Homeric poems, other than being the first literary record of the ancient Greek civilization, represent a rich source of information about the “scientific” knowledge of Greeks during the Archaic period. In the Iliad and in the Odyssey, whose redaction dates back to the VIII century BC, there are mentions of several heavenly bodies: the Sun and the Moon, the planet Venus, some stars, constellations (Boötes, Ursa Major and Orion) and asterisms (Pleiades and Hyades). Hence, the Homeric epos is an important evidence for archaeoastronomical studies dealing with civilizations that arose in the Mediterranean basin, in particular ancient Greece. However, few scholars have addressed so far a systematic review of the Homeric passages that include astronomical references, on the one hand because of little interest in such kind of problems in philological studies, on the other hand since astronomical expertise is required to support the analysis. By virtue of the subject matter of the story itself-the nostos of Odysseus back to Ithaca-the Odyssey contains the majority of the passages concerning the description of celestial bodies and phenomena. This supports indications, obtained independently, that during the pre-Homeric period stars had already been extensively used as a reference for navigation, in order to find and follow the route during the long crossings of the Mediterranean sea. In the present contribution we describe the state of the art of scientific and philological research concerning the passages of the Odyssey where astronomical knowledge of that time is reflected. Some of them have been interpreted as the description of celestial events that really occurred. This has given rise to a lively discussion among the scientific community on the possibility to assign a date to the historical facts that were recounted by Homer, in the first place the Trojan War, based on the astronomical phenomena that were observed in the Mediterranean at the end of the II millennium BC. Finally, we discuss new prospects for archaeoastronomical research on the Homeric epic.
|Titolo:||Astronomy in the odyssey: The status quaestionis|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2017|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||4.1 Contributo in Atti di convegno|
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