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H 210 x W 145 mm

380 pages

14 figures; 5 maps

Published Oct 2020

Archaeopress Archaeology


Hardback: 9781789694529

Digital: 9781789694536

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Smyrna; western Anatolia; Greece; Athens; Twentieth Century; Mid-war period; Correspondence; Greek archaeology

Related titles

Archaeological Lives

Lost Worlds of Ancient and Modern Greece

Gilbert Bagnani: The Adventures of a Young Italo-Canadian Archaeologist in Greece, 1921-1924

By D. J. Ian Begg

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This book relates three years (1921-1924) in the life of Gilbert Bagnani, a young Italian archaeologist in Greece, based on his letters to his mother in Rome, at first as a non-partisan observer of, and later as an active participant in, some of the most tumultuous events in modern Greek history.



Foreword – Prof. T. H. B. Symons ;
Preface ;
Acknowledgements ;
Introduction ;
Timeline ;
Maps ;
Prologue: Odysseus vs. Achilles ;
Chapter 1. Vengeance ;
Chapter 2. Back in Time ;
Chapter 3. Imposing Ruins ;
Chapter 4. Marble Sepulchres ;
Chapter 5. The Arms Merchant and the Secret Agent ;
Chapter 6. Foreign Correspondent ;
Chapter 7. The Oracle of Apollo and St Paul ;
Chapter 8. The Renaissance at a Byzantine Outpost ;
Chapter 9. Exposed ;
Chapter 10. The Knights of Rhodes ;
Chapter 11. The King of Kos ;
Chapter 12. Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea ;
Chapter 13. Monasteries in the Air ;
Chapter 14. In the Minotaur’s Labyrinth on Crete ;
Chapter 15. Inferno ;
Chapter 16. Executions ;
Chapter 17. The Pharaoh’s Curse ;
Chapter 18. The Castles of the Giant Cyclopes ;
Chapter 19. A Surviving Byzantine Republic ;
Chapter 20. Karpathos: The Island of Poseidon ;
Chapter 21. Paradise Lost ;
Chapter 22. Mission to the Underworld: Spying for Mussolini ;
Chapter 23. Lost Greek Empires ;
Chapter 24. The Land of the Golden Fleece ;
Epilogue ;
Figures ;
Bibliography ;

About the Author

Ian Begg studied archaeology in Greece at the America School of Classical Studies in Athens. For this book, the author retraced Gilbert Bagnani's footsteps around Greece, the Aegean, Turkey and Libya. He has not only participated in excavations in Sicily, Greece, Crete and Egypt but also initiated a survey on the island of Karpathos especially for the chapter in this volume.


'This is a lively account of a formidable personality, scholar and archaeologist in the making.'Sir Michael Llewellyn Smith (2020), British Ambassodor to Greece 1996 – 1999

'Informative, excellently-edited and a delight to read.'Professor John Bintliff (2020), Edinburgh University

'This book stands as a major contribution and an accessible one to our understanding of the history of Greece in the years 1921-1924. In bringing Gilbert Bagnani back to life through his subject’s letters and through his own careful delving into primary sources, Ian Begg joins a group of scholars [who] have examined the personal lives, attitudes and idiosyncrasies of archaeologists, artists and performers, anthropologists, and historians as entryways into the discoveries they made, using their personalities as lenses for their scholarly or artistic methods.' – Robert Pounder (2021): Bryn Mawr Classical Review

'The titles of some books act like magnets. They pull you towards them and command attention... It is not about the lost worlds of Ancient Greece alone but also about the lost worlds of Modern Greece... Who is Gilbert Bagnani and what adventures is he having in Greece before and after the Asia Minor Catastrophe? Any hesitation you may have had vanishes into thin air when you start reading this absorbing, literate, informative and simply wonderful book.' – James Karas (2022): Greek Press, Toronto, March 4, 2022

‘In 2022 Greece will be commemorating the one-hundredth anniversary of the Asia Minor Catastrophe. There are only a few books in English accessible to a broad audience that consider the events of 1922... To these we should now add Begg’s Lost Worlds.’ – Natalia Vogeikoff-Brogan (2022): Journal of Modern Greek Studies

‘A serious and punctilious archaeologist, culturally open to the investigation of other historical periods, an able journalistic correspondent, an incurable salon-lover and admirer of luxury, gifted with an intelligent sense of irony, even a secret agent. Gilbert Bagnani’s multifaceted personality emerges very well from the pages of Ian Begg’s book, which takes us not only through the history of Greece in the 1920s but also through that of the Archaeological Schools and of the Italian one in particular.’ - Stefano Struffolino (2022), Journal of Greek Archaeology