2014-02-23

Epigraphical Museum: A great museum not worth your time (and money)

The title of the post is not meant as a joke, but as a quick capturing of what you need to know about the Epigraphical Museum. It is a specialized museum, hosting exclusively epigrams, that is inscriptions written on marble and stone from all over ancient Greece. It is the largest museum of its kind in the world, although you wouldn't know it from the size of the building and the exhibition rooms. I guess most of the artifacts are kept in storage rooms. An archaeologist specialized in the study of ancient Greece would probably have a field-day in here, but for the rest 99.99% of the population this is probably not the most exciting place in the world. If you think of checking it out just out of curiosity -it is practically next door to the National Archeological Museum- the 3Euro ticket (reduced tickets: 2€) will probably deter you. Who knows! Maybe, it's even meant to deter you, so as to avoid any unwelcome breaking of inscriptions by careless visitors! Explanatory signs are written in Greek and English, but some larger, informative wall posters are only written in Greek.
 
Entrance of the Epigraphical Museum, 1 Tositsa St., Athens, Greece
Anyway, I did manage to find a handful of things that were of interest: 
  • First, an ancient voting machine, of the kind used by Athenians to count votes on specific proposals put forward by their fellow citizens, or to vote on ostracizing those deemed unwelcome. I think this is a major exhibit, at least from a political point of view, and I'm surprised that it's ended up in this no man's land of a museum. Its rightful place should probably be at one of the 2 major museums (the National Archaeological or the Acropolis).
  • Then, a couple of inscriptions written in the "boustrophedon" type of writing. The word, meaning "like the turn of the ox tail", describes a peculiar type of ancient writing, where the 1st row begins "normally", from left to right, but the 2nd row starts from the right and goes left, with letters also "looking" to the the left. Then, the 3rd row follows the direction of the the 1st and the 4th one the direction of the 2nd, etc... I did come across this type of writing a few years ago,  by cause of a book of modern Greek palindromes, written by my wife, if I may say so [I think I should add a link to the book for the speakers of Greek among you, now that I think of it!] So, these particular epigrams rang close to home.
  • Finally, the museum is interesting from an architectural point of view. Two of the rooms have large -protected- glass windows that look to the front yard, with natural light coming in from all over the place and there's a front yard and a back yard, the latter of which is practically connected to the National Archaeological Museum.
One of the halls of the National Epigraphical Museum in Athens, Greece

But I think, that sums it up pretty well, and most of you will likely find something else to spend your limited time in Athens!
 
The back yard of the National Epigraphical Museum, at 1 Tositsa St., Athens, Greece.

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1 comment:

  1. They Stole my money in the wallet.

    I love history and byzantine art,so at the byzantine and christian museum on 3 Oct, I took a full ticket there to visit also archeological national museum, Epigraphic museum, and also Numismatic Museum the next day.

    The next day 4th Oct ,I went to Epigraphic Museum as it was near Archeological museum. Since the entrance the staff was strange, the museum itself looked empty, only after there was an asian couple before me. They told me the personnel two ladies mid age, to leave my tablet bag with them for safety, for me was fine. They also asked me where Im from, which I said to them from Albania, we are neighbors. When I gave to them my leather bag, I realized that I had my wallet inside a hidden pocket. I thought that will look bad to take again back the bag and remove the wallet in front of them and give back the bag again. So I decided to not ask as I thought will stay safety, anyway was my first time in Athens and in this museum.

    The museum itself if you are not an old greek linguistic or historian, there are only ancient big marble block written in many years BC like decrees etc.
    During all the time there was a personnel man following me even though I was alone and no one else. Only after I realize that he didn't follow me for the historical piece safety. So after I finished I went back to take my bag to the two ladies in the entrance to take my bag, and also asked for the entrance of the National Archeological museum but she didn't reply, and showed me an angry face. I took my back, and I knew that something was wrong, and I was walking to the main door and as I was walking I checked my wallet, there were missing 150euros and in my wallet were left only 50euro plus 10 euro. All my money were in 50euros each. I was at the exit door outside. In the morning I took with me 200euros and I was sure plus 10euro, and all this time I never took out my wallet.
    I want back and gently I asked them, (now the man that was following me was with the ladies), all the three when they saw me coming back they had a face ready to attack me, I told them if they were sure that my bag was safe there with them? Asked twice as they act as didn't understand . I saw behind them all other bags in the table. The big lady replied to me very angry, she said what do you think that we all three do here! and all of them with angry faces were ready to attack me.
    I told them seriously, Ok thank you, then.

    I knew that I couldn't resolve a think with them, only they will say that I made false accusation without proves. I thought to make denouncing in police station, there should be surveillance cameras. But as greeks doesn't like Albanians even though are in millions in Greece, I will loose only time, and also to check in afternoon the flight.

    I knew that I made mistake not taking my wallet with me. I simply went to the next museum and relaxed my self before my flight, I was angry yes, not for the money but for the way how they acted.

    By chance, Im also partner in two main Balkan news online media, that I own 35% of the shares, this media have millions of visitors monthly, as they are in Albanian language and English. I'm very sorry for this museum but I can influence in our readers in very different way if I want to make harm the Greek tourism .

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