If you don’t know all the words to your country’s national anthem, you’re certainly not alone. If you don’t know all the words to the Greek national anthem, you’re definitely not alone. The national anthem of Greece (and Cyprus since 1966), known as the Hymn to Liberty, is so long it is rarely, if ever, sung from start to finish.
Why not finish the anthem? The anthem started life as a poem of the same name, written by Dionysios Solomos, and it’s a staggering 158 stanzas long. When the poem was put to music by Nikolaos Mantzaros, he wrote two scores of music: one for the full poem and one for the first two stanzas of the poem to serve as a much more manageable and crowd-pleasing version.
So the next time you’re standing at attention for the national anthem before a sporting event, take a moment to appreciate your country and be thankful that you don’t need to sit through two hours worth of the national anthem before the game begins.