Mediterranean Sailing

Some listservs are still great! "Maps, Air Photo, GIS Forum - Map Librarianship" MAPS-L@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU is one of them. Since it's got a closed archive (my only complaint), I thought I'd repost here my contribution to a discussion about mapping Homer's Odyssey in GIS.

I'd be grateful for corrections or additional suggestions via email.

I would recommend the student and their advisors make themselves aware first of

Contacting some of the principals involved in these projects after following up the project’s publications lists would help the student ground their study with regard to the significant body of prior art regarding ancient sea travel and Homeric historicity and geography.

For essential background (including the sources and comparanda), I would start with Lionel Casson (see below), though one will find nothing really therein in the way of modeling (but he will have addressed Homer and his reception variously).

For the particular emphasis in this thesis, I would suggest attempting to contact Justin Leidwanger, who developed the sea travel model adapted for Orbis (which, if I remember correctly, involves computing a gridded ocean cost raster in GIS on the basis of current, wind, and other factors and then running Monte Carlo simulations across it using some sort of probabilistic model for route preference). Personnel at the Ancient World Mapping Center in Chapel Hill (directed by Lindsay Holman) might also be able to provide additional pointers.

Casson (available in various reprints and paperback editions):

  • The Ancient Mariners: Seafarers and Sea Fighters of the Mediterranean in Ancient Times. Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press, 1991.
  • Ships and Seafaring in Ancient Times. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1996.
  • Travel in the Ancient World. 3rd. ed. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1995.