Thasos, Maries: semantron (sanis) of church

Department Archive
Collection SPHS BSA Image Collection
Reference No. BSA SPHS 01/0913.2543
Level Item
Description Film negative, slightly smaller than standard quarter plate size, an original negative.
Dimensions 9 x 8.5 cm
Place Mariais
Dates 1907
Creator Baker-Penoyre, Mr John ff.
Collection event Thasos Survey 1907
Scope and Content Part of a series of images from the island of Thasos by John ff. Baker-Penoyre during his visit in 1907 to map areas of archaeological interest, particularly the site of Limena, and to conduct investigations of ancient architecture. The original description of the image in the SPHS register reads: "Thasos: Semantron of church".
Notes Dates to the survey of Thasos by Baker-Penoyre in 1907. The catalogue number XII.11 is written on the negative.

The image appears in the SPHS Slide Set: (no author), ca. 1932. The Greek Church. Slide number 12
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.

Reference 1908 JHS 28: 4th accession to 1904 slide catalogue. lxxix.SPHS 2543. Link to article
1913 JHS 33: Catalogue of Slides. 28.SPHS 2543. Link to article
1913 JHS 33: Catalogue of Slides. 73.SPHS 2543. Link to article
1913 JHS 33: Catalogue of Slides. 144.SPHS 2543. Link to article