Monday, August 16, 2010

Hymn to Liberty- The Longest National Anthem in the World

The Hymn to Liberty (Ýmnos is tīn Eleftherian) is a poem written by Dionýsios Solomós in 1823 that consists of 158 stanzas and is the longest national anthem in the world, set to music by Nikolaos Mantzaros. In 1865, the first two stanzas officially became the national anthem of Greece and later also that of the Republic of Cyprus. According to the Constitution of Cyprus, the Greek national anthem is used in the presence of the Greek Cypriot president (or other Greek Cypriot), and the Turkish national anthem is used in the presence of the Turkish Cypriot vice-president. Cyprus stopped using the Turkish national anthem, however, when Turkish Cypriots broke away from the Government in 1963. Hymn to Liberty was also the Greek Royal Anthem (since 1864).

The hymn was set to music in 1865 by the Corfiot operatic composer Nikolaos Mantzaros, who composed two choral versions, a long one for the whole poem and a short one for the first two stanzas; the latter is the one adopted as the National Anthem of Greece. This anthem has been performed at every closing ceremony of an Olympics, to pay tribute to Greece as the birthplace of the modern Games.

Above is a postal card of the Greek national anthem in French.