"I hope for nothing. I fear nothing. I am free."
A famous dictum of Nikos Kazantzakis, written as epitaph on his tomb.
Nikos Kazantzakis was one of the most important Greek writers, poets and philosophers of the 20th century. He was born in Heraklion, Crete in 1883, when the island was still under Ottoman rule. He studied Law and continued his postgraduate studies in the field of Philosophy, in Paris. Later on, he travelled to many European and Asian countries, often as a newspaper correspondent, publishing travelogues. He was involved with politics, serving different posts. He also served as a literary advisor to UNESCO. Among other distinctions, when he was president of the Hellenic Literary Society, received the International Peace Award in Vienna in 1956 and was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature.
“Odyssey”, his magnus opus divided into 24 rhapsodies, consisting of a monumental 33,333 verses was completed in 1938. Some of his famous playwrights are: “Prometheus Trilogy”, “Kapodistrias”, “Kouros”, “Constantine Palaeologus” etc. In 1927 he published the book "Askitiki", the main work of his philosophy. During his lifetime he was deeply influenced by Nietzsche and Bergson, and the philosophies of Christianity, Marxism and Buddhism.
His novels “Zorba the Greek”, “The Greek Passion”, “Freedom or Death”, “The Last Temptation of Christ” and his semi-autobiographical ‘Report to Greco” were the heyday of his writing process. His works have been translated and published in over 50 countries and have been adapted for the theatre, the cinema, radio and television.
In honor to the his brilliant personage, the Greek State has given his name to the International Airport of Heraklion and to the open theatre of Heraklion city. Also, the €10 Greek Nikos Kazantzakis commemorative coin, minted in 2007 was an honorable act to the 50th anniversary of his death. In the Historical Museum of Crete there is a room adorned with Nikos Kazantzakis' personal belongings while the Nikos Kazantzakis Museum in Myrtia provides a complete picture of his life and work.