Author Archives: Alexander Billinis

Obsessed with traces of lost empires (especially the Byzantine and the Hapsburg), Alexander Billinis self-identifies as an American-Generation-X-Liberal, but with a European’s faith in social democracy. An international banker who's spent much of his career in the Europe of the Financial Crisis, Billinis has most recently lived in Chicago and in Sombor, Serbia, in the multi-ethnic province of Vojvodina. Before that, he lived in the UK and Greece. A bi-national citizen of the United States and Greece, with a facility in several languages, this “Roaming East Roman” has now returned to the United States for the foreseeable future, unearthing his law degree to practice the law; and writing and lecturing on the side. His book, The Eagle has Two Faces: Journeys through Byzantine Europe, is a travelogue of the Balkans, Asia Minor, and Southern Italy. His second book, a novel, Hidden Mosaics: An Aegean Tale, reveals the common heritage of an Aegean littoral now divided up by exclusivist states. Both books are available via amazon.com and other online vendors.

The “Keeper” of the Peace of Karlowitz

“We had one more stop before leaving for Belgrade. I had to find some tangible connection with the Treaty of Karlowitz. I spoke briefly to the local tourist office, whose guide handed me a map and answered absently that there was a church, called Kapela Mira (Peace Chapel), built on the site where the treaty […]

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Stamp(s) of History

“In the chaotic aftermath of my father’s death from Alzheimer’s, many family heirlooms were lost to my eldest sister and me. Among the items my father intended for me included several folders and binders of stamps, collected both as a side hobby and as a result of his extensive correspondence to Greece and Cyprus. As […]

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Stolen Figs, Stolen Spuds (Best of WH)

“Turning his sparkling Corfiot eyes my way, he said, ‘Alekaki, row me to the shore,’ grinning as he stripped down to his Fruit-of-the-Loom tank top and same-brand tighty-whities: ‘We’re off to steal figs!’”—Alexander Billinis Roaming East Roman By Alexander Billinis CLEMSON South Carolina—(Weekly Hubris)—First Published on 1/25/2016—I remember it well, particularly on a freezing day […]

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Becksi Skolovano (“Vienna-Schooled”)

“It was an elderly Serbian who said that, in the Sombor of the Hapsburg era, a Becksi Skolovan person spoke German, Hungarian, and Serbian, the better to communicate with his fellow citizens in their native tongues.”—Alexander Billinis Roaming East Roman By Alexander Billinis CHICAGO Illinois (Weekly Hubris)—August 2017—In 2016, my family and I exchanged a […]

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

On Bended Knee at Standing Rock

“He has that sense of history that is common among those of us who are graduates of Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service. What is uncommon, and heroic, is how he has transmuted that keen feel for history, and responsibility in the light of historical knowledge, into words—and deeds.”—Alexander Billinis Roaming East Roman By Alexander Billinis […]

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

The “Documented” Story

“My ancestor was a product of two distinct worlds, the Christian and the Muslim, the Ottoman and the Byzantine, and such a symbiosis was far from uncommon, though Modern Greece’s national mythology demands otherwise.”—Alexander Billinis Roaming East Roman By Alexander Billinis CHICAGO Illinois (Weekly Hubris)—February 2017—Greeks are a peculiar people, prideful and prickly. Both quick […]

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Drinking with Thracians (Best of “Hubris”)

“We were all Greek citizens, and proud to be: yet we were so different. I was Greek yet American-born and bred; the other three were born in Greece, and in Thrace, specifically. One of the professors had origins in Asia Minor; the other was Thracian, but with roots in Eastern Thrace, now Turkey. The only true local, […]

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Unmasked Nostalgia

“As the years have passed for me here, and particularly in fractious 2016, I fear that the age of multiple masks, and luminous, colorful ones, is yielding to that of the mono-mask.”—By Alexander Billinis Roaming East Roman By Alexander Billinis CHICAGO Illinois—(Weekly Hubris)—December 2016—Some people wear the mask of only one nation, assigned them at […]

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

When “No” Actually Means “Yes”

“My family’s three-year sojourn in London was a great adventure and a linguistic one as well. On one particular occasion, after a long series of management meetings punctuated by British colloquialisms, I threw up my hands: ‘Such a strange language you speak, so different from English.’”—Alexander Billinis Roaming East Roman By Alexander Billinis CHICAGO Illinois—(Weekly […]

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Bulkes: The “Greek Republic” that “Never Existed”

“‘It was more than that, much more,’ Bincho said, pulling on the last tobacco in his cigarette. ‘They had their own ‘civil war’, a Bartolomeski Noc, or St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre.’ I looked blank. ‘A terrible mass killing, here in the middle of Yugoslavia, and in the midst of the Greek Civil War.’ Standing up, […]

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments