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THE DOMINIONS OF ODYSSEUS, AND THE ISLAND GROUP
OF THE ODYSSEY.
THERE are only two spots or dis- those who wish to see the fragments tricts, with the topography of which of information from the text in orderly the Homeric poems deal in minute arrangement, and severed from the indetail : the Plain of Troy, and the finity of discussion with which they island of Ithaca. The indications sup- have been overlaid, will find them in plied by the Poet in the case of the the third appendix to Mr. Merry's Plain are numerous and minute, as valuable edition of the Odyssey.3 they are in the case of the island ; and With respect to the local traditions, his account of the geography of its which have been largely taken into neighbourhood, so far as he has given view by some writers, I would observe one, is clear and accurate, But the that there was probably nothing to depoints extraneous to Ithaca, yet con- tract from their value in the time of nected with it, are named in a manner Pausanias, of Strabo, or of the other anwhich has led to much dispute, with cients who have touched the question. little, if any, admitted progress to- But, in the troubles of the Eastern wards a settlement: and the local data empire, Ithaca underwent grievous dehave not been examined with so much population; and it seems to have been of precision and impartiality as those only by privileges which the Venetian of the Plain. The quarto of Sir Government found it expedient to William Gell, dealing with an island offer, that new settlers were induced to not seventeen miles long, and of a maxiiles long, and of a maxi- replenish the body
replenish the body of its inhabitants. mum breadth under four miles, which This circumstance must tend greatly sinks to a minimum of half a mile, to abate the authority which any
local though it is not without value, renders tradition might have carried; particuus less service than might have been larly as to the identification of seconexpected. The author is too ready in dary points. his identifications, and does not suffi- In considering the subject, I shall, ciently go to close quarters with the as far as possible, divide the topotext of the Poet. To this text I shall graphy of Ithaca from the question adhere, without attempting a review of its geographical position, and its of the controversy, such as may be
relation to the other dominions of found at great length in Buchholz. But Odysseus.
But it is necessary, at the outset, to Geography and Antiquitics of Ithaca, London 1807.
dwell upon a distinction which has ? Homerische Realien, Band i. Abth. i. pp.
3 Vol. i. p. 551. 120–146.
4 Bowen's Ithaca, p. 9. No. 216.-VOL. XXXVI.
not been sufficiently noticed, between express testimony of Od. ix. 21 the materials supplied by the two 8° opoc avrị), that it is in Ithaca : so that poems respectively. It is this : that kui has here the force of “namely," or they deal with different subjects. “including.” This mode of expression The Iliad treats only of the domi- is used elsewhere in the Catalogue : nions of Odysseus ; as its purpose is comp. 532, 3 ; 536, 7. There is thereto give an account of the naval con- fore no improbability in supposing the tingent which he led to Troy. The names which follow Neritos, viz., that is Odyssey does not deal with the do- to say, Krokuleia and Aigilips, to be in minions of Odysseus, as such, at all. Ithaca also. But Heracleon, cited by It describes the body of Suitors, who Steph. Byzantius, says there were in were gathered together in the capital of his time four departments or districts Ithaca to woo Penelopè, and who are of Ithaca ; Krokuleia was one, and there, not all as subjects, but all as Aigireus, which bears an important neighbours. And it describes the places resemblance to Aigilips, was another. from which they came.
