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Mythical History And Actual Geography: Legendary Heroes Wandering Along Real Paths

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Chapter Summary

Descriptions of journeys made by gods and culture-heroes are a common feature in the first five books of Bibliotheke. Various figures travelled all over the world, conquered countries and cities, contributed to the welfare of their inhabitants. This chapter concentrates on the geographical facet of the heroes' tales. An examination of the voyages of six of Diodorus' notable figures, namely Osiris, Sesostris, Semiramis, Myrina, Dionysus and Heracles, shows that Diodorus did not describe imaginary routes, but he drew on real geographical information. The chapter scrutinizes a selection of sites visited by the gods and heroes. The places and paths chosen will prove that Diodorus planned to draw a real map of the inhabited world. It seems that Books I-V were not only a significant part of Diodorus' universal history, as they record events of most ancient times, but also serve as a geographical introduction to the whole work.

Keywords: Bibliotheke; culture-heroes; Diodorus; geographical information; Heracles; history; journeys; Myrina; Osiris; real paths



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