Alexander Billinis


How to talk to your kids about Byzantium

We often talk about history around the table. The date of 29 May, when heroic Constantinople finally fell to the Turks, always merits a discussion. Dinner table historical conversations are …


Discovering the Greeks in the heart of the American ‘South’

Last August my family and I packed our bags and left Chicago, the anchor of the American Midwest, for South Carolina, the heart of the American South. The ‘South’ conjures …


Connecting to Hydra

I wrote this over 10 years ago, after my father passed away. When necessary, I will edit the text for context and to conform with the reality of today. My …


Putting names and faces to the Battle of the Atlantic

I have had the pleasure of writing for Neos Kosmos on occasion for the past several years. This is truly one of the best publications in the Diaspora, and I …


Drinking with Thracians

I love crossing borders, whether official ones with their lines and barriers, or ‘Schengen’ borders, which give the dangerous illusion that intra-European Union crossings matter as or less than those …


Hydriot Memories: My neighbour’s expanding house

We Hydriots are a proud, yet prickly, people. Our island is rough hewn and to a degree, so are we, though our hearts are big and our minds quick. I …


The Brothers Macedonian

A centuries-old conflict in a region known for discord has returned, once again, to the headlines. The so-called Macedonian Question—in this case, most specifically, what name to assign to this …


Thessaloniki alleyways and hearty northern Greek comfort food staples

It had been a long day and, as is often the case when travelling in Greece, a frustrating one. No doubt for my then six-year-old son, sweating in his new …


Stolen figs, stolen spuds

I remember it well, particularly on a freezing day here in Chicago, though over three decades have passed. We anchored our boat at Molos, a small bay well south of …


The eloquence of the abode: homes lost and refuge gained

The legacy of the population exchange, and the scar of the Asia Minor Catastrophe, is everywhere in Greece.