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The Archaeology of Nostalgia

How the Greeks re-created their mythical past

John Boardman

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An exploration of the making of myth and the exceptional imagination of a people creating the first modern civilization out of the relics of their past


The Greeks used the mythical geography of their land to re-create a physical view of the past that their poets, priests and politicians used as a paradigm for contemporary behaviour, and they drew upon the world around them, not just to illustrate that past, but also in many ways to create it.

Sir John Boardman explores objects and images: those that are recoverable, those that are mentioned in texts, or those that may be imagined. He also assembles the many relevant extracts from classical writers with paraphrases of their content.

Presented alphabetically under authors and with indexes to gods, heroes, places and classes of object, these Testimonia are absorbing in their own right as well as vital source material for students.

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'By combining literary and archaeological sources Sir John has given us a unique study which should appeal as much to anyone interested in mythic literature as to those fascinated by Greek civilization'
Contemporary Review

Product Information

Book Details

Format: Hardback

Size: 25.5 x 18.3 cm

Extent: 240 pp

Illustrations: 183

Publication date: 11 November 2002

ISBN: 9780500051153

About the Author

Sir John Boardman was born in 1927, and educated at Chigwell School and Magdalene College, Cambridge. He spent several years in Greece, three of them as Assistant Director of the British School of Archaeology at Athens, and he has excavated in Smyrna, Crete, Chios and Libya. For four years he was an Assistant Keeper in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, and he subsequently became Reader in Classical Archaeology and Fellow of Merton College, Oxford. He is now Lincoln Professor Emeritus of Classical Archaeology and Art in Oxford, and a Fellow of the British Academy, from whom he received the Kenyon Medal in 1995. He was awarded the Onassis Prize for Humanities in 2009. Professor Boardman has written widely on the art and archaeology of Ancient Greece.