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Prior to the 18th century, there were few visitors to mainland Greece. When travelers did start to arrive, they found a country that rarely matched their expectations. This lecture focuses on the complicated relationship that these travelers had with classical texts. Simultaneously dependent and frustrated with the texts that described Greece, their encounters paved a new way for thinking about the classical past. Along the way we will examine the impact of discoveries such as the Venus de Milo and the Parthenon (Elgin) marbles.
Alastair Blanshard is currently senior lecturer in Classics at the University of Sydney. After growing up and studying in Queensland, he took a Packer scholarship to study at the University of Cambridge. He has held positions at Oxford University, the Centre for Hellenic Studies in Washington, and the University of Reading. He is the author of books on the figure of Hercules in western culture, the afterlife of Greco-Roman erotica, and the representation of Greece and Rome in Cinema. He is currently researching a book on the first generation of modern travelers to Greece. He sits on the editorial board of Oxford University Press' Classical Receptions Journal and is a series editor for Cambridge University Press' Classics After Antiquity series.