the profile of the travellers
from a dutch point of view
the power of monuments
idealized landscapes
in search of antiquities
everyday life among ruins
in the service of the divine
athens: a place or an ideal?
ancient vs. contemporary

selected bibliography
links and resources travellers








the profile of the travellers

Touring Europe and the Mediterranean (in order to become acquainted with its ancient monuments and art) became an integral part of the education of the European young upper class from the 17th to the 19th century. The 'Grand Tour', as this type of learning trip became known, included in first instance France, Switzerland and in particular Italy. Greece was added in the Tour's itinerary from the 18th century onward, and became more popular in the 19th century.

The travellers were mostly men, wealthy and educated, coming from Northern Europe and occasionally from America. They wrote letters, journals and memoirs about the places that they visited, and about the antiquities that they encountered.

Their knowledge of ancient history and literature is evident in their writings, quoting in abundance ancient Greek and Roman authors such as Homer, Thucydides, Pausanias and Vitruvius.

Many travellers were not only acquainted with contemporary literature and poetry, but also with journals of previous travellers that had already published their adventures and observations. Thus, the next generation of travellers was always eager to agree, correct and challenge the opinions and identifications of monuments formerly published by other scholars.

What they recorded during their journeys, was undeniable shaped by the circumstances of their time and filtered by their personal perceptions on society, politics and aesthetics. However, their works remain important testimonies of antiquities and ancient art, as well as of the Eastern Mediterranean's history in the 18th and 19th centuries.


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