The ocean and its stories

Leonor Santa Bárbara (FCSH/UNL)
Bloco 1, Sala 0.06
Start time:
12 July, 2017 at 14:00
Session slots:

Short abstract:

Ancient civilisations believed that the earth was surrounded by the Ocean. Seen as a big river, it was also personified as the ancestor of all rivers. As such, it was a source of different kinds of stories.

Long abstract:

Ocean was considered by the Ancients to be one of the Titans and as a big river surrounding the world. The earth was a kind of flat disc. As such, it defined the limits of the earth - North, South, East and West. It was the father of several rivers, e.g. the Nile and the Alpheus. According to Hesiod, the Ocean conceived with Tethys at least three thousand rivers. Ocean and Tethys also had daughters - the Oceanids, considered as all sorts of water courses and springs. The idea of a big sea surrounding the whole earth explains some stories by Lucian of Samosata concerning a voyage to the moon by boat. On the other hand, some modern writers seem to believe that Alexander's expedition Eastwards was a way to reach the Ocean and then easily return home. The purpose of this panel is to discuss how the Ocean was seen by the Ancients and how this is reflected in modern culture.