Famous people

Ioannis Kondylakis



Ioannis Kondylakis was born in the village of Ano Viannos in 1861. When he was five years old, he and his family came to Piraeus as fugitives after the 1866 rebellion. He went to school in the Varvakeio School in Athens and was later enrolled in the Faculty of Arts.




For financial reasons he had to break off his studies and accept a job as a teacher in a Cretan village, but one year later he gave notice and went to Chania to concentrate on his literary activities.


In Chania he wrote for the newspaper "Amyna", but his patriotic articles infuriated the Turkish authorities to such an extent that he had to flee to Athens.


Here he wrote articles in the newspapers "Estia", "Asty", "Skrip" and "Embros" under various pseudonyms. Later he used solely the pseudonym Diavatis (The passer-by).


His journalist career lasted for 25 years, and he became furthermore the first president of the Union of Editors. He died in Iraklion in 1920.


Kondylakis was a brilliant journalist and is also considered to be the founder of feature writing in Greece. He was a proponent of the erudite written language Katharevousa, which he also used in his books except for the dialogue, where he let his characters speak the Cretan dialect. He wrote books about Crete and also the following imaginative literature:


"Διηγήματα" (Short Stories) (1884), "Πατούχας" (Patouchas) (1892), "Οι άθλιοι των Αθηνών" (The Miserables of Athens) (1895), "Όταν ήμουν δάσκαλος και άλλα διάφορα διηγήματα" (When I Was a Teacher and Other Short Stories) (1916),"Ενώ διάβαινα" (While I Was Passing By) (1916), "Η πρώτη αγάπη" (The First Love) (1919).


One hundred years after his birth, his complete works were published in two volumes in 1961.


In his books Kondylakis describes life in the Cretan villages and portrays his main characters vividly and with a lot of humour. Some of his short stories are descriptions of his own life (When I Was a Teacher) and several of the characters in this book are real people.


A bust of Kondylakis is set up in the square of Ano Viannos, and the folklore museum of the village has furthermore a small exhibition about his life and career.




The folklore museum


 The Kondylakis exhibition