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06 March 1978
1/1978
Commemorative Issue

Cypriot poets

Cyprus
This issue commemorates 2 important and well known poets of Cyprus. Demetrios Libertis (1866-1937) and Vasilis Michaelides (1849-1917)

Demetrios Libertis (1866-1937)  

Demetrios Libertis (1866-1937)

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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.

Vasilis Michaelides (1849-1917)  

Vasilis Michaelides (1849-1917)

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Vasilis Michaelides was born at Lefkoniko in the district of Famagusta where he received his primary education. In 1862 he went to Nicosia to study at the Greek Secondary School, the Headmaster of which was his uncle Kyprianos. Because of his love for painting he also attended lessons in art. At the same time the Greek poet Vizyinos came to Cyprus and after becoming friends they often had mutual poetical competitions for their own entertainment. When his uncle Kyprianos became the Bishop of Kition he sent him to Italy to study painting. Michaelides left Italy in 1897 and went to Greece where he enlisted as a volunteer in the Greek army and during that unfortunate war he received a bullet wound. During his treatment in the military hospital he took the opportunity to acquire a good knowledge of pharmacology. On his return to Limassol he was appointed as a foreman in the hospital, but having developed the habit of drinking he was dismissed from his position and ended his days in the municipal Home for the poor.

Vasilis Michaelides was the most distinguished Cypriot poet of his time. His poems were published in 1911 by Christodoulos Hourmouzios son of Stylianos Hourmouzios editor of the newspaper "Salpinx". Among his poems the best known are "The Ninth of July 1821" for which he won the title of the national bard of Cyprus; "Chiotissa in Lirnassol"; and" Anerada" (Fairy) all of which are written in the Cypriot dialect.

The French Hellenist Phileas Lebesque commenting on Michaelides' poetry, wrote "he succeeded with great delicacy to interpret the Cypriot feeling as he has managed to combine his dreams with the passion of his poetry". Michaelides wrote also satirical poetry, which Lebesque described as "equivalent to Aristophanian works".

Between January and April 1888 he published the "Devil" a monthly satirical paper.

Source: Department of Postal Services, Republic of Cyprus.

Official First Day Covers

Official FDC Cypriot poets

Technical Information

Designer: A. Ioannides
Size: 31 x 43.5 mm
Quantities:
M150: 349968
M40: 325421
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