Pausanias (geographer)

Pausanias (/pɔːˈseɪniəs/; Greek: Παυσανίας Pausanías; c. AD 110 – c. 180)[1] was a Greek traveler and geographer of the second-century AD, who lived in the time of Roman emperors Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, and Marcus Aurelius. He is famous for his Description of Greece (Ancient Greek: Ἑλλάδος Περιήγησις, Hellados Periegesis),[2] 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.[3]

Pausanias Description of Greece
Manuscript (1485), Description of Greece by Pausanias at the Laurentian Library
Bornc. 110 AD
Diedc. 180 (aged 70)
OccupationTraveler and geographer


Pausanias was born in 110 AD into a Greek family [4] 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 tomb said to be that of Orpheus in Libethra (modern Leivithra).[5] 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 known to write of seeing the ruins of Troy, Alexandria Troas, and Mycenae.


Pausanias in the Capitoline Museums, Rome
Bust of Pausanias, in the Capitoline Museums, Rome.

Pausanias' Description of Greece is in ten books, each dedicated to some portion of Greece. He begins his tour in Attica (Ἀττικά), where the city of Athens and its demes dominate the discussion. Subsequent books describe Corinthia (Κορινθιακά) (second book), Laconia (Λακωνικά) (third), Messenia (Μεσσηνιακά) (fourth), Elis (Ἠλιακῶν) (fifth and sixth), Achaea (Ἀχαικά) (seventh), Arcadia (Ἀρκαδικά) (eighth), Boetia (Βοιωτικά) (ninth), Phocis (Φωκικά) and Ozolian Locris (Λοκρῶν Ὀζόλων) (tenth). The project is more than topographical; it is a cultural geography. Pausanias digresses from the description of architectural and artistic objects to review the mythological and historical underpinnings of the society that produced them. As a Greek writing under the auspices of the Roman empire, he was in an awkward cultural space, between the glories of the Greek past he was so keen to describe and the realities of a Greece beholden to Rome as a dominating imperial force. His work bears the marks of his attempt to navigate that space and establish an identity for Roman Greece.

He is not a naturalist by any means, although from time to time, he does comment on the physical realities of the Greek landscape. He notices the pine trees on the sandy coast of Elis, the deer and the wild boars in the oak woods of Phelloe, and the crows amid the giant oak trees of Alalcomenae. It is mainly in the last section that Pausanias touches on the products of nature, such as the wild strawberries of Helicon, the date palms of Aulis, and the olive oil of Tithorea, as well as the tortoises of Arcadia and the "white blackbirds" of Cyllene.

Pausanias is most at home in describing the religious art and architecture of Olympia and of Delphi. Yet, even in the most secluded regions of Greece, he is fascinated by all kinds of depictions of deities, holy relics, and many other sacred and mysterious objects. At Thebes he views the shields of those who died at the Battle of Leuctra, the ruins of the house of Pindar, and the statues of Hesiod, Arion, Thamyris, and Orpheus in the grove of the Muses on Helicon, as well as the portraits of Corinna at Tanagra and of Polybius in the cities of Arcadia.

Pausanias has the instincts of an antiquary. As his modern editor, Christian Habicht, has said,

In general, he prefers the old to the new, the sacred to the profane; there is much more about classical than about contemporary Greek art, more about temples, altars and images of the gods, than about public buildings and statues of politicians. Some magnificent and dominating structures, such as the Stoa of King Attalus in the Athenian Agora (rebuilt by Homer Thompson) or the Exedra of Herodes Atticus at Olympia are not even mentioned.[6]

Unlike a Baedeker guide, in Periegesis Pausanias stops for a brief excursus on a point of ancient ritual or to tell an apposite myth, in a genre that would not become popular again until the early nineteenth century. In the topographical part of his work, Pausanias is fond of digressions on the wonders of nature, the signs that herald the approach of an earthquake, the phenomena of the tides, the ice-bound seas of the north, and the noonday sun that at the summer solstice, casts no shadow at Syene (Aswan). While he never doubts the existence of the deities and heroes, he sometimes criticizes the myths and legends relating to them. His descriptions of monuments of art are plain and unadorned. They bear the impression of reality, and their accuracy is confirmed by the extant remains. He is perfectly frank in his confessions of ignorance. When he quotes a book at second hand he takes pains to say so.

