Elements of Engineering Geology and Geotechnical Engineering in the Homeric Poems

  • Dimitrios Zekkos
  • George Athanasopoulos
  • Adda Athanasopoulos Zekkos
  • Ioannis Manousakis
Part of the History of Mechanism and Machine Science book series (HMMS, volume 6)

This paper examines the information provided by Homer related to the fields of engineering geology and geotechnical engineering. The information is subsequently compared against archaeological findings. The Homeric descriptions of battle scenes, of ancient cities and the geologic environment suggest that an understanding of some of the geologic processes already existed at the time of Homer, probably as a result of observations of the geologic environment. A study of the geologic descriptors reveals that Homer was particularly careful in the selection of the words he used in his accounts. The poems also provide some insight into issues related to geotechnical engineering. Homer describes a deep excavation constructed by the Achaeans for defensive purposes that failed during the Trojan war. Based on the Homeric characterizations, the defensive excavation appears to have been an interesting and impressive technical project. In addition, a variety of engineering projects are mentioned, such as roads, embankments, and harbors. Of particular interest are also Homer's comments on the causes of various failures. The information provided on topics related to the field of engineering geology and geotechnical engineering is remarkable given the scope of the poems.


Geologic Environment Engineer Geology Geotechnical Engineering Engineering Geology Road Infrastructure 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.GeoSyntec ConsultantsOaklandUSA
  2. 2.Department of Civil EngineeringUniversity of PatrasPatrasGreece
  3. 3.University of California at BerkeleyBerkeleyUSA
  4. 4.Dromos ConsultingHalandriGreece

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