Τρίτη, 7 Απριλίου 2009

Αthanasi, Giovanni d´ (1798-1854)

Greek excavator and collector. He was born in 1798, the son of a Greek merchant of Lemnos who afterwards settled in Cairo. Athanasi joined him in Egypt in 1809 and while still a boy in 1813 entered the service of Colonel Ernest Missett, British Consul General, on whose retirement, in 1815, he became servant to Henry Salt. He excavated at Thebes for Salt, 1817-27, helping him build up his collection, and afterwards on his own account and for Consul Barker. He sold many important antiquities and brought to England a large collection (some of which were engraved by Visconti), which was sold at Sotheby´s 5 March 1836 and 13-20 March 1837. Athanasi, or d´Athanasi (properly Ioannes Athanasiou), was well known to all travellers in Egypt as Yanni, and he is frequently mentioned in diaries and travel books between 1817 and 1835. He had a house at Qurna, just above tomb No. 52. The residue of his collection was sold at Sotheby´s 17 July 1845. He settled in London by the winter of 1849-50 in an attempt to set himself up as a picture-dealer. His speculations failed and left him in great financial distress and he wrote to many of his former colleagues for assistance. Wilkinson and particularly Robert Hay provided for his support. He died in a boarding house in London, 19 Dec. 1854.

Λήμμα από Μ.L. Bierbrier, Who was Who in Egyptology, Third revised Edition, London 1995, σελ. 21.