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The Argonauts' Bridges
The Argonauts' Bridges
© 201ß by Joannes Richter Veröffentlicht bei Lulu www.lulu.com Alle Rechte vorbehalten
1 2 3 4 Transitions for amphibious vessels........................................7 The Argonauts' routes (1300 BC)...........................................9 Land-Bridges........................................................................11 Parameters for Transition-Routes........................................13 Argonauts' track # 1 at Würmlingen..............................13 Argonauts' track # 2 at Tieringen...................................14 Argonauts' track # 3 at Albstadt....................................15 Argonauts' track # 4 at Burladingen..............................15 Summary ......................................................................16
Table of Illustrations
Fig. 1: Water divides for the European rivers............................8 Fig. 2: Panorama map for the Argonauts' route #2 .................14
Table 1: Land-bridges suitable for Argonauts' transitions........11 Table 2: Transitions between Neckar and Danube...................13
1 Transitions for amphibious vessels
An amphibious vehicle (or simply amphibian), is a vehicle or craft, that is a means of transport, viable on land as well as on water – just like an amphibian. The earliest amphibious vessel seems to have been described some 1300 years before Christ. The ship was so light it could be carried for twelve days by 50 sailors. The Argonauts' legends may have been written to document the amber and tin trading between Greece and the North respectively East Sea regions. This manuscript researches some of the possible transitions at the Swabian Alps or Swabian Jura at Southern Germany. Four transitions have been identified at the sources of the rivers Danube and Neckar. An optimal transition has been found at a length of 50kilometers between Fridingen at the Danube and Rottweil at the Neckar. requiring a land-bridge of merely a few hundred meters at the water divide between Rhine and Danube. The optimal route between Fridingen and Rottweil also reveals some remarkable attributes. First of all there is an area called Berner Fields1 located near Rottweil overlooking the river Neckar. The valley for the transition route has been named Bärenthal (→ Bernthal, valley of Burning stones ?) and Hammer (→ probably related to Amber). These unique attributes may promote route #2 to an ancient transition track connection the Rhine and the Danube for archaic amber and tin trading between the North Sea and the Black Sea.
Probably related to Bern (to Swiss Capital or an old-German word for „to burn“) or Bernstein (German: amber, „burning stone“)
These transitions will be found near the sources of the Danube in Southern Germany, which are closely located to the sources of the river Neckar.
Fig. 1: Water divides for the European rivers
Source:Water divides for the European rivers Author Sansculotte licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.
2 The Argonauts' routes (1300 BC)
In order to colonize the coastal areas around the Black Sea Jason gathers fifty2 brave princes from Hellas and the surrounding isles: Heracles, Pereithous and Theseus, Castor and Pollux, Admetus, Peleus, Amphion, two sons of Boreas, and the famous singer Orpheus. From a holy oak tree they build a fast ship and they name it Argo, “the Fast One”. After the Argo the heroes call themselves Argonauts. They sail to Troy and after a rest in the harbour they row the vessel through the Bosporus into the Black Sea, where the men with the help of princess Medea steals the Golden Hide from Aeætes, king of Colchis. They leave the city accompanied by Medea and her little brother Absysrtus. To slow down the angry followers Medea kills Absysrtus and throws her brother’s limbs into the water. Luckily they are able to escape the followers. In her anger for the terrible murder Hera throws the ship on the island Electris and now the ship utters a prophecy, they will only return after paying for the killing of Absysrtus. They sail into the river Erydanos3 and the men hear the weeping Hellades and their amber tear-drops falling into the sea. And here the blind singer Phineus suggests they should take another route on their way home. From” „Argonautika4“
The numers and names are varying. According to Applolonius there are 53, to Appolodorus only 44 and to Hyginus there are even 68 Argonauts. 3 Æridanus (Ηριδανος) = mythical name for the Italian river Padus, Po 4 Argonautika, Appolonius Rhodios, around 295-215 b.Chr.
In a black cloud the Argo sails along numerous Celtic tribes many a day and nights. At the end of the river the adventurers leave the vessel and carry it for twelve days and nights on their backs to another river, flowing westward and leading them to a cold and foreign land. Ice covers the ship and the sailors even freeze in the afternoon sun, while visiting the islands at the edge of the world. Chilled to the bone the crew discovers big, white bears moving on the ice shelves. …. After a long journey crossing the Northern Seas they sail into the Atlantic, heading southwards until they reach the Atlantic pillars at the entrance of the Mediterranean Sea. Now the journey Jason and his men have travelled so far ends in a happy end and they return back home to Hellas at last. From: Ovid’s “Medea”5
The Argonauts' legend leads the Greek sailors to the Black Sea, but Jason is not satisfied. Having robbed the Golden Hide they decide to travel northwards towards the richest amber sources. Unfortunately we do not know, which river was chosen. One source claims the Danube and the Adriatic Sea as the goal of the journey, but others describe rivers flowing to the North countries.
From a lost original of Ovid’s Medea, quoted in “Tale of the Greek Heroes”, by Roger Lancelyn Green
Possible routes between the North Seas and the Black Sea respectively the Mediterranean Sea may be: Starting river Danube and Inn Danube Danube Dnjestr Landbridge to: Adige Rhine Neckar and Rhine Bug Landbridge near: eg. Brennerpass Freiburg Schwenningen Peremyslany, near the city of L’vov (Lemberg) Southside of Brest Baranavicy Distance landbridge ca. 30 km ca. 30 km ca. 5 km ca. 10 km
Bug Djnepr und Pripyat Djnepr und Pripyat Don and Wolga
Bug Bug Nemunas (Memel) Duna (Riga)
ca. 100 km ca. 7 km ca. 5 km
Danube and Sava
Isonzo (-> Adriatic Sea)
Andropolis ca. 25 km and Peno in the Valda Hills 25 km west of Moscow. Predilpass in ca. 30 km the Karawank Mountains
Table 1: Land-bridges suitable for Argonauts' transitions 11
The legend describes the Argonaut tracks along the Danube and we will first have to analyse the routes between Danube and the Rhine, which have been marked yellow in table 1. Transfer areas may be located at the upper Danube, where the Black Forest may be crossed near Freiburg in order to reach the river Rhine. The alternative route heads to the north to the river Neckar. In both cases a few „Burner“-towns are available. The Danube sources are surrounded by Hammereisenbach, Brandkopf and Oberbrand at the borderside of the creek Brandbach. These „Burner“-names may correlate to the burning stone (English: amber). The connection to the Neckar is located at Beuron and leads by Bärenthal, Bärental-Hammer at the Bara. By land and river the road may be followed to Tubingen, where the river Ammer, Ammern and Hammerwasen may be found near Ammerbuch. Further north the town Bernhausen is found on the road to Heilbronn, from where the amber road leads to Mannheim/Rhine. The Neckar-Danube transitions however are rather mountainous and they are rather difficult for 50 men, carrying a vessel on their backs. We will need to investigate these transitions in detail.
4 Parameters for Transition-Routes
Nr. Length Land- Water Neckar-gate Danube-gate Bridge Divides #1 #2 #3 #4 21km 50km 60km 70km 21 km < 1km 4km --700m 800m 800m 800m 600m 600m 400m 400m 670m 650m 600m 600m
Table 2: Transitions between Neckar and Danube The following 4 documented Argonauts' routes have been digitized at Google-Maps at the German website Argonautenrouten auf der Schwäbischen Alb.You may apply Google Earth to travel along the route and view the valleys and slopes.
Argonauts' track # 1 at Würmlingen
The water divide is located at Würmlingen, respectively Egelsee at an altitude of approximately 700 m Höhe. The Danube transition at Tuttlingen is located at 670 m, the Neckar transition near Bühlingen at 600 m. Track #1 is merely 15 Miles long and will cover a difference of level of 100 meters. Bühlingen (Neckar) – Neufra – Neuhaus – Hofen – Spaichingen – Balgheim – Egelsee – Höfle – Weilheim – Wurmlingen – Tuttlingen (at the locomotives' shack) This track however does not supply a river or creek. The vessel will have to be pulled over a land-bridge of approximately 15 miles (approximately 22 kilometres). 13
Argonauts' track # 2 at Tieringen
This track #2 is 28,3 miles ( approximately 50 km) long and is located near the mountain Staufenberg (altitude 995 m). The water divide at 800m is located near Tieringen.
Fig. 2: Panorama map for the Argonauts' route #2
The Danube transition at Fridingen is located at an altitude of 650 m, the Neckar transition near Berner Feld at 600 m. Track #2 will cover a difference of level of 200 meters. The rivers Hammer, Bära and Schlichem reduce the number of kilometers over land to a minimum of approximately 1km. Fridingen (at the Danube) – Bärenthal am Zufluss Hammer– Nusplingen – Unterdigisheim – Oberdigisheim – Tieringen – Hausen (at the river Schlichem) – Ratshausen – Schömberg – Neukirch – Rottweil (at the river Neckar).
Argonauts' track # 3 at Albstadt
This track is 39 miles (ca. 60 km) long and is located near the Stauffenberg-castle at Albstadt – Lautlingen . The water divide is located near Albstadt at 800 m altitude. The Danube transition at Unterschmeien is located at an altitude of 600 m, the Neckar transition near Frundeckhof at 400 m. Track #3 will cover a difference of level of 400 meters. Frundeckhof (Neckar) - Kaiseringen – Strassberg – Albstadt (at the river Schiecha) – Lautlingen – Laufen – Dürrwangen – Frommern – Balingen – Engstlatt – Owingen – Haigerloch (at the river Eyach ) – Bad Imnau – Unterschmeien (Danube)
Argonauts' track # 4 at Burladingen
This track is 44 miles (ca. 70 km) long and is located near the Hohenzollern castle.. The water divide is located near Burladingen at 800 m altitude. The Danube transition at Sigmaringendorf is located at an altitude of 600 m, the Neckar transition near Bieringen at 400 m. Track #4 will also cover a difference of level of 400 meters. 15
Sigmaringendorf (Danube) – Jungnau – Veringendorf – Veringenstadt – Hermentingen – Neufra – Gauselfingen (at the river Fehla) – Burladingen – Starzeln (at the river Starzel) – Killer – Jungingen – Hechingen – Rangendingen - Bieringen (Neckar)
The optimal route for an Argonauts' transition is route #2, which will only require a short distance (ca. 1 km?) for a landtransition between Rhine and Danube. A few names like Berner Feld, Bärenthal and Hammer or probably Beuron may relate to archaic amber trading at route #2.
Further details to these topics may be found in the more detailed German version of this manuscript: Das Geheimnis der Argonautenbrücken
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