July 07, 2008

From Felice Vinci:

Re: Is The Odyssey astronomically accurate? (June 23): The idea of a solar eclipse is based on a statement by Theoclymenus to the Suitors: “eelios de ouranou exapolole” “The sun went out in the sky” (Od. XX, 356). However, if we examine Teoclymenus’s previous statements: “The walls and the fine architraves are bleeding, the porch and the court are full of ghosts moving to the darkness of Erebus” (XX, 354-355) we realize that the whole image is only metaphorical, oneiric. This is corroborated by what Homer says about this image: “He said this, everybody laughed at him” (XX, 358), and by Eurimachus answer: “Our guest is insane! Hi friends, see please him out of this house to the square, because he thinks that it is night here!” (XX, 360-362). Therefore, Teoclymenus has a sort of “apocalyptic” vision of the incoming slaughter, but his image is only dreamlike, since the walls were not bleeding and the sun did not go out.

There is not any real solar eclipse in the Odyssey, otherwise Homer would have embroidered the story in a very different way. (I am the author of the book “The Baltic Origins of Homer’s Epic Tales”, published by Inner Traditions, which was adopted as a textbook for the High Studies on Homer by the Bard College, NY. For more info on the topic of my book, see please here).


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