A sea captain is referring generally to a high-grade licensed mariner who holds ultimate command and responsibility of a vessel but in Greece the word is used to mark the leadership in any other profession.

The term derives from katepáno (Ancient Greek: κατεπάνω, lit. '[the one] placed at the top', or 'the topmost'). The word was Latinized as capetanus and gave rise to the English language term captain.

Probably the most important manifestation of the crucial role Greek captains played during the history of Greece is firing the embers of the Greek Revolution in the 19th century. The seafaring Greeks of pre-revolutionary times were transformed under the flag of national revolt: shipmasters became admirals and commanders; sailors from the maritime cooperatives became fire-ship captains, “burners” and marines; and grain-carrying ships became warships and fire boats.

With exemplary courage men like Konstantinos Kanaris and women like Laskarina Bouboulina became symbols of heroism and self-sacrifice and their exploits were immortalized in the works of great European writers and artists.

captain and olive leaves, painting, Ψαρά
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