Vasilis Michailidis

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Vasilis Michailidis alternatively Michaelides or Michailides was a poet born in Lefkonoiko, Ammochostos province, Cyprus in 1849.

Michailidis initially studied art and painting, first in Larnaca and later in Naples, Italy. In 1877, he left for mainland Greece and fought in the uprising in Thessaly. He returned to Cyprus in 1878 as the British rule began and settled in Limassol. He then began writing poetry for various newspapers.

Michailidis wrote several poems in the Cypriot Dialect among them "Chiotissa", "Anerada" and the "Oraman tou Romiou" (The Greek man's dream). Arguably his most famous work is "The 9th of July 1821" a poem based on the execution of the Archbishop Kyprianos and the rest of Cypriot Orthodox Church leadership by the Ottoman rulers of the time.

Michailidis fell into poor health and poverty late in life, much of which was due to alcoholism. He finally died on December 18, 1917.

He is considered by many and is often referred to as the national poet of Cyprus.

The 9th of July 1821

Vasilis Michailidis wrote, many years after the fact, a poem to capture the dignity and bravery of Archbishop Kyprianos of Cyprus as he faced Ottoman ruler, Kucuk Mehmet, prior to his execution:

«Η ρωμιοσύνη εφ φυλή συνότζιαιρη του κόσμου
Κανένας εν ευρέθηκεν για να την ιξηλείψη
Κανένας, γιατί σιέπει την ‘που τα’άψη ο Θεός μου.
Σφάξε μας ούλους τζ’ ας γενεί το γαίμαμ μας αυλάτζιν,
Κάμε τον κόσμον ματζιελειόν τζαι τους ρωμιούς τραούλια,
Αμμά ‘ξερε πως ύλαντρον όντας κοπή καβάτζιν,
Τριγύρω του πετάσσουνται τρακόσια παραπούλια.
Το ’νιν ανταν να τρω τηγ γην τρώει τηγ γηθ θαρκέται,
Μα πάντα τζιείνον τρώεται τζαι τζιείνον καταλιέται.»