100 Centuries at Sea
The relationship that the inhabitants οf Greece -a peninsula with fifteen thousand kilometres οf indented coastline, surrounded by some six thousand islands- share with the sea resembles the voyage οf Odysseus, who"Wand'ring from clime to clime, observant stray'd, Their manners noted, and their states survey'd ...". Because, for the last one hundred centuries, Greek seafarers, explorers and traders setting forth from their coastal settlements or island communities, have forged inviolable links with the watery element. Cosmopolitanism became a definitive component οf Hellenism, as oared, sailing, steam and diesel-powered ships linked, over time and through their routes, small seas with vast oceans and familiar places with distant parts. Ιη recent times, Greek-owned ships formed the world's largest fleet and established shipping as a mainstay οf the economic life and national identity οf Greece.
Ιn the endeavour to preserve, study and promote Greek maritime history and tradition -which our museum has been actively pursuing for over twenty years, with the Aegean, the cradle οf seafaring, as its base- we decided to sketch the course οf Greek shipping from its beginnings to the present day. The result is the book "100 Centuries at sea", in the writing οf which our guide was not so much the duration and significance οf each historical age as those events and developments that set their seal οn the sector οf navigation and shipbuilding in the particular period. Our aim was to present the uninterrupted continuity οf our maritime tradition -even in the most adverse circumstances -in a concise and comprehensible manner, so that readers οf all ages might have the opportunity to acquire a complete picture οf Greek nautical history and, so, come to love the sea and those associated with her.
Enjoy the journey!
(Katerina Charitatos, President of the Board of Directors of the Aegean Maritime Museum)
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