Wandering in Ancient Greek Culture
Attitudes toward wandering have evolved in accordance with cultural perspectives, causing some characterizations to persist while others have faded. For instance, the status of wanderers in Greek societies varied from outcasts and madmen to sages, who were recognized as mystical, even divine. Examining the act of wandering through many lenses, Wandering in Ancient Greek Culture shows how the transformation of the wanderer coincided with new perceptions of the world and of travel and invites us to consider its definition and import today.
“What some might think a waste of time, a slightly suspect though enviable occupation, Montiglio has beautifully shown to be a key cultural expression in the ancient Greek world: wandering. Her lucid, vibrant commentary on dozens of texts and figures takes us on a leisurely stroll through centuries, from Homer’s Odysseus, forefather of the practice, to Apollonius of Tyana, the peripatetic sage. In this rich analysis, gods, heroes, poets, wise men, pilgrims and sightseers are fellow travelers, revealing, by multiple juxtapositions, curious new features against the bright landscape. For the Greeks, higher truth came to those who moved around, as it will to readers following these learned pathways with Montiglio’s sure-footed lead.”--Richard P. Martin, Stanford University
“Montiglio explores the many meanings of wandering for the ancient Greeks: to be far from home, exiled, lost, even mad (wandering wits); but also to be on a quest for adventure or for knowledge. Whether a challenge or an ordeal, wandering was always dangerous and a sign of mortality: only gods roam safely, or stay eternally in place. Montiglio’s book is a pleasure to read—gracefully written, learned, as wide-ranging as its subject, and equally full of surprises and sudden vistas.”--David Konstan, Brown University