Strabo, without argument, connects entirely insular. But the dominions these names with Leucas. If Homer given in the Iliad included some strip had intended this connection, he or portion of the continent (II. ii. 635) would without doubt, at the least, over against the islands : and there, have marked off the line by the exas we learn from the Odyssey, a portion pression oî , as he has done for Samos of the live-stock belonging to the great and Zante. If Odysseus had any conchief were still kept after the War of cern with Leucas, it must have been Troy (xiv. 100). Let us now consider for his continental settlement : for the passage from the Catalogue (N. ii. that district was then part of the 631—5) :
mainland, and it may very well have
been the Epeiros named in v. 635. Αυτάρ Οδυσσεύς ήγε Κεφαλληνας μεγαθύ- But then Krokuleia and Aigilips would μους, ,
not have been named before ZakunΟι ρ' Ιθάκην είχον και Νήριτον εινοσίφυλ
thos and Samos, but after them, and λον, Και Κροκύλειο ένέμοντο και Αιγίλιπα τρη
would have been mentioned in connecχειαν,
tion with it. On the whole it seems οι τε Ζάκυνθον έχον, ήδ' οι Σάμον αμφενέ- plain that they were in Ithaca. This μοντο,
is the decided conclusion of Leake. Οι τ' ήπειρον έχον, ήδ' αντιπέραι’ ένέμοντο. 4. We next come to Samos; and we Των μεν 'Οδυσσεύς ήρχε, Διι μητιν ατάλ
know expressly from the Odyssey (see Tq dâua vmes érovto dvódeka uiatorápnou.? inf.) that it was an island, that it lay
very close to Ithaca (ix. 23), and that 1. We have here the gentile name the two (Od. iv. 845) were separated Kephallenes, covering the whole do- by a mere strait. And the local name minions of Odysseus.
of Samos is still given to the remains 2. Coming to place-names, we have of buildings, near the head of the bay those who held Ithaca and Neritos, so-called, in the island of Cefalonia. and dwelt in Krokuleia and Aigilips.' 5. As to Zakunthos, it is by all iden3. As to Neritos, we know from the tified with Zante. It, too, is declared
in the Odyssey to be an island, and to 1“The gallant Cephallenes Odysseus led. lie very close to the other islands.
Them Neritos, with high Jeaf-waving head,
The shortest distance to it from CefaHad reared in Ithaca. Twelve red-prowed lonia is, however, eight miles. ships
6. We have lastly the Epeiros, a The 'isle, with Samos and Zakunthos, portion of the mainland ruled by Odys
manned, And with the Plains of the opposed strand.
seus, and described as the avtinépala to He, matching Zeus in counsel, ruled the
the islands, i.e., as facing them. This band."
2 Northern Greece, rol. iii. p. 49.
seems to apply in an especial manner Δουλίχιόν τε, Σάμη τε και υλήεσσα Ζάκυνto the projection of Leucas; for it
θος: : most pointedly faces the islands, and
Αυτή δε χθαμαλή πανυπερτάτη είν αλί
κείται it is the nearest part of the mainland. The question is not immaterial, but
Προς ζόφον αι δε τ’ άνευθε προς Ηώ τ'
Ήέλιόν τε. may be postponed. Thus we have the dominions of
This is one of a number of passages? Odysseus clearly enough defined, as
which fix, beyond all doubt, that in consisting of the three islands, with the mind of Homer not Ithaca only, a morsel of the continent.
but all the other three places or regions The only subject for surprise is that
named were islands. these territories, taken together, should
And this may be the place to obhave supplied no more than eleven serve that, in my opinion, a false ships, while Salamis alone gave twelve.
method has been far too much obBut the whole narrative of the Odys
served in dealing with Homeric geosey appears to show that the kingdom graphy. It has been a practice to take of Odysseus was recent, and no more
the map as we know it, and the text than partially organized. His genealo- of the poems; and then, assuming that gical line is short, beginning only with
these are the proper and only materials his grandfather Arkeisias. The Suitors of comparison and judgment, to found do not deny the hereditary title of inquiry upon this narrow and inadeTelemachos; but, in the discussion
But Homer had no map. with him, the question seems to be on
He had his eye, and he had the reports both sides only this, who shall be king
of others; and out of these he had in Ithaca (Od. i. 387, 395, 401). It is to construct a map in his own brain. probable, therefore, that the rule of
And a valuable one it might be for a Odysseus was but imperfectly estab- small district, which the eye could lished, and that he could not turn
embrace, and which his eye probably the whole resources of the islands to
had embraced, such as the Plain of account. Even in Ithaca, on his re
Troy. Again, great and familiar lines turn, a considerable part of the popu
of passage over larger spaces might so lation took part against him (Od. xxiv. adjust themselves as to be conceived in 463, 4).
