18 January 2023 Start
18 January 2023 End
18.00 Time
Greece Netherlands Institute at Athens, 11, Makri str., 117 42, Athens


Speaking of techne: craft effects in Athenian society

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

The Netherlands Institute at Athens, in collaboration with the National Museum of Art and History Brussels, The National Archaeological Museum Athens, The Archaeological Research Unit of the University of Cyprus, The École française d’Athènes and The University College Roosevelt (NL) are very pleased to announce the new Lecture series and Discussion Forum TEXNH: Making, creating, and agency networks in the Ancient Mediterranean world. You can find the general introduction and scope of the TEXNH series by clicking here.

The first event, the lecture “Speaking of techne: craft effects in Athenian society” by Dr Helle Hochscheid will take place at our institute on Wednesday January 18, 2023 at 18.00.
There is a limited number of seats available, so if you would like to attend in person please make your reservation by phone (210-9210760, mon-fri 09.00-17.00) or by sending us an email.  Please note that the lecture can also be followed through a live stream.


‘You will have to avoid your favorite subjects — the shoemakers and the carpenters and the smiths — topics which you have talked into tatters!’ (Xen. Mem. 1.2.37, transl. Sobak)

The importance of craft to ancient Greek societies like Athens has been increasingly appreciated in recent scholarship. A new – or reiterated – interest in the intricacies of power dynamics in archaic and classical poleis, and a broader economic outlook have put non-elite populations and their contributions firmly into the spotlight. This talk will retrace the process of ‘gentrification’ of Athenian craftspeople: their inclusion, at least in potential, into the elite. By the later fourth century BC, this process was by and large complete; but how far back can we find its beginnings? Depending on the answer to this question, what impact may craft and craftspeople have had on the development of the classical Athenian polis? Arguably, the influx of craft expertise to Athens and its role as a craft hub from the late sixth and early fifth centuries onwards, may have created an early form of knowledge economy. This in turn could have driven innovation and creativity in other domains. By casting the net wide, the rare key pieces of evidence for the impact of craft on this development of societal innovation will be collected to explore the value of techne.