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How was the empirical nautical knowledge passed down from generation to generation to fishermen of today?
State of knowledge
Research work to be done
A sperm whale merging from the depths of the sea next to the board of the boat ,1999 expedition, Occidental Mediterranean Sea.
It is with reference to the image ancient sailors had of the world, its limits and abysses, monsters and gods that one must interpret these navigations, understand the sea routes they followed, identify the seamarks/landmarks they noted and named. Investigations have been recently intensified to understand how the experience acquired by those navigators had been accumulated by their captains and pilots, transmitted from generation to generation, and even encoded in narratives and songs, before being consigned in writings and maps. A great part of their knowledge represents the empirical knowledge of today's fishermen and elderly sailors. Their experience, as summarized in the ancient editions of the Coast Pilots and Nautical Instructions, is useful to understand the choice of these routes. This throws light on the text of the Odyssey, but, in return, Homer's song assigns to them their furthest origin. Odysseus' navigations offer today's reader of the Odyssey a revisited approach to the Mediterranean world. They enable him to understand the choice of the sea routes across this Mediterranean basin, the logic stopovers, the hazards of crossings. They tell him of the inexhaustible marvels of the sea, its islands and coasts.  next
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