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Северо-Восток в эпоху, предшествовавшую открытию Сибири: западные утопии и дистопии

Abstract : The western imaginaire of most north-east parts of the known world started long before the invention of Siberia, in the 18th century. The ancient and medieval episodes of this story are represented by a series of utopias (paradisiac lands) and dystopias (infernal places), transmitted by the peoples of the northern steppes, the Iranian and Semitic populations of East, the Greeks and Romans of the West. From Homer and Aeschylus to Claudius Ptolemy and Ammianus Marcellinus, the Abioi, most righteous of men, are the bons sauvages living on the north-eastern edges of the world, from the Black Sea to the steppe beyond the Urals. In the 6th century BC, Aristeas of Proconnesos (quoted by Herodotus, Maximus of Tyre and Tzetzes) tells the mystic story of his fantastic trip to the happy people leaving beyond the northern wind, the Hyperboreans, through the lands of the Issedones and of the Arimaspi fighting the Griffins. From the 5th century BC (in the tragic verses of Aeschylus and the Orphic Argonautica), however, this land of the Rising Sun and of gold became part of the Underworld (watered by the rivers Plouton and Acheron). In early Christian times, the North (to the left of Paradise, when looking east) was transformed into a terrestrial Hell (Hieronymus, the Apocalypse of Paul), occupied by the Ten lost tribes of Israel and by the peoples of Gog and Magog. Different historical people were identified with the Biblical Gog and Magog, because of their name (Goths, Getai), geographical origin (Massagetai, Huns, Khazars, Hungarians, Turks, Tartars). The images of these peoples in Eastern and Western texts and maps are rather fantasies inspired by the fear of the apocalyptic end, rather than echoes of their historical existence. This does not mean, however, that no reliable data penetrated from the Altaic and Siberian regions to the Mediterranean in pre-modern times. Direct contacts were possible under some empires: it first happened under the Achaemenids, when information about northern shamanism, nomadic yurts and eternal snows entered the Greek literature. The long series of transfers through which the realia as well as the fictions about the north-east reached the Mediterranean is a good illustration of the cultural processes through which we made up the image of our world.
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Submitted on : Friday, August 6, 2021 - 2:03:21 PM
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Anca Dan. Северо-Восток в эпоху, предшествовавшую открытию Сибири: западные утопии и дистопии. Ekaterina Dmitrieva; Pavel Alekseev; Michel Espagne. SIBERIA AS A FIELD OF CULTURAL INTERACTIONS: LITERATURE, ANTHROPOLOGY, HISTORIOGRAPHY, ETHNOLOGY, OOO Azbukovnik Publ., pp.37-102, 2020, 978-5-91172-212-8. ⟨10.22455/978-5-91172-212-8⟩. ⟨halshs-03255862⟩



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