Project Description: Periploi

PERIPLOI. The diffusion and impact of maritime knowledge in ancient culture and society 

Pascal Arnaud (Lyon, France)

The first mental representations of the known world, of its shape and size, were mainly based on a collective memory of the sea. Part of it was summarized in opuscula known as Periploi, a couple of which only have been preserved. The richest of these is the Stadiasmus of the Great Sea, of which we have just completed an annotated edition (in press as part of Neue Jacoby, 5 Brill). This project aims to better understand who wrote these texts, the material used for their compilation, the audience they targeted, the reasons that explain the diversity of their contents and their cultural impact.  It will eventually shed light to the modalities of transmission of maritime knowledge from the practitioners of the sea to the very heart of the urban culture of the ancients, and to evaluate to what extent sharing this knowledge with other groups changed its nature from implicit to formalised knowledge.