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In Search of Homeric Ithaca

Jonathan Brown



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01 September 2020
Odysseus was notoriously vague about where he lived. Ithaca was the place, he said, but his description of its whereabouts was a mixture of geography and poetry. Tradition says that it was the modern island of Ithaki in the Ionian Sea. Other theories, however, have placed it elsewhere. This book takes a close look at the traditional view, and at some of the other theories.

The author examines the Odyssey in detail, draws on ancient and modern scholarly texts (some translated into English for the first time), reproduces antique and contemporary maps, and satellite imagery, quotes from the accounts of earlier travellers and topographers, sails the Ionian Sea, and above all, walks the landscape of Ithaki exploring the extent to which the island matches the Ithaca of the poem. The result is a treasure trove of documentation and discovery.

The author proposes new explanations for some age-old problems: where was Dulichium? Where did Telemachus land in Ithaca? Where was the city? Where was the palace of Odysseus? He suggests localities for them all. His analytical approach is informed by wide research into historical, literary and archaeological sources, and is abundantly illustrated. For the first time, several Ithacan landmarks that conform closely to the words and action of the Odyssey are identified.

The author then travels to Cephalonia, Lefkada, Corfu, Sicily, Spain, and the Azores to explore other proposed localities for Ithaca. He returns to Ithaki, and reflects on how Homer could have known the island that so closely matches the island of his poem. An ideal companion for lovers of Homer and travellers alike.

Beautifully illustrated with more than 270 photographs (landscape, sea, archaeological objects, flora, fauna), 30 historical maps, 10 views of annotated satellite imagery, 5 new maps. List of ancient writers. Bibliography. Select websites. Index. 435 pages.
Country of Publication:   Australia
Dimensions:   Height: 258mm,  Width: 198mm, 
ISBN:   9780648092520
ISBN 10:   0648092526
Publication Date:  
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active
List of maps ix Acknowledgements xi 1 Introduction: the Homeric perspective 1 PART ONE - LOOKING FOR ITHACA 2 The realm of Odysseus 13 3 The island of Odysseus 37 4 Dulichians on the move 69 5 The Dulichian suitors 95 6 Dulichians in Ithaca 101 7 Homeric traces on Ithaki in antiquity 125 8 Ithaca on the coins 143 9 Ithaca from the Middle Ages 151 PART TWO - LANDING ON ITHACA 10 The last six days of the Odyssey 171 11 The season of the last six days 177 12 Odysseus returns 187 13 The farm of Eumaeus 209 14 Telemachus returns 231 15 From the farm to the city 253 16 The city of Ithaca 265 17 The farm of Laertes 285 18 The palace of Odysseus 291 PART THREE - ITHACA ADRIFT 19 Introduction 311 20 Cephalonia 317 21 Lefkada 335 22 Corfu 349 23 Sicily 355 24 Spain 373 25 Denmark 385 26 The Atlantic Ocean 393 PART FOUR - HOMER IN ITHACA 27 Returning to Ithaki 401 List of ancient writers cited 407 Bibliography 409 Select websites 429 Index 431

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