Homer’s Odyssey

Homer on Corfu Nature

“Here are planted tall thriving trees – pears, pomegranates, apples with glistening fruit, sweet figs, rich olives. The fruit of all these never fails or flags all the year round, winter or summer; here the west wind is always breathing – some fruits it brings to birth, some to ripeness. Pear upon pear matures to fullness, apple on apple, grape-cluster on grape-cluster, fig on fig.”

Homer, The Odyssey, Book VII, 800 BC

Homer on Corfu Hospitality

Odysseus: ‘‘Wretch that I am, whose land have I come to now? Are the people barbarous, arrogant and lawless? Are they hospitable and god fearing?’’

Nausicca: ‘‘Stranger, those who live in this land and city are the Phaeacians (Corfiots), and I myself am daughter of bold Alcinous, on whom depends all Phaeacian power and prowess. In our land and city that you have come to, you shall not go short of anything – of clothes or whatever other thing may fill the needs of a toil-worn suppliant crossing one’s path.’’

Homer, The Odyssey, Book VI, 800 BC

Homer on Corfu Seamanship

“For the Phaeacians (Corfiots) have no pilots; their vessels have no rudders as those of other nations have, but the ships themselves understand what it is that we are thinking about and want; they know all the cities and countries in the whole world, and can traverse the sea just as well even when it is covered with mist and cloud, so that there is no danger of being wrecked or coming to any harm.”

Homer, The Odyssey, Book VIII, 800 BC

The Apidalos Naus, or ‘Unhelmed Ship’, is the emblem of Corfu and symbolises the naval prowess of the Phaeacians (Corfiots) and their remarkable ships at the time of Odysseus. The ships were steered by thought and in The Odyssey (see above), King Alkinoos describes to Odysseus how the Phaeacian ships will take him home to Ithaca. Homer himself describes the ships as being faster than falcons.

Homer’s Odyssey

The Beginning of Western Literature