Arcadism & Ancient Mythology

RAMCPU
2 min readFeb 22, 2023

The subject of arcades and arcadism is multi-faceted and deeply interlinked with other areas of study. The term “arcade” contains the French root “arc,” relating to an “arch” or “bow.” This would make sense when we think of the first arcades, which were simply a series of arches within an architectural structure. These repeated arches or arcades were seen in the Colosseum of ancient Rome or in local mosques or churches. Later, the term “arcade” was used to describe shopping centers or “shopping arcades.”

In his uncompleted posthumously released work “The Arcades Project,” Jewish philosopher Walter Benjamin collected various writings about the glass-roofed, iron-covered centers built for leisure and commerce in Paris during the 1930s. This eclectic collection is seen as the framework for post-modernist thinking.

It is partly because of this relation in architecture that arcades can directly reference shopping malls. Of course, in the modern era, underneath these arches, and within shopping centers, were the type of “arcade” we are all more familiar with — the video arcade.

The subject of arcades relates to architecture, shopping and commerce, and gaming. Even though gaming and esports are one of the most dominant industries of entertainment, building communities and connecting players worldwide, their relationship to their true arcade origin is lost in transition, which makes its connection to ancient utopia seem even more far-fetched.

Arcadism draws its origin from the hunter Arcas of Greek mythology, who carried a bow. This would mean that the concept of arcades, whether in architecture, shopping malls, or gaming centers, draws its origin from the ancient Greek mythological figure.

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