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Old 12-13-2008, 08:02 AM   #1
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Default Virginia Woolf - Travels in Greece

An interesting text in relation to the Vlach origins of Greece and the nature of the 'Greek' peasant with regard to their language(s) and identity.


.....We walked out down a lane to see an encampment of Wallachian shepherds........They are nomad people, tending sheep, who roam in the mountains all the summer, & pitch their tents, or rather their huts, in the winter. We were asked..to go inside their huts. They are made of boughs, & the dead leaves serve for lining to the roof. A family of twelve children lived here; brown and sallow, gentle & communicative. They shook hands - the women were weaving cloth, in an outer court; & inside was the sleeping place of the family. They live presumably in the open air; we peered around, & tried, not very successfully, to imagine the whole life, built on such a foundation. But this needs more imagination than any other feat of archaeology; for mud huts belong to the dark ages. The people did not look robust or fierce; one or two women had notably fine faces, aquiline and expressive. Then we tramped some way over the estate; & this would be a dull record, but all the time, somehow - I can't define it - you felt the place arrange itself in its natural order, & and this was something beautiful. Here were the olive groves - here they dug a trench - here come all the village people, trooping home from work with their salutations, prompt & respectful. Miss Noel knew each by name; each spoke to her. Now this seemed to give what was wanting to Greece before; & it is a very essential part of it. The people use the same plough that they did in the days of Homer, says Mr. Noel, & though the races have changed, their lives cannot be much different; the earth changes but little......

The poorer people of Athens - & all the people seem poor- have a pleasant habit of longing up here in the evening, when their work is done; just as we stroll in our parks. They sit about on classic marble, chatting & knitting; but they do not vulgarise the place as we Tourists must do; but rather make it human and familiar.

The people of Athens are, of course, no more Athenian than I am. They do not understand the Greek of the age of Pericles - when I speak it. Not are their features more classic than their speech: the Turk and the Albanian & Franks - it seems- have produced a common type enough. It is dark and dusky, small of stature, & not very well grown. It is true that the streets are dignified by the presence of many rustics, in their Albanian dress; the men wear thick white coats, kilts, much pleated; & long gaiters. But this you may see written in a dozen guide books. I have seen no native women; & indeed you see very few women. The streets are crowded with men drinking & smoking in the open air, even, in the country, sleeping beneath the wall; but the women keep within. You generally see them leading children, or looking from an upper window, where, presumably, they work. But the mind has no difficulty in making brigands.

Like a shifting layer of sand these loosely composed tribes of many different peoples lie across Greece; calling themselves Greek indeed, but bearing the same kind of relation to the old Greek that their tongue does to his. For the language they talk is divided from the language that few of them can write as widely as that again is divided from the speech of Plato. The spoken language because it has not been fixed by grammar or spelling, twists itself afresh on each tongue. The peasants drop syllables, & slur vowels so that as proficient a speaker as Miss Noel could not undertake to write down the words that run so swiftly from her tongue. Nor could she read or write the Greek of the newspapers; & still less could she read the Greek of the Classics. So you must look upon Modern Greek as an impure nation of peasants, just as you must look upon the modern Greek as a nation of mongrel element & a rustic beside the classic speech of pure bred races.

(Virginia Woolf on Greece(1906) - in "Travels with Virginia Woolf". Edited by Jan Morris - The Hogarth Press London 1993, pp. 208 - 213)
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Old 12-14-2008, 02:30 AM   #2
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when western writers confirm what the wannabees want to hear they are lauded as unbiased experts when they write something unpallatable to the grecos they villify them and dismiss them as ignorant, what will they say to these amazing insights by virginia.

personally i am over historians interpretations of other historians view of the past. but i find travellogues describing the people in real time interesting and informative. a great find thank you som

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Old 12-14-2008, 02:11 PM   #3
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Nice one SoM

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Originally Posted by osiris View Post
lauded as unbiased experts when they write something unpallatable to the grecos they villify them and dismiss them as ignorant
Osiris, it is common thing for every nation to do such things, but the Grekos are the extremists.

