Tuesday, January 26, 2016
Friday, January 22, 2016
Mycenaean Economics 202; Welcome Esther!
This past Saturday Esther Knegt arrived from Canada to undertake her three month internship at the Institute. Hailing from Hamilton, Ontario, Esther is an undergraduate finishing her fourth year of studies at the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ontario. Some of her interests lie in archaeology, material culture sources, Greek history and language. She will complete a Language Specialization in Latin and Greek in addition to her major and enjoys reading and studying the ancient languages. One of her growing passions is for material culture which was enhanced when she had the opportunity to take a course travelling to various places in Greece to study the Aegean Bronze Age in the spring of 2015. She was able to visit and explore palace complexes and archaeological sites on Crete, Attica and on some of the Greek Islands. She loves visiting and experiencing architecture and artefacts first-hand as it provides an additional learning experience.
While assisting in the Library and scanning documents in the Archive of the Institute she will have opportunities to re-visit archaeological sites and museums at her leisure and without the crowds in Athens and elsewhere in Greece as well as to attend the many lectures on the calendar each week. Her immediate goal is to be accepted into an MA program focusing on material culture studies at an Ontario university.
When you come to the Institute lecture on Wednesday evening you will have a chance to meet Esther and to give her a very warm welcome to the Athenian archaeological community.
I almost forgot to mention that we will cut the Institute’s Vasilopita for 2016 on Wednesday as well after the lecture. You may find the flouri in your piece and win the 2016 gouri. Such fortune surely will give you happiness, good health and great productivity for the entire year!!! You can’t miss such an opportunity can you, eh!
Tuesday, January 19, 2016
The Fred Winter Collection
Friday, January 15, 2016
The Institute's Winter/Spring Lecture Program; Challenges for a New State: Protecting its Diverse Cultural Heritage
Our diverse and interesting 2016 Winter / Spring Institute Lecture Program has been posted: http://www.cig-icg.gr/events. We will send out posters for each lecture as they approach.
The Byzantine and Post-Byzantine monuments of Greece
The Hellenic monarchy constituted in 1834 faced many challenges, internal and external, during the course of the 19th century. While the Classical antiquities had inspired the philhellenes who had given assistance during the revolution and afterwards, the post-Imperial Roman cultural heritage had many fewer champions. The conscious use of the Classical past and the origins of democracy by successive Greek governments to entice the West into supporting Greek interests made the Byzantine and Post-Byzantine heritage an inconvenient truth. Thus, many of these monuments, especially in Athens, were destroyed, some to reveal “more significant” earlier monuments and some to build a modern city without unwanted relics.
Using the documents in the Historical Archive Ms. Papoulakou will focus on two main themes: the “cleansing” of the Akropolis of the Byzantine and Post-Byzantine monuments and the steps taken to document, to preserve and to restore important Byzantine churches and monasteries, such as the churches in the older sections of Athens, the Daphni Monastery in Attika, and Hosias Loukas Monastery in Fokida. What constitutes a country’s “past” and what cultural monuments are considered “significant” are recurring and often contentious themes for debate among archaeologists, art historians, historians, city planners and government bureaucrats. The public is welcome to learn more about the cultural heritages of the city and country they live in!
The lecture is sponsored by the Syllogos Filon tou Istorikou Archeiou tis Archaiologikis Yperesias. The Syllogos Filon will cut their pita after the lecture. Maybe you will find the flouri in your piece and have good fortune for all of 2016???
Friday, January 8, 2016
Kali Xronia apo mas! A play and two exhibitions
Good News! Besides welcoming in the New Year of 2016, we can welcome as well the re-opening on the 4th of the Institute after its Holiday Recess. Our normal open hours (Monday – Friday, 09:00 – 13:00) are in effect. Jonathan is catching up on Institute business, Sarah is resuming the updating of the Portal to the Past and I am working on the final version of the Program for our 40th Anniversary Colloquium here in Athens on June 10th and 11th. We await the arrival of Esther Knegt this coming weekend. She is the winter/spring undergraduate intern from the University of Waterloo.
“This is War”
It is not often that a play by a Canadian playwright is performed in Athens. Just before Christmas the play “This is War” by Canada’s well-known and frequently-awarded Hannah Moskovitz’s opened at the Theatro Porta at Mesogeion 59. The play focuses on an “incident” and its aftermath that occurred during the Canadian “Training Forces” presence in Afghanistan in the early 2000s. This work was inspired by Moskovitz’s research for the radio drama series she wrote, “Afghanada” (www.cbc.ca/afghanada) which ran on the CBC from 2006 – 2011.
This is a riveting work with four Canadian soldiers (one of whom is a woman) and an extremely minimalist staging. The translation by Tomas Moschopoulos, the staging by the original Canadian director Alan Dilworth and the acting by the Greek actors makes one feel that this is truly Canadian, despite monologues and dialogues in Greek. While the playwright claims that this is not an anti-war play it nevertheless raises many core issues for the audience to ponder relating to combat: what is the difference between training foreign soldiers to fight and advising as well as supporting them while they fight? Who is the enemy in the civilian population and how can you tell that they going to harm you? How does a female soldier fit into an essentially all-male military in combat? How can soldiers express their personal feelings and needs in a war zone? What is the cost to those who survive the warzone experiences?
