Sunday, August 13, 2017

A Short Digital Maps Project Exploring Homer's Iliad

Full many a host in line of battle rang'd My eyes have seen; but such a force as this, So mighty and so vast, I ne'er beheld: In number as the leaves, or as the sand, Against the city o'er the plain they come. Then, Hector, for to thee I chiefly speak, This do; thou know'st how various our allies, Of diff'rent nations and discordant tongues: Let each then those command o'er whom he reigns, And his own countrymen in arms array." She said; and Hector knew the voice divine, And all, dissolv'd the council, flew to arms, The gates were open'd wide; forth pour'd the crowd, Both foot and horse; and loud the tumult rose.

Before the city stands a lofty mound, In the mid plain, by open space enclos'd; Men call it Batiaea; but the Gods The tomb of swift Myrinna; muster'd there The Trojans and Allies their troops array'd. 

The mighty Hector of the glancing helm, The son of Priam, led the Trojan host: The largest and the bravest band were they, Bold spearmen all, who follow'd him in arms. Anchises' valiant son, AEneas, led The Dardans; him, 'mid Ida's jutting peaks, Immortal Venus to Anchises bore, A Goddess yielding to a mortal's love: With him, well skill'd in war, Archilochus And Acamas, Antenor's gallant sons.

Homer. The Iliad (Kindle Locations 548-556). Public Domain Books. Kindle Edition.

     After reading the passage above, observe the geographical features of the ancient city of Troy itself from Google Earth.  (Today referred to as Troia, Turkey.)  The second photo is from April 2016, and I have included it because of the illumination it provides of the potential fertility of the area.  With regards to the passage, pay particularly close attention to the second paragraph.  If you look carefully at the images, you can clearly see the rise or mound upon which the city rested, more secure in this vantage point from approaching enemies.  The third image provided is a more distant view of the area from above to convey greater context.

     The following image conveys a sense of the great journey Odysseus took by ship to reach Troy from Ithaca—and, of course, the much longer journey home. 

     The image directly above, courtesy, displays the hometowns of the cast of characters from the Iliad.  It has been pointed out by others, however, that most of the women—including Helen—have not been included.  

     While it may never be known whether, or not, Odysseus was based upon a real man, myths have a way of solidifying around that kernel of truth.  Since Troy has been demonstrated as having existed, perhaps there is more truth than fantasy to Homer’s epic works.  If so, these journeys represent an astonishing accomplishment for the period.

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