It is only natural for tem to do this in a extreme, since their Ego was pumped up by the Westerners.

In reality, they are what Virginia said they are: " Nation of monglers and peasants"

Some more on it you can read here
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Old 12-14-2008, 03:28 PM   #4
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you must look upon the modern Greek as a nation of mongrel element
But I do.
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Wallachian shepherds........They are nomad people
Sounds like the Vlachs did not know how to stake a claim to land. They perhaps could be understood as guests as well.
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Old 12-15-2008, 01:06 AM   #5
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This Virginia found nothing shocking , she bumped into a group of Vlachs or Wallachian sheppards as she clearly states. In Athens she met Arvanites. Why you all cream your pants?
This Vlach and Arvanite card is futile, give it up.
Yes Vlachs and Arvanites have been Hellenized , the problem for you is they SELF IDENTIFY as Greeks. If this is some sort of shock for you and you cant understand why, go to Metsovo and ASK them why they self identify as Greeks. The fact remains they never made a majority in the land, all you gotta do is go check that ethnographic map , you know the one where you are labelled under the Slavic race and called by that other dreaded name (dont blame me , i didnt post it, the uchitel did). On that map , Vlachs and Arvanites are listed, but the majority are those people simply called Greeks!!
And if i can take a quote from something posted next door.
" In many of their colonies they rapidly assimilated the manners and customs and learned the language of thier Greek co-religionists."
(talking about Arvanites)
The customs and Lore of Modern Greece

Stop picking on Vlachs and Arvanites , its getting tiresome, work on Sarakatsani or Karagounides , time for something fresh.
Speaking of Vlachs, i heard that famous singer Kaliopi is a Vlahopula, i cant understand why Vlachs even in RoM give thier kids Greek names.
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Old 12-15-2008, 02:08 AM   #6
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Well done Ed.
Now where exactly were your people from again?
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Old 12-15-2008, 02:54 AM   #7
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This Vlach and Arvanite card is futile, give it up.
Meaning your origins are futile? Old news.
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...........to Metsovo and ASK them why they self identify as Greeks
You go to Metsovo and ask them what the name of their place means in Demotiki. What they 'self-identify' as after near 2 centuries of Hellenizing propaganda is irrelevant. The goats and sheep can eat grass from the same field, at the end of the day, goats go one way and the sheep another, katalaves bre tikvo? You exist as a product of a largely plastic nation that has a history of lying to the world and more importantly its own people.
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Speaking of Vlachs, i heard that famous singer Kaliopi is a Vlahopula, i cant understand why Vlachs even in RoM give thier kids Greek names.
What don't you understand son? This is a patriarchist remnant, nothing more. The Vlachs in Macedonia are quite good people from my own experiences, unlike their former 'Greek' "Co-religionists". And your buddy Brailsford, who is repeatedly used against the Macedonians, do you remember what he says about the 'Greeks' of Macedonia? Nearly ever 'Greek' in Macedonia is a Vlach to a tee? Or something to that effect? Perhaps you could give me the Russian translation.
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Old 12-15-2008, 02:58 AM   #8
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how do you interpret our posts as creaming our pants, do you have a dick fixation svoliani. i ll show you mine if you are desperate to see a dick
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Old 12-15-2008, 07:44 PM   #9
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Show me Brailsford quote if you can.
I believe he says north of Kastoria you cant find a Greek village.
Macedonia doesnt end in Lerin/Kostur/Voden.
I wish i could translate Vlach for you but its not possible, go ask Tose Proeskis people or Kaliopi lol cant get over that one , they might help you.

And dont worry about my origins, everything checks out according to that Ethnographic map your buddy posted. You know the one, where you dont even come close to making a majority in the region

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Old 12-15-2008, 07:54 PM   #10
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And dont worry about my origins, everything checks out according to that Ethnographic map your buddy posted. You know the one, where you dont even come close to making a majority in the region
Did the map include Russia?
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