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by Archaeology Newsroom

The Greeks of the West

The exhibition which monopolizes presently the cultural interest in Italy is dedicated to the Greek colonizers of the West. In the Palazzo Grassi of Venice homage is paid to “Magna Grecia” in recognition of its fundamental role in the formation of European culture. Professor Giovanni Pugliese Caratelli, president of the Scientific Committee of the exhibition states: “Our intention is to elevate, through a choice of archaeological documents and works of art, the civilization which was developed in the Greek colonies of the West, from South Italy to Sicily and Cyrene and from Provence to the Iberian Peninsula, as well as the exemplary coexistence with the native peoples. But mainly we have tried to follow the course which led to the birth of the concept of Europe, mother land of dialectic thought and cultural tradition”. The creation of the institution ofpoiis, the independent society of free citizens, is the historic fact which gave an impulse to the colonization movement. The colonies can exhibit an excellent fine arts production which is presented in a complete and thorough way through 2,000 exhibits which come from 75 museums. A series of panels on the galleries walls, in the form of “information atlas”, relates the exhibits on the one hand with their place of origin (aerophotographies, plans, maps), and on the other with religion, social and political structure, theater, mythology, town-planning, cultural and artistic activities. It is a parallel course which offers to the visitor-spectator useful information for the comprehension of the ancient society. Besides, this is the novelty of this exhibition: the artistic production is not presented merely as an object, but as a creation of a specific society, of a certain way of life. Special emphasis is naturally laid on architecture and philosophy by portraying the celebrated philosophers of antiquity, who lived in Magna Grecia: Parmenides, Empedocles, Pythagoras, Plato. The exhibition, open until December 8, 1996, is accompanied by parallel exhibitions and organized excursions to the grounds of Magna Grecia, screenings, videos and infromative web pages in the Internet.