Travel Literature on Southeast Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean 15th-19th centuries
The database contains rare travel literature material (texts and illustrations) on Southeast Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean from the 15th to the 19th century. The data derive from libraries and private collections in Greece and abroad. [ + ]
General informationThis collection is a database of Travel Literature on Southeast Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean (containing texts and illustrations) from the 15th to the 19th century.
West European travellers began to publish books on their travels in Southeastern Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean at the end of the Middle Ages onwards. These publications are important for students of history, archaeology, economic and social history, ethnography, demography, historical geography, etc.
In 1988, the Institute for Neohellenic Research began work on the creation of a database that would systematise and process the vast, yet rare, material from the travel literature relating to this specific geographical area from the 15th to the 19th century.
Researchers from the Institute for Neohellenic Research and also external collaborators contributed by inputting data from libraries and private collections in Greece and abroad. The entries relate to the particular travel book, and include:
a) information of a bibliographical nature,
b) details on the traveller and his itinerary,
c) data files on illustration and
The visitors of the site may consult information relating to the travel texts and view bibliographical details and a description of the travellers concerned, the itineraries undertaken, the places described, a range of subject fields and dates of travel, plus relevant illustrative material included in the works, whether in printed or loose-leaf format. The database allows cross-reference from one field to another.
The database was redesigned in the context of ‘PANDEKTIS: Digital Thesaurus of Primary Sources for Greek History and Culture’ so as to comply with international standards, and has been enriched with illustrative and bibliographical entries.
Content (material included)The database contains entries relating to printed publications (books and articles) or manuscripts by travellers, as well as illustrative material contained in them or in loose-leaf format (engravings illustrating landscapes, antiquities, human types, frontispieces of books, topographical plans, photographs, etc.)
Size2,500 (approximately) data-files relating to travel writings, and 500 (approximately ) data-files on illustrations.
UpdateThere is intention to include over the next few years, all the approximately 5000 main printed titles of travel literature and the images contained in them. In the future, it will be expanded by the systematic inputting of articles in travel journals, mainly of the 19th century.
Access to collectionElectronic (www.ekt.gr/pandektis) Researchers will have the option in the future to consult the Institute for Neohellenic Research / The National Hellenic Research Foundation through a link that taps the potential of a geographic information system (GIS) and enables them to select specific areas from a digitized map and then cross-refer to the travel texts that discuss the areas concerned.
Contact informationIoli Vingopoulou
Institute of Neohellenic Research / National Hellenic Research Foundation
48 Vassileos Constantinou Av.116 35 Athens-Greece
Copyright statement500 digitised images will be available free of charge on the Internet in low resolution. Since the National Hellenic Research Foundation does not own the copyright for these images, users will be able to exploit the visual evidence or general information provided in the database, but will have to consult the institution or private individual that owns the original image if they wish to use this at higher resolution.
HistoryWith the initiative of the then Director of the Institute of Neohellenic Research (INR), Mrs Loukia Droulia, we started, in October 1987, compiling a comprehensive database that would include and organize the vast, yet rare, sources of travel literature (texts and illustrations) on Southeastern Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean from the beginning of the 15th to the end of the 19th century. Under the guidance of Prof. Droulia, researchers from INR, along with external collaborators, took to retrieving valuable data from various public libraries and private collections of Greece and abroad: since October 1987 Ioli Vingopoulou; since September 1988, and for two years, Eliza-Anna Delveroudi; since 1990, and for ten years, Rania Poycandrioti; since June 1992, and for four years, Ilia Chatzipanagioti. Aiming at compiling a comprehensive bibliography on the subject, the researchers of the INR collaborated with another team working on the project “Foreign Travellers in Greece in the 18th and 19th centuries (up to 1821)” which was funded at the time by Greece’s General Secretariat for Research and Technology. Headed by Prof. Catherine Koumarianou, this team included Nicos Karanastasis, Vassiliki Kontoyanni and George Tolias. Furthermore, Maria Athanassopoulou, Aliki Asvesta, Nassia Yakovaki, Youla Koutsipanagou, Aristea Papanikolaou–Kristensen, Stelios Panayotakis, Sylviane Albertan-Coppola, Jean Louis Candaux, Rumiana Michneva, Raia Zaïmova offered voluntary help in retrieving data from Greek and foreign libraries and collections.
The outcome of the first phase of the Travel Literature Database Project was an amount of 1700 entries published in Ioli Vingopoulou – Rania Polycandrioti, “Travel Literature on S.E. Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean 15th-19th centuries, Short-title Catalogue” (Bibliographical consultant: Leonora Navari), Tetradia Ergasias 17 (1993) 17-155. There are also other contributors worth mentioning here. Researcher Dimitris Mourkakos, then working on the project “Searching for National Identity through Foreign Texts: Translations and Travel Literature in the 19th century” (headed also by Prof. Droulia), contributed 19th century data files from the Gennadius Library. The database included at this period approximately 2,300 data files of travel texts. Stella Symeonaki and Maria Papailiadis, postgraduate students at the University of Athens (Dept. of History and Archaeology, 1998-1999), classified and edited the database entries. Valuable help was also offered by Constantina Christodoulou, Sotiria Zioga, Catherina Krimboyianni, Electra Braska and Eleni Coloni, then undergraduate students at the Dept. of French Literature of the University of Athens. All database entries bear the initials of their respective contributors.
In 2003-2005 four external research partners (Manos Castrinakis programming consultant, Giorgos Vallis programmer, Alexander Koromilas digital reproduction consultant, George Koromilas digitization consultant), offered voluntary work in updating the Database so that it could correspond to cutting-edge scholarly standards.
The role of visual material of travel books as a source for historical research has duly drawn attention. This has resulted in the creation of a separate database devoted to illustrations of the travel books by the INR researcher Eugenia Dracopoulou (more on this in Dracopoulou’s “A Data Bank of the Illustrations Accompanying the Texts of Travel Literature”, Tetradia Ergasias 17 (1993), 425-440.
With funding from the programme of “Pandektis”, research partner Giannis Papadopoulos has enriched this daughter database of travel book illustrations with the first 500 entries. [ - ]