξεων.
Στην σημερινή γλωσσική ανεπάρκεια φθάσαμε μετά την απομάκρυνσή μας από τις αξίες, που καθόριζαν ο,τιδήποτε το ελληνικό. Και ήταν πολύ φυσικό και εύλογο.Όταν οι επίσημοι φιλόλογοι και ιστορικοί, αντί να παίξουν τον ρόλο του Λεωνίδα, έπαιξαν το ρόλο του Εφιάλτη, ήταν βέβαιο ότι οι Θερμοπύλες θα έπεφταν.
«Στόχος όλων των επικρίσεων», όπως αναφέρει ο διαπρεπής καθηγητής της κλασσικής φιλολογίας του πανεπιστημίου του Αμβούργου Bruno Snell, «υπήρξε η παιδεία από την εποχή του κλασσικού ελληνισμού … Η κλασσική Ελλάδα ήταν εκείνη που δέχθηκε τις περισσότερες επιθέσεις. Στις λέξεις μας, στις μεγάλες λέξεις, γκρεμίστηκε η αίσθηση και η σκέψη πολλών γενεών. Βέβαια αισθανόμαστε το βάρος αυτής της κληρονομιάς. Σωστό γλωσσικό αίσθημα είναι δύσκολο να αποκτήσει αυτός που, όπως λέει ο Γκαίτε, δεν δίνει δεκάρα για 3.000 χρόνια ιστορίας». [Bruno Snell: ΟΙ ΑΡΧΑΙΟΙ ΕΛΛΗΝΕΣ ΚΑΙ ΕΜΕΙΣ. Εκδόσεις Ίνδικτος.]
Αυτή η οικτρή γλωσσική κατάσταση, λοιπόν, είναι γεγονός ότι ξεκινά από το δημοτικό σχολείο, στο οποίο λόγω των συνεχών παρεμβάσεων στην διδασκαλία της ελληνικής δημιούργησαν προς διδασκαλία και εκμάθηση ένα έκτρωμα ονομαζόμενο κατ’ επίφασιν «δημοτική».Οι πυλώνες πάνω στους οποίους στηρίζεται το γλωσσικό μας οικοδόμημα έχουν αρχίσει σιγά σιγά να αποδομούνται και να αποκόπτονται. Οι «ανευθυνοϋπεύθυνοι» δήλωναν επί χρόνια ότι ήθελαν να κάνουν την γλώσσα μας τάχα «πιο χρηστική».
Ξέρετε τι μου θυμίζει αυτό; Σαν να είναι η γλώσσα μία πελώρια αχανής αίθουσα, όπου ακριβώς λόγω τού απέραντου μεγέθους της έχει διάφορους κίονες (πυλώνες), οι οποίοι κρατούν τα επάνω πατώματα. Για να την κάνουμε λοιπόν πιο χρηστική και να μπορούμε να χορεύουμε χωρίς να μας κρύβουν την θέα η να μας ενοχλούν οι κίονες αυτοί αρχίσαμε σιγά σιγά να τους αποκόπτουμε έναν προς ένα. Οι κίονες όμως αυτοί είχαν ονόματα: Ιστορική ορθογραφία, ιστορική γραμματική, πολυτονικό, προθέσεις, κ.λπ. Μόλις λοιπόν κόψαμε αυτούς τους κίονες άρχισαν οι πρώτες ρωγμές και σιγά σιγά με τον πρώτο ελαφρό σεισμό το γλωσσικό μας οικοδόμημα άρχισε να καταρρέει. Είχαμε όμως συχνά από τότε προειδοποιήσει ότι «βγάλαμε τα Αρχαία, θα βγάλουμε τα μάτια μας». Ακριβώς όπως είχε προειδοποιήσει και ο Κοραής: «Όποιος χωρίς την γνώση της αρχαίας προσπαθεί να ερμηνεύσει την νέα η απατάται η απατά»
Σήμερα όμως, δυστυχώς, ζούμε στην εποχή του χρήματος, του κέρδους και του ανελέητου κυνηγιού του. Όλα συγκλίνουν προς αυτό ξεχνώντας η παραβλέποντας την αξία των κλασσικών σπουδών. Μάλιστα προσφάτως, μεγάλη ελληνική τράπεζα είχε χρηματοδοτήσει διαφήμιση, όπου ένας μαθητής έλεγε στον καθηγητή του. «Κύριε καθηγητά, τι μου χρειάζονται τα αρχαία, εγώ θα γίνω έμπορος». Και του απαντά ο καθηγητής: «Έμπορος θα γίνεις Λαμπρόπουλε αλλά τι έμπορος; Θα πουλάς μαλλί της γρηάς στα πανηγύρια!» Στην συνέχεια δε, η διαφήμιση έδειχνε τον νέο που δεν χρειαζόταν τάχα τα αρχαία, να έχει διαπρέψει, χρηματοδοτούμενος από την εν λόγω τράπεζα! Η άνευ ορίων αναίσχυντη κερδοσκοπία σε όλο της το μεγαλείο!!!
Διάφοροι δημοσιογράφοι, όσοι δεν εθελοτυφλούσαν, κατέγραφαν, κατά το παρελθόν, συνεχώς στις εφημερίδες τους την γλωσσική ένδεια, που υπήρχε στα ελληνόπουλα.Περίπου το ίδιο γινόταν και με πολύ δημοφιλείς τηλεοπτικές εκπομπές λόγου τού σαββατόβραδου, όπου, χωρίς βεβαίως την δική μας συμμετοχή ποτέ σε κάποια τέτοια εκπομπή, ώστε «να θέσουμε τον δάκτυλον εις τον τύπον των ήλων», εκλεκτοί προσκεκλημένοι διαπίστωναν «την εκπληκτική ποιότητα και μοναδικότητα της ελληνικής γλώσσης»!
Δυστυχώς, όμως, μόνο κατέγραφαν και μόνο διαπίστωναν. Χωρίς προτάσεις για την λύση του σημερινού προβλήματος. Πολλοί δε από αυτούς μας καθησύχαζαν, έχοντας και έναν παχυδερμικό εφησυχασμό, λέγοντας ότι η γλώσσα δεν θα πάθει τίποτε.
Κι όμως… Παρόμοιους εφησυχασμούς είχαμε και σε άλλες περιπτώσεις… Για παράδειγμα το 1989 ο Kristian Wilson, Πρόεδρος τής εταιρείας «Nintendo Inc», έκανε μία πολύ καθησυχαστική δήλωση, σχετικά με την εισβολή των ηλεκτρονικών παιχνιδιών στην ζωή των παιδιών. Η δήλωση έλεγε τα εξής:
«Τα ηλεκτρονικά παιχνίδια δεν επηρεάζουν τα παιδιά. Αν π.χ. το «πακ-μαν» είχε επηρεάσει την γενιά μας, θα ήμασταν σε μία σκοτεινή αίθουσα και θα χοροπηδούσαμε πάνω κάτω δεξιά αριστερά, μασουλώντας μαγικά χαπάκια και ακούγοντας μία επαναλαμβανόμενη μουσική».
Λίγα χρόνια αργότερα, γεννήθηκαν τα «rave parties», η μουσική «techno» και το «ecstasy».
Γι αυτό οι υπερβολικοί εφησυχασμοί με βάζουν πάντοτε σε σκέψεις. Μας καθησυχάζουν για να επιτύχουν πιο εύκολα κάποιους άλλους στόχους.
Αν, λοιπόν, πρέπει να ρίξουμε κάποιο λίθο αναθέματος σε κάποιους οι αποδέκτες είναι πολλοί. Εκείνοι που έδιωξαν την γλώσσα και την ιστορία μας από τα σχολεία, η εκείνοι που σπιλώνουν αυτό τον πλούτο μέσω της δημοσιογραφίας έντυπής τε και ηλεκτρονικής. Κυρίως όμως ο λίθος του αναθέματος πρέπει να είναι προς εκείνους, οι οποίοι επιμελώς αποκρύπτουν, συγκαλύπτουν φονεύουν δια της σιωπής και θάβουν κάθε βιβλίο ιστορίας, το οποίο δεν κινείται στην γραμμή της παγκοσμιοποιημένης υποτέλειας καθώς και κάθε βιβλίο σχετικό με την γλώσσα, το οποίο αποκαλύπτει τα σχέδια καταστροφής, την παραπλάνηση και την διαστρέβλωση της ελληνικής.

