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At an event held on Monday, 1 December 2008, at the ‘Pallas Athena’ –the headquarters of the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation– the book entitled ‘The Archaeological Museum of Olympia’, which is the new publication of the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation and Eurobank EFG, was presented. The publication attempts to offer to the general public the panorama of Olympia’s precious treasures, which represent the centuries-old history of Altis and the age-old history of the most famous sports competition of ancient times.
Mr Michalis Liapis, Minister of Culture, who honoured the event with his presence, states in the book’s foreword that Olympia –a place of great emotional and ideological significance– has succeeded, throughout the centuries, in becoming a symbol of universal and timeless values. The timelessness of the Sanctuary is evidenced by the multitude of archaeological monuments and findings that were discovered, and it is this richness that is showcased in a unique way in the new publication of the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation and Eurobank EFG.
In her speech, Mrs Marianna Latsis stated that the cultural ark of ‘The Cycle of Museums’ welcomes its tenth member this year and 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 said that the books of the series ‘The Cycle of Museums’ are donated by the John Latsis Public Benefit Foundation and Eurobank EFG 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, Mrs Latsis announced that in 2009 the Latsis Public Benefit 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 series ‘The Cycle of Museums’ on CD to 3,000 schools across the country in order to enrich the educational material used and further familiarise students with our country’s archaeological sites. She also announced the title of the next publication, which will be dedicated to the Museum of Marathon, in order to mark the 2,500 years, in 2010, since the historical battle.
In her special statement regarding the publication of the Archaeological Museum of Olympia, she also referred to the purely emotional reasons behind the idea of this publication since
“Ilia is the birthplace of our father, John Latsis, and our mother, Henrietta. We thus felt that it is our duty to continue the long-standing tradition of social solidarity and contribution, started by John Latsis, to his birthplace as well as to all places where he was active.”
In his speech, Mr Nikos Nanopoulos, CEO of Eurobank EFG, referred, among other, to the far-reaching and multifaceted support that both Eurobank EFG and the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation offered to the devastated region of Ancient Olympia, through their joint programme for fire-affected people entitled ‘It Is Our Duty’ www.inekathikonmas.gr; he also talked about the big project of restoring the natural landscape that surrounds this sacred place.
In her greeting, Ms Irini Louvrou, coordinator of the publication, stated that “what makes the 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 the reader.”
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. Then, she said that the book that is being presented features the most representative works of art of the Archaeological Museum of Olympia – some from the exhibition of the Old Museum, some from the storehouses and, in particular, from the Chalcothece, which is unique in the world in terms of the number of votive offerings stored there. She closed her speech by saying that she feels very moved and honoured as this publication comes after she has lived and worked for nearly thirty years in Olympia.
This new book has 367 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 Messrs Sokratis Mavromatis and Giorgos Fafalis. The printing was undertaken by the company Fotolio & Typicon and Mr G. Iliopoulos, D. Plessas Ltd implemented the colour separation, and K. Stamou and Co carried out the binding.