The work left faint traces in the known Greek corpus. "It was not read", Habicht relates; "there is not a single mention of the author, not a single quotation from it, not a whisper before Stephanus Byzantius in the sixth century, and only two or three references to it throughout the Middle Ages."[7] The only manuscripts of Pausanias are three fifteenth-century copies, full of errors and lacunae, which all appear to depend on a single manuscript that survived to be copied. Niccolò Niccoli had this archetype in Florence in 1418. At his death in 1437, it went to the library of San Marco, Florence, then it disappeared after 1500.[8]

Until twentieth-century archaeologists concluded that Pausanias was a reliable guide to the sites they were excavating,[9] Pausanias was largely dismissed by nineteenth- and early twentieth-century classicists of a purely literary bent: they tended to follow the usually authoritative Wilamowitz in regarding him as little more than a purveyor of second-hand accounts, who, it was suggested, had not visited most of the places he described. Habicht (1985) describes an episode in which Wilamowitz was led astray by his misreading of Pausanias in front of an august party of travellers in 1873, and attributes to it Wilamowitz's lifelong antipathy and distrust of Pausanias. Modern archaeological research, however, has tended to vindicate Pausanias.

See also


  1. ^ Historical and Ethnological Society of Greece, Aristéa Papanicolaou Christensen, The Panathenaic Stadium – Its History Over the Centuries (2003), p. 162
  2. ^ Also known in Latin as Graecae descriptio; see Pereira, Maria Helena Rocha (ed.), Graecae descriptio, B. G. Teubner, 1829.
  3. ^ One Hundred Greek Sculptors: Their Careers and Extant Works, introduction.
  4. ^ Howard, Michael C (2012). Transnationalism in Ancient and Medieval Societies: The Role of Cross-Border Trade and Travel. McFarland. p. 178. ISBN 9780786490332. Pausanias was a 2nd century ethnic Greek geographer who wrote a description of Greece that is often described as being the world’s first travel guide.
  5. ^ Pausanias, Description of Greece: Boeotia, 9.30.7: "Going from Dium along the road to the mountain, and advancing twenty stades, you come to a pillar on the right surmounted by a stone urn, which according to the natives contains the bones of Orpheus."
  6. ^ Christian Habicht, "An Ancient Baedeker and His Critics: Pausanias' 'Guide to Greece'" Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 129.2 (June 1985:220–224) p. 220.
  7. ^ Habicht 1985:220.
  8. ^ Aubrey Diller, "The Manuscripts of Pausanias The Manuscripts of Pausanias" Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association 88 (1957):169–188.
  9. ^ In this, Heinrich Schliemann was a maverick and forerunner: a close reading of Pausanias guided him to the royal tombs at Mycenae.


Further reading

  • Arafat, K.W. 1992. "Pausanias' Attitude to Antiquities." Annual of the British School at Athens 87: 387-409.
  • Akujärvi, J. 2005. Researcher, Traveller, Narrator: Studies in Pausanias’ Periegesis. Studia graeca et latina lundensia 12. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell.
  • Alcock, S., J. Cherry, and J. Elsner, eds. 2001. Pausanias: Travel and Memory in Roman Greece. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.
  • Arafat, K. 1996. Pausanias’ Greece: Ancient Artists and Roman Rulers. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.
  • Diller, A. 1957. "The Manuscripts of Pausanias." Transactions of the American Philological Association 88:169–188.
  • Habicht, C. 1984. "Pausanias and the Evidence of Inscriptions." Classical Antiquity 3:40–56.
  • Habicht, C. 1998. Pausanias’ Guide to Ancient Greece. 2d ed. Sather Classical Lectures 50. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.
  • Hutton, W. E. 2005. Describing Greece: Landscape and Literature in the Periegesis of Pausanias. Greek Culture in the Roman World. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.
  • Pirenne-Delforge, V. 2008. Retour à la Source: Pausanias et la Religion Grecque. Kernos Supplément 20. Liège, Belgium: Centre International d‘Étude de la Religion Grecque.
  • Pretzler, Maria. 2005. "Pausanias and Oral Tradition." Classical Quarterly 55.1: 235-249.
  • Pretzler, M. 2007. Pausanias: Travel Writing in Ancient Greece. Classical Literature and Society. London: Duckworth.
  • Pretzler, Maria. 2004, "Turning Travel into Text: Pausanias at Work" Greece & Rome 51.2: 199–216.
  • Sanchez Hernandez, Juan Pablo. 2016. "Pausanias and Rome's Eastern Trade." Mnemosyne 69.6: 955-977.

External links


Anaxander or Anaxandros (Greek: Ἀνάξανδρος) was the 12th Agiad dynasty King of Sparta (ruled c. 640-615 BC).He was the son of King Eurycrates and father of King Eurycratides.

