Turkey lies at the crossroads of history. Since the beginning of civilisation, Anatolia has been crossed and re-crossed by waves of ancient people: the Hittites, the ancient Persian Empire and the mighty Ottoman Empire that spread as far as Budapest, Baghdad, Cairo and Arabia, have created a country as varied as it is possible to find in the world. With a climate and landscape as diverse as its past, Turkey has provided an alluring and yet sometimes challenging destination for westerners throughout the ages. This, and the hospitality of its people has ensured that countless visitors, from classical times to the present, have fallen under the spell of Turkey. "Across the Hellespont" describes in lively detail the remarkable literature which Turkey has inspired for two millennia. At a time when Turkey's position on the fringe may be set to change to a deeper involvement in Europe, the need for Europeans to understand the country is even more compelling. The range of travel writing represented in this book shows how, while political circumstances may change, the lure of Turkey remains constant.
Richard Stoneman is a classicist, editor and lecturer. An Honorary Fellow of Exeter University, he is the author of numerous books and guides including Daphne into Laurel, A Literary Companion to Travel In Greece, The Greek Alexander Romance and Alexander the Great: a Life in Legend. He was President of the Classical Association in 2009/10.