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The donor

Konstantinos Karapanos was an offspring of an eminent family from Arta. He was born there in 1840, while the city was under Ottoman rule and attended school in Ioannina, Corcyra, before studying law in Athens. His father was supervisor of the lands bought by Moustafa Naili Pasha in 1859. It is thought that thanks to the influence of the Pasha Karapanos was appointed attache to the Turkish embassy in Paris. At the age of 22, he arrived in Constantinople (Istanbul) and soon became son-in-law of Christakis Zographos, the main shareholder in the bank Societe Generale de l' Empire Ottomane. Alongside his successful business activity, he was involved in social welfare and concentrated on the education of the Greek community, which involved making donations to schools and sponsoring the writing of books.

After 1873 he invested in Greece, too. In 1876, when he settled in Paris, he relied upon his friendship with William Waddington, who served as prime minister and foreign minister of France and Leon Gambetta, leader of the Republicans and President of the French Parliament, both of whom were also classicists, to defend Greek national affairs and above all to press for the annexation of Epirus to Greece within the frame of the Congress in Berlin in 1878. Karapanos then became minister in three short-lived administrations of Theodoros Diligiannis (in 1890, 1902, 1904) and founded his own party.

The career of Karapanos in business and politics determined the creation of his two collections, one of which consisted of finds from Dodona and the other of intaglios and cameos, His progress also demonstrates the significant historical role played by a strong personality during the process of the development of the national identity and the new state of Greece after its liberation. His career displays features in common with other business magnates of the Greek Diaspora, who were also great patrons of the arts and literature and were national benefactors, such as Andreas Syngros and Emmanuel Benakis. In 1912, Karapanos donated his collection of gems and 112 coins to the Numismatic Museum and the finds from his excavations at Dodona to the National Archaeological Museum . He conducted the excavations at the sanctuary of Zeus in 1875 with the support of the Ottoman authorities. He transported to Paris as many finds as he was permitted according to the Turkish Law, as he wished to show them to experts, with whom he discussed his own conclusions. His treatise on the subject, Dodone et ses ruines, was published in Paris in 1878.

In memory of his exceptional generosity to the National Archaeological Museum, the first large hall of the permanent exhibition of the Bronze Collection is named "The Konstantinos Karapanos Hall".

Bibliography: C. Carapanos, Dodone et ses ruines, Paris 1878. Κ. Gardika-Alexandropoulou, "Ο Κωνσταντίνος Καραπάνος και οι διαπραγματεύσεις για την προσάρτηση Θεσσαλίας και Ηπείρου", Ιστορική και Εθνολογική Εταιρεία της Ελλάδος, 26 (1983) 327. I. Ν. Svoronos, "Δωρεά Κωνσταντίνου Καραπάνου Συλλογή γλυπτών λίθων", ΔΕΝΑ 15 (1913) 147-184.