Messene was unusual among ancient poleis. It was one of the few major settlements on the Greek mainland to be founded in the Hellenistic period. Moreover, on account of this, its claim to a culturally authoritative past rooted in the mythic period could not rest on suppositions about the continuity of knowledge handed down through the continuation of civic, cultic, and communal institutions. This chapter examines how Pausanias’ account of Messenia (book four of his Periegesis) approaches this dilemma by making knowledge both an artefact preserved unchanged in texts, and a conceptual possession encountered and attained through travel. It goes on to argue that the interplay between these two forms of knowledge is specifically relevant to this text, since the Periegesis also serves as a fixed, written object, which nonetheless offers opportunities for autonomous exploration and experience to the hodological reader-traveler.