Tracing Freud on the Acropolis

26 July 2023 to 7 January 2024

“By the evidence of my senses I am now standing on the Acropolis, but I cannot believe it” Sigmund Freud, 1936

Engraving of Athens by Karl Ludwig Lincke - Crop

Engraving of Athens by Karl Ludwig Lincke LFRD 5001

Located on a limestone hill high above the city, the Acropolis of Athens in Greece is one of the most important archaeological sites in the world. Over time, the site has been a fortress, a religious centre and a major cultural monument strongly associated with ideas of beauty and eternity.  

Sigmund Freud was already “a man of mature years” when he travelled to Athens for the first and last time in 1904, accompanied by his younger brother, Alexander. Greek history and mythology deeply inspired him since childhood, but the trip was the result of unexpected changes to his travel plans that year.  

When he reached the top of the Acropolis hill, gazing toward the sea, Freud experienced a feeling of astonishment and disbelief that puzzled him for decades. In 1936, he wrote about his experience in an open letter to French author Romain Rolland – the text, titled ‘A Disturbance of Memory on the Acropolis’ is now considered a key point of reference.  

Tracing Freud on the Acropolis opens on July 26, 2023, at Freud Museum London and will bring together archives, images and objects exploring Freud’s journey to Greece, and his encounter with the Acropolis. A supporting public programme and further information to follow. 


This exhibition has been curated by Marina Maniadaki.


With kind support from the Acropolis Museum, the Hellenic Society for Psychoanalysis and Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy and the Institute for Digital Archaeology.

Tracing Freud on the Acropolis Press Coverage

★★★★ Tracing Freud on the Acropolis review – Freud’s big fat Greek guilt complex. ‘Small but enthralling’ – The Guardian

Tracing Freud on the Acropolis. ‘Makes you reimagine your own past’ – Time Out London

Exhibition Dates

26 July 2023 to 7 January 2024

Details on planning your visit and making a booking can be found on our Visit page.

Opening Times

Wednesday: 10:30 – 17:00
Thursday: 10:30 – 17:00
Friday: 10:30 – 17:00
Saturday: 10:30 – 17:00
Sunday: 10:30 – 17:00



Freud's desk and glasses

Visit for Free

Join today and enjoy unlimited free entry for you and a guest, 20% discount on all online events and 10% off in the museum shop.