THE “Historic Questions,” just published by this eminent naturalist, aim at solving by evidence from natural history certain disputed traditions which have puzzled historical critics. The first subject remarked on is the “swan's song,” which seems so fanciful a myth to western nations accustomed only to the songless swan, which the Russians call shipûn, the “hisser,” but not to the other swan, which they name klikûn, the “caller,” whose melancholy notes are so often heard by travellers in North-East Europe and North Asia; it is stated on no less authority than that of Pallas, that the swans utter these tones when mortally wounded. Next follows an examination of the voyages of Odysseus, made with the view of ascertaining how much of ancient geography is embodied in the Homeric narrative. According to Dr. v. Baer's map, several localities of the ideal voyage are to be traced in the Black Sea, at whose entrance are Skylla and Charybdis and the Symplegades, while the Lasstrygonians dwelt in the Krimea, and Kimmerian darkness began at the opening into the Sea of Azof. Lastly, the locality of the Biblical Ophir is discussed; Dr. v. Baer finds it in the Peninsula of Malacca.
Hisiorische Fragen mit Hülfe der Naturwissenschaften beantwortet,
von Dr. Karl Ernst v. Baer.
Studien aus dem Gebiete der Naturivissensckaften,
von Dr. K. E. v. Baer, Part II., Sec. I. (St. Petersburg, 1873.)
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Hisiorische Fragen mit Hülfe der Naturwissenschaften beantwortet, Studien aus dem Gebiete der Naturivissensckaften . Nature 9, 241 (1874). https://doi.org/10.1038/009241b0