Page 127. " mastery of Greece with the help of German allies "
by hector
The Acropolis under German Occupation
Public DomainThe Acropolis under German Occupation

Despite a considerable numerical advantage, the Italian army failed in its attempt to invade Greece from Albania.   German forces attacked from Bulgaria on the 6th of April, 1941, with support from artillery and bombers.   Despite courageous opposition from Greek and British Commonwealth forces, their advance was swift and efficient, and they reached Athens on the 27th of April.   The Battle of Greece  was known to the Germans as Operation Marita. 


Page 130. " This desolate ghost concealed the soul and body of the man she had loved "
by hector
Odysseus and Penelope
Public DomainOdysseus and Penelope - Credit: Francesco Primaticcio

The return of Mandras as a filthy beggar has a clear parallel in the story of Odysseus, who journeyed for 10 years before reaching his home after the end of the Trojan War.   Odysseus, who some say came from Cephallonia, disguised himself as a beggar until he could overcome the suitors pursuing his wife, Penelope.   Penelope's delaying tactic, endlessly stitching and unstitching a burial shroud for Laertes, has a further parallel in the wedding blanket that Pelagia never quite finishes.  

The Odyssey on Book Drum

Page 132. " The Lausanne settlement "
by hector

Greek-Turkish Exchange
Public DomainGreek-Turkish Exchange
The "Convention Concerning the Exchange of Greek and Turkish Populations", signed in Lausanne in 1923, saw two million people forcibly expelled from their homes.  In his next book, Birds without Wings, Louis de Bernieres describes the impact of the settlement, which imposed a mass migration on the Muslims of Greece and the Christians of Turkey.  

The Convention document

Page 137. " Scars, inflamed pits, and scarlet patterns "
by hector
GNU Free Documentation LicenseFavus - Credit: Paul La Porte
Betes Rouges
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeBetes Rouges - Credit: Slturis, Wikimedia Commons

  Favus, from the Latin for honeycomb, is a chronic fungal disease of the scalp, resulting in encrustations and hair loss.  It is caused by the fungus Trichophyton schoenleinii .  Once widespread, it is now easily curable and has been eliminated from most parts of the world.








Crab Lice
GNU Free Documentation LicenseCrab Lice - Credit: SOA-AIDS Amsterdam

 Body lice are insects and betes rouges (chiggers) are mites.  Both cause itching in humans and can transmit disease. 


Public DomainScabies - Credit: Michael Geary

 Scabies is caused by a mite ( Sarcoptes scabiei ), and is characterised by superficial burrows and intense itching (scabere means "to scratch" in Latin).  Crab lice and fleas are parasitic insects that feed on blood.  Crab lice are typically found around the genitals. 






Public DomainPityriasis
Public DomainEczema - Credit: Jambula, Wikimedia Commons

  Pityriasis is the flaking of skin. 

  Eczema is the inflammation of the epidermis, leading to rashes, swelling and blistering.


Page 147. " The famous open letter to Hitler "
by hector

Georgios Vlachos was a Greek lawyer and publisher:

If called upon, the army of Greece, whatever it is that remains free, will stand in Thrace they way it stood in Epirus. It will fight in Thrace as it did in Epirus. It will fight hard. It will die. And it will await the return from Berlin of the runner who came here five years ago and took with him the flame from Olympia, only to return with a torch to light a fire that threatens this land which may be small but is also great. This land that taught the world to live will now teach it how to die.

The Complete Letter

Page 148. " We don't know what to think about the British "
by hector
Monument to the British Administration in Argostoli
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeMonument to the British Administration in Argostoli - Credit: Christos Vittoratos

Britain took Cephallonia from France in 1809, during the Napoleonic Wars.  Together with Cerigo, Ithaca, Zante, Santa Maura, Paxo and Corfu, in 1815 it became part of the United States of Ionia.  The islands remained under British protection until 1863 when they were ceded to Greece.


United States of the Ionian Islands
Public DomainUnited States of the Ionian Islands - Credit: Orange Tuesday, Wikimedia Commons

Lord Napier, who ruled Cephallonia as governor and is remembered kindly in local history, named his daughter Emily Kefalonia.