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Meteorological Assessment of Homer's Odyssey

Randall S. CervenyDepartment of Geography, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona

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A chronology of the meteorological events described by Homer in the Odyssey following the Achæans' conquest of Troy (ca. 1200 B.C.) is developed. Application of polar front theory to the voyages of six separate fleets as they sailed from Troy provides a unique test of the factual nature of a portion of the epic. Nothing beyond the limits of accepted meteorological theory occurred during the first 18 days following the departure from Troy. The Odyssey consistently shows a credible set of weather observations. Evidence suggests that the tragedies experienced by the Achaeans in the Odyssey may have been caused by a cyclonic storm crossing the area in the early summer. If the Achæans' initial travels after the conquest of Troy are factual, the chronology developed in this study extends our knowledge of daily weather events to an earlier time than has previously been available and creates a new component in the global history of climate and weather. A description in the Odyssey of a possible microburst event is also presented.

A chronology of the meteorological events described by Homer in the Odyssey following the Achæans' conquest of Troy (ca. 1200 B.C.) is developed. Application of polar front theory to the voyages of six separate fleets as they sailed from Troy provides a unique test of the factual nature of a portion of the epic. Nothing beyond the limits of accepted meteorological theory occurred during the first 18 days following the departure from Troy. The Odyssey consistently shows a credible set of weather observations. Evidence suggests that the tragedies experienced by the Achaeans in the Odyssey may have been caused by a cyclonic storm crossing the area in the early summer. If the Achæans' initial travels after the conquest of Troy are factual, the chronology developed in this study extends our knowledge of daily weather events to an earlier time than has previously been available and creates a new component in the global history of climate and weather. A description in the Odyssey of a possible microburst event is also presented.

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