ἐπιτροπή ἐνημερώσεως ἐπί τῶν ἐθνικῶν θεμάτων

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


• gas •

Pronunciation: gæs • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. A state of matter lighter than solid or liquid that expands and diffuses infinitely and uniformly. 2. A clipping of gasoline, a liquid fuel refined from crude oil. 3. Flatulence or the discomfort it causes, as to have gas on the stomach. 4. The pedal or other device that controls the amount of gasoline fed to an engine, as to step on the gas in a car. 5. Hot air; pompous, empty talk.

Notes: Although dictionaries allow two plurals for this word, gases and gasses, the former is preferred currently on the Web 14.8 million to 1.42 million. The spread is even wider for the analogical example, buses. This noun may also be used as a verb meaning "to put gas in". You may either gas up your car with gasoline or let your food gas you up with flatulence.

In Play: Let us start out with two of the most common meanings of today's curt word: "Bertie, step on the gas! I have to get an antacid before the gas on my stomach kills me." This particular word probably has already been ridden as far as it will go metaphorically: "Her speech was so bombastic, we could have flown to Europe and back on the gas!"

Word History: Today's word is an invention of the Dutch chemist, Jan Baptista Van Helmont (1577-1644), who adopted it from Greek chaos. The 1652 edition of his book, Ortus Medicinæ, contains this line: halitum illum Gas vocavi, non longe a Chao veterum secretum (this vapor I have called 'Gas', not far removed from ancient 'Chaos'). The Dutch pronunciation of [g] as a spirant [kh] (like Scottish or German [ch]) accounts for its being employed to represent Greek ch (= kh). Gouda is pronounced [khowdah] in Dutch. The connection may have been suggested by Paracelsus's use of chaos for the element of such spirits as underground gnomes. (It might seem appropriate that a word originally referring to underground gnomes, comes to us today from Michael McWilliams of Raytheon, Australia, himself living 'down under' in another sense.)


Gas λέξη Ελληνική από το Χάος

Γράφει ο Γιώργος Δαμιανός (τo άρθρο πρωτοδημοσιεύτηκε στο περιοδικό 4τροχοί)

Η λέξη γκάζι παράγεται από την αρχαία ελληνική λέξη Χάος. Παράξενο; Όχι και τόσο, αρκεί να ακολουθήσετε τα απλά μαθήματα μυθολογίας:

Κατά τον Ησίοδο1, το χάος ορίζεται η πρωτογενής αρχή, όχι όμως ως αφηρημένη έννοια αλλά ως σκοτεινός χώρος γεμάτος νέφη. Αντίθετα, η ορφική κοσμογονία παραδέχεται το χάος ως δεύτερη αρχή του κόσμου μετά το Χρόνο. Ο Πλάτων2αναφέρει ότι από το Χάος γεννήθηκε ο Έρωτας (φτυστός ο πατέρας του, αυτός ο Έρωτας).

