Friday, November 23, 2012

Athens’ Complicated, Inconvenient Hellenistic Past and Save the Dates

From the later 4th through the 2nd centuries B.C. Athens had a tempestuous relationship with the kings of Macedon. Add the geopolitical ambitions of the Ptolemaic kings in Egypt and control of Athens is a seductive trophy to gain.

Kallias of Sphettos inscription
The political intrigues and motivations on both sides behind the known political events and battles of this period are difficult to ascertain. One important source for gleaning information and inferring intent are the public decrees of Athens during this period. These documents, especially honorific ones, approved by the Demos, not only state the current “facts” but also allude to or avoid reference to past “facts”. As all of these decrees were set up in the Agora past “history” could be checked on or forgotten.

Dr. Julia L. Shear, Senior Research Associate at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, will share with us on Wednesday, November 28th at 7:30 PM a case study from her research into how Athens as a community and as individuals remembered and forgot the past. Her lecture is entitled, “An Inconvenient Past in Hellenistic Athens: The Case of Phaidros of Sphettos”.

Phaidros of Sphettos inscription
Phaidros of Sphettos was a well-known politician, statesman and general in the 290s and early 280s B.C. with probable pro-Macedonian leanings. Athens revolted from the Macedonian yoke in 287/6 B.C. with the help of Ptolemaic troops led by his brother Kallias of Sphettos. He was honored for his efforts to assist Athens in 270/69 B.C. After 262 B.C. Athens was once again under Macedonian control. In honoring Phaidros in 255/4 B.C how could the Demos forget its glorious revolution against Demetrios Poliorketes thirty years before?

Save the Date for a Christmas Bazaar
The second annual Christmas Bazaar of the Association of Friends of the Historical Archive of the Hellenic Archaeological Service, of which I am the President of its Board of Directors, will be held on Friday, evening December 7th (19:00-22:00) and all day Saturday the 8th (10:00-17:00). You should save these dates to come to the Historical Archive at Psaromilingou 22 in Kerameikos/Psyrri.

There will be books, gift items, baked goods and other treats. There will be a lottery too, and a special exhibition of photographs, “The Archive of the Road”, featuring images of the colorful and insightful graffiti that cover the walls on the streets of Athens. These limited edition framed images taken by members of the Association will be for sale. The proceeds from the Bazaar will go to help the educational outreach program of the Historical Archive in the public schools.

If you want to help out and/or contribute items please call me: 6947272153.

David Rupp

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