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by Archaeology Newsroom

“Reflections” of Time in the Texts and Pictures of the European Travelers in Greece

The European scholars and archaeqphiles who traveled from the seventeenth century on in Greece, in order to be initiated in situ into the vision of the ancient Greek world, which had nourished them, had as “baggage” their classical culture. As they came in direct contact with the Greek space and the tangible remains of the Antiquity, they experienced this vision, which was sealed thereafter with the dialectic relation between past and present, the interweaving of the physically experienced time with the time of history, myth, memory and imagination. The “reflections” of time in their texts and pictures, dating from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century, are sketched in this article, Their common point of reference is the ancient monument, which has a special significance as regards the perception of time in a realistic as well as in a symbolic-imaginary level. The travelers’ purely subjective perception of time, notionally and sentimentally charged; their romantic, nostalgic contemplation of the glorious past, as opposed to the meagre present; and finally, their imaginary representations and “dominance” of recollections lucidly appear and are variously manifested in their verbal and visual testimonies.