Καλά όλα αυτά, θα έλεγε κάποιος. Αλλά, τι σχέση έχουν με το γκάζι;

Μέχρι το 1640 απολύτως καμία. Τη χρονιά εκείνη, ένας ιδιοφυής Φλαμανδός «χημικός», ο Βαν Χέλμοντ (Johann Batista Helmont, 1577- 1644) πέτυχε την παρασκευή καύσιμου μείγματος αερίων (μονοξείδιο και διοξείδιο του άνθρακα CO, CO2, το αδέσμευτο αέριο, gas sylvestre). Μόνο που, ακόμα, δεν ήξερε πως να το ονομάσει. Δανείστηκε, λοιπόν, την ελληνική λέξη χάος, για να δηλώσει την άμορφη και απροσδιόριστη μάζα του αερίου (gas), γιατί κάπως έτσι φανταζόταν ότι ήταν και το χάος (χάος >caos > gaos > gas)3. Στη συνέχεια παρήχθησαν όλες οι λέξεις που αναφέρονται στο αέριο > γκαζ, γκαζιέρα, γκαζάκι, γκαζάδικο αλλά και τα αεριούχα ποτά όπως η γκαζόζα.

Τώρα, πώς από το αέριο (gas) οδηγηθήκαμε στο γκάζι του αυτοκινήτου (γκαζώνω, γκαζωμένος, η γκαζιά, τα γκάζια); Γι αυτό ευθύνονται τα γκαζοζέν (gazogene) αυτοκίνητα που είχαμε στη χώρα μας, κατά τη γερμανική κατοχή (έκαιγαν gas, λόγω έλλειψης πετρελαίου). Έτσι, δίνω gas στη μηχανή ισοδυναμούσε με το δίνω καύσιμο στη μηχανή για να επιταχυνθεί.

(1) Ησίοδος, θεογονία,116.

(2) Πλάτων, Συμπόσιο 178. Αναφορά της λ. χάος ως νεφελώδες αέριο γίνεται και στους : Αριστοφάνη (Όρνιθες, 192, 1218), Βιργίλιο (Ecloghe,VI,31), Οβίδιο (Metamorfosi), αλλά και στο κατα Λουκάν Ευαγγέλιον ( 16, 26).

(3) J. B. Van Helmont, Ortus medicinae, Amsterdam 1652. Στις σελίδες 59, 86 αναλαμβάνει την πατρότητα του όρου και παραδέχεται τη σχέση με τη λ. χάος

Το κείμενο στα λατινικά : halitum illum, gas vocavi, non longe a chaos veterum secretum

Helmont, Johannes (Joan) Baptista Van (b. Brussels, Belgium, 12 January 1579; d. Brussels, 30 December 1644)

Helmont, Johannes (Joan) Baptista Van
(b. Brussels, Belgium, 12 January 1579; d. Brussels, 30 December 1644)
chemistry, natural philosophy, medicine, mysticism.
Helmont was from the Flemish landed gentry. His father, Christian van Helmont, was state counselor of Brabant; his mother was Marie de Stassart, of Brussels. In 1609 he married Margerite van Ranst, of the Merode family, and through her became manorial lord of Merode, Royenborch, Oorschot, and Pellines. They had several daughters and one son, Franciscus Mercurius, who edited his father’s collected works—the Onus medicinae of 1648-and became known through his collaboration on the Kabbala denudata (edited by Knorr von Rosenroth, 1677–1684), his early attempts at teaching the deaf and dumb (1667) and orthopedic treatment of spinal deformity, his friendship with Lady Conway and Leibniz, his life as a wandering courtier and scholar, and his theosophical treatises.
Helmont’s formative years were marked by growing skepticism, dissatisfaction with the traditional syllabus, and the combination of mysticism with genuine scientific research. His unorthodox career was due partly to his Flemish family background, combined with his natural enmity to the Schoolmen and Jesuits brought to Belgium following the Spanish occupation. His first course in classics and philosophy was followed from 1594 by studies in a variety of subjects from geography to law, “reaping straw and poor senseless prattle,” especially in Martin del Rio’s discourses against natural magic and in the study of Stoicism and medical textbooks.
After receiving the M.D. in 1599 Helmont realized the need for more than book learning in medicine. He sought this knowledge on visits to Switzerland and Italy in 1600–1602 and to France and England in 1602–1605; there may have been two London visits. one dated by himself as in 1604 and the other when he “Conversed with the Queen herself,” probably at the close of 1602. In spite of some medical success—for instance, during an epidemic of plague at Antwerp in 1605—and tempting offers from Ernest of Bavaria, the archbishop of Cologne, and Emperor Rudolf II, which he declined, refusing to “live on the misery of my fellow men” or to “accumulate riches and endanger my soul,” he embarked on private research for seven years (1609–1616) at Vilvorde, near Brussels. On his journeys Helmont had learned as little as before and felt the need to explore the first principles of nature in order to rise above the “dung” of traditional learning. He hoped to overcome the prevalence of “useless logic” and entia rationis therein by “dismantling” the operations of nature and art and by promoting the seminal virtues of all things through chemistry (pyroechnia, perignem). In this and in the interest which he took in the controversy over the “weapon salve” and the magnetic cure of wounds, he was influenced by Paracelsus. This involved him in ecclesiastic prosecution for most of the rest of his life.
In 1608 Rudolf Goclenius, Protestant professor of philosophy and a believer in natural magic, published his first treatise affirming the efficacy of a pseudo-Paracelsian ointment applied not to the wound but to the weapon and acting by sympathy over long distances. Between 1615 and 1625 seven attacks and counterattacks were exchanged between Goclenius and the Jesuit Johannes Roberti, who condemned the method as “devil’s deceit.” In 1621 Helmont’s treatise De magnetica vulnerum... curatione was published at Paris, possibly at Roberti’s instigation and against Helmont’s will. His argument was naturalistic: Goclenius had been wrong in omitting the presence of inspissated blood on the weapon as essential for the sympathetic effect; on the other hand, Roberti had recourse to the field most unsuitable for assessing natural phenomena—theology and activity of the devil. Helmont considered the effect to be as genuine as those of sympathy and antipathy reported in many tall stories that he related, interlarding his account with satirical invectives against the Jesuits. In 1623 Helmont’s “monstrous pamphlet” was denounced by members of the Louvain Faculty of Medicine, probably at the instigation of his literary enemy Henry van Heers.
In 1625 the General Inquisition of Spain condemned twenty-seven of Helmont’s “propositions” for heresy, impudent arrogance, and association with Lutheran and Calvinist doctrine. The treatise was impounded the following year, and in 1627 Helmont asserted his innocence and submission to the church before the curia of Malines, which referred the matter to the Theological Faculty of Louvain. He again acknowledged his error and revoked his “scandalous pronouncements” in 1630. Helmont was condemned by the Louvain Theological Faculty in 1633–1634 for adhering to the “monstrous superstitions” of the school of Paracelsus (that is, the devil himself), for “perverting nature by ascribing to it all magic and diabolic art, and for having spread more than Cimmerian darkness all over the world by his chemical philosophy (pyrotechnice philosophando).”

