Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

Bears, Gates, and Solstices

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

Myth and Meteorology in Homer and Apollonius

image of Mnemosyne

After a short discussion of selected approaches to myth it is maintained that, rather than representing allegories or encoded scientific truths, myths can best be understood as incorporating narrative models accounting for specific phenomena in objective reality. In consequence, the existence of a class of myths that include considerations of astronomical/meteorological phenomena is recognised. The paper analyses two such mythic narratives, Homer’s Laestrygonian episode from the Odyssey and Apollonius’ Cyzicus episode from the Argonautica, and interprets them in terms of mythic astronomy or cosmology. A mythic island in the north, associated with the solstices and either the always visible or fixed arctic circle, is recognised as the cosmological location of both narratives. This is also interpreted as the myth’s secondary reference to a phenomenon of common reality and collective importance verbalized by the application of a traditional tale. Finally, both narratives are associated with a pre-Homeric Argonautic tradition.

Affiliations: 1: Archaeological Museum in ZagrebCroatia


Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

1. Allen A. The Fragments of Mimnermus. Text and Commentary 1993 Stuttgart
2. Allen W.E.D."Ex Ponto V. Heniochi-Aea-Hayasa" Bedi Karthlisa 1960 34 35 79 92
3. André L.-N."L’escale à Cyzique (Apollonios de Rhodes, Les Argonautiques, I, 922-1152): espaces phobiques, stéréotypes paysagers et transfiguration" Rursus 2010Vol 5 DOI: 10.4000/rursus.422
4. Asmis E."Crates on Poetic Criticism" Phoenix 1991Vol 46 138 169 [Crossref]
5. Bacon J.R. The Voyage of the Argonauts 1925 London
6. Ballabriga A. Les fictions d’Homère: l’invention mythologique et cosmographique dans l’Odyssée 1998 Paris
7. Barnes J. The Presocratic Philosophers 1982 London/New York 2
8. Barthes R. Mythologies 1972 New York
9. Beck R."Interpreting the Ponza Zodiac, II" Journal of Mithraic Studies 1977-1978Vol 2 2 87 147
10. Berger H. Geschichte der wissenschaftlichen Erdkunde der Griechen 1903 Leipzig
11. Bilić T."Crates of Mallos and Pytheas of Massalia. Examples of Homeric Exegesis in Terms of Mathematical Geography" TAPhA 2012Vol 142 2 295 328
12. Bouvrie S. des Bouvrie S. des"The Definition of Myth. Symbolic Phenomena in Ancient Greek Culture" Myth and Symbol I. Symbolic Phenomena in Ancient Greek Culture 2002 Bergen 11 69
13. Boys-Stones G.R. Post-Hellenistic Philosophy. A Study of its Development from the Stoics to Origen 2001 Oxford
14. Boys-Stones G.R. Boys-Stones G.R."The Stoics’ Two Types of Allegory" Metaphor, Allegory, and the Classical Tradition. Ancient Thought and Modern Revisions 2003 Oxford 189 216 [Crossref]
15. Bremmer J. Interpretations of Greek Mythology 1988 London
16. Bremmer J. Bremmer"What is a Greek Myth?" 1988 1 9
17. Bremmer J. Buxton"Rationalization and Disenchantment in Ancient Greece. Max Weber among the Pythagoreans and Orphics?" 1999 71 83
18. Bremmer J. Dowden, Livingstone"A Brief History of the Study of Greek Mythology" 2011 527 547
