Delphi (near): Ploughing with oxen, probably in the plain of Krisa

Department Archive
Collection SPHS BSA Image Collection
Reference No. BSA SPHS 01/2047.5270
Level Item
Description Glass negative, quarter plate size, a copy negative taken from a photographic print.
Dimensions 10.5 x 8 cm
Place Plain of Krisa
Creator Dixon, Prof. William Macneile
Scope and Content The original description in the SPHS register reads: "Delphi: near. Ploughing with oxen".
Notes Latest date is based on Prof. Dixon's donation of images to the SPHS collection ca. 1912 - JHS 32 (1912) liii. SPHS Lectures & Slide Sets: It appears in A.J. Toynbee, ca. 1924. Greek Life and the Greek Environment [later changed to The Geography of Greece]. Slide number 50 and no author, ca. 1932. Modern Greek Country Life. Slide number 3. Other Collections: The image is duplicated in slide format in the Ashmolean Lantern Slide Teaching Collection, Oxford University, catalogue number XB109 as "Delphi: olive-grove".
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 1912 JHS 32: 8th accession to 1904 slide catalogue. lxxix.SPHS 5270. Link to article
1913 JHS 33: Catalogue of Slides. 30.SPHS 5270. Link to article
1913 JHS 33: Catalogue of Slides. 144.SPHS 5270. Link to article
1913 JHS 33: Slide Lists. 145.SPHS 5270. Link to article