August Talk: Travelling in an Ancient Land: Reclaiming Pausanias’s Greece

This month’s lecture was given by Dr Maria Pretzel, Associate Professor within the Department of Classics, Ancient History and Egyptology at Swansea University. She completed an undergraduate degree in Ancient History and Classical Archaeology at the University of Graz in Austria. This was followed by a D.Phil at Oxford, which was a detailed investigation of Book VIII (Arcadia) of Pausanias’ Description of Greece. She is an expert in Ancient Greece and teaches a range of modules including ‘Explorers, Travel and Geography in the Ancient World.’

The lecture described some tours of Greece undertaken between the Second Century AD and the Nineteenth Century. The first recorded tour was by Pausanias, a Greek from Asia Minor who lived between 115 -180 AD. He visited the mainland at a time when Greece was a Roman Province and recorded myths and legends associated with the places he visited. Fortunately, his book survived the sack of Constantinople in 1204 and the dispersal of its Library. Subsequently, the book was translated into Latin, Italian, English, and  German.

From the seventeenth-century onwards, European travelers began to visit Greece and record ancient sites, most notable amongst them being William Leeke and Edward Lear.

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