Dimitris Tziovas

Home / About / Dimitris Tziovas

Dimitris Tziovas


Dimitris Tziovas is Professor of Modern Greek Studies and was Director of the Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies at the University of Birmingham (UK) (2000-2003). He served as Secretary of the European Association of Modern Greek Studies and has taught as a visiting Professor at a number of European and American universities. He is the General Editor of a translation series of Modern Greek literature and member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Modern Greek Studies (U.S.A 1992-2007), Reviews Editor of Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies (1995-2005) and member of its Editorial Board (1995- 2009, 2019-), Member of the Editorial Board of the journal Gramma published by the University of Thessaloniki (2003-), Ergon: Greek/American Arts and Letters (2017-) and member of the advisory board of the Journal of Greek Media and Culture (2014-). He is also member of the British School at Athens Studentships and Post-Doctoral Fellowship Subcommittee (2018- ). His books include The Other Self: Selfhood and Society in Modern Greek Fiction (Lexington 2003; translated into Greek 2007) and the edited volumes Greek Modernism and Beyond (Rowman & Littlefield 1997), Greece and the Balkans: Identities, Perceptions and Cultural Encounters since the Enlightenment (Ashgate 2003), Greek Diaspora and Migration since 1700 (Ashgate 2009), Re-Imagining the Past: Antiquity and Modern Greek Culture (OUP 2014) Greece in Crisis: Culture and the Politics of Austerity (I.B. Tauris 2017) (this volume was the outcome of a two-year research project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)). He is currently working on a two-year research project funded by the Leverhulme Trust (2018-2020).



The Parthenon of the twenty-first century is as much the construct of the archaeologist as it is of Pericles and his builders. The stripping of later accretions from the Acropolis had the opposite effect of what was intended. In their attempt to re-establish direct contact with the Classical past by removing the Christian and Muslim additions that cluttered the Parthenon, the Classicizers succeeded in destroying the very features that embodied the historical continuity of the building’s use as pagan sanctuary, church and mosque. The stripping of the Parthenon is symbolic of the effacement of Greece’s medieval and post-medieval history and culture. In this way the Parthenon, like Greek language, culture and identity, has come to be seen by Greeks in a-historical way as something eternal and unchanging.


Greece has been rediscovered by the West in different periods and various ways in the past. We can talk about a ‘rediscovery’ of Greece during the crisis in the sense of the world media spotlight being turned on the country in an attempt to understand what had gone wrong, reassess its economy and its European aspirations or revisit the symbolic role it had in the world due to its classical heritage. This lecture explores how the image of Greece has been constructed in the period of the crisis by placing it in the wider historical context of successive rediscoveries of the country over the centuries. The first rediscovery of Greece relied more on an imaginary and idealistic approach, the second on a historical one promoting the ideal of continuity, while the third tended to be more pragmatic and material, praising the landscape and light of Greece and constructing the Zorba stereotype. These approaches will be disentangled in order to understand how the crisis reactivated both the idealistic and critical attitudes to Greece and offered a mixture of idealism, stereotypes and exoticism.