|"Graecia Antiqua" Johannes Laurenmberg Collection of Fotis Kremmydas.|
The kingdom of Doulichion is mentioned in the ‘Catalogue of Ships’ in the 'Iliad', immediately after the kingdom of Elis and before the neighbouring kingdom of Ithaka. (Il. 2.625-630)
In the Odyssey (9.22-24) Odysseus describes Doulichion as an ‘island’ extremely close to the ‘islands’ of Same and Zakynthos,
Telemachos also describes Doulichion as an ‘island’close to the ‘islands’ of Same and Zakynthos when he inveighs against the suitors (Od. 21.344-347, 1.245-248, 19.130-133, 16.122-125):
ἀνδρῶν Θεσπρωτῶν ἐς Δουλίχιον πολύπυρον.
(Οδ. ξ 334-335)
to be setting out for Doulichion, rich in wheat.
|Map on which the Mycenaean kingdoms of western Greece|
with their leaders are marked,
exactly as recorded in Homer’s texts.
Il.Book 2. 591-644 [ii]
Paradoxically however, this is the island of Zakynthos. At least from the 5th century B.C. its name has never been questioned! Zakyntos, as far as we know, has never been associated with Doulichion by any historian nor by any commentator of the historical period.
"To the east of Zakynthos and Kephallenia are situated the Echinades Islands, among which is Doulichion, now called Dolicha, and also what are called the Oxeiai, which the poet called Thoai. Dolicha lies opposite Oeniadai and the mouth of the Acheloös, at a distance of one hundred stadia from Araxos, the promontory of the Eleians; the rest of the Echinades (they are several in number, all poor-soiled and rugged) lie off the mouth of the Acheloös, the furthermost being fifteen stadia distant and the nearest five. In earlier times they lay out in the high sea, but the silt brought down by the Acheloös has already joined some of them to the mainland and will do the same to others." [iii]
Strabo, C 458.19
Of course, if Strabo had been to Western Greece and had seen it for himself, as Page memorably describes, he would certainly never have entertained such an idea and would not have identified it with the populous, wheat-growing, grassy Doulichion.
|'Meges' Kingdom' Doulichion & Echinae the holy islands, according to the study by Dr. Vangelis Pantazis|
The geographical position of Homeric Doulichion in the current location of the island with the name Zakynthos is confirmed by a series of events:
According to Mr Andreas Sotiriou Ephor of Prehistorical and Calssical Antiquities of Kephalonia Ithaka & Zakynthos, the Late Bronze Age, or otherwise the Mycenaean period (1550-1050 BC), is represented by the remains of two houses in 'Kalogeros', and several burial finds. Mycenaean built tholos tombs have been discovered in 'Triodhi' Gerakas and on the hill of 'Klapsias', near Keri, while in Kambi, at a locality named 'Vigla', a small cemetery of deep rock cut tombs.
Since 2005 the Dutch Archaeological Institute in Athens with director Dr Christiane Tytgat does a survey in Zakynthos in collaboration with the Ephorate of Prehistorical and Calssical Antiquities (responsible for Kefalonia, Zakynthos and Ithaki). The Dutch archaeologist Gert Jan van Wijngaarden conducts this survey. The current survey area includes parts of southern Zakynthos and aims to identify prehistoric and Mycenaean locations.
According to the archaeologist Andreas Sotiriou the results of this survey are beginning to unveil a new image of the island of which only few aspects were known before. Stone carving, pottery, cemeteries, quarries and other archaeological data supplement slowly but surely the gaps in the island's inhabitation and enrich our knowledge about the island.
|Mycenaean tombs from Zakynthos|
- The island of Zakynthos, being the last in a series of islands with direction from north to south, covers fully the information gives us by Homer in this text.
the voyage of the Thesprotians, sailing south towards Doulichion. According to Homer they came first to the coast of Ithaka, where they rested for a while, and then continued on their way to Doulichion:
- Indeed Zakynthos has the most low-lying areas and curators from all the Ionian islands!!!.
