The Rigas’ Charta
As part of the celebrations for the 200th anniversary of the Greek Revolution, the Byzantine and Christian Museum presents a copy of Rigas’ Charta, recently conserved and restored by Mses. Ioanna Stefani and Artemis Kampouraki at the Paper Objects Conservation Workshop of the Byzantine and Christian Museum. This copy was restored on behalf of the Archaeological Museum of Andros (Ephorate of Antiquities of Cyclades) and comes from the collections of the Kaireios Library.
The Rigas’ Charta or Charta of Greece is one of the finest cartographic works of pre-revolutionary Greece and an important product of the Modern Greek Enlightenment. It was created by Rigas Velestinlis (1757-1798) at a time when the pioneering Greek thinker focused his revolutionary momentum on a series of publications aimed at awakening the Greek people. It was printed in 1796/7, a few months before his arrest and murder.
The Charta depicts the Greek state as envisioned by Rigas. It includes parts of the Balkan Peninsula and Western Asia Minor, as defined by Kastelorizo and the Dunabe Delta to the east, the Danube to the north, the Adriatic and the Ionian to the west, and the Libyan Sea to the south. Copies of the Charta were intended to equip libraries, in order to consolidate the sense of the historical space of Hellenism and thus complement Rigas’ revolutionary struggle.
The copy restored and presented at the Byzantine and Christian Museum, one of the approximately 100 surviving ones, was previously in a very bad condition. The sheets of the Charta were detached from the linen fabric to which they were attached, so that they could be restored separately and then reattached on a more durable, non-woven polyester fabric. The Charta was placed in a wooden tray and a frame suitable for its size.
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