Helmont was placed in ecclesiastical custody for four days in March 1634, then was transferred under high security to the Minorite convent at Brussels. After several interrogations he was released but placed under house arrest. This was finally lifted in 1636, but church proceedings against him were not formally ended until 1642, two years before his death. Also in 1642 Helmont obtained the ecclesiastic imprimatur for his treatise on fever, and in 1646 his widow received his official religious rehabilitation from the archbishop of Malines. The “monstrous pamphlet,” De magnetica vulnerum... curatione, was reprinted in the Ortus medicinae, not necessarily by Helmont’s wish; it may have been inserted by his son, who was editor of the Onus.
Helmont’s scientific method and achievement resulted from his extensive use of the balance, quantification, and experiment. Aiming at the invisible, the semina, and forces in visible objects, Helmont applied chemical analysis to the smoke that remains after combustion of solids and fluids. He found this smoke to be different from air and water vapor in that it displays properties specific to the substance of origin. He called the “specific smoke” by the “new term gas” (from chaos or perhaps gaesen, that is, to effervesce or to ferment). It was also termed “wild” (spiritus sylvestris), since it could not be “constrained by vessels nor reduced into a vistble body” Helmont described and identified a number of such gases, notably carbon dioxide and, in some cases, carbon monoxide, from burning charcoal, fermenting wine, mineral water, eructations, and the reaction of sulfuric acid and salt of tartar or of distilled vinegar and calcium carbonate. Others were chlorine gas from the reaction of nitric acid and sal ammoniac; a “gas pingue” from dung, the large intestine, or dry distillation of organic matter; sulfur dioxide from burning sulfur (a fatty and combustible phlogiston); the explosive gas from an ignited gunpowder mixture of charcoal, sulfur, and saltpeter; and a “vital” gas in the heart and the blood. Helmont is therefore remembered today as the discoverer of gas.
On the indestructibility of matter, Helmont stated that metals dissolved in acid are not thereby destroyed or transmuted but are recoverable in their original quantity; for instance, silver dissolved in nitric acid is comparable to a watery salt solution. One metal can precipitate another metal—for example, iron can precipitate copper from a vitriol solution—a process which before Helmont had been attributed to transmutation.
Helmont also designed advanced methods for the preparation of sulfuric acid, aquafortis (nitric acid), and in particular hydrochloric acid (spiritus salis marini from sea-salt and potter’s clay). He studied a variety of alkali salts and was familiar with the neutralizing effect of alkali on acid (notably, following acid digestion, in the duodenum).
Chemical medicines prescribed by Paracelsus, notably mercury preparations, were improved and widely used by Helmont. He also discussed the sedative and narcotic effects of the Paracelsian “sweet spirit of vitriol” (ether). Helmont recognized specific gravity as an important diagnostic indicator and an aid in chemical research. He determined it for metals and notably for urine, thus replacing Leonhard Thurneisser’s chemical uroscopy, Helmont devised an air thermometer-barometer, and he also used and recommended the pendulum for measuring time and for assessing the destructive powers of vacua and projectiles. In this effort he determined that the resistance of the air, the quality of the powder, the size of the bullet, and the distance of the target were significant for variations in the “swiftness, powers and proportions of motions.” He realized the significance of the length—as opposed to the weight—of the pendulum and that the duration of its swings is constant.
Helmont demonstrated acid as the digestive agent in the stomach (following up hints given by Paracelsus—his acetum esurinum [“hungry acid”]—and by Quercetanus [Joseph Du Chesne] in 1603, and the elusive Fabius Violet [Sieur de Coquerey, possibly a pseudonym for Du Chesne] in 1635). Helmont himself came close to identifying digestive acid with hydrochloric acid. He also recognized tissue acidity as the cause of pus formation. He described the rhythmic movement of the pylorus and its directing action on digestion; the important role of bile (hitherto regarded as “excremental” and noxious) in the alkaline digestive milieu of the gut; and the combination of blood with a “ferment from the air” (magnale), whereby venous blood disposes of a residue that escapes through the lungs in the form of “volatile salts.”
Helmont is foremost among the founders of the modern ontological concept of disease. Following Paracelsus, he denied the traditional view of the ancients who believed that diseases were due to an upset of hmmoral balance (dvsamia) and varied according to individual mixture of humors and qualities (temperament); there were no diseases as discrete entities, but only diseased individuals.
