Friday, October 3, 2014

Ottoman Athens rediscovered; Now, it is "Amphipolitics"!

Athens is a city that most people associate with marble monuments from the Classical period.  Structures from other periods of its long habitation are mostly overlooked by residents and visitors alike. The four centuries of Ottoman rule have left few visible remnants today. The two major reasons for this were the archaeological excavations in the 19th century that took place on and around the Akropolis as well as at other substantial ruins and the policy of destruction in the old city to rid the new capital of the vestiges of the past (including small Byzantine churches) that were not part of the grand historical narrative crafted by the recently established monarchy and its western European supporters to link the present to the glories of the “Golden Age” of ancient Greece.

Professor Dimitris N. Karidis (National Metsovian Polytechneion University) will give a lecture on Monday, October 6th at 18:30 entitled «Αρχειακές πηγές για την Οθωμανική Αθήνα». In his lecture, in Greek, he will trace his thirty-year investigation of the various archival sources for the study of Athens, its town plan and its buildings during the Tourkokratia. In the process Karidis’ research has revealed the general nature of the Greek towns during this period and that of Athens, in particular. These town planning developments of the city can be read from different perspectives. Karidis’ lecture will open one’s eyes to this now hidden past of our city.

This is the first lecture of the 2014/2015 Lecture Program of the Syllogos Filon tou Istorikou Archeiou tis Archaiologikis Yperesias. The lecture will take place at the Istoriko Archeio at Psaromilyngou 22 on the edge of the Kerameikos and Psyyri districts of the city. The Theseio Train Station is the closest access.

Amphipolis, what else?

It is now next to impossible here to talk to a non-archaeological friend or to a doctor who knows that you are an archaeologist without each asking as series of pointed questions concerning the intriguing monument being excavated at Amphipolis in northern Greece. Almost every newscast and most morning gossip/fashion/cooking shows feature what passes as the latest findings from the excavation. The assertions concerning this monument are becoming more fantastic, approaching in some cases the “true stories” of the tabloids. The latest discovery of fragments of a marble door that must be associated with the doorway at the end of the third chamber reinforces the possibility that this is indeed a Macedonian-style tomb as opposed to some other type of monument.

Personalities, politics and national identity are frequently central to this reporting. Our colleagues and friends at College Year in Athens / DIKEMES are organizing a discussion on this aspect of the controversy in their annual lecture series. The “lecture”/discussion on Wednesday, October 8th at 19:00 is entitled “Amphipolitics: digging up the past to deal with the present”. The presenters are Professor Dimitris Plantzos (University of Athens) and Dr. John Karavas (CYA). Plantzos at least has been speaking recently at various venues in Athens on the circus around the Amphipolis excavations, the selected use of aspects of Greece’s past and the excavation’s potential impact on the future of Greek archaeology. This should be a most interesting presentation on a very “hot topic”. So if you want to know the backstory on this unfolding Greek drama this event is for you!

Keep visiting the “CIG Blog” and our comprehensive “Calendar of Events (kept current by Jonathan) to stay up to date on what is happening in Athens and beyond relating to archaeology, the past in Greece and Canada-focused events.

David Rupp

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