(Taken from Facebook Oriol Marrero, counselor of the Embassy of Cuba in Greece)
SIXTH part: publication of the Camaguey newspaper ADELANTE on, Martí and “lo Grecia.”
‘With Camagüey, Santa Cruz del Sur and La Jagua in the heart’ (Camagüey is a province of Cuba, Santa Cruz del Sur one of its municipalities and La Jagua one of its towns –my town–) I thank ADELANTE newspaper, from the province of Camagüey, and particularly to the journalist Enrique Atienzar, the honor – which I do not think I deserve – of publishing in its digital edition of January 27, 2021, a recent interview about the book Martí “and the Greek”, to the author , on the occasion of the 168th anniversary of the birth of José Martí.
I reproduce the interview in question, solely because José Martí, his life, his work and his struggle, belong to all Cubans, and also to those outside of Cuba who love, admire and recognize in his work a source of inspiration.
And it also belongs to the millions of people around the world who love the heroic example of Cuba that fought, fights and will always fight, with determination, for its sovereignty and independence, with humanism, solidarity, respect and peace.
Another reason is that the material published by the Camagüey newspaper Adelante contains some information about this modest work, which has already been translated into Greek, and is in the final phase of editing the style in that language, carrying out certain and logical accuracies on ancient names of Greek sites, of geographical boundaries, regions, rivers and lakes, sometimes 25-30 centuries ago.
For example, the edge of the Thermopylae Gorge in the Kalídromo mountain massif quoted by Martí in 1889, in the approximately 26 centuries between 480 BC – when the great battle between Greeks and Persians took place – and the In 2021, it has “run” about 8 kilometers towards the northern Evoic Gulf, motivated above all by the effect of the sedimentation of the rivers, particularly the Spercheios River. Although this will have nothing to do with what happened in the battle, its meaning, or with the Marti references to it, if it has to do with the exact place where it happened, which is closely related to the graphic chapter of the work .
Another example: José Martí translated about the existence of Lake Copaide, in Boeotia, about the fish catches there and the food sources of the Greeks, but Lake Copaide was dissected many centuries ago, it does not exist today, there are only sown where before there was said lake, on which Martí translated Mahaffy from English into British for the Appleton House in New York at the beginning of the 80s of the 19th century. This, in the same way, has no connection with some issues, but with others.
When he spoke of Corinth and the Peloponnese, would Martí get to know that between 1881 and 1893 the construction of the Corinth Canal was underway, inaugurated in July 1893 and that joined the Aegean and Ionian Seas, of which he spoke in his Works? Did Martí know that his admired archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann, whom he quotes several times, was in Cuba while Martí was alive?.
Schliemann, who was the discoverer of the ruins of Troy, and one of the most prominent discoverers of the Mycenaean civilization, a polis linked to the most important mythological cycle of the Greeks -according to the epics of Homer-, was in Cuba.
Martí says that the aforementioned archaeologist relied heavily on the works of Homer to make his excavations, and that “he gave three glasses of brandy to a miller who was a friend to drink, every time he did the mercy of reciting a piece of Homer”.
Martí even built an original parallelism between the Iliad and Don Quixote de la Mancha, in the context of the treatment of the Schliemann-Troy correlation, an aspect that he addressed together with Mycenae and the archaeological investigations that were being carried out there by the German, on which Martí would write in the Latin American and North American press, then, a quote from Martí:
“Schliemann fell in love with Troya, like Don Alonso Quijano with Dulcinea; And by the way, this approach of Don Quixote to the Iliad does not come out of the way, because if the hidalgo attacked in the vicinity of Tordesillas against the rams that seemed to him vile and enemy people, and a furious Ajax, in more remote times, had given a bad death to the herds of his camp, in the belief that he was taking the life out of the body of his rival Ulysses and the captains of the army ”(end of quote).
Then, time is needed because it is about “trails” to be walked responsibly slowly.
