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Marisa De Castro , Mark Weinstein

Let’s go to Nafplio! Short City Guides [Πάμε στο Ναύπλιο]

YEAR: 2009

COUNTRY: Greece

Cateogry icon

Title of the work

Let’s go to Nafplio! Short City Guides [Πάμε στο Ναύπλιο]

Country of the First Edition

Original Language

Greek

First Edition Date

2009

ISBN

978-960-484-212-4

Genre

Guidebook
Picture books

Target Audience

Children (target reader: 6+)

Cover

Missing cover

We are still trying to obtain permission for posting the original cover.


Author of the Entry:

Katerina Volioti, University of Roehampton, Katerina.Volioti@roehampton.ac.uk

Peer-reviewer of the Entry:

Susan Deacy, University of Roehampton, s.deacy@roehampton.ac.uk 

Elżbieta Olechowska, University of Warsaw, elzbieta.olechowska@gmail.com

Female portrait

Marisa De Castro , b. 1953
(Author)

Marisa De Castro was born in Athens and was educated at the Sorbonne, Paris. De Castro, who has worked as a primary-school teacher, has written a large number of children’s books, mostly about art history and archaeology.


Sources: 

Profile at the epbooks.gr (accessed: July 3, 2018).

Profile at the metaixmio.gr (accessed: July 3, 2018).


Bio prepared by Katerina Volioti, University of Roehampton, Katerina.Volioti@roehampton.ac.uk


Male portrait

Mark Weinstein (Illustrator)

Mark Weinstein is an American writer and illustrator who has been living in Greece since 1997.


Source:

Profile at the EP Books website (accessed: April 17, 2018).


Bio prepared by Katerina Volioti, University of Roehampton, Katerina.Volioti@roehampton.ac.uk


Translation

Published in English in 2011 after a Greek version in 2009. Soft-bound pocket-sized booklet, measuring 14 x 21 cm in width and length respectively and weighing 75 grams only. Target reader: 6+

Published in English (translated from Greek by Karen Bohrer).


Summary

The book starts with an illustration of a typical nuclear family in a car, mother and father at the front (with dad behind the wheel), and daughter and son at the back. The red-blond hair for mother and son could imply that this is a family of foreign visitors to Greece, who drive to Nafplio from other Greek cities. Subsequently, we see a simplified map of the Peloponnese and southern central Greece, dotted with places of interest, such as the Corinth Canal. Nemea is marked with a drawing of a man, presumably Herakles, combating a lion. Antiquities dominate visually in this map, as sketches of ruins appear for Acrocorinth, Athens, Mycenae, Tiryns and Argos. 

Decastro (also De Castro) covers Nafplio’s ancient, but also Venetian, Bavarian, and Turkish heritage. 

The book closes with sketch drawings and text about Nafplio’s key sights that children may have seen during their visit. Places of interest include the natural environment too, such as a good beach at Karathona. At the very end, the author looks beyond Nafplio, at Mycenean Tiryns, potentially pointing to a deep (and mythological) past.  

The English, offered by translator Karen Bohrer, is easy to follow, making the text accessible to young children.

Analysis

In this short city guide, the author blends magnificently mythological and historical information. Also of interest is the multi-ethnic focus on cultural heritage that supplements the Greekness of mythology. Decastro is to be commended for providing context to Nafplio’s sights, and for striking a balance between ancient and modern narratives from myth, archaeology and history. We read about Nafplio’s monuments and history from the deep past, including its mythological roots, but also from more recent times given the city’s role in early 19th -century politics.

Children and other readers come to realise that a trip to Nafplio is a journey back in time. It comes as no surprise, therefore, to read about the Nafplio’s mythological beginnings in the opening pages. Nafplio, we read, is named after Nauplius, who was Poseidon’s and Anymone’s son and “a great navigator”. Decastro mentions the Great Bear and its salience in seafaring, and asks children to draw what Nauplius looked like. It is possible that children will draw an ancient figure and stars. Decastro appears to use a reference to Greek mythology to spark children’s imagination. Perhaps some more details from the myth may have been desirable. We could have read that Anymone was King Danaos’ daughter and that Poseidon produced a spring of fresh water with his trident at the spot where he met Anymone, thus appreciating the myth’s local relevance*.

General knowledge is offered here. We learn that “gods and mythical figures” gave their names to various cities, and children are encouraged to think about Athens and Alexandria(s). Athena’s and Alexander’s heads show their respective identifying attributes. Horns emerge from Alexander’s blond and unruly hair, which is typical of his portraiture on coinage. Athena wears her helmet, as known from various media and most commonly from sculpture and vase painting. Athena’s exaggerated and seemingly red lipstick-covered lips could allude also to modern stereotypes of female beauty, rendering Athena even more familiar to young children. 

