The central characters of the epic such as Odysseus, Achilles, Agamemnon and Hector are generally believed to be fictional characters. Yet there are many claims that some Homeric hero long ago had inhabited a particular contemporary region or village. This, and the extremely detailed geographic descriptions in the epic itself, have invited investigation of the possibility that Homer's heroes might have existed and that the location of the sites described therein might be found.
Heinrich Schliemann believed he tracked down several of the more famous traditions surrounding these heroes. Many locations around the Mediterranean were claimed to have been the heroes' "homes", such as the ruins at Mycenae and the little hill near the western Turkish town of Hissarlik. Schliemann's work and excavations proposed, to a very sceptical world, that Homer's Agamemnon had lived at Mycenae, and that "Troy" itself indeed had existed at Hissarlik. Much work has been done to identify other Homeric sites such as the palace of Nestor at Pylos. These attempts have been the subject of much scholarly research, archaeological work, and controversy.
Theories on the location of "Homer's 'Ithaca'" were formulated as early as the 2nd century BCE to as recently as AD 2003. Each approach to identifying a location has been different, varying in degrees of scientific procedure, empirical investigation, informed hypothesis, wishful thinking, fervent belief, and sheer fantasy. Each investigator and each investigation merits interest, as an indicator both of the temper of the times in which a particular theory was developed, and of the perennial interest in Odysseus and the possible facts of his life. Some of the latest "Homer's 'Ithaca'" approaches resemble some of the earliest.
Leading Precursors Edit
Theorists, and excavations elsewhere, on the location of "Homer's 'Ithaca'" --
- Eratosthenes (276 BC – 194 BC).
- Demetrius of Scepsis (near Troy) -- writing mid-2d c. BC (near Troy) -- source used by Strabo (below).
- Template:Cite book pp. 249–51. See Bittlestone/Diggle/Underhill (below): James Diggle at p. 508.
- Apollodorus of Athens (born ca. 180 BC) -- writing mid-2d c. BC—source used by Strabo (below), and Apollodorus also relied upon Demetrius of Scepsis (above).
- William Gell -- writing in 1807—he believed Homer's "Ithaca" was on the Aetos isthmus of Ithaki island, facing east, in or near the bay of Vathy.
- William M. Leake -- writing in 1835—he thought "Ithaca" was on the northwestern coast of Ithaki island, near Polis Bay.
- Théophile Cailleux -- writing in 1878—located "Ithaca" in south-west Spain, in the delta of the Guadalete, near Cádiz.
- Wilhelm Dörpfeld (December 26, 1853 – April 25, 1940) -- having performed extensive excavations at various locations of Ithaca and Lefkada, he proposed that the palace of Odysseus was located west of Nidri at the south coast of Lefkada.
- G. Volterras—writing in 1903—he believed Paliki once may have had "Strabo's channel" at the isthmus which now separates Paliki and Kefalonia (see Bittlestone/Diggle/Underhill, below).
- A.E.H. Goekoop—writing in 1908—he believed "Ithaca" was in southwestern Kefalonia island, on the St. George hilltop near Mazarakata village, southeast of the city of Argostoli, with its harbor at Minies near the modern airport.
- W.A. Heurtley and Sylvia Benton—believed "Ithaca" was on Ithaki island, and their excavations at the Polis Bay harbor turned up 8th-9th c. BC artifacts.
- C.H. Goekoop—writing in 1990, grandson of A.E.H. Goekoop—he thought "Ithaca" was on Kefalonia, but in the northern Erissos region, near the town of Fiscardo.
- E.S. Tsimaratos—published posthumously in 1998—he thought "Ithaca" was in central Kefalonia, but he agreed with Strabo about Paliki once having been cut off from Kefalonia.
- J.V. Luce -- (1920-) -- writing in 1998—he believed "Ithaca" was on Ithaki island.
- Nicolas G. Livadas (Author), Constantine Bisticas (Editor, Translator)
- Odysseus' Ithaca: The Riddle Solved (Paperback)
- Henriette Putman Cramer, Gerasiomos Metaxas - the authors believe that the centre of Homeric Ithaca was in south-east Kefalonia where now the village of Poros in the Eleios-Pronnoi municipality is situated.
- Omiriki Ithaki – ena atavtisto kentro sta nesia ton Kefallenon-. Kaktos editions, Athens, 2000. ISBN 960-382-408-9.
- Gilles le Noan—writing in 2001, 2003, 2004—he suggested Paliki as the location of "Ithaca", but discounted the geology supporting "Strabo's channel".
- Christos Tzakos—writing 1999 - 2002—he believed "Ithaca" was on Ithaki island.
- Robert Bittlestone, James Diggle & John Underhill—first working in 2003—they believe Paliki is the location of "Ithaca", also believe in "Strabo's Channel" separating it from Kefalonia, see Odysseus Unbound.
- Felice Vinci - using meticulous geographical analysis, shows that many Homeric places can be identified in the geographic landscape of the Baltic.
Other ideas Edit
Theories about the location of Odyssean wanderings have includedTemplate:Ref:
- the Baltic & Estonia
- the Crimea
- America / Bermuda
- Culloden Moor in Scotland
See also Edit
- Trojan War
- Historicity of the Iliad
- Geography of the Odyssey
- Where Troy Once Stood
- Bittlestone, Diggle & Underhill (2005), cited above, Chapter 9 generally.
- several of the floruit dates above are taken from Wikipedia articles about the writers.
- Template:Note Bittlestone, Diggle & Underhill (2005), cited above, page 39, note 2.
- Odysseus Unbound website; Odysseus Unbound discussion forum
- Collection of Homer-related links
- Homer's Odyssey resources on the Web, by Jorn Barger
- The Perseus Digital Library, Tufts University