Travellers to Kythera
A preliminary analysis of regularities in the nature of early visitation has examined how the island was perceived by outsiders (both culturally, in terms of its connection to the shrine of the love-goddess Aphrodite) and physically, as well as to plot patterns of movement within the island, regarding antiquities and more generally (Broodbank et al. 2004). A data-base of ca. 30 travellers demonstrates that such knowledge of Kythera was restricted to a narrow range of coastal landfalls, notably the ports of Kapsali (Chora) and Avlemonas/Agios Nikolaos, plus antiquities in the latter's vicinity, which include Kastri and Palaiokastro. Close reading of reports on the latter two sites are revealing concerning the nature of the ruins then visible, suggesting progressive destruction of temple remains at the latter, but remarkably consistent reporting of the Roman rock-cut tombs at the former (known as the 'baths of Aphrodite'). Through the mention of local guides, it is possible to detect the 'shadow' of internal systems of knowledge, suggesting an islanders' internal viewpoint that remains far less well understood.
The successive transformations of outsiders' knowledge of the island that are witnessed by such accounts are mirrored in the evolution of maps and other images of the island, which remain a fruitful field for future investigation.