Poetry by Roger Weaver

About Paros, Greece


Paros, Greece

paros5.jpg Paros is known as the White Island for its marble, (preferred by sculptors of antiquity for its translucent quality), and for the white houses on the winding streets of its villages. Paroikia, the chief village, is famous for the poets who have lived there. Paros was a favorite of the modern poet Seferis, but the island's most famous poet is unquestionably Arkilokos, who lived in the middle of the seventh century before the Christian era. He is credited with inventing the iambic foot, a rhythm suitable to his skeptical, biting and (usually) bitter verse.

Paros Town
35 km (22 mi) west of Naxos town, 10 km (6 mi) southwest of Naousa.

paros4.jpg Paroikia is Paros island's largest village, with many antiquities, including an ancient temple to Demeter which the Venetians reconstructed into a lookout and battlement on the Kastro overlooking the harbor. Naoussa is about ten miles away, a fishing and tourist village. Paroikia's Ekatontapiliani Church of the Hundred Doors was built at the request of St. Helena, mother to St. Constantine, and is a church of Orthodox pilgrimage at Easter and on August 15 when the Dormition of the Virgin is celebrated, the Panaigia. Lefkes, a village inland from the sea, is known for its beautiful homes and attracts many artists. Across a narrow strait in the Aegean Sea opposite is the largest island in the Cyclades, Naxos, where Theseus supposedly abandoned Ariadne. The Golden Beach of Paros is known for its excellent conditions for sailboarding.

paros3.jpgThe Friends of the Library of Paros, a volunteer group I organized, blossomed finally into a fine library there. In the Spring of 2004 I was happy to discover that work began on it four years prior to then. The translation project of the Parian Chronicle, a pan-Hellenic history of Greece has been underwritten by the Greek Ministry of Culture in Athens. When I discovered it had not been translated into Modern Greek or English by the mid-1990's, I recruited the renowned scholar Apostolos Athanassakis to do the translation, and he tells me that despite his heavy load as head of Classics at the University of California Santa Barbara, the translation was underway as of July 2004. (-R.W. June 10. 2005)