Costa Vertzayias and Billy Cotsis. Two renowned supporters of Hellenism, tireless campaigners of maintaining the Greek language and culture, and successful authors.
Individually, they come with an impressive resume of career highlights and achievements in their chosen fields. Vertzayias, a stalwart of SAE, an Order of Australia recipient and a successful lawyer. Cotsis, a film-maker of many short films including the recent documentary, Lesvos Fall in Love, which has been winning awards and accolades around the world, a history buff who has visited over 50 countries and documented his experiences.
As a duo, they are a powerful presence, mesmerising audiences with their facts and figures and the passion for Hellenic history that seeps out of their pores.
After delivering a lecture titled ‘Surviving and Extinct Greek Communities Worldwide’ earlier in the year as part of the Greek Festival in Sydney, they are back for a not to be missed encore presentation where they will regale attendees with their experiences visiting key communities in Magna Graecia, Northern Epirus, Syria, Asia Minor/Turkey, Ukraine, Armenia, Romania, Pontus and Corsica.
“Our hope is that people can learn how far the footprint of Hellenism spread; how far our culture and language has influenced the people of the Mediterranean,” says Cotsis. “The Hellenic communities of the Mediterranean, Black Sea, Ukraine, Asia, Balkans, have survived natural disasters, invasion, occupation and dwindling numbers to remain a visible and powerful symbol of Hellenic history and civilisation.”
“Some of these communities only became extinct in the last century, while others survive to this day, with many of their inhabitants speaking dialects of Greek and maintaining differing aspects of Hellenic culture,” says Cotsis. “We must never forget how the Hellenes were able to reach and in many cases directly rule vast territories far beyond the Greek heartland.”
This free lecture will be taking place tonight at 7pm at the Greek Bilingual Bookshop on 837 New Canterbury Rd, Dulwich Hill, Sydney.
Some of Cotsis’ titles will be available for purchase. Proceeds from these book sales will go towards his new film project about the Greeks in Magna Graecia, set to start shooting in Italy in 2018.