A)Homer (c. 8th cent. BC) is generally accepted as the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, regarded as the two greatest epic poems of ancient Greece. A recent study of the Greek used by Homer has enabled scientists from the University of Reading to confirm that the language used is compatible with that used in the 8th century BC, in fact dating it to around 762 BC(i).
Almost nothing is known of his life. He has been variously described as mad, blind and even mythical. Andrew Dalby, the English linguist, has gone so far as to claim that the author of the two famed epics was in fact a woman! While in 1897, Samuel Butler the novelist, was even more specific when he proposed that Homer was a Sicilian woman(j).
For centuries it was assumed that the content of these Homeric poems was the product of his imagination, just as the historical reality of Homer himself has been questioned. In 1795, F.A. Wolf, a German academic declared that ‘Homer’ was in fact a collective name applied to various poets whose works were finally combined into their present form in the 6th century BC. Wolf’s ideas sparked furious argument among Greek scholars that still resonates today.
The identification of the site at Hissarlik in modern Turkey as Troy by Heinrich Schliemann led to a complete re-appraisal of Homer’s work and, of course, further controversy. Homer’s Iliad is the story of the Trojan War and it has been suggested that in fact he had compressed three or more Trojan wars into one narrative.
Kenneth Wood and his wife Florence have built on the research of his mother-in-law, the late Edna Leigh, and produced, Homer’s Secret Iliad, a book that attempts to prove that the Illiad was written as an aide memoire for a wide range of astronomical data.
Scholars have generally supported the idea that Homer’s works have a Mediterranean backdrop with regular attempts to reconcile his geography with modern locations, such as the claim in 2005 of Robert Brittlestone, a British investigator to have located the site of Ithaca, the homeland of Odysseus, on the Greek island of Cephalonia.
Nevertheless, there has been a growing body of opinion that insists that this Mediterranean identification is impossible. A range of alternative regions has been proposed(f) as the setting for the epics, which extend from Portugal as far northward as the Baltic.
In his Odyssey (VII: 80), Homer wrote about the island of Scheria in the western sea. His description of the island has been compared with Plato’s description of Atlantis and has led to the theory that they refer to the same place. There is little doubt that both the detailed geography and climatic descriptions given by Homer cannot be reconciled with that of the Mediterranean. Consequently, the Odyssey has had many interpretations, ranging from Tim Severin’s conclusion that it refers entirely to the Eastern Mediterranean to Iman Wilkens’ book, Where Troy Once Stood , that has the voyage include the west coast of Africa, then across to the West Indies and following the Gulf Stream returns to Troy which he locates in Britain. Location is not a problem exclusive to the writings of Plato. Wilkins views are a reflection of similar ideas expressed by Théophile Cailleux in the 19th century. Gilbert Pillot has also argued for voyages of Ulysses having taken him into the North Atlantic. In 1973, Ernst Gideon wrote in a similar vein in Troje Lag in Engeland.
E.J. de Meester also argues for the British Isles as the location of many of Homer’s references. It struck me as quite remarkable that the level of debate regarding the date, source and geographical details of Homer’s works is rather similar to the controversy surrounding Plato’s Atlantis in Timaeus and Critias. The late Edo Nyland was another researcher who had also opted for a Scottish backdrop to the Odyssey and has recently published his views.
Felice Vinci also supports a Northern European background to the Iliad and Odyssey. However, in Vinci’s case, Scandinavia, and in particular the Baltic Sea, is identified as the location for the adventures in Homer’s classics. An English language synopsis of his book is available on the Internet. The persuasiveness of Vinci’s argument has recently renewed interest in the idea of a Baltic Atlantis. The assumption being that if Troy could be located in the Baltic, so might Atlantis.
However, a scathing review of Vinci’s book can be found on the Internet(d) and in issue 216 (2006) of Fortean Times written by Marinus Anthony van der Sluijs.
Further support for a Northern European Troy has come from the historian Edward Furlong, a former naval navigation officer, who has advocated for over twenty years that the journey of Odysseus went as far north as Norway. His particular views are outlined on theInternet(c) .
Other writers, such as the late Henrietta Mertz [396/7], have suggested that Homer’s epic refers to a trip to North America. Professor Enrico Mattievich Kucich of Lima University is also certain that the ancient Greeks discovered America America. However revolutionary this idea may seem it shows how this particular subject is growing and would probably justify a reference book of its own.
