Beyond the Edge of the Sea: Sailing with Jason and the Argonauts, Ulysses, the Vikings, and Other Explorers of the Ancient World

October 30, 2020
Beyond the Edge of the Sea: Sailing with Jason and the Argonauts, Ulysses, the Vikings, and Other Explorers of the Ancient World

The story of Jason and the Argonauts and Homer's tales ofUlysses' wanderings are among the greatest of the ancient epics,but they are not merely fiction. Following the clues in theclassical texts, Mauricio Obregón here maps the likely routes ofthese adventurers and reveals the remaining traces of the thingsand places they describe, re-creating the geographical discovery ofthe ancient world.Obregón takes us with him on his reenactments of the hazardousadventures of Jason, sailing east along the coast of the Black Sea,and of Ulysses, sailing clockwise around the Mediterranean. Thesevoyages map the two major seas of the ancient era and help usunderstand how the Greeks viewed their world — including the manystartling deductions they were able to make about it (such as thecircumference of the earth) from what today seems like limitedknowledge.Obregón has also traced the voyages depicted in the Norselegends, followed adventurous Muslims on southern journeys, andemulated the Polynesians who managed to traverse the seeminglylimitless Pacific. He scrutinizes every detail of sailing inancient times, such as the mechanics of navigation: The stars, forexample, which the mariners took as their guides, were not in thepositions that we see them in today, a crucial fact in re-creatingpast voyages.This wonderful book contains more than forty drawings andphotographs, including depictions of the explorers' ships based onthe descriptions in the literature that has come down to us, thefacts hidden in the fiction, from ancient times.