There isn’t a day that goes by without some mention in the Greek media
of the political refugees and the economic migrants that have kept
coming to Greece over the past five years from the Middle East and
Africa. There is a tendency to focus on their immediate plight in the
camps and not on the total disruption of their way of life. While many
of these individuals wish to go elsewhere in “Europe” a certain portion
will stay and establish new lives here. In doing so, most will attempt
to re-construct their cultural environment as best they can. Observance
of their religious beliefs is frequently at the center of their efforts
to re-create some sense of “normalcy” for their family and for their
For varying reasons this pattern of voluntary and involuntary
geographical dispersal of members of an ethnic community from their
homeland to other areas has occurred in the eastern Mediterranean and
the Levant for millennia. Each new diaspora faces similar challenges and
goals in dealing with such a disruption. In his lecture on Wednesday,
entitled, “In the Shadow of Home: Jews, Syrians, and Religion in Delos and Corinth 200 BCE - 100 CE,”
J. Cornthwaite (Ph.D. candidate, Department of Religious Studies,
University of Toronto and 2017/2018 Neda and Franz Leipen Fellow at the
Canadian Institute in Greece) will explore aspects of this phenomenon
from a religious perspective.
The story of a roaming evangelist who made Corinth a main port of
call on his Mediterranean tour is woven into our cultural mythology. But
Paul’s success in Corinth came from more than his apparent passion as
an itinerant preacher. The community in which Christianity spread there
was formed before Paul’s arrival, already gathering as an immigrant
religion at the nexus of a trans-Mediterranean trade route. Furthermore,
Christianity was only one of many immigrant religions from the Levant
that came west and attracted a large following beyond the boundaries of
its ethnos. The sanctuary of the Syrian goddess (Atargatis) on
Delos a hundred years earlier has a remarkably similar story. Brought to
Delos by a Syrian priest, her worship outgrew the Syrian diaspora
there, attracting outsiders as it moved on toward Rome. In his lecture
Chris will compare how and why these two groups grew and attracted
outsiders and how they negotiated the problems of identity that new
members created. It then puts them in the broader contexts of religion
and migration in the Graeco-Roman Mediterranean.
This Institute lecture on Wednesday evening will be held in the Library starting at 7:30 PM.
18th-century graffiti defacing the Propylaia!
Many of the buildings and some of the ancient monuments of Athens
have been defaced in the past decade by graffiti. Most of these graffiti
are tags or names of the defacers. This “Greek tradition” is an old one
starting at least in the Archaic period. It has continued off and on in
Greece since then. Probably Lord Byron’s carved initials on one of the
columns of the Temple of Poseidon at Sounion is the best known.
On Monday, March 12th
Professor Tasos Tanoulas (National
Metsovian Polytechneion) will give a lecture at 7:00 PM in the Library
of the Canadian Institute entitled, «Νεώτερα χαράγματα στα Προπύλαια και η δεύτερη αποστολή της εταιρείας των Dilettanti στην Αθήνα».
The lecture relates to Professor Tanoulas’ ongoing architectural research on this well-known monument on the Akropolis.
In 2013 at the southwestern corner of the Propylaia scaffolding was
erected to study the structural problems of the superstructure. This
made possible the identification and study of various graffiti at the
west surface of the three superior courses, all written during the
second half of the 18th century. One of them is dated 1789
and is written by a W. Young. A second is dated 1765 and his signed by
the initials R.C., W.P. and N.R. These belong to Richard Chandler,
William Pars and Nicholas Revett, representatives of the Society of the
Dilettanti, who arrived in Athens from London in that year.
The lecture is sponsored by the Συλλογος Φιλων Του Ιστορικου Αρχειου Της Αρχαιολογικης Υπηρεσιας. The public is welcome to attend!