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Durham e-Theses
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Rethinking mythology in Greek museums through contemporary culture

Antonopoulou, Marina (2010) Rethinking mythology in Greek museums through contemporary culture. Masters thesis, Durham University.



This thesis investigates the character with which Greek mythology, one of the most durable manifestations of ancient Greek heritage, survives in the perception of contemporary Greeks, and the role that Greek museums do and could play in this. The starting point for this investigation is the appraisal of Greek mythology as an ideological creation of ancient Greece that bears pan-human and diachronie intellectual and cultural potency and, as such, constitutes a significant interpretative tool for the contemporary Greek individual. More specifically, this thesis reconsiders the relationships between Greek mythology, Greek museums and Greek people, using as a bridge contemporary Greek art. It does so in three main chapters, which investigate and analyze different parameters of this nexus of relationships. Greek mythology’s adaptations by contemporary Greek society are also explored in an attempt to establish the dominant contemporary meanings of Greek mythology. Then, the relation of a specific cultural manifestation of contemporary Greek society, that of contemporary art, to Greek mythology is extensively analyzed through a series of interviews that were conducted exclusively for this thesis. In these interviews, contemporary Greek musicians, authors and visual artists speak of the position that Greek mythology possess (or does not possess) in their artistic expression, and discuss the intellectual and cultural significance that Greek myths retain for contemporary society and people. From these investigations, two antithetic poles emerge. On the one hand, there is the trivializing way in which Greek society deals with its myths through their exploitation, for example, for commercial or nationalist purposes. On the other hand, there is the sensitivity with which my interviewees pored over Greek myths, enabling them to emerge full of dynamism, and illuminating them as ever-active negotiators of life and human nature. Thus, contemporary art is identified as a powerful conveyor of mythology’s potency for the contemporary individual. Next, the position of Greek archaeological museums, as major official institutions that do, or could, represent and safeguard Greek mythology is explored and critically assessed. It emerges that Greek museums are rather unconcerned with Greek mythology’s representation and communication and thus, confirm that Greek mythology is a dead and irrelevant representative of a glorious, yet remote and strange, ancient civilization.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Philosophy
Thesis Date:2010
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:08 Sep 2011 18:33

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