The Roundabout Homecoming

William G. Thalmann

in Apollonius of Rhodes and the Spaces of Hellenism

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780199731572
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199896752 | DOI:

Series: Classical Culture and Society

The Roundabout Homecoming

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This chapter considers the Argonauts’ circuitous route home, especially their voyages in the Adriatic and the western Mediterranean. In the Greek imagination, the Adriatic was a liminal space between Greece and the unknown. There were Greek colonies in the southern part of the sea, and the poem refers to the Corinthian colonization of Corcyra (Phaiakia). To the north, the eastern shore was controlled by the Illyrians and others. The poem portrays the Adriatic as a contact zone where people move around. The only signs the Argonauts leave of their presence have to do with the murder of Medea’s brother Apsyrtos, and the Adriatic resists incorporation into a Greek spatial system. Their exchange with the Hylleans of a tripod for information about their route provides an alternative model of relations between Greeks and others to colonial domination. The western Mediterranean, where the Argonauts pass places that will be the scene of Odysseus’s wanderings in the next generation without affecting them, similarly remains outside a Greek-centered space. In both regions, then, the poem’s construction of space meets further limits.

Keywords: Adriatic Sea; Corcyra; Illyrians; Sirens; Phaiakians; Phaeacians; Odyssey

Chapter.  11592 words. 

Subjects: Classical History

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