Made in Sicily Odissey

Made in Sicily Odissey

In the second half of the 19th century an English scholar, Samuel Butler, studied the Homeric epic poems in the original Greek language, bringing certainties that had been ascertained for millenaries into question.

At first he saw many stylistic differences between the Iliad, story of war, and the Odyssey, story of love. Butler published “The Authoress of the Odyssey” ascertaining that it had been written by a woman living in Trapani. The reason why the authoress transferred the whole story to Greece is related to the famous contest of the myth of nostoi, the return home of the Greek heroes after the Troian war.

The theory is imaginative but is based on historical surveys, known through the reading of influential authors of the past. Butler, and others scholars who continued his studies, made topographic overlappings. These works proved that there is a corrispondence between the descriptions in the Odissey and the places as they were in Trapani and its surroundings when the Odyssey is supposed to be written. And so Trapani is identified with Scheria, with his trident shape, but also with Itaca, since Trapani has the same three coves in a suburban area. Itaca, on the other hand, is described as having the point of view of one of the Egadi Islands, Marettimo, low on the horizon, but taller than the other two islands. The meeting with Polifemo, the Cyclop blinded by Odysseus, was set in a cave in Pizzolungo, not far from Trapani. It is believed that the stone thrown by the Cyclop at Odysseus, is still on the sea in front of the cave.

According Samuel Butler’s theory, the Odysseus’ journeys are not set in the Ionian Islands, but round Sicily and they were told by a young and learned woman. The Homeric question itself remains unsolved: the literary background in which the hypothetical figure of Homer lived is not defined: between the 9th and the 5th century B.C., the stories told by the rhapsodes were transmitted orally. From the 6th century B.C., instead, new ways of transmission were adopted: the vehiculation of myths was made through the written form.

Sicily is like a Pandora’s box, it always provokes enchanting questions and you can visit the places described by the Authoress, blissfully unaware of the trouble she had created.

Roberta Di RosaLicensed tour guide

Roberta Di Rosa
Licensed tour guide

Book a trip or a tour now

Call me or send me an e-mail

Last posts from the blog

Pieces on the mosaic of history
Erice's white cloak