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question Eligas gorge question
04 February, 2010 00:00
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There has been a lively discussion about this gorge in the “Walks and Hikes” section of this Forum and quite a few pictures of the gorge have been posted that prompted Erno and I to a discussion about the name of the gorge.

Although most of the postings have been using the name as “Eligas”, Anavasi has it as “Elighia” and the Greek name as “Ελυγιά”. Checking with some of my Cretan contacts I was informed that “Ελυγιά” is the Cretan name for a bush known elsewhere in Greece as “Λυγαριά“ commonly known in English as Chaste Tree.

You can read about this plant and its interesting properties in the links below:

[www.completely-crete.com]

[www.herbs2000.com]

I am also attaching a photo of this plant taken south of Rethymno.



Has anyone of the walkers and photographers that have been through this gorge noticed this plant there? I would like to confirm that indeed this gorge has got its name from the plant “Elighia” or Chaste Tree.

Yamas

Yorgos



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/02/2010 01:22 by Erno.
Re: Eligas gorge question
04 February, 2010 00:40
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Yorgos,

The Chaste Tree, Vitex agnus-castus is listed as 'widespread' in 'Flora of the Cretan Area',Turland, Chilton and Press, and gorge-beds are a given habitat, but looking at the map in the 1st ed, it is only recorded as far west as the Iligas Gorge area, before being recorded again on the west coast. this could be under-recording, although knowing of two of the authors by reputation, I find that improbable.

It struck me strange that we have Eligas and Iligas (the latter, albeit, being Ιλιλλα'ς on the Anavasi map). These are probably quite different when spoken, but as I can barely speak Greek to order a beer ...

Nick
Re: Eligas gorge question
04 February, 2010 01:15
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Nick,

For beer just say “Mythos”, they will understand!

For “Eligas” or “Elighia” to have such a name, which must be going back for a century or two, at least, there must have been a lot of those plants there to get this name. And that’s why my question.

Now regarding Iligas, “Ιλιγγας” in Greek, there is one theory that it relates to the Greek “Ίλιγγος”, the feeling that one has that he is moving or turning around in relation to other things around him. Something like Dizziness but not exactly similar with Vertigo, as some would translate it.

We had an interesting discussion on this with Peter Trudgill and Erno just yesterday and one view is that the name might reflect the turns and twists of the gorge coming down the hill. But to this stage we have not had any of the locals providing us with a definite view on this issue.

But the most important thing is to remember the word Mythos, when in Crete.

Yamas

Yorgos
Re: Eligas gorge question
04 February, 2010 01:17
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The name of the Ilingas gorge has been discussed behind the scenes lately by Peter, Yorgos and yours truly.

Eligias and Ilingas are derived from different words.

Ilingas is supposed to come from Ίλιγγος, which means 'dizziness', but might be interpreted as well as "whirl, swirl, vortex" so it could be a reference, perhaps, to winds swirling around in there? But then it could also mean "vertigo", as induced by walking on a high path above it. Or it could be something completely different...

On the Anavasi map BTW the Ilingas gorge is also referred to as 'Kavis': Faraggi Iligga (KABIS).

All the best,

Erno
webmaster Sfakia-Crete.com
Re: Eligas gorge question
04 February, 2010 02:13
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Sorry Erno, we have been falling over each other in our haste to answer Nick’s question!-D

Yamas

Yorgos
Re: Eligas gorge question
04 February, 2010 02:47
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At least we said the same happy

BTW, Mythos is nowadays a Greek Scottish beer...

All the best,

Erno
webmaster Sfakia-Crete.com
Re: Eligas gorge question
04 February, 2010 16:31
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The names of the two gorges are pronounced very differently in Greek. Not only are the initial vowels different, obviously, but Ilinggas (just to make the pronunciation clear) is stressed on the first syllable, and has a hard g in the middle, while Eliyas has an English y/German (etc) j in the middle, and is stressed on the last syllable - except that in the Cretan accent you may hear a zh (French j) sound in the middle rather than the y/j.

Peter



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/02/2010 16:50 by Peter.
Re: question Eligas gorge question
04 February, 2010 08:19

I don’t recall seeing this Chaste Tree plant in the Elighia / Eligas gorge.

