Between Classical and Marginal

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

Between Classical and Marginal

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


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This chapter explores the differentiation and marginalization of Magna Graecia within an emerging Hellenism increasingly focused on classical, mainland Greece, by looking at late eighteenth-century travel narratives and historiographies. Disappointment at the paucity of classical monuments in Magna Graecia, as expressed by Winckelmann's German pupil Riedesel, is shown to give way to later French and British travelers’ interest in the region's exotic and antique quality. Magna Graecia's central role in the origins of modern narratives of ancient Greece is examined alongside the region's marginalization, in these same narratives, as a mere site of ancient Greek colonization, overlooking its place as a center of Greek culture. A distinctly different take is revealed in the historical works of the Neapolitan Enlightenment, which sought to harmonize Magna Graecia's past with the Italic past, a trend that signals a growing divide between Italian and non-Italian approaches to Magna Graecia.

Keywords: travel narratives; colonization; historiography; eighteenth century; Neapolitan enlightenment; Italic past; Hellenism

Chapter.  26360 words.  Illustrated.

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

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