Παρασκευή, 22 Ιουνίου 2018

Lifting the veil that covered "lost" Αsteris; the "ghost island" of Homeric topography.



Dedicated to our children Odysseas, Phillipos and Anna
Text & Copyright: Hettie Putman Cramer & Makis Metaxas



ASTERIS, 
‘THE ISLAND OF THE SUITORS’

There is a rocky island in the middle of the sea, 
[midway between Ithaca and rugged Samos,]* 
called Asteris. It is of no great size, but it has safe harbours, one on each side; 
and there the Achaians set their ambush [for Telemachos] and lay in wait.   (Od. 4.844-847)

ἔστι δέ τις νῆσος μέσσῃ ἁλὶ πετρήεσσα,
[μεσσηγὺς Ἰθάκης τε Σάμοιό τε παιπαλοέσσης,]*
Ἀστερίς, οὐ μεγάλη· λιμένες δ᾽ ἔνι ναύλοχοι αὐτῇ
ἀμφίδυμοι· τῇ τόν γε μένον λοχόωντες Ἀχαιοί.        (Od. 4.844-847)

The quest for Homeric Ithaca usually starts with what is theoretically the thorniest problem of Homeric geography, which has to do with the existence and precise position of the islet of Asteris. It is the island where the suitors vying for the throne of Ithaca spent twenty-eight days lying in wait for Telemachos with the intention of killing him on his way back from Pylos.