Unmarked Space: Odysseus and the Inland Journey

In the Odyssey, a poem that charts the unfamiliar territory of regions that were, in antiquity as today, “as hard to trace as the cobbler of Aeolus’s bag of winds” (Strabo 1.2.15), the possibility of losing one’s way is a recurrent motif. In this
of 20
All materials on our website are shared by users. If you have any questions about copyright issues, please report us to resolve them. We are always happy to assist you.
Related Documents
   ysseus an te Inan Journey  Arethusa 39 (2006) 1–20 © 2006 by The Johns Hopkins University Press UNMRKED SPCE:ODYSSEUS AND THE INLAND JOURNEY ALEX PURVES ÖEti to¤nun, ¶fh, pãmmegã ti e‰nai aÈtÒ, ka‹ ≤mçwofike›n, toÁw m°xri ÑHrakle¤vn sthl«n épÚ Fãsidow, n smirk“ tini mor¤ƒ, Àsper per‹ t°lma mÊrmhkaw µatrãxouw per‹ tØn ãlattan ofikoËntaw, ka‹ êllouwêlloyi polloÁw §n pollo›si toioÊtoiw tÒpoiw ofike›n. is [wor], e sai, is vast, an we inait tis tinypart up to te Piars o Heraces rom Pasis. We ivearound the sea like ants or frogs around a pond, andmany oters, too, ive esewere in many oter paces just like our own. 1 Pato Paeo 09a9– E very cuture, no matter ow compreensive its surveiance systems orhow exact its science, will always contain places in which it is possibleo ecome ost. In te Oyssey, a poem tat carts te unamiiar   territoryof regions that were, in antiquity as today, “as hard to trace as the cobblero eouss ag o wins” Strao ..5, te possiiity o osing onesay is a recurrent motif. In this paper, I examine one isolated example of aost” or unmappae anscape in te poem, in an episoe tat never actu-ally takes place in the dyssey , but is foretold twice: first by Teiresias in the 1 All translations are my own. Citations in Greek are from the Oxford Classical Texts of Plato(vol. 1, ed. Duke et al., 1995) and the Odyssey (vols. 3 and 4, ed. T. W. Allen, 1965–66),and from West’s edition of Hesiod’s Works and Days (Oxford 1978).  ex Purves Underworld (11.121–31) and later by Odysseus to Penelope back on Ithaca3.7–77. Te story is we nown, or it escries Oysseuss oray intoa particularly unusual topography. 2 Leaving Ithaca one last time, Odysseusis instructe to wa inan wit an oar on is souer unti e meets awayarer rom a race o men wo o not now o te sea” .–3,3.9–70. Wen tis stranger mistaes Oysseuss oar or a winnow-ing sove, 3 e is to pant it in te eart, sacri ce to Poseion, an nayreturn home. As Teiresias makes clear, Odysseus will fully complete histraves ony ater aving encountere tis inan space, an ony ten wihe be free to return permanently to Ithaca, there awaiting a “gentle death”.3–35, 3.8–8.What makes this final landscape of the Odyssey so different fromte oter spaces in te poem is its compete an systematic erasure o teborder between land and sea . For Odysseus to become truly lost, he musteave te orienting orer o te sea ein, entering a region were ewill relinquish not only his own sense of direction and reference but alsois ientity in te context o Homeric poetics. s I emonstrate, it is notonly the epic hero but also the dyssey itself that becomes disorientatedwen it oses sigt o te iviing ine etween an an sea. Te upsettingof established topographical notions that ensues from the directive to turnones ac on te sea aso isoges oter orers or categories in te poem,ultimately leading to a shift in genre that takes the reader (like Odysseus)eyon te epic parameters o Homers wor. In sort, te  yssey s rieventure into inan territory oers its auience a gimpse o a anscapetat is so antitetica to Homeric geograpy tat it cas or ounaries toe rerawn an te anguage o epic recast.In the main body of this paper, I explain how the absence of a majortopograpica orer witin te inan space o te  yssey transates intoan absence or disruption of other kinds of borders as well. I begin, though,wit James Romms important stuy on te signi cance o te ege inancient geographical thought. As he observes (1992.9–34), that edge wasoten mare y te ounary o te sea. Not ony were te outermostedges of the earth commonly believed to be surrounded by the mythicalriver Ocean, ut te Grees aso tene to ot sette an trave witin cose 2 Hansen 1990 identifies the story as a popular folktale motif.3 An agricultural tool used for separating the wheat from the chaff. See further Carrière992.34.   ysseus an te Inan Journey 3proximity of the coast (Thuc. 1.7). Although the Greeks generally fearede sea in its entirety as a vast an potentiay estructive wastean, teyiewed the coastline marking its edge as a familiar and orienting space.ary eripoi an saiing expeitions too teir narrative trea rom tisege, constructing teir accounts in te orm o a point-to-point itineraryaong te soreine. Coonizers, too, aways approace new sites rom teperspective o te sore an rarey venture ar inan rom coasta areas(Malkin 1998.1–31). As historians have long recognized, and as is evidentrom te Oyssey, it was necessary or saiors to eep te orer etweenand and sea in sight for practical reasons of food and water supply. Thosesores tat ay urter out in te Gree imagination, especiay te myticaedge of the river Ocean, were fantastic and terrifying in their own right, butagain, as orers, tey were at east reassuring in teir unction o cearyemarcating space into different categories or zones (Romm 1992.32–44,artog 00, esp. 3–.his paper asks what would happen if the boundary between landan sea were to isappear rom te Grees