How the Greeks Built Cities

How the Greeks Built Cities

How the Greeks Built Cities

How the Greeks Built Cities

Excerpt

As he neared the end of his Tour of Greece, which he made in the second century A.D., Pausanias came to a little place in Phocis called Panopeus. He hesitated to dignify it by the name of 'city' (polis) since it possessed 'no government offices or gymnasium, no theatre or agora or water flowing down to a fountain' (x. 4. 1), and consisted merely of a few miserable houses and one or two ancient shrines. Pausanias had visited innumerable cities, large and small, and no one knew better than he what was essential to a Greek city, what gave it its character. In addition he had a method of covering the ground at each important site, omitting nothing 'worth seeing', which makes it easy to see the elements of the city in their proper relation to one another, if one is not distracted by his long historical digressions. We can hardly do better than let him introduce us to our subject. Of course the date at which his descriptions were written is late from our point of view; but that does not matter. Most of the old cities of European Greece had not changed radically in their general arrangement; and Pausanias had a strong antiquarian bias and wrote mainly of what were already ancient monuments in his day.

The visitor who takes Pausanias as his guide approaches by road from his last calling-place, noting interesting monuments by the wayside, including shrines and tombs. As he comes up to the city the dominant feature is the . . .

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