In 1973 James Bailey proposed in his well-received The God-Kings and the Titans that the Odysseus recorded a trans-Atlantic trip. Evidence exists for large-scale mining as early of the 5th millennium BC. Bailey maintained that the Europeans imported enormous quantities of copper and tin from Central and South America to feed the demands of the Old World Bronze Age, an idea that was later heavily promoted by Frank Joseph.
Finally, the Atlantis connection with this entry is that if, as now appears to be at least a possibility, Homer’s Odyssey was about a journey to the North Sea then the possibility of a North Sea influence on the Atlantis story is somewhat reinforced.
A recent book by Steven Sora has developed the Atlantic notion further with the suggestion that not only was Troy located outside the Strait of Gibraltar but that both Homer’s Trojan war and Plato’s Atlantean war are two versions of the same war with the understandable distortions and embellishments that can occur with a narrative, probably involving some degree of oral transmission and then written down hundreds of years after the events concerned.
Ukraine is soon to be added to the growing list of alternative locations for the setting of Homer’s epics with the publication of, Homer. Immanent Biography, a book by A.I. Zolotukhin(g). He follows the views of Karl Ernst von Baer (1792-1876) who believed that most of Odysseus’s travels took place in the Black Sea rather than the Mediterranean.
An interesting paper(e) by the German historian, Armin Wolf, relates how his research over 40 years produced 80 theories on the geography of the Odyssey, of which around 30 were accompanied by maps. In 2009 he published, Homers Reise: Auf den Spuren des Odysseus a German language book that expands on the subject.
Perhaps the most radical suggestion has come from the Italian writer, Michele Manher, who has proposed(h) that Homer’s Iliadoriginated in India where elements of it can be identified in the Mahabharata!
Published June 1, 2010
Enrico Clemente Mattievich Kucich is of Italian descent and lectures at Lima University, in Peru. Professor Kucich follows the work of Henriette Mertz and is convinced that the ancient Greeks discovered America and that a local Peruvian language, Chuetsua, is based on classical Greek. In his book he locates Troy in America and then equates Atlantis with Troy. In 1986 he wrote a paper(a) that focussed on orichalcum, which he claimed were mined in the Atlas Mountain that was located in the Peruvian Andes. Originally published in Portuguese his book has been translated into Greek as well as English.
B)THE FORGOTTEN GEOGRAPHIC AND PHYSICAL – OCEANOGRAPHIC
KNOWLEDGE OF THE PREHISTORIC GREEKS
Many believe that the Greek Mythology is a figment of the vivid imagination of the ancient Greeks.
Consequently, the Greek Myths are all fantastic stories. In my opinion, this view is erroneous, at least on the subject concerning the geographic and physical-oceanographic characteristics of the Atlantic Ocean, as these were described mainly by Homer, Hesiod, the Orphics and Plutarch.
In the present paper (i) some of the references made by the above mentioned authors are selectively reported, and (ii) the physical and geological validation is given, based on the present-day scientific views and knowledge.
Namely, the prehistoric Greeks knew about the Hyperboreans, the island of Ierne (Ireland), the British isle etc., by the Orphics.
From the writings of Plutarch, they knew (i) the relative position of the present-day Iceland (Ogygia) and its distance from Britain, (ii) that to the west of Iceland, three other islands are located, where the sun sets for only an hour a day, (iii) that further to the west there is a “great continent”, which surrounds the Ocean and more.
Homer and Hesiod wrote that (i) the Ocean is a “river” that flows continuously, (ii) that this river encircles the Earth and (iii) that its flow is turbulent not only on the surface, but in depth as well.
Unfortunately, all this knowledge was gradually forgotten by all. This is the reason why Odyssey is considered just an entertaining poem and Ulysses’ nostos a fantastic story, with no trace of historic reality.
Key words: Greek Mythology, Cronus, Ogygia, Atlantic Ocean, Oceanus, Gulf Stream, Heracles.
Many believe that the Greek Mythology is a figment of the vivid imagination of the ancient Greeks.
