Pausaniou Tēs Hellados Periēgēsis

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Pausaniou Tēs Hellados Periēgēsis = Hoc Est, Pausaniae Accurata Graeciae Descriptio, Qua Lector Ceu Manu Per Eam Regionem Circumducitur

by Pausanias

The identity of the traveler and author Pausanias has been debated for centuries [1] Ten books were written by this man detailing his travels through and opinions about Greece in the mid to late second century CE and are combined under the title Pausaniou Tes Hellados Periegesis. It is now generally understood that all ten volumes of the book were written roughly during the reign of Emperor Marcus Aurelius (161-180). [2] Analysis of the specific phrasing in the work indicates that Pausanias was a Greek from Lydia in Asia Minor, or at least he spent a great deal of time there while writing. [3]
Pausanias’s Description of Greece can be considered “both a guidebook for tourists and a piece of literature for readers sitting at home” by including general descriptions of areas Pausanias visited, with more details of his favorites, as well as mini-tangents into history, mythology, anthropology, and linguistics. [4] Unfortunately, his guide was not successful. [5] His intent to both entertain while guiding tourists and to educate while entertaining readers at home did not reach fruition for either of those purposes. [6] Compounding the dislike of his own time period, later readers did not have access to his true work due to transmission errors, and there are only one or two references to it through the end of the Middle Ages. Classical scholars of the 1800s harshly criticized Pausanias, accusing him of plagiarism and deceit, claiming that he did not read the works from which he extracted quotes and material and furthermore did not see all the places he discussed (therefore explaining, if not necessitating, the excessive plagiarism). [7]

Pausaniou Tēs Hellados Periēgēsis

Title page from Pausaniou Tēs Hellados Periēgēsis, George Wythe Collection, Wolf Law Library, College of William & Mary.

Author Pausanias
Editor {{{editor}}}
Translator {{{trans}}}
Published Francofurti: Apud haeredes Andreae Wecheli
Date 1583
Edition {{{edition}}}
Language Greek and Latin; supplementary material in Latin
Volumes {{{set}}} volume set
Pages {{{pages}}}
Desc. {{{desc}}}
Location [[Shelf {{{shelf}}}]]
  [[Shelf {{{shelf2}}}]]

Evidence for Inclusion in Wythe's Library

Listed in the Jefferson Inventory of Wythe's Library as Pausanias Gr. Lat. fol. and given by Thomas Jefferson to his grandson Thomas Jefferson Randolph. The precise edition owned by Wythe is unknown. George Wythe's Library[8] on LibraryThing indicates this without choosing a specific edition. The Brown Bibliography[9] lists the edition published in 1583 in Frankfurt based on the copy Jefferson sold to the Library of Congress.[10] The Wolf Law Library followed Brown's suggestion and purchased the Frankfurt volume edited by Frideric Sylburg.

Description of the Wolf Law Library's copy

Backed using original label and original leather boards.

View this book in William & Mary's online catalog.

External Links

Google Books


  1. Aubrey Diller. “The Authors Named Pausanias,” Transactions and Proceeds of the American Philological Association 86 (1955): 268.
  2. Ibid, 269.
  3. Ibid, 270.
  4. Christian Habicht. ”An Ancient Baedeker and His Critics: Pausanias’ ‘Guide to Greece,’” Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 129, no. 2 (June 1985): 220.
  5. Ibid.
  6. Ibid.
  7. Ibid, 211.
  8. LibraryThing, s. v. "Member: George Wythe," accessed on November 13, 2013,
  9. Bennie Brown, "The Library of George Wythe of Williamsburg and Richmond," (unpublished manuscript, May, 2012) Microsoft Word file. Earlier edition available at:
  10. E. Millicent Sowerby, Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, 2nd ed. (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1983), 4:136-137 [no.3919].