Rome, around the time of Constantine:
There’s been a lot of discussion recently about where Homer’s Ithaca (i.e., the island ruled by Odysseus) actually is. I feel that many dismiss the island currently called Ithaki, off the west coast of Greece, in favor of Cephalonia, a much bigger island to the west of Ithaki. Nicholas Kristof, an Op-Ed columnist for the New York Times, reports on a different theory: that Homer’s Ithaca is actually a peninsula called Paliki on the western part of Cephalonia, and that some time in the last couple of thousand years, geological activity filled in the strait separating the two islands. This idea is being trumpeted by Robert Bittlestone, a British businessman.
It’s an interesting theory, and reminds me so much of how Heinrich Schleimann discovered Troy, by using Homer’s own words to figure out the best place.
The video is enough to make me want to leave Maine in March and travel back to Greece. If you don’t have time to read the article, at least spend the five minutes watching the video here.
FOR a nation like ours that is seeking its way home from 10 years of war, maybe there’s a dash of inspiration in the oldest tale of homecoming ever — “The Odyssey” — and in new findings that shed stunning light on it.
Homer recounts Odysseus’s troubled journey back from a military entanglement abroad, the decade-long Trojan War. “The Odyssey” is a singular tale of longing for homeland, but it comes with a mystery: Where exactly is Odysseus’s beloved land of Ithaca?
Homer describes Odysseus’s Ithaca as low-lying and the westernmost island of four. That doesn’t fit modern Ithaca, which is mountainous and the easternmost of the cluster of islands in the Ionian Sea.