October 8, 2019

A 17th Century Recluse Named Maximos on the Island of Delos

Mount Cynthus on Delos

By Joseph Pitton de Tournefort (1656–1708)
(A Voyage Into The Levant, published in 1741)

At the foot of Mount Cynthus, we were shown a small lodge, where lived some years ago an ascetick,* as the Greeks call them: his name was Maximus, he was a caloyer of Monte-Santo,** and he returned thither to confine himself in dismal solitude, far from any new object to disturb his repose; for the Myconiots,*** who go daily to Delos to cut wood, to fish, or to hunt, gave him too frequent distractions. He dwelt some time at Stapodia, a base rock beyond Mycone,**** but he was fain to quit it, on account of the scarcity of water to drink. This humble zealous recluse was going to Salonica, to preach publicly against the Mahometan religion, and thereby merit martyrdom; but his ghostly father dissuaded him from it, representing to him, that the Turks would doubtless wreak their rage upon the other caloyers, that were less in love with being impaled than he was.


* Ascetic.

** "Caloyer of Monte-Santo" is translated as "monk of the Holy Mountain," meaning Mount Athos.

*** Residents of Mykonos.

**** Mykonos.