His grandson was King Leon of Sparta.Anaxander is mentioned by famous persons, including Tyrtaeus (a poet) and Pausanias (geographer).

Battle of Deres

The Battle of Deres was a fight between the Spartans and the Messenians which occurred c. 684 BC. It was the first major military engagement of the Second Messenian War. The Spartans and Messenians didn't have any allies at the time of the conflict and the outcome of the battle was highly disputed. Neither side won a clear victory, but Aristomenes is said to have achieved more than it seemed that one man could, so that, as he was of the race of the Aepytidae, the Messenians offered to make him king after the battle. However, he declined the offer, preferring instead to become general with absolute powers.

This battle did not take place at the Lakonian Dereion, but one would expect Derai to mean a 'small hill'. the place-name Dera occurs in a fragmentary late second century Messenian inscription, which appears to have been a definition of the Messenian borders with Arcadia, otherwise, nothing else is known about this place.


Elos (Greek: Έλος, before 1930: Δουραλί - Dourali) is a village and a former municipality in Laconia, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Evrotas, of which it is a municipal unit. The municipal unit has an area of 117.577 km2. The population of the village was 742 people in 2011. It had its own primary school until 2012. The municipal unit has 5,718 inhabitants. The seat of the municipality was in Vlachioti. The inhabitants work as farmers producing oranges and olive oil. The municipal unit has a coastline on the Laconian Gulf. The Evrotas River is west of Elos. The name dates back to ancient times. It is located West of Monemvasia, East of Gytheio and Southeast of Sparta.

Gymnasium (ancient Greece)

The gymnasium (Greek: γυμνάσιον) in Ancient Greece functioned as a training facility for competitors in public game(s). It was also a place for socializing and engaging in intellectual pursuits. The name comes from the Ancient Greek term gymnós meaning "naked". Only adult males were allowed to use the gymnasia.

Athletes competed nude, a practice which was said to encourage aesthetic appreciation of the male body, and to be a tribute to the gods. Gymnasia and palestrae (wrestling schools) were under the protection and patronage of Heracles, Hermes and, in Athens, Theseus.

Harpalus (mythology)

Harpalus in Greek mythology was son of Amyclas king of Laconia and father of Deritus, ancestor of Patreus, founder of Patras.


Hellenion (Greek: Ἑλλήνιον) has been used to refer to:

Hellenion (Naucratis), an Ancient Greek sanctuary in Naucratis of Egypt (founded in the 6th century BC)

Hellenion (Sparta), a temple of Zeus Sellanios in Sparta

Hellenion (Cairo), a short-lived association founded in early 1900s by the Greek community of Egypt.

Hellenion, an active Hellenic Neopagan organization in the United States; founded in 2000.

Jason of Pherae

Jason of Pherae (Greek: Ἰάσων ὁ Φεραῖος) was the ruler of Thessaly during the period just before Philip II of Macedon came to power. He had succeeded Lycophron I of Pherae, possibly his father, as tyrant of Pherae and was appointed tagus, or king, of Thessaly in the 370s BC and soon extended his control to much of the surrounding region. Controlling a highly trained mercenary force as well as the famous Thessalian cavalry, Jason briefly transformed Thessaly into a powerful Greek state and even spoke of invading the Persian Empire.

Pausanias (geographer) records that Jason was familiar with the teachings of the Sophist Gorgias (6.17.9), and Isocrates claims to have been in contact with Jason, though none of this correspondence survives.(To the Children of Jason 1.1)The figure of Jason makes a sudden appearance in the history of classical Greece with Xenophon swiftly mentioning his name during his commentary on Theban hegemony during the 370s. From seemingly out of nowhere arose a very ambitious proto-Philip general with a large and competent army. Xenophon quotes Jason as claiming:

‘I have men of other states as mercenaries to the number of six thousand, with whom, as I think, no city could easily contend. As for numbers,' he said, `of course as great a force might march out of some other city also; but armies made up of citizens include men who are already advanced in years and others who have not yet come to their prime. Furthermore, in every city very few men train their bodies, but among my mercenaries no one serves unless he is able to endure as severe toils as I myself’

There was a very realistic threat posed by Jason to his neighbours and arguably to all of Hellas. However, it has also been argued by Yalichev that the Thessalian showed signs of pan-Hellenism in his approach to the prominent poleis of the south, an attitude exemplified particularly in his warning to Thebes not to destroy Sparta after the Battle of Leuctra. Whether or not Jason had ambitions to rule over the entire Greek peninsula—as Philip II would after Chaeronea—can only be left to speculation. Regardless, Jason epitomises how one autocrat could suddenly rise to power through mercenary employment and threaten, both politically and militarily, his neighbouring poleis.


