- Project Runeberg -  Armenia and the Near East /
16

(1928) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen - Tema: Russia
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nymphs through the tangled thickets. But even now, if
you land on these islands, there are doubtless shady spots
where a homeless wanderer can stop and rest.

To the east the fairway goes on to Corinth. Just ahead of
us, on the north side of the entrance, are the Oxia Islands,
where the naval battle of Lepanto took place on October 6,
1571, and the Turkish fleet of 250 galleys was defeated by
the Venetian-Spanish fleet. Two hundred Turkish ships
were destroyed, and the author of Don Quixote, who took
part in the engagement, lost his left hand. Farther on, in the
bay behind, is Missolongi, with its memories of the heroic
defence from 1822 to 1826 in the Greek war of liberation, and
of the author of Don Juan, whose heart is buried there. One
is haunted by the picture of that ghastly night, the 22nd of
April, 1826, when at least nine thousand combatants, women
and children, sallied forth against the Turkish lines and only
1,500 fought their way through, the rest being cut down or
blown up by the powder magazines fired by themselves.
This is Greece—the isles of Greece of which Byron sang:

Eternal summer gilds them yet,
But all, except their sun, is set.

That was true once, but times change. The Turkish
oppressors are gone. New generations, new possibilities,
new disappointments, new hopes have followed; but what
they will lead to in the future, no one can tell. So the world
goes on.

We steer southwards inside Zakynthos (Zante), which
Homer called “rich in woods,” an epithet no longer
appropriate. Inland from the coast to the east hes the land of
Arcadia, where Fortune was said to dwell—but very, very
far away. Farther to the south at the foot of the mountainous
coast is the Bay of Navarino, the ancient Pylos, memorable
for one of the bloodiest naval battles in history, which was
fought on October 20, 1827, and decided the Greek war of
liberation. In the course of a few hours the whole Turkish
fleet, consisting of 120 warships and transports, was destroyed
by the Anglo-French-Russian fleet under Admiral Codrington.

In the evening we passed south of the land. Far in there,

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