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(texte français: cliquez ici)   From the next World to this world


Following the epic text narrating how Odysseus returns from the next world in this world the expedition is incited to discover the prototype mythical island of the Pheacians.
Odysseus' nautical world
A cosmological interpretation
Sea routes and the epic text
The routes home
Rounding Cape Malea
6 Toward a New World
7 Mythological figures for stopovers
From the next World to this world
9 In Odysseus'wake. Arrival at Ithaka
10 Ithaka, Ormos Polis
Ithaka, the islet of Daskalio
12 Ithaka, Port Saint Andrew
13 At the Arethuse source
14 The periplus to Ithaka
15 Our friend Odysseus
Jean Cuisenier, Alain Ballabriga and Irad Malkin examine the ruins of Apollo's temple in Corfu, a historic proptotype of the Phaeacians' city.

"It is a West wind sent by Calypso, the zephyros, that carries Odysseus and his craft from the remote atlantic Ogygia. The system of winds and currents in the Ionian sea, together with the logic of navigation, contribute to carry a shipwrecked sailor coming from western seas along the coasts of Corfou facing the "wild sea", agrio-pelagos, the high sea that comes from the West. …On this stubbornly rocky coast… only three sites are accessible to a swimmer : from North to South the bay of Aghios Gheorgios, the three beaches of Liapades and the bay of Ermones."

(Extract from the ship's log)
Corfou, Ermones, on September 6, 2000 :
"Below, the sea roars and hits the cliff with great deaf sounds, endlessly. From a breccia the wiew opens out, at last, boundless up to the horizon. The large sea waters are whipped up by the bora, that strong North wind that swelled our sails the previous days. A golden sandy beach now appears before our eyes. There, the last waves of a regular swell die away, broken in their run by the rocky promontory that protects the cove below. Would it be that very beach on which the poet makes his shipwrecked hero land in the midst of breaking waves and river swirls ?"
"We have to make great efforts today to imagine what the shore of Ermones was like before the tourist industry took possession of it and surrounded it with hideous buildings. But it perfectly corresponds with Homer's description of the places where Odysseus landed and where Nausicaa and her servants met him. It meets the nautical conditions for a crippled embarkation and her crew to reach land in strong West wind. And, indeed, a small river runs into it, less abundant than in the past when gardens, orchards and olive groves covered the land built today with houses and various constructions. Such a beach may have been used in the heroic times as an exchange place between natives and Greek sailors returning from expeditions in the west. Ermones may have been renowned enough to inspire the poet the sequence of Odysseus going to meet Nausicaa. The fact is that a path follows the course of the small river up the valley toward Corfu. The city is not far, hardly further than Paleokastritsa from Ermones. One can quite imagine that Nausicaa and her servants take this way to go from the palace to the beach and back and that Odysseus follows them from a distance, according to the princess' instructions. Then, would the Phaeacians' city, its palace and fortress, its harbours and agoras be located in the area of the modern Corcyra (Corfu) ? Thus, on the eastern coast facing Thesprotia (Albania and Epirus) ? It is a place from where one controls easily the channel used by ships travelling from the Ionian Sea to the Adriatic Sea through the Strait of Otranto and back, sheltered from the tempests of the wild sea. One could be tempted to think so for good nautical reasons. And archaeological investigations … provide the proofs that give the Phaeacian utopia its historic model".  next

    Jean Cuisenier, Le Périple d’Ulysse, pp. 359-364
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