Manisa (Turkish pronunciation: [maˈnisa]) is a large city in Turkey's Aegean Region and the administrative seat of Manisa Province.

Modern Manisa is a booming center of industry and services, advantaged by its closeness to the international port city and the regional metropolitan center of İzmir and by its fertile hinterland rich in quantity and variety of agricultural production. In fact, İzmir's proximity also adds a particular dimension to all aspects of life's pace in Manisa in the form of a dense traffic of daily commuters between the two cities, separated as they are by a half-hour drive served by a fine six-lane highway nevertheless requiring attention at all times due to its curves and the rapid ascent (sea-level to more than 500 meters at Sabuncubeli Pass) across Mount Sipylus's mythic scenery.

The historic part of Manisa spreads out from a forested valley in the immediate slopes of Sipylus mountainside, along Çaybaşı Stream which flows next to Niobe's "Weeping Rock" ("Ağlayan Kaya"), an ancient bridge called the "Red Bridge" ("Kırmızı Köprü") as well as to several tombs-shrines in the Turkish style dating back to the Saruhan period (14th century). Under Ottoman rule in the centuries that followed, the city had already extended into the undulated terrain at the start of the plain. In the last couple of decades, Manisa's width more than tripled in size across its vast plain formed by the alluvial deposits of the River Gediz, a development in which the construction of new block apartments, industrial zones and of Celal Bayar University campus played a key role.

The city of Manisa is also widely visited, especially during March and September festivals, the former festival being the continuation of a five-hundred-year-old "Mesir Paste Distribution" tradition, and also for the nearby Mount Spil national park. It is also a departure point for other visitor attractions of international acclaim which are located nearby within Manisa's depending region, such as Sardes and Alaşehir (ancient Philadelphia) inland. There is a Jewish community.

Nea Koroni

Nea Koroni (Greek: Νέα Κορώνη) is a village in Messenia, part of the municipal unit of Aipeia. Its population is 298 (2011 census).


Pausanias (; Greek: Παυσανίας) is the name of several people:

Pausanias of Athens, lover of the poet Agathon and a character in Plato's Symposium

Pausanias (general), Spartan general and regent of the 5th century BC

Pausanias of Sicily, physician of the 5th century BC, who was a friend of Empedocles

Pausanias of Sparta, King of Sparta from 409 BC to 395 BC

Pausanias of Macedon, King of Macedon from 399 BC to 393 BC

Pausanias (pretender), pretender to the throne of Macedon in the 360s BC

Pausanias of Orestis, bodyguard who assassinated Philip II of Macedon in 336 BC

Pausanias (geographer), Greek traveller, geographer, and writer (Description of Greece) of the 2nd century AD

Pausanias of Damascus, Greek historian of the last quarter of the 2nd century BC

Pafsanias Katsotas, Greek general and mayor of Athens

Penthilus of Mycenae

Penthilus (; Ancient Greek: Πένθιλος) is the illegitimate or legitimate son of half-siblings Orestes and Erigone in Greek mythology. Penthilus' grandmother was Clytemnestra. His maternal and paternal grandfathers were Aigisthos and Agamemnon respectively. Orestes killed both Clytemnestra, who was his own mother and Aigisthos. Erigone is said to have hanged herself or married Orestes after Orestes' first wife, Hermione died. Orestes was ruler over much of the Peloponnese and died of a snakebite at age 70. One story says that as a child, Penthilus was torn apart and devoured by wolves in the Taygetus mountains, near Sparta. His father established a festival of mourning, the so-called Penthilia in his honour.

According to Pausanias, Penthilus grew up and founded a city either on Lesbos or in Thrace. He had a son named Damasias who in turn fathered Gras, the founder of the city Aeolis, between Ionia and Mysia.


A periegesis (Ancient Greek περιήγησις 'leading around') is a geographical survey or travelogue, sometimes also called a periodos ' journey around' [sc. the world].

