Between November 1943 and March 1944, Anastasios K. Orlandos transcribed 130 unknown inscriptions from the Early Christian and Byzantine phase of the Parthenon in
How bizarre it would have been for
The intersection between scholarship and political oppression contains all kinds of ethical problems and compromises. Before World War II,
Looking down from his ladder on the Acropolis,
The Acropolis was an important locus of representational resistance for the Greek people. It was from here that on May 30, 1941, Manolis Glezos and Apostolos Santas (two law students) took down the Nazi flag replacing it with a Greek flag. We must also not forget that Yannis Miliadis, the director of the Acropolis left the service in opposition to the collaborationist Greek government. In 1941 he joined the Communist-dominated government (EAM/ELAS) in the mountains. During the battles between the British and the Communists in December 1944, Miliadis was arrested and exiled.
I should note that the person that has turned me onto the Parthenon inscriptions is Amy Papalexandrou. My digression on Orlandos' political action was triggered by Amy's terrific new study, "Echoes of Orality in the Monumental Inscriptions of Byzantium," Art and Text in Byzantine Culture, ed. Liz James (Cambridge, 2007), pp. 161-187. The article suggests directions of "voiced readings" that animate an otherwise dull discipline. I personally cannot wait for the book, even if a couple of books down the line. Same goes to Linda Safran, whose sociolinguistic approach has transformed the inscriptions of southern Italy, see "Language Choice in the Medieval Salento: A Sociolinguistic Approach to Greek and Latin Inscriptions," Zwischen Polis, Provinz und Peripherie (
For a related posting on Nazi-occupied Greece, see Bishops, Earthquakes, Immigration.