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CANA IS TAKING BACK THRACE FOR HELLENISM
For Immediate Release: November 24, 2008
NEW YORK—The Cyprus Action Network of America (CANA) is distributing articles and opinions by our grass roots activists, reflecting the
movement of young Hellenic-Americans that are inspired in building a new dawn of enlightened and assertive Hellenism that will challenge the
institutional revisionism of our opponents in all spheres of political life for all lands that belong to Hellenes—Cyprus, Macedonia, Pontos and Thrace.
The issues of false historical revisionism and the methodical attempts to diminish the Hellenic identity have been addressed by CANA in press
releases, action alerts and public actions over the past year of our activism across America. Today, we bring attention to the issue of Thrace; this
issue is particularly timely, with reports that ancient Thracian cultural relics are presently being unearthed in the Balkans, testifying to the epic history
of the Hellenes. Ioannis Fidanakis has presented an analytical paper titled “The Quest for Orpheus” which encapsulates the current state of
Thracian historical inquiry, and proposes a solution of peace for the Thracian Hellenic people in regards to false claims by Bulgaria.
Ioannis Fidanakis is the current President of Panthracian Union of America “Orpheus”. He holds the honor of being the youngest elected official for
any Hellenic Organization in the tri-state area and most possibility the whole country. Ioannis has a BA in Political Science; with a concentration in
International Politics and a minor in History. He is currently pursuing his Masters in Public Policy. Ioannis' father's family comes from the small
village of Sofiko, Evros. His mother's family, from Bloomfield, New Jersey.
The article “In Search of Orpheus” By Ioannis Fidanakis follows below, directly followed by a news report on the subject titled “1,800 Year Old Chariot
Unearthed in Bulgaria” carried by major world news wires on November, 21, 2008.
In Search of Orpheus
By Ioannis Fidanakis
The Slavization of Hellenic history, mythology, and identity is no longer a phenomenon that only threatens Alexander the Great and Macedonia. It has
now materialized to threaten the legacy of Thracian Hellenism. A silent and seemingly unanswered push for the Slavization of ancient Thracian
history is taking place today. This revisionist assault on the Hellenic identity has oddly enough gone ‘overlooked’ by the Hellenic establishment. Are
Thrace and its rich legacy that easily disguarded? Where anyone looks, whether it is American television like the History Channel or the Internet with
You Tube, Bulgarian claims on Thrace go unanswered by Hellenism. Their most recent claim, that the Thracian Orpheus is not Hellenic makes one
wonder how far they are willing to go to disassociate Thrace from the ancient Hellenic world.
Who was Orpheus?
Historically speaking, Orpheus was a prophet, religious reformer, and martyr. Legend claims he was born in the Rhodope Mountains of Thrace, and
was the King of the Cicones tribe. He was the son of King Oeagrus and the muse Calliope. Orpheus was known to have learned to play the lyre from
the God Apollo and his skill was known to be able to charm man and beast. He took part in the quest for the Golden Fleece, traveling with Jason and
the Argonauts, and even saved them from Sirens with his lyre.
Orpheus was the ancient world’s Romeo, and his Juliet was the nymph Eurydice. While fleeing the son of Apollo, Eurydice ran across a nest of
snakes, which fatally wounded her on her heel. Heartbroken and distraught by the lost of his love, Orpheus began to play the saddest songs, which
caused all the nymphs and gods to weep. Unable to live without his wife, Orpheus bravely traveled to the underworld and with the aid of his lyre he
persuaded Hades to allow Eurydice to return to earth on one condition. A condition that was so simple that Orpheus failed to heed Hades’ words.
Unable to keep his eyes off his love, Eurydice, he did the one thing he was forbidden to do until they reached the surface. He turned around to look
upon his wife, only to see her fade away from him forever.
Orphism, a religious movement which bears Orpheus’ name is a reformed practice of Dionysianism. It appears to be more intellectual and
controlled, compared to Dionysianism, while still seeking immortality through divinity. In Orphic theology, the body was seen as an evil thing, while
the soul was divine and immortal. “In its first analysis, therefore, the Orphic process of salvation was a process of purification from bodily taint. The
problem, however, was not such a simple one as these words would indicate. It was not merely from the evils of a single existence that the Orphic
sought deliverance, but from the evils of a long series of bodily existences. The Orphic first, and the Pythagorean later, believed in the transmigration
of souls from body to body. On leaving the corpse at death, the soul was normally doomed to inhabit the bodies of other men or of animals even,
passing on through a chain of physical existences until finally purified. (1)” A known example of ones devotion to Orphism was the Orphic way of life.
This entailed followers practicing vegetarianism, abstention from sex, and refraining from eating eggs and beans.
In recent years, Bulgaria has begun to open its eyes and hearts to the ancient civilization that is Thrace. We have witnesses a growing support within
the Bulgarian establishment to learn more about this ancient culture and people that once flourished within the Balkans. However, as this wonderful
thirst for knowledge is beginning, there are those within the Bulgarian establishment, which hope to twist history to help their country’s current
status. What we are witnessesing is the Slavization of the ancient Thracian civilization to help benefit the current Slavo-Turkic nation of Bulgaria.
