Celebrating the heroes of borders

The stories of heroes have always stimulated our imagination and have been kept alive in collective memory through song, narration and epic poems. The exhibition «Border-Dwellers of Europe,» which Education Minister Marietta Giannakou introduced and Deputy Minister of Culture Petros Tatoulis opened at the Byzantine and Christian Museum last week, deals with the historical framework in which border-dwelling legends were born, developed and then became widespread. The exhibition is part of the Acrinet (European Acritic Heritage Network) European program, which is managed and coordinated by the Prisma Center of Development Studies, in collaboration with the Athens Academy’s Research Center of Greek Folklore. Louiza Karapidaki, museologist and archaeologist of the center, is the exhibition’s curator. From the legendary Digenis Akritas to King Arthur and from Charlemagne’s General Roland to Byzantine General Velissarius, the achievements of border-defenders have fed European literature and poetry. The exhibition provides a fresh outlook upon these legends through medieval musical instruments from the East and the West, copies of museum exhibits that depict border-dwellers, embroidery, sculptures, carpets, contemporary works of art inspired by these warriors, as well as through the use of the latest technology: a 10-minute video projection demonstrates how border legends and border epic poems influenced modern cinema, while the movement of peoples during the Middle Ages is depicted with maps. The exhibition points out the common cultural background of the border-dwellers, the symbolism of the border-dwelling legends and attitudes toward life and death, as they come across in international fairy tales. The exhibition, which ends tomorrow, will travel to Ioannina’s Epirus Studies Center, to the Paris Medieval Museum, to Crete, Karpathos and Barcelona, and will end up at a village on the Greek-Albanian border, where it will be on permanent display.

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