Article

Indigenous Hellenisms/Indigenous Modernities: Classical Antiquity, Materiality, and Modern Greek Society

Yannis Hamilakis

in The Oxford Handbook of Hellenic Studies

Published in print August 2009 | ISBN: 9780199286140
Published online September 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199286140.013.0003

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Classics and Ancient History

 Indigenous Hellenisms/Indigenous Modernities: Classical Antiquity, Materiality, and Modern Greek Society

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This article attempts to briefly highlight an alternative Hellenism, indigenous Hellenism as performed by intellectuals and state bureaucrats, politicians and citizens, and poets and ordinary people, in Greece since the nineteenth century. Through a process of sacralization, classical antiquity was placed at the centre of the emerging modern state, and the material culture of the past (ruins, statues, inscriptions, etc.) gained in status and value. While the new nation of Greece saw itself as the resurrection of an ancient entity, the ideological basis for this national project was provided by a home-grown synthesis of ‘western’ and indigenous Hellenisms. The discussion also argues that it was the crucial work of Johann Gustav Droysen which facilitated this synthesis. It was his idea of a continuity between the ancient and modern worlds that gave Greek intellectuals the impetus to trace their own origins back to the classical past.

Keywords: Greece; alternative Hellenism; sacralization; material culture; classical antiquity; Johann Gustav Droysen

Article.  5539 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Ancient Greek History ; Classical Reception

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