Myths on the Map: The Storied Landscapes of Ancient Greece

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Greta Hawes
Oxford University Press, 2017 - Conference papers and proceedings - 332 pages
Polybius boldly declared that 'now that all places have become accessible by land or sea, it is no longer appropriate to use poets and writers of myth as witnesses of the unknown' (4.40.2). And yet, in reality, the significance of myth did not diminish as the borders of the known world expanded. Storytelling was always an inextricable part of how the ancient Greeks understood their environment; mythic maps existed alongside new, more concrete, methods of charting the contours of the earth. Specific landscape features acted as repositories of myth and spurred their retelling; myths, in turn, shaped and gave sense to natural and built environments, and were crucial to the conceptual resonances of places both unknown and known.

This volume brings together contributions from leading scholars of Greek myth, literature, history, and archaeology to examine the myriad intricate ways in which ancient Greek myth interacted with the physical and conceptual landscapes of antiquity. The diverse range of approaches and topics highlights in particular the plurality and pervasiveness of such interactions. The collection as a whole sheds new light on the central importance of storytelling in Greek conceptions of space.


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Of Myths and Maps
Walking through History Unlocking the Mythical Past
CitiesBeforeCities Prefoundational ́ Myth and the Construction of Greek Civic Space
Landscapes of the Cyclopes
Mapping the Hellespont with Leander and Hero The Swimming Lover and the Nightly Bride ́
Centaurs and Lapiths in the Landscape of Thessaly
Meddling with Myth in Thebes A New Vase from the Ismenion Hill Thebes Museum 49276
Callimachus and the Poetics of the Diaspora
Fountains as Reservoirs of Myth and Memory
Scandalous Maps in Aeschylean Tragedy
Imaginary Islands in the Hellenistic Era Utopia on the Geographical Map
Imaginary Itineraries in the Beyond
Islands of Knowledge Space and Names in Imperial Mythography
Serpents in the Soul The Libyan Myth ́ of Dio Chrysostom
Index Locorum

Pausanias ́ Arcadia between Conservatism and Innovation
Rivers Run Through It Environmental History in Two Heroic Riverine Battles

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About the author (2017)

Greta Hawes, Lecturer in Classics and Ancient History, Australian National University

Greta Hawes is a lecturer in Classics and Ancient History at the Australian National University. She specializes in the study of Greek myth, particularly the examination of ancient contexts for storytelling, the Greeks' assessment of mythic phenomena in their own culture, and the modes of interpretation to which these gave rise. Her first book, Rationalizing Myth in Antiquity (OUP, 2014), charts ancient dissatisfaction with the excesses of myth and various attempts to cut them down to size; it argues that this rationalizing tradition offers important insights into the practical difficulties inherent in distinguishing myth from history in antiquity and into the fragmented nature of myth itself as an emic concept. Her current research explores the spatial dynamics of ancient storytelling and the various intricate relationships between myths and land. She is currently working on a project exploring the place of myth in an ancient travel guide, the Periegesis of Pausanias (2nd century AD).

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