{ paradigm }


In 1833, Bavaria’s favorite architect, Leo von Klenze, delivered a speech from the top of the acropolis on the occasion of King’s Otto arrival:
[…] all the remains of barbarity will be removed, here as in all Greece, and the remains of the glorious past will be brought in new light, as solid foundation for glorious present and future.

To be a paradigm means to act as an example to others; to set the pattern which the rest will follow. At the same time, the term implies the action somebody needs to take; to exhibit, to represent, to expose itself. Its roots are traced back in the Greek word paradeigma, which literally means pattern, model, or even precedent, example; and the verb paradeiknynai, which means to exhibit, represent, or show side by side. Even if the word paradigm began to be used in the 20th century in the more specific philosophical sense of logical or conceptual structure serving as a form of thought within a given area of experience, the praxis of being a paradigm can be detected much earlier. The paradigm of Hellas was crucial in the formation of the rhetoric of modernity and the European colonial project. Hellas, the West’s idealized representation of Ancient Greece has played a crucial role in influencing European modernism and in establishing the legitimacy of Modern Greece. The ideals, aesthetics, and evolutionary hierarchies of classicism have been used to legitimize Western supremacy and defend European colonization and slavery of other peoples.[1] Nevertheless, Hellas also refers to the Christian and religious foundations of ostensibly secular Western traditions as well as the frequent usage of Greece as a buffer zone, cultural barrier, and bulwark between capitalism and communism; “civilization” and “barbarism”; and Christianity and Islam.


[1] Walter Mignolo and William Wannamaker, “Global Coloniality and the World Disorder: Decoloniality after Decolonization and Dewesternization after the Cold War,” (conference paper, 13th Rhodes Forum, Rhodes, 2015).


Angelos Chiotis