On today, George Gordon, Lord Byron, swims over the Hellespont, a tumultuous strait in Turkey now named the Dardanelles. Legendary Greek hero Leander supposedly swam the same 4-mile stretch. Byron’s visits to Greece later made him a separate supporter of Greek independence from Turkey.
The 22-year-old Byron was taking a protracted tour of the European continent when he made a decision to take his popular swim. His travels inspired his first widely read poetic operate, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage. After the publication of the poem’s initial canto in 1809, Byron became a significant British celebrity. The globe-weary tone of the poems, describing the travels of a noble waiting to be knighted, caught the imagination of the general public and established the cynical Byronic hero.
Byron, who was simply born with a clubfoot, have been raised in near-poverty in Scotland. At age 10, he inherited his wealth and title from the great uncle. He attended best schools, such as for example Trinity College, Cambridge, where he racked up enormous debt and began to publish poetry. When his initial volume, Hours of Idleness, was received unkindly by critics, he savaged the literary establishment in his second book, English Bards and Scotch Reviewers (1809).
Byron married Annabella Milbanke in 1815, after several passionate affairs with other females. The couple had a youngster but separated in 1816. Byron’s reputation was shattered by rumors of an incestuous affair along with his half-sister, August Leigh. Forced to flee England, he settled in Geneva near Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. He had an affair with Mary Shelley’s half-sister, who bore his kid later. He traveled during Italy, engaged in various amorous liaisons, and published the initial two cantos of Don Juan in 1819. In Don Juan, he boasts of his swim over the Hellespont nine years earlier. In 1823, having lost close family and pals, Byron left Italy for Greece, wherever he trained revolutionary troops until he caught a fever and died in 1824. He became a national hero in Greece.