If you are living in Athens or are visiting, you still have a chance this month to see this thought provoking work (http://www.porta-theatre.gr/index.php/el/theatro-plays/130-this-is-war) supported by the Canadian Embassy . It is worth the effort to venture out of the central core of the city and the comfort zone of the Anglophone environment.
The Other Religious Communities of Contemporary Athens
I recommend another journey beyond the confines of “Classical Athens”
– to the Benaki Museum Annex on Piraeus Street 138 on the southern edge
of the Gazi District. Among the current four temporary exhibitions is
photographer Tassos Vrettos’ “Wor(th)ship” (in Greek: T(r)opoi Latreias).
“The photographic ‘fieldwork’ of Vrettos among the makeshift places of worship of migrants and refugees in and around Athens records an invisible network within the city: basements and rented flats, apartment blocks and garages, playing fields and outdoor public spaces, squares and courtyards, structures made ad hoc in temporary or permanent addresses for groups of Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, Spiritualists and Christians of various denominations and multiple ethnic origins (Ethiopian, Afghan, Egyptian, Pakistani, Nigerian, Senegalese, etc.). It is a ‘work in progress’ that began in 2012 with the collaboration of these communities’ members themselves and with the utmost respect for their identities."
“Fotis Kontoglou from Kydones: By his hand and imagination” - a Retrospective Exhibition
Much closer to home on Vas. Sofias Avenue is a recently-opened retrospective exhibition at the Byzantine and Christian Museum featuring the life and work of the multi-talented Fotis Kontoglou. A refugee from Kydonies in Asia Minor he was an influential member of the seminal interwar “Generation of the Thirties” of artists, writers, architects, critics and scholars who laid the foundations of contemporary Greek culture.
“In 2015, the Byzantine and Christian Museum is honouring Fotis Kontoglou (1895-1965) on the 50th anniversary of his death. The Museum dedicates to the artist a major retrospective exhibition that presents Kontoglou’s multifaceted contributions to 20th-century Greek culture as an artist, a painter of religious and secular works, a writer, a critic, a colour researcher, a conservator.
The exhibition proceeds mainly chronologically, divided into five sections: four of them cover his lifetime (1893-1965) while the fifth presents his longtime relationship with the Byzantine and Christian Museum from the twenties onwards.”
The exhibition will expand your horizons on the nature of Byzantine art, especially frescoes, as well as on the documentation and the preservation of Athens’ Byzantine and Post-Byzantine monuments. You have until May 8th to see this large display of his work and its historical context. The llissa Café at the Museum is an excellent place to contemplate what you have seen! (http://www.byzantinemuseum.gr/en/temporary_exhibitions/?nid=2038).
There is so much to do in Athens on the winter weekends!
Friday, January 1, 2016
I am an Athenian...sort of
My horizons in the field of archaeological study have been broadened and I think that I understand a lot more of the administrative, procedural and academic side of the archaeological community. I also learned a lot through the various projects assigned to me. I learned to use Excel spreadsheets more efficiently; I learned how to archive project materials and the proper procedures for applying for a permit (e.g. application to CIG, approval by the committee, application to the Ephoreia and permission from the Ministry). I even picked up a variety of Greek archaeological words while doing the archiving! The cataloging was very interesting as I had to learn how to look for an Library of Congress (LC) number (e.g. World Cat), to search North American libraries for the LC number and finally how to create and catalogue your own LC number. Since I had no previous cataloguing experience, this was a useful learning opportunity. I also learned to enter in and transliterate Russian.
I am extremely proud to say that I monopolized my free time in Greece by exploring not only Greece but other parts of Europe (e.g. Copenhagen, Vienna and Prague). I also visited numerous museums, cafes, restaurants and sites in Greece, as well as different regions of the country (e.g. Santorini, Peloponnese, Thessaloniki, Attica and Boeotia). I got to explore every weekend and during the afternoons after work.
Throughout this experience, I had the chance to meet local Greeks and develop relationships with them through going for food, texting with them, joining their nightlife and travelling with them. I also had a chance to meet and interact with a variety of people from different countries and backgrounds who are all part of the academic community by attending lectures across Athens and going to the Red Lion on Tuesday night. I also had the opportunity to make really good friends that I will stay in contact with for a very long time.
As a tourist who has visited Athens a few times I never really liked the city. I always considered it to be dirty, hot and sketchy albeit with some great ruins and museums. However, living here for the past 3.5 months has changed my mind about the city. Yes it might not be the cleanest and aesthetically beautiful city but its characters, history and people make it come alive and feel like a home away from home. There always seems to be electricity in the air, a buzz on the street, and a motto to live for the possibilities of tomorrow and work to live. I am happy to have found a home away from home and am proud to call myself a honourary “Athenian”.
I want to thank the Institute’s Director, David Rupp, and Assistant Director, Jonathan Tomlinson, for giving me this fantastic opportunity to work with the CIG this fall, as well as Gerald Schaus. This opportunity was truly a once in a lifetime experience.
Wilfrid Laurier University intern