By contrast, Helmont regarded each disease as a morbid ens, with a specific morbid semen. The latter he believed to be “fertilized” and activated by a “program of action,” the morbid image or idea that it contained. This image or idea was “conceived” by the vital principle (archeus) of a single organ or the organism as a whole when it was irritated or perturbed by a pathogenic agent, usually from outside. Helmont visualized this agent as endowed with an archeus of its own, like any other object in nature, and hence able to penetrate another object, including the human archeus. Interaction between these archei produces the morbid ens. Although begotten by the archeus of the patient, the ens is not identical with that archeus, nor with the pathogenic irritant. The latter, however, “seals” the morbid ens. The specific disease then is the result of the conversion of the morbid idea into corporeal effects and local changes.
Through this ontological concept of each disease as a specific entity came the understanding that a variety of diseases are determined by specific pathogenic agents and by primarily local changes. Agents plus changes—the products of a complicated psychophysical interplay of vital principles—act parasitically and weaken the archeus so that it is no longer able to act for the common weal. Helmont’s rejection of the traditional explanation of all diseases in terms of the “madness of catarrh,” that is, down-flow of corrosive mucus produced by vaporized ingesta ascending and condensing in the “cold” brain, was a most conspicuous advance. He demonstrated the local nature of mucus formation and anatomical changes.
His reflections bore fruit in a number of ingenious and advanced observations, especially those concerning the various forms of asthma (the “epilepsy of the lungs”). He identified the causes of hypersensitivity in asthma, notably dust inhaled while working, food, hereditary susceptibility, climate and weather, and, above all, suppressed emotion: “A citizen being by a Peer openly disgraced and injured; unto whom he might not answer a word without the fear of his utmost mine; in silence dissembles and bears the reproach: but straightway after, an Asthma arises” (Onus [1648], p. 367). Tissue irritability, tonic and clonic muscle movement, and their independence of the brain were also carefully observed by Helmont, especially in hysteria and epilepsy, as was the association of hydrops and edema with the kidney. The changes caused by tuberculosis (cavities) were clearly recognized as the result of a local metabolic change in the air passages of the lung obstructed by inspissating (“caseous”) and, finally, calcifying local secretion. Fever he declared not to be the product of humoral putrefaction, as the ancients believed, but a movement in reaction to irritation and, thus, a natural healing process, Consequently. Helmont rejected traditional therapy (directed against humoral imbalance as a whole), notably bloodletting and purging, and replaced it with remedies specifically considering the type of disease, the organ affected, and the causative agent, since no change in blood or humors, in heat or cold, in moisture or dryness will ever achieve the removal of the “thorn.”
Helmont’s discoveries and advanced scientific and medical views are embedded in his discourses on natural philosophy, cosmology, and religious metaphysics, which are not scientific and are difficult for the modern reader to comprehend—hence the ambivalence in the assessment of Helmont by historians. He is either praised as an exponent of the scientific revolution of his century or condemned as a Hermetic and an occultist. The former view is reached by selection from his works of what seems relevant today or served as a stepping-stone toward modern results and by omission of what does not. The latter view is based on a refusal even to examine his scientific and medical work, since no merit can be expected from a mind that was capable of belief in the philosophers’ stone, the magnetic cure of wounds, spontaneous generation, and many other “Hermetic” tenets now recognized as unreal. Obviously neither of these views has a place in history. One must perform a synoptic analysis of the two components of Helmont’s work—the scientific and the nonscientific—of how they promoted each other, and of what significance must be attached to their coexistence in terms of the original meaning of concepts that have entered science in one form or another.
A revealing example is the discovery for which Helmont is still remembered in the annals of chemistry, that of gas. For Helmont, gas was bound up with his ideas on matter, its relationship to spirit and soul, and indeed his religious cosmology as a whole. When an object was converted into gas by chemical manipulation, it had lost its shape but had lost nothing essential. On the contrary, it had retained, and now displayed, its pure essence. This essence, the gas or archeus of the object, was not in the object but was the object itself in a volatile—spiritualized—form. Hence gas was matter and spirit at the same time—but not simple, inert matter, which Helmont believed to be water. It was matter specifically disposed or “sealed,” matter active and alive by virtue of form and function specific to it. It was spirit—but not one that was added, entering and directing matter from outside. In other words, gas represented what was specifically characteristic of each individual object; it was the material manifestation of individual specificity. Hence there were as many gases as there were individual objects. In this view, spirit and matter were regarded as two aspects of the same thing; this was a monistic and pluralistic view of a world consisting of monads (semina) and thus was opposed to a dualistic separation of matter and soul. Helmont believed that he had found in gas the empirical solution to the perennial problem of spirit and matter, soul and body. Seen in this light, gas was conceptually related to Aristotle’s entelecheia, but Helmont emphasized that the latter was an ens rationis, a product of human reason, whereas gas was divine truth and reality that could be visualized in the test tube.
