Homer's bust 

Homeric Ithaca in Cephalonia?

Book cover

Robert Bittlestone, James Diggle and John Underhill, Odysseus unbound: the search for Homer's Ithaca (Cambridge University Press, 2005)

Was the Ithaca of Homer situated in the modern-day Ithaca or in Cephalonia? Robert Bittlestone argues in his book Odysseus Unbound that it could have been in Cephalonia.

Others had placed Homer’s Ithaca in Cephalonia before, but not with such enthusiasm and compelling arguments. Odysseus Unbound seemed to have a revolutionary idea and much exciting analysis. It seemed a major discovery.

I was so inspired by his arguments that in October 2013 I visited Cephalonia to see for myself the sites identified in that book: Odysseus’ palace on Kasteli, Phorcys Bay where Odysseus made his landfall on coming home, Eumaios’ pigfarm where he was re-united with his son Telemachus, and so on.

After walking around the area, re-reading the Odyssey carefully, and reading a little more about Homer, I began to wonder.

These pages are an account of some of the things I saw and photographed on the visit, and some of the doubts I now have about the Homeric locations proposed in the book.

Jonathan Brown