Odysseus Unbound - The Search for Homer’s Ithaca

University College Dublin - UCD School of Classics and Classical Society

February 9 2006 20:00, Room A109, The Newman Building, UCD Belfield campus

Odysseus Unbound: The Search for Homer’s Ithaca

On February 9 at 20:00 Robert Bittlestone (Chairman, Metapraxis) will present a seminar in The Newman Building of the UCD Belfield campus on the geological, classical and archaeological discoveries described in his recent book Odysseus Unbound: The Search for Homer’s Ithaca, co-authored with Professor James Diggle (Classics, Cambridge) and Professor John Underhill (Geology, Edinburgh).

The presentation has been arranged by the UCD Classical Society in conjunction with the School of Classics. UCD School of Classics is the largest centre of Classical studies in Ireland. It has over five hundred undergraduate students, a strong body of postgraduate students and a full-time teaching staff of ten. The UCD Classical Society is a student-run body which organises various social events throughout the course of the year. All students are encouraged to participate in the society’s events, which provide an opportunity to make social contacts outside lectures and tutorial groups.

The topic of Odysseus Unbound 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. Robert Bittlestone will answer questions at the end and will be available for further informal discussions and to sign copies of the book, which can be purchased from the Campus Bookshop.

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 is now in its second printing, having sold out its initial 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”…“Shines a light on the past and its scholarly achievement must be acknowledged”… “The photos are beautiful, the logic is elegant, the science is very educational, and the conclusion is convincing.”

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 event is open to the public and there is no attendance charge. For directions to the lecture room, apply to the Information Desk of the Newman Building on arrival. For further details of the seminar contact Christina Haywood, christina.haywood@ucd.ie