Opposing the traditional (“heathen”) doctrine of the elements and regarding matter as water, Helmont seems to have been influenced by the biblical and Gnostic-alchemical tradition as well as by Nicholas Cusa. The latter—probably following an early Gnostic (pseudo-Clementine) source—had indicated that plants consist largely of water: the earth in which they grow fails to lose any weight in the process. This was demonstrated in Helmont’s experiment in which a willow tree weighing five pounds was planted in 200 pounds of earth. Five years later, the weight of the tree had increased to 169 pounds while the earth had lost no weight. The influence of Cusa on Helmont’s use of the balance and quantification is also shown in his examination of specific weights, a method recommended specifically by Cusa to replace the pseudo knowledge of the scholar (orator, philosophus) with the simple wisdom of the empiric (idiota, meanicus). Helmont’s general tendency to divest objects of their material cover, to “spiritualize” them, and to study the volatile nucleus reveals the influence of Neoplatonism; it is also recognizable in the vitalistic and idealistic interpretation of biological as well as chemical processes, notably of fermentation and the ens morbid as image or idea.
Helmont was also a follower of Paracelsus and can be regarded as the outstanding and most successful of the second generation of Paracelsists. He implemented and advanced Paracelsian philosophy and cosmology through a series of new observations and techniques—which did not hinder him from criticizing and deviating from it on several points. For example, he rejected the interpretation of natural phenomena in terms of astrology and analogy between macrocosm and microcosm—both fundamental to Paracelsus. Moreover, Paracelsus had been familiar with acid digestion in the stomach of some animals and its improvement through the intake of acid with certain mineral waters. Helmont demonstrated that acid is the digestive factor in all animals, and he came close to identifying it with hydrochloric acid. Paracelsus used the term “chaos” (probably the etymological root of “gas”) for a variety of ambient media, notably air, from which living beings derive their nourishment. He also spoke of an “essential spirit” in each individual object and of chemical manipulation whereby an inert substance could be made active (männisch), notably a salt that became a “violent spirit” on resolution. This may have influenced Helmont to call “certain exhalations that had been quiet before and become wild on dissolution in nitric acid or vinegar” spiritussylvestres. This terminology is found in Helmont’s early treatise on the waters of Spa (1624), in which he says that he calls these exhalations “wild” because they resist attempts at solidification, escaping from or breaking the glass if it is sealed before they develop. In subsequent treatises this behavior is said to be characteristic of gas, notably of carbon dioxide. Some remote influence of Paracelsus in this is therefore not unlikely. Yet it cannot be said that the latter had conceived of anything as consistent and scientific as Helmont’s discovery. He had at best vague premonitions of it when he emphasized the volatility and specificity of the arcana, the invisible bearers of active impulses in nature.
Like Paracelsus, Helmont was not really an alchemist, although at one time he claimed to have received a specimen of the “stone” and to have accomplished transmutation. In fact he normally practiced genuine chemistry. Contrary to Paracelsus, he opposed the opinion that precipitation of one metal from a solution by addition of another metal was due to transmutation, and he gave the proper explanation of the process in scientific terms. He also dropped most of the alchemical symbolism and retained little that was “Hermetic.” Nevertheless, Helmont was no scientist pure and simple. The blending of his interests and motives—scientific and nonscientific—is well shown in his ideas on biological time. Against Aristotle, he argued that time is not definable in terms of motion and succession; it is indivisible and devoid of succession, being essentially bound up with duration. This is shown in the life-span and life rhythm specific to each individual and given to the divine semina by the Creator. By virtue of this participation in divinity, time (duratio) was not different from eternity, as propounded in the Christian (Augustinitian) doctrine. On the other hand Helmont showed himself influenced by St. Augustine in visualizing divine semina (monads) as the essential components of the universe. His skepticism toward complacent human reasoning and the application of “useless logic” to natural philosophy has also a root in Christian religion and mysticism which is equally recognizable in his fondness for dreams and visions. In these he hoped to achieve union with the object and thus with divine truth. Setting out on the search for the divine sparks in nature, Helmont found his way paved with scientific problems that provided the inescapable challenge directing him to scientific discovery.
