The Athenian, a unique picture of Greek history.

Greece has a large amount of printed newspapers and magazines. Fifteen daily national newspapers, sixteen sunday papers and ten weekly papers. Besides that, there are dozens of local and regional printed newspapers, and more than a hundred magazines. But printed Greek news in the English language is hard to find.

For many years, I was a fan of Athens News, a newspaper which first appeared in 1952. I couldn't properly read Greek in the 90's, and when travelling through Greece, Athens News kept me informed. In 2001, after 49 years as a daily, the newspaper became a weekly, appearing on Fridays. Unfortunately, since November 2012, Athens News has stopped.

The Athenian, the first English language magazine in Greece.

Recently, I discovered that in the years 1974-1993, the English speaking people in Greece, could also inform themselves through The Athenian. This magazine was the first English language magazine in Greece. It was founded in April 1974, during the last months of the Greek military dictatorship.

The founder was Eleni (or Helen) Panopalis Kotsonis, a Canadian of Greek and Scottish descent, who had studied at McGill and Columbia Universities. Kotsonis' idea was to publish a Greek version of The New Yorker. The Athenian was a magazine with an emphasis on Greek politics, culture and history, reviews of cultural events, archeology, travel stories, practical information on museums and restaurants, as wel as cartoons and satire. Kotsonis wrote in the first issue, "In this journal, we would like to reflect the various cultures that converge here -- and in the process make life in Athens more interesting and understandable."

In 1979, the title was bought by the American Sloane Elliott. He continued publication until April 1993. The magazine was initially published bi-monthly for six months in 1974 and monthly from then on for 19 years until 1993.

The unique covers of The Athenian.

The magazine’s covers were iconic of the time. Some of them touched on political issues, like the fall of the military dictatorship in July 1974.

The editorial of the magazine, titled 'Our Town', was written by Sloane Elliott. He analyzed and commented, often with humor, on the political and social developments of the country and his articles became a trademark for English-speaking readers living in Greece.

Contributors of the magazine were writers, journalists, scholars, illustrators and painters, Contributors included famous painter Alekos Fassianos, artist Yannis Gaitis, cartoonist Spyros Ornerakis, poet and translator Kimon Friar, writer Marc Dubin, painter Loui Silivridou-Pasalari, author and archaeologist Kevin Andrews, and cartoonist Antonis Kalamaras, who provided articles, interviews, and cartoons with cultural and political content.

Digitizing The Athenian.

Readers will now have access to an online version of the original print magazine thanks to a project to digitize The Athenian’s archive. The project, made possible through a grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), aims to showcase cultural criticism and political commentary from important personalities in Athenian public life at the time.

The archive includes more than 1,500 articles, 3,500 photographs, and 290 issues of the magazine, and is now fully available to the public through: The Athenian. The covers are a feast for the eyes. The articles in this archive provide a wonderful kaleidoscope. They give a unique picture of Greek history between 1974 and 1993.