Consequently, until the end of the 19th century, all the experts – scientists and especially the archaeologists and the historians, believed that every writing of the ancient authors, such as Hesiod, Plato,Strabo, Diodorus Sicilus and mainly Homer, connected to mythology, lacked even a seed of truth.
Consequently, the Greek Myths were all fantastic stories. It was only after the excavations of Schliemann,that it was proven that all of Homer’s writings concerning Troy were true, and not only that,but that in Greece, cities like the Mycenae existed and they were the opponents of the Trojans, etc.
Nevertheless, even nowadays, many believe that all included in these writings do not correspond to the truth. Our own research, concerning the accuracy of many physical and geological descriptions, given by various ancient authors, and especially by Homer, Hesiod, the Orphics, Diodorus Sicilus, Plutarch and others, has shown that the prehistoric Greeks knew many on the physical-oceanographic characteristics of mainly the Atlantic Ocean. Of course, all the above, for unknown reasons, are not described in a way that are easily understood by everyone, but as a myth, part of the Greek Mythology.
In this paper, the object of the geomythological analysis is the Atlantic Ocean and its relation to the great Titans of Greek Mythology, mainly Oceanus, Atlas, and Cronus.
All these refer to a very old era and in any case, at least to the beginning of the 3nd millennium B.C.,until the end of the 2nd one, that is until the end of the Mycenaean period.
2. Mythological period
The long history of the human being, of Homo sapiens, is divided into two long periods: the historic period, that starts with the invention of writing, and the prehistoric one. The prehistoric period should be further divided into two sub-periods, specifically during the period when Homo sapiens is in the hunting and gathering stage (a food gatherer) and a later one, when Homo sapiens is a food producer,i.e. after the initiation of agriculture and mainly after the cultivation of wheat.
The Mythological period is the prehistoric period that refers to the acts of Gods, deities and heroes,which have not been written down but have remained in the memory of different people, either through tradition, or as it has later been recorded by various authors, but definitely in a very ancient period. These texts constitute the different Mythologies. Such characteristic texts are the Gilgamesh epic, which refers to the people of the Prehistoric Mesopotamia and Hesiod’s “Theogony” that represents the Mythology of the Ancient Greeks.
But when we are speaking about Mythology, which is the mythological period or mythological era?
The mythology is always connected to the human. But to which human, to Homo sapiens and/or to Homo neanderthalensis?
We are going to deal mainly with the era of Homo sapiens – not the Homo neanderthalensis (older).
It is undeniable that the borders between myth and reality are vague. Generally speaking, we can say that some of the mythological heroes are historic persons, some others ARE NOT. But, all, or rather NEARLY ALL of them represent something.
I believe that it is a MISTAKE to consider the Greek Mythology as a beautiful fairytale. The Greek Mythology is actually the most ancient history of the peoples who have lived at the land which was later named Hellas (Greece). This land is the Aegean and the peri-Aegean area. The Greek Mythology constitutes the Pre-history of the first Hellenes.
2.2 What is Geomythology?
Geo-mythology is a branch of the Geosciences, dealing with the physical-geological conditions during mythological era and, through this to find the interrelation between Geology and Mythology. My experience, as a geologist who has spent his life studying the Geology of Greece, has shown that a great part of the Greek Mythology is indirectly influenced by the physical – geological processes of the Aegean and Peri-Aegean areas.
The presentation is based on writings of ancient authors AND ONLY ON THESE and mainly on the Ilias and Odyssey of Homer, on the “Theogony” and “Works and Days” of Hesiod, on the Argonautica of Orphics, on Plutarch’s (50 – 120 A.D.) Moralia and other well known writers.
The texts of all the above-mentioned authors have been translated, analyzed, commented on, and evaluated mainly by scholars, linguists, poets, historians, archaeologists, art historians, theologists,politicians, both Greeks and foreigners – in other words representatives of humanistic sciences. The result of their efforts? All or almost all of what is about to be mentioned is fantasy = myth.
(TO BE CONTINUED)
1 National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Faculty of Geology and Geoenvironment,
Department of Dynamic, Tectonic & Applied Geology, Panepistimioupoli, Zografou,
157 84, Athens, Greece, firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE Bulletin of the Geological Society of Greece, 2010,Proceedings of the 12th International Congress Patras, May, 2010