Asia, the <i>Oikoumenē</i>, and the Map of the World

Mark Munn

in The Mother of the Gods, Athens, and the Tyranny of Asia

Published by University of California Press

Published in print November 2006 | ISBN: 9780520243491
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520931589 | DOI:
Asia, the Oikoumenē, and the Map of the World

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This chapter considers how the metaphysics of Asiatic kingship, or the ideology of tyranny, related to concepts of the physical world. The earliest Ionian maps of the world, attributed to the Milesians Anaximander and Hecataeus, described physical relationships between continents and seas at a time when the centers of sovereign power in Asia and in the Greek world were in flux. Geography, at this early date, was never far from cosmology, and both were related to ideologies of power. This investigation of the conceptual underpinnings of Ionian geography elucidates a number of symbolic events that accompanied the contest for world sovereignty between Lydia and Persia and between Persia and the Greeks, and that accompanied the attempt by Polycrates of Samos to establish sovereignty over the seas.

Keywords: Persian empire; Greece; classical era; maps; Ionia; geography

Chapter.  22866 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religion in the Ancient World

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