Thursday, November 15, 2012

Where’s There: Hellespont

Standing in Leander’s Tower in 1453, Professor Childermass says that the tower “stands on a tiny spit of land in the Hellespont, the narrow body of water that runs between the Black Sea, which north of here, and the Sea of Marmara, which is below us [The Trolley to Yesterday; 28].

The Turkish Straits are two narrow channels of water in Turkey that are considered the boundary between the continents of Europe and Asia.
  • The Bosphorus (shaded red in the graphic) connects the Sea of Marmara with the Black Sea in the north. It runs through the city of Istanbul, making it a city located on two continents.
  • The Dardanelles (shaded yellow in the graphic) connects the Sea of Marmara with the Mediterranean in the southwest, near the city of Çanakkale. The Dardanelles were historically also known as the Hellespont.
With those defined, does anyone see something amiss in what Childermass (or perhaps Bellairs) has said? It sounds as if there was a rare geographical error with this comment as the Hellespont is actually south of Constantinople, and the Bosporus is the true location of Leander’s Tower. Gorey seems to have identified the correct name in the book's map [page 26].

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