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Prof. Catherine M. Connors (Washington) "Notes from underground: Geology and Revelation in Heliodorus’ Aethiopica"

Classics and Ancient History Research Seminar.

A Department of Classics and Ancient History seminar
Date27 March 2019
PlaceAmory B219

In his expansive and adventurous novel the Aethiopica, Heliodorus makes extensive use of vocabulary and motifs of geological and geographical discourse about rivers, caves and other natural features.

Ancient discussions of geology and geography preserved in Strabo, Seneca’s Natural Questions, and elsewhere consider how the visible world is related to and shaped by physical processes that are not always visible to an observer’s eye, and this kind of thinking is a robust part of discussions of the underworld in antiquity. Heliodorus’ extensive use of geological and geographical knowledge throughout his narrative invites readers to measure the analytical techniques developed for thinking about the relation of the visible to the invisible against his own tale of concealment, death-defying ordeals,  and revelation.

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