Author Topic: Ithaca Discovery  (Read 4281 times)

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Offline nacho

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Ithaca Discovery
« on: October 06, 2005, 02:42:34 PM »
Big news day....

Riddle of Ancient Greece Solved?

Centuries after the legendary hero Odysseus made his epic journey, an amateur British archaeologist and a team of scholars believe they have solved one of the greatest mysteries of ancient Greece. Using satellite imagery, they have located what they think is the ancient city of Ithaca, home of Odysseus, report Reuters and the BBC News.

In Homer's "Odyssey," the hero Odysseus has many adventures, the most famous of which is when he led a wooden horse into the enemy city of Troy. That Trojan horse was filled with Greek soldiers who attacked Troy once they were inside the city walls. No one can be certain whether Odysseus or his city really existed, but the discovery in the 1870s of the ruins of Troy has led scholars to believe there is more to Homer's tales than just legend, reports Reuters.
The discovery of Ithaca could rival the day 100 years ago when ancient Troy was found on the Turkish coast, according to Robert Bittlestone, who has laid out his theory in a 600-page book titled "Odysseus Unbound: The Search for Homer's Ithaca." Reuters reports that local legend placed the kingdom of Ithaca on an island in the Ionian Sea that bears the name Ithaki today. There's just one problem with this theory. Ithaki is to the east of a group of islands, and Homer said Ithaca was to the west.

Since Homer described Ithaca as an island, scholars have always assumed it is still an island today. "They all assumed the landscapes today are the same as they were in the Bronze Age," Bittlestone told Reuters. And if the landscapes in Homer don't match the landscapes today, then perhaps Homer got it wrong." But Bittlestone had an idea. What if Ithaca were no longer an island, but a peninsula attached to an island?

Along with classics professor James Diggle from the University of Cambridge and geologist John Underhill from the University of Edinburgh, Bittlestone set out to prove that Odysseus lived on what is now the island of Kefallania, west of Ithaki. He theorizes that the Paliki peninsula, on the western corner of Kefallania, may have once been a separate island, separated from the rest of Kefallania by a narrow straight that has since been filled in by rubble from landslides, Reuters reports.

The geology bears it out. The valley that links Paliki to the rest of Kefallania seems to be filled with rock that slid off neighboring mountains, although further tests are needed to determine when the rock slides occurred.

Most of all, dozens of features of modern-day Paliki match Homer's description of ancient Ithaca. "If you walk around armed with a copy of 'The Odyssey,' you can see 60 or 70 clues about topographical relationships," Bittlestone told Reuters. "Every single one of them corresponds with this island. And you have to ask yourself, can that be coincidental?"

Why does anyone care? "Our purpose has been to demonstrate that there is something both very new and very old to be found at this new location and that we should now treat the existence of ancient Ithaca very seriously," he told the BBC News. If it can be proved that Paliki was once an island, then it's worth the time and money to excavate it to find the missing city and palace of Odysseus. The biggest discovery of all could be that the legend is not just a tall tale.

Offline Cassander

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Ithaca Discovery
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2005, 03:59:55 PM »
You ain't a has been if you never was.