"Mani- earth of rock and sun, plain but beautiful, hard but sensitive..."
Mani is a collection of villages resting on the cliffs of Southern Peloponnese. The delicate houses fill the arid slopes, and melt into the Aegean Sea, bestowing the place a certain wild, but relaxing atmosphere. As one of the most unchanged and original places in Greece, Mani is brimming with history, from the dangerous Maniot pirates, and the stand against the Ottomans, to the historic vendettas that tore families apart.
The latest population count showed that Mani is currently inhabited by more that 20,000 permanent citizens and still fighting the fact that it is very hardly approached. There are no airports at a convenient distance from the village, and the roads are rough. These facts have been contibuting to the village's originality, its maintenance of certain customs and traditions unique only to Mani, and of specific character traits.
The Maniots are in general a rough, and hard-working population, with darker skin and characteristics than most Greeks. They have never been conquered, not even by the Ottomans, and one of their most outstanding traits is their ability to survive. Even when the village was raged with the deadly vendetta between the Stefanopolous and the Medikous the Maniots still found a way to survive and progress.
This outstanding, picturesque village and the survival of its people are what inspired this digital portofolio.
"Most great people have attained their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest failure." - Napoleon Bonaparte
Napoleon Bonaparte was probably one of the most inspirational, strategic figures that have ever lived on earthy soil. From a rebel, to a commander, to a dictator, to a ruler, to an invador, to a conquerer, to an outcast, Napoleon was an outstanding personality with an outstanding life for which words are purely not enough.
He was born and raised in Corsica, in 1769, from his father Carlo Buenaparte. He developed into a wealthy, educated man, with an achieved dream of becoming a military officer in France. When though his father died, Napoleon returned to Corsica and met the famous revolutionary Pasquale Paoli. He fought hith Paoli against the French occupation of Corsica, but very soon Napoleon's alliances changed. During his years in Corsica, the French Revolution was rising to full scale, with much of the royalty and nobility being murdered, and the city of Paris falling into the hands of the rebels. Napoleon at that point chose to return to his country and, joining a revolutionary group, defeated the British in a vital battle. In 1796, he was officially in charge of the French Army and power flooded into his hands. Successively victorious battles turned Napoleon into a national hero, and as the initial french government started to fail, he slipped into even more control. Forming a new government, called the Consulate, Napoleon became the official dictator of France. He made a considerable attempt to maintain peace with Europe, but he was soon forced into an all out, invading war with Britain and the rest of the European countries. He started invading Europe gradually and successfully, with a building opposition. By 1811, he was controlling a large part of Europe, to Russia's borders. But then Napoleon Bonaparte made a fatal mistake, which cost him his empire: He invaded Russia. Eventually he returned to Europe, defeated and then exiled to the Island of Elba, in 1814. One year later he made an impressive comeback from exile into the famous battle of Waterloo, only to be become again an outcast on a different island. He died on his exile island, Saint Helena, six years later, in 1821.
Napoleon Bonaparte's origin has been considered for a long time to be purely French, but when facts are reexamined a very real possibility of Napoleon being part-Greek appears. A possibility that this great general is very closely linked to the Greek Maniot of Mani, and to maybe the families of many Greeks today. (Including me!)
That possibility is the one that I aim to explain and eventually prove through this portfolio. Enjoy!