It is the name of several books:

Pausanias_(geographer)'s Ἑλλάδος περιήγησις Hellados Periegesis 'Periegesis of Greece', in prose, usually translated as Description of Greece

Dionysius Periegetes of Alexandria's Οικουμένης περιήγησης Periegesis of the World, in hexameter, usually translated Survey of the World

Avienus's Latin translation of Dionysius Periegetes

Priscian's Latin translation of Dionysius Periegesis Prisciani, in hexameter

Pseudo-Scymnus's Scymni Chii Periegesis, correctly called Περίοδος του Νικομήδη

Mnaseas of Patras's Periegesis or Periplus

Philopappos Monument

The Philopappu Monument (Greek: Μνημείο Φιλοπάππου) is an ancient Greek mausoleum and monument dedicated to Gaius Julius Antiochus Epiphanes Philopappos or Philopappus, (Greek: Γάιος Ιούλιος Αντίοχος Επιφανής Φιλόπαππος, 65–116 AD), a prince from the Kingdom of Commagene. It is located on Mouseion Hill in Athens, Greece, southwest of the Acropolis.

Philotas of Thebes

For other persons with the same name, see Philotas (disambiguation)

Philotas of Thebes a descendant of Argonaut Peneleos, followed the expedition of Athenians under the sons of King Codrus, and is said to be the founder of Priene in Ionia.

Second Messenian War

The Second Messenian War was a war between the Ancient Greek states of Messenia and Sparta. It started around 40 years after the end of the First Messenian War with the uprising of a slave rebellion. This war lasted from 685 to 668 BC. Other scholars, however, assign later dates, claiming, for example, that 668 is the date of the war's start, pointing at Sparta's defeat at the First Battle of Hysiae as a possible catalyst for the uprising.

Thelxion of Sicyon

In Greek mythology, Thelxion (Ancient Greek: Θελξίων), son of Apis was a king of Sicyon. His son Aegyrus succeeded him. Thelxion murdered his father when he attempted to subjugate the Peloponnesians but was himself probably slain by Argus Panoptes.

Timeline of the name "Palestine"

This article presents a list of notable historical references to the name Palestine as a place name in the Middle East throughout the history of the region, including its cognates such as "Filastin" and "Palaestina".

The term "Peleset" (transliterated from hieroglyphs as P-r-s-t) is found in five inscriptions referring to a neighboring people or land starting from circa 1150 BC during the Twentieth Dynasty of Egypt. The first known mention is at the temple at Medinet Habu which refers to the Peleset among those who fought with Egypt in Ramesses III's reign, and the last known is 300 years later on Padiiset's Statue. The Assyrians called the same region "Palashtu/Palastu" or "Pilistu", beginning with Adad-nirari III in the Nimrud Slab in c. 800 BC through to an Esarhaddon treaty more than a century later. Neither the Egyptian nor the Assyrian sources provided clear regional boundaries for the term.The first appearance of the term "Palestine" was in 5th century BC Ancient Greece when Herodotus wrote of a "district of Syria, called Palaistinê" between Phoenicia and Egypt in The Histories. Herodotus was describing the coastal region, but is also considered to have applied the term to the inland region such as the Judean mountains and the Jordan Rift Valley. Later Greek writers such as Aristotle, Polemon and Pausanias also used the word, which was followed by Roman writers such as Ovid, Tibullus, Pomponius Mela, Pliny the Elder, Dio Chrysostom, Statius, Plutarch as well as Roman Judean writers Philo of Alexandria and Josephus. The word was never used in an official context during the Hellenistic period, and is not found on any Hellenistic coin or inscription, first coming into official use in the early second century AD. It has been contended that in the first century authors still associated the term with the southern coastal region.In 135 AD, the Greek "Syria Palaestina" was used in naming a new Roman province from the merger of Roman Syria and Roman Judaea after the Roman authorities crushed the Bar Kokhba Revolt. Circumstantial evidence links Hadrian to the renaming of the province, which took place around the same time as Jerusalem was refounded as Aelia Capitolina, but the precise date of the change in province name is uncertain. The common view that the name change was intended "sever the connection of the Jews to their historical homeland" is disputed.During the Byzantine period c. 390, the imperial province of Syria Palaestina was reorganized into: Palaestina Prima, Palaestina Secunda, and Palaestina Salutaris. Following the Muslim conquest, place names that were in use by the Byzantine administration generally continued to be used in Arabic. The use of the name "Palestine" became common in Early Modern English, was used in English and Arabic during the Mutasarrifate of Jerusalem. In the 20th century the name was used by the British to refer to "Mandatory Palestine", a mandate from the former Ottoman Empire which had been divided in the Sykes–Picot Agreement. The term was later used in the eponymous "State of Palestine". Both incorporated geographic regions from the land commonly known as Palestine, into a new state whose territory was named Palestine.

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