The Native Land of Odysseus

This post was written by Friday guest blogger Emma Garman.

An author named Robert Bittlestone has written a book, Odysseus Unbound, suggesting that the real location of Homer’s Ithaca was an island no longer in existence that now connects to western Cephalonia – a different Greek region than the modern day Ithaca. Mary Beard considers Bittlestone’s claims in the TLS and finds that what at first appears to be a convincing case “descends into fantasy.” She concludes:

Wild literary theories are usually victimless crimes. But in this case spare a thought for the inhabitants of Cephalonia, who are only just recovering from the after-effects of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. If Robert Bittlestone’s more extravagant theories catch on, these poor Cephalonians will soon be deluged with busloads of visitors pouring in to see the birthplace of the Odyssey, to take a tour round the palace and the pig-farm, to tread the pathways of Agamemnon and Menelaos, and to watch recreations of the original composer spouting his epic lines in the so-called theatre. We can only hope that common sense prevails and that they do not catch on.


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