Friday, April 10, 2009

surfing in the classics

my dad, a voracious reader, has spotted another reference to surfing in classical literature. an earlier post was about surfing in homer's illiad. here's another, from Virgil's The Aeneid, written late 1st centry bc, 700 years after the Illiad. virgil, i'm told, was literate, whereas homer's epic was essentially a poem told in the oral tradition. i would imagine it took hours if not days to recite. In the story, virgil takes a character from the illiad, aeneas, and makes him a trojan survivor of the destruction of Troy. he sets out to found a new city and becomes the founder of Rome. in Aeneid, book 1, a great storm at sea threatens Aeneas' ships, inducing Neptune and his buddy Triton to calm things down. "and Triton, side by side, worked to dislodge the grounded ships; then Neptune with his trident Heaved them away, opened the miles of shoals, Tempered the sea, and in his car departed, gliding over the wave-tops on light wheels."
makes me wonder how far back wave gliding was considered a super human ability? walking on water figures as an idea in the new testament as well, and even geeks at MIT have trained science on the subject.

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