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Thread: Christopher Columbus, Byzantine-Greek from Chios?

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    qnzkid711's Avatar Senator
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    Christophoros Columbus: A Byzantine Prince from Chios, Greece, by Ruth G. Durlacher-Wolper



    Cover of the book by Ruth G. Durlacher-Wolper.

    Over 500 years ago, Admiral Christophoros Columbus stepped upon the soil of San Salvador Island, Bahamas, in the New World, with the banner of the Royal Standard of Spain flying in all its glory. The captains of La Nina and La Pinta followed him off the La Santa Maria, carrying the banners of the Green Cross. Behind them came the weary crew -- men whose faith had weakened during the hard journey, but who had had their faith revived time and again by their dauntless leader, Christophoros Columbus: the Byzantine prince from Chios Island, Greece.

    Directed by wind and star and compass, across the unfathomable depths of uncharted waters, the courageous spirit of Columbus never failed. This historic landing -- the culmination of a vision that inspired the perseverance which characterized Columbus' efforts over 16 years, during which time he was scoffed at by the doubters, and denied patronage by the kings of Portugal, England, France, and Spain -- became a reality on 12 October 1492.

    Who was Columbus? Many theories have been expressed concerning the obscurity of his identity. Not wishing to deprive the countries that have claimed Columbus as their own, the author's new theory unveils the obscurity that has clouded the mystery of Columbus' early life before 1476. Her book answers the questions that have been asked for 500 years and more, and will provide -- it is hoped -- the inspiration for other investigators to continue to unravel the true facts concerning Columbus' identity.

    The reliance on two principle sources (though many others are also cited), written by persons who had actually seen Columbus' original Journal, are the main basis of the author's thesis. One is Columbus' second son Ferdinand -- who had sailed with his father -- whose life work was collecting books about Columbus for his extensive library, and who wrote The Fourth Voyage of Columbus, as well as The Life Of The Admiral, Christopher Columbus. The other was the famous Historia De Las Indies, by Bishop de las Casas -- who had also sailed with Columbus. These two sources, according to Durlacher-Wolper, are the most reliable because their authors had sailed with the great mariner, and knew him well. Columbus' son, Ferdinand, was known to have complained repeatedly that there were many lies and falsehoods being written and disseminated about his father. His chosen mission in life was to clear up the many misconceptions, and to let the truth be known. Bishop de las Casas, confirmed that Columbus "was of the Genoese nation," but would never utilize the Genoese language in his writings, and would refer to himself as "Columbus de Terra Rubra," ("Columbus of the Red Earth"). He also wrote that "more precise information as to his actual birthplace [was never forthcoming"], but that he claimed his ancestors "had always followed the sea." It is worthy of note that Chios Island is known for its red soil, and that Chiotes have -- since time immemorial -- been famous as seafarers and fleet owners.

    Samuel Eliot Morison, the eminent historian, confirms Columbus' "ardent enthusiasm for seafaring," and wrote, in his book, Admiral of the Ocean Sea (Little, Brown, & Co., Boston. 1942), that Columbus first took to the sea in the early 1460s, and that he made "many voyages to Chios in the Aegean," where he learned to "hand reef, and steer, to estimate distance by eye, to let go and weigh anchor properly, and all other elements of seamanship." Also, that he was a "ruddy-complexioned redhead, with blue eyes." His son Ferdinand wrote that Columbus gave himself the name "Christophoros" because "... in Greek it means one who bears Christ," and "[my father] had carried Christ over deep waters with great danger to himself ... that the Indian nations might become dwellers in the triumphant Church of Heaven."

    Columbus' signature was a combination of Byzantine-Greek and Latin. He signed his name Xpo-Ferens, the first part being Greek and the second Latin. He instructed his heirs to continue to "sign with my signature, which I now employ, which is an X ["CHI"] with an S over it, and an M with an A over it, and over that an S, and then a Greek Y with an S over it, preserving the relation of the lines and points." (Morison p.202.)



    Columbus' Byzantine Signature

    This would accord with Columbus' desire to keep his identity concealed, as did many Orthodox Christian Greeks who'd migrated to Catholic Italy before and after Constantinople's fall to the Turks in 1453, and who wished to avoid persecution in their new surroundings, or death at the hands of the Turks. Columbus referred to Chios many times in his Journal, and also to the mastic gum which is cultivated only on this island, and which grows in its red soil. Chios was under Genoese rule from 1346 to 1566, and, during Columbus' time, was administered -- though under the sovereignty of Genoa -- by a Genoese chartered company called the "Mahouna." The bank used by this company was the Bank of St. George in Genoa, which was also the bank used by Columbus. Because of this connection, and the fact that he dressed like a Genoese, historians concluded that he was Genoese, even though -- as confirmed by the great authority on Columbus, Lionel Cecil Jane -- "[he] could not speak or write Italian." (Select Documents Illustrating the Four Voyages of Columbus. Hakluyt Society. London, 1930.)

