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GELL, William. The Itinerary of Greece with a Commentary on Pausanias and Strabo and an Account of the Monuments of Antiquity at Present existing in that Country compiled in the Years M DCCC I : II: V: VI, London, T. Payne, 1810.

William Gell was an archaeologist, topographer and chartographer who studied at Cambridge, and one of the most important scholars of Greece. He was born in 1777 and died in Italy in 1836. He travelled in Ithaca (1801 and 1806), Troy (1801), the Ionian islands (1803), in Peloponnesus, the islands of the Argosaronic Sea, continental Greece and Thessaly (1805). In 1812 Gell visited the Greek Orient for the last time as a member of the Dilettanti expedition. He also travelled through Italy, where he finally passed away.

A prolific artist, he produced about 800 drawings, published numerous works and was especially interested in identifying the place names recorded in the Homerian epics. His conclusions, often arbitrary and ingenuous in spite of thorough research and documentation, were commented upon by writers who had made the same travels as he. The personalities of W.M. Leake, Ed. Dodwell and Lord Byron overshadowed Gell in the long run. Although an honest supporter of the Greek cause, he did not hesitate to severely criticize the Greeks at the crucial moment of the Greek struggle for Independence (1823).

Like other early 19th century travellers, Gell followed the route of Pausanias, in his journey to the Peloponnese and to a lesser degree while touring other locations. His published works constituted a guide to foreign travellers who were seeking traces of ancient Greece. Gell toured Argolis and, with the locals' aid, was able to identify several ancient locations, mostly of the Mycenaean era, always following Pausanias's text.

This edition is the first of five works by William Gell, which were all published before 1827. The Gennadius Library houses hand-written notes and diaries by William Gell.

Written by Ioli Vingopoulou

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