Digital Collection of the Museum for the Acritans of Europe
An exhibition entitled “The Acritans of Europe” was organized during the
period 16-30 April 2004 at the Byzantine and Christian Museum of Athens as part
of the project “Acrinet”. It was also taken to Ioannina in May 2004 in
collaboration with the Etaireia Epirotikon Meleton (Society for the Study of
Epiros), to Karpathos, in collaboration with the Municipality of Karpathos, and
to Thessaloniki, to the Museum of Byzantine Culture. The exhibition travelled
to the museum at Cluny in France in May 2004 and was on display in the Musée
des Civilisations de l’ Europe et de la Méditerranée in Marseilles, between
March and June 2005. From May 28th 2006 the exhibition is housed in the Museum
for the Acritans of Europe, in the border village of Palaiochora in the
Municipality of Pelekanos in the region of Hania.
The European Acritan tradition preserves folk legends surrounding the lives
of the heroic warriors and guardians of the borders of various states of
medieval Europe, the border areas of which suffered wars and changed hands
frequently. In medieval times, warriors who lived and fought in the border
zones (akra in Greek), were of a
distinct type, in that they rode horses and modelled themselves on the
hero-warrior of legend. This archetype reflected the ideologies and martial
values of the period and originates in the lengthy heroic martial tradition of
the peoples of Europe.
The exhibition The Acritans of Europe explores a number of issues. Among these are the birth of acritic poetry in the border of the Byzantine Empire, the concept of the boundary/border, folk songs and epics dating from the 11th and 12th century A.D. with Digenes as their central hero, the geographical background, that is the representation of the scene where the epics are played out, the various versions of Digenes during the stages of his life and career and finally, the survival and development of acritic poetry and the ways in which it has influenced more recent forms of art.
On 28 May 2006 the permanent exhibition “The Acritans of Europe” was installed in The Acritans of Europe Museum. The museum is located in the border village of Palaeochora in the Municipality of Pelekanos in the region of Hania. The exhibition was officially opened on 9 July 2006.
Scientific responsibility: Aikaterini
Museological editor: Louisa Karapidaki