James Theodore Bent (1852-1897) was an Oxford-educated archaeologist, historian and explorer who dedicated his short life to researches in the Levant and Africa. In the winters of 1882-84 he and his wife, Mabel Hall-Dare, made extended tours of the Cycladic islands and in 1885 Bent published what has become a classic account of their wanderings and discoveries in what is now one of the best-loved regions of Greece. His island-by-island journals are a fascinating insight into Greek community living at the turn of the 19th century, and the work established Bent as a traveller of note. As might be expected, most of the major sites and sights are detailed, as well as references to customs and costumes, hospitality and hardship, history, folklore and myth. No account in English, then or since, has come close in terms of scope and achievement. (On a scholarly level, Bent was the first English archaeologist to undertake serious excavation work in the region and his findings on the small island of Antiparos (included here) are still referred to in current bibliographies.) As far as the publishers are aware, no English language edition of Bent's Cyclades is currently easily available.
This new edition of Bent's 1885 work is accompanied by a newly commissioned biographical introduction and a series of notes including route-planner, and historical and archaeological summaries. 'Tozer of Oxford sends me a charming book...by Theodore Bent...all about the Cyclades. (Dearly beloved child let me announce to you that this word is pronounced 'Sick Ladies,' - howsomdever certain Britishers call it 'Sigh-claides.')...' (Edward Lear writes to Chichester Fortescue, Lord Carlingford [30 April 1885, San Remo])show more