- Indeed, the site of today's Zakynthos Island is just off the coast of Elis exactly as mentioned in the ‘Catalogue of Ships’. (See satellite images)
- Here goes what's called 'A picture speaks a thousand words.' If anyone is found on the opposite coast of Peloponnese or Kefalonia he will see the figure of an oblong strip of land. This image is also responsible for the name "Doulichio" [Δουλίχιο < Δόλιχος > Lat. longus = a long, narrow island ] that was given to this island in the prehistoric period.
|Photo from the west coast of the Peloponnese. On the horizon is recorded in an impressive way the elongated (Δόλιχος>Δουλίχιον> Doulichion) figure of Zakynthos island|
|Photo from the south Kefalonia . On the horizon is recorded in an impressive way the elongated (Δόλιχος>Δουλίχιον> Doulichion) figure of Zakynthos island|
Why this assumption has never been examined or has been subject to debate or even a working exercise by someone not taking into account the names that the Ionian Islands carry today, and putting the Homeric names just like Homer describes them on a map, is a big question mark. It is precisely this collective inability we have to understand Homer (correct reading of the time of creation of the Homeric epics), that makes it clear why for so many years we were looking for the location of Homer's Ithaca and unluckily never found it. And what’s more, in the Homeric texts we can read any possible description of Ithaca!
|"Zakynthos" Benedetto Bordone 1528|
[i] Strabo, C 456.14
οὐδ' Ἑλλάνικος ὁμηρικὸς Δουλίχιον τὴν Κεφαλληνίαν λέγων. τὸ μὲν γὰρ ὑπὸ Μέγητι εἴρηται καὶ αἱ λοιπαὶ Ἐχινάδες, οἵ τε ἐνοικοῦντες Ἐπειοὶ ἐξ Ἤλιδος ἀφιγμένοι: διόπερ καὶ τὸν Ὦτον τὸν Κυλλήνιον
αὐτὰρ Ὀδυσσεὺς ἦγε Κεφαλλῆνας μεγαθύμους.29
οὔτ' οὖν Δουλίχιον ἡ Κεφαλληνία καθ' Ὅμηρον οὔτε τῆς Κεφαλληνίας τὸ Δουλίχιον, ὡς Ἄνδρων φησί: τὸ μὲν γὰρ Ἐπειοὶ κατεῖχον, τὴν δὲ Κεφαλληνίαν ὅλην Κεφαλλῆνες ὑπὸ Ὀδυσσεῖ, οἱ δ' ὑπὸ Μέγητι. οὐδὲ Παλεῖς Δουλίχιον ὑφ' Ὁμήρου λέγονται, ὡς γράφει Φερεκύδης. μάλιστα δ' ἐναντιοῦται Ὁμήρῳ ὁ τὴν Κεφαλληνίαν τὴν αὐτὴν τῷ Δουλιχίῳ λέγων, εἴπερ τῶν μνηστήρων ἐκ μὲν Δουλιχίοιο δύω καὶ πεντήκοντα ἦσαν, ἐκ δὲ Σάμης πίσυρές τε καὶ εἴκοσιν. οὐ γὰρ τοῦτ' ἂν εἴη λέγων, ἐξ ὅλης μὲν τόσους ἐκ δὲ μιᾶς τῶν τεττάρων παρὰ δύο τοὺς ἡμίσεις. εἰ δ' ἄρα τοῦτο δώσει τις, ἐρησόμεθα τίς ἂν εἴη ἡ Σάμη, ὅταν οὕτω φῇ
Δουλίχιόν τε Σάμην τ' ἠδ' ὑλήεντα Ζάκυνθον.30
[ii] Homer Il. Book 2.
καὶ ταύτης δὲ καὶ τῆς Κεφαλληνίας πρὸς ἕω τὰς Ἐχινάδας ἱδρῦσθαι νήσους συμβέβηκεν, ὧν τό τε Δουλίχιόν ἐστι (καλοῦσι δὲ νῦν Δολίχαν ) καὶ αἱ Ὀξεῖαι καλούμεναι, ἃς Θοὰς ὁ ποιητὴς εἶπε: καὶ ἡ μὲν Δολίχα κεῖται κατὰ Οἰνιάδας καὶ τὴν ἐκβολὴν τοῦ Ἀχελώου, διέχουσα Ἀράξου τῆς τῶν Ἠλείων ἄκρας ἑκατόν, αἱ λοιπαὶ δ' Ἐχινάδες (πλείους δ' εἰσί, πᾶσαι λυπραὶ καὶ τραχεῖαι ) πρὸ τῆς ἐκβολῆς τοῦ Ἀχελώου, πεντεκαίδεκα σταδίους ἀφεστῶσα ἡ ἀπωτάτω, ἡ δ' ἐγγυτάτω πέντε, πελαγίζουσαι πρότερον, ἀλλ' ἡ χοῦς τὰς μὲν ἐξηπείρωκεν αὐτῶν ἤδη, τὰς δὲ μέλλει πολλὴ καταφερομένη