The Parrot Press

In search of Homeric Ithaca

Jonathan Brown

435 pp. • hardback • ISBN 9780648092520 • $45
270 illustrations. 35 maps. Satellite imagery. List of ancient writers. Bibliography. Select websites. Index.

To be published December 2020.

Book cover - In search of Homeric Ithaca, Jonathan Brown

About the book

Odysseus was notoriously vague about where he lived. Ithaca was the place, he said, but his description of its whereabouts was a mixture of geography and poetry. Tradition says that it was the modern island of Ithaki in the Ionian Sea. Other theories, however, have placed it elsewhere.

This book takes a close look at the traditional view, and at some of the other theories.

The author examines the Odyssey in detail, draws on ancient and modern scholarly texts (some translated into English for the first time), reproduces antique and contemporary maps, and satellite imagery, quotes from the accounts of earlier travellers and topographers, sails the Ionian Sea, and above all, walks the landscape of Ithaki exploring the extent to which the island matches the Ithaca of the poem.

The result is a treasure trove of documentation and discovery.

The author proposes new explanations for some age-old problems: where was Dulichium? Where did Telemachus land in Ithaca? Where was the city? Where was the palace of Odysseus? He suggests localities for them all.

His analytical approach is informed by wide research into historical, literary and archaeological sources, and is abundantly illustrated. For the first time, several Ithacan landmarks that conform closely to the words and action of the Odyssey are identified.

The author then travels to Cephalonia, Lefkada, Corfu, Sicily, Spain, and the Azores to explore other proposed localities for Ithaca. He returns to Ithaki, and reflects on how Homer could have known the island that so closely matches the island of his poem.

An ideal companion for lovers of Homer and travellers alike.

About the author

Jonathan Brown studied Latin and ancient history at the Australian National University in Canberra. He is a former Australian diplomat and international lawyer, and author of several books on the music of Richard Wagner. His Great Wagner Conductors: a listener’s companion (2012) received an Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC) Award for Excellence in 2013. His most recent book Homeric sites around Troy was published in 2017.

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