On this day 26 October 1957, Nikos Kazantzakis passes away

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screen-shot-2016-10-26-at-11-17-03-amNikos Kazantzakis  was born on 18 February 1883 and died 26 October 1957, at the age of 74.

One of the most important Greek writers, poets and philosophers of the 20th century, he was born in Iraklion, Crete. In 1906 he graduated from the Athens Law School and continued his studies in Paris (1907-1909). During the Balkan Wars he fought as a volunteer in the Greek Army. After the Wars he travelled to many European and Asian countries, publishing travelogues from his trips.

Kazantzakis, was as much more a philosopher (if not more so) than a writer and was influenced by the writings of Nietzsche and Bergson, and the philosophies of Christianity, Marxism and Buddhism.

Universally recognised as a giant of modern Greek literature, Kazantzakis was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in Literature on nine different occasions.

He became famous, during the last years of his life- during that time he published, among others, Zorba the Greek (Vios kai politeia tou Alexi Zorba), The Last Temptation of Christ (O teleftaios peirasmos), Freedom and Death (O Kapetan Mihalis), The Greek Passion (O Hristos ksanastavronetai : Christ is Recrucified ), and his autobiography Report to Greco (Anafora ston Greco). His book, The Last Temptation of Christ, was considered quite controversial when first published in 1955, and prompted angry reactions from both the Roman Catholic Church and the Greek Orthodox Church.

On 28th of June 1956, in Vienna, he was awarded the International Peace Award. He died in 1957 in Germany and is buried on one of the bastions of the Venetian fort surrounding Iraklion.

In the Historical Museum of Crete there is a room devoted to Nikos Kazantzakis. His desk, library, some of his personal belongings as well as manuscripts of many of his works are displayed. There is also a complete museum dedicated to Kazantzakis life and work- Nikos Kazantzakis Museum in Myrtia.

The international airport of Heraklion is also named after Nikos Kazantzakis.

"Δεν ελπίζω τίποτα, δεν φοβάμαι τίποτα, είμαι λεύτερος" translating to "I hope for nothing, I fear nothing, I am free" is one of Kazantzakis most famous quotes that is universally known.

GCT Team

This article was researched and written by a GCT team member.