Subsequently, we read about Nafplio’s Venetian castle, “the Palamidi”, which was presumably named after Palamedes. Once again, we make a journey back in time to Palamedes from Greek mythology, who was Nauplius’ son and “invented the letter Y of the alphabet”. Mark Weinstein, the illustrator, has done a superb job to represent the mythical invention in real life. Weinstein shows Palamedes as sculptor (and as a generic bearded Greek) in the act of working stone into a “Y”. Children are encouraged to visualise Palamedes, a mythological character who, unlike Poseidon and Athena, is little known. 

The Bastion of the Five Brothers, which is located on another medieval castle, offers yet another opportunity for the author to refer to Greek antiquity, to great men from military history (Themistocles, Miltiades, Epaminondas, Phocion, and Leonidas) and from mythology (Achilles). Weinstein’s drawings here show four bearded generals (and it may be difficult to tell who is who). By contrast, Achilles, who is depicted without a beard and ginger-blond, has a childish face that children are likely to identify with.

From page 14 onwards, De Castro presents Nafplio’s medieval and 19th-century history and architecture. In learning about urban planning, squares and key buildings, children are encouraged to make comparisons with Athens and Italian towns, and to consider the long biographies of buildings. The Old Mosque, for example, served as parliament, school, jail, law court, and cultural centre, before housing Nafplio’s Archaeological Museum. In an attempt to emphasise Nafplio’s multi-ethnic heritage, to which Greek and non-Greek readerscan relate to, De Castro mentions the Turkish public baths and the involvement of the British, the French, and the Russians in the Battle of Navarino. Recent archaeological scholarship has also focused on the Ottoman legacy of Greece**. 

Towards the end of the book, we see Palamedes’ name again, since Nafplio’s public library is named after him. The main purpose here is to learn about the present (i.e., what is visible and functional today) and the recent past, and about Greeks and non-Greeks. Children are asked, for example, to come up with Lord Byron’s name, for the English poet who died at Messolonghi. In learning about key historical figures from street names, children need to divide names into ancient and modern history. 



* For the myth, see, for example, Ρούσσος, 1986: 128. Ρούσσος, Ε. Ν. 1986. ‘Άλλα παιδιά του Ποσειδώνα’, in Ι. Θ. Κακριδής (ed.) Ελληνική Μυθολογία. Τόμος 2. Οι Θεοί: 127-30. Athens: Ekdotike Athenon.

** See for example Zarinebaf, Fariba, Bennet, John and Davis, Jack L., "A Historical and Economic Geography of Ottoman Greece," in Hesperia Supplement 34. Athens: American School of Classical Studies at Athens, 2005. See ascsa.edu.gr (accessed: August 3, 2018).

Further Reading

Information about the book at epbooks.gr, published in Greek 15 April 2009 (accessed: August 3, 2018).


Yellow cloud
Leaf pattern
Leaf pattern

Title of the work

Let’s go to Nafplio! Short City Guides [Πάμε στο Ναύπλιο]

Country of the First Edition

Original Language

Greek

First Edition Date

2009

ISBN

978-960-484-212-4

Genre

Guidebook
Picture books

Target Audience

Children (target reader: 6+)

Cover

Missing cover

We are still trying to obtain permission for posting the original cover.


Author of the Entry:

Katerina Volioti, University of Roehampton, Katerina.Volioti@roehampton.ac.uk

Peer-reviewer of the Entry:

Susan Deacy, University of Roehampton, s.deacy@roehampton.ac.uk 

Elżbieta Olechowska, University of Warsaw, elzbieta.olechowska@gmail.com

Female portrait

Marisa De Castro (Author)

Marisa De Castro was born in Athens and was educated at the Sorbonne, Paris. De Castro, who has worked as a primary-school teacher, has written a large number of children’s books, mostly about art history and archaeology.


Sources: 

Profile at the epbooks.gr (accessed: July 3, 2018).

Profile at the metaixmio.gr (accessed: July 3, 2018).


Bio prepared by Katerina Volioti, University of Roehampton, Katerina.Volioti@roehampton.ac.uk


Male portrait

Mark Weinstein (Illustrator)

Mark Weinstein is an American writer and illustrator who has been living in Greece since 1997.


Source:

Profile at the EP Books website (accessed: April 17, 2018).


Bio prepared by Katerina Volioti, University of Roehampton, Katerina.Volioti@roehampton.ac.uk


Translation

Published in English in 2011 after a Greek version in 2009. Soft-bound pocket-sized booklet, measuring 14 x 21 cm in width and length respectively and weighing 75 grams only. Target reader: 6+

Published in English (translated from Greek by Karen Bohrer).


Summary

The book starts with an illustration of a typical nuclear family in a car, mother and father at the front (with dad behind the wheel), and daughter and son at the back. The red-blond hair for mother and son could imply that this is a family of foreign visitors to Greece, who drive to Nafplio from other Greek cities. Subsequently, we see a simplified map of the Peloponnese and southern central Greece, dotted with places of interest, such as the Corinth Canal. Nemea is marked with a drawing of a man, presumably Herakles, combating a lion. Antiquities dominate visually in this map, as sketches of ruins appear for Acrocorinth, Athens, Mycenae, Tiryns and Argos. 

