- Project Runeberg -  Armenia and the Near East /
27

(1928) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen - Tema: Russia
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seafarers on account of its changing currents and winds,
became at an early date a place of sacrifice to Poseidon, the
god of the sea, and afterwards also to Athene, the goddess
of the land.

Our course lay between the southern end of Eubœa and
the island of Andros, towards the Dardanelles. Far to the
north was the island of Skyros, where Thetis hid her son
Achilles disguised as a young girl among the daughters of
Lykomedes.

With its mountains and valleys, and its numerous bays,
headlands, and islands, Greece, as well as the west coast of
Asia Minor, has a certain resemblance to Norway. But in
this case it is not the glaciers of the ice ages that have chiselled
out the land, but other forces of nature—water and the fires
of the underworld, rivers and volcanoes; and consequently
the surface formations are different. But it was the long
indented coast with its wealth of harbours, and the numerous
islands, that made the Greeks of old into bold seafarers and
clever traders, capable of founding flourishing colonies and
creating a highly developed culture.

In the afternoon I made the acquaintance of two Swiss
business men on board, who were going to Constantinople
to buy Oriental carpets. They were accompanied by an expert
in this trade—a Jew from Constantinople whom they had
met at Zurich. But they had begun to entertain misgivings
about him. It appeared that he had left Constantinople after
the town was occupied by the Allies, and that he had only
a passport issued by their authorities. But this was not
recognized by the Turks, and Turkish subjects who had left
without a Turkish passport were not allowed to return—at
any rate, if they were not Turks. The Jew had not said a word
about all this when the journey was being arranged. Now he
was getting more and more nervous as we approached our
destination; indeed, he seemed on the verge of tears. However,
he pulled himself together: it would be all right, he had
his father and mother and brothers and sisters in Constantinople,
and the Turkish authorities would never be so harsh
as to refuse him permission to land and visit his parents,
whom he had not seen for several years.

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