How might the Greeks have colonised Australia?

The Greek scenario is a variant of the first ‘Off the Beaten Track’ story, which involved the Phoenicians. In the scenario of Shukkinak, created in Melbourne, Phoenicians extend their trade routes partly to relieve pressure from advancing Greek colonists in the Meditteranean. In the Mount Gambier scenario, Alexander the Great uncovers this mysterious Phoenician trading route as he conquers their territory around 350BC. Seeing himself as a great promoter of philosophical wisdom, he takes a fancy that this large southern continent might be the fabled lost island of Atlantis. He sends some of his finest explorers to investigate.

Initial failure only goads Alexander to send a more extensive party. With the eventual Roman conquest of the Balkans, a large contingent of Greeks seeks exile in the southern island. These exiles make a partnership with the Phoenicians, allowing them military control of the island while they administer its cultural and political affairs.

While the idealistic Greeks persue their exploration of the continent, hoping to find the fabled inland sea, others more sceptical claim this land as Homer’s mythical Cimmeria, the island at the end of the world. Meanwhile, various peoples from the Balkans, including an Albanian Gheg tribe, seek refuge from wars in this wide open land.

Some food for the imagination


Poseidon, receiving for his lot the island of Atlantis, begat children by a mortal woman, and settled them in a part of the island, which I will describe. Looking towards the sea, but in the centre of the whole island, there was a plain which is said to have been the fairest of all plains and very fertile. Near the plain again, and also in the centre of the island at a distance of about fifty stadia, there was a mountain not very high on any side.

In this mountain there dwelt one of the earth born primeval men of that country, whose name was Evenor, and he had a wife named Leucippe, and they had an only daughter who was called Cleito. The maiden had already reached womanhood, when her father and mother died; Poseidon fell in love with her and had intercourse with her, and breaking the ground, inclosed the hill in which she dwelt all round, making alternate zones of sea and land larger and smaller, encircling one another; there were two of land and three of water, which he turned as with a lathe, each having its circumference equidistant every way from the centre, so that no man could get to the island, for ships and voyages were not as yet. He himself, being a god, found no difficulty in making special arrangements for the centre island, bringing up two springs of water from beneath the earth, one of warm water and the other of cold, and making every variety of food to spring up abundantly from the soil.

Plato Critias


All day long her sails were full as she held her course over the sea, but when the sun went down and darkness was over all the earth, we got into the deep waters of the river Oceanus, where lie the land and city of the Cimmerians who live enshrouded in mist and darkness which the rays of the sun never pierce neither at his rising nor as he goes down again out of the heavens, but the poor wretches live in one long melancholy night. When we got there we beached the ship, took the sheep out of her, and went

Homer Odyssey 11.14

Hence loathed Melancholy

Of Cerberus, and blackest midnight born,

In Stygian Cave forlorn

'Mongst horrid shapes, and shreiks, and sights unholy,

Find out som uncouth cell,

Where brooding darknes spreads his jealous wings,

And the night-Raven sings;

There under Ebon shades, and low-brow'd Rocks,

As ragged as thy Locks,

In dark Cimmerian desert ever dwell.

John Milton L’Allegro

The Greek spirit

[Odysseus] There is nothing worse for mortal men than the vagrant life, but still for the sake of the cursed stomach people endure hard sorrows, when roving and pain and grief befall them.

Homer Odyssey

Happy is he among men upon earth who has seen these mysteries; but he who is uninitiate and who has no part in them, never has lot of like good things once he is dead, down in the darkness and gloom.... Right blessed is he among men on earth

whom they freely love ...

Homer Hymn to Demeter

For Apollo is the prophesying and discerning god—Light, that makes everything clear. He is, moreover, the healer and strengthener; as also the destroyer, for he kills men. He is the propitiating and purifying god, e.g., in contravention of the Eumenidies -- the ancient subterrene divinities -- who exact hard stern justice. He himself is pure; he has no wife, but only a sister, and is not involved in various disgusting adventures, like Zeus.

G.W.F. Hegel The Philosophy of History, 1956

The gods are personalities, concrete individualities; an allegorical being has no qualities, but is itself one quality and no more. The gods are, moreover, special characters, since in each of them one peculiarity predominates as the characteric one; but it would be vain to try to bring this circle of characters into a system. Zeus, perhaps, may be regarded as ruling the other gods, but not with substantial power; so that they are left free to their own idiosyncrasy... That higher thought, the knowledge of Unity as God -- the One Spirit -- lay beyond that grade of thought which the Greeks had attained.

G.W.F. Hegel The Philosophy of History, 1956

If his hard-fought battle against anthropologism kept him from idealizing Hellenic culture, he nonetheless admired and, indeed, practiced the kind of ethical parrhesia whose roots he uncovered in Plato but whose flower he savored among the `good' Cynics. For he too was taken with the crafted beauty of life, with the freedom of resistance, with the inverted, the fragmented, the aleatory. Indeed, there is something Greek about his tragic passing and about the philosophical torso he left behind.

Thomas Flynn Foucault as parrhesiast, 1988

The uppermost idea with Hellenism is to see things as they really are; the uppermost idea with Hebraism is conduct and obedience. Nothing can do away with this ineffaceable different.

Matthew Arnold Culture and Anarchy, 1931

thus formed parallel contrasts: hot versus clothed bodies; naked men versus clothed women; light, `out-of-door' spaces versus the darkened spaces of the pit and the roof at night; the challenging exposures of the logos didonai and the healing cloak of the mythos; the body of power often losing self-control by the very force of its words versus the oppressed bodies united in ritual, even if that bond could not be articulated, justified, or explained.

Richard Sennett Flesh and Stone, 1994

Greek thought introduced order into becoming from the outside (on the basis of numbers, ideas, forms), whereas in Chinese thought order is conceived as lying within becoming; it is what makes becoming a process.

François Jullien The Propensity of Things, 1995

Phoenician alphabet: use of vowels and writing from left ? right )bustrophedon.

The Greek names of the letters (alpha, beta, gamma, and so on) with their unalterable order. These are Semitic words—bull, house and so on—which have no sense at all in Greek. They were preserved for one particular reason: All teaching of reading and writing began with learning this sequence by heart.

Walter Burkert The Orientalizing Revolution, 1992


blood is never unavenged

Relationships stemming from the side of the father are called `The Tree of Blood'.

Relationships stemming from the side of the mother are called `The Tree of Milk'

The value of a man's life is the same, whether he is handsome or ugly

Leke Dukagjini Kanuni, 1989

Descendents cropped up in other countries and in other periods, as regimes or historical monuments, but it was hard to believe that they had first been conceived in the middle of the Egyptian desert. They always took on false names, and only on two occasions did they make the mistake of declaring themselves openly, like a man removing or accidentally dropping his terrifying mask. The first was Timur the Lame's skullstacks; their second reappearance took place six hundred years later, in the land that had previously belonged to the Illyrians and had now been handed down to their descendents under the name of Albania. Like the product of a cosmic copulation such as the Ancients might have imagined - in which sperm and eggs are dispersed in huge abandon and engender a multitude of creatures or celestial bodies - the old pyramid spawned not thousands, but hundreds of thousands of tiddlers. They were called bunkers

Ismail Kadare The Pyramid, 1996