In: English and Literature

Submitted By denym101
Words 498
Pages 2
I shall be arguing later that some of the obstacles that Odysseus encounters are equivalent to gates in that they are barriers that cannot be traversed by everyone.

This hero (1) leaves home; (2) traverses mythical regions pictured as mountains; (3) shoots a stag; (4) offers it to a sun goddess; (5) encounters a wild man; (6) is saved by a winged sun goddess—this may mean that he has arrived at the island of the sun, as did Odysseus; (7) defeats other wild men; (8) nally returns home having completed a full circle along the rim of the bowl. The style is Syro-Phoenician- Egyptian, a product of stylistic as well as conceptual syncretism.35

The cosmic journey was a genre current in the East Mediterranean region in the Iron Age. It was modeled on the Egyptian the journey of the sun god who travels twelve hours in the darkness of the underworld and twelve hours in the sky. Evidence of similar concepts in the Near East is provided by a Babylonian circular map (now in the British Museum) as well as by Phoenician circular bowls. Gilgamesh seems to perform a cosmic journey. As well, Early Greek cosmology utilizes the concept of a circular cosmos.
Odysseus’ journey spans the two cosmic junctures of the universe: East, where Circe resides, and West, where Calypso lives. Another polar axis is the underworld and the island of the sun.

Thus, the division into two hemispheres is important. Since the sun travels both in the daylight and in the darkness, his journey is divided into two halves: one section is above the earth, the other below it (see above Fig. 3). The equivalence of the concepts “darkness” and “underworld” must be noted: the underworld becomes homologous to (although not identical with) night, which is represented by the female goddess Nut. She is an ambivalent gure embodying both death and birth: she swallows the sun in the evening and gives…...

Similar Documents