Museum Secrets: National Archaeological Museum at Athens

Greece may be in its deepest crisis since the military Junta (1967-1974), museums may be closing down, the security of archaeological sites may be rudimentary. And yet, culture and a love for the ancient world remains a strong focus for people in Greece and abroad.

The new series of Museum Secrets should be seen as part of the exciting journey towards historical re-discovery of our world. The series takes us to several museums, especially in Europe, and guides us through their most important collections.

I had the opportunity to watch the episode on the National Archaeological Museum at Athens on 29 June (Yesterday channel). This is a museum I know pretty well since my undergraduate studies (I literally visited it every other week just to make sure that I have not missed something!). The program promised to take us through the displays of almost 11000 exhibits from 7000 BC to the
Roman conquest of Greece. This Herculean task could not, of course, be fulfilled but under no circumstances was I disappointed.

The documentary focussed on well known episodes of Greek history (and in some cases mythology). Not surprisingly, the producers preferred certain historical moments that were fundamental for the development of the western civilisation. For example, the reenactment of the battle of Salamis reminds us that, if the Greeks had not won against their adversaries (the Persians), the Asian superpower may not have allowed the emergence of a euro-centric culture as we know it today. Another example, is the emphasis of the producers on the heroic figure of Alexander the Great, whose military expeditions in Asia gave rise to the hellenisation of the ruling families of the eastern hellenistic kingdoms.

The program is interesting and well made and, above all, deserves my recommendation.


Economic historian and numismatic consultant

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