Maria Efthymiou is a Historian and professor of History at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. She was born in Larissa in 1955 to an erudite family, as she peculiarly describes it. Her mother, Christina, was a teacher and her father, Dimitris, a philologist who also worked as a director at the Post Office of five regions based in Larissa. "I remember my father as an extremely hard-working man with a great sense of duty. Although he died young, these recollections of my father follow me to this day", she says to ImpacTalk.gr. For the last fifteen years, Maria Efthymiou has been giving lectures, gaining the love and recognition of a very wide audience. Through this she has received a great gift: “I found myself teaching all over Greece, and so I got to know my place and became more optimistic about the future of the country. And I said that there is a very, very beautiful Greece and that we can finally succeed".
By doing your job properly, you restrict the great evil that limits and harms our country a lot.
By Makis Provatas
Translated by Alexandros Theodoropoulos
Maria Efthymiou is a Historian and professor of History at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. She was born in Larissa in 1955 to an erudite family, as she peculiarly describes it. Her mother, Christina, was a teacher and her father, Dimitris, a philologist who also worked as a director at the Post Office of five regions based in Larissa. "I remember my father as an extremely hard-working man with a great sense of duty. Although he died young, these recollections of my father follow me to this day", she says to ImpacTalk.gr.
She considers herself privileged as a child, having had two pairs of shoes, a good one and a casual one; "which were always two or three sizes larger to be worn for years, and the size difference was covered with newspapers". She came to Athens with her family when she was about the age of the second grade of elementary school. On this trip from Larissa to Athens she still remembers how much she was impressed by the fact that she started from the train station of Larissa and arrived at Larissa station in Athens; "For the first time I realised that the Earth is round," she jokes.
The Efthymiou family settled on Ippokratous Street at a time when the magnificent houses and mansions were being demolished in order to build apartment buildings in their place. Maria Efthymiou lived in such an apartment building for three decades. She went to the 36th Elementary School on Methonis Street, "which today is a restaurant and that hurts me", and then she went to the 5th Girls' High School.
She was a very good student and easily entered the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, where she studied at the Department of History and Archeology. She continued her postgraduate studies at the Sorbonne University. In this journey she was really lucky to meet great university teachers, such as Helene Glykatzi-Ahrweiler and Vassilios Sfiroeras. Since 1981 she has been a member of the Teaching and Research Staff of UoA, where she is currently Professor of History. For 41 years she has taught thousands of students and supervised hundreds of seminar and postgraduate theses, as well as doctorates.
She has represented Greece in History Committees of the European Union, while she has made important contributions to scientific conferences and history journals in Greece and abroad. She participates in the Mathesis project of the University Publications of Crete with seven sections of Greek and World History (mathesis.cup.gr). Since 2006 she has been teaching world and Greek history courses to the general public free of charge throughout Greece, even in prisons and Detox Centers. These courses have been attended by hundreds of thousands of people.
In the spring of 2016, in collaboration with the Athens Concert Hall and the Department of History and Archeology of the University of Athens, she taught a 19-hour course in World History at the Athens Concert Hall.
She has edited scientific history books and participated in the writing of collective works, while about eighty-five of her articles and studies have been published in history magazines. Along with journalist and writer Makis Provatas, she has written the books: "Only a few kilometers. Stories about History" and "Roots and Foundations. Roadmarks of the History of Hellenism", published by Patakis Publications. She has also translated poems by Raquel Angel-Nagler, which have been published by Smili Publications.
In 2013 she was honored with the "Award for Outstanding University Teaching in memory of V. Xanthopoulos - St. Pneumatikos".
She proudly says that she is "the mother of two special men, Giorgis and Rigas Hatzilakos, and the grandmother of Maya, Elena, Danae and Daphne".
For these courses and lectures of the last fifteen years, she reveals to ImpacTalk: "I found myself teaching all over Greece. That's how I got to know my country and became more optimistic about the future of the country, and I said that there is a Greece that is very, very beautiful and we can finally succeed".