I. Original Works. Published in Helmont’s lifetime were De magnetica vulnerum naturali et legitima curatione contra R. P. Joannem Roberti (Paris. 1621): for bibliographical notes see A. J. J. Vandevelde (below), pt. 2, p. 720; Supplementum de spadanis fontibus (Liege, 1624); see Vandevelde, pt. 2. pp. “22 “23. including a bibliography of Henry van Heers, who believed that he was being criticized through Helmont’s treatise; Febrium doctrind inaudita (Antwerp, 1642); see Vandevelde, pt. 2, p. 724; and Opuscula medica inaudita: I. De lithiasi; II. De febribus (2nd ed. of Febrium doetrina inaudita III. Scholarum humoristarum passiva deceptio atque ignorantia; IIIa. Appendix ad tractatum de febribus sine caput XVI et XVII (not extant in 1st ed. of Febrium doctrina inaudita); IV. Tumulus pestis (Cologne. 1644); see Vandevelde, pt. 2; pp. 725 –29.
Posthumously published was Ortus medicinae. Id est initia physicae inaudita. Progressus medicinae novus, in morborum ultionem, ad vitam longam... edente... Francisco Mercurio van Heimont cum ejus praefatione (Amsterdam. 1648), followed by the Opuscula (repr. from the 1644 ed.), the first collected ed. of Helmont’s works. Further eds. were issued at Venice (1651), the first to have an index; Amsterdam (1652), termed the “best” ed.; Lyons (1655, 1667); Frankfurt (1682); and Copenhagen (1707).
Translations of the Ortus are 1. Chandler. Oriatrike or Physick Refined (London. 1662. 1664); Jean le Conte, Les oeuvres de Jean Baptist Van Helmont (Lyons, 1671), selected chapters only and unsatisfactory; and Christian Knorr von Rosenroth, Aufgang der Arztney-Kunst (Sulzbach, 1683; repr, in 2 vols., Munich, 1971). extremely useful, since it contains commentaries and incorporates translated supplementary passages from the Dageraed (see below).
Translations of separate treatises from the. Onus are Walter Charleton, Ternary of Paradoxes of the Magnetick Cure of Wounds. Nativity of Tartar in Wine. Image of God in Man (London, 1650); and Deliramenta catarrhi or The Incongruities, Impossibilities and Absurdities Couched Under the Vulgar Opinion of Defluxions (London, 1650); J. H. Seyfried, Tumulus pestis. Das ist Grüundlicher Ursprung der Pest (Sulzbach, 1681), largely following the text of the Dageraed (not mentioned in the bibliography, but a copy is in the Munich State Library and the author’s possession); Die Morgenröthe (n.p., n.d. [mid-nineteenth century]), repr. of five treatises from Knorr von Rosenroth’s Aufgang; Walter Pagel, “Irrwitz der Katarrhlehre. Asthma und Husten. Tobende Pleura,” in his jo. Bapt. van Helmont (see below), pp. 144–219; and trans. of Helmont’s On Time, chaps. 1–46, in Osiris (see below), pp. 356 376.
Considered separately is Dageraed oft nieuwe opkomst der geneeskonst in verborgen grondt-regelen der natuere (Amsterdam, 1659; Rotterdam, 1660); see Vandevelde, pt. l, 457; also in facs. repr. (Antwerp, 1944).
It should be noted that the Dageraed gives treatises in Flemish but is not a Flemish version of the Ortus, On the contrary, it seems to have been written earlier and compiled by Helmont himself, while the Onus was posthumously arranged, edited, and prefaced by Helmont’s son. It is more concise than the Onus, and Helmont gives as his motive for writing in the vernacular that truth never emerges more “naked” than when offered in a simple style that makes it accessible and profitable to the common man. Why its publication should have been delayed for some fifteen years after his death is not clear (the 1615 ed., first erroneously referred to in 1826, is a ghost. Nobody has ever seen it and in it events are mentioned after 1615).
The research on which both the Onus and the Dageraed are based goes back largely to 1609–1616. When Helmont’s house was searched in 1634, no relevant MSS were found; and between 1624 and 1642 nothing was published. Thus most of the works were likely written in 1634–1640. notably during his house arrest in 1634–1636. Finally, Helmont’s correspondence with Père Mersenne should be mentioned as published in Mme. Paul Tannery and Cornelis de Waard, Correspondence du P. Marin Mersenne. Réligieux Minime, vols. 1–111 (Paris, 1932–1946), with three letters in vol. II and eleven in vol. III from the years 1630–1631.
