Liberty Monument

Μνημείο ΠεσόντωνΕ (2)n Μνημείο ΠεσόντωνΕ (15)n

Artist: Nikolaos Kotziamanis 

Location: Agios Pavlos church, Agios Pavlos area, Nicosia. Nicosia district

Dimensions: 2.70 meters

Category: ΕΟΚΑ 1955-59, Turkish Invasion, Ancient Greek and Byzantine legacy

Photography: Evangelia Matthopoulou

The initiative for the memorial was taken in 1992 by the “Markos Drakos” association and initially it was dedicated to all dead and missing from Agios Pavlos and Agios Dometios areas. In 1996 a decision was taken for a liberty statue to complete the commemoration. Donators of the statue, among others, have been the Archbishopric of Cyprus, Agios Dometios Municipality, Agios Dometios Cooperative Savings Bank, the Ministry of Education and Culture, the Ministry of Interior Affairs, and Kykkos Monastery. The unveiling took place on May 2nd 1999. 

Goddess Athena stands motionless on her pedestal. A strong neck supports her head, and her facial traits (identical to those of Koili village bust, Pafos district) appear more masculine than feminine, despite her long hair and the female hidden curves emerging beneath the heavy long chiton. In spite of using the most well-known hallmark of the goddess Athena (her helmet) the statue is explicitly identified as Liberty. In addition to that, the placement of the laurel wreath on Athena’s helmet is not a familiar aesthetic formulation or visual symbolism for the goddess, but a direct way to highlight her subsequent association with heroic endeavor. An embossed letter K on her shield allows further connotations and associations. 

 The inscription on the low pedestal under her feet declares explicitly the devotion of the fighters to motherland: “Using our soul as a shield we safeguard the Greek soil, faithful to the oath for the motherland” (Με την ασπίδα της ψυχής μας εδώ φυλάγομε το ελληνικό μας χώμα πιστοί στον όρκο της πατρίδας). A saying of Odysseus Elytis on the right hand side of the pedestal elaborates the previous inscription “We believed in our steps. We experienced our steps. We called our steps worthy” (Πιστέψαμε στα βήματά μας / ζήσαμε τα βήματά μας / είπαμε τα βήματά μας άξια).

Selected sources:
~ Κρατικό Αρχείο Κύπρου, Αρχείο Πολιτιστικών Υπηρεσιών Υπουργείου Παιδείας & Πολιτισμού (State Archive of Cyprus): 268/1968/14, documents October 27, 1995; March 20, 1996; November 20, 1996; November 25, 1996.
~ Κρατικό Αρχείο Κύπρου, Αρχείο Πολιτιστικών Υπηρεσιών Υπουργείου Παιδείας & Πολιτισμού (State Archive of Cyprus): 268/1968/19, document March 31, 1999.