Paliki, Homer's Ithaca : Homer's Ithaca page


Paliki, Homer's "Ithaca"

Homer's "Ithaca" page

M. Paliki

Map of Paliki (now) & surroundings: Homer said his Ithaca was "to the west, the furthest out to sea", and "low-lying"... (click the image to enlarge)

* Homer's "Ithaca"

"Where was Homer's 'Ithaca'?" -- The central character of Homer's epic, the Odyssey long was thought to have been fictional: Odysseus, and Achilles and Agamemnon and Hector and the many other "heroes" of that epic, and of Homer's other epic his Iliad, all were thought by many to be simply the products of a poet's imagination -- not real people, or even based upon real people -- and the stories and locations described in the epics were thought to be imaginary as well. Yet there were many "local" claims, that some Homeric hero long ago had inhabited this or that contemporary region or village, and there were the extremely detailed geographic descriptions in the epic itself: both invited investigation of the enticing possibility that Homer's heroes might have been real, and at least that the location of the sites described in the epics might be found.

Then came Heinrich Schliemann, who tracked down several of the more famous "myths & legends" surrounding these heroes: many locations around the Mediterraneanwere claimed to have been the heroes' "homes", such as the ruins at Mycenae, and the little hill in western Turkey now known as Hissarlik, at 39|57|27.94|N,26|14|19.30|E (Wikimapia), (Google Earth) -- 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, as well: the palace of Nestor at Pylos, at 37|01|39.00|N,21|41|41.00|E, (Wikimapia), (Google Earth), for example, has been the subject of much scholarly research, archaeological work, and controversy.


Where was Homer's "Ithaca"?

There have been many suggestions as to where, exactly, the "Ithaca" described in great detail in Homer's Odyssey, the home of Odysseus, might have been located: as many, perhaps, as the theories which once fought among themselves over whether Troy ever really existed, and if so where it was. Theories on the location of "Homer's 'Ithaca'" were formulated as early as the 2d c. BC 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 Homer's Odyssey, and his character Odysseus, and the possible facts of the latter's life, or at least of a life like his might have been. The processes of theory-building and scientific inquiry change: interestingly, some of the latest "Homer's 'Ithaca'" approaches most resemble some of the earliest. But some other things -- such as interest in epics, and in their heroes -- remain the same, over time.

Leading Precursors : theorists, and their theories, on the location of "Homer's 'Ithaca'" --

(In order by date, earliest first:)


And some other ideas: theories about the location of Odyssean wanderings have includedc --






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