Pausanias's Description of Greece, Vol. 1 of 6 (Classic Reprint)

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Excerpt from Pausanias's Description of Greece, Vol. 1 of 6

Mr. Gurlitt concludes that the second book of Pausanias was written after 16 5 a.d. Even the first book, according to him, must be dated not earlier than 143 a.d. His reason is that when Pausanias wrote this book the stadium at Athens had already been rebuilt of white marble by Herodes Atticus,1 and that the reconstruction cannot, if Professor C. Wachsmuth is right,2 have been begun before 143 a.d. Or a little earlier. With regard to the other books, the evidence, scanty as it is, is less conflicting. The fifth book, as we have seen, was composed in the year 174 a.d. The eighth book, in which mention is made of the victory of Marcus Antoninus over the Germans,3 must have been written after 166 a.d., the year when the German war broke out, and may have been written in or after 176 a.d., the year in which the emperor celebrated a triumph for his success. In the tenth book occurs the reference to the inroad of the Costobocs 4 hence the book was written between 166 and 180 a.d. Further, the references which Pausanias makes both forwards and backwards to the several parts of his work show that the books were written in the order in which they now stand.5 Hence books six to ten cannot have been composed earlier and may have been composed a good deal later than 174 a.d., the year in which our author was engaged on his fifth book. Thus the composition of the work extended over a period of at least fourteen years and probably of many more. That Pausanias spent a long time over it might be inferred from a passage in which he explains a change in his religious views. When he began his work, so he tells us, he looked on some Greek myths as little better than foolishness, but when he had got as far as his description of Arcadia he had altered his opinion and had come to believe that they contained a kernel of deep wisdom under a husk of extravagance.6 Such a total change of attitude towards the religious traditions of his country was more probably an affair of years than of weeks and months.

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