Wandering in Ancient Greek Culture

Silvia Montiglio

Wandering in Ancient Greek Culture

Silvia Montiglio

288 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2005
Cloth $63.00 ISBN: 9780226534978 Published August 2005
From the Archaic period to the Greco-Roman age, the figure of the wanderer held great significance in ancient Greece. In the first comprehensive study devoted to this theme, Wandering in Ancient Greek Culture unearths the many meanings attached to this practice over the centuries. Employing a broad range of literary and philosophical texts, Silvia Montiglio demonstrates how wandering has been conceptualized from Homer's Odysseus—the hero "who wandered much"—in the eighth century BCE to pagan sages of the early Roman Empire such as Saint John the Baptist in the first century AD.

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.
List of Abbreviations
1. Wandering in Space and Time
On the Deep, at the Edges
At the Beginning
Transition and Crisis
2. Pains and Privations of Wandering
"For Mortals, Nothing Is Worse than Wandering"
The Exile as Wanderer
Madness: Wandering with No Return
3. Wandering and the Human Condition
Homo Viator: Before Philosophy
The "Fault" of Odysseus
Do Not Forget Your Wanderings: Odysseus under Circe's Spell
4. To Judge and to Deceive: The Wanderings of the Gods
Wandering and Divine Power
Demeter's Destructive Wandering
Dionysus, the Wanderer
Wandering Enfants Terribles: Eros and Hermes
5. Itinerant Sages in Archaic and Classical Greece
Wandering, Lying, and Poetry
The Aura of Wandering: Xenophanes and Empedocles
Wandering for the Sake of Profit: From Homer to the Sophists
6. Choosing to Be Odysseus: Herodotus and Ionian Theoria
The Excitement of Theoria in Fifth-Century Athens
Wanderers Discover the World
To Observe and to Collect
Wandering Writings and Truthfulness in Herodotus's Histories
7. Wandering along the Journey to Truth: From Parmenides to Plato
Parmenides' "Unwandering" Journey to Being
In Search of Wisdom: Plato's Presentation of Socrates' Wandering
Plato on Traveling and Wisdom
Between Ascent and Navigation
Walking, Sitting, and Standing
8. In Praise of Homeless Wandering: The Cynics
Diogenes, the Outcast of Tragedy
Cynic Wandering in Greco-Roman Literature
Dio Chrysostom's Self-Presentation as a Wandering Philosopher
9. The World as Home: Cosmic Citizens and Godlike Travelers
Stay Where You are Stationed, Go Where You Are Sent: The Stoics on Wandering
The Godlike Wanderings of Apollonius of Tyana in Philostratus's Life of Apollonius
10. Wandering in the Greek Novel
Ignorance and Alienation
The Meaning of "Home" in One's Journey: From Apollonius's Argonautica to the Novel
Love and Philosophy
The Ruler of Wandering: Fortune or Providence?
Wandering, Fiction, and Storytelling
Epilogue: What Greek Wanderers Did Not Do
Review Quotes
Seth L. Schein, editor of Reading the Odyssey
"In this exceptionally well-written book, Montiglio offers original and convincing interpretations, not only of wandering as a general cultural phenomenon but of an extraordinarily wide range of texts, genres, and historical periods. Her scholarship is outstanding, and Wandering in Ancient Greek Culture brings together a diversity of material unparalleled in any other work."
Richard P. Martin

“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

David Konstan

“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

For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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