Since I’ve been back in the UK, I’ve had time to read a couple of books from my weighty ‘to read’ list, and one of these was Things can only get feta, by Marjory McGinn. I know I’m biased towards books set in Greece, but it is one of the better accounts of moving to Greece, and as I’m happy to recommend it as an excellent read I gave it 5 Stars on Amazon. Now I’ve got Marjory’s second book, Homers’s where the heart is, on my ‘To read’ list. Meanwhile, I regularly take a look at Marjory’s, blog, and enjoyed her post about why she chose to