Journeying through Space and Time with Pausanias’s Description of Greece

Barker, Elton; Konstantinidou, Kyriaki; Kiesling, Brady and Foka, Anna (2023). Journeying through Space and Time with Pausanias’s Description of Greece. Literary Geographies, 9(1) pp. 124–160.



Sometime in the second century CE, Pausanias of Magnesia (modern-day Turkey) wrote the Description of Greece. Ostensibly a tour of the places to see on the Greek mainland, the Description also provides historical accounts related to the topography through which Pausanias moves. Little attention has been given to how these building blocks of narrative, the entities of place and time, relate to and intersect with each other. In this article, we establish a framework for systematically investigating Pausanias’s chronotopes through a process of semantic annotation. We describe our typology for categorizing place and time, with the aim of enabling this text’s database of information — the descriptions of the built environment, its temples, statues, etc. — to be mapped and analysed. Our emphasis, however, is on how the technology equally facilitates close reading, as we trace how individual locations, objects and people relate to each other through the unfolding of chronotopes, and examine how in turn these chronotopes transform our understanding of the spaces of Greece and Greece as a place. We conclude by offering reflections on the potential for semantic annotation of the kind documented here not only for conducting chronotopic investigations of literary geographies, but also for bringing the textualization of space into direct dialogue with the material culture on the ground.

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