So close no matter how far


It all started from music
It all started from music. Well, everything starts form music according to some philosophers but in this case it was a revelation to me. It was not until I first listened to Enya's and then to Loreena McKennit's CD's that I realized that music is beyond geographical borders and facts perhaps forgotten in History have forever left their trail of existence in it.

I have always aspired the Hellenic culture throughout its long History and perhaps I should dare say that as for sounds and music I have... an ear! It is easy for me to distinguish similarities between musical patterns that practically belong to different kinds of music and I am one of those who spoil the magic when listening to a newly released song from well-known artists; "Hey! That's exactly the same with a traditional song from...." And that's what happened with the artists mentioned in my introduction.

Not with all their music tracks of course, but mainly with those including bag-pipes and rhythm that makes you tap the toe, not to say immediately dance. This music just sounded so very familiar! In fact, it reminded me of the folk culture in northern Greece, where bag-pipes (slightly different from the Celtic ones) and drums that coordinate with the heart beat, play a leading role in their music tradition.

Some years later I had another cultural surprise. It was when one of the artistic Slaine comic books came to my awareness and my reading. I was then deeply impressed not only by the fantastic art work but also, and perhaps mostly in this case, by the story and deeds of this barbarian hero. Anyone familiar with Slaine knows that his stories and adventures are based on the Celtic mythology and thus, reading this comic series gives you, apart from pleasure, a great deal of insight of the Celtic culture. But to me it was more than that!...

I can't remember exactly which issue of the series it was (so many years have gone by since then), but I clearly remember it was mentioned that a King had to be slain by his own people after twelve years in order to prevent his possible corruption due to his long leadership. And that was a law! A strict and inviolable law that even the King could not break. Therefore, it took great courage, nobility and majesty to ascend to the royal status, knowing from the beginning that kingship lasted only for twelve years inevitably ending in this fatal way...

But that reminded me of something I knew form my one History and culture! It was in ancient Sparta that a law, similar in strictness and cruelty, was also established. A law that even the King could not break. No one should bear or carry weapons or arms in the Council and anyone not conforming to this rule, had to face death. Laws were so sacred and above human compassion, that once happened that the King himself had to take his own life with own weapon when it was found that he still carried his sword while present at the Council. He had simply forgotten to remove it before entering the Hall, but still that made no exception for him. If the law was to continue to be sacred, it had to be served by absolutely everyone!

I was so thrilled with this cultural similarity, nearly the same attitude towards law and life, that I decided to make a small research on Celtic History to learn more about these fascinating people. And guess what I discovered!... Historically speaking, the Celts had passed from what today is northern Greece and spent many long years there before moving to Ireland and North Britain (and not only, of course)! Amazing, really, for that explained a lot on the similarities between our cultures, which I just happened to come across and notice.

Also, mythologically speaking this time, it is said that Hellenes and Celts kept a good relationship and long-distant alliance for many centuries, thus exchanging many cultural and philosophical ideas. Rumours have it that it was due to Druidical knowledge of herbs and medicine that Hippocrates established his Medicine, while many Hellenic philosophers travelled to the Celtic regions, leaving there their knowledge of the world. To take it even further, it is also said that the Tuatha de Dannan derive from the Scythes, a Hellenic, warrior-tribe of the North.

Another "hellenicism" perhaps? I' m not sure, but language has to say something on this. The Sons of Danu, Dannan, sound so much like similar to Danaoi, one the first names that the Hellenes were known as, mentioned throughout Homer's Illiad. Coincidence? Perhaps. The fact remains that even today Greeks and Irish people laugh at the same jokes, love good food and good company, believe in things higher above this reality, love travelling, fancy listening to strange stories, love dancing and singing, respect Mother Earth... should I go on?

There is no lie left unrevealed by Music, Language and Mythology. Take a journey back and perhaps you discover too that borders are only fixed in our minds...

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