a manner approximately right. Under We now change the scene : and we
the first of these heads he has given, are introduced not to a political, but to
as I myself can in some degree testify a geographical aggregation. Odysseus
from having visited the place, a good gives an account of himself to Alki- and just account of the general connoos, whose hospitality he had enjoyed,
formation of Ithaca. Under the second, and whose favour he had won. But
he seems to have had a reasonably true he speaks of the country he inhabits,
conception of the coast of Greece, from not of what he rules (Od. ix. 21)."
the Gulf of Lepanto round to NegroΝαιετάω δ' Ιθάκην ευδείελον εν δ' όρος αυτή,
pont, as to its general outline, and of Νήριτον εινοσίφυλλον, άριπρεπές αμφί δε νήσοι
its position relatively to the ArchipeΠολλαι ναιετίoυσι, μάλα σχεδόν αλλήλησιν,
lago and the west coast of Asia Minor.
But, except as to cases governed by such * Thus rendered by the lamented Worsley :- rules, he had no means of approach "And sunward Ithaca, my country dear, I boast. Still Neritos stands waving there
to accuracy as to measurements and His green trees visible for many a mile,
directions; and it is an entire misCentre of soils divine, which, clustering near,
take to take the map for an authoriStars of the blue sea, round about him smile, tative standard in interpreting the Dulichium, Samé steep, Zacynthus' wood- text, and to suppose our only choice crowned isle.
- Od., i. 246 ; ix. 24; xvi. 123. Thus lies the land high-tabled in the main 3 See an instance of this, in respect to Westward : the others take the morning Samothrace and Imbros, in Eothen, ch. iv.
is between this place and that, as importance of Doulichion; and this in laid down in it. What we have to do
both the poems. is carefully to construe the text as it In the Iliad, Meges leads a continis, and then to construct a geography gent of no less than forty ships, drawn according to it: and however wide this from Doulichion and the Echinades, may be of the map, it is the true, and or Echinai, as they were then called. the only true, Homeric geography. Those islands being so small and
We are here then in a serious rocky, it is felt that the bulk of this difficulty. Three of our four islands, force must have been from Doulichion subject to questions of detail, we have (II. i. 631-5). In the Odyssey, Homer
, got; Ithaca, Samos or Samè, and following the method of the Greek Zante. But now we are introduced, by Catalogue, conveys to us his estimate words as plain as words can be, to of places and districts, as to comparaDoulichion as a fourth island ; while tive resources, through his account of there is no corresponding fourth island the numbers proceeding from them in rerum natura.
respectively : of ships in the one case, For, observe, it must lie quite close of suitors in the other. Ithaca yields to the remainder of the group (v. 23). 12 suitors ; Zante 20; Samé 24; and Nor is this all. Because we might Doulichion no less than 52, with a look out for some small and insig- supply of six åpnttñpes or tablenificant island situate close at hand, servants (Od. xvi. 248). The inference and fasten on it this name. There are
according to Homeric rules would be two such islands at least which might that Doulichion was, speaking roughly
, just serve the turn, lying within five about equivalent to all the rest in miles of the coast of Ithaca. But from importance : and this, or more than this supposition we are debarred by this, would also be suggested by the copious and conclusive evidence in
passage in the Iliad. the text to the relative importance We cannot then find the Doulichion of Doulichion. First, there is the of Homer in any of the insignificant precedence uniformly given to this islands in the vicinity which remain island over the considerable names of free for appropriation to Homeric Samé and of Zante. Secondly, it is names : and no other island is availagainst the method of Homer to in- able for the purpose. Plainly theretroduce a place quite insignificant fore the poet is not in accordance at among others that are significant, this point with the actual geography. without noting the difference, and That is, he is in error. But his error without cause for failing to note may have been no more than partial. it. Thirdly he has, for each of these Was it so? Is there any supposition, islands, its distinctive epithet. Zante inaccurate indeed, yet such that he is well-wooded (üAvenç Od. ix. 24, may easily have been led into it by et alibi), Samè, or Samos, is rugged, the facts of the actual geography imcraggy (malTalbers 01. iv. 845), and perfectly comprehended ? Doulichion is volúmvpos, rich in corn The answer is not far to seek. We (od. xvi. 396), and TOLNELS, rich in have only to suppose that both the herbage (Ibid.) These words are abso- names Doulichion and Samè had for lutely inapplicable to the small and him their counterpart in the modern barren islets of which I have spoken, Cefalonia. He believed it not to be and likewise to the mere rocks 1 at the one island, but two. mouth of the Alpheios, which are This suggested solution of the difficalled Echinades, from their resem- culty should be tried by three tests. blance to the rough bristling appear- First and foremost, by the text of the ance of the urchin.
