The American School of Classical Studies at Athens

Upcoming Events

Ongoing Exhibitions

The Flora Graeca in the Gennadius Library

flora graeca titlepage


On view: March 8 to June 30, 2016

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday: 9.00am-5.00pm

Thursday: 9.00am-8.00pm

Saturday: 9.00am-2.00pm

This exhibition “reveals” the Flora Graeca to the general public. The Flora Graeca, a book about the hidden treasures of Greek flora, reflects the richness and diversity of the natural world of the Mediterranean. In the late 18th century the often forgotten beauty of the natural environment that surrounds us, prompted John Sithorp, young professor of botany at the University of Oxford, to explore Greece in order to create a monumental botanical “Bible.” The majestic ten volumes of the Flora Graeca contain 966 watercolors drawn by the superb Austrian artist Ferdinand Bauer.

Often called the rarest and most precious scientific book of botany, the Flora Graeca was the product of travels through Ottoman Greece. In his expedition through Ottoman Greece, a region still remote for Western Europeans, Sibthorp explored for the first time in a scientific way unknown plant species or plants recorded only in the ancient narratives of Homer, Aristotle, Theophrastus, Dioscorides and others. The project not only claimed the life of Sibthorp himself, owing to the hardships and infectious diseases of the Greek countryside, but also the entire estate of this wealthy English botanist, as its publication took 34 years to complete (1806-1840).

In  addition, the development of natural history and botany in Greece during the period of the Greek Enlightenment and the 19th century science is highlighted by the unique treasures of the Gennadius Library such as a manuscript collection of remedies (iatrosophia) and a wonderful album with depictions of the flora of Corfu.

The material from the natural history collections of the Gennadius Library is juxtaposed with plant specimens from the herbaria of the Goulandris Museum of Natural History and of the University of Athens, works of art by Niki Goulandris and Ilias Lalaounis, an Hermès silk scarf, as well as material from the historical archive of the Piraeus Bank Group Cultural Foundation.

Tours, lectures, and roundtable discussions will be part of this exhibition. See the School's events calendar for details.

Tour the Gardens at Sparoza

Saturday March 19, 11:00-13:00 and Thursday April 21, 11:00-13:00

See the plants of the Flora Graeca at Sparoza, the Mediterranean Garden Society’s demonstration garden in Peania. Visitors will have a chance to tour the garden led by volunteer guides speaking in Greek or English and learn about the history of Sparoza, the values of the Mediterranean Garden Society and most importantly, enjoy the plants that contribute to a beautiful low water garden. Guests will meet Sparoza volunteers and learn about work in the garden. Guests may also purchase plants through donation at the nursery. Refreshments will be served at noon.

Please indicate interest to For more information on the Mediterranean Garden Society visit the website. The Mediterranean Garden Society (MGS) is a non-profit making association founded in Greece in 1994 which acts as a forum for everyone who has a special interest in the plants and gardens of Mediterranean climate regions.