Demetrios Libertis (1866-1937):
Libertis was born at Larnaca where he received his primary education. Thereafter he attended the Greek Secondary School at Limassol. Afterwards he was sent to Greece by his uncle Bishop Meletios of Kitian to study literature and theology. In addition he studied foreign languages, English, French and Italian in Beirut and music in Italy. On his return to Cyprus he worked in various Government Departments and was later employed as a teacher of English and French at the Pancyprian Gymnasium and the English School Nicosia.
Libertis was born a poet. After publishing two collections in the katharevousa (puristic) and the modern Greek (demotiki) language he turned to the Cypriot dialect which was more suitable for the expression of his inspirations. He published the four volumes of the "Cypriot Songs" (poems), which were highly appreciated in Cyprus, Greece and abroad.
If Michaelides was the national bard of Cyprus, Libertis was the poet, who expressed perfectly the soul of Cyprus. Phileas Lebesque praised him; the French magazine "Mercure de France" wrote that the whole Cypriot life is found in the "Cypriot Songs"; Jean Ricard called him the new Theocritos; and the Hellenist Louis Roussel wrote, inter-alia, that "Libertis often reminds us of Theognis. He is an Hellene in heart who remains particularly Cypriot. The unity of the Greek way of thinking is astonishing".
The "Cypriot Songs" have been greatly loved and the complete collection of the poems "Apanta" of Libertis have appeared in several editions after his death. What is of importance is that Libertis' poetry has deeply influenced the popular poets as well who stopped being merely descriptive any more and they themselves became the exponents of the feelings of the people.
Source: Department of Postal Services, Republic of Cyprus.