Odysseus Unbound - The Search for Homer’s Ithaca

Cambridge University Hellenic Society

November 30 2005 18:00, Old Hall, Queens' College

Odysseus Unbound Presentation

On November 30 at 18:00 Robert Bittlestone (Chairman, Metapraxis), Professor James Diggle (Classics, Cambridge) and Professor John Underhill (Geology, Edinburgh) will present a seminar at the Old Hall in Queens' College on the geological, classical and archaeological discoveries described in their recent book Odysseus Unbound: The Search for Homer’s Ithaca.

The presentation has been arranged by the Cambridge University Hellenic Society. CUHS is a student-run society, aiming to bring together not only Greeks but all those who are interested in any aspect of Greek culture and who want to become more acquainted with Greece. The topic will be illustrated throughout with slides, satellite photography and computer animations. The content is aimed at a non-specialist audience as well as those who are studying or lecturing in ancient history, languages, geology, classics or archaeology. The speakers will answer questions at the end and they will be available for further discussions afterwards.

The Discovery: At a Press Conference in London on September 29 2005 a radical new solution was presented for the 3,000-year old enigma of the location of Odysseus’ island of Ithaca that is described in such detail in Homer’s Odyssey. Within 24 hours the news of this discovery had been relayed by over 100 newspapers, TV and radio stations world-wide. Since then the authors have delivered televised seminars about the discovery to audiences in London, Washington, Athens and Kefallinia.

The Book: Odysseus Unbound: The Search for Homer’s Ithaca was published by Cambridge University Press on October 6 2005 and has nearly sold out its initial print run of 10,000 copies. Printed with over 300 full-colour illustrations, it combines a gripping modern day adventure story with a detailed analysis of the geological and classical underpinning to the discovery of ancient Ithaca.

Reviews:Odysseus Unbound has made the final link between real location and Homeric description”… “Paliki-as-island is a sensational hypothesis”…“I've just finished reading Odysseus Unbound and I have to say that the experience was utterly enthralling from start to finish”… “A fascinating and compelling book”… “I can feel that Odysseus was a real person, and that some sort of journey took place. It was just so amazing and I highly recommend it for anyone who loves Greece, Homer, or the Odyssey”… “Impossible to put down, more impossible still to forget once you have read it”….“One of the most compelling books I have read for ages – a gripping detective story, gradually unfolding layer by layer”… “If Robert Bittlestone is correct, this will be one of the most important archaeological discoveries since Schliemann’s uncovering of Troy in the late 19th century”…“The account of how he reached his conclusions is clear, engaging, funny, wonderfully illustrated”… “Scholars will now have to think again about received wisdom on the Odyssey”… “The author is not a specialist…this has two major benefits: first, his clear analysis is available to a wide audience; second, his thinking is not biased or weighted towards any particular theory or prejudice”.

The Website: At www.odysseus-unbound.org you can read about the project so far and the plans for future work. At the Reviews page you can follow the emerging classical controversy: can Odysseus' island be identified this closely? If so, how could Homer have known the geography so well? The online Forum enables you to participate in this debate, while TV, radio and newspaper reports from all over the world can be accessed on the Press page, together with a diary of recent and forthcoming Events.

The Hellenic Ministry of Culture welcomes the release of the book ‘Odysseus Unbound: The Search for Homer’s Ithaca’. The book opens exciting prospects for future research regarding the location of Homeric Ithaca. The Ministry eagerly follows Mr. Bittlestone’s hypothesis and looks forward to staying informed about any future developments.”

The Institute of Geology and Mineral Exploration in Athens has facilitated the geological researches of Professor John Underhill in the Ionian Islands since 1982. The results of his recent investigation of the Holocene geomorphology of western Kefallinia are unexpected and thought-provoking. We are pleased to be working closely with him and his team at the University of Edinburgh with the joint objective of furthering our understanding of the geological history and the tectonic setting of these islands.”

The event is open to the public and there is no attendance charge. For further details contact George Poulogiannis, President CUHS, Hughes Hall, Wollaston Road CB1 2EW, gp266@cam.ac.uk, website www.srcf.ucam.org/hellenic