Foreign Languages & Literatures ETDs


Daniel Bellum

Publication Date



The sea upon which Odysseus wanders in Homer's Odyssey is a chaotic and unpredictable place, empty of historical non-Greek cultures, but full of sea creatures, monsters, and deities eager to ensnare and devour the long-suffering hero. However, the Mediterranean of the Archaic Age that produced the Odyssey was a well-charted sea, where Greeks frequently interacted with foreigners. This thesis approaches the sea in the Odyssey as a mythic borderland, a medium for conceptualized representations of actual intercultural exchanges between archaic Greeks and other cultures of the ancient Mediterranean. Further, using postcolonial theory, this study attempts to understand how the various maritime oddities within the Odyssey give form to the trauma and cultural ambiguity inherent in ancient sea travel. Finally, this thesis explores how Odysseus successfully adapts his own identity to cope with the sea's chaotic landscape, allowing the poem's ancient audience to mediate their own troubling experiences.


monsters, Odyssey, postcolonial, cultural identity, Homer, Proteus, Leukothea, Nausikaa, Odysseus

Document Type




Degree Name

Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies

Level of Degree


Department Name

Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures

First Advisor

Smith, Warren

First Committee Member (Chair)

Cyrino, Monica

Second Committee Member

Garcia, Lorenzo Jr