Studying Law at the Greek University during the mid-war years. The “case” of young Nikolaos, (full text in Greek)

Panayiotis Kimoutzis


One of the most complex issues throughout the history of universities concerns the various studying and testing systems. The University of Athens would, of course, be no exception: entry exams (since they were established in the mid twenties), annual exams, final exams as well as differentiated titles of study, are some relevant topics.

It is useful as well as essential for the history of educational policy to comprehend the past by viewing the student himself. It is also a matter of significance to discover the breakthroughs in university studies and testing. For the history of Hellenic universities, as far as the studies’ issue is concerned, the mid-war period - especially the period between the 1922 law for universities and Metaxas’ dictatorship (1936) - is important.

An attempt to describe the process of studies at the University of Athens during the mid-war period may seem a simple task. One might claim that, by examining the legislation and adding several clarifying comments, this task could be achieved. As a result, such a text would present a rather institutional process, in which, though, the individuals who participate are “uniformised”; all being “subjects” of law. Yet, it does not concern one person but many and multiple individuals. The thoughts, deeds, or even the way of behaving and the emotions of those many and multiple individuals vanish through such a description. Besides, the university environment, where these multiple individuals study, becomes irrelevant. By studying texts based only on legislation, one is submitted to the sense that one and only one person moves about infinitely in the exclusive environment of the institution, and therefore loses the multifaceted conditions of his presence at the University.

Based on a wide collection of sources, as well as “prospective imagination”, this paper attempts to bring a different standpoint to an examination of the History of universities. A random student, Nikolaos, supports our understanding of university studies and examination processes in Greece during the mid-war period. The paper brings together lived student experiences and reconstructs them into Nikolaos’ life.


Historiography and Literature; University Studies; Testing (entrance, annual, final); Law Studies; Academic Careers and Brain Drain


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