emperor byzantium
emperor byzantium

Mihalis Troupakis Mourtzinos, one of the leaders of the fight for independence from Turkish rule in 1821, claimed to be a descendant of the last Emperor of Byzantium, and lived in Old Kardamili. Patrick Leigh Fermor, in his book Mani, wrote of discovering a descendant of this man, whose name was Evstratios, and of a morning spent talking with him and finishing a bottle of ouzo. When we were there we met a lovely man who had a shop selling herbs and oils and mountain tea, and we discovered he was the son of the man with whom Paddy had spent that ouzo-coloured morning ... and here he is, the Emperor of Byzantium!

When PLF first meets Evstratios he is " ... sitting in his doorway weaving, out of split cane and string, a huge globular fish-trap more complex than any compass design or abstract composition ... the airy sphere turned and shifted in his skilful brown fingers with a dazzling interplay of symmetrical parabolas."





And this is Evstratios with a couple of the baskets. The photograph was taken by Joan, PLF's wife and was used in the first edition of Mani.

























I didn't see any of these fish-traps in Kardamyli but in Samos I did see the man below making a large one just the same. This one is made of wire and still astonishingly complex. It's impossible to my eyes to know how the man can weave such a perfect and beautiful shape from such an apparent tangle of wires.

emperor byzantium

Mihalis Troupakis Mourtzinos, one of the leaders of the fight for independence from Turkish rule in 1821, claimed to be a descendant of the last Emperor of Byzantium, and lived in Old Kardamili. Patrick Leigh Fermor, in his book Mani, wrote of discovering a descendant of this man, whose name was Evstratios, and of a morning spent talking with him and finishing a bottle of ouzo. When we were there we met a lovely man who had a shop selling herbs and oils and mountain tea, and we discovered he was the son of the man with whom Paddy had spent that ouzo-coloured morning ... and here he is, the Emperor of Byzantium!

When PLF first meets Evstratios he is " ... sitting in his doorway weaving, out of split cane and string, a huge globular fish-trap more complex than any compass design or abstract composition ... the airy sphere turned and shifted in his skilful brown fingers with a dazzling interplay of symmetrical parabolas."





And this is Evstratios with a couple of the baskets. The photograph was taken by Joan, PLF's wife and was used in the first edition of Mani.

























I didn't see any of these fish-traps in Kardamyli but in Samos I did see the man below making a large one just the same. This one is made of wire and still astonishingly complex. It's impossible to my eyes to know how the man can weave such a perfect and beautiful shape from such an apparent tangle of wires.