Brushwood laden donkeys on Mount Hymettos

Department Archive
Collection BSA SPHS Image Collection
Reference No. BSA SPHS 03/3658.7117
Level Item
Description Glass lantern slide, standard 3.25 x 3.25 inch square.
Dimensions 8 x 8 cm
Place Mount Hymettos
Donor/Creator Baker-Penoyre, Mr John ff.
W.A. Mansell & Co.
Scope and Content The original description in the SPHS register reads: "Thyme laden donkeys at Athens".
Notes Latest date based on its inclusion in the 1913 slide catalogue. Although this image was donated to the SPHS by J. Baker-Penoyre, it is illustrated as Plate XVI in E. Bosanquet's 1914 book, Days in Attica and attributed to the commercial firm, W.A. Mansell & Co. with the caption "Loads of Fuel" and referred to as brushwood in the text.This image appears in the SPHS Slide Set by A.J. Toynbee (ca. 1921) Greek Life and the Greek Environment [later changed to The Geography of Greece], slide number 24; also in Slide Set: No Author (ca. 1932) Modern Greek Country Life, slide number 21.
Further information Scenes from Modern Greek Life
Historic images often show scenes from modern life. These are not modern in the current sense, but reflect a time they were taken. Some were captured unintentionally, recording an aspect of contemporary activity while composing scenes of other interest such as ancient or historical monuments. However, many were taken with the express purpose of recording folk life, part of a trend in the latter part of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. The process of categorizing these ethnographic scenes of everyday life in image collections reflected contemporary folklore categories: material life (eg. domestic architecture, dress, craft and agricultural production), social life (eg. games, festivals) and spiritual life (eg. superstitions, religious activities).

However, a significant idea encapsulated in these ethnographic images was the 19th-century concept of continuity - relics or survivals - of ancient social life and practices in the present. In Greece, this concept of continuity was notably promoted by the scholar of folklore (laographia), Nikolaos Politis, and held by many British classicists and archaeologists of the time. In fact, the Irish classical scholar, J.P. Mahaffy encapsulated this idea in his 1876 travel book, Rambles and Studies in Greece: "Everywhere the modern Greek town is a mere survival of the old". These survivals were often linked to classical literature, cult and myth by scholars of the Greek world.

It is clear that these images are not simply quaint historical scenes, but they embody principles inherent in the discipline of Hellenic Studies in the recent past.

Related records [BSA SPHS 01/3808.7117], Brushwood laden donkeys on Mount Hymettos
Reference 1913 JHS 33: Catalogue of Slides. 144.SPHS 7117. Link to article
1913 JHS 33: Slide Lists. 145.SPHS 7117. Link to article