In the early 19th century, classical antiquities took on growing significance in European scholarship and art collecting, while also accepted symbolic value for the developing Greek national identity. During the wars of liberation from the Ottoman Empire, the laws issued in Greece to protect the heritage, together with further initiatives launched to rescue it, dealt mostly with antiquities and classical monuments too. Nevertheless, it is clear that the past history of Greece embraced also other epochs and evidence alongside the classical ones, which ultimately characterised altogether the multifarious cultural landscape of the country. Medieval and Byzantine monuments are but a few examples of the various historical relics that were scattered in Greece in the early 19th century. This essay evaluates the gradual acceptance of Mediaeval and Byzantine artefacts within the practices of heritage protection introduced in Greece from mid-19th century onwards. The different approaches towards these artefacts and antiquities will be understood in connection to the political conflicts arose between the Bavarian rulers and the Greek nationalists at that time. Analysis will involve different regulations presented by the Bavarians to safeguard the Greek heritage in 1834 and 1837, together with their conceptual ambiguities on both antiquities and medieval arts derived from Neoclassic and Romantic aesthetics. Examples will concern the city of Athens specifically, focusing on the restoration works carried out in selected archaeological sites, such as the Acropolis, and the plans designed to save local Byzantine churches, such as Panagia Kapnikarea. As will emerge in the discussion, the conflicting perceptions on classical antiquities and both Medieval and Byzantine artefacts will gradually promote the expansion of scholarship and the practices of heritage protection, bringing about the establishment of the first Christian Archaeological Society in Greece in 1884.

Byzantine artefacts versus Classical antiquities: Questioning the early heritage protection in Greece

chiara mannoni
2022

Abstract

In the early 19th century, classical antiquities took on growing significance in European scholarship and art collecting, while also accepted symbolic value for the developing Greek national identity. During the wars of liberation from the Ottoman Empire, the laws issued in Greece to protect the heritage, together with further initiatives launched to rescue it, dealt mostly with antiquities and classical monuments too. Nevertheless, it is clear that the past history of Greece embraced also other epochs and evidence alongside the classical ones, which ultimately characterised altogether the multifarious cultural landscape of the country. Medieval and Byzantine monuments are but a few examples of the various historical relics that were scattered in Greece in the early 19th century. This essay evaluates the gradual acceptance of Mediaeval and Byzantine artefacts within the practices of heritage protection introduced in Greece from mid-19th century onwards. The different approaches towards these artefacts and antiquities will be understood in connection to the political conflicts arose between the Bavarian rulers and the Greek nationalists at that time. Analysis will involve different regulations presented by the Bavarians to safeguard the Greek heritage in 1834 and 1837, together with their conceptual ambiguities on both antiquities and medieval arts derived from Neoclassic and Romantic aesthetics. Examples will concern the city of Athens specifically, focusing on the restoration works carried out in selected archaeological sites, such as the Acropolis, and the plans designed to save local Byzantine churches, such as Panagia Kapnikarea. As will emerge in the discussion, the conflicting perceptions on classical antiquities and both Medieval and Byzantine artefacts will gradually promote the expansion of scholarship and the practices of heritage protection, bringing about the establishment of the first Christian Archaeological Society in Greece in 1884.
978-94-6426-157-8
978-94-6426-158-5
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11563/160290
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