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Minoan archaeology in the Athens 2004 Olympic Games

  • Anna Simandiraki (a1)

The Athens 2004 Olympic Games presented an opportunity for Greece to celebrate its ancient traditions and modern organizational skills. The organizers used archaeology as theory, iconography, idealism and so on. They particularly focused on Classical antiquity, when the Games were at their height before their modern revival. This article, however, will examine the use of Minoan archaeology. I argue that, although there is no archaeological evidence to connect Minoan archaeology to the original Olympic Games, the modern Greek national narrative adapted it to the current national image of the Olympic Games. I analyse this phenomenon by deconstructing some of its processes, taking Crete as a case study. I also highlight broader issues, concerning the instrumentality of the public domain in the shaping of cultural heritage.

Les Jeux Olympiques d'Athènes de 2004 furent pour la Grèce une occasion de célébrer ses traditions anciennes et ses talents d'organisation modernes. Les organisateurs se sont basés sur l'archéologie comme thérie, iconographie, idéalisme etc. Ils se sont surtout concentrés sur l'antiquité classique, époque où les Jeux connaissaient leur apogée avant leur renaissance moderne. Cet article étudie cependant spécifiquement l'utilisation de l'archéologie minoenne. Je prétends que, même sans qu'il n'y ait de preuve archéologique d'un rapport entre archéologie minoenne et Jeux Olympiques originaux, la narration grecque moderne l'a adaptée à l'image nationale commune des Jeux. J'analyse ce phénomène en décomposant quelques-uns de ses processus et en prenant Crète comme étude de cas. En même temps, je mets en évidence des sujets plus globaux se rapportant au rôle du domaine public dans l'énonciation du patrimoine culturel.


Die Olympischen Spiele 2004 in Athen gaben Griechenland die Möglichkeit, seine alten Traditionen und modernen Organisationsfähigkeiten zu feiern. Die Organisatoren nutzten Archäologie als Theorie, in der Ikonographie, beim Idealismus usw. Sie rückten dabei das klassische Altertum, während dessen sich die Spiele vor ihrer modernen Wiederbelebung auf dem Höhepunkt befanden, in den Mittelpunkt. Der vorliegende Beitrag untersucht dagegen die Nutzung der Minoischen Archäologie. Es wird erörtert, dass - auch wenn keine archäologischen Beweise vorliegen, um Minoische Archäologie mit den ursprünglichen Olympischen Spielen zu verbinden - die moderne griechische Tradition diese für das derzeitige Bild der Olympischen Spiele adaptierte. Dieses Phänomen wird diskutiert, indem anhand von Kreta als Fallstudie einige seiner Prozesse dekonstruiert werden. Es werden weiterführende Gesichtspunkte beleuchtet, die die Instrumentalisierung der Öffentlichkeit in der Formung des kulturellen Erbes betreffen.

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