Wine, Saffron, Nature: The Greece of Homer in North Carolina, America

My good friend, (my close literary friend, Pietros Maneos, a writer and poet of an excellence that competes with the best of the Greeks), just purchased a farm in North Carolina where he will grow in rich soil: saffron, black truffles, grape-vines, even poppies—while he yearns for beauty. 

“Bramabella” is the name of his farm.  It is a portmanteau of two Italian words: to long/yearn for, and beauty).

I’ll digress for one paragraph with a quote by Nietzsche, inspired by his mentor: Burckhardt, who popularized the term “Renaissance” in the 1860s: “No one shall wither our faith in the imminent rebirth of Greek antiquity.”

Bramabella of Pietros Maneos

“The picture above was taken from the porch of my beloved Bramabella.” (- Maneos)

Maneos traveled from his home in Florida to North Carolina to purchase the house and farm where he can live out his love of Classicism and his search for Beauty: “…As I enter into my mid-thirties, I desire nothing more than to live a quiet life in the country, immersing myself in the wealth of pastoral Beauty […] inhaling the crisp country air, while gazing upon the picturesque rolling mountains, completely and utterly happy.”


It is strange how we meet friends and acquaintances at turning points in our lives, (so long as we live a dramatic life with dramatic turning points, such are lived by we artists who suffer from ‘the dramatic urge’); so that at the turning point in our lives, we grow closer to some people and lose contact with friends and people we knew before.  It was like this when I met Maneos.  I was at the time engaged so much in Homer, living in one of the most expensive neighborhoods in Paris and living my own heroic and decadent version of The Odyssey, that classic “Heroic Wanderer’s Tale”.  Pietros is a classical scholar, (and Hellenophile, as I am), so our literary aesthetic principals were naturally in accord.  At the time, I had just seen the publication of my fourth novel: Rooftop Soliloquy, an ode to sensuality based in part on The Odyssey.

A dramatic turning-point in my life then made me temporarily forget The Odyssey and The Iliad of Homer, as my life began to resemble a tragedy as horrible to me as Oscar Wilde’s De Profundis was to Wilde.  My days became bitter enough that I finally could find consolation only in reading Wide’s De Profundis—that amazing account of Suffering, written while the writer himself was suffering:

“Suffering is one very long moment. We cannot divide it by seasons. We can only record its moods, and chronicle their return. […] The only people I would care to be with now are artists and people who have suffered: those who know what beauty is, and those who know what sorrow is: nobody else interests me.”

– Oscar Wilde

Add to this another line from Nietzsche:

“The Dionysiac musician, himself imageless, is nothing but original pain….”

…Thus I changed roles in life and begin a phase that was tragic.  As a literary man, I am required to be true to who I am in life.  I could not write heroically while living tragically.  So I changed my literary style to fit my living style.  I left a lot of friends behind when I changed cities and changed personalities.  People don’t often tolerate a ‘Polytropos’ individual (to use the first adjective in the Odyssey to describe Odysseus).  Maneos was my one literary friend who truly showed a literary acceptance of my Polytropos life, an acceptance of people I believe is essential to the great writer of literature.  Also Maneos has an excellent talent—I would say better than I have—for defining aesthetic styles, and defining literary genres.  He is also an amateur of Romanticism and Oscar Wilde, so he was able to expand our principals of Heroism to include concepts of ‘Suffering’ that are overlooked in Homer.  (Recall how the tears of Achilles and the tears of Odysseus on the beach of Calypso are both overlooked when readers neglect to assign these heroes with any weaknesses.)  Indeed, in De Profundis, Wilde appears to us to possess a rather weak spirit—though his spirit shows a certain Heroism in suffering. 

My friendship with Maneos reminds me of the friendship of the Dadaists: Tristan Tzara (one of the very founders of Dadaism) with his friend and literary colleague: the tragic, depressive anti-hero, Jacques Rigaut, who became Tzara’s friend and adopted his movement.  I am happy to let Maneos be the master of his Bramabella and use his land to write the artistic/aesthetic Manifesto that will come to define Bramabellaistes.   And I would be happy to adopt such a movement as my own, shall I remain Master over my own literary works, letting them twist and shift (‘Polytropos’) according to my dramatic life changes.  And so that my literary works help to shape a part of what the Bramabella aesthetic is.

The way Maneos talks about Bramabella, it sounds like an Arcadian forum for great modern artists and writers: “I anticipate my painter friends such as Tomasz Rut, Michael Newberry, Gabriela Dellosso, Graydon Parrish and many others spending time at Bramabella so as to cultivate their artistic genius.”

It still isn’t completed decided, I think, exactly how Maneos will sculpt his Paradise.  Moreover, I believe that today he is successfully living out his dreams for tomorrow.  He said that that strolling in Bramabella, he “often [stops] to rest and to simply marvel at the multiplicity of colors of the leaves as they [dance] gently in the branches.”…Thus Maneos has successfully achieved his goal, of living for the moment, in a constant longing for Beauty!


Roman Payne, Novelist


INFORMATION: For more details about Bramabella or Pietros Maneos, or to inquire into how you can possibly participate in Bramabella, please email Maneos at:


5 thoughts on “Wine, Saffron, Nature: The Greece of Homer in North Carolina, America

  1. A wonderful post by my friend, Roman! I am excited for him to visit Bramabella and be inspired by the inherent beauty of the land. I can envision him putting the finishing touches on his next novel, while on the grounds of Bramabella.


  2. Pingback: Wine, Saffron, Nature: The Greece of Homer in North Carolina, America « Literature & Culture

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