August 17, 2008

From Adrian Selden:

Re: Is The Odyssey astronomically accurate? (June 23): As a professional scientist with an amateur interest in both astronomy and the classics, I found the evidence for an ancient eclipse occurring in the appropriate time frame for the fall of Troy compelling, but of course the Odyssey, like the Iliad, belongs in the realm of mythology. The question then is whether the details of a real eclipse were included in the epic as a portent of doom i.e.poetic licence, or whether the Odyssey and its events are a part of a ‘folk memory’ of the return from Troy, suitably embroidered with the adventures of ancient heroes - some of whom may be based on real historic personages. All very fascinating!

Adrian Selden
Physics Dept
Univ Zimbabwe


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