The battered remains of a set of long-lost murals by one of Greece’s best-known 19th-century painters, Nicolaos Gyzis, have been discovered in a ramshackle old building on the western outskirts of Athens, the Ministry of Culture confirmed yesterday. This followed a report in Sunday’s Ethnos newspaper, according to which three figures from a lost work called «The Four Seasons» by Gyzis (1842-1901) painted in 1862 were found in a former guesthouse on what was once the Palataki estate in Haidari. In a statement, the ministry said it has already purchased the building containing the paintings together with another 19th-century edifice on a 4,800-square-meter plot of land. This cost 1.76 million euros, which came out of funds earmarked for «preparations for the 2004 Olympics.» It said ministry experts will conserve the murals and both buildings will become a cultural complex. Every age has a ruler. The question is not whether some villages are still holding out, as in the time of Asterix. The question is whether their resistance is doomed to exhaust itself inside the boundaries of picturesqueness, quaint though it may be.