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South Africa, Greece, Rome: Classical Confrontations

Cambridge University Press
August 2017
How have ancient Greece and Rome intersected with South African histories? This book canvasses architecture, literature, visual arts and historical memory. Some of the most telling manifestations of classical reception in South Africa have been indirect, for example neo-classical architecture or retellings of mythical stories. Far from being the mere handmaiden of colonialism (and later apartheid), classical antiquity has enabled challenges to the South African establishment, and provided a template for making sense 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 book
  • Gives a broad view of classics in South Africa, its politics and personnel, from early colonial times to the present,
  • Emphasizes the involvement of Black South Africans, and
  • Contains numerous images, bringing art and architecture into a wider discussion of classics in South Africa.