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The Wanderings of Io: Spatial Readings into Greek Mythology

Rachel Gottesman

Résumé

Le document présente une analyse spatiale du mythe d’Io, la malheureuse jeune fille qui a été transformée par Zeus en génisse et ainsi a parcouru le monde. L’analyse résultera en la reconstruction d’une perception spatiale paradigmatique, nommée le modèle de médiation maritime, qui était celui de la société grecque dans la période archaïque et au début de la période classique. Le modèle est centré sur la mer Méditerranée et ses réseaux maritimes multidirectionnels.

The paper presents a spatial analysis of the myth of Io, the unfortunate maiden, who was turned by Zeus into a heifer and thus traveled the world. The analysis will conclude in a reconstruction of a paradigmatic spatial perception, named the maritime mediation model, which was held by Greek society in the archaic and early classical periods. The model was based on the Mediterranean Sea and the multidirectional maritime networks it offered.

Texte intégral

  • 1 A full account of the spatial model held by the Greeks in the archaic period was presented in my Ph (...)

1This paper is to present a reconstruction of the Spatial Perceptions held by Greek society in the Archaic and early Classical periods and to introduce a formulation of the spatial model through which Greeks grasped the space surrounding them. The paper will demonstrate this reconstruction through a case study that belongs to a mythical corpus, the mythical cycle of Io and her many descendants1.

2Long before ancient Greek thinkers conceptualized space as a scientific discipline people used the realm of myth in order to articulate spatial perceptions and structures. Therefor the search for ancient spatial perceptions ought to look beyond the fragments of ancient geographers and into the sphere of mythology. The paper will demonstrate how the myths unrolling the stories of Io, the primordial, wandering ancestress of heroes and eponyms (founders of cities and nations), are an instructive source for uncovering Greek spatial perceptions. The mythological analysis leads to the reconstruction of the ancient Greek spatial model, named The Maritime Mediation Model.

3The first section of the paper will present a short discussion of the concept of spatial perception and a formulation of the Maritime Mediation Model. The second will present an analysis of the myth of Io and the third will deal with Io’s genealogy in a spatial context.

Greek spatial perceptions: the maritime mediation model

  • 2 On the various implications of the spatial turn in the humanities and social sciences, see: Santa A(...)

4The enterprise of reconstructing ancient spatial perceptions is based on the assumption that every society holds a spatial model, an overall perception of space, which fashions the ways in which geographic and cultural space is perceived. Within the framework of the spatial model, geographic, cultural and ethnographic data is recorded, interpreted and placed into a coherent and meaningful structure, and then projected back on the physical world. This concept, which is one of the basic understandings of the intellectual attitudes known as the spatial turn, is based on the assumption that every society perceives space via a conceptual model that endows meaning to the geographical and ethnographical data perceived by the senses, or by any other form of knowledge. The Spatial Model is, in its essence, a mental construction and it is based on philosophical and mythical building blocks, no less then on empirical and scientific ones2.

5Uncovering of spatial models, which lie at the base of the way space is perceived within a particular society, can illuminate a wide range of historical and social questions. In the Greek case these include the patterns of Greek colonization, urban planning, construction of pan-Hellenic identity, the concept of the “other” within the society and a varied range of communal and political aspects concerning Greek history.

  • 3 Peregrine Horden and Nicholas Purcell, The Corrupting Sea: A Study of Mediterranean History, Oxford (...)

6The suggested spatial model is named The Maritime Mediation Model. The name is driven from its two main characteristics: it is based on a maritime space (the Mediterranean Sea), which mediates between those living on its shores. The model is based on two fundamental principles, which appear in a wide range of Greek sources. The first is the maritime character of the Greek space perception. The Mediterranean Sea was the most dominant feature in the Greek landscape and it had a significant role both in day-to-day practices of archaic Greek communities and in the ways space was perceived3. The sea was such a dominant feature that the ancient Greeks looked upon space through a maritime perspective, a view watching the world from the sea to land, from ship to shore. Examples of the maritime perspective can be found in the Greek sources in great abundant, such as these lines from the Odyssey:

  • 4 Hom. Od. 5. 439-444. See also: Hom. Il. 7. 84-89; Od. 3. 168-177, 9. 130-142, 24. 82-83. English tr (...)

νῆχε παρέξ, ἐς γαῖαν ὁρώμενος, εἴ που ἐφεύροι
ἠιόνας τε παραπλῆγας λιμένας τε θαλάσσης. ἀλλ᾽ ὅτε δὴ ποταμοῖο κατὰ
στόμα καλλιρόοιο ἷξε νέων, τῇ δή οἱ ἐείσατο χῶρος ἄριστος, λεῖος πετράων,
καὶ ἐπὶ σκέπας ἦν ἀνέμοιο, ἔγνω δὲ προρέοντα καὶ εὔξατο ὃν κατὰ θυμόν4.

Making his way forth from the surge where it belched upon the shore, he swam outside, looking ever toward the land in hope to find shelving beaches and harbors of the sea. But when, as he swam, he came to the mouth of a fair-flowing river, where seemed to him the best place, since it was smooth of stones, and besides there was shelter from the wind, he knew the river as he flowed forth, and prayed to him in his heart.

7These lines describe in a very realistic manner the experience of arriving to a new place from the sea. There is no doubt that the Greek mariners could recognize in this description, and in many others like it, an experience well familiar to them: a maritime voyage, identification of a safe bay (smooth of stones and a good shelter from the wind) and a safe anchorage in its calm waters. The maritime perspective can also be seen in the geographic writings of the time (the periplous, which present and describe the landscape as it appears when looked upon from a boat), in Greek architecture (such as temples conspicuous from the sea, serving as light houses, e. g. the temple of Poseidon in Sounion), and in many other literary sources.

  • 5 William Arthur Heidel, The Frame of the Ancient Greek Maps: with a Discussion of the Discovery of t (...)

8The second principle of the Maritime Mediation Model is the concept of the Middle, the notion that what lies in the middle (en mesôi), obtains a perfect equilibrium with the other parts of the system and produces a balanced, equalitarian and harmonious space. This idea appears in a very broad scope of archaic sources from different literary genres: social and political ideas, urban planning, astronomic theories, geographic and ethnographic discussions and medical writings5. The combination of the maritime character of Greek communities and the concept of the Middle forms the heart of the archaic spatial model.

  • 6 Hom. Il. 8. 6-13, 14. 200-210, 18. 479-613, 21. 194-7. Hes. Th. 722-28. For an analysis of the worl (...)

9The basic structure of the model is rather simple and appears already in the works of Homer and Hesiod. It constitutes from a round and flat earth, encircled by the flow of River Ocean6. The famous Homeric description of the shield of Achilles ends with the formation of the shield’s rims, which represent the earth’s edges:

ἐν δ᾽ ἐτίθει ποταμοῖο μέγα σθένος Ὠκεανοῖο
ἄντυγα πὰρ πυμάτην σάκεος πύκα ποιητοῖο.

  • 7 Hom. Il. 18. 607-8 (English translation by A. T. Murray, 1924).