19. Brillante C. Edmunds"History and the Historical Interpretation of Myth" 1990 93 138
20. Broggiato M. Cratete di Mallo. I frammenti 2001 La Spezia
21. Burkert W. Lore and Science in Ancient Pythagoreanism 1972 Cambridge
22. Burkert W. Structure and History in Greek Mythology and Ritual 1979 Berkeley/Los Angeles
23. Burkert W. Greek Religion 1985 Cambridge
24. Burkert W. Bremmer"Oriental and Greek Mythology. The Meeting of Parallels" 1988 10 40
25. Burnet J. Early Greek Philosophy 1920 London 3
26. Buxton R. From Myth to Reason? Studies in the Development of Greek Thought 1999 Oxford
27. Calame C. Buxton"The Rhetoric of Muthos and Logos. Forms of Figurative Discourse" 1999 119 143
28. Clarke S. The Foundations of Structuralism. A Critique of Lévi-Strauss and the Structuralist Movement 1981 Brighton/Totowa
29. Clauss J.J. The Best of the Argonauts. The Redefinition of the Epic Hero in Book One of Apollonius’ Argonautica 1993 Berkeley/Los Angeles/Oxford
30. Cohen P.S."Theories of Myth" Man n.s. 1969Vol 4 3 337 353
31. Consolo Langher S.N. Lanzillotta E., Schilardi D."Naxos nell’Egeo arcaico e nella colonizzazione ‘Calcidese’ dell’Occidente" Le Cicladi ed il mondo Egeo 1996 Rome 121 153
32. Cook A.B. Zeus. A Study in Ancient Religion I-III 1914-1940 Cambridge
33. Cornford F.M. From Religion to Philosophy 1912 New York
34. Coxon A.H. The Fragments of Parmenides 2009 Las Vegas 2
35. Csapo E. Theories of Mythology 2005 Malden
36. Dekker E. Illustrating the Phaenomena. Celestial Cartography in Antiquity and the Middle Ages 2013 Oxford
37. Dicks D.R."Solstices, Equinoxes, and the Presocratics" JHS 1966Vol 86 26 40 [Crossref]
38. Dicks D.R. Early Greek Astronomy to Aristotle 1970 Ithaca
39. Donald M. Origins of the Modern Mind. Three Stages in the Evolution of Culture and Cognition 1991 Cambridge/London
40. Dowden K. The Uses of Greek Mythology 1992 London/New York [Crossref]
41. Dowden K. Dowden, Livingstone"Initiation. The Key to Myth" 1970 487 505
42. Dowden K., Livingstone N. A Companion to Greek Mythology 2011 Oxford/Malden [Crossref]
43. Dundes A. Sacred Narrative. Readings in the Theory of Myth 1984 Berkeley/Los Angeles/London
44. Dundes A. Dundes"Earth-Diver: Creation of the Mythopoeic Male" 1984 270 294
45. Edmonds R.G. Myths of the Underworld Journey 2004 Cambridge [Crossref]
46. Edmunds L. Approaches to Greek Myth 1990 Baltimore/London
47. Edmunds L. Edmunds"Introduction. The Practice of Greek Mythology" 1980 1 20
48. Engel-Braunschmidt A., Fouquet G., Hinden W. von, Schmidt I. Ultima Thule: Bilder des Nordens von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart 2001 Frankfurt am Main
49. Fitch E."Apollonius Rhodius and Cyzicus" AJPh 1912Vol 33 1 43 56
50. Fontenrose J.E. Python. A Study of Delphic Myth and its Origins 1974 New York
51. Frame D. The Myth of Return in Early Greek Epic 1978 New Heaven/London
52. Frazer J.G. Apollodorus. The Library I 1921 London/New York
53. Fritz K. von"ΝΟΟΣ and ΝΟΕΙΝ in the Homeric Poems" CPh 1943Vol 38 2 79 93
54. George A.R. The Babylonian Gilgamesh Epic 2003 Oxford
55. Giere R.N. Science without Laws 1999 Chicago
56. Gisinger F."Geographie" RE 1924 Suppl. 4 521.43 685.6
57. Gow A.S.F."Nicandrea. With Reference to Liddell and Scott, ed. 9" CQ 1951Vol 1 3-4 95 118 n.s. [Crossref]
