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

Front Cover
Princeton University Press, Oct 9, 1994 - History - 247 pages

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.

 

What people are saying - Write a review

The edges of the earth in ancient thought: geography, exploration, and fiction

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

For the ancient Greeks and Romans, geography was as much a form of narrative fiction as a scientific description of terrains or peoples. In an interesting, suggestive, and thoroughly documented study ... Read full review

Contents

The Boundaries of Earth
9
Boundaries and the Boundless
11
Ocean and Cosmic Disorder
20
Roads around the World
26
Herodotus and the Changing World Picture
32
Aristotle and After
41
Ethiopian and Hyperborean
45
The Blameless Ethiopians
49
The Late Romance Tradition
109
Ultima Thule and Beyond
121
Antipodal Ambitions
124
The North Sea Coast
140
The Headwaters of the Nile
149
The Atlantic Horizon
156
Geography and Fiction
172
Ocean and Poetry
176

The Fortunate Hyperboreans
60
Arimaspians and Scythians
67
The Kunokephaloi
77
Wonders of the East
82
Before Alexander
83
MarvelCollectors and Critics
94
The Voyage of Odysseus
183
Pytheas Euhemerus and Others
196
The Fictions of Exploration
202
After Columbus
215
Index
223
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1994)

James S. Romm is Assistant Professor of Classics at Bard College.

Bibliographic information