Short biographical note

Emm. Kriaras was born on November 28, 1906, in Piraeus, and grew up in Milos and Chania, where he finished High School. From 1924 to 1929 he studied at the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Athens, and after his graduation he worked at the Medieval Archive of the Academy of Athens, until 1950. Meanwhile, in 1938, he received his PhD Diploma from the University of Athens, after successfully completing his thesis Μελετήματα περί τας πηγάς του Ερωτοκρίτου.

In 1950 he was elected tenured professor of Medieval Philology at the University of Thessaloniki. He was dismissed in 1968 by the junta regime due to his political beliefs. The following year saw the publication of the first volume of his monumental work Λεξικό της μεσαιωνικής ελληνικής δημώδους γραμματείας [Lexicon of Medieval Greek Demotic Literature] (1100-1669), (20 volumes until today).

He was the author of numerous books (among them, monographs on Psycharis, Solomos, Palamas, publications of earlier texts of Modern Greek literature, etc.) and hundreds of articles. A vehement advocate of Demotic Greek, he was the principal successor to Manolis Triandaphyllidis in this field. He participated in various committees formed by the Greek State to put forward recommendations for the implementation of decisions regarding the establishment of Demotic Greek as the official language of the Greek State (1976, K. Karamanlis’ administration), the establishment of the monotonic writing system and the translation of the Constitution and Judicial Codes (1982, A. Papandreou administration). In 1995 he published the Dictionary of Contemporary Demotic Greek (Athens, Ekdotiki Athinon). He received numerous honorary titles for his contribution and work, both in Greece and abroad (among others, corresponding member of the Academy of Athens, foreign partner of the Arcadia Academy of Rome and of the Academy of Palermo), as well as medals and other awards.

An extensive biography of Emm. Kriaras’ life was written by P. Ziogas (Εμμανουήλ Κριαράς: Βιογραφικά-Εργογραφικά, Thessaloniki 2001, Εμμανουήλ Κριαράς, Thessaloniki, 2008, with an appendix: Εμμανουήλ Κριαράς: 2008 Αppendix, Thessaloniki, 2016), while his autobiography is also of great interest (Μακράς ζωής αγωνίσματα, Athens, 2009). For a list of his works see also A. Lambraki-Paganou, Εργογραφία Εμμανουήλ Κριαρά, Heraklion, 2001, P. D. Mastrodimitris, Το συγγραφικό έργο του Εμμανουήλ Κριαρά: Εβδομήντα χρόνια, Athens, 2000. The Center for the Greek Language has created the website ‘The Complete Works of Emmanouel Kriaras’, where most of his works are electronically reproduced.