‘Glorious Victories: Between Myth and History’ Exhibition in Athens

The National Archaeological Museum in Athens is currently running a temporary exhibition ‘Glorious Victories: Between Myth and History’ marking the 2,500-year anniversary of the Battle of Thermopylae and the Naval Battle of Salamis.

The impressive showcase gathers 105 Ancient 5th Century BC works from both its own collection and other prestigious Greek archaeological museums (including Thebes, Olympia, as well as the Konstantinos Kotsanas Museum of Ancient Greek Technology).  

The exhibition brings to the fore aspects of the victorious struggle of the Greeks against the Persians and especially emblematic for the historical anniversary is the display of the bust of Themistocles, a Roman copy of an original work of the 5th cent. BC, from the Archaeological Museum of Ostia (Parco Archeologico di Ostia Antica).

Insights Greece - 'Glorious Victories: Between Myth and History' Exhibition in Athens
Glorious Victories: Between Myth and History

The museological narrative tries to remain close to the descriptions of the ancient writers and the choice of the ancient works focuses on the sentiment of the spectator, the imagination and mainly the memories that emerge about the moments that people lived through back then. These moments determined their lives, ideas and beliefs, which were subsequently passed on to the modern western culture.

The exhibition consists of eight units, with the first six highlighting different episodes and battles of the Persian Wars. At the same time, figures of gods and mythical heroes enhance the historical narrative and interlink it with the mythical beliefs, according to which gods and mortals joined forces to achieve the overall victory, based on the value system of the ancient Greek world.  

The narrative culminates in the two concluding units which present the resonance of the Persian Wars in pictorial art —ancient and modern— and their ideological significance.

Furthermore, in Hall 21, where the bronze group of a horse with jockey from Artemision is on display, there are presented in dialogue with it, five vases-masterpieces with representations of athletic and music competitions, denoting the value of victorious racing contest, individual and collective, not only in the war but also in the time of peace.

Insights Greece - 'Glorious Victories: Between Myth and History' Exhibition in Athens
Exhibition ends this weekend

The exhibition is enhanced by digital projections that contribute to the creation of a scenic ambience, in order for the visitors to perceive the dramatic atmosphere of the events and the inspiring meaning of Nike (Victory), offering also in some cases complementary interpretive material.

Finally, ‘Glorious Victories: Between Myth and History’ is accompanied by a scholarly catalogue of 512 pages, published by the Archaeological Resources Fund. The anniversary volume includes 18 essays of eminent researchers in the domain of archaeology and art history, which elucidate the ways in which the Glorious Victories of the Persian Wars influenced political life, society, and the arts.

Dates: Ends Sunday, October 31, 2021 

Time: Monday, Wednesday-Sunday, 8:00-20:00, Tuesday, 13:00-20:00

A: 44 28th Oktovriou (Patision), Athens

Images Courtesy of National Archaeological Museum/ Archaeological Resources Fund

Shop Greek Museum Stores Online for the Perfect Gift

Online shopping offers endless possibilities, but if you’re seeking a truly original gift that can’t be found in the thousands on Amazon, visit these fantastic Greek museum shops and discover a whole other level of ideas.

National Archaeological Museum

Beautiful replicas of jewellery, busts, statues and statuettes, objects like vessels and coffee table books are sold at the store of Greece’s largest archaeological museum. There is no online catalogue but you can get in touch directly with the museum shop via email or phone to enquire whether any specific item you are interested in finding is available. The museum presents antiquities from all over Greece, in the categories of Prehistoric Antiquities, Sculpture, Metalwork, Vases and Minor Arts, Egyptian Antiquities, and Cypriot Antiquities. It also features permanent and temporary exhibitions that centre on particular areas of time and cultural, political, and social history. For more information, visit the museum shop’s page.

Insights Greece - Shop Greek Museum Stores Online for the Perfect Gift

Benaki Museums

There are four Benaki Museums in Athens – the Museum of Greek Culture, the Pireos Annex, the Museum of Islamic Art, and the Toy Museum. At the Museum of Greek Culture, one can find permanent exhibitions featuring ancient Greek and Roman art, Byzantine, post-Byzantine and Hellenic art, historic heirlooms, a vast collection of drawings, paintings and prints, Chinese and Korean art, and more. At the Pireos 138 Annex, the museum presents modern Greek architecture and photography and temporary events and exhibitions – currently, it is hosting the Athens Photo Festival 2020 (until 15/11/2020). The Museum of Islamic Art houses one of the world’s most important collections of art from India, Persia, Mesopotamia, Asia Minor, the Middle East, Arabia, Egypt, North Africa, Sicily, and Spain. Finally, the Toy Museum presents the lifetime collection of Maria Argyriadi which is among the most important in Europe and includes toys, books, clothing, and other items associated with childhood from Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas.

The online shop, the first of its kind in Greece, features museum replicas and inspired items from all the museums. You’ll find exclusive items like limited edition silkscreen prints by Greek artists, corporate gifts, contemporary and replica jewellery and an endless variety of unique art items created by Greek designers who were inspired by the breadth and depth of Greece’s and the world’s culture and art.

Museum of Cycladic Art

This impressive museum presents the most complete permanent collection of Cycladic art worldwide, as well as temporary exhibitions (currently one titled ‘Antiquarianism and Philhellenism: The Thanassis and Marina Martinos Collection’ which will go on until 05/04/2021). Cycladic art, ancient Greek culture and Cypriot culture are represented here in daily and utilitarian items, artworks, jewellery and sculpture. At the museum’s shop you’ll find replicas and modern creations by Greek designers inspired by the exhibitions, from household and décor items such as glasses, bowls and plates to jewellery and books. Explore the shop’s lucky charms for 2021 for upcoming Christmas pressies too.

Goulandris Museum of Natural History

The one-of-a-kind museum is known for its impressively massive replica of a dinosaur skeleton as well as its incredible variety of botanical, entomological, marine biology, paleontology, herpetology, mammal, mineral and other collections related to natural history collections. At the museum’s store you’ll find original presents for children, such as minerals and rocks, handmade ceramic, wood or stone figures of sea and land animals, and lovely books, puzzles and games related to the natural environment. There are plenty of gift options for adults too: Greek flora is portrayed on fabulous lithographies, silk scarves and porcelains designed by Niki Goulandris.

The Acropolis Museum

Greece’s most important museum, featuring spectacular beauties such as the Parthenon Frieze and a meticulously maintained, expansive and stunning collection of the most important finds from the Acropolis and Athens in antiquity, has just turned 10! The Acropolis Museum shop has created a special selection of festive, Christmas season gifts that includes lucky charms for 2021, decorative items and ornaments. The museum is also presenting a special selection of silk scarves, cups and other items themed on Cranes in Flight to celebrate its 10th Anniversary.