But there is yet poems. more conclusive evidence of the relative Secondly, by the testimony of the 1 Leake, Northern Greece, vol. iii. p. 51.
ancients to the local traditions.
Thirdly, by the facts of geography. eastern extremity of Corfu. It is
I. As to the text of the poems. If quite certain that Mount Elato was we divide Cefalonia as is now proposed, the foundation of the Homeric epithet Homer's description of the group of paipaloeis, for there is no other emiislands as all lying close together, at nonce in the island which approaches once becomes just. The maximum it, though a ridge of perhaps one-third distance is that of Zante, which is the height runs along the whole on eight miles from the nearest point of the western side, up to the northern Cefalonia. The strait between this extremity. It rises over the remains island and Ithaca is from two to four of the town of Samos, and lies in miles broad. If Homer conceived of the southern and eastern corner of the it as divided into two, the notion island. Thus the descriptive epithet must have been founded either on of Homer is borne out: and we have the bay of Samos, which pierces it the whole western portion of the from the east, or, and perhaps more island free for a rich and fertile especially, on the remarkable harbour Doulichion, such as he conceived it. of Argostoli, which goes far towards Near it, to the westward of the pro. cutting off a large slice of the island longed ridge running from Elato, on the
west. It is of a mile or more in down to this day we find all the breadth.
principal towns and the principal Again, we must further consider the culture of the island: Argostoli, epithets by which Homer distinguishes Lixuri, and Livadho. The culture his islands. Zante is wooded (uavjeuc); has changed, it is true, from corn to Samos is towering and beetling (mac currants. This change may have been Talbers); Doulichion is rich in corn connected with the disappearance of (Tolún vpos); it even exported grain, wood and diminution of moisture ; and a Thesprotian ship is represented but the presence of the population on as coming to fetch it (Od. xiv. 335). the western side leaves the comparison Fabulously represented, it is true, in very much where it was.
The ridge a fictitious tale of Odysseus; but this running close along the eastern coast, shows all the more conclusively that from the northern point to the bay of the traffic was familiarly known, as Samè, sufficiently explains to us why the object of course was to frame a that name alone is associated in the narrative which, from its conformity Odyssey with the strait, which had a to notorious facts, would be unlikely ferry over it (Od. iv. 845, xx. 127). to create suspicion. Of these three- From this very spot the route, which the wooded island, the craggy island, I have myself traversed, still crosses and the corn-island—it is plain that, to the western side of the island. relatively to size, the last would be by But here we have to encounter an far the largest in resources.
adverse argument from Strabo, who, therefore to suppose, in dividing Cefa- differing from the general sense of lonia, that Homer assigned to the name antiquity, refuses to associate DouDoulichion either the largest, or the lichion with Cefalonia, and sets the most fertile and populous part of the name upon one of the barren rocks island. What we know from the text called Echinades. In this paradox he is, that the Poet placed Samos on the does not seem to be followed with side of the island nearest Ithaca, confidence by the moderns. Leake, for while he called it beetling and craggy. example, apparently forgetting the Now Cefalonia contains one great positive proof from the Odyssey that mountain of 5,000 feet high, called Doulichion was an island, verbally Mount Elato, and by the Italians assents to Strabo, yet supposes it Mount Nero. It is a very conspicuous may have been wholly or principally object : indeed I have myself seen it on the Acarnanian shore, opposite the from Mount Salvador at the north- 1 Leake, vol. iii. pr. 60, 1. 2 Vol. iii. p. 51.