The Edges of the Earth in Ancient Thought: Geography, Exploration and Fiction

The Edges of the Earth in Ancient Thought: Geography, Exploration and Fiction

Paperback

By (author) James S. Romm

USD$31.11
List price $45.09
You save $13.98 31% off

Free delivery worldwide
Available
Dispatched in 4 business days
When will my order arrive?

  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Format: Paperback | 248 pages
  • Dimensions: 138mm x 214mm x 16mm | 322g
  • Publication date: 1 November 1994
  • Publication City/Country: New Jersey
  • ISBN 10: 0691037884
  • ISBN 13: 9780691037882
  • Edition statement: Reprint
  • Illustrations note: black & white illustrations
  • Sales rank: 811,973

Product description

For the Greeks and Romans the earth's furthest perimeter was a realm radically different from what they perceived as central and human. The alien qualities of these "edges of the earth" became the basis of a literary tradition that endured throughout antiquity and into the Renaissance, despite the growing challenges of emerging scientific perspectives. Here James S. Romm surveys this tradition, revealing that the Greeks, and to a somewhat lesser extent the Romans, saw geography not as a branch of physical science but as an important literary genre. The tradition described by Romm emerged in Homer and Hesiod, whose imaginative geography defined the earth by giving it boundaries - the river Ocean, the Pillars of Heracles, and other mythic forms of circumscription. Other Greek authors developed exotic literary landscapes by filling these "limits" with idealized human societies and bizarre or monstrous animal life, while the Romans adapted the concept of perimeters to goals of imperial conquest. As Hellenistic and Roman voyages of exploration failed to confirm the fancied landscapes, the tradition came to be seen as one in which invented narratives had masqueraded as truths. As a result some of late antiquity's most daring innovators seized on geography as a theme for prose fiction, and the explorer's log became an important antecedent of the early modern novel.

Other people who viewed this bought:

Showing items 1 to 10 of 10

Other books in this category

Showing items 1 to 11 of 11
Categories:

Review quote

"An immensely engaging and erudite work, packed full of provocative insights... Romm successfully sorts out for us some of the most complex traditions of ancient geographic literature; and he deserves high marks for doing it in such an intelligent, original, and attractive manner."--T. Corey Brennan, Bryn Mawr Classical Review "Romm's incisive and brilliant analysis of Greco-Roman ideas of earth's geography is grounded in a linguistic interpretation of Greek conceptions of space and boundary... His work captures the imagination as few others have and will provide material for the study of the classical legacy in the shaping of the modern scientific mind for many years to come."--Helen Liebel-Weckowicz, Classical Bulletin

Back cover copy

"This work is unparalleled in its scope and perspective."--Deborah Boedeker, College of the Holy Cross

Table of contents

AcknowledgmentsWorks Frequently CitedIntroduction: Geography as a Literary Tradition31The Boundaries of Earth9Boundaries and the Boundless11Ocean and Cosmic Disorder20Roads around the World26Herodotus and the Changing World Picture32Aristotle and After412Ethiopian and Hyperborean45The Blameless Ethiopians49The Fortunate Hyperboreans60Arimaspians and Scythians67The Kunokephaloi773Wonders of the East82Before Alexander83Marvel-Collectors and Critics94The Late Romance Tradition1094Ultima Thule and Beyond121Antipodal Ambition124The North Sea Coast140The Headwaters of the Nile149The Atlantic Horizon1565Geography and Fiction172Ocean and Poetry176The Voyage of Odysseus183Pytheas, Euhemerus, and Others196The Fiction Election202Epilogue: After Columbus215Index223