Chapter

Ariadne's Lament, 1900–1913

in Knossos & the Prophets of Modernism

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2009 | ISBN: 9780226289533
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226289557 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226289557.003.0004
Ariadne's Lament, 1900–1913

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This chapter investigates the inextricability of Minoan archaeology from the politics of post-Ottoman reconstruction, and explores some of the wider cultural significance of Arthur Evans's Ariadne. Ariadne bore the burden of many of Evans's most cherished themes. It was Ariadne's legendary “dancing floor” that Evans would return to again and again as a symbolic location that united the deep past with his fondest hopes for the present and the future of Crete. Queen Ariadne signaled Evans's acceptance of the notion that Crete retained at least some vestiges of the matriarchal system into the Late Bronze Age, thousands of years after it had been supplanted elsewhere. The Villa Ariadne represents a conservative use of the new material, while the reconstructed palace proudly displays the naked surfaces of modernist concrete construction. Giorgio de Chirico's postwar oeuvre has been described as “proto-postmodern.”

Keywords: Queen Ariadne; Arthur Evans; dancing floor; Crete; Villa Ariadne; Giorgio de Chirico; Minoan archaeology

Chapter.  10548 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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