Ancient History

Ancient Theater, Limenas

Famous Thassians

Thassos, was the birthplace of several “worthy Greeks”, who left their mark in various fields such as art, writing, politics. A famous Thasian sculptor, recognised not only in Greece but also abroad, was Polygnotos Vagis! Born in 1894, in the village of Potamia, went through difficult childhood, however this fact did not abash his talent and enthusiasm for creativity. In 1911, he decides to emigrate to New York, but illiterate as he was, it was not easy for him to enter the great Faculties of Fine Arts.

However, he finally manages to enroll in the Cooper Union Institution, where he studies sculpture for 6 years, and then enlists voluntary in the U.S. Navy. His studies are ongoing for the next years under renowned artists as teachers and in 1920 comes his first participation in sculpture exhibitions.  The sculpture “My grandfather” is his first that impresses and seems to establish him in the field of new creators. The hard work continues, Vagis is now well-known and the NATIONAL ENCYCLOPEDIA OF AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY includes him in the edition of 1928.

Then follows the first prize of Long Island festival, with his work “The sleep”, and by the end of his life he participated in more than 40 exhibitions. His works adorn museums in the U.S., Israel, and the Municipal Museum of Kavala. Polygnotos Vagis was unlucky in his personal life, as he got married in old age his beloved Sylvia, who unfortunately lost after an accident, without having children. The great sculptor died in 1965 in New York’s Veterans Hospital.

In the field of writing, continues to excel Vasilis Vasilikos who was born in the village of Theologos. Born in 1934, he studied law in the Aristotel University of Thessaloniki, as well as direction in Yale University of New York. For about 20 years he worked in Italy, France and America, except from the three years between 1981 and 1984 when he served as deputy managing director of the Greek state television.  He has been established as a director, screenwriter, script editor, journalist and of course as a writer, who has published more than 100 books. 

His best known work is “Z”, “Το τελευταίο Αντίο” (The last Goodbye), “Θύματα Ειρήνης” (Victims of Peace), the trilogy “Το φύλλο” (The plant), “Το πηγάδι” (The well) and “Το αγγέλιασμα” (The angel), which has references to the island of Thassos and many more. Vasilis Vasilikos has received many honors; he won the Award of 12 and the international Meditteraneo award. He is among the most widely translated modern Greek writers, he has served as ambassador of Greece to UNESCO, President of the authors association and an honorary doctor at the University of Patras.

Nowadays Vasilis Vasilikos maintains a program in a state television channel, he is married to soprano Vaso Papantoniou, and they have a daughter. During the summer months he is usually in Thassos and specifically in his family home in Theologos.

However, the first renowned citizen of Thassos, comes from antiquity, and is no other than Theagenes. With numerous awards in Pankration, Theagenes participated for the first time in Olympic Games in 480 BC in boxing, where he was crowned winner. Four years later, he prevailed in the Olympic Games in Pankration, as well as his victories in Pythian, Nemean and Isthmian games. He had also participated in the ancient Greek race (4614 meters), where he won again!  According to sources, the Theagenes victories in various sports are over 1300! In Thassos, Theagenes is honored for his discriminations, but also worshiped as a healing god after his death. Today there is a sports club after his name, the football team of the island’s capital!

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