Renowned lexicographer and philologist Emmanuel Kriaras died of a heart-attack on Friday at his home in Thessaloniki, Greece. At 107 years, Kriaras, was one of Greece’s most distinguished elders.
Kriaras was a professor emeritus at the School of Philosophy at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and had published countless academic works. Among them is the 16-volume “Lexicon of Medieval Greek Demotic Literature 1100-1669,” and the “Greek Dictionary of the Modern Greek Language, Written and Oral,” that came out in 1995 and has been described as “the most authoritative modern Greek monolingual dictionary.”
In an interview with ANA-MPA on the occasion of his 107th birthday, the internationally renowned scholar remarked, “I am well aware that most – especially some of the newly minted of the media – who come to see me do so not because they know and appreciate my work and my personality. They are mostly impressed by my age. I have never wanted to live so long… It just happened. I do not want to live any longer. My joy (my beloved wife) has gone. Love, which inspired me – love for life and creation – is no longer there. So, thank you for the greetings and gifts, but they are now redundant. And in our era there is no room for redundancies.”
Kriaras was born in Piraeus when Greece was still on the Julian calendar (November 15); by the Gregorian calendar currently in use, he was born on November 28, 1906.
The funeral service will take place on Tuesday in Thessaloniki and his burial will be in Chania, Crete on Wednesday, according to his wish.
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras called the late philologist “an emblematic personality of the scientific and public life of the country who offered his service to Greece’s cultural life.”
“Emmanuel Kriaras marked with his presence and actions two generations of political and intellectual struggles, teaching ethos and respect to the values of humanity,” Mr. Samaras stressed.
In 2006, in recognition of his work and to mark his 100th birthday, Emmanuel Kriaras was awarded the “Golden Aristotle” by the University of Thessaloniki.