Myths and Legends of the Black Sea Region
Authors: Petrova Yu., Shevkun Yu.
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The first ideas of the Greeks about the Black Sea region and about the peoples, who inhabited it, had been formed long before the colonization thanks to the travelers and traders. The sea was rich in fish, and the coastal lands were rich in shipborne and construction timber, and in ironstone. But sailing in the Black sea was dangerous for seamen. Because of the weak indentation of the coasts there were few convenient places for the harbors, there were almost no islands and peninsulas, so habitual for the Mediterranean Greeks. For a long time, the Northern borders remained unexplored. The sea, which was called "Póntos” by the Greeks, was con-sidered to be a part of the Ocean, which surrounded the inhabited land by the bay. In the Ocean, according to the ancient ideas, was the entrance to the kingdom of the dead, so sailing on it was equal to the trip to the Hades. In the same place, in the Ocean, where chaos reigned, it was possible to meet the “blessed islands”, where the souls of the heroes lived. Such ideas, as well as the difficulties of navigation had been preventing the development of the shores of the Black Sea for a long time and had affected the very name of the sea, the Greek name "Πόντος Ἄξεινος Póntos Áxeinos", “Inhospitable Sea”. Later, during the period of colonization, it would be called “Εὔξεινος Πόντος Eúxeinos Póntos”, "Hospitable Sea". The information about the Black Sea coast, colored by fiction, has been preserved in myths, legends and poems.