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(texte français: cliquez ici)   A cosmological interpretation


Is the Odysseus'periplus absolutly fictitious? What kind of relations does it sustain with the geography of sea routes and Mediterranean countries?
Odysseus' nautical world
A cosmological interpretation
Sea routes and the epic text
The routes home
Rounding Cape Malea
6 Toward a New World
7 Mythological figures for stopovers
From the next World to this world
9 In Odysseus'wake. Arrival at Ithaka
10 Ithaka, Ormos Polis
Ithaka, the islet of Daskalio
12 Ithaka, Port Saint Andrew
13 At the Arethuse source
14 The periplus to Ithaka
15 Our friend Odysseus
The imago mundi in archa´c Greece (Ballabriga, Les Fictions d'Homère, Paris, P.U.F., 1998).
In his recent book "Les fictions d'Homère, l'invention mythologique et cosmographique dans l'Odyssée", Alain Ballabriga rejects the point of view prevailing in the 1960'ies and the following years that Odysseus' wanderings be purely imaginary and have no link with realities of the ancient Mediterranean. He tries to show with historians whose research field is archaic Greek colonization, such as Irad Malkin, that obvious geographical aberrations found in the Odyssey are understandable if is assumed that the East and the West are not only two opposed directions, but converge like confines of a world known empirically. And to represent this world known by archaic Greeks (7-6th century B.C.), Ballabriga draws its mental map (map XX3). It appears that navigation from Greece to the East or to the West, and reversely, follows routes previously known. On the contrary, navigation north of a line connecting the summer West to the summer East and navigation south of a line connecting the winter West to the winter East exclusively concern figures of mythological countries: the sun, the moon and the stars, Herakles, Jason and the Argonauts, the Hyperboreans and the Aethiopians, the Ocean. The further one gets away from the central zone of the Greek world and its colonies, the less sure is the empirical knowledge that archaic Greek have of sea routes. Therefore, information on these routes refers more to legend or mythology than to technique and practice.  next
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