The Crete of R.M. Dawkins (1903-1919) Books about our favourite island of Crete. Guide books, novels, articles, travelogues, magazines, eBooks etc. Share your Crete book tips.

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The Crete of R.M. Dawkins (1903-1919)

by Erno » 05 Jan 2021, 13:12


R. M. Dawkins (1871-1955) first went to Crete in 1903 to work as a prehistoric archaeologist, and he excavated various Minoan sites on the island for several years. During this time he became more interested in medieval and modern Crete than in its prehistoric past. Later he went on to become Bywater and Sotheby Professor of Byzantine and Modern Greek Language and Literature at the University of Oxford (1920-1939), where he was a fellow of Exeter College.
In 1916-19, during and immediately after the First World War, Dawkins served in Crete as an intelligence gatherer in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. During this period he began planning and writing a book about the medieval and early modern buildings of Crete (especially churches and monasteries), as well as topography, communications (mule tracks and roads), botany and folk traditions, traditional crafts, legends, and beliefs.
In collaboration with my wife, Jackie Willcox, I have pieced together the 32 draft chapters of Dawkins’ Crete book (arranged geographically from west to east), which he left incomplete. Over a large number of years, we have visited almost all the places that Dawkins describes, and we have added notes containing supplementary material, including comparisons between what he saw and our own experiences of these places. We have included photographs from Dawkins’ archive and other photos from his time, and we have supplemented these with a larger number of our own photos.
The whole text (almost 400 pages) has now been uploaded in searchable pdf format on to a new website:

(Or simply Google “dawkinscrete”.) Anyone is welcome to download the full text or any of the 32 chapters free of charge. I have uploaded my extensive Preface on as well as on the dawkinscrete site. The Preface is the recommended starting point for those wishing to explore Dawkins’ material.
Please feel free to share the web address with anyone you think might be interested.

Peter Mackridge

Thanks Peter for the heads-up!
All the best,


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Joined: 01 Dec 2015, 13:07

Re: The Crete of R.M. Dawkins (1903-1919)

by sethuk » 05 Jan 2021, 16:54

Hi Erno, and a Happy New Year

This is a fascinating document and will afford me much pleasure during yet another UK lockdown.
That's 2 triumphs for Oxford this winter// (tu)
I first visited Crete in 1961 and largely covered the northern coast from "Candia" to Agios Nikolaos having hitched from Oxford {my birthplace}.
Much of Dawkins's Crete was still in evidence then, particularly with regard to agricultural practice, folk lore and travel.
Much has changed and we decamped to Sfakia for a cleaner and more direct contact with the Island and the chapters on Sfakia are very vivid.
As this is a literary thread I thought I might recommend some reading.
1,"Patouchas" by Ioannis Kondylakis {available in English from Efstathiadis}.
2. "Cretan Mantinades" collected & translated by Frederick Ragovin from Knossos Editions
3. "The Fortress Crete" by George Harokopos [English version] published in Athens 1993 by B Giannikos & Co.
Harokopos was one of the heroes of the "secret war 1941-1944" which is the sub-title of his book.
And lastly, away from Crete, I highly commend the novels of Stratis Myrivilis in translation from Efstathiadis.
My thanks to Peter and to you, Ern, for the post.
I hope to be in Agia Roumeli in June .
Cheers and stay safe..
Seth @--@ @--@

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