Introduction

This project aims to explore and bring awareness to the rich, complex, and remarkable historical and cultural heritage of Mount Athos in Greece, and its connection to Princeton. Princeton students and faculty have been drawn to Mount Athos time and again, but its histories have not been told, in some cases because the collections have been misplaced and forgotten, and in others because the materials are not accessible, as they have not been digitized and researched yet.

 In 1929 an unofficial Princeton expedition was organized to Mount Athos that is now recorded in a unique and extremely rare footage; this was followed by multiple expeditions led by Professor Kurt Weitzmann in the 1930s that gathered a plethora of materials from the Athonite collections; followed by Professor Slobodan Curcič, who devoted years of his life to researching the history of the monasteries. Princeton also houses remarkable materials connected to Mount Athos, such as microfilms of post-byzantine Greek music manuscripts from the Kenneth Levy archive, slides from the William MacDonald and glass lantern collections in Visual Resources and invaluable postcards, engravings, and photographic prints held in Special Collections in Princeton University Library. These collections, in addition to the Mount Athos material at the Index of Medieval Art in the Art and Archaeology Department, will be at the heart of this project. 

An international team of faculty, staff, and students based both in Princeton and abroad will collaborate to make the Mount Athos collections on campus more discoverable and accessible by organizing and contextualizing them for teaching and research. This collaborative team would engage in research, teaching, digitization projects, and descriptive cataloging during three years (2023–2026).

This project is generously funded by the Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies, with the support of the Dimitrios and Kalliopi Monoyios Modern Greek Studies Fund and Art & Archaeology Department at Princeton University, as well as the Index of Medieval Art and Visual Resources in the Art & Archaeology Department.

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