58. Gow A.S.F. Theocritus 1952 Cambridge
59. Gow A.S.F., Scholfield A.F. Nicander of Colophon: Poems and Poetical Fragments 1953 Cambridge
60. Graf F. Greek Mythology 1993 Baltimore/London
61. Green P. The Argonautika of Apollonios Rhodios 2007 Berkeley/Los Angeles/London
62. Gundel W."Helike 3" RE 1912Vol 7 14 2858.39 2862.32
63. Halverson J."Havelock on Greek Orality and Literacy" JHI 1992Vol 53 1 148 163 [Crossref]
64. Harrison J.E. Myths of the Odyssey in Art and Literature 1882 London
65. Harrison J.E. Themis 1912 Cambridge
66. Hasluck F.W. Cyzicus 1910 Cambridge
67. Hendy A. von The Modern Construction of Myth 2001 Bloomington
68. Hesse M.B."The Cognitive Claims of Metaphor" Journal of Speculative Philosophy 1988Vol 2 1 1 16
69. Heubeck A. Heubeck A., Hoekstra A."Books IX-XII" A Commentary on Homer’s Odyssey 1990Vol Vol. 2 Oxford 1 143 Books IX-XVI
70. Hirschfeld G."Ἄρκτων ὄρος" RE 1895Vol 2 3 1172.49 1172.54
71. Holzinger C. von Lykophron’s Alexandra, griechisch und deutsch, mit erklärenden Anmerkungen 1895 Leipzig
72. Honko L. Dundes"The Problem of Defining Myth" 1984 (orig. 1972) 41 52
73. Huld M.E. Jones-Bley K., Huld M.E., Della Volpe A., Robbins Dexter M."PIE ‘bear’ Ursus arctos, Ursa Major, and Ursa Minor" Proceedings of the Tenth Annual UCLA Indo-European Conference 1999 Washington 117 130
74. Hunter R. The Argonautica of Apollonius. Literary Studies 1993 Cambridge [Crossref]
75. Iles Johnston S. Walde, Dill"A New Web for Arachne" 2009 1 22
76. Jessen O."Argonautai" RE 1895Vol 2 3 743.47 787.25
77. Kahn C.H. Anaximander and the Origins of Greek Cosmology 1960 New York
78. Kahn C.H."On Early Greek Astronomy" JHS 1970Vol 90 99 116 [Crossref]
79. Kahn C.H. The Art and Thought of Heraclitus 1979 Cambridge [Crossref]
80. Käppel L. Engel-Braunschmidt , et al"Bilder des Nordens im frühen antiken Griechenland" 2001 11 27
81. Kiessling W."Ῥίπαια ὄρη" RE 1914Vol 12 1 846 916
82. Kluckhohn C."Myths and Rituals: A General Theory" HThR 1942Vol 35 1 45 79
83. Knight V. The Renewal of Epic. Responses to Homer in the Argonautica of Apollonius 1995 Leiden
84. Kirk G.S. Heraclitus: The Cosmic Fragments 1962 Cambridge
85. Kirk G.S. Myth: Its Meaning and Functions in Ancient and Other Cultures 1970 Berkeley/Los Angeles/Cambridge
86. Kirk G.S."Greek Mythology. Some New Perspectives" JHS 1972aVol 92 74 85 [Crossref]
87. Kirk G.S."Aetiology, Ritual, Charter. Three Equivocal Terms in the Study of Myths" YClS 1972bVol 22 83 102
88. Kirk G.S. Dundes"On Defining Myths" 1984 (orig. 1973) 53 61
89. Kirk G.S. The Nature of Greek Myths 1974 London-New York
90. Kirk G.S., Raven J.E., Schofield M. The Presocratic Philosophers 1983 Cambridge 2
91. Krappe A.H."Ἀπόλλων Ὄνος" CPh 1947Vol 42 4 223 234
92. Lamberton R., Keaney J.J. Homer’s Ancient Readers. The Hermeneutics of Greek Epic’s Earliest Exegetes 1992 Princeton
93. Leach E. Claude Lévi-Strauss 1970 New York
94. Leach E. Steblin-Kamenskij M.I."Critical Introduction" Myth 1982 Ann Arbor 1 20
95. Levin D.N."Apollonius’ Argonautica Re-examined" The Neglected First and Second Books 1971Vol Vol. I Leiden
96. Lévi-Strauss C."The Structural Study of Myth" Journal of American Folklore 1955Vol 68 270 428 444 [Crossref]
