Easter dances at Megara

Department Archive
Collection SPHS BSA Image Collection
Reference No. BSA SPHS 01/1802.4514
Level Item
Description Glass negative, quarter plate size, a copy negative.
Dimensions 10.5 x 8 cm
Place Megara
Dates 1889
Creator Baker-Penoyre, Mr John ff.
Scope and Content The original description in the SPHS register reads: "Megara: Easter dances".
Notes Date is based on description of image from the 1902 list of photographs in the Hellenic Society collection which followed the list of slide accessions. The caption reads: "Megara: Easter Tuesday dance, 1889". Published in the first SPHS catalogue of the image collection in JHS for 1897, possibly identified as catalogue number Cd 4 or 5. Date of the image is certainly prior to 1897.

This image appears in the SPHS Slide Set: no author, ca. 1932. Modern Greek Country Life. Slide number 26
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 1897 JHS 17: Catalogue of Slides. lix.Cd 4 or Cd 5. Link to article
1904 JHS 24: Catalogue of Slides. xciv.SPHS 4514. Link to article
1913 JHS 33: Catalogue of Slides. 31.SPHS 4514. Link to article
1913 JHS 33: Catalogue of Slides. 144.SPHS 4514. Link to article
1913 JHS 33: Slide Lists. 145.SPHS 4514. Link to article