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The Dodecanese: Further Travels Among the Insular Greeks Selected Writings of J. Theodore & Mabel V.A. Bent, 1885-1888 edited by Gerald Brisch. xiv+194 pages; illustrated throughout in black & white. 3rdguides 143 2015 3rdGuides - Archaeopress Travel 8. ISBN 9781784910969. £15.00 (No VAT). Book contents pageBuy Now

A sequel to The Cyclades, a compilation of late-19th-century travel writings (with an archaeological/ethnographical bias) centred on the Greek Dodecanese islands (including Rhodes, Nissiros, Tilos, Karpathos, Patmos, and Astypalea).

The authors are the British explorer J. Theodore Bent (1852-1897), devotedly supported by his wife Mabel Virginia Anna (1847-1929). Theodore met Mabel shortly after coming down from Oxford in 1875 and they married two years later. They were of independent character and means and spent the too few years until Theodore’s early death on a breathless sequence of annual travels to the Eastern Mediterranean, Africa, and Southern Arabia. Theodore’s publications are referenced still by archaeologists and scholars working on sites or regions such as ‘Great Zimbabwe’, Aksum, the Wadi Hadramaut, the Cilician littoral, and, of course, the Greek islands.

Bent’s first successful monograph was based on two winters spent in the Cycladic isles (1882/3 and 1883/4). From the start the couple kept notebooks from which all Theodore’s later lectures and literature sprang. His The Cyclades, or Life Among the Insular Greeks was published in 1885 and has been rarely out of print since. It remains one of the most delightful accounts in English of the region, and few serious travellers and tourists to these islands fail to discover it.

In the year The Cyclades was published the Bents moved a little east and explored the islands now commonly referred to as the Greek Dodecanese. Unforeseen circumstances obliged the explorers to curtail their activities before Theodore’s writings on the area could be edited into a monograph to complement his earlier bestseller. Theodore’s Dodecanesian output was channelled instead into a wide range of articles, while Mabel completed three volumes of her personal Chronicles on their daily travels and travails.

Bent never presented his Dodecanese researches to the public in a compendium, the way he had, so brilliantly, for the Cyclades. Now, 130 years later, his The Dodecanese can appear for the first time: a collection of reminiscences and studies on these sunny, blue-surrounded, and delightful islands.

Contents: ‘Preface’ by Marc Dubin; ‘Introduction’ by Gerald Brisch; ‘J.T. Bent: Selected Writings on the Dodecanese 1885-1888’; ‘M.V.A. Bent: Travel Chronicles for the years 1885-1888’. Fully illustrated with maps and photographs.

'Mr. Bent’s book deserves all success, for it is the result of researches pursued in the most laudable manner…[and] a unique description of the life and ideas of a people, which renders it a very storehouse of facts for the student of customs and myths. And in this respect its value will be permanent. Other travellers may follow in Mr. Bent’s footsteps, and fill up what is wanting in his archaeological information; but in a few years’ time, if any traveller be found so enduring as to attempt once more the task which he has so well performed, it is highly probable that a great part of these interesting customs and ideas will have disappeared.' (Henry Fanshawe Tozer (1885), on The Cyclades by J.T. Bent)

'The modern reader of Theodore’s and Mabel’s travels in the Dodecanese is surely to find something of interest to him or her... Their sentiments as reflected in this collection of writings surely rested well with their intended audience, and thus their candid accounts provide quite an informative, as well as entertaining, vestige of the 19th-century British imperial mindset and its approaches to the antiquities and local people they encountered.' (Review in Journal of Greek Archaeology 2016, Vol. 1, p. 470)

'The book under review is essentially the second installment of the Cyclades book, as it is based on Bent's travels, along with his wife Mabel, to the Dodecanese in 1885-1888. Yet, Bent himself never publis
BUNDLE OFFER: The Complete Travel Chronicles of Mrs J. Theodore Bent, Vol I-III (RRP £84.50) Volumes I, II, and III. Offer exclusive to the Archaeopress website. 3rdguides 48 2013 3rdGuides - Archaeopress Travel . £40.00 (No VAT). Buy Now

Purchase the complete set of Mabel Bent's travel chronicles and save over 50%

Please note this is not a single collected volume, you will receive three volumes as available to purchase separately. This option is listed for convenience for those wishing to purchase all three volumes, and so that they might enjoy a discount.

Bundle contains the following volumes:

The Travel Chronicles of Mrs J. Theodore Bent Mabel Bent’s diaries of 1883-1898, from the archive of the Joint Library of the Hellenic and Roman Societies, London edited and with additional material by Gerald Brisch.

Volume I: Greece and the Levantine Littoral. 2006. ISBN 1905739028. RRP £27.50. Paperback; 148x210mm; 380pp; 7 maps, 15 illustrations (b/w thr/o).
Volume II: The African Journeys. 2012. ISBN 9781905739370. RRP £27.50. Paperback; 148x210mm; xxxii+344pp; b/w thr/o.
Volume III: Southern Arabia and Persia. 2010. ISBN 9781905739134. RRP £29.50. Paperback; 148x210mm; xxxi+425pp; b/w thr/o.

