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Marathon and the Archaeological Museum
By George Steinhauer
The book entitled "Marathon and the Archaeological Museum" was presented at an event held on Wednesday, 2 December 2009, at the "Pallas Athena" building, which serves as the headquarters of the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation in Greece. The book is the eleventh addition made by the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation and Eurobank EFG to the series of publications entitled ‘The Cycle of Museums’, which is funded exclusively by the Foundation and the Bank.
Mrs Marianna Latsis welcomed the attendees and talked about the importance of the publications of the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation and Eurobank EFG, which started in 1997. Moreover, she stated that this year’s book is substantially different from the previous ones because its reference point is not only ancient art as a creation made by men, but also men themselves and their unique ability to change the course of history.
Referring to the timeless symbolisms of the Battle of Marathon, she noted that
“It is one of the most important lessons of a complete reversal of world history, a victory beyond all expectations and one of the most vivid examples, throughout the centuries, of the triumph of the ideal of freedom against the power of weapons and reason.”
Mrs Latsis closed her greeting by saying that the 2,500-year anniversary of the historical battle and the festivities that will take place in 2010 are the least modern Greeks could do to celebrate and show their respect to their great history, which shines brightly and eternally, thus showing the way to virtue and innovation.
In his greeting, Mr Nikos Nanopoulos, CEO of Eurobank EFG, stated that
“This year, we feel once again joy and pride as, today, we are presenting one more precious publication. The publication is a pilgrimage to a region with a symbolic meaning, where one of the most important chapters of European history and global cultural heritage was written.”
“Approximately 2,500 years ago, the Persians were on the edge of Athens with an army of 100,000 men and threatened to conquer and raze Athens to the ground. However, against all odds, our ancestors were able to resist and win a great victory. If we compare the problems faced by our ancestors 2,500 years ago with the current financial difficulties, we cannot but feel optimistic. Indeed, when making this comparison, we are led to believe that, no matter how insuperable our current difficulties may seem, with the appropriate seriousness and persistence, we can overcome them,”
added Mr Nanopoulos.
Ms Lina Mendoni, General Secretary of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, attended the event on behalf of Mr P. Geroulanos, Minister of Culture and Tourism. In her greeting, she thanked the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation and Eurobank EFG for the continuous and consistent support they provide to the Ministry of Culture. In particular, Ms Mendoni stated that
“The John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation and Eurobank EFG continuously provide their support, not only through their publications but also in different ways, such as through their important contribution to the restoration of the archaeological site of Olympia. The case of Marathon can serve as an example for cooperation in various fields, such as education, culture and tourism.”
In his speech, Mr George Steinhauer, author and archaeologist, said that the publication is a double book, in the sense that it is both about a location and about an event: it is about that great historical moment thanks to which this area gained a place in history. Writing this book was not an easy task, he noted. The standards were very high, not only because of the archaeological importance of some of the monuments or museum exhibits, but also because of the greatness of the acts and issues that have since then been connected to the name of Marathon.
"Today, as we celebrate the 2,500-year anniversary of the battle, we feel that we have a duty to examine these impressive events once again, not just attempt to understand –from a historian’s point of view– what exactly happened, but also grasp their deeper meaning. The point of departure of questions such as ‘what would the future of Greece –and our civilisation– have looked like if Athens had lost that battle’ is wrong",
noted the author, who closed his speech by saying that
“A battle, no matter how great it is, never changes history. Its outcome (defeat or victory) is determined much earlier.”
The book entitled "Marathon and the Archaeological Museum" will be available on the website of the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation (www.latsis-foundation.org) –where all previous publications can already be accessed– on January 2010, in Greek and in English.
This new book has 330 pages. Ms Irini Louvrou, from OLKOS Publishers, was the general supervisor of the publication, Mr Dimitris Kalokyris carried out the design and preparation of the artwork, and the photographs of the exhibits were taken by Mr Sokratis Mavromatis. The printing was undertaken by the company Fotolio & Typicon SA, D. Plessas Ltd implemented the colour separation, and Stamou Ltd carried out the binding.
From left to right:
Mr Nikos Nanopoulos, CEO of Eurobank EFG, Mrs Marianna Latsis, Mr Spyros Zagaris, Mayor of Marathon, Mrs Henrietta Latsis, Mr George Steinhauer, author of the book and archaeologist, Mr Vangelis Chronis, General Manager of the Latsis Group and Member of the Executive Board of the Foundation and Ms Irini Louvrou, from OLKOS Publishers.