The experience of space in relation to architecture in the Homeric epics

Theodorou, Maria (1998). The experience of space in relation to architecture in the Homeric epics. PhD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000e239

Abstract

Is there a concept of space 'before' philosophy? The thesis addresses a question which is relevant to contemporary architectural theory but it attempts an answer through the examination of the Homeric text. The general relevance of this is because the Homeric text may be said to be historical antecedent to the development of philosophy. Therefore it provides the possibility for a different understanding of space. What makes the Homeric text a kind of text-case is that it predates the concept of space itself - in the sense of Platonic chora 'receptacle', that is, space as container. Our reading of the Homeric text is goverried by an attempt to reconstruct the possible experiences of spatial relations as they are conveyed by the Homeric discourse. The thesis concentrates upon central Homeric terms chore/os, domos, thure, megaron and thalamos, in order to analyse them in terms of the experiences of which they were an element. This involves a close analysis of the Homeric text. But this reading faces two major obstacles in the attempt to restore the historical and specific character of the Homeric categories. These two obstacles are different sides of the coin 'anachronism'. One major form of anachronism is to permit the philosophical definition of space and of architectural elements to define the Homeric relations whereas those relations actually predate and may be thought to be independent of philosophy. The second obstacle to this reading is aspects of philosophy which has systematically reduced the independence of the Homeric text by allowing terms to be defined by philosophy and then projected backwards as Homeric reading.

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