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Astypalea work-in-progress

Giannis Logothetes

Theodore had a letter of introduction to the most important man on the island of Astypalea named Logothetes whose first name Theodore later tells us was John, or Giannis in Greek:

We asked where lived Logothetes, to whom we had a letter, and who, we were told, was the chief man of the island.


The great man was dressed in island costume, that is to say, in cotton knickerbockers, loose between the legs for luggage, which when packed flop about like the stomach of a goose. On his head he wore a fez.


Logothetes has only one daughter, by name Peace, and she is married to the meekest of men, whom we only heard named as Peace’s husband

Peace’s Greek name would have been Irini (Ειρήνη), Irene in English,  which is also the Greek word for peace. It seems she was his only child and, because there were no sons, the family name of Logothetes disappeared from the island completely; the main family name of the descendants is Oikonómou (Οικονόμου). The family still live in Astypalea and some are active in the tourist business. The Astynea Hotel facing the port in Pera Gialos is owned by a descendant of Logothetes, Irini Oikonómou , and the Astynea gift shop, on the street beneath the hotel, near to the Alpha Bank, is run by Giannis Oikonómou whose grandmother, Kokóna (Κοκώνα), was born around 1896, it is thought to Peace’s daughter, who also seems to have been called Irini. The family has continued to be influential in local politics and Giannis Oikonómou’s grandfather, Petros Oikonómou, who was twice the Mayor of Astypalea, addressed himself to the huge problems facing the island caused by unemployment, mass emigration and economic recession in the second half of the 20th century. Petros was a key figure in the driving forward of the plan to build Astypalea airport. Any clarification on this family history would be welcome.

Of Giannis Logothetes himself, few memories remain of such a once-prominent figure. The cemetery might be expected to contain a grave, a monument or a family tomb, since permanent graves in Greece are the preserve of only the rich and the elite. Alas, no trace can be found. History seems to have forgotten the great man who the Turks deferred to and the islanders held in awe.