97. Lévi-Strauss C. Structural Anthropology 1963 New York
98. Lightfoot J.L. Parthenius of Nicaea: The Poetical Fragments and the Erotica Pathemata 1999 Oxford
99. Lindsay J. The Clashing Rocks. A Study of Early Greek Religion and Culture and the Origins of Drama 1965 London
100. Lloyd G.E.R. Polarity and Analogy. Two Types of Argumentation in Early Greek Thought 1966 Cambridge
101. Lloyd G.E.R. The Revolutions of Wisdom. Studies in the Claims and Practices of Ancient Greek Science 1989 Berkeley/Los Angeles/Oxford
102. Long A.A. Lamberton, Keaney"Stoic Readings of Homer" 1992 41 66
103. Louden B. Homer’s Odyssey and the Near East 2011 Cambridge [Crossref]
104. Macurdy G.H."The Hyperboreans Again, Abaris, and Helixoia" CR 1920Vol 34 7-8 137 141
105. Mair A.W., Mair G.R. Callimachus: Hymns and Epigrams. Lycophron. Aratus 1955 London/New York
106. Mali J."The Rehabilitation of Myth: Vico’s" New Science 1992 Cambridge
107. Mansfeld J. Calder W.M., Goldsmith U.K., Kenevan P.B."Myth, Science, Philosophy: A Question of Origins" Hypatia 1985 Boulder 1 21 45-65 = 1990. Studies in the Historiography of Greek Philosophy (Assert)
108. Marcovich M. Heraclitus: Greek Text with a Short Commentary 2001 Sankt Augustin 2
109. Marinatos N."The Cosmic Journey of Odysseus" Numen 2001Vol 48 381 416 [Crossref]
110. Marshack A. The Roots of Civilization 1972 New York, etc.
111. Meletinsky E.M. The Poetics of Myth 2000 London
112. Merry W.W., Riddell J., Monro D.B. Homer’s Odyssey I-II 1886-1901 Oxford
113. Meuli K. Odyssee und Argonautika, Untersuchungen zur griechischen Sagengeschichte und zum Epos 1921 Berlin
114. Meuli K."Laistrygonen" RE 1931 Supp. 5 537.5 540.48
115. Molina Moreno F. Engel-Braunschmidt , et al"Bilder des heiligen Nordens in Antike, Patristik und Mittelalter" 2001 47 65
116. Müller K.O. Prolegomena zu einer wissenschaftlichen Mythologie 1825 Göttingen
117. Nakassis D."Gemination at the Horizons. East and West in the Mythical Geography of Archaic Greek Epic" TAPhA 2004Vol 134 215 233
118. Nesselrath H.G."Where the Lord of the Sea Grants Passage to Sailors through the Deep-blue Mere no More. The Greeks and the Western Seas" G&R 2005Vol 52 153 171
119. Noegel S."Apollonius’ Argonautika and Egyptian Solar Mythology" CW 2004Vol 97 2 123 136
120. Packard L.R."On a Passage in Homer’s Odyssey (X. 81-86)" TAPhA 1874Vol 5 31 41
121. Page D. Folktales in Homer’s Odyssey 1973 Cambridge [Crossref]
122. Patton L.L., Doniger W. Patton L.L., Doniger W."Introduction" Myth and Method 1996 Charlottesville/London 1 26
123. Pease A.S."The Son of Neptune" HSPh 1943Vol 54 69 82
124. Porter J.I. Lamberton, Keaney"Hermeneutic Lines and Circles. Aristarchus and Crates on the Exegesis of Homer" 1992 67 114
125. Pulbrook M."The ‘Aetia’ of Callimachus" The Maynooth Review/Revieú Mhá Nuad 1988Vol 13 44 64
126. Quinn K."The Poet and his Audience in the Augustan Age" ANRW 1982Vol 30 1 75 180
127. Robertson N. Lane E."The Ancient Mother of the Gods. A Missing Chapter in the History of Greek Religion" Cybele, Attis and Related Cults. Essays in Memory of M.J. Vermaseren 1996 Leiden 239 304
128. Roby C.A."Seneca’s Scientific Fictions. Models as Fictions in the Natural Questions" JRS 2014Vol 104 155 180
