Kornaros 1553 - 1614 (61)

Of all the gracious things upon this earth, It is fair words that have the greatest worth,



Vitsentzos is the poet’s name and his family’s Kornaros
He might have no sins when his death arrives
In Sitia he was born, in Sitia he was brought up
And there he wrote the verses you read
At Kastro he got married as nature it demands
And God will decide where he will die

Vitsentzos Kornaros (1553-1614) was a Cretan poet, one of the influential figures in the course of Greek poetry. The son of an aristocrat, he was born near Sitia, Crete in 1553. Around 1580, when he married, he went to live in Candia (now Heraklion). He had two daughters named Helen and Katerina and in 1591 he was an administrator; during the outbreak of plague from 1591 to 1593 he worked as a sanitary supervisor. He showed interest in literature and was a member of a literary group called “Academy of the Strange Ones” which was founded by his brother.

He is famous for his masterpiece “Erotokritos” a romance poem of 10,012 fifteen-syllable rhymed verses, about the trials and tribulations of two young lovers, Erotokritos and Aretousa. The work was very popular and circulated in manuscript form throughout the 17th and 18th century. It remains a popular work to this day, due to the music that accompanies it when it is publicly recited. Several groups of renowned Cretan and Greek musicians have added selected parts of the poem to their music, often exploring the boundaries of their local musical tradition.

Vitsentzos died in1614, just before his contemporaries, William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes.