Discoveries and Rediscoveries

Giovanna Ceserani

in Italy's Lost Greece

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199744275
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199932139 | DOI:

Series: Greeks Overseas

Discoveries and Rediscoveries

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  • Ancient History (Non-Classical, to 500 CE)


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This chapter complicates the received notion of the Magna Graecia's modern discovery during the 'Hellenic turn’ of eighteenth-century Europe. The historical geography of Leandro Alberti and others shows earlier Renaissance antiquarianism's perceptions of Greek South Italy as a place of picturesque natural beauty and lost antiquity, seemingly irreconcilable with the wider Italian classical past. The eighteenth-century rediscovery of Paestum is examined within its Neapolitan intellectual context, which includes the figures of Giambattista Vico, Alessio Simmaco Mazzocchi and even J.J. Winckelmann, and in relation to the emergence of vase studies analysis that reveals the differential investment of Italian and foreign scholars in Magna Graecia, with latter bent on a search for an ideal conception of classical Greece that would effectively relegate Magna Graecia to the margins of classical study.

Keywords: Renaissance; Eighteenth century; historical geography; antiquarianism; Leandro Alberti; Giambattista Vico; Alessio Simmaco Mazzocchi; J.J. Winckelmann; Paestum; vase studies

Chapter.  27221 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ancient History (Non-Classical, to 500 CE)

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