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The Land of the Solstices

Myth, geography and astronomy in ancient Greece

Tomislav Bilić
Publication Year:
212 pages
BAR number:


Following the recent upsurge of interest in ancient geography and astronomy, together with the ever-present fascination with myth, this book offers a fresh study of what is commonly but erroneously known as ‘solar myth’. This subject has been at the margins of scholarly interest, mainly due to the now-outdated theories of myth that used solar phenomena as an interpretative key to explain the majority of traditional narratives. This book offers a more rigorous methodology and more selective interpretation applicable to a group of particular myths, those referencing solar phenomena. The class of ‘solar’ myths discussed in this book is thus formed out of traditional narratives that either explicitly include references to solar movement or the recognition of such references does not require strained interpretations.

Tomislav Bilić works at the Archaeological Museum in Zagreb. He studied at the Zagreb Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, where he obtained his BA and Ph.D. in archaeology (prehistoric and classical). He is the author of several books, book chapters and papers published in a number of international journals.

‘This is a book that anyone interested in the relationship between myth and science should read. (T)he reader will be able to find unexpected surprises and a scientific courage not always present in this type of writing’ Juan Antonio Belmonte, Journal for the History of Astronomy, May 2022

‘The Land of the Solstices is an exhaustive study of solar myths and their underlying geographical and astronomical conceptions, in the first place in Homer’s Odyssey, but also in ancient Greek poetry, prose and early works on geography and astronomy, with enlightening excursions into other (mainly Mesopotamian and Egyptian) mythological traditions. It will be a treasure trove for scholars.’ Dr Dirk L. Couprie, Universiteit Leiden, The Netherlands

‘The author left no stone unturned: there is no ancient author, to my knowledge, pertinent to this theme that is not quoted, technically and scientifically accurately, and then incorporated into his theory and re-evaluated in accordance with his theory.’ Professor Marina Milićević Bradač, University of Zagreb, Croatia

‘This book offers a renovated look into some old issues in the field of Greek myth studies with valuable contributions, especially for myths that might be connected to astronomy and geography. This book will be of great interest to historians of religions and myth and for classical historians in general.’ Dr A. César González-García, Institute of Heritage Sciences, Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Introduction (S3039_9781407358628_Bilic_-_Introduction.pdf, 270 Kb) [Download]

Table of Contents (S3039_Bilic_9781407358628_-_ToC.pdf, 170 Kb) [Download]