129. Schibli H.S. Pherekydes of Syros 1990 Oxford
130. Segal R.A."The Myth-Ritualist Theory of Religion" Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 1980aVol 19 2 173 185 [Crossref]
131. Segal R.A."In Defense of Mythology. The History of Modern Theories of Myth" Annals of Scholarship 1980bVol 1 1 3 49
132. Segal R.A. Theorizing about Myth 1999 Amherst
133. Segal R.A. Myth. A Very Short Introduction 2004 Oxford/New York [Crossref]
134. Skinner Q."Meaning and Understanding in the History of Ideas" H&T 1969Vol 8 1 3 53
135. Steblin-Kamenskij M.I. Myth 1982 Ann Arbor
136. Stephens S.A. Seeing Double. Intercultural Poetics in Ptolemaic Alexandria 2003 Berkeley/Los Angeles/London
137. Struck P.T. Birth of the Symbol. Ancient Readers at the Limits of their Texts 2004 Princeton
138. Struck P.T. Walde, Dill"The Invention of Mythic Truth in Antiquity" 2009 25 37
139. Strutinsky U. Dumézil G."Introduction" Camillus. A Study of Indo-European Religion as Roman History 1980 Berkeley/Los Angeles/London 1 39
140. Thompson S."Myths and Folktales" Journal of American Folklore 1955Vol 68 270 482 488 [Crossref]
141. Thomson J.O. History of Ancient Geography 1948 Cambridge
142. Vernant J.-P. The Origins of Greek Thought 1982 Ithaca
143. Vernant J.-P. Myth and Thought among the Greeks 1983 London
144. Vernant J.-P. Myth and Society in Ancient Greece 1990 New York
145. Versnel H.S. Bremmer"Greek Myth and Ritual. The Case of Kronos" 1988 121 152
146. Versnel H.S. Edmunds"What’s Sauce for the Goose Is Sauce for the Gander. Myth and Ritual, Old and New" 1990a 25 90
147. Versnel H.S."Inconsistencies in Greek and Roman Religion" Ter Unus. Isis, Dionysos, Hermes. Three Studies in Henotheism 1990bVol I London/New York/København/Köln
148. Versnel H.S."Inconsistencies in Greek and Roman Religion" Transition and Reversal in Myth and Ritual 1994Vol II London/New York/Köln 2
149. Vlastos G. Plato’s Universe: With a New Introduction by Luc Brisson 2005 (orig. 1975) Las Vegas
150. Vos H."Die Bahnen von Nacht und Tag" Mnemosyne 1963Vol 16 18 34 [Crossref]
151. Walde C., Dill U. Antike Mythen: Medien, Transformationen und Konstruktionen 2009 Berlin/New York
152. Walters K.R."Another Showdown at the Cleft Way: An Inquiry into Classicists’ Criticism of Lévi-Strauss’ Myth Analysis" CW 1984Vol 77 337 351
153. West M.L. Early Greek Philosophy and the Orient 1971 Oxford
154. West M.L. The East Face of Helicon: West Asiatic Elements in Early Greek Poetry and Myth 1997 Oxford
155. West M.L."Odyssey and Argonautica" CQ 2005Vol 55 1 39 64 [Crossref]
156. West M.L."Phasis and Aia" MH 2007Vol 64 4 193 198
157. West M.L. The Making of the Odyssey 2014 Oxford [Crossref]
158. Wilamowitz-Moellendorff U. Homerische Untersuchungen 1884 Berlin
159. Wiseman B. Wiseman B."Introduction" The Cambridge Companion to Lévi-Strauss 2009 Cambridge/New York 1 15 [Crossref]
160. Woodbury L."Equinox at Acragas: Pindar, Ol. 2.61-62" TAPhA 1966Vol 97 597 616
161. Wyatt N. The Mythic Mind. Essays on Cosmology and Religion in Ugaritic and Old Testament Literature 2005 London/Oakville

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Mnemosyne — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation