A statue in Athens representing Greece hugging Byron, Source: Depositphotos

The Greek town where Lord Byron died honours his legacy

The Greek town where Lord Byron died honours his legacy

On this day 200 years ago, the great poet lost his life in the Balkan country where he had gone to fight for its liberty

Few of you have probably heard of Messolonghi (or Missolonghi) – a town in Western Greece featuring a large lagoon. It’s one part of the Mediterranean country that tourists have somehow overlooked, yet this town holds a special place in the heart of every Greek for its heroic stance during the Greek War of Liberation fought against the Ottoman Empire. This event at the time drew a lot of attention from Western intellectuals, among them none other than Lord Byron – the famous Romantic English poet.

It was precisely in Messolonghi that Byron met his demise on 19 April 1824, or 200 years ago today. Although he went there to support the Greek war effort with money and ready to lead a battle himself, the poet succumbed to fever three months after arriving in the town, which robbed him of the chance to participate in more glorious events.

Nevertheless, his genius and importance were recognized already in his time and now two centuries after his death he is one of the few foreigners to be revered as a national hero in Greece. Some reports indicate that when the Greeks sent his body to England to be buried, they kept his heart in Messolonghi.

Byron honoured with an opera premiere in Messolonghi

Thus, it is no wonder that the administration of Messolonghi has decided to honour the sacred legacy of the great poet with a cultural programme on the anniversary of his death today.

During the day, the city is offering residents and visitors the chance to look at several exhibitions dedicated to different aspects of Byron’s life.

In the evening, at 5:30 pm (local time), arias from the Opera "The Last Days of Byron" will be presented in a world premiere commissioned by the Institute of Digital Archeology of the University of Oxford.

This will be followed by arias from Giuseppe Verdi's Opera "II Corsaro" based on Byron's poem The Corsair (1814).



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