- Philhellenism, Philanthropy, or Political Convenience? American Archaeology in Greece. Special Issue of Hesperia: The Journal of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens editor by Jack L. Davis and Natalia Vogeikoff-Brogan
The presence of U.S. archaeologists in Greece is at the core of this handsomely produced special issue of Hesperia, the journal of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens (ASCSA), edited by its outgoing editor Tracey Cullen. The volume’s chapters originated in papers presented at a workshop held at the ASCSA on 18 May 2010, titled “Philhellenism, Philanthropy, or Political Convenience? American Archaeology in Greece.” Since the time of their presentations, the papers have evolved into meticulously researched and persuasively written essays that also converse with each other. Not an easy feat on topics as broad as the conference title and subsequent volume title suggest.
After an insightful Introduction (1–14) co-authored by the guest editors of this special issue, Jack L. Davis and Natalia Vogeikoff-Brogan, eight chapters follow in a logical, studied succession that traces, with some overlap, the early through mid-twentieth-century chronology of the ASCSA’s philhellenic activities—and personalities. The first chapter, written by former ASCSA director Jack Davis, is entitled “The American School of Classical Studies and the Politics of Volunteerism” (15–48). Its author discusses the little known but vital role played by the ASCSA’s administration in emergency relief efforts in northern Greece in 1918–1919, through its assistance to the operations of the American Red Cross. (Subsequently) towering figures such as archaeologist Edward Capps helped Greek refugees returning from Bulgaria resettle in northern Greece and placed their own and some of the ASCSA’s professional, material, and especially diplomatic resources in the service of the greater cause. An ethos of American volunteerism blended with the politics of philanthropy, and Davis shows how the ASCSA’s upper echelons also carefully navigated the rift between the Greek monarchy and the liberal party of Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos—a position of quasi-neutrality which the ASCSA would revisit in future cases of conflict.
Strong personalities inevitably became part of the permanent history and lore of the ASCSA. Eleftheria Daleziou picks up this thematic thread in the volume’s second chapter, which presents Bert Hodge Hill, the “archenemy” of Edward Capps: “‘Adjuster and Negotiator’: Bert Hodge Hill and the Greek Refugee Crisis, 1918–1928” (49–65). The enmity between the two occupants of key positions in the ASCSA’s administration and its larger sociopolitical and cultural networks has become legendary, but Daleziou [End Page 446] adds new insights and most cogently rehabilitates Hill. She documents Hill’s service to the 1920s campaigns bringing relief to the refugees from Asia Minor. The themes of personal rivalry and “antagonistic philhellenism” (in an expanded definition of the word) are reiterated in the volume’s third chapter, written by David W. Rupp and entitled: “Mutually Antagonistic Philhellenes: Edward Capps and Bert Hodge Hill at the American School of Classical Studies and Athens College” (67–99). Rupp critically discusses how Capps and Hill vied for a larger role in shaping the educational life of Athens, with their minds set on the foundation of an American-style private institution. After years of administrative delays and competitive fundraising, Athens College was founded in 1925 and remains one of the city’s most visible high schools.
Betsey A. Robinson has contributed one of the most fascinating chapters to this volume: chapter 4, “Hydraulic Euergetism: American Archaeology and Waterworks in Early-20th-Century Greece” (101–130). Her essay takes us beyond Athens and the colonial quarters of family fortunes, academic pedigrees and ivy accolades, competitive committee assignments, and do-or-die directorships. Robinson places problems such as water shortages, clean water issues, and public health challenges squarely within...