II Secondary Literature. Biographical and bibliographical material is found in C. Broeckx, Commentaire de J. B. van Helmont sur le premier livre du Régime d’Hippocrate: Peri diaites (Antwerp, 1849), one of Helmont’s juvenilia, published from the MS for the first time; other juvenilia not extant elsewhere: “Commentaire de J. B. van Helmont sur un livre d’Hippocrate intitulé: peri trophes,” in üAnnates de l’Acadéemic archéol. belg., 8 (1851), 399–433, reprinted separately (Antwerp, 1851); “Le premier ouvrage (Eisagoge in artem medicam a Paracelso restitutam 1607) de J.-B. van Helmont,” ibid., 10 (1853). 327–392, and 11 (1854), 119–191, reprinted separately (Antwerp, 1854); “Notice sur le manuscrit Causa J. B. Helmontii. déposé aux archives archiépiscopales de Malines.” ibid., 9 (1852). 277–327, 341–367. reprinted separately (Antwerp, 1852); “Interrogatoires du docteur J. B. van Helmont sur le magnétisme animal,” ibid., 13 (1856), 306–350, reprinted separately (Antwerp, 1856); and Apologie du magnétisme animal (Antwerp. 1869); G. des Marez, “L’état civil de J. B. van Helmont,” in Annales de la Société ds’archéologie de Bruxelles, 21 (1907). 107–123; Néve de Mévergnies, Jean-Baptiste van Helmont. philo-sophe par le feu (Paris, 1935), useful in its biographical section; A. J. J. Vandevelde. “Helmontiana,” 5 pts., in Verslagen en Mededeelingen. K. Vlaamsche Academie voor Taalen Letterkunde, pt, 1 (1929), 453–476: pt. 2 (1929), 715–737; pt. 3 (1929). 857–879; pt. 4 (1932), 109–122: pt, 5 (1936), 339–387: H. de Waele, J. B. van Helmont (Brussels. 1947). reviewed by W. Pagel, in Isis, 38 (1948), 248–249.
Helmont’s natural philosophy and chemistry are discussed in H. Hoefer, Histoire de la chimie, 2nd ed., II (Paris, 1869), 134–146; H. E. Hoff, “Nicolaus of Cusa, van Helmont and Boyle. The First Experiment of the Renaissance in Quantitative Biology and Medicine,” in Journal of the History of Medicine, 19 (1964), 99–117: H. M. Howe. “A Root of van Helmont’s Tree,” in Isis. 56 (1965), 408–419, which presents the Gnostic-neo-Clementine source for the experiment with the willow tree; H. Kopp, Geschichte der Chemie, 4 vols. (Brunswick, 1843–1847), I, 117–127; II, 168, 241–243, 273, 344–366: III. 62–190. 227–350; IV, 380; R. P. Multhauf, The Origins of Chemistry (London, 1966), pp. 250–252, 285–286, 294–295. 316, 344: W. Pagel, “Helmont, Leibniz, Stahl,” in Archie fúr Geschichte der Medizin. 24 (1931), 19–59; The Religious and Philosophical Aspects of van Helmont’s Science and Medicine, supp. to Bulletin of the History of Medicine, no. 2 (Baltimore, 1944), see pp. 16–26 on the wider implications of “gas”; “J. B. van Helmont (1579–1644),” in Nature. 153 (1944), 675; “Van Helmont; The 300th Anniversary of His Death.” in British Medical Journal (1945). 1 , 59; “J. B. van Helmont De tempore and Biological Time,” in Osiris, 8 (1949), 346–417; “The Reaction to Aristotle in Seventeenth Century Biological Thought,” in Science, Medicine and History, Essays in Honour of Charles Singer, I (Oxford, 1953), 489–509; “The ‘Wild Spirit’ (Gas) of John Baptist van Helmont (1579–1644) and Paracelsus.” in Ambix, 10 (1962), 1–13: and “Chemistry at the Cross-Roads: The Ideas of Joachim Jungius. Essay-Review of H. Kangro, J. Jungius’ Experimente und Gedanken zur Begründung der Chemie als Wissenschaft,” ibid., 16 (1969), 100–108, includes a discussion of Helmont’s interpretation of the precipitation of copper after the addition of iron to a vitriol solution; J. R. Partington, “Joan Baptist van Helmont,” in Annals of Science, 1 (1936), 359; and A History of Chemistry, II (London, 1961), 209–243; C. Webster. “Water as the Ultimate Principle of Nature: The Background to Boyle’s Sceptical Chymist.” in Ambix, 13 (1966). 96: and H. Weiss, “Notes on the Greek Ideas Referred to in van Helmont’s De tempore,” in Osiris, 8 (1949), 418–449.
Helmont’s work in medicine is treated in H. Haeser, Lehrbuch der Geschichte der Medizin und der epidemischen Krankheiten, 3rd ed., II (Jena, 1881), 344–363: Lester S. King, The Road to Medical Enlightenment, 1650 –695 (London-New York, 1970), pp. 37–62, 88–90; P. H. Niebyl, “Sennert, Van Helmont and Medical Ontology,” in Bulletin of the History of Medicine, 45 (1971), 115–137; W. Pagel, Jo. Bapt, van Helmont. Einfülhrung in die philosophische Medizin des Barock (Berlin, 1930); “The Speculative Basis of Modern Pathology. Jahn, Virchow and the Philosophy of Pathology,” in Bulletin of the History of Medicine. 18 (1945), 1–43; “Van Helmont’s Ideas on Gastric Digestion and the Gastric Acid,” ibid., 30 (1956). 524: “Harvey and Glisson on Irritability With a Note on Van Helmont.” ibid,. 41 (1967), 497–514; “Harvey and the Modern Concept of Disease,” ibid,. 42 (1968), 496–509, written with M. Winder; and “Van Helmont’s Concept of Disease—To Be or Not To Be? The Influence of Paracelsus,” ibid. (in press); W. Rommelaere, “Études sur J. B. van Helmont,” in Mémoires couronnés et autres mémoires p.p. de I’Académie royale de couronnés médecine p.p de Belgique, 6 (1866). 281– 541. reprinted separately (Brussels, 1868); and G. A. Spiess, J. B, van Helmonts System der Medizin verglichen mit den bedeutenderen. Systemen ällerer und neuerer Zeit (Frankfurt. 1840).
Helmont’s influence is the subject in Allen G. Debus, The English Paracelsians (London, 1965), pp. 181–183; and The Chemical Dream of the Renaissance (Cambridge, 1968) pp. 25 ff.: F. N. L. Poynter, “A 17th Century Medical Controversy; Robert Witty and William Simpson.” in E. A. Underwood, ed., Science, Medicine, and History. Essays in Honour of Charles Singer, II (Oxford, 1953), 72–81”; P. M. Rattansi, “The Helmont-Galenist Controversy in Restoration England,” in Ambix, 12 (1964), 1–23; Henry Thomas, “The Society of Chymical Physitians, an Echo of the Great Plague of London,” in Underwood, op cit, 56–71; und C. Webster, “The English Medical Reformers of the Puritan Revolution. A Background to the Society of Chymical Physitians,” in Amhix, 14 (1967), 16–41; “The Helmontian George Thomson and William Harvey: The Revival and Application of Splenectomy to Physiological Research,” in Medical History, 15 (1971), 154–167.”
Walter Pagel