Therein he set also the great might of the river Oceanus, around the uttermost rim of the strongly-wrought shield7.

  • 8 On the concept of The Edges of the Earth, see: James Romm, The Edges of the Earth in Ancient Though (...)

10These are the edges of the earth (πείρατα γαίης), which separate between the primordial, chaotic and boundless Ocean (Ὠκεανός), and the finite, ordered and stable space of the earth (Γῆ)8.

  • 9 On the concept of the Oikoumene, see: T. Schmitt, «Oikoumene», in Hubert Cancik and Helmuth Schneid (...)

11Towards the inland lies a second circle that marks the boundaries of the inhabited world – the oikoumene (οἰκουμένη). Originally the term referred to (earth), and designating the inhabited portion of the earth in contrast to the uninhabited parts. The oldest preserved usage of the terms belongs to the end of the sixth century BC (Xenophanes, fr. 41 DK), and already there the philosopher linked the word to the collective subject «we» (sc. human beings), and thus related oikoumene to a «humankind» that is not further specified. Accordingly, the oikoumene is not only a geographic entity, but first of all a social realm9. The oikoumene is therefore the space occupied by the various societies and nations of the world and governed by the Olympic order.

  • 10 Irad Malkin, A Small Greek World: Networks in the Ancient Mediterranean, New York, 2011. Peregrine (...)

12In the center of the model lies a maritime stretch of the Mediterranean and Black Seas. The shores of these seas were the historical space inhabited by Greeks, who settled the Mediterranean shores from the eastern edge of the Black Sea all the way to the Pillars of Heracles (the Gibraltar straits) at the western tip. These shores were also the meeting place between Greeks and various non-Greek populations. It can be seen that the Mediterranean, which was situated at the geometric center of the spatial model, functioned as a mediating space between the Greek Poleis, as well as between Greeks and other populations living on its shores. In other words, as Peregrine Horden and Nicholas Purcell argued in their study The Corrupting Sea, and Irad Malkin further developed in his recent book A Small Greek World, the Mediterranean was a space that offered connectivity through complex maritime networks10.

13The Maritime Mediation Model is based on the middle-space of the Sea. The central circle is a mediation-space, from the Latin: mediatus, mediare: it stands in the geometrical center of the earth and mediates between those who live on its shores, Greeks and non-Greeks alike. This mediation-space is by definition a maritime one, a realm stretching between the shores and perceived through the maritime perspective.

14The Maritime Mediation Model was a dynamic and flexible mental structure that allowed the assimilation of new geographic and ethnographic knowledge, which has been gained by the Greeks during the archaic age, especially during the colonization movement. At the dawn of the archaic period the Greek geographical knowledge contained mostly the shores of the Aegean Sea, between the Ionian Sea and the Bosporus. One can look upon it as a «small sea»: a narrow, easy-to-sail-upon, maritime space, which contained a network of relations and contacts of different types. At the beginning of the archaic age, this small sea was the center of the model; beyond it extended the lands inhabited by the different nations of the world (the oikoumene), and far beyond the horizon stood the edges of the earth.

15Within the continuing process of exploration and colonization, a huge corpus of geographic and ethnographic knowledge became familiar to the Greek world. This new knowledge was incorporated and assimilated into the existing spatial model. The basic structure of the model remained the same, but the boundaries of the central-maritime-space broadened, stretched themselves to a complete overlap with the Mediterranean and Black Seas in the sixth century, thus creating a «big sea». In spite of a tremendous rise in scope of geographic knowledge during the archaic age the basic structure of the model remained the same: three concentric circles, the innermost being the maritime-mediation space which lies at the center, the second being the oikoumene inhabited by the nations of the world and the third being the edges of the earth (see Figure 1). In other words, all the features of the small sea of the early archaic age are to be found in the big sea of the late archaic and classical periods.

  • 11 On the division of the earth into continents and the ancient geographic debate concerning the numbe (...)

16The Maritime Mediation Model suggests an alternative to the conventional view in modern research, that the ancients saw the world as divided into continents (either two: Europe and Asia, or three: Europe, Asia and Libya), but rather perceived the continents as if around a center, namely, the sea11. Therefor the division of the earth into continents is of secondary significance and so are the cultural and ethnical dichotomies between Greeks and Barbarians. It was that sea (both the Mediterranean and the Black Sea), around which Greeks lived «like frogs around the pond» (Plato, Phaedo, 109), which constituted also the notion of Hellas, or «Greece». Thus a new spatial and ethnical perception emerges, one that focuses on the maritime networks of the Mediterranean Sea.

Fig. 1: Maritime Mediation Model

Fig. 1: Maritime Mediation Model

17To arrive at this one ought to look beyond the fragments of ancient geographers. For the early Greeks the main medium for spatial articulation was not the early geographic treaties, but rather myths, which manifested cultural, ethnographical and spatial perceptions. It is with a focus on the mythic cycle of Io, the primordial, wandering heroine, that the spatial perception of the Greeks may be observed.

The myth of Io

  • 12 The earliest sources of the myth are epics from the seventh century: Aegimius (Hesiod, fr. 294; 296 (...)

18The myth of Io presented below is a summary of the various Greek versions of the myth as they are known to us today, mainly: The Hesiodic Catalogue of Women, The Suppliants and Prometheus Bound both ascribed to Aeschylus (the latter’s authorship is today disputed), and The Library by Apollodorus Mythographus12. The most detailed account of the journey appears in Prometheus Bound.

19The myth of Io tells the story of a young maiden, daughter of Inachus, the river of Argos and the city’s mythical king. One day Zeus, king of gods, saw young Io walking in the meadow on her way home and the sight aroused his unrestrained lust. Zeus captured Io, raped her and turned her into a heifer in order to hide her from his jealous wife. But Hera was as ever vigilant; she recognized the young cow and sent a gadfly to torment her. In order to escape the terrible gadfly, Io was forced to leave her homeland and venture far, to the very outskirts of the earth. After a long and hazardous journey she came back to the Mediterranean shoreline, to the delta of the river Nile, where Zeus restored her human form and gave her a child, Epaphos, who was destined to be Egypt’s first king. Through this child Io became the ancestress of a great genealogy of heroes and eponyms, which spread throughout the inhabited world.

  • 13 For Io’s ancestors, see: The Hesiodic Catalogue of Women, F. 124 M-W, Aesch. PB. 590. Apollod. Bibl(...)

20The myth of Io can produce a fascinating account of Greek spatial perceptions. It starts as a very regional story, focusing on the city of Argos and the green meadows surrounding it. All the ancient sources emphasis the special bond Io has to her homeland: she is the daughter of Inachus, the city’s river (modern Panitsa) and therefore a «child of the earth» (αὐτόχθονες)13. River gods are usually regarded as ancient, pre-Olympic divinities and Inachus is no exception. Apollodorus and Pausanias both tell of a story in which Inachus is appointed to rule which god, Hera or Poseidon, will become patron of the Argive plain. Inachus chose Hera, who became the long lasting patron of the city. Poseidon punished the river by making it a seasonal stream (Apollod. Bibl. 2.13; Paus. 2.15.4-5). Hera made Inachus king of Argos and appointed Io to serve her as priestess at the Heraion, the famous sanctuary devoted to the goddess in the Argive plain. The mythical tradition therefore places Inachus, and accordingly also his daughter Io, at a primordial age, the time when Hera established her government over the Argive plain. This is the mythical age in which the Olympic gods founded their rule over the earth. We shall see shortly that the primordial-mythical chronology is of big significance in the myth.

