Time and myth: the Argonauts in Ljubljana

  • Ana María Sánchez Tarrío
Keywords: Time and myth, myth of the Argonauts, Slovenian national identity


This papers gives a breif overview of research in its initial phases, which examines, from the perspective of the construction of national identity, the traditional theme of the enduring and timeless nature of Classical myths and in particular the ancient myth, which is the subject of Borges’s sharp irony in his short-story “The immortal”. The reception of the Argonauts myth in Slovenian culture, initiated by the work of Janez Vajkard or Johann Weichard Freiherr von Valvasor (1641–1693), offers a significant case-study, which also highlights the relevance of Humanist and Baroque culture in the critical history of European nationalism. Writing before the emergence in Europe of the Hegelian conception of “Volkgeist”, the polymath writer applied a humanistic approach to patriotic themes, revealing Slovene culture, hybrid from its origins, to the wider world. A characteristic feature of his approach was the fusion of earlier textual tradition with contemporary oral material.
Both in Slovenia and in the rest of Europe the comparison of the nineteenth century treatment of material dealing with national identity with its earlier treatment and transmission by humanist writers highlights the importance of the 16th and 17th centuries in the configuration of the different national faces of Europe as well as the significant role of common Greek and Latin roots. As a result, the myth of the Argonauts in Ljubljana, against the backdrop of idealistic or essentialist nationalist faiths, has the not inconsiderable virtue of underscoring the contaminatio that is characteristic of the construction of national identity.


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Author Biography

Ana María Sánchez Tarrío

Profesora «Associada com Agregação» del Departamento de Estudios Clásicos de la Facultad de Letras de la Universidad de Lisboa y responsable de la «Cátedra de Estudos Galegos» de la misma institución. Es autora del
libro Paisagem e erudição no humanismo português (Lisboa, Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, 2009), entre otros estudios sobre el papel del humanismo latino y de la tradición clásica en la cultura portuguesa del siglo XVI, abordando la obra de diversos humanistas portugueses, como João Rodrigues de Sá de Meneses, João Rodrigues de Lucena, Martim de Figueiredo y otros. Es también autora de diversos estudios sobre el papel de la cultura clásica en la cultura occidental. 

How to Cite
Sánchez Tarrío, A. M. (2012). Time and myth: the Argonauts in Ljubljana. Verba Hispanica, 20(2), 285-294. https://doi.org/10.4312/vh.20.2.285-294