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date: 04 October 2022



  • Nicholas Purcell


The Homeric poems (see homer) display a quite complex sense of place, and of the ordering of the world, in which there is already a notable sense of theory. The Iliad's Catalogue of Ships systematically evoked the Greek homeland, and its names remained recognizable for the most part (though in some cases perhaps by learned re-creation); the wider world was much less precisely docketed (making later authorities such as *Eratosthenes believe—the theory of exōkeanismos—that Homer had deliberately relegated *Odysseus' wanderings to a vague outer darkness), and there was therefore much less onomastic continuity. The listing of such places begins more recognizably in *Hesiod, and some quite elaborate conception of the layout of the *Mediterranean was clearly associated with the complex movements of people and materials in the Archaic periods, and indeed already present in the Phoenician, Euboean, and Corinthian ambits of the 8th cent. bce; the choice of name for the later *apoikiai reflects a geographical sophistication in which the toponyms of the homeland are replicable in an alien world, a habit of thought which remained common in Macedonian and Roman practice (see colonization, greek).


  • Ancient Geography

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