For any enquiries regarding this option please contact info@archaeopress.com.
The Travel Chronicles of Mrs. J. Theodore Bent. Volume II: The African Journeys Mabel Bent's diaries of 1883-1898, from the archive of the Joint Library of the Hellenic and Roman Societies, London. Paperback. xxxii+344 pages, with maps and illustrations. Edited and with additional material by Gerald Brisch. Extended contributions by Innocent Pikirayi and William J. Dewey. 3rdguides 47 2012 3rdGuides - Archaeopress Travel 7. Available both in printed and e-versions. Printed ISBN 9781905739370. £27.50 (No VAT). Epublication ISBN 9781784913267. £16.00 (Exc. VAT) Institutional Price £27.50 (Exc. UK VAT) Book contents pageBuy Now

“At last we reached a circular enclosure among the grass and scanty trees. We rushed in and it was like getting into a tropical greenhouse with the roof off. There were tall trees and long creepers making monkey ropes, large flowers hanging, great cactus trees, aloes and all sorts of beautiful things crowded together, so that one could hardly squeeze through. I should have liked to stop and stare at the vegetation but on we rushed, over walls and to the tower we had heard of, which is close to the outer wall. We did not stay even to walk round the tower but out we rushed again, like people who were taking a stolen look into an enchanted garden and were afraid of being bewitched if we remained… It was quite dark and we had to be guided by shouts to our camp and got home in a state of great wonder and delight and hope of profitable work and full assurance of the great antiquity of the ruins. Theodore was not very well and had to take quinine.” [M.V.A. Bent, 4 June 1891]

Thus a few lines from Mabel (Mrs J. Theodore) Bent’s 1891 African travel diary on her arrival at ‘Great Zimbabwe’ (in present-day Zimbabwe), written for her family, serve to evoke the romance and hardships of colonial exploration for a Victorian audience. Of particular importance are Mabel’s previously unpublished notebooks covering the couple’s arduous wagon trek to these famous ruins, in part sponsored by the ambitious Cecil Rhodes. Theodore Bent’s interpretations of these wonderful monuments sparked a controversy (one of several this maverick archaeologist was involved in over his short career) that still divides scholars today. Mabel Bent was probably the first woman to visit there and help document this major site. As tourists in Egypt and explorers in the Sudan, Ethiopia, and Southern Africa, anyone interested in 19th-century travel will want to follow the wagon tracks and horse trails of the Bents across hundreds of miles of untouched African landscape.

Contents: Personal diaries, travel accounts and letters relating to the Bents’ travels and explorations in: Egypt (1885); Zimbabwe (1891); Ethiopia (1893); Sudan (1896); Egypt (1898). Includes extended contributions on the archaeological background to ‘Great Zimbabwe’ by Innocent Pikirayi, and ‘The Stone Birds of Great Zimbabwe’ by William J. Dewey. Additional documents, maps, and Mabel Bent’s own photographs contribute to this important insight into the lives of two of the great British travellers of the nineteenth century.

The Travel Chronicles of Mrs J. Theodore Bent. Mabel Bent's diaries of 1883-1898, from the archive of the Joint Library of the Hellenic and Roman Societies, London. Published in three volumes: Volume I – Greece and the Levantine Littoral (2006); Volume II: The African Journeys (2012); Vol III – Southern Arabia and Persia (2010).

"...Brisch and Archaeopress have done a major service by reproducing these hidden gems and rescuing Mabel Bent from relative obscurity. This collection is a valuable primary source and will be of immense interest to those interested in female travelogues, historical archaeology, or the daily experiences of European women in colonial Africa." (Reviewed in 'Journal of African History', Vol. 55/2, 2014, 296-298)

"Mabel’s husband, Theodore [Bent], made notable archaeological contributions in several of the areas in which he travelled and worked. But he was also a controversial figure and no more so than for his work at Great Zimbabwe…The present volume is particularly fascinating as it contains Mabel’s chronicles of the couple’s time in what was then Mashonaland (Zimbabwe)…" (Reviewed in 'Antiquity', Vol. 88, Number 342, December 2014, p. 1357)
The Travel Chronicles of Mrs J. Theodore Bent. Volume III: Southern Arabia and Persia Mabel Bent's diaries of 1883-1898, from the archive of the Joint Library of the Hellenic and Roman Societies, London. Paperback. xxxi+425 pages, with maps and illustrations. Edited and with additional material by Gerald Brisch. 3rdguides 46 2010 3rdGuides - Archaeopress Travel 6. ISBN 9781905739134. £29.50 (No VAT). Book contents pageBuy Now

“If my fellow-traveller had lived, he intended to have put together in book form such information as we had gathered about Southern Arabia. Now, as he died four days after our return from our last journey there, I have had to undertake the task myself. It has been very sad to me, but I have been helped by knowing that, however imperfect this book may be, what is written here will surely be a help to those who, by following in our footsteps, will be able to get beyond them, and to whom I so heartily wish success and a Happy Home-coming, the best wish a traveller may have.”

