New Work Friday Special: Very Old Work

New Work Jul 10, 2009 No Comments

“Homer (not the slouch of Springfield heralding the end of Western civilization, but the blind, semi-mythical poet at the dawn of Greek history) was seen by Strabo and the Stoics as the father of geography. His overarching geographic concept was of the world as a flat, round disk of land, completely encircled by Okeanos, the world sea.

“All this was enclosed by the fixed dome of the Heavens, filled with cloud and mist close to the Earth, but with clear aether closer to the sky’s dome. Sun, Moon and stars rose from the eastern waters of the Ocean, moved along the dome and sank again into the western waters. The whole thing is reminiscent of nothing so much as of one of those snowdomes that are the staple of any self-respecting tourist trap.

“This vision is expounded in the Iliad, in which Homer uses Achilles’ shield, forged by Hephaestos, to metaphorically describe the universe as a circular island, surrounded by water. Human activities, celestial objects and stellar motions are described on the shield, which is actually a map, on the threshold between a purely mythological and an nascent scientific view of the world…”

From Strange Maps

The Art Life

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