Nikos Kazantzakis (18 February 1883 – 26 October 1957) was a Greek writer. Widely considered a giant of modern Greek literature, he was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in nine different years.
Kazantzakis’ novels included Zorba the Greek (published 1946 as Life and Times of Alexis Zorbas), Christ Recrucified (1948), Captain Michalis (1950, translated ‘Freedom or Death), and The Last Temptation of Christ (1955). He also wrote plays, travel books, memoirs and philosophical essays such as The Saviors of God: Spiritual Exercises. His fame spread in the English-speaking world due to cinematic adaptations of Zorba the Greek (1964) and The Last Temptation of Christ (1988).
He translated also a number of notable works into Modern Greek, such as the Divine Comedy, Thus Spoke Zarathustra and the Iliad.
When Nikos Kazantzakis was born in 1883 in Kandiye, now Heraklion, Crete had not yet joined the modern Greek state, and was still under the rule of the Ottoman Empire.
From 1902 to 1906 Kazantzakis studied law at the University of Athens: his 1906 Juris Doctor thesis title was “Friedrich Nietzsche on the Philosophy of Right and the State”. Then he went to the Sorbonne in 1907 to study philosophy. There he fell under the influence of Henri Bergson. His 1909 doctoral dissertation at the Sorbonne was a reworked version of his 1906 dissertation under the title Friedrich Nietzsche dans la philosophie du droit et de la cité. Upon his return to Greece, he began translating works of philosophy.
In 1914 he met Angelos Sikelianos. Together they traveled for two years in places where Greek Orthodox Christian culture flourished, largely influenced by the enthusiastic nationalism of Sikelianos.