So Mabel Bent (Mrs J. Theodore Bent) begins her Preface to Southern Arabia, one of the classic travel books written in English about this ever-fascinating region, in which she details the couple’s travels over a ten-year period. A testimony to the book’s high regard is that, since publication in 1900, it has rarely been out-of-print.

Mabel Bent continues in her Preface to inform the reader that her volume is drawn in part from the note-books of her husband, her fellow-traveller, the redoubtable J. Theodore Bent (1852-97), and also “…from the ‘Chronicles’ that I always wrote during our journeys”.

After more than a hundred years, and for the first time, these personal Chronicles on ‘South Arabia’ are published in World Enough, and Time: The Chronicles of Mabel Bent. Vol. III and are of significant interest to Arabists and those enthusiasts who will want to have Mabel’s on-the-spot account of their adventures and archaeological and ethnographical discoveries. Also included in this present volume is Mabel Bent’s previously unpublished Chronicle of their long journey through Persia, from south to north in 1889.

Contents: Bahrein and Persia, 1889: The Hadhramaut, 1893–5; Socotra and the lands of the Fadhli and Yafai, 1896–7. Personal letters, documents, maps, and Mabel Bent’s own photographs contribute to this important insight into the lives of two of the great British travellers of the nineteenth century.

The Travel Chronicles of Mrs J. Theodore Bent. Volume I: Greece and the Levantine Littoral Mabel Bent's diaries of 1883-1898, from the archive of the Joint Library of the Hellenic and Roman Societies, London. 380 pages, 7 maps, 15 illustrations (paperback). Edited and with additional material by Gerald Brisch. 3rdguides 45 2006 3rdGuides - Archaeopress Travel 5. Available both in printed and e-versions. Printed ISBN 9781905739028. £27.50 (No VAT). Epublication ISBN 9781784913328. £16.00 (Exc. VAT) Institutional Price £27.50 (Exc. UK VAT) Book contents pageBuy Now

“Then we went to the other bath. Here I found I was being again taken to the men’s place, so I said, ‘I’m not going in here’. But a great outcry was raised and loud exclamations of invitation and constant assurances that there was nobody naked, so when T said fiercely, ‘Come in and don’t make a fuss. They all wish it’, I entered a large hall with the raised divans peopled by gentry in cloaks and turbans of towels. There was fortunately no one in the hot bath as it deserved a careful examination. The wide platform round the tanks was inlaid with beautiful marbles and there were recesses with pumps, etc., also inlaid…” (Bursa, February 1888)

On August 2nd 1877, the English explorer and archaeologist James Theodore Bent married an extraordinary Irishwoman, Mabel Virginia Anna Hall-Dare, the second of the four daughters born to Mr Robert Westley Hall-Dare of Co. Wexford and Essex. Mabel was 31, Theodore 25, and within a few months they had embarked on their pattern of annual travels that continued until his early death in 1897. Their trips began fairly close to home, visiting northern Italy, but by 1883 they were in the Eastern Mediterranean (in modern Greece and Turkey), searching out the antiquities, landscapes and lifestyles of a region that was to captivate them for the next fifteen years. Their researches led to a number of highly regarded monographs, papers and articles (such as Theodore’s 'The Cyclades, or Life Among the Insular Greeks', 1885, and the many publications of their various discoveries in locations such as ‘Rugged Cilicia’, the island of Thassos, and elsewhere) that were to place the couple securely amongst the foremost British travellers of the latter half of the 19th century.

The publication, therefore, of Mabel Bent’s personal notebooks from the archive of the Joint Library of the Hellenic and Roman Societies, London, represents the discovery of a lost and notable milestone for scholars and travel enthusiasts of all kinds. This series of volumes begins with Mabel’s account of the couple’s adventures around the Aegean and beyond, extracted from her fifteen-year sequence of notebooks and presented chronologically. Specifically, we follow Mabel and Theodore to the Greek mainland and the islands known now as the Cyclades and the Dodecanese, as well as the northern Aegean islands; their journeys along the Turkish littoral lead them from bustling Istanbul to provincial Mersin in the far south-west.

Contents include: Chapter 1) 1883-1884: The Cyclades – Mabel’s own accounts of the couple’s two tours of the Cyclades. Theodore relied on these Chronicles for the writing up of his classic travelogue ‘The Cyclades; or Life Among the Insular Greeks’ of 1885; Chapter 2) 1885: The Dodecanese – including Rhodes, Tilos and Karpathos; Chapter 3) 1886: The Eastern Aegean – including Samos, Patmos, Kalymnos and Astypalea; Chapter 4) 1887: The Northern Aegean – including Meteora, Thessaloniki, Thassos and Samothraki; Chapter 5) 1888: The Turkish Coast – from Istanbul to Kastellorizo; Chapter 6) 1890: ‘Rough Cilicia’ – extensive explorations around south-west Turkey.

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