Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory

BOOKS | 2008

15 April 2010

A Singular Antiquity- Archaeology and Hellenic Identity in Twentieth-Century Greece

Edited by Dimitris Damaskos & Dimitris Plantzos

A Singular Antiquity- Archaeology and Hellenic Identity in Twentieth-Century Greece

City: Athens

Year: 2008

Publisher: Benaki Museum

Description: Paperback, 418 p., 135 b/w ill., 28x21,3 cm


Modern Greeks envisage their collective past as a cultural commodity; authentic, usable and eternally present. Archaeology has been instrumental in construct­ing the nation’s identity, built on the tangible evidence it produces. This is by no means just a Greek phenomenon, a peculiarity of the state that inherited ‘the glory that was Greece’. The rapport, however, between archaeological research and national(ist) strategy presents some interest­ing facets in a country which has been struggling, for most of the twentieth century, to counter the predicaments of modernity with the promise of modernization. And it is these peculiarities, concerning the Greek archaeologist as much as the historian and the social anthropologist, which prompted this publication.

Most of the papers collected in this volume were de­livered at the ‘Antiquity, Archaeology and Greekness’ conference held in January 2007 at the Benaki Museum. Many of the papers were later revised by their authors, and some new papers have been added. The purpose of the conference was to investigate and assess the role of antiq­uity and archaeology in the forging of a national identity in twentieth-century Greece. Our stated aim at the time was to trace the steps, intentional or otherwise, which have determined the present state of Greek archaeology — as an academic discipline, as an educational practice, as the producer and at the same time the consumer of a multi-layered cultural reality. In the process, there emerged a wider picture of Classical antiquity as a cultural presence in Modern Greece — and a daunting one at that. What re­sulted from the conference, and what we hope this volume is offering in a more structured fashion, is the intricate net­work of Greek archaeologies, or rather the archaeologies of Greek modernity (and within it): academic and institu­tional, or alternative, habitual and indigenous.



Dimitris Plantzos, ‘Archaeology and Hellenic identity, 1896-2004: the frustrated vision’ [11-30].



Mark Mazower, ‘Archaeology, nationalism and the land in modern Greece’ [33-41].

Michael Herzfeld, ‘Archaeological etymologies: Monumentality and domesticity in twentieth-century Greece’ [43-53].

George Tolias, ‘National heritage and Greek revival: Ioannis Gennadios on the expatriated antiquities’ [55-65].

Andromache Gazi, ‘“Artfully classified” and “appropriately placed”: Notes on the display of antiquities in early twentieth-century Greece’ [67-81].

Marlen Mouliou, ‘Museum representations of the classical past in post­-war Greece: A critical analysis’ [83-109].

Niki Sakka, ‘The excavation of the Ancient Agora of Athens: The politics of commissioning and managing the project’ [111-123].

Daphne Voudouri, ‘Greek legislation concerning the international movement of antiquities and its ideological and political dimensions’ [125- 140].

Delia Tzortzaki, ‘The chronotopes of the Hellenic past: Virtuality, edutainment, ideology [141-161].

Vassilis Lambropoulos, ‘The rehearsal of antiquity in post-modern Greek fiction’  [163-171].



Kostas Kotsakis, ‘Paths to modernity: Dimitrios R. Theocharis and the post-war Greek prehistory’ [175-183].

Vangelis Karamanolakis, ‘University of Athens and archaeological studies: The contribution of archaeology to the creation of a national past (1911-1932) [185-195].

Dionysis Mourelatos, ‘The debate over Cretan icons in twentieth-century Greek historiography and their incorporation into the national narrative’ [197-207].

Olga Gratziou, ‘Venetian monuments in Crete: A controversial heritage’ [209-221].

Alexandra Bounia, ‘Ancient texts, classical archaeology and representation of the past: The development of a dialogue’ [223-235].

Vangelis Calotychos, ‘The dead hand of Philology and the archaeologies of reading in Greece’ [237-251].

Dimitris Plantzos, ‘Time and the Antique: Linear causality and the Greek art narrative’ [253-271].

Yannis Hamilakis, ‘Decolonizing Greek archaeology: Indigenous archaeologies, modernist archaeology and the post-colonial critique [273-284].



Dimitris Tziovas, ‘Reconfiguring the past: Antiquity and Greekness’ [287-297].

Angeliki Koufou, ‘The discourse on Hellenicity, historical continuity and the Greek Left’ [299-307].

Dora F. Markatou, ‘Archaeology and Greekness on the centenary celebrations of the Greek state’ [309-319].

Dimitris Damaskos, ‘The uses of Antiquity in photographs by Nelly: imported modernism and home-grown ancestor worship in inter-war Greece’ [321-335].

Elena Hamalidi, ‘Greek Antiquity and inter-war classicism in Greek Art: Modernism and tradition in the works and writings of Michalis Tombros and Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika in the thirties’ [337-357].

Artemis Leontis, ‘An American in Paris, a Parsi in Athens’ [359-373].

Dimitris Philippides, ‘The phantom of classicism in Greek architecture’ [375-381].

Maria Diamandi, ‘The archaeologist in contemporary Greek novel’ [383-399].



Dimitris Damaskos, ‘In place of a conclusion’ [403-407].




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