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Herbert Jennings Rose and Jenny March

Nausicaa, in Homer'sOdyssey the young daughter of *Alcinous (1), king of the Phaeacians (see scheria), and Arete. In book 6, moved by *Athena in a dream, she goes to the river-mouth to do the family washing, and is playing ball with her maids when the shipwrecked *Odysseus comes out of hiding and begs her help. He is almost naked, and the maids run away in fear; but Nausicaa, given courage by Athena, stands her ground and promises him her help. She gives him food, drink, and clothing, shows him the way to the city, and advises him on how to behave to her parents. She admits to herself that she would like to marry him, and Alcinous is ready to agree to this (7.311 ff.), but Odysseus is eager to return home to *Penelope. He bids farewell to Nausicaa, assuring her that he owes her his life and will remember her always (8.457–468). According to a later story, she married *Telemachus (Hellanicus, FGrH 4 F 156).



Jenny March

Lotus-eaters (Λωτοφάγοι), a mythical people (the ancients liked to locate them in North Africa) living on the lotus plant (lōtos), which induces forgetfulness and makes its eaters lose all desire to return home (Od. 9.82–104). Those of *Odysseus' men who ate the lotus had to be dragged back to their ships by force.


Alcinous (1)  

Herbert Jennings Rose

Alcinous (1) (Ἀλκίνοος), in mythology, son of Nausithous (Od. 7.63), husband of Arete, his niece (7. 66), king of the Phaeacians in Scheria (6. 12, etc.), father of *Nausicaa. He received *Odysseus hospitably and sent him to Ithaca on one of the magic ships of his people (13.70 ff.), though he had had warning of the danger of such services to all and sundry (13.172 ff.). In the Argonautic legend (see especially Ap. Rhod. 4.993 ff.) the *Argonauts visit Scheria (here called Drepane) on their return from Colchis; the Colchians pursue them there and demand *Medea. Alcinous decides that if she is virgin she must return, but if not, her husband *Jason (1) shall keep her. Warned by Arete, she and Jason consummate their marriage. For a *temenos of Alcinous on *Corcyra see Thuc. 3.70.4 with Hornblower, Comm. on Thuc.


Quintus Smyrnaeus, Greek epic poet, 2nd/3rd century CE  

Silvio Bär

Quintus Smyrnaeus was a poet of the late 2nd or 3rd century ce, the author of the epic poem the Posthomerica (14 books, 8,786 lines), which covers the narrative lacuna between Homer’s Iliad and the Odyssey and thus treats stories that were originally covered by the Epic Cycle. The narrative technique is more episodic and linear than that of the Homeric epics, but it does not lack plot coherence and an overarching design. The language and style is strongly Homericising: vocabulary, syntax, and the use of formulaic phrases resemble that of the Homeric epics to a large degree. At the same time, Quintus’s language is also characterised by Alexandrian traits. In a wider cultural context, Quintus belongs to the same period as the Second Sophistic, and the Posthomerica can be understood as a response to revisionist tendencies against Homer. Scholars debate the question as to whether Quintus still had access to the Epic Cycle and whether he was influenced by Roman authors, especially by Vergil’s Aeneid.



Duane W. Roller

Exploration in antiquity was largely the result of commercial or military endeavours, rather than any pure quest for knowledge or scholarship. Nevertheless, from the first efforts of Greeks to move beyond the Greek heartland into the Black Sea and western Mediterranean, which began as early as the end of the Bronze Age, Greeks and Romans steadily explored around and beyond their world. By the late Roman period, almost all of the Eastern Hemisphere was known, with the exception of interior southern Africa and the far northeastern portions of Asia, and it was suggested that there might be other continents across the ocean. Despite an emphasis on trade and commercial contacts, there was also an increase in scientific and other scholarly knowledge. The beginnings of Greek exploration are apparent in the Odyssey of Homer and may go back to the latter part of the Bronze Age. By the latter 7th century bce, Greeks were moving outside of the Mediterranean to the Phoenician (later Carthaginian) trading cities such as Gadeira on the Atlantic. With the rise of the Persians, they began to learn about what lay to their east, and Alexander the Great created awareness of a world stretching as far as India. At the same time, Pytheas of Massalia explored the northern Atlantic as far as Iceland. The discipline of geography was invented by Eratosthenes of Cyrene in the latter 3rd century bce, and in the following century the explorer Polybius reached the Equator. Roman military operations in the north of Europe and the British Isles and trade journeys into central Africa meant those regions were brought into the sphere of knowledge of the Mediterranean world. Realization that the inhabited world, however vast, was only a small part of the total surface of the Earth led to theorization about other lands across the ocean, but there is no solid evidence that anyone from the ancient Mediterranean reached them and was able to report on them. By the latter 1st century bce traders became aware of Southeast Asia and China, and there were occasional contacts during the Roman period, but by the 2nd century ce the era of ancient exploration was at an end, and there was little further expansion of geographical knowledge until the Islamic period.