21An intriguing fact is that the various sources of the myth all present the land of Argos as a wild wilderness, not as a city (Polis). In all versions of the myth there is no mention of the city of Argos, neither its social and political institutions, but repeated descriptions of the wild lands of the Argive plain. Here are a few examples:

ἔξελθε πρὸς Λέρνης βαθὺν
λειμῶνα, ποίμνας βουστάσεις τε πρὸς πατρός (PB. 652).

  • 14 English translation by Herbert Weir Smyth, Cambridge, MA, 1926.

go forth to Lerna’s meadow land of pastures deep and to your father’s flocks14.

πρὸς εὔποτόν τε Κερχνείας ῥέος
Λέρνης τε κρήνην (PB. 676).

Cerchnea’s sweet stream and Lerna’s spring.

παλαιόν, δ᾽εἰς ἴχνος μετέσταν
ματέρος ἀνθονόμους ἐπωπάς,
λειμῶνα βούχιλον, ἔνθεν Ἰὼ
οἴστρῳ ἐρεθομένα
φεύγει ἁμαρτίνοος (Supp. 538-542)

I have come here to the prints of ancient feet, my mother’s, even to the region where she was watched while she browsed among the flowers – into that pasture, from which Io, tormented by the gad-fly’s sting, fled in frenzy

  • 15 Mark Griffith, The Authenticity of Prometheus Bound, Cambridge, 1977, p. 207.

22Lerna is the marshy green meadow located 8 km south to Argos. The description of the meadow, the place were Io was seduced and raped, as a land of deep or fertile pastures (Λέρνης βαθὺν λειμῶνα), is not only a landscape description but echoes a common literary metaphor of a grassy meadowland as a symbol of sexual intercourse (another example: Il. 14.346)15. It is worth noticing that all descriptions of Io’s homeland constitute from this kind of natural landscapes, it is only after five generations, with the arrival of her great-great-granddaughters, the Danaides, that Argos is first presented as a city (a Pelasgian city), which contains a wall, privet and public buildings and social structures. This is an appearance of a motif that has a major rule in the narrative of Io: Io’s journey takes place in a very ancient mythical chronology – the age in which the Olympic gods established their government over the earth, the age of Prometheus (who is Io’s benefactor and guide). When poor Io was captured in the marshes of Lerna there were yet no human cities, no social organizations and institutes and no advanced societies. It is the dawn of human existence and Io has an important role in the process of defining the physical and cultural space given to humans by the gods. The following stations on Io’s journey are compatible with this primordial motif.

23From Argos Io goes first to Dodona, the famous and ancient sanctuary in Epirus (northwestern Greece). The shrine included an Oracle dedicated to Zeus, in which the priests interpreted the rustling of the oak leaves as a message from the god. In ancient times the shrine in Dodona was considered as the most ancient sanctuary in Greece and one with pre-Hellenic origins (Hdt. 2.56). While visiting Dodona, Io is told by the oak trees that she is «the renowned bride-to-be of Zeus» (PB. 835).

  • 16 Mark Griffith, Aeschylus: Prometheus Bound, Cambridge, 1983, p. 235.

24Io leaves the shrine in her frantic escape from the gadfly and runs to the north along the Ionian Sea, which bears her name till this day. The Ionian Sea is the western boundary of what is called today, Homeric Greece, the territory occupied by Hellênes in the Homeric corpus, stretching along the shores of Asia Minor, the Aegean Sea, the west coast of the Peloponnesus and the coast of Epirus. Although there is an etymological problem with the identification of Io (Ἰώ), which is written with a long iota, and the Ionian sea (Ἰόνιος κόλπος), which is written with a short iota, this identification was well accepted in Greek tradition and is explicitly stated in Prometheus Bound 501-50216:

χρόνον δὲ τὸν μέλλοντα πόντιος μυχός,
σαφῶς ἐπίστασ᾽, Ἰόνιος κεκλήσεται,
τῆς σῆς πορείας μνῆμα τοῖς πᾶσιν βροτοῖς (PB. 839-841).

And for all time to come a recess of the sea, be well
assured, shall bear the name Ionian, as a memorial of your
crossing for all mankind.

Ἥρα δὲ τῇ βοῒ οἶστρον ἐμβάλλει δὲ πρῶτον
ἧκεν εἰς τὸν ἀπ᾽ ἐκείνης Ἰόνιον κόλπον
κληθέντα (Apollod. Bibl. 2.1.3)

  • 17 English translation by Sir James George Frazer, 1921.

Hera next sent a gadfly to infest the cow,
and the animal came first to what is called
after her the Ionian gulf
17.

  • 18 Irad Malkin, The Returns of Odysseus: Colonization and Ethnicity, Berkeley, 1998, p. 74-87.

25The mythological picture that places the Ionian Sea at the western edge of Homeric Greece (beyond it is the mythical realm Odysseus encountered in his wanderings) is paralleled by the historic situation in the ninth century BC, at the dawn of the exploration movement. Irad Malkin convincingly argued that the Ionian Sea, and especially Ithaca and the neighboring Islands, were the frontier of the Greek civilization in the early archaic period, at a time when explorers, merchants and settlers just began to venture the Adriatic Sea and the Italian coast18. One can therefore conclude that the story told about Io reflects a spatial perception that was well established in Greek tradition, a perception in which Once upon a time, in an era that gods and heroes roamed the earth, the Ionian Sea marked the boundary of Greek territories. Io therefore gives her name to the western boundary of the traditional Greek territory; we shall see shortly that she does the same thing with the eastern boundary.

  • 19 See for example see: Hom. Od. 11. 121-134, where Teiresias prophesies to Odysseus regarding his fut (...)
  • 20 For discussions on the Periplous and the hodological perspective, see Aurelio Peretti, Il Periplo d (...)

26Io’s flight continued towards the North, now turning her back to the sea and advancing inland. The act of «turning the back to the sea» is an uncommon description in Greek literature, both in ancient epics that describe tales of wanderings (such as the Odyssey, the tale of the Argonauts and many others)19, and those of professional geographic writings, the Periplous (περίπλους), which were composed as descriptions of a tour around the shores. The Periplous writings, also known as periêgêsis (περιήγησις), or periodos gês (περίοδος γῆς), were the standard Greek geographic written description, starting from the archaic period with the work of Hecataeus of Miletus. These writings presented the geographic description as a narrative of a sailing course from one point to the next, manifesting a maritime and hodological perspective20. Io’s wanderings did not take her on the common maritime journey along the coast, but to unknown inland territories. It is necessary for Io to leave the familiar pathways of the sea and continue inland for her journey is meant to take her to the very edges of the earth and mark earth’s boundaries. From the moment Io left the Ionian Sea she departed from familiar and friendly lands and entered territories of vast wastelands.

