BEYOND GALLIPOLI: The ancient Greek heritage of Asia Minor

Guest Exhibition, May 2022 to May 2023

Most Australians know the peninsula of Gallipoli is in Turkey, but fewer are familiar with the long ancient Greek heritage of the Dardanelles and the wider region of Asia Minor, ancient Anatolia. The coastlines of Asia Minor were settled by Greeks from the late Bronze Age, with major cities of Ionia such as Smyrna flourishing by the 10th century BC. From classical antiquity into the Hellenistic era, Greek arts, language and culture moved eastwards, until in the Roman Empire both the province of Asia, with its capital at Ephesus, and the majority of Anatolia were thoroughly Greek. Ancient Greeks or Hellenes traced their epic poet Homer to Smyrna, or nearby Colophon, and his epic Iliad tells of heroic warfare in the Troad, just south of Gallipoli. Asia Minor Greeks made major contributions to all the ancient arts and sciences, especially in the areas of astronomy, geography and history. 

Beyond Gallipoli: The Ancient Greek Heritage of Asia Minor is an exhibition in honour of the centenary of the Treaty of Lausanne, the ‘Great Catastrophe’ and the expulsion of Greek-speaking Christians from modern Turkey in 1922-1923. Many of these refugees of the fall of the Ottoman Empire found a new home on the coasts of Australia. This exhibition is a tribute to the role that their ancestors played in creating the ancient Greek heritage of Asia Minor.

Curated by Dr Amelia R. Brown 

Thanks to Oskar Fletcher, James Donaldson, Dr Janette McWilliam and the staff and volunteers of the RD Milns Antiquities Museum at the University of Queensland. 

This exhibition was made possible by the generous support of the School of Historical & Philosophical Inquiry, the Australian Archaeological Association’s National Archaeology Week grants and the Cultural Committee of the Greek Orthodox Community of St George, Brisbane.