The publication of “Papissa Ioanna” turned out to be the most outrageous literary scandal of 19th century Greece. Emmanuel Roidis (1836-1904) is the most consistent descendant of the Enlightenment in the modern Greek state, a deconstructor of certainties and clichés. Sarcastic, penetrating, and with a compelling personal style, acrimonious and anti-cleric, the “objector” Roidis cast his criticizing gaze upon the social ills of the modern Greek society of his time.
He waved the banner of rationality and positivism in times when the renouncement of “Megali Idea” (political movement for the revival of Greece’s past glory and Byzantium) was a social stigma. He was the paradigm of a quarrelsome and intrusive intellectual who questioned the social norms relentlessly and was a conscientious objector in the 19th century.