BARTHOLDY, Jakob Ludwig Salomon. Voyage en Grèce fait dans les années 1803 et 1804 … Contenant les details sur la manière de voyages dans la Grèce et l’Archipel…, vols I-II, Paris, Dentu, 1807.
Jakob Ludwig Salomon Bartholdy (1779-1825) was a Prussian diplomat of Jewish parentage who converted to Protentantism in 1805. He was born in Berlin and died in Rome. Bartholdy studied law and philosophy at the universities of Halle and Königsberg, at the time when Emmanuel Kant was a professor there. Bartholdy settled in Paris in 1801 and lived in that city for several years. He fought as lieutenant with the Austrian army in 1809, during the war conflict with Napoleon. Bartholdy travelled to Paris in 1814 as member of the embassy under the prince of Heidelberg, which escorted the allied Forces to that city. He subsequently travelled to London. He followed a diplomatic career and ended up in Rome as consul general of Prussia. As a lover of art, he always supported artists. His nephew, famous composer Felix Mendelsohn, added the name of Bartholdy to his own surname. While in Italy Bartholdy acquired a precious collection of Etruscan vases and other objects made of bronze and ivory, on behalf of the Museum of Berlin. The mosaics of his Rome home, high specimens of Nazarene art, are now in the Pinakothek of Berlin.
In 1803-1804 Bartholdy travelled to the Greek territories of the Ottoman empire with engraver G.Ch. Gropius. They toured western Asia Minor, Bithynia, Istanbul, the Aegean islands, Athens, Euboea, Trikeri and Thessaly and Ambelakia.
Bartholdy's chronicle, wchich contains no chronological indications, was published in German in 1805 and is considered to have made an ideological break with earlier travel literature. With its criticism of the Greeks, this much-discussed work caused a reorientation in the way Europeans perceived Greel culture and civilization. Intellectuals with a more profound understanding of Greece were armed with arguments with which to respond. The scholarly dialogue which ensued articulated a thorough problematic on observation, the relationship between traveller and natural and social environment, and how the character and traditions of a nation are determined.
Written by Ioli Vingopoulou