Born 86 years ago in Izmir, Professor Hakki Bilgehan grew up listening to the Greek language, and most particularly to the dialect of the people living on the island of Crete.
The Turkish microbiology professor in Ege Univrsitesi, based in Izmir, has recently translated the Cretan literature masterpiece “Erotokritos” into Turkish.
The epic romance composed by Vikentios Kornaros in early 17th century Crete consists of 10,012 fifteen-syllable rhymed verses and relates the trials and tribulations suffered by two young lovers, Erotokritos and Aretousa. ‘Erotokritos’ was first published in Venice in 1713, and was then translated in many languages.
It was first translated into Turkish by Professor Bilgehan and published by the Foundation of Exchanged People of Lausanne in October 2011.
With a long scientific work behind him, the now retired Professor did not stop at translating the Cretan epic poem but has also translated the “Lexicon of Cretan idioms and idiomatic expressions” of Nikos Garefalakis into Turkish, which is not for sale but only distributed to the Turkish universities as a helpful guide for those researchers studying Crete and its local culture.
Furthermore, in 2011, Bilgehan published his book “Girit”, which presents a synopsis of Crete’s history and revolves mainly around the local dialect, its origins and the language of the Cretan-Turks, the mantinades and the local cuisine.