Master of Arts (MA)
Archaeology and Heritage Studies
Faculty of Arts
In recent years, Roman travel and tourism has become a focus of scholarship. Most of the scholarship however has focused either on religious travel through studies of pilgrimage or on secular travel through studies of tourism. Many tourism scholars however have begun to recognize that the differences between what is a tourist and what is a pilgrim is not as large as was once thought. These scholars have coined a new term, the religious tourist, to describe those travelers who seem to bridge the gap between the traditional definition of a pilgrim and the traditional definition of a tourist. Through examining the work of the travel writer Pausanias and the travels of famous Romans such as Aemilius Paullus, Cicero, Mucianus, Nero, and Hadrian, one begins to understand that the majority of tourists in the Roman world visited religious sites. Travelers were interested both in the religious nature of these sites as “houses of the gods” and in their secular nature as home to countless wonders of art, relics of history, and athletic and cultural festivals where the very best athletes and artists competed for prestige and prizes. Although many travelers made dedications or sacrificed victims, many of them also took time to marvel at the artwork and admire the museum-like nature of the Greek Sanctuary site. Although these travelers have previously been classed as either tourists or pilgrims, it is clear that they are best considered religious tourists as they participated in both religious and secular activities while at these sites.
Stark, David James, "Religious Tourism in Roman Greece" (2009). Theses and Dissertations (Comprehensive). 951.