Arrival in Ios – Thursday 24th April 1884
After kicking their heels for 2 days in Santorini, waiting for the steamer to arrrive which would take them to Ios, Theodore and Mabel finally left Santorini at 05:45 for a very rough, 2-hour crossing to the island of Ios.
THOUGH we had the very worst steamer of the Hellenic Company to take us to Ios, yet it was a steamer that all who travel thereon treat with respect, for it was none other than the Panhellenion, which ran the blockade in the late Cretan revolution, and carried assistance to the Greeks struggling for freedom. A very little sentiment of this kind goes a long way on a rolling sea, and, despite the celebrity of our craft, we were thankful to leave her when she entered the capacious harbour of Ios
The Lorentziadis Family
As happened often on the Bents’ journeys around the islands, Theodore and Mabel arrived in Ios armed with a letter of introduction to the demarch, whose family showed them great hospitality:
. . . never in all our wanderings did we meet with a family so genial and gay as the Lorenziades. One brother was demarch, another ex-demarch, and a third the schoolmaster; and the ex-demarch had three charming daughters — Marousa, Ekaterina, and Callirhoë — who administered tenderly to our wants, and saw to the fitting up of an empty house where we were to sleep during our stay, whilst meals were provided for us at the ex-demarch’s house.
Theodore omits to tell us the names of the brothers but, from our researches, we’ve learned that the demarch’s name was Michalis, the ex-demarch Lorentzos, and the schoolmaster was Louis (Loudovikos). Lorentzos, in addition to the three daughters, Marousa, Ekaterina, and Callirhoë, had two sons, Stefanos and Spyros (Spyridon). Neither Theodore nor Mabel mention the two sons in their writings, although Mabel does add “There were at least 6 more people”.
The Lorentziadis family proudly showed them the sights of the island and the girls entertained them with stories of the games that the local maidens would play in their pursuit of romance. One night, the Bents were regaled with a display of the island costume by a beautiful young lady who turned out to be Ekaterina.
. . . a woman of surpassing beauty entered in the costume of Ios; her veil was bespattered with gold, with streamers which hung down behind it; in front of it was a sort of crown; her dress was of green and gold brocade. Over her heart was what we should call a stomacher, but the Greeks more polite an ésokardia; her feet were in dainty little shoes. Nothing could look more glorious than this woman, with perfect features, brilliant complexion, and rich dark hair. We stared at her in mute admiration. It was Ekaterina who was the original of this beautiful apparition
Sadly, we hear from V. C. Scott O’Connor in his book Isles of the Aegean, that, just a few years after Theodore and Mabel’s visit, Ekaterina tragically died aged just 22. The chance of her costume surviving for 130 years was almost negligible, but, survive it did. It was discovered by chance by a member of the Lorentziadis family, Spyros. Read about Ekaterina’s costume.
Goodbye to the family
The last we hear of the family from Theodore is when they leave Ios and the girls present them with parting gifts.
Marousa came with a lovely piece of red Cretan embroidery as a present, and her handkerchief full of pine nuts, that we might never forget her; Callirhoë gave us her pocket handkerchief full of sesame seeds; and Ekaterina wrote a touching little poem with the same intent. The three brothers and the three girls went down with us to the harbour, where our boat was waiting, bringing with them a fresh mysethra, wine, and figs for our journey.
Mabel writes, ucharacteristically warmly, in her chronicle:
We were really sorry to leave these kind people and they pressed us to stay but ‘the ship was ready and the wind blew fair and we were bound for the sea’.
What happened to the Lorentziadis family in the years that followed the Bents’ visit? Both tragedy and fortune played their hands and by 1927, when V. C. Scott O’Connor visited and wrote his book Isles of the Aegean, there were no direct descendents of the island’s First Family still living in Ios.
How could such a prominent and numerous family have disappeared from the island over the course of just 40 or so years? Read the intriguing story of the Lorentziadis family.
The Bents’ journeys in Ios
Join the adventure
Join the adventure – become a contributor to this website and help us track down further information and photographs related to the Bents’ travels in the Cyclades. You can create a blog post describing your findings, your adventure, relevant people you met etc. You can upload photographs attached to your blog post. Your blog post will available for all visitors to the site to view and comment on. If your post contains key information, we’ll include it in this main page, and include an accreditation to you. You don’t have to stick to the items below, anything relevant to the Bents, the book and their journeys, and Greece, its history, its people and its customs, will all be welcome.