Horizons: geography, fantasy & mythology at the edges of the world

Ancient geography

A series of pages outlining the geographical notions of the peoples of the ancient Near East.

Composed of ancient Mesopotamian, Egyptian & Levantine sources (including the Bible), this section features ancient writings depicting the heavens, earth & underworlds as conceived by these ancient nations. Additionally, potential routes leading from one to another, most likely to be found at the uttermost ends of this mortal plane, are sought.

Classical geography

The geographies of classical myth, legend & historical writing.

Starting with the geographical conceptions memorialised in the work of the likes of Homer & Hesiod, this section traces Greek geography from its infancy in the realm of myth to something more systematic through the work of men like Herodotus, culminating in a group of well-known texts by Diodorus Siculus, Strabo, Pliny & Pomponius Mela.

Irish geography

Texts from Ireland, including a section on St. Brendan, the immrama, echtrae & others appertaining to otherworldly journeys.

From searching for clues to Irish (and Celtic) cosmology, through to the visions of the otherworld so vividly described by Irish writers, to the early Christian monks seeking solitude and the stories which emerged from their voyages.

Arab & Islamic geography

Geographical texts from the Qur'an, Hadith, geographical & fantastical lore.

This section features the work of the great Muslim geographer Al-Idrisi, as well as the tales of Sinbad. In addition, the explorations of Muslims in the Atlantic are covered, as are notices of strange, paradisiacal lands which appear in the works of Shi'a authors, in which dwells the hidden 'Imam and his retinue.

Indian & Iranian geography

The world according to Hindus, Jains, Zoroastrians & Buddhists.

From the geographical conceptions of the Rg Veda & Avesta, through the Upanishads, Puranas & classical works in Middle Persian to the often-mistaken theories based loosely on the lore of these great civilisations.

Chinese geographical works

The geographies of the Chinese classics & beyond.

The Chinese classics contain a wealth of geographical information, which I aim to gather under this rubric. The Japanese & Koreans too are featured. Also, the explorations dispatched from this part of the world contain all manner of interesting information.

Northern geography

Focussing on the geographical writings of the Norse, Anglo-Saxons, Frisians, other Germanic peoples and the rest of the northern peoples (Britons, Slavs, Balts).

From the Nine Worlds around Yggdrasil to the cities at the ends of the earth in Adrian & Ritheus, to Norse exploration of the New World and Frisian attempts to chart the northern seas, this section aims to gather references to places, things & people.

Later medieval European exploration

The High Medieval world.

Medieval exploration brought back remarkable tales from the east and laid the foundations for the likes of Columbus, whilst writers of fantastic material capitalised on their exploits to fill the pages of their "bestsellers "

Medieval & post-medieval European fantasy & adventure

From national epics to burlesque parodies.

This section contains a wide variety of high & late medieval and post-medieval material featuring otherworldly sojourns, fantastic voyages & interesting religious & eschatological content.

Renaissance Europe's "Age of Discovery"

A series of accounts of the great explorers of Africa, India & the Americas...

... what they found there, what they hoped to find - and places & things they didn't find.


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