Decastro (also De Castro) covers Nafplio’s ancient, but also Venetian, Bavarian, and Turkish heritage. 

The book closes with sketch drawings and text about Nafplio’s key sights that children may have seen during their visit. Places of interest include the natural environment too, such as a good beach at Karathona. At the very end, the author looks beyond Nafplio, at Mycenean Tiryns, potentially pointing to a deep (and mythological) past.  

The English, offered by translator Karen Bohrer, is easy to follow, making the text accessible to young children.

Analysis

In this short city guide, the author blends magnificently mythological and historical information. Also of interest is the multi-ethnic focus on cultural heritage that supplements the Greekness of mythology. Decastro is to be commended for providing context to Nafplio’s sights, and for striking a balance between ancient and modern narratives from myth, archaeology and history. We read about Nafplio’s monuments and history from the deep past, including its mythological roots, but also from more recent times given the city’s role in early 19th -century politics.

Children and other readers come to realise that a trip to Nafplio is a journey back in time. It comes as no surprise, therefore, to read about the Nafplio’s mythological beginnings in the opening pages. Nafplio, we read, is named after Nauplius, who was Poseidon’s and Anymone’s son and “a great navigator”. Decastro mentions the Great Bear and its salience in seafaring, and asks children to draw what Nauplius looked like. It is possible that children will draw an ancient figure and stars. Decastro appears to use a reference to Greek mythology to spark children’s imagination. Perhaps some more details from the myth may have been desirable. We could have read that Anymone was King Danaos’ daughter and that Poseidon produced a spring of fresh water with his trident at the spot where he met Anymone, thus appreciating the myth’s local relevance*.

General knowledge is offered here. We learn that “gods and mythical figures” gave their names to various cities, and children are encouraged to think about Athens and Alexandria(s). Athena’s and Alexander’s heads show their respective identifying attributes. Horns emerge from Alexander’s blond and unruly hair, which is typical of his portraiture on coinage. Athena wears her helmet, as known from various media and most commonly from sculpture and vase painting. Athena’s exaggerated and seemingly red lipstick-covered lips could allude also to modern stereotypes of female beauty, rendering Athena even more familiar to young children. 

Subsequently, we read about Nafplio’s Venetian castle, “the Palamidi”, which was presumably named after Palamedes. Once again, we make a journey back in time to Palamedes from Greek mythology, who was Nauplius’ son and “invented the letter Y of the alphabet”. Mark Weinstein, the illustrator, has done a superb job to represent the mythical invention in real life. Weinstein shows Palamedes as sculptor (and as a generic bearded Greek) in the act of working stone into a “Y”. Children are encouraged to visualise Palamedes, a mythological character who, unlike Poseidon and Athena, is little known. 

The Bastion of the Five Brothers, which is located on another medieval castle, offers yet another opportunity for the author to refer to Greek antiquity, to great men from military history (Themistocles, Miltiades, Epaminondas, Phocion, and Leonidas) and from mythology (Achilles). Weinstein’s drawings here show four bearded generals (and it may be difficult to tell who is who). By contrast, Achilles, who is depicted without a beard and ginger-blond, has a childish face that children are likely to identify with.

From page 14 onwards, De Castro presents Nafplio’s medieval and 19th-century history and architecture. In learning about urban planning, squares and key buildings, children are encouraged to make comparisons with Athens and Italian towns, and to consider the long biographies of buildings. The Old Mosque, for example, served as parliament, school, jail, law court, and cultural centre, before housing Nafplio’s Archaeological Museum. In an attempt to emphasise Nafplio’s multi-ethnic heritage, to which Greek and non-Greek readerscan relate to, De Castro mentions the Turkish public baths and the involvement of the British, the French, and the Russians in the Battle of Navarino. Recent archaeological scholarship has also focused on the Ottoman legacy of Greece**. 

Towards the end of the book, we see Palamedes’ name again, since Nafplio’s public library is named after him. The main purpose here is to learn about the present (i.e., what is visible and functional today) and the recent past, and about Greeks and non-Greeks. Children are asked, for example, to come up with Lord Byron’s name, for the English poet who died at Messolonghi. In learning about key historical figures from street names, children need to divide names into ancient and modern history. 



* For the myth, see, for example, Ρούσσος, 1986: 128. Ρούσσος, Ε. Ν. 1986. ‘Άλλα παιδιά του Ποσειδώνα’, in Ι. Θ. Κακριδής (ed.) Ελληνική Μυθολογία. Τόμος 2. Οι Θεοί: 127-30. Athens: Ekdotike Athenon.

** See for example Zarinebaf, Fariba, Bennet, John and Davis, Jack L., "A Historical and Economic Geography of Ottoman Greece," in Hesperia Supplement 34. Athens: American School of Classical Studies at Athens, 2005. See ascsa.edu.gr (accessed: August 3, 2018).

Further Reading

Information about the book at epbooks.gr, published in Greek 15 April 2009 (accessed: August 3, 2018).


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