Illustrious Native Sons and Daughters from Antiquity to the Present Day
One of the seven elders of antiquity, Pittacus was the elected tyrant of the island in the 8th-7th c. BC. He managed to stabilized the oligarchy and consolidate it on the island.
“Prudent men look ahead and anticipate adversity but wise men are able to confront it.”
Sappho of Eresus
Many scholars consider Sappho to be the most important lyric poet of all times. Her progressive upbringing and advanced education was remarkable for a woman of her day. She lived a vigourous life and traveled as far as Sicily. Politically active, she was even banished for a period. Sappho maintained a school in Mytilene that was attended by some 100 female pupils from all the flourishing Hellenic cities. From what we know of Sappho’s life, we can surmise that women enjoyed extensive freedoms and rights in Lesvos.
Theophrastus, Philosopher of Eresus
The 4th c. BC philosopher Theophrastus of Eresus was Aristotle’s successor as head of his Peripatetic School in Athens, a post he held for many decades. Aristotle himself lived on the island for at least two years and they were both invited to Macedonia by Phillip to educate his son, Alexander [the Great].
The naïf painter Theophilos (1873-1934) was born and spent his childhood in Vareia, a beautiful place that he loved dearly and depicted extensively in his paintings. A restless dreamer, Theophilos traveled from Smyrna (Izmir) on the Turkish coast to the Pelion peninsula on the east coast of mainland Greece and the inland city of Larissa, returning to Mytilene for good in 1926. There he was discovered by the celebrated art critic/publisher Stratis Eleftheriadis-Tériade, who literally removed him from obscurity by organizing a stunning exhibition of his paintings in Paris. Several of these paintings are currently displayed in the Louvre.
Stratis Eleftheriadis-Tériade was born in May, 1897, in Mytilene and died in October, 1983, in Paris. At the age of 18 he left Lesvos for Paris, where he studied law. But his great love was always painting and he soon became an art critic. He collaborated extensively with the established publishers of his day. His articles on art in various periodicals, books and newspapers gained him worldwide recognition.