Tag Archives: Digenis Akritas

Erotokritos

The spread of literacy and education among the urban population of Crete, the organized network of the book trade (most books at this time were printed in Venice), the availability of the cultural goods of western Europe and the growth of private libraries, particularly those built up by the wealthy bourgeoisie and nobility who had studied in Italy (primarily Padua and Ferrara), were the key components of the cultural and intellectual life of Crete from the mid sixteenth century onwards.

The foundation of a number of academies (The Academy of the Vivi in Rethymnon in 1561, of the Stravaganti in Candia in 1590, and of the Sterili in Chania in c. 1630) based on Italian models was the result of the Cretans’ first-hand experience of the cultural and intellectual life of Italian cities and their desire to recreate something of this life in their homeland. During the last century of Venetian rule in Crete the society of the island attained a confidence and maturity such it had never seen before. Continue reading Erotokritos