Classical Confrontations

How have ancient Greece and Rome intersected with South African histories? This project uses architecture, texts, visual arts and witnesses of historical memory to shed light on an ongoing discourse of receptions of antiquity used in both colonial and postcolonial manifestations. Classical antiquity, albeit at times absolutely employed by colonialism and later apartheid, has enabled challenges to the South African establishment, and provided a template for analyzing of cross-cultural encounters. Though access to classical education has been limited, many South Africans, black and white, have used classical frames of reference and drawn inspiration from the ancient Greeks and Romans. While classical antiquity may seem antithetical to post-apartheid notions of heritage, it deserves to be seen in this light. Museums, historical sites and artworks, up to the present day, reveal juxtapositions in which classical themes are integrated into South African pasts. This project seeks to enrich discussions and to further promote research in South African history and classical studies by providing points of references.

Samples from the digital museum

Institutional Sponsors

Iziko Museums of South Africa
Department of Ancient Studies, Stellenbosch University