Near Agios Laventios: A mummers play

Department Archive
Collection BSA SPHS Image Collection
Reference No. BSA SPHS 03/3638.4484
Level Item
Description Glass lantern slide, standard 3.25 x 3.25 inch square.
Dimensions 8 x 8 cm
Place Slopes near Agios Laventios
Dates 1910
Donor/Creator Wace, Mr Alan John Bayard
Project Pelion: Carnival Folklore 1907-1909
Scope and Content The original description in the SPHS register reads: "Greek mummers: a play".
Notes Date based on date mentioned on p. 244 of A.J.B. Wace, 'North Greek Festivals and the Worship of Dionysos' The Annual of the British School at Athens 16 (1909/1910) pp. 232-253. The image was used for the 1936 Exhibition of Minoan Civilization and the first 50 years work of the BSA at Burlington House in London.
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 01/1792.4484], Near Agios Laventios: A mummers play, 1910
Reference 1910. BSA 16: 247, fig. 9. Link to article
1919 JHS 39: 5th accession to 1913 slide catalogue. li.SPHS 4484. Link to article
1936 Exhibition Catalogue. 89.No. 398e.