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

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For the Greeks and Romans the earth's farthest 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 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.

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Product details

  • Paperback | 247 pages
  • 138 x 214 x 16mm | 322.05g
  • Princeton University Press
  • New Jersey, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • black & white illustrations
  • 0691037884
  • 9780691037882
  • 787,908

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

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Back cover copy

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

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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

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