Imperial and empirical city: Famagusta’s representations in the poetry of Kyriakos Charalambides
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The word “empire” denotes something great and strong, old and new and is often associated with both the past and the present. For historians and theorists, the word empire may be coupled with power, expansion, imperialism and politics, whereas for most people it may be associated with stories, fascination and extravagance. For the Cypriot poet, Kyriakos Charalambides (1940– ), “empire” is a life experience and makes up both his recent and distant past. This paper aims to give a close reading of Charalambides’ representations of the Byzantine Empire in his poetic work through the parallel or identification of the city of Famagusta — the poet’s muse — to the imperial city of Constantinople. Charalambides’ representation of the Byzantine Empire is recorded through a conscious turn or journey to the past, a journey filtered through the events of the coup d’état and the Turkish invasion of 1974.