Maps often come with extras; a street index with a town plan, a distance table with a road map or just general tourist information for example but in what is a first for us we’ve just catalogued a map which has a musical score, complete with lyrics and scales.
Chartēs tēs nēsoy Ikarias is a map of the island of Ikaria, in the North Aegean. According to legend the island gets its name from Icarus, who fell into the sea near the island after the wax holding his wings together melted when he flew too close to the sun. The island is actually called Icarus on some old maps, like this example from Richard Kiepert’s ‘Karte von Kleinasien’ (D30 (76))
The map has been created by Georgios Nik. Poulianos, a teacher in the coastal village of Eydilos and includes a text box describing how in July 1912 Ikaria rebelled against Ottoman rule and for 5 months declared itself an independent nation, with its own flag, stamps and anthem, and it’s this anthem, written by K.A. Pashou, that appears on the map.
With so much of our maps of Greece and Greek Islands being either modern tourist maps or Allied and Axis mapping from the Second World War it’s good to have something to counter that. From the song to the link with a brief attempt at independence to the cartographer being a local school teacher this map is both a fascinating glimpse into life on Ikaria and an example of the pride that the Islanders had in their recent history.
With thanks to Greek colleagues in our Admissions Department for help with this blog.