The Fisherman of Halicarnassus was born “Cevat Şakir” in Crete on April 17, 1886 to Mehmet Şakir Pasha, Ottoman High Commissioner to Crete, and Sare İsmet Hanım. The Fisherman was the eldest of six siblings, all talented artists. Fahrelnisa Zeid and Aliye Berger, two of his sisters, would become famous painters, while his niece Füreya, daughter of Hakkiye, the eldest sister of The Fisherman, was a ceramic artist.
His early years passed in Athens, where his father was the Ottoman Ambassador. He was first schooled on Büyükada, the biggest of the Princes Islands, before he enrolled in the Robert College. Once he spoke of the time spent at the college as a total waste. He wrote, “We spent three years to read some crap, and three years more to forget them. A total of six years of nothing.”
However, in 1907, he graduated from Robert College and his father made him move to London to study history at Oxford University. In 1913, he moved to Italy to study painting and married an Italian model named Agnesia Kafeira. They had a daughter. On the other hand, The Fisherman had a boy, too, from a secret affair with a Spanish woman named Pilar. His son born from Pilar died in the Spanish Civil War.
Cevat Şakir could speak many languages including Arabic, Persian, English, Italian and Latin, and old and new Greek. He tried to earn his by writing for newspapers. He wrote both short stories and cultural pieces. Besides, he made the graphic designs of the “Resimli Ay” (Monthly Illustrated), where some notorious leftists such as Nazım Hikmet wrote.
The Fisherman was an expert on ancient mythology and Aegean geography. He worked as a tourist guide for years and helped Bodrum gain massive touristic attention through the years. He wrote numerous essays on mythology, humanism, marine, et cetera. Besides, he wrote historical novels on famouspirates and captains of the Ottoman State.
The Fisherman was a talented essayist. Readers of various ages can easily get familiar with his point of views. So he can explain a philosophical thought as if he is writing a short story, or as if he is reporting on a football match. His anecdotes are very rich thanks to his education.