Odysseus Unbound - The Search for Homer’s Ithaca

The Perse School - Wednesday November 28 2007 at 16:00

Where was Homer’s Ithaca?

Robert Bittlestone - Chairman, Metapraxis

James Diggle - Professor of Greek and Latin at Cambridge University

It’s the oldest marine adventure in the world. It was already ancient history when Aristotle and Socrates were in the cradle. It has spawned a hundred spin-offs and inspired writers and artists, philosophers and poets, statesmen and soldiers for the last three thousand years. It’s the original Odyssey: a Bronze Age blockbuster and a cornerstone of Western civilisation. And not surprisingly, most people have presumed that Odysseus’ homeland of Ithaca is as imaginary as Ithilien in Lord of the Rings.

Robert Bittlestone and James Diggle think they’re wrong. On Wednesday November 28 2007 they will present their proposal and the latest discoveries from the island of Cephalonia that can help us decide whether it is the actual island that Homer described in the Odyssey. Their talk will be illustrated with slides, satellite photography and computer animations and the audience will be invited to simulate an earthquake (don't do this at home). The content is suitable for all ages and no prior knowledge of Homer or the Odyssey is needed to attend. Those who are studying or teaching ancient history, languages, geology, classics or archaeology are welcome to discuss individual questions with the speakers afterwards.

The event will take place at 4pm on Wednesday 28 November 2007 at the Upper School, as organised by the Perse Parents Association. All Perse pupils and parents, members of the wider classical community and of other schools are warmly invited to attend. This will be a free event. Refreshments and a book signing will be available following the lecture. Information about the project can be viewed at www.odysseus-unbound.org and for further details or to book a ticket, please contact Mrs Rebecca Randall at RCRandall@perse.co.uk. The school address is Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 8QF.

Odysseus Unbound: The Search for Homer’s Ithaca by Robert Bittlestone, with James Diggle and John Underhill. 618 pages, 340 colour illustrations. Cambridge University Press ISBN 0521853575. RRP £30.00. The book will be on sale from Michael Sharp, Old Persean and Classics Editor of CUP, at the special price of £20, signed by the authors.