This is a picture taken just inside the gorge. The flora in this picture is, in my view, typical of the flora found in most of the lower reaches of the gorge. Pines and the shrub with pink flowers (I don’t know the name) predominate.

[www.panoramio.com]

I have a picture taken a bit further up the gorge that shows another type of ground vegetation in the lower right. (On the Panoramio page, click on the photo to enlarge it so you can better see the details.) This also does not appear to be “Chaste Tree”.

[www.panoramio.com]

To the best of my recollection, the only other common ground vegetation is spurge, famously in the large spurge field at Angelocampi.

[www.panoramio.com]
[www.panoramio.com]

And this area is, in a sense, outside of the gorge.

Ray.
Re: question Eligas gorge question
04 February, 2010 10:57
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For what it's worth, I first learned of the name Kavis gorge, and subsequently switched to Ilingas gorge, the name most often used by other hikers I meet. I had always thought that Ilingas referred to the beach. I'm not proposing this as the correct interpretation .. just what filtered into my memory over the years.

I also used Eligias gorge, but I'm never sure of transcriptions from Greek, and Eligas was just as good for all I knew. But would local convention name a gorge after a plant?

Ray, the pink flower bush is probably an Oleander. They grow like weeds in dried out ravine beds and gorges.

Here's an example:


and another:


My unsourced memory bank has an item that the plant is quite poisonous. I checked this in Wikipedia, which reports the following:

Quote

Oleander is one of the most poisonous plants in the world and contains numerous toxic compounds, many of which can be deadly to people, especially young children. Despite this fact, it is sometimes grown in school yards. The toxicity of Oleander is considered extremely high and it has been reported that in some cases only a small amount had lethal or near lethal effects. The most significant of these toxins are oleandrin and neriine, which are cardiac glycosides. They are present in all parts of the plant, but are most concentrated in the sap, which can block out receptors in the skin causing numbness. It is thought that Oleander may contain many other unknown or un-researched compounds that may have dangerous effects. Oleander bark contains rosagenin which is known for its strychnine-like effects. The entire plant, including the sap, is toxic, and any part can cause an adverse reaction. Oleander is also known to hold its toxicity even after drying. It is thought that a handful or 10-20 leaves consumed by an adult can cause an adverse reaction, and a single leaf could be lethal to an infant or child.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/02/2010 11:05 by Mike.
Re: question Eligas gorge question
04 February, 2010 11:50
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Mike is spot-on with Ray's Oleander (Nerium oleander). It is widely used for landscaping in Crete, especially along the northern coast road. It is extremely poisonous in all parts - according to the Kew website - It has been grown since ancient times and features in many of the Roman wall paintings in Pompeii. Alexander the Great in his military campaigns is said to have lost men as a result of eating meat skewered on the highly poisonous Nerium twigs. Its sap has been used as rat poison!

It is usually associated with damp ground/watercourses - my first encounter with it being on the Paleochora - Elafonisi coastal path, where the wide sweep of the phrygana-vegetated bay leading to Agios Ioannis chapel was interrupted by dense band of Oleander 'jungle' tracing a dried-up watercourse down to the coast.

I can't make out the ground flora in Ray's second photo, but is looks like one of labiates (mints) that grow in shady areas. As for Chaste Tree, that is a shrub/small tree. It also has historic and current herbal uses, associated with gynaecological and an-aphrodisiac properties.
Re: question Eligas gorge question
04 February, 2010 13:59

Correction to Mythos ownership
Brand sold by Scottish Brewers to Heiniken group
Has it come home to challeng Amstel and Heiniken?
Re: question Eligas gorge question
04 February, 2010 14:14
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Heineken would not buy Mythos to compete with its own core brands, but to obtain an additional market segment. These brands are likely to be positioned beside each other.

All the best,

Erno
webmaster Sfakia-Crete.com
Re: question Eligas gorge question
04 February, 2010 14:50

Could Oleander be "Pikrodaphne" in Greek? (Bitter Bayleaf )
Re: question Eligas gorge question
04 February, 2010 14:56
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Indeed!

πικροδάφνη (pikrodáfni) exactly means oleander in Greek.

All the best,

Erno
webmaster Sfakia-Crete.com
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