But challenges are passionate because, without a doubt, chances are sometimes that pinch of salt that spreads certain stories and facts.
Is there any evidence that José Martí got to know that his admired – important and renowned archaeologist, neither more nor less than the discoverer of ancient Troy, but also a German merchant – Heinrich Schliemann had business in Cuba, and that he visited Cuba on a business trip, which took place in Martí’s lifetime?
It seems established that Schliemann visited Cuba in January 1886, in which it was considered “without dispute, the visit of the most notable scientific personage who has visited this Island since Humboldt.”
In Havana he toured the San Alejandro Academy of Fine Arts and the Royal Economic Society of Friends of the Country. In both places “he was received with enthusiasm, his findings were recognized and his presence constituted a significant spur for archaeological investigations”, but as stated before, his trip was on business, as he had shares in the railroads of Havana .
That has been found, Martí speaks of Heinrich Schliemann eight times in his Complete Works, always associated with Greece, particularly with his investigations in Mycenae (the Mycenaean and Minoan civilizations are considered the two fundamental, foundational pillars of Greek civilization, and Martí talk about it).
But, as far as this work knows, there is no Martian mention – until now – of the visit of the German archaeologist to Cuba in 1886.
Did Martí know? Did Martí know about his business in Cuba? Did you know that he was in Cuba because he had interests in the railways of Havana, of which he was the founder, it is said? It seems difficult that, had he known, Martí would not have written in the press about Schliemann’s visit to Cuba.
And the fact that Martí was not physically in Cuba then would be perhaps irrelevant, just as when he wrote repeatedly and at length about Schliemann’s discoveries at Mycenae and Troy, he was not there either.
The Apostle of the Independence of Cuba spoke about some 80 sites in Greece, making unspeakable descriptions of many of them, such as Arcadia, or the Parthenon, or Greek sculpture and architecture (in Martí and “the Greeek” it also talks about his vision about the independence ties between Cuba and Greece).
But it is a fact that the closest Martí was to Grecia was about 2,400 kilometers (in a straight line), if taken from the Puerta de Alcalá, in Madrid, to the Parthenon, in Athens; or 2,150 kilometers if he takes it from Zaragoza, where he finished high school and went to university, to Athens.
Not to think about these distances by land. Both then and now, they are significant distances, saving time and advances in means of transport.
So it is a curiosity, and an enigma to unravel, the question “Schliemann in Cuba” in Marti’s journalism.
Reiterated thanks to Adelante.cu and Enrique Atiénzar for their interest in disseminating the links between Martí and “the Greek”, between Cuba and Greece, two sister nations.
Below will appear the links to Adelante’s publications on these topics, and also on consubstantial topics, made by other media such as Cubadebate or Revista Bohemia itself.
Repeated and deep gratitude to all the people who have read / commented on the modest publications on the photographic exhibitions “With Cuba in the heart” and “José Martí: with Greece in the heart”, as well as on the paintings exhibition “28 / UNO “in Mariel and Atenas, in tribute to the birth of José Martí, National Hero of Cuba.
The exhibitions made in Athens, Manama (Bahrain), Lefkada, and in the maximum security prison for women in Thebes have been referred to in different parts .
The series of publications, “Cuba: a country sponsor of world solidarity and humanism, respect for life and friendship, promoter of peace and cultural encounters among all the peoples of the world” will continue (always in overtime mode).
In the next, there will be talk about the exhibitions that took place in Trícala, Kalamata, Larissa, Trílofos, Tripoli, Crete, the House of Culture of the Balkans, in the Peloponnese, Ikaría, Olympia, the War Museum of Athens, the Center Laboral in New Smyrna, in Athens, and in the Syntagma and Acropolis Metro stations, where they have been on display for almost a year. THANK YOU once again to the Athens Metro.
http://www.adelante.cu/…/21242-desde-grecia… 28/09/2020 http://bohemia.cu/…/cubano-escala-el-monte-olimpo…/ 11/09/2018