In 2005, Bulgaria for the first time began to show outrage, that Hellas was using an ancient Hellenic hero in one of its newest advertising
campaigns. Until recently Bulgarian knew nothing of the ancient kingdom that its modern nation now rests upon. However, with recent
archaeological finds, Bulgaria has begun to claim the entire ancient Thracian civilization was their own. "Orpheus lived in Bulgaria," Prof Nikolay
Ovcharov, a Bulgarian archaeologist, said. "Greeks say he was Greek, but it's not true, that is simply Greek nationalism. (2)” At the time, Alexandra
Christopoulou of Athens’s National Archaeological Museum, answered this attack on the Hellenic national identity saying, "Nations claim Greek
heroes all the time…It happened with Alexander the Great and now with Orpheus. Bulgaria did not even exist at the time. (3)”
In 2007, Bulgaria introduced its new tourist promotion in Switzerland, and could anyone be surprised who the face of this new promotion was?
Orpheus, the Hellenic hero, who only two years earlier Bulgaria had shown so much outraged for Hellas’s attempt to use him in the same manner.
Now Bulgaria has used his memory into their new tourism ad, using the motto, "Bulgaria - the sacred land of Orpheus (4)”
Hellenism now finds itself at a very historical cross-road. We have before us three paths. The first being the most unpatriotic, leading us to
revisionist injustice towards our ancestors. The second, a path which will only lead us to a new “Thracian Question”, which would mirror our current
struggle with Skopje. The last path before us is one of a higher choice. A choice that some may even claim revolutionary. Rather than fighting to
prevent the Bulgarianization of Thracian heritage, we should be working to use Bulgaria’s Thracian past to de-Bulgarianize its people. There should
be cooperation between professors and archaeologist, with Hellenic teachers and archaeologist going to Bulgaria to teach of the Hellenic character
of Thrace. All in hopes of setting free the enslaved Thracian identity within Bulgaria. This eye opening path could lead to the Re-Hellenization of
Northern Thrace. The disappearance of Slavic linguistical domination and perhaps even the end of the continued Bulgar identity. Whichever path the
Hellenic establishment will decide to travel, we can only sit back and watch. However, does the current elitist leadership have the right to choose this
path or does the collective will of Hellenism hold the right to such a decision?
1. CHAPTER IV, ORPHIC REFORM
2. Quetteville, Harry de, “Bulgarians rage over ‘Orpheus and liars’, Athens, 07/03/2005
3. Quetteville, Harry de, “Bulgarians rage over ‘Orpheus and liars’, Athens, 07/03/2005
4. Orpheus Promotes Bulgaria in Switzerland, 25 October 2007
“1,800 Year Old Chariot Unearthed in Bulgaria”
SOFIA, Bulgaria — Archaeologists have unearthed an elaborately decorated 1,800-year-old chariot sheathed in bronze at an ancient Thracian tomb
in southeastern Bulgaria, the head of the excavation said Friday. "The lavishly ornamented four-wheel chariot dates back to the end of the second
century A.D.," Veselin Ignatov told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from the site, near the southeastern village of Karanovo.
But he said archaeologists were struggling to keep up with looters, who often ransack ancient sites before the experts can get to them.
The bronze-plated wooden chariot is decorated with scenes from Thracian mythology, including figures of a jumping panther and the carving of a
mythological animal with the body of a panther and the tail of a dolphin, Ignatov said.
He said the chariot, with wheels measuring 1.2 meters (four feet) across, was found during excavations in a funerary mound that archaeologists
believe was the grave of a wealthy Thracian aristocrat, as he was buried along with his belongings.
The team also unearthed well-preserved wooden and leather objects, some of which the archaeologists believe were horse harnesses. The
remains of horses were uncovered nearby.
In August, excavations at another ancient Thracian tomb in the same region revealed another four-wheel chariot. Daniela Agre, a senior
archaeologist at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, had said at the time that it was the first time a completely preserved chariot had been found in
Bulgaria. She said previous excavations had only unearthed single parts of chariots _ often because ancient sites had been looted.
Some 10,000 Thracian mounds _ part of them covering monumental stone tombs _ are scattered across the country.
Ignatov said up to 90 percent of the tombs in the region have been completely or partially destroyed by treasure hunters who smuggle the most
precious objects abroad.
He said the country's Culture Ministry granted euro10,000 ($12,500) for the excavation.
"The money is badly needed because we are in an uneven race with looters who are often better equipped than our teams," he said.
First mentioned in Homer's "Iliad" as allies of Troy, the Thracians were an Indo-European nomadic people who settled in the central Balkans around
5,000 years ago. They were conquered by Rome in the 1st century, and were assimilated by invading Slav peoples in the 6th century. They had no
written language, and so left no records.
Fierce warriors and horse-breeders, the Thracians were also skilled goldsmiths. They established a powerful kingdom in the 5th century B.C. Its
capital was thought to be Seutopolis, whose ancient ruins lie under a large artificial lake near Shipka, in an area dubbed "the Bulgarian Valley of
Kings" for its many rich tombs.
For more information contact: Ioannis Fidanakis, Tel: 1-973-464-0211
Cyprus Action Network of America (CANA) , www.cyprusactionnetwork.org
Cyprus Action Network of America (CANA)
2578 Broadway #132
New York, NY 10025
New York: Tel. 917-699-9935