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13/05/2008

A pro – Turkish English man

Municipality of Argos

Gell, the traveler has given information about constant development of Argos concerning the population as well as financial life (rich inhabitants with nice houses, quick construction). A century after Depellegrin the case is a smashing overbalance of Greek population.
In the foreword of the itinerary to Argolis, that was published in 1810 Gell expresses his enthusiasm for the uniqueness of the Greek landscape. This country, he writes, has even more peculiarities than Italy. You cannot spend an hour without getting in front of something that will make you think. In every turn of the road there is a scene that has occupied poets and historians.
In Argos most houses were one-storeyed and the streets were rectilinear. Houses of potentates surrounded by gardens stood imposingly mong them. Its population was about 4.000 people. The city constantly developed. New buildings were quickly built. Very few Turks lived in the city. The foreigner could find accommodation at the house of Vlassopoulos (he was a potentate), a rich merchant, a protégé of the English. He hosted the foreigners with amenity and he had the stock of his compatriots for his scrupulous character.
Information
In 1801one of the most active English travelers, William Gell, who was also an archaeologist and surveyor made the first of his four trips to Greece. He was a Cantabrigian and had got remarkable classic education. The objective of his trip was Troas and Ithaca. It was the time when the famous “Homeric case”, as it was called, specially occupied the researchers in the framework of which they raised questions like “Is the Troan War an historic event?” or “Was writing known at Homeric years?”, or “Did Homer exist?”.
The remarks the English traveler made were considered an important contribution to the Homeric problem.
In 1803 the English Government sent him to a special mission in Eptanisa. He will be honoured on his return for his strenuosity with the title of “Sir”. A year later, in 1804, he will attempt his third trip to Greece, which will last until 1806. In these two years he will travel around Morias, and continental Greece up to Thessalia making important topographic and archaeological research and he will visit Ithaca for the second time, where he will study the topography of the island based on Homer’s Odyssey. The material that he collected from his itineanracies (itinerary, topographic, archaeological) will be assorted and published in a series of volumes between 1807 and 1827. Volume one will contain the outcome of his research in Ithaca. It was the first attempt to study the topography of the island based on Homeric texts. Most of his conclusions though, are arbitrary. His effort to adapt the unadaptable and identify the not identical with Homeric shymes is obvious. The information he obtained from his trips to continental Greece between 1804 and 1806 will be assorted in 4 volumes. Three of them are topographic studies exclusively limited to the registration of information useful to the traveler, which means touristic guides, while the fourth is a classic itinerary memorial. The first one refers to Argolis, the second to Morias and the third to the area from Attica up to Thessalia.




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