27Io kept running towards the north until she reached the banks of Ocean and met Prometheus bounded to the rock, serving his grave punishment. The meeting with the Titan clarifies that Io belongs to the Promethean age, a primordial era, the time when the gods of Olympus came to power and based their rule over the earth. The mythical character of Prometheus is unmistakably connected to this primordial age, when the world order under the rule of the Olympic gods was established. The meeting between Prometheus and Io marks both the distant physical location of the mythical events and the distant time in which the events took place.

28The description of the landscape appears in the opening line of Prometheus Bound:

Χθονὸς μὲν ἐς τηλουρὸν ἥκομεν πέδον,
Σκύθην ἐς οἷμον, ἄβατον εἰς ἐρημίαν (PB. 1-2).

To earth’s remotest limit we come, to the
Scythian land, an untrodden solitude.

  • 21 On the idea of the edges of the earth and its geographic and cultural meanings, see James Romm, The (...)
  • 22 Mark Griffith, Aeschylus: Prometheus Bound. Cambridge, 1983, p. 81-82. For a discussion on the trad (...)

29Indeed the banks of River Ocean were regarded as the edges of the earth, the ultimate and paradigmatic boundary between order and chaos. The words «earth’s remotest limit» (Χθονὸς μὲν ἐς τηλουρόν) signify not only the physical location of the rock but also the cultural remoteness of the place21. The same is true for the next verse: «Scythian land, an untrodden solitude» (Σκύθην ἐς οἷμον, ἄβατον εἰς ἐρημίαν). The Scythians were nomads who lived near the Black Sea and north to Thrace, they were well known to the Greek world and became a synonym for uncivilized and savaged communities. The next stop on Io’s journey will take her to these nomad Scythians, in line 2 however, «Scythian lands» is paralleled to «earth’s remotest limit», thus emphasizing the harshness and remoteness of the place where Prometheus serves his punishment22.

  • 23 H. Alan Shapiro, «Amazons, Thracians and Scythians», Greek, Roman and Byzantine Studies 24 (2), 199 (...)

30Near the banks of the ocean Io hears from Prometheus the future course of her wandering, the end of her sufferings in Egypt and the fact that she is to become a great ancestress of heroes. Following the advice of Prometheus Io continues on her worldwide journey. She heads towards the east, first crossing wide desolated lands (στεῖχ᾽ ἀνηρότους γύας – over untilled plains, PB. 707-9). Then she crosses the lands of Scythians and Chalybians, avoiding any direct contact with these dangerous and uncivilized communities (PB. 709-13). This is the only place in the course of her wanderings that Io ventures through habituated human countries. As aforesaid, The Scythians are frequently presented as an anti-civilization in classical literature and iconography and in the Io myth they function as a symbol of uncivilized, and dangerous communities23.

  • 24 On the location of the Caucasus in the play, see Margalit Finkelberg, «The Geography of Prometheus (...)
  • 25 For another example, see Hdt. 1. 189.

31The next portion of the journey takes Io to wild and extreme landscapes: she climes the steep ridges of the Caucasus (placed here to the west of the Black Sea)24, and crosses River Hubris (ὑβριστής), which flows from the summit (717-23). River Hubris does not appear in any other ancient source and it is reasonable to assume that the poet used it as an epithet for a natural boundary that manifest a moral boundary before humans25. Io must climbs loftiest of mountains (ὀρῶν ὕψιστον) and pass over crests, which neighbor the stars (ἀστρογείτονας δὲ χρὴ κορυφάς). This description presents the Caucasus in mythical terms as a «top of the world», a sort of edges of the earth towards the skies.

32After crossing the mountains Io takes a southern course, which leads her to the lands of the Amazons. Like the Scythians, the Amazons, famous mythical tribe of women who loathe all men, are usually treated in the Greek sources as a reversal of civilized and cultural societies. Herodotus for example puts these words in the mouth of the Amazons:

We could not live with your women; for we and they do not have the same customs. We shoot the bow and throw the javelin and ride, but have never learned women’s work; and your women do none of the things of which we speak, but stay in their wagons and do women’s work, and do not go out hunting or anywhere else (Hdt. 4. 114).

33These women, which are usually portrayed as dangerous and savage, are the only ones, with the exception of Prometheus, that help Io on her way; they guide her to the next stage of her journey, to Asia:

ἰσθμὸν δ᾽ ἐπ᾽ αὐταῖς στενοπόροις λίμνης πύλαις
Κιμμερικὸν ἥξεις, ὃν θρασυσπλάγχνως σε χρὴ
λιποῦσαν αὐλῶν᾽ ἐκπερᾶν Μαιωτικόν:
ἔσται δὲ θνητοῖς εἰσαεὶ λόγος μέγας
τῆς σῆς πορείας, Βόσπορος δ᾽ ἐπώνυμος
κεκλήσεται. λιποῦσα δ᾽ Εὐρώπης πέδον
ἤπειρον ἥξεις Ἀσιάδ᾽ (PB. 729-735).

Next, just at the narrow portals of the harbor,
you shall reach the Cimmerian isthmus.
This you must leave with stout heart
and pass through the channel of Maeotis;
and ever after among mankind there shall
be great mention of your passing, and it
shall be called after you the Bosporus.
Then, leaving the soil of Europe, you shall
come to the Asian continent.

34The Bosporus is a focal point of the journey for it is explicitly described as the boundary separating Europe from Asia (see also: PB. 790, Supp. 544-6). Prometheus announces that Io’s crossing of the straits will be forever cherished by humanity, for they will bear her name: βοῦς πόρος, «Passing of the cow», or «the cow’s ford». The Bosporus, much like the Ionian Sea in the west, marks the eastern boundary of traditional Homeric Greece. Thus Io gives her name to two major maritime landmarks: The Ionian Sea and the Bosporus. These were the boundaries of the basic maritime Greek unit. Io wandered as far as the edges of the earth but her journey marked also the basic Greek unit as it appears in Homer. Her wanderings took her from the edges of the earth to the center of the earth. The Greek basic maritime unite (namely between Asia Minor, Greece and Italy) is defined therefore between the «Straits of the Cow» to the «Ionian Sea», both named after Io.

  • 26 Aeschy, Supp. 540-546.
  • 27 For discussions on ancient separations of the earth into continents and their borders, see: Oliver (...)
  • 28 See for example: Hdt. 4.45; Hecat. FGrH 1 fr. 195.

