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Photo of a cobbled street of Istanbul with the characteristic square stones.

The road with the square stones

Two literary treasures/ Implications and thoughts

“The uglier a man’s legs are, the better he plays golf- it’s almost a law”.

H. G. Wells

In this section we quote two texts of literary interest. The first is part of a book written by the author Dimitris Economidis. The book is entitled “the road with square stones” and contains an anthology of texts that prove the writing talent of Economides.
The author, being himself originally from Asia Minor, conveys to the reader images and memories that were lost in oblivion. The title of the book is probably inspired by the characteristic way that the Asia Minor peoples formed the narrow streets (known as “kalderim” or “sokak”), using beautifully carved square stones. The cover image, after all, confirms our hypothesis

One of his chapters is titled Panagis Coutalianos and naturally, it is the chapter we are publishing below. This well-written text is not a systematic biography of the athlete, but a reference to what was said and heard about his action.

The second text is a short vignette, entitled “the Tatavla” and was published in the “Athina” newspaper on October 4, 1908. The talented writer, wishing to remain anonymous, signs as “K”.

Tatavla is the name of a district of Constantinople (today’s Kurtulus /NW Constantinople ), which, before 1922, was inhabited exclusively by Greek-speaking populations. This text is related to the revolutionary temperament of the inhabitants of this city. Their city looked like a small independent state in the heart of the capital of the Ottoman state. The descriptions are related to the time in which Coutalianos lived and acted, so the reader can form an opinion about the social and political conditions that prevailed at that time. Of interest is a sentence which we have highlighted in yellow. This sentence mentions that the Sultan had issued a relevant order through which he expressly forbade the unruly inhabitants of Tatavla to engage in gymnastics.

This particular Sultan was none other than Abdul Hamid. It was this Sultan before whom Coutalianos was called to fight. It was also this Sultan, who by his own order confiscated the cannons and the rest of the gymnastic instruments, which Coutalianos carried around from city to city of the Ottoman Empire, as he used them for the demonstrations of his power. Apparently the Sultan had understood the value of gymnastic exercises and the relevance that a man’s training can have to the formation of his character. Naturally, then, the ruler of such a regime would wish to exercise only his instruments of repression and not those possessed by revolutionary thoughts, such as the Greek-speaking subjects of the empire, the “Rumlar” as they are called in Turkey.

Τhe cover of the book.
Τhe logo of the newspaper “Athina”. October 4, 1908.

Τhe adventurous music of “tangerine dream” always accompanies us on the endless journeys we take with our time-machine into the past….
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