Minister Nikos Dendias Commemorates Lord Byron's Legacy at Trinity College, Cambridge

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Nikos Dendias, the Minister of National Defence, participated in a solemn event held at Trinity College, University of Cambridge, on Friday, April 19, 2024, marking the 200th anniversary of Lord Byron's passing.

In his poignant address, Minister Dendias reflected on Lord Byron's profound connection with Greece and his pivotal role in the Greek War of Independence. Quoting from Byron's renowned work "The Isles of Greece," the Minister invoked the poet's enduring influence on Greek culture and national identity.

In his address, Minister Dendias stated the following:

“I am very glad to be here today. Allow me to say that, since my school days, I’ve been an admirer of Lord Byron and later on, as I grew older, of his poetry.

I was aware of his affiliation with Trinity College, but I also found out about a story concerning him, the College, and his dog, Boatswain.

The story goes as follows: He wanted to take his dog, whom he loved dearly, with him during his studies, but College rules did not allow it. His response was to return with a bird, which was not against rules.

But for us, Greeks, Lord Byron means much more. He was the most well-known philhellene and a professor of history. A friend of mine keeps telling me: On 19 April 2024 we lost Lord Byron, but it was clear that we gained our independence.

I remember the lines from a poem that is very well-known to us. ‘The isles of Greece’:

‘The mountains look at Marathon

And Marathon looks on the sea,

And musing there an hour alone,

I dream’d that Greece might still be free;

For standing on the Persians’ grave,

I could not deem myself a slave.’

His poems speak to the Greek soul and Greece remembers and honours Byron, always.

Thank you very much”.

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Accompanied by Deputy Minister of Culture Christos Dimas and His Eminence, Archbishop Nikitas of Thyateira and Great Britain, Minister Dendias laid a wreath at Lord Byron's statue at Trinity College, paying homage to the poet's enduring legacy.

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The commemorative ceremony, attended by guests including Professor Napoleon Katsos, the Master of Trinity College, and Ambassador of Greece to the United Kingdom, Ioannis Tsaousis, also featured addresses by Dame Sally Davies, and representatives from the Sacred City of Mesolonghi and the Society for Hellenism and Philhellenism.

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Expressing his admiration for Lord Byron and his enduring impact on Greek history, Minister Dendias underscored the poet's unwavering commitment to the cause of Greek independence, a sentiment deeply cherished by the Greek people.

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(Source: Hellenic Republic Ministry of Defence)

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