Yiannis Vlassopoulos

I include here the curriculum vitae of Yiannis Vlassopoulos from the back cover of his book: Odysseas, a Ship from Ithaca, 1837-1841, (in Greek), Melissa Books, Athens 1992 ISBN 960-204-009-2.

Yiannis Vlassopoulos was born in 1925, in London. Both of his parents, then residing in England, were descended from established seafaring families from the island of Ithaca. Even as a child Yiannis was exposed to sea yarns about ships and his beloved island, "Thiaki."

Following the economic crisis of 1930, the family returned to Ithaca where Yiannis attended grade school. During the summers–for the duration of the school vacations– he and his brother accompanied their father on his travels by sea in the Mediterranean and Black Seas.

In this way, from a very early age Yiannis tasted the sea and relived those sea stories that even today we delight to hear from the mouths of those who live on the sea. As a boy he always had in hand either a book of sea stories or a pen knife with which he carved boats–often a model of a ship, sometimes of a caïque of the type he knew in Ithaka.

In his teens Yiannis lived in Athens, where WW II and the subsequent German occupation overetook him. During this time, as was the case for all living then in Athens, he was exposed to deprivation and famine. After the war, Yiannis and his brother Nikos returned to London. There he worked energetically in the family-owned shipping office, the work he continues to this day.

His interest in ships and the naval history of Greece, especially of Ithaca, remains undiminished. He is an avid reader of every book about the sea that falls into his hands, and there is very little that he does not know about old ships. Naval research is the passion he pursues meticulously and insistently.

It was a unique find when he stumbled on the logbook of the Odysseas. The next ten years were devoted to its study, following and researching its minutest details. The first decades after the Greek War of Independence of 1821 is a period about which very little has been authenticated regarding the lives of mariners, their ships, their voyages, their language and its idioms. This book and its glossary fill the gap.

Paris Kalios (Πάρις Κάλλιος)

Translation Vasilis Riginos