conceptua orizon. Di spacesexist in their cognitive landscape where the edge between land and sea hadnot een rawn? I ca suc spaces ost” or unpaceae” ecause teyhave no borders or markings to categorize them, nor do they have an obvi-ous pace in te geograpica scemes outine y scoars suc as Romm(1992) or, more recently, François Hartog (2001). They cannot be drawnin on te wi an unciviize eges o te eart, ut, equay, tere is nopace or tem at te center,” wic is traitionay ienti e as a sae anamiiar space. I wis to oer a new interpretation o te Grees conceptuageograpy y suggesting tat an antitetica system to te eges o teearth” theory was also at work in Greek thought. In this alternative scheme,e iea o traveing towars a center is no onger to trave towars omebut to travel away from the familiar, because it is interpreted as a move-ment away rom te ancoring ine o te sore. ccoring to tis rea-ing, inland space becomes more dangerous and problematic than even theantastic spaces at te very eges o te eart.In te Oyssey , a poem tatays the blueprint for a distinctively Greek concept of geography,o loseones earings inan, away rom any sense o an ege, is no onger to tithin the secure categories of an ordered system of classification. On the 4 Cf. Hdt. 4.42–44, Gisinger 1937, Dilke 1998.130–33, Hartog 2001.88–89.  ex Purves contrary, for Odysseus to lose his way in the interior is also for him to losea sense o irection, reerence, an utimatey, ientity. Wen e taes upan oar on his shoulder and walks inland until he meets a people who havenever taste sat—wen e turns is ac, tat is, on te orienting orero te sea—ten, an ony ten, wi Oysseus truy ose is way in otwor an poem.Te inan journey is rst propesie y Teiresias in Boo othe Odyssey and then retold by Odysseus to Penelope in Book 23, at whichpoint a numer o ierent ounaries in te poem egin to converge anoverlap. Within the space of roughly sixty lines in Book 23 (239–96),we are invite to consier ow te use o tree reate wors or ege orboundary— p°raw , pe›rar (pl. pe¤rata ), and perãth —complement andrecon gure one anoter. Tat is, we sa consier not ony ow te outerlimits ( pe¤rata ) or horizon ( perãth ) of Odysseus’s world reflect on thestatus o te ening p°raw o te Oyssey itse, ut aso on teir con-nection to the limits ( e¤rata ) of Odysseus’s suffering. In the course of my anaysis, moreover, I wi emonstrate ow tose tree ounaries areobfuscated by a corresponding disintegration of measurement, on the onean, an marers or Æmata , on te oter, te urter one traves awayfrom the boundary of the shore.  PEIRATA Homers ancient eitors maintaine tat Peneope an Oysseusswitrawa to e at  yssey 3.9 was te very ast ine—in teir wors,te true p°raw or imit—o te poem, caiming tat te remaining text othe Odyssey as simply an epilogue or interpolation. Although this theoryas since een iscreite, te exanrians raise an important point in teirquest to find a suitable ending for the narrative as it moves towards closure.Inee, tenas arupt entrance in Boo , were se raws te poem toa close, has long troubled readers in search of a more satisfactory ending.Tis point is unerscore y Oysseuss own isruption o narrative or-ders at Odyssey 23.248–50 when he warns Penelope that, despite the fact 5 Cf. Bergren 1975. On the play between pe›rar (limit) and pe›ra (trial) in the Odyssey  see Bergren 1993.16–17.6 Scholia on Od. 23.296 (M.V. Vind 133). For modern scholarship and bibliography on thetopic, see, e.g., Seaford 1994.38–42. On teleology in the Odyssey see Buchan 2004.1–17,and on the question of ancient closure more generally, Roberts 1997.   ysseus an te Inan Journey 5hat they have at last been reunited, the limits, or pe¤rata  , of his story aresti a ong way o 3.8–50: Œ gÊnai, oÈ gãr pv pãntvn §p‹ pe¤ratÉ é°ylvnlyomen, éllÉ ¶tÉ ˆpisyen ém°trhtow pÒnow ¶stai,ollÚw ka‹ xalepÒw, tÚn §m¢ xrØ pãnta tel°ssai. ife, we have not yet reached the boundary of all ourtrias,ut still a labor that will be unmeasured,anio, an i cut, remains or me to compete.e ounaries o Oysseuss story expan at te very point wene would expect the poem to draw towards closure. Just a few lines earlier,as a avor to te ong separate overs, tena a extene te temporaboundaries of the night by holding the evening back upon the horizon, or perãth, o te wor 3.39–3: Õw êra tª éspastÚw ¶hn pÒsiw efisoro≈s˙,deir∞w dÉ oÎ pv pãmpan éf¤eto pÆxee leuk≈.ka¤ nÊ kÉ Ùdurom°noisi fãnh =ododãktulow ÉH≈w,fi mØ êrÉ êllÉ §nÒhse yeå glauk«piw ÉAyÆnh. nÊkta m¢n §n perãt˙ dolixØn sx°yen, So dear was her husband to Penelope looking uponim,hat she would not yet at all release her white armsrom is nec.hen rosy-fingered Dawn would have lit upon theirweeping,te gray-eye goess tena a not tougtotherwisen engtene te nigt y oing it ac upon tehorizon.thena’s actions allow the couple to withdraw into a closed-off space in wic time is rougt to a stansti. Homer tes us tat Peneopeould happily have kept her arms around her husband’s neck forever, as if sheou never, or not yet at a” oÎ pv pãmpan , et go 0. Her attempto hold her husband within the timeless space of her embrace replicates the
Related Search
We Need Your Support
Thank you for visiting our website and your interest in our free products and services. We are nonprofit website to share and download documents. To the running of this website, we need your help to support us.

Thanks to everyone for your continued support.

No, Thanks