    In Chios today, one may see examples of Genoese architecture throughout the island. In the "mastichochori" (the mastic growing region in the southern part of the island), and especially in the county seat of the district, the town of Pyrghi, one sees the Italianate influence everywhere. The houses and buildings of this town are decorated with geometric designs unique to Chios, and more particularly to the mastic growing region where the Genoese had the strongest influence because of their involvement in the mastic trade. Over the doors of some homes in places like Pyrghi and Cimbouri, one can still see the name KOLOMVOS inscribed. A picture of a priest of Pyrghi is shown in the book whose name is "Kolomvos," and who told the author, Ruth Durlacher-Wolper, that his family goes back 600 years on the island, and that the old Greek Byzantine aristocracy had intermarried with the Genoese merchants because "they were bound by the same interests," i.e., the mastic trade.

    The connection to royalty is demonstrated by the writings of Ferdinand and Las Casas, who quotes Columbus as saying that " sailed with my kinsman, Colon the Younger, the Greek corsair". Who was this "kinsman?" Colon the Younger was a member of one of the most important royal families in the Byzantine world, the Palaeologi. His name was George Palaeologus Disipatos, and was also known as "George le Grec." He turned corsair after the fall of Constantinople, and fought the Turks on the sea after they'd conquered the Byzantine Empire. At this time, according to the author, Columbus also went by the name of Colon, and her research indicates that with the fall of Byzantium he "fled with his kinsman, Colon the Younger, to... France" It is not certain just when he changed his name to Columbus, and, in Ferdinand's book, he quotes a passage from a letter his father wrote to the nurse of Don Juan of Castile: "I am not the first Admiral of my family. Let them call me, then, by what name they will, for after all, David, the wisest of kings, tended sheep and was later made king of Jerusalem, and I am the servant of Him who raised David to that high estate." The Byzantine connection would explain his knowledge of Latin and Greek, and would answer the question as to why he kept his log in these two languages instead of the Italian of Genoa.


    Christopher Colombus signature(enlarged)


    Plaque on the Columbus home in Pirghi, Chios, funded by the European Union


  2. #2

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    Nop.....Critoforo Colombo was not byzantine nor genoese. He was very much a Catalonan (part of Spain) renegade of good family that hid his heritage in order to work for the Spanish crown.

    Catalonia was a rebelous region of spain at the time and is very likely that Cristobal Colon was a pirate or a private who attacked Spanish ships off the Atlantic side.

    When he lost his ship he invented one of the greatest lies ever, that he was an Italian.

    1.He never wrote in Italian even to his brother
    2.He had the typewriting typically from Catalonia.
    3.He could write very well so he couldn't be a son of a humble family as he was thought was.
    4.They never found a record saying that a certain Cristoforo Colombo lived and worked for the Genoese Maritime Republic!

    So there are way more proofs that he was not a genoese sailor as history recognize it! :blink

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    Last edited by hannibal89; February 22, 2006 at 09:45 AM.

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    qnzkid711's Avatar Senator
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    Well Carthage did not want to be torn down.
    Did the Romans respect that?

    .....bad analogy.


    Anyway, the are possibilities. I mean the arguement you rbought up SPQR does not really convince. However I do believe in yours though as I have read different views onhis origin. Some even claiming he was Jew because he was kind to jews in Spain. :mellow
    This is another one I read. Its quite a read though

    http://www.millersv.edu/~columbus/tagliattini.html

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    The Discovery Channel did a documentary on the origins of Columbus last fall. While they didn't come to any hard conclusions, the historians made a good argument that Columbus was not an Italian of ordinary birth but rather a nobleman who for some reason wanted to hide his true identity. The leading Columbus expert believes he was from Catalan, an area of Spain that had fought a civil war against Ferdinand and Isabella. The historian believes Columbus's family were exiled for several decades before he could return into the favor of the king and queen of Spain.
    His letters are all written in the Catalan dialect and he seems not to have been fluent in Italian (at least not able to write it). He was also well-educated and had great connections to be able to finance his voyages, which you would not expect from a simple sailor.

    The link to the documentary is here.

    http://dsc.discovery.com/convergence/colum...explore_04.html

    That being said, I find the idea of Columbus being Greek interesting and even if he wasn't greek, he probably spent quite a bit of time traveling in the Med and Aegean, perhaps finding a second "homeland" after being exiled at Chios.

    Off-subject, but Chios is a beautiful island. Loved the week vacation I spent there back in 1998.

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