35But where was the Bosporus located? Surprisingly Aeschylus provides two answers to this question. In the Prometheus Bound the straits are located at the mouth of Lake Maeotis, which were known in the ancient world as the Cimmerian Bosporus – Io arrives there following the guidance of the Amazons. In The Suppliants the crossing takes place at the Thracian Bosporus (modern Istanbul), and Io’s previous wanderings in Europe are described in a very general manner (traversing many tribes of men)26. It is not altogether clear why there are two alternative locations for the straits and in spite of many attempts to settle this problem there still are no satisfying explanations27. In fact the overall picture concerning the structure of the world’s continents and their boundaries in archaic and early classic sources is confused and not consistent. We have no alternatives but to accept that the geographic knowledge at the time was not inclusively accurate and coherent28.

36After crossing the strait Io continues her frantic run in Asia. In the Prometheus Bound the lands of Asia are described very differently from those of Europe. Europe is presented as a continent of vast unoccupied landscapes, which inhabits only a few scattered, wild and uncivilized societies such as Scythians and Amazons. Asia, on the other hand, is described as a mythical space, occupied by dangerous monsters, harsh climate and hazardous nature. Io passes through horrific and mysterious lands, home of Graeae, Gorgons and Gryphones. She runs near the Pluton River, which waters are filled with gold, and through lands of black-skinned people who dwell near the «burnt river» (ποταμὸς Αἰθίοψ). Asia is a mythical and exotic realm, where no one offers the wandering cow help or guidance.

  • 29 H. Johansen and Edward W. Whittle, Aeschylus: The Suppliants, Copenhagen, 1980, p. 436-437 (I Kommi (...)

37In Aeschylus’ Suppliants, on the other hand, the journey in Asia is described in less details and the course is much shorter. After crossing from Europe to Asia Io passes, not through mythical and imaginary geography, but through recognizable and well familiar lands of the near east: Phrygia, Mysia, Lydia, Cilicia, Pamphylia and through the «land of Aphrodite that teems with wheat», which refers probably to Syria or Cyprus (Supp. 547-555)29. From there she proceeded directly to Egypt. Io’s journey in the Suppliants is therefore almost a trip along the Mediterranean shores: the European part of the course is not mentioned and the Asian part follows a well-known route in Asia Minor and the Levantine coast. But despite the differences both plays present a similar wandering pattern: departure from Argos, journey in Europe, crossing of the Bosporus, journey in Asia and the journey’s end at the banks of the Nile.

38Eventually, after a long journey that encompasses practically the whole known and unknown world, Io reaches the Nile and walks on its banks up to the Delta. Only then, after returning once again to the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, comes an end to her torments: Zeus restores her human form and gives her a son, Epaphos. The beneficiary nature of the Nile’s Delta is explicitly stated and is evident both from the narrative of the story (being the place where Io is cured), and in the description of the landscape. Aeschylus uses descriptions such as:

ὃς καρπώσεται ὅσην πλατύρρους Νεῖλος ἀρδεύει
χθόνα (PB. 851).

The fruit of all the land watered by the
broad-flowing Nile.

ἱκνεῖται δὴ σινουμένα βέλει
βουκόλου πτερόεντος
Δῖον πάμβοτον ἄλσος,
λειμῶνα χιονόβοσκον, ὅντ᾽ ἐπέρχεται
Τυφῶ μένος,
ὕδωρ τε Νείλου νόσοις ἄθικτον (Supp. 556-561).

Harassed by the sting of the winged herds
man she gains at last the fertile groves
sacred to Zeus, that snow-fed pasture as
sailed by Typho’s fury, and the water of the
Nile that no disease may touch.

Fig. 2: The Wanderings of Io

Fig. 2: The Wanderings of Io

39These descriptions present the Nile Valley as a rich and fertile space, suitable for human dwelling. Unlike the terrifying hostile lands of Europe and Asia, the land of the Nile is sacred to Zeus and profits from his blessings. Finally Io arrives to a welcoming landscape and her sufferings come to an end. Figure 2 shows the wanderings of Io according to the Prometheus Bound.

40The map demonstrates the basic feature of the wandering narrative: Io started her journey near the shores of the Mediterranean, she ventured far to the edges of the earth in the north, east and south, where the nature is wild and the inhabitants savage and monstrous, only to return to the friendly Mediterranean shoreline. Io’s wanderings mark therefore both the far extremities of the earth, and the close, friendly and safe space of the Mediterranean Sea, which is presented as the space most suitable for human dwelling. Thus the myth creates a narrative theme that presents the Mediterranean shores as a friendly and socialized space while the lands stretching away from the sea are presented as increasingly dangerous, unfriendly and uncivilized.

41We can therefore conclude that the world picture manifested through the wanderings of Io does not focus on the separation of the earth into continents (although it acknowledges that the earth is divided by them), or on the dichotomy between Greeks and Barbarians, but on the Mediterranean Sea. The land of Egypt is as safe, fertile and sociable as Argos, and probably even more given the fact that Io’s sufferings came upon her in the Argive plain. The main spatial paradigm of the story is that the Mediterranean shores are friendly and fruitful lands while the space that stretches from the Mediterranean inland grows increasingly hostile as one progress away from the sea.

42Io’s wanderings, which are chronologically placed at the time when the gods based their rule over the earth, have a spatial role; they mark boundaries and define spaces. Io’s journey marked both the far extreme boundaries of the earth and it’s friendly and fertile center. But the spatial role of Io does not end there, it continues through her celebrated genealogy, which spread throughout the known world and included many wandering heroes and spatial issues.

Io’s descendants

  • 30 A full and comprehensive reconstruction of The Hesiodic Catalogue of Women, which is based on some (...)

43The genealogy of Io, known as the Inachidai (named after Io’s father Inachus), is one of the most wide and far reaching genealogies in the Greek mythical corpus, counting eighteen generations that spread throughout the known world. Most of the stemma appears already in The Hesiodic Catalogue of Women, which is a genealogical poem written sometime between the early seventh to the mid sixth century BC30.

Fig. 3: Areas inhabited by Io’s descendants – Eponyms

Fig. 3: Areas inhabited by Io’s descendants – Eponyms
  • 31 Carol Dougherth, Prometheus, London-New York, 2006.

44As already mentioned, the cycle of Io belongs to a Promethean world. Io’s genealogy, which constitutes of heroes, founders of nations and city founders, can therefore be looked upon as a bridge connecting the primordial world of the Titans and gods to that of humans31. Below is a partial list of Io’s descendants that is based mainly on the Catalogue of Women. The various mythological characters are divided into two categories: eponyms and heroes. In some cases there is an overlap between the categories (some of the heroes are also eponyms of tribes or nations).

45Eponyms: Europa, Libya, Aigyptos, Danaus, Arabos, Belos, Kyrene, Phoinix, and Cilix.

46Heroes: Europa, Cadmus, Thasos, Minos, Sarpedon, Ariadne, Phaedra, Danaus, Perseus, and Heracles.

  • 32 For the full genealogy, see Martin West, The Hesiodic Catalogue of Women: Its Nature, Structure, an (...)

47The descendants on the eponym category form the various nations of the Oikoumene: Aigyptos – father of the Egyptians, Phoinix – founder of the Phoenicians, Arabos – father of the Arabian tribes, Belos – head of the people worshiping the god Baal, Cilix – founder of Cilicia in the south of Asia minor, Thasos – founder of the Island Thasos, Abas – father of the Abantes from the Island of Euboea, Danaus – founder of the Homeric Greeks known as the Danaans (one of the Homeric names of the Greeks), Europa and Libya – gave their name to the continents, Kyrene – founder of the Greek colony in north Africa, and more32. Figure 3 shows the spreading of the different eponyms in Io’s genealogy.

48One glance at the map is enough to recognize the territories marked in it: this is the Oikoumene and it spreads from the center outwards, from the shores of the Mediterranean towards the outskirts of the earth. There is an astonishing overlap between the spread of Io’s descendants and the notion of the inhabited world. The lands marked by Io’s eponym children are the actual territories and peoples known to the Greeks in the archaic period, beyond them are the vast unknown and paradigmatically uninhabited lands of the earth. Those who dwell in the territories beyond the lands of the Oikoumene are by definition uncivilized savages such as Scythians and Amazons, or mythical creatures such as Gorgons and Gryphones.

49Among Io’s descendants are not only eponyms, but also heroes: Europa, Cadmus, Thasos, Cilix, Minos, Sarpedon, Ariadne, Phaedra, Danaus and the Danaides, Perseus, Heracles, Phineus, Kyrene and Dionysus, all of them are a part of the celebrated genealogy of Io from Argos. These heroes not only originate from the same stemma, but share another important feature: their mythologies involve stories of immense wanderings and immigrations. Figure 4 shows the various courses taken by the heroes.

50The map shows a multidirectional network of wanderings throughout the Mediterranean and includes places inhabited by Greeks and non-Greeks alike. Although the map represents mythical events it resembles other, more «historical» maps, such as maps of trading routs, political connections between Mediterranean cities or religious influences.

  • 33 The myth is based mostly on the Aescylian trilogy the Danaides, from which only the Suppliants is p (...)

51Many of the myths involving these heroes are concerned with the intricate process of constructing the Greek identity, both on local and pan-Hellenic levels. The Danaides myth can serve as a good example. Danaus’ fifty daughters fled from Egypt to Argos in order to escape their cousins, fifty sons of Aigyptos, who tried to force them into marriage. The Danaides ask the people of Argos for shelter based on the claim that they are the daughters of Io, Princess of Argos. The girls receive the protection of the city, but in vain, when the suitors came to the Argive plain they won the battle and a forced wedding was conducted. The brides, devastated from their defeat, were determined to keep their freedom: on the wedding night 49 knives were drawn in the dark and 49 young men found their death. Only one maiden, Hypermestra, had mercy in her heart and spared the life of her husband Lynceus. This marriage concluded (after 3 generations) with the birth of Danae and her courageous son Perseus. The other maidens where married to citizens of the city, and their descendants became the Danaans, who are the Homeric Greeks33.

Fig. 4: Wanderings of heroes

Fig. 4: Wanderings of heroes
  • 34 For discussions on Greek ethnicity, see Jonathan Hall, Ethnic Identity in Greek Antiquity, Cambridg (...)
  • 35 Ken Dawden, Death and the Maiden: Girls’Initiation Rites in Greek Mythology, London, 1989, p. 153-1 (...)

52The story, with its dramatic twists and expressions of lust and blood, is a fascinating example of the complexity inherent in Greek perceptions of self-identity. The Danaans, which are acknowledged in Greek tradition as one of the names for Homeric Greeks, are in-fact Egyptian by their origin and costumes (especially in the Suppliants). This leads us to a complex discourse regarding the foreign origins of Greek identity and Greek ethnicity that are beyond the scope of this paper34. The Danaides story has also a social importance and it is usually interpreted as a mythical representation of social practices that involve initiation rituals of young girls coming of age. The myth can therefore be seen as dealing with ethnic, social and gender identities and it establishes maritime connections between Egypt and Argos35.

53The myth of the Danaides is but one example presenting the dialect processes that were involved in constructing the Hellenic identity. Other heroes belonging to the stemma of Io, such as Cadmus, Europa, Minos, Kyrene, Heracles and many others demonstrate the complexity of the Greek identity and the multicultural links that lie in its foundations. One interesting feature of these stories, which involve tales of wanderings, immigrations and foundations of Greek cities, is that they all include maritime traveling and indicate on the existence of continuing maritime interactions with other populations living along the shores. Thus, Europa travels from Tyre to Crete on the back of Zeus-as-a-bull galloping over the sea, Europa’s brothers (Cadmus, Thasos and Cilix) set sail to find her and become legendary founders. Minos establishes a grand thalassocracy, Ariadne escapes from Crete with her lover and is abandoned on the island of Dia, Kyrene is abducted by Apollo and taken to the north African shore flying over the sea, Perseus flies above the whole Mediterranean with the golden sandals. The stories go on and on – all of them telling tales of maritime wanderings and pointing to actual connections between populations living around the shores of the sea.

54The overall picture resulting from the myths indicate that the Greek identity was a complex multilayered construction that was based on overgrowing multidirectional connections throughout the Mediterranean. Greek identity cannot be simplified to a bipolar model, adopted by many researchers, such as «Greeks vs. Barbarians» or a «center-periphery» model, but calls for a wider and more flexible model that takes the whole Mediterranean basin into account.

Conclusions

55To conclude this paper one last map is presented, a map that combines the three maps previously introduced (showing the wanderings of Io, the spread of eponyms and the paths of the heroes: Figures 2, 3 and 4). The three maps are superposed to a comprehensive map shown in Figure 5.

56There is no doubt that Figure 5 exhibits too much visual information, especially as one draws near the Mediterranean basin, but this is exactly the point: while the edges of the earth are a paradigmatic and unchangeable boundary, and the limits of the Oikoumene are the limits of the known geographic and ethnographic knowledge of the Greek world, the Mediterranean basin functions as a multidirectional and multicultural maritime hub. The Maritime Mediation Model forms around the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, manifesting a maritime space that contains a complex network of connections, encompassing Greeks and non-Greeks alike.

57It can be seen that map shown in Figure 5, representing the whole mythical cycle of Io, demonstrates that traditional spatial models, dividing the earth into Europe vs. Asia or Greeks vs. Barbarians, is too simplistic for truthfully representing the complex ways in which Greeks perceived the space surrounding them and themselves within it. The mythical cycle of Io, which is just one of many optional case studies, demonstrates the significance of the Mediterranean Sea as the dynamic centre of the earth, and it gives an opportunity to witness the complex and dialectic processes that were involved in constructing ancient Greek identity within a unique maritime space.

58The basic characteristics of the Maritime Mediation Model are manifested in many archaic and early classical sources, such as geographical writings (e. g. Hecataeus of Miletus and other writers that belonging to the Periplous genre), medical writings (the Hippocratic treaties Airs, Waters, Places and the climate theory), Historical treaties (Herodotus), early Greek science (astronomic and cartographic reconstructions of the work ascribed to anaximander from Miletus) and many more.

Fig. 5: The Mythical cycle of Io

  • 36 As demonstrated in: Irad Malkin, A Small Greek World: Networks in the Ancient Mediterranean, New Yo (...)

59The spatial perception emanating from this analysis is coherent also with the geopolitical developments of the period: the patterns of the Greek colonization movement and the communal-civic perceptions of the Polis, including their manifestations in the city’s architecture and urban planning. The Maritime Mediation Model correlates with contemporary studies of the formation of Greek self-identity and it explains various aspects in the network structure that characterized Greek societies36.

60The myth of the young maiden, who was turned into a heifer and ventured to the far ends of the earth, is therefore not only a story about the omnipotence of the gods or the cruel jealousy of Hera, but a story unfolding the structure of the earth as the Greeks themselves perceived it. The paradigmatic boundary at the edges of the earth, the idea of the Oikoumene and the maritime hub of civilization at the Mediterranean coastline, are all present in the myth. This basic spatial model can unearth new understandings to some of the main processes of Greek history, such as the construction of Pan-Hellenic identity, the birth of the Polis and the colonization movement. Thus, we can see now that the girl with the horns of a cow is no longer only a victim, but a pioneer and pathfinder, who marked the spatial divisions of the earth only to return to the safe Mediterranean shorelines and bestow it’s friendly maritime space to the generations yet to come.

Notes

1 A full account of the spatial model held by the Greeks in the archaic period was presented in my PhD thesis: Europe, Asia and the Myth Io: Space Perceptions in Archaic Greece, Tel-Aviv, 2012.

2 On the various implications of the spatial turn in the humanities and social sciences, see: Santa Arias, «Rethinking Space: An Outsider’s View of the Spatial Turn», GeoJournal 75, 2010, p. 29-41. Barney Warf and Santa Arias (ed.), The Spatial Turn: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, London-New York, 2009. Georges Benko and Ulf Strohmayer (ed.), Space and Social Theory: Interpreting Modernity and Postmodernity, Oxford, 1997. Edward Soja, Postmodern Geographies: the Reassertion of Space in Critical Social Theory, New York, 1989.

3 Peregrine Horden and Nicholas Purcell, The Corrupting Sea: A Study of Mediterranean History, Oxford-Malden, Mass., 2000, p. 124-132.

4 Hom. Od. 5. 439-444. See also: Hom. Il. 7. 84-89; Od. 3. 168-177, 9. 130-142, 24. 82-83. English translation by A. T. Murray, 1919.

5 William Arthur Heidel, The Frame of the Ancient Greek Maps: with a Discussion of the Discovery of the Sphericity of the Earth, New York, 1937. Charles Kahn, Anaximander and the Origins of Greek Cosmology, New York, 1960. Jean Pierre Vernant, Myth and Thought Among the Greeks, London-Boston, 1983, p. 176-189. Rosalind Thomas, Herodotus in Context: Ethnography, Science, and the Art of Persuasion, Cambridge-New York, 2002, p. 96-97. Gerard Naddaf, «Anthropogony and Politogony in Anaximander of Miletus», in Dirk Couprie, Robert Hahn and Gerard Naddaf (ed.), Anaximander in Context: New Studies in the Origins of Greek Philosophy, Albany, 2003, p. 9-72.

6 Hom. Il. 8. 6-13, 14. 200-210, 18. 479-613, 21. 194-7. Hes. Th. 722-28. For an analysis of the world picture in early Greek society, see: Susan Cole, «I Know the Number of the Sand and the Measure of the Sea: Geography and Difference in the Early Greek World», in Kurt Raaflaud and Richard Talbert (ed.), Geography and Ethnography: Perceptions of the World in Pre-Modern Societies, Malden, MA, 2010, p. 197-214.

7 Hom. Il. 18. 607-8 (English translation by A. T. Murray, 1924).

8 On the concept of The Edges of the Earth, see: James Romm, The Edges of the Earth in Ancient Thought: Geography, Exploration, and Fiction, Princeton, NJ, 1991. Ann Bergren, The Etymology and Usage of Peirar in Early Greek Poetry: A Study in the Interrelationship of Metrics, Linguistics and Poetics, New York, 1975. On the Ocean as the mythological presentation of the chaotic primordial waters, see: Martin West, The East Face of Helicon: West Asiatic Elements in Greek Poetry and Myth, Oxford, 1997, p. 144-148. Richard Janko, in G. S. Kirk (ed.), The Iliad: A Commentary, Cambridge, 1985, p. 180-182.

9 On the concept of the Oikoumene, see: T. Schmitt, «Oikoumene», in Hubert Cancik and Helmuth Schneider (ed.), Brill’s New Pauly, Antiquity volumes, Brill Online, 2012.

10 Irad Malkin, A Small Greek World: Networks in the Ancient Mediterranean, New York, 2011. Peregrine Horden and Nicholas Purcell, The Corrupting Sea: A Study of Mediterranean History, Oxford, 2000.

11 On the division of the earth into continents and the ancient geographic debate concerning the number of continents, see: James Romm, «Continents, Climates and Cultures: Greek Theories of Global Structure», in Kurt Raaflaud and Richard Talbert (ed.), Geography and Ethnography: Perceptions of the World in Pre-Modern Societies, Malden, MA, 2010, p. 215-235. On the ongoing discussions concerning the dichotomy between Greeks and Barbarians, see: François Hartog, The Mirror of Herodotus: the Representation of the Other in the Writing of History, Berkeley, 1988 [1980]. Edith Hall, Inventing the Barbarian: Greek Self-Definition through Tragedy, Oxford, 1989. John Coleman and Clark Walz (ed.), Greeks and Barbarians: Essays on the Interactions between Greeks and Non-Greeks in Antiquity and the Consequences for Eurocentrism, Bethesda, Md. 1997. Thomas Harrison (ed.), Greeks and Barbarians, New York, 2002.

12 The earliest sources of the myth are epics from the seventh century: Aegimius (Hesiod, fr. 294; 296), Danais (EGF, p. 141) and Phoronis (EGF, p. 153-155). On them are based accounts by historians (Acusilaus, FGrH 2, fr. 26f.; Pherecydes, FGrH 3, fr. 67; Herodotus. 1. 1, 2. 41, 3. 27), as also the treatment of the material by lyric poets and dramatists (Pindar, Nemean, IV 35; Bacchylides, 19; Aeschylos, Suppliants 291-315; Prometheus Bound, 561-900; Sophocles, Inachus, TrGF IV, fr. 269a; Euripides, Phoenician Women, 247, 676-681, 828). The title Io is attested for two comedies (Sannyrium, CAF I, 795 fr. 10-11; Platonius, De differentia comoediarum, CAF I, 615, fr. 55). On the authorship of the Prometheus Bound, see: Mark Griffith, The Authenticity of Prometheus Bound, Cambridge, 1977.

13 For Io’s ancestors, see: The Hesiodic Catalogue of Women, F. 124 M-W, Aesch. PB. 590. Apollod. Bibl. 2.1.1.

14 English translation by Herbert Weir Smyth, Cambridge, MA, 1926.

15 Mark Griffith, The Authenticity of Prometheus Bound, Cambridge, 1977, p. 207.

16 Mark Griffith, Aeschylus: Prometheus Bound, Cambridge, 1983, p. 235.

17 English translation by Sir James George Frazer, 1921.

18 Irad Malkin, The Returns of Odysseus: Colonization and Ethnicity, Berkeley, 1998, p. 74-87.

19 See for example see: Hom. Od. 11. 121-134, where Teiresias prophesies to Odysseus regarding his future wanderings to a place where he will meet «men that know naught of the sea and eat not of food mingled with salt».

20 For discussions on the Periplous and the hodological perspective, see Aurelio Peretti, Il Periplo di Scilace: Studio sul Primo Portolano del Mediterraneo, Pisa, 1979. Jerker Blomqvist, The Date and Origin of the Greek Version of Hanno’s Periplus: With an Edition of the Text and a Translation, Lund, 1979. Pietro Janni, La Mappa e il Periplo: Cartografia Antica e Spazio Odologico, Roma, 1984. Jenny Strauss Clay, The Politics of Olympus: Form and Meaning in the Major Homeric Hymns, Princeton, NJ, 1989, p. 17-95. Alex Purves, Space and Time in Ancient Greek Narrative, New York, 2010, p. 97-117. Gorge Shipley, «Pseudo-Skylax on Attica», in N. Sekunda (ed.), Ergasteria: Works Presented to John Ellis Jones on His 80th Birthday, Gdansk, 2010, p. 100-114.

21 On the idea of the edges of the earth and its geographic and cultural meanings, see James Romm, The Edges of the Earth in Ancient Thought: Geography, Exploration, and Fiction, Princeton, NJ, 1991.

22 Mark Griffith, Aeschylus: Prometheus Bound. Cambridge, 1983, p. 81-82. For a discussion on the traditional location of scene in the Caucasus, see: Anthony J. Podelcki, Aeschylus: Prometheus Bound, Oxford, 2005, p. 160.

23 H. Alan Shapiro, «Amazons, Thracians and Scythians», Greek, Roman and Byzantine Studies 24 (2), 1994, p. 105-114. François Lissarrague, Greek Vases: The Athenians and their Images, New York, 2001. François Hartog, The Mirror of Herodotus: the Representation of the Other in the Writing of History, Berkeley, 1988. Edith Hall, Inventing the Barbarian: Greek Self-Definition through Tragedy, Oxford-New York, 1989.

24 On the location of the Caucasus in the play, see Margalit Finkelberg, «The Geography of Prometheus Vinctus», Rheinsches Museum 141, 1998, p. 119-142. Mark Griffith, Aeschylus: Prometheus Bound, Cambridge, 1983, p. 217. James Bolton and David Pennington, Aristeas of Proconnesus, Oxford, 1962, p. 52-55.

25 For another example, see Hdt. 1. 189.

26 Aeschy, Supp. 540-546.

27 For discussions on ancient separations of the earth into continents and their borders, see: Oliver Thomson, History of Ancient Geography, Cambridge, 1948, p. 696-714. James Bolton and David Pennington, Aristeas of Proconnesus, Oxford, 1962, p. 55-59. James Romm, «Continents, Climates and Cultures: Greek Theories of Global Structure», in Kurt Raaflaud and Richard Talbert (ed.), Geography and Ethnography: Perceptions of the World in Pre-Modern Societies, Chichester, UK-Malden, MA, 2010, p. 215-235. For a discussion on the inconsistency in the plays, see Mark Griffith, Aeschylus: Prometheus Bound, Cambridge, 1983, p. 219, 258-291.

28 See for example: Hdt. 4.45; Hecat. FGrH 1 fr. 195.

29 H. Johansen and Edward W. Whittle, Aeschylus: The Suppliants, Copenhagen, 1980, p. 436-437 (I Kommission hos Gyldendalske Boghandel).

30 A full and comprehensive reconstruction of The Hesiodic Catalogue of Women, which is based on some 400 fragments of the text, was conducted by R. Merkelbach and Martin West (ed.), Fragmenta Hesiodea, Oxford, 1967. West wrote in 1985 a comprehensive analysis of the text, it’s nature, structure and origins which, together with the former reconstruction, gives an overall understanding of this fascinating and sometimes enigmatic text. The genealogy of Io presented here is based on this reconstruction. See Martin West, The Hesiodic Catalogue of Women: Its Nature, Structure, and Origins, Oxford, 1985. For a collection of articles concerning the Catalogue, see: R. E. Hunter (ed.), The Hesiodic Catalogue of Women: Constructions and Reconstructions, Cambridge, 2005.

31 Carol Dougherth, Prometheus, London-New York, 2006.

32 For the full genealogy, see Martin West, The Hesiodic Catalogue of Women: Its Nature, Structure, and Origins, Oxford, 1985, p. 76-89, 177-8.

33 The myth is based mostly on the Aescylian trilogy the Danaides, from which only the Suppliants is preserved. Other sources that presented the myth: the lost epic poem Danais, EGF, fr. 1-2, dating to the seventh century; The Hesiodic Catalogue of Women, fr. 127-8, 160; Hecataeus of Miletus, FGrH I fr. 19; Pindarus, Nemean, 10. 6, Pythian, 9. 111-116; Herodotus, 2. 171, 181, 8. 151; Euripides, fr. 228N2.

34 For discussions on Greek ethnicity, see Jonathan Hall, Ethnic Identity in Greek Antiquity, Cambridge-New York, 1997; Hellenicity: between Ethnicity and Culture, Chicago, 2000.

35 Ken Dawden, Death and the Maiden: Girls’Initiation Rites in Greek Mythology, London, 1989, p. 153-160. Christoph Auffarth, «Constructing the Identity of the Polis: The Danaides as Ancestors», in R. Hägg (ed.), Ancient Greek Hero Cult: Proceedings of the Fifth International Seminar on Ancient Greek Cult, Organized by the Department of Classical Archaeology and Ancient History, Göteborg University, 21-23 April 1995, Stockholm, 1999, p. 43-45.

36 As demonstrated in: Irad Malkin, A Small Greek World: Networks in the Ancient Mediterranean, New York, 2011.

Table des illustrations

Titre Fig. 1: Maritime Mediation Model
URL http://books.openedition.org/editionsehess/docannexe/image/3055/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 344k
Titre Fig. 2: The Wanderings of Io
URL http://books.openedition.org/editionsehess/docannexe/image/3055/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 148k
Titre Fig. 3: Areas inhabited by Io’s descendants – Eponyms
URL http://books.openedition.org/editionsehess/docannexe/image/3055/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 124k
Titre Fig. 4: Wanderings of heroes
URL http://books.openedition.org/editionsehess/docannexe/image/3055/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 432k
Légende Fig. 5: The Mythical cycle of Io
URL http://books.openedition.org/editionsehess/docannexe/image/3055/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 123k

Auteur

University of Haifa

© Éditions de l’École des hautes études en sciences sociales, 2013

Conditions d’utilisation : http://www.openedition.org/6540