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Author Topic: Hydromythology and the Ancient Greek World: An Earth Science Perspective Emphasizing Karst Hydrology  (Read 4031 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Topic Start: September 17, 2010, 08:42:54 pm »

Title: Hydromythology and the Ancient Greek World: An Earth Science Perspective Emphasizing Karst Hydrology
Author(s): Cindy Clendenon
Publisher: Lansing, Mich.:  Fineline Science Press
Publication Date: 2009
ISBN: 0981842100
Current Price and More Info from Amazon

From the Bryn Mawr Classic Review:
The intriguing project of Hydromythology and the Ancient Greek World is to consider the extent to which the surprising features of caves, sinkholes, streams, and so forth in Greek myths may reflect features of karstic geological formations. The author is a water scientist who 'works at a state environmental protection agency where she manages water and wastewater infrastructure projects' (p. 502). Her grandfather farmed in a karstic area on the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee; her professional pursuit of water science brought her in contact with karstic formations in Indiana and Michigan (p. x-xi). These experiences sparked her interest in subterranean streams, caves, sinkholes and other features in Greek mythology. Clendenon brings to the enterprise a lively practical interest in hydrology and geomorphology and an engaging enthusiasm for fearless speculation. The result is refreshing, if not completely satisfying.

Read the full review at the Bryn Mawr Classic Review web site.

Additional Description:
Hydromythology and the Ancient Greek World: An Earth Science Perspective Emphasizing Karst Hydrology is the first integration of hydrology (water science) and karstology (a branch of geology) with Greek and Latin mythographic narratives spanning the millennium from Homer to Pausanias. Author-editor Cindy Clendenon demonstrates that karstic terrains commonly found throughout Greece were the backdrops for many ancient myths and travelogues. By examining ancient writings in the context of environmental principles, Hydromythology and the Ancient Greek World shows readers the richness of naturalistic, water-related interpretations. Ancient tales about water may have contained embellishments regarding causation, but the physical facts behind the stories are well grounded in the earth sciences.

Although written for the educated lay reader, Hydromythology and the Ancient Greek World contains enough specialized information to hold the interest of classicists, mythologists, hydrogeologists, geologists, and environmental scientists. Educators in the classical humanities and the sciences will benefit from the blending of ancient literary accounts, prescientific observations, and modern scientific knowledge.

Because it weaves water science, earth science, and the classical humanities into a readable, understandable presentation, Hydromythology and the Ancient Greek World is appropriate for university and community college libraries and public libraries.

Hydromythology is closely related to geomythology, a field of study that sprouted from the term coined in 1966 by the late Dorothy Vitaliano, a technical translator for the U.S. Geological Survey. Although geomythology languished as a field of inquiry for 35 years, it has surged in popularity as journal articles since the year 2000 increasingly have presented proofs that ancient texts were geologically accurate.

Despite its burgeoning popularity and far-ranging scope, geomythology strongly favors the study of catastrophic earthquakes, volcanoes, and tsunamis. It overlooks the everyday water environments (streams, lakes, springs, and seas) as experienced by the ancient Greeks and Romans during nonextreme environmental conditions. In particular, geomythology ignores myths set in karstic terrains. Hydromythology and the Ancient Greek World fills the gap by surveying ancient stories about karstic and nonkarstic waters in the Aegean region.

Karst describes landscapes dominated by soluble rocks that have slowly dissolved to yield caves, sinkholes, underground water passages, large perennial springs, and other natural features. Karsts occur worldwide, and some UNESCO World Heritage Sites include karstic features.

Among the author's conclusions:

1. The karstic landscapes of Arcadia and Argolis are figuratively represented in the interwoven myths of the Danaids, Poseidon, Amymone, and Hera;

2. The myth of Alpheus and Arethusa articulates the physical possibility of significant offshore travel of fresh terrestrial groundwater through a karstified seabed;

3. The Archaic Greek concept of Hell was a wind-whipped, water-filled karstic pit that in later centuries was supplanted by the Romanized concept of a volcanic lake of fire;

4. The now-extinct Lake Tritonis once was a Cyrenaican lagoon-sabkha complex near today s Sabkha Ghuzayyil and Marsa Brega, Libya (contrary to popular opinion which places Tritonis in Tunisia);

5. An earthquake-triggered karstic collapse swallowed Amphiaraus during the Seven Against Thebes battle; and

6. The natural dislodging of a sinkhole plug caused the sudden drainage of karstic Lake Stymphalus and the associated drowning of a determined deer hunter who literally was sucked down the drain.

Special Notes:

Legal Notes: Some description text and item pictures in this post may come from and are used by permission. The Cauldron is an Amazon Affiliate and purchases made through the Amazon links in this message help support The Cauldron.

Discussion and reviews of this book are welcome in this thread. If you've read the book, please tell us what you think of it and why.

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