ARCHAEOLOGY, MYTH, AND IDENTITY IN INTER-WAR ALBANIA 35
images and myths intended for general consumption” (Golomstock, 1990:xii).It achieved this by taking ideas and moulding them into a physical medium. Archaeology can be said to employ the reverse process, taking and ﬁltering phys-ical realities to create myths. For the totalitarian systems of the 20th centurythis was especially so, though with differing inspiration and direction. With itsMarxist-Leninist philosophy, the Soviet Union naturally veered towards a cul-ture historical approach that stressed the adaptation of society to technology(Trigger, 1989:212–253). The Nazis were stimulated by their racial theories to-wards prehistoric studies, though the archaeological and cultural activities of theSS Ahnenerbe and Alfred Rosenberg’s racial institute ranged widely (Nicholas,1995), and clashed with a more traditionally founded scholarship (Maischberger,2002) and, indeed, with Hitler’s own classical preferences (Spotts, 2002:16–17,21–22).However,thefascistsinItalycoulddrawinspirationdirectlyfromtheeverydayenvironment of the classical remains that littered Italian towns and cities—as wellas a classical literary tradition learnt by all Italian schoolchildren. By oversteppingthemiddleagesandother“agesofdecadence,”thefascistslinkedthemselvestotheRomans, whose imperial might and penchant for territorial aggrandizement wereexemplars of what could be achieved by the fascist “new men.” This doctrine of Romanit`a (Vissier, 1992) was taken to its logical extreme by looking back into theremote,mythicalpasttothefounderoftheRomanline,Aeneas,andhismeanderingﬂight to Italy (ﬁgure 3.2). It was partly the desire to tap into this tradition that
The voyage of Aeneas from a map prepared for the Crociera Virgiliana (MCR).