The Greek church at Cargèse

I have, sadly, finished Leigh Fermor’s book about the Mani (see this previous post). It’s the sort of book you don’t want to end. Among other fascinating digressions, it details the story of the Mani clan that ended up in Corsica, at Cargèse and also – wait for it – in Ajaccio, where I was just about a month ago. I vow if ever work or holiday takes me back to Ajaccio I will try to travel to Cargèse (just 27 km north of the city) and visit its two churches, one Latin and one Greek. It is fascinating to think that the last Greek/Maniot speaker died there only in 1976, well within living memory. But maybe, just maybe, the story is not yet over. Hounded in Corsica as they had been in the Peloponnese, goodly numbers of the Mani travelled on to Sardinia, Minorca and Florida in the late 1700s, and to Sidi Merouane (Algeria) in the 1870s. Spartan blood may yet flow in north Africa! Wiki gives a good summary of the tale here. It reminded me of a bright young thing I met at Oxford a few months back who had won a travel grant to go to Anatolia this summer to visit the ‘Antiochian Greeks’ (the Rum), who are actually Christian Arabs, and that got me interested in the more general, and very sad, subject of the remaining Greek community in Turkey – reckoned to be about just 2,000 people now – again well summarised in a Wiki article here. Said bright young thing has done well to go this summer. If the Mani in Corsica story is anything to go by, such minority settlements are doomed to disappear and, indeed, seem far on that road already.