GENNADIUS LIBRARY / ATHENS
Books of Asia MinorThe Gennadius Library and the American School of Classical Studies at Athens present the exhibition "Books of Asia Minor. Cultural Traces of Asia Minor Hellenism [1764-1922]", from 14 December 2022 to 28 February 2023.
The exhibition opens with a presentation of the land and multicultural population of Asia Minor, through maps, historical and geographical books of the 19th century, rare Karamanli and Francochiot publications, as well as dictionaries (in the balcony of the Gennadius Library). Recently acquired historical testimonials complement the panorama: the manuscript notebook of a teacher who studied at the School of Kydonies, the scrapbook of a teenager from Smyrna, the diary of a soldier of the Asia Minor Campaign, and a scrapbook with photos from the Catastrophe of Smyrna, compiled by film director Elia Kazan.
Editions from the School of Kydonies at the time of the Greek Revolution of 1821, regulations of the schools of Smyrna, alphabet books, and textbooks demonstrate intense educational activities. Liturgical and theological books, the earliest one being the Akolouthia of Saint Simeon, the first book printed in Smyrna in 1764, bear witness to the intense religious activity of the Greek Orthodox populations of Asia Minor.
A wide range of novels or theatrical plays attest to a strong cultural interest in literature. The Neos Erotokritos by Dionysios Foteinos, works of the Phanariot Panagiotis Soutsos, and anthologies of poetry stand out. Numerous novels or plays were translated into Greek, from the French (Moliere, Montesquieu, Lamartine, Voltaire etc.) or the Russian (Dostoyevsky). Even Karamanli literary publications were in circulation. Rich material on the edification of women, moral or otherwise, ushered by the translation of Jean Nicolas Bouilly’s Conseils à ma fille [Advice to my daughter] by the female scholar Evanthia Kairis, along with the periodical press of early 20th century Smyrna, showcase the changing social position of women and the move to modernity.