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Pausanias (geographer)


Pausanias (/pɔːˈsniəs/; Greek: Παυσανίας Pausanías; c. AD 110 – c. 180) was a Greek traveler and geographer of the 2nd century AD, who lived in the time of Roman emperors Hadrian, Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius. He is famous for his Description of Greece (Ἑλλάδος περιήγησις Hellados Periegesis), a lengthy work that describes ancient Greece from his first-hand observations. This work provides crucial information for making links between classical literature and modern archaeology. Andrew Stewart assesses him as:

A careful, pedestrian writer...interested not only in the grandiose or the exquisite but in unusual sights and obscure ritual. He is occasionally careless, or makes unwarranted inferences, and his guides or even his own notes sometimes mislead him; yet his honesty is unquestionable, and his value without par.

Pausanias was born in 110 CE into a Greek family and was probably a native of Lydia; he was certainly familiar with the western coast of Asia Minor, but his travels extended far beyond the limits of Ionia. Before visiting Greece, he had been to Antioch, Joppa and Jerusalem, and to the banks of the River Jordan. In Egypt, he had seen the pyramids, while at the temple of Ammon, he had been shown the hymn once sent to that shrine by Pindar. In Macedonia, he appears to have seen the alleged tomb of Orpheus in Libethra. Crossing over to Italy, he had seen something of the cities of Campania and of the wonders of Rome. He was one of the first to write of seeing the ruins of Troy, Alexandria Troas, and Mycenae.



  • Akujärvi, Johanna 2005, Researcher, Traveller, Narrator: Studies in Pausanias' Periegesis (Stockholm). .
  • Alcock, S.E., J.F. Cherry, and J. Elsner 2001, Pausanias: Travel and Memory in Roman Greece (Oxford). .
  • Arafat, Karim W. 1996, Pausanias' Greece: Ancient Artists and Roman Rulers (Cambridge). .
  • Frateantonio, Christa, Religion und Städtekonkurrenz: zum politischen und kulturellen Kontext von Pausanias' Periegese (Berlin; New York: Walter de Gruyter, 2007) (Millennium-Studien, 23).
  • Habicht, Christian 1985, Pausanias' Guide to Ancient Greece (Berkeley). .
  • Hutton, William 2005, Describing Greece: Landscape and Literature in the Periegesis of Pausanias (Cambridge). .
  • Levi, Peter (tr.) 1984a, 1984b, Pausanias: Guide to Greece, 2 vols. (Penguin). Vol. 1 Central Greece ; vol. 2 Southern Greece .
  • Pirenne-Delforge, Vincia, Retour à la source. Pausanias et la religion grecque (Liège: Centre international d’Étude de la religion Grecque Ancienne, 2008) (Kernos Suppléments, 20).
  • Pretzler, Maria. 2004, "Turning Travel into Text: Pausanias at work", Greece & Rome, Vol. 51, Issue 2, pp. 199–216.
  • Pretzler, Maria. 2007, Pausanias. Travel Writing in Ancient Greece (London). .
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