Travel Literature in Antiquity

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

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Travel in antiquity involves many topics, such as transportation, trade, war, exploration, geography, ethnography, migration, colonization, and tourism. Ancient narrative about travel is multi-faceted as well. There was no coherent genre of ancient travel literature, though certain tropes and discourses are discernible. This article will briefly survey the variety of ancient travel before discussing types of narratives that featured travel.

Two quotations from Homer indicate that travel can be experienced in very different ways. An arresting simile in the Iliad (15.80-83) compares the flight of Hera through the air to nostalgic thought of travel: “as when the mind races of a man who, having traveled far over the earth, ponders deep in thought: ‘would that I were there, or there!’”

1953 words

Citation: Burgess, Jonathan. "Travel Literature in Antiquity". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 07 May 2010 [, accessed 15 July 2024.]

7224 Travel Literature in Antiquity 2 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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