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Whenever I am anywhere near Salonica, this place gets a lot of money out of me, and I have to work out how to mail a whole lot of books back to Australia:
The Educational Institute of the National Bank of Greece: Μορφωτικό Ίδρυμα Εθνικής Τράπεζας (MIET). A heavy hitter as an academic publisher in its own right, and a treasury of academic publications in Greek in general.
There is an Athens bookshop and a Salonica bookshop. The Athens bookshop is central, but on a side-street; the Salonica shop is as central as central can be, on the corner of Venizelos St and Tzimiski St (the latter now the major shopping street of Salonica), so it is impossible to miss…
I am toning it down this time around, as I’m not truly getting to read that much any more. So I only bought a handful of books this time around.
(Why yes, that is just a handful. You should have seen last time I was here.)
But one of the books I did make a point of picking up was
“The ingenious nobleman Don Kishotis of Mantsa. The first known Greek translation.”
This is the ca. 1720 translation, which is the very last text sampled in the Cambridge Grammar of Early Modern Greek (which is the first I’d heard of it). The work was translated via Italian, and it is early enough for the title to be rendered in 17th. rather than 19th century Spanish, as the norm was for later translations.
So Κισότης not Κιχώτης (Kis[h]otis not Kikhotis).
It’s another of the many texts of the period edited by Prof George Kechagioglou, and its preface… is as argumentative as you would expect of Kechagioglou…
This is not a book I bought, but which did give me pause nonetheless.
It’s a simple book spine, with three words in ancient accentuation. Euripides. Alcestis. Jacob.
The Jacob is Daniel Jakob, or if you prefer Daniil Iakov (1947–2014), classics professor at Salonica U. He taught my cousin Irene, among many others. Euripides’ play Alcestis was his special interest, and this is his translation and commentary of the play.
Salonica used to be a Jewish town. Jakob is the only Jew I have met here (born in Veria, down the road), and I met him only once. I remember him kind the way absent minded professors often are, doting towards his young daughter, and (as a classicist rather than as a Jew) grateful to Germany for how he had been welcomed there professionally.
The message the book spine is sending is not one many Jews would welcome, and they would have good reason to mistrust it. But Daniel Jakob himself, I suspect, would.
The message the book spine is sending is that Euripides and Jakob are countrymen. They belong in the same, Ancient Greek font.
… Incidentally, seeing that made me go check online, whatever became of Daniel Jakob’s daughter, who I last saw on his knee in a Salonica cakeshop, close to 30 years ago.
She’s donated her dad’s archives to MIET, the academic publisher.
She’s written in a fanzine about a contemporary poet.
… And she’s got a YouTube channel of her accomplishments in UFC boxing, and relevant nutritional advice for boxers.
Did not see that coming!