It is characteristic that the Byzantines referred to XIV century Turks as Persians and Achaimenides, not because they saw a racial connection between the Persians of yesterday and the Turks of their day, but because they considered themselves as carrying οn the struggle against the despotic greed of Asia which began at Marathon, Salamis and Thermopylae and was to end οn the ramparts of Constantinople in 1453 with dramatic consequences for the free spirit of Renaissance Europe.
This dedication to freedom, magnificently served by simple folk at every stage in the Greek continuum, is an undeniable instance of that Greek continuity which stirred Andre Malraux to declare, as he stood in the shadow of the Parthenon: “The ‘Νο!’ of 1940 is the same as that of Prometheus or of Antigone. This nation which celebrates its ‘Νο!’ is the same one that fought at Marathon, that chanted victory troparia in Aghia Sophia and that sacrificed itself at Souli and Messolonghi. So, when the first dead of the Resistance lay down to rest οn the earth, there to pass their first dismal night, they slept οn the earth that had begotten the most noble and ancient repudiation by free man, beneath the same star-studded heaven that was the night sky of the heroes of Salamis”.
Nowadays it is said, perhaps too insistently, that Greek continuity is an invention of foreign travellers, archaeologists and antiquity worshippers, and for this reason foreigners are resentful of the condition of modern Greeks who, while invoked οnly to pay the price of comparison, have uncritically espoused the notion of continuity.