Athens and the Great Idea. 1896-1922

Athens and the Great Idea. 1896-1922

What: Maria Iliou’s documentary film and accompanying photographic exhibition at the Benaki Museum revisits the sensitive subject of the The Megali Idea or the Great Idea – the irredentist concept of establishing a Greek state that would include the large Greek populations that were still under Ottoman rule, after Greek independence. Through widely unknown archival photographs and film footage culled from America, Australia and Europe, this is mandatory viewing for all lovers of history.

What was Athens like after the first Olympic Games of the modern era in 1896, and until 1922? Why did Athenians go to the front for so many wars, like the war of 1897, the Balkan wars of 1912-1913, World War I in 1917 and the Asia Minor campaign from 1919 to 1922? How was Athens transformed from the era of the Belle Epoque to the Athens of the Great Idea and the National Schism, and how was the city transformed, in September 1922?

Through widely unknown archival visual material from three continents, director Maria Iliou, historical consultant Alexandros Kitroef and their collaborators once again weave a fascinating story, told in a documentary film and an accompanying photographic exhibition at the Benaki Museum of Hellenic Culture, at 1 Koumbari Street.

With Roderick Beaton (Professor Emeritus at the Korais Chair at King’s College and Chairman of the Board of the British School of Athens), Katherine Fleming (New York University), Nikos Vatopoulos (Kathimerini Newspaper), Christina Koulouri (Panteion University), Alexandros Kitroef (Haverford College), Jim Wright (American School of Classical Studies), Marina Lambraki Plaka (former Director of the National Gallery), Sir Michael Llewellyn Smith (King’s College, London), while Despina Geroulanou and Philip Mazarakis-Ainian tell family stories from the National Schism.

When: Until April 23, 2023

Where: The Benaki Museum, 1 Koumbari St. & Vas. Sofias Ave., 106 74 Athens

Leave your comments ...