"History is the Mirror of Our Character"


The paper analyses some aspects of the speeches that Greek teachers give at school on national days. A view of the nation as a "natural unit" becomes the basis for the alleged "national character." The nation's past struggles are presented as the natural consequence of national character. In this way national character becomes destiny. At the same time, though, heroic behaviour may influence fate and succeed inaltering that destiny, when it is felt as unjust. Speeches given on national day commemorations (a) confirm and consecrate a model of the world as consisting of discrete nations, each with a distinctive set of moral qualities constituting its national essence, and (b) urge each individual member to make themselves the embodiment of national character.

How to Cite

Benincasa, L., (2004) “"History is the Mirror of Our Character"”, Ethnologia Europaea 34(1), p.43-59. doi: https://doi.org/10.16995/ee.1158

Publisher Notes

  • This article was previously published by Museum Tusculanum Press.


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Luciana Benincasa (University of loannina)



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