Thálatta! Thálatta! (Greek: Θάλαττα! θάλαττα! — "The Sea! The Sea!") was the shouting of joy when the roaming 10,000 Greeks saw Euxeinos Pontos (the Black Sea) from Mount Theches (Θήχης) in Trebizond, after participating in Cyrus the Younger's failed march against the Persian Empire in the year 401 BC. The mountain was only a five-day march away from the friendly coastal city Trapezus. The story is told by Xenophon in his Anabasis.
The phrase appears in Book 1 of James Joyce's 1922 novel Ulysses when Buck Mulligan, looking out over Dublin Bay, says to Stephen Dedalus, "God! ... Isn't the sea what Algy calls it: a great sweet mother? The snotgreen sea. The scrotumtightening sea. Epi oinopa ponton. Ah, Dedalus, the Greeks! I must teach you. You must read them in the original. Thalatta! Thalatta! She is our great sweet mother. Come and look." In Book 18, Molly Bloom echoes the phrase in the closing moments of her monologue: "and O that awful deepdown torrent O and the sea the sea crimson sometimes like fire."
Walter Hill's 1979 film The Warriors, which contains many parallels with Anabasis, references this quotation near the end, as the titular gang stands on a Coney Island beach and their leader (Michael Beck) comments, "When we see the ocean, we figure we're home."
The shout briefly appears in Lionel Dunsterville's book "The Adventures of Dunsterforce", written in 1920. On page 36, after passing Resht, the phrase gets mentioned as the looks of the small force reach the Caspian Sea. The sentence surrounding the aforementioned clamor shall be written down here:"It was about an hour before sunset that the proximity of the sea was announced by the sand dunes, a moment later—Θάλασσα! θάλασσα!—the blue waters of the Caspian became visible in the distance, and we were soon in the outskirts of the Kazian settlement."
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- Xenophon. "Anabasis: Book 4, Chapter 7, Section 24". Perseus Project. Tufts University. Retrieved 17 September 2013.
- Journey to the Center of the Earth, translated by Frederick Amadeus Malleson
- Joyce, James (1922). Ulysses (Gabler ed.). New York: Vintage, 1986. pp. 4–5, 643.
- Murdoch, Iris (1978). The Sea, The Sea. Chatto & Windus.
- Dunsterville, Lionel (1920). The Adventures of Dunsterforce.
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