A Digital Journeying Around; or How Reading Pausanias can Reorient Classics – by Professor Elton Barker (Open University)

Date / time: 23 March, 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Writing in the second century CE, Pausanias provides a deep dive into the cultural centres of the ancient Greek mainland. Describing the built environment through which he moves — from buildings to statues, even rocks on the ground — Pausanias supplements his account with stories about the places and objects he encounters. The challenge when following in his footsteps is to negotiate this ‘thick’ description, where every step of the way can be viewed through multiple temporal frames.

In this talk, I will suggest that digital technology affords ways of not only identifying the granularity of the places Pausanias describes but also of getting a better sense of their place in the narrative, where places are related to each other and readers are challenged by the constant and insistent temporal shifts to place themselves in Greece’s storied landscape. But that is not all. I also want to show how Pausanias is “good to think with” when modelling digitally informed approaches to Classics. In particular, I will discuss the use of maps as tools for research (rather than as illustrations); the importance of collaboration and public scholarship; and the transformative potential of the technology of Linked Open Data, for helping us understand the ancient world as every bit relational, intersectional, and excitingly dynamic as ours.

This lecture is open and free to all, and will take place in-person at the University of Liverpool: Central Teaching Hub, Lecture Theatre B, Merseyside L69 7BX