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The presentation of the book entitled "The Archaeological Museum of Olympia", published by the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation and Eurobank EFG, took place in the framework of an event held on Monday, 1 December 2008, at ‘Pallas Athena’, the headquarters of the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation. The publication attempts to introduce the general public to the full spectrum of Olympia’s precious treasures, which represent the long-standing history of Altis and the age-old history of the most famous sports competition of ancient times.
In the foreword of the book, the Minister of Culture, Mr Michalis Liapis, who graced the event with his presence, states that Olympia –a site with special emotional as well as ideological power – was able to evolve over the centuries into an ark of human and ever timely values. The agelessness of the Sanctuary is proved by the multitude of archaeological monuments and finds discovered, and it is precisely this wealth that is presented and highlighted in a singular way by the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation and Eurobank EFG through this new publication.
In her speech, Ms Marianna Latsis stated that this year the cultural ark of the "Museums Cycle" grows and welcomes its tenth member; she stressed that all this accumulated scientific knowledge and rich photographic material can now be accessed through the website of the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation, in the form of e-books. She also mentioned that the John Latsis Public Benefit Foundation and Eurobank EFG donate the books of the ‘Museums Cycle’ series are donated by to hundreds of libraries, university faculties and institutes of archaeology, as well as to archaeologists and researchers in Greece and abroad, thus systematically serving the main purpose of this series of publications, which is to preserve our cultural heritage and make Greek antiquity known across the world.
Moreover, Ms Latsis announced that in 2009 the Latsis Foundation, with the approval of the Ministry of Culture and the support of the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, is planning to send the ‘Museums Cycle’ series to 3,000 schools across the country in the form of CDs, in order to expand the educational material used and to further familiarise students with our country’s archaeological sites. She also revealed the title of the next volume, which will be dedicated to the Museum of Marathon, in view of the anniversary, in 2010, of 2,500 years since the historic battle.
In her special statement regarding the publication on the Archaeological Museum of Olympia, she also referred to the purely emotional reasons behind the idea for this publication since
“Ilia is the birthplace of our father, John Latsis, and our mother, Henrietta. We thus felt that it is our utmost duty to continue the long-standing tradition of social solidarity and contribution started by John Latsis both in respect of his birthplace and in respect of every other place where he developed his activity.”
In his speech, Mr Nikos Nanopoulos, CEO of Eurobank EFG, referred, inter alia, to the far-reaching and multifaceted support that both Eurobank EFG and the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation offered to the region of Ancient Olympia, which has been heavily affected by wildfires, through their joint programme for fire-ravaged people entitled "It Is Our Duty"; he emphasised the important works relating to the restoration of the natural landscape that surrounds this sacred place.
In her greeting, Ms Irini Louvrou, coordinator of the publication, stated that
“what makes this publication particularly special is the great diversity among the materials and shapes of the magnificent findings: the pages of the book are filled with bronze, marble and ceramic works of art that will amaze readers”.
In her closing speech, Ms Georgia Hatzi, writer, archaeologist and Director of the Museum, talked about the excavation work carried out in the region over the last 130 years and its invaluable contribution to science and mankind. She then said that the book presented features the most representative works of art of the Archaeological Museum of Olympia – some from the Old Museum’s collection, others from the storehouses and, in particular, from the Chalcotheke, which is unique in the world in terms of the number of votive offerings stored. She concluded by saying that she feels very moved and honoured as this publication marks nearly thirty years since she started living and working in Olympia.
This new book has 367 pages in total. Ms Irini Louvrou of OLKOS Publishers supervised the publication, Mr Dimitris Kalokyris was the design and curation executive, and the photographs of the exhibits were taken by Mr Sokratis Mavromatis and Mr Giorgos Fafalis. The volume was printed by Fotolio & Typicon SA and Mr G. Iliopoulos, while D. Plessas Ltd was responsible for colour separation works and K. Stamou & Co for the binding.