Euergetism has had two parallel trajectories. Since the early twentieth century, it is a historiographical concept regarding the Ancient World, which owes its celebrity to Paul Veyne. In the meantime, it has been used to describe the contemporary practice of corporate sponsoring. This article aims at showing the common past and intertwining of these trajectories. Their roots can be traced back to the eighteenth century, with the progressive integration of the Ottoman Empire in the European political order and economic system, and with the multiplication of charity practices among the Christian-orthodox populations of the Empire. During the nineteenth century, these innovative practices expanded, thanks to a reinterpretation of traditional religious moral values which liberated entrepreneurial individual energies and included them in a general discourse. The concept of euergetism was then applied indifferently to the scientific explanation of Antiquity and to the government of the modern Greek State.
By Anastassios Anastassiadis