Evzone: my story
Here I am... Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Vaggelis, Giorgos, Dimosthenes, Grigoris, Vassilis, Giannis, Manolis, Periklis, Dimitris, Kostas, Eftichis, Nikos... But you can just call me Evzone.
Sounds a bit weird, doesn’t it? It is a little strange, I have to admit that. But I like it, because it has big history behind it. It comes from the ancient greek adverb “εὖ”, which means well, and the verb “ζώννυμι”, which means “to wear a belt”. In other words, evzone means
a man who wears his belt properly.
I am very proud of my name. And I have been “wearing” it for centuries: Homer was the first to use it in his poem “Ιliad” to characterize lightly armed soldiers (usually from upper social class), and in the “Hymns”, to talk about elegant women (with thin waist).
...Having so spoken, she took the child to her fragrant bosom,
in her immortal hands. And the mother [Metaneira] rejoiced in her mind.
And thus it came to pass that the splendid son of bright-minded Keleos,
Dêmophôn, who was born to well-girded Metaneira,
was nourished in the palace, and he grew up like a daimôn
not eating grain, not sucking from the breast. But Demeter
used to anoint him with ambrosia, as if he had been born of the goddess,
and she would breathe down her sweet breath on him as she held him to her bosom...
“Homeric Hymn to Demeter”
Later on, «evzone» was forgotten. The years passed, the stories changed. Then came the Turkish Occupation and brought new words along, such as «tsolias», who looks like me, but appearance is the only thing we have in common: «tsolias» in turkish means somebody who wears rugs ―from the turkish word çul (rug). It became popular probably because it was demeaning and descriptive at the same time: the traditional foustanela skirt men used to wear was made of many small pieces of fabric.
You do understand that after the Liberation, I couldn’t possibly keep this name! Then, some remembered the homeric «Evzone». The name was given to the members of the Royal Guard, founded in 1868. In the years that followed, the soldiers who do their service in the Presidential Guard are the only ones with the privilege to wear my clothes.
I chose these beautiful ouzo miniatures as a vehicle to meet you. They are easy to take along, even in your pocket and are filled with premium quality ouzo from Mytilene ―as a native Greek, I can’t help but love pleasures. Seeking pleasure -and not limited to food...- is part of my personality. That is why I intend to lend my looks to many products ―gogreek, the brand who hosts me, has many good ideas and I will be starring in most of them.
It was nice talking to you... If you want to be updated of my whereabouts, do drop by my place (www.gogreek.gr
). It is about to be totally renovated, but still, I always have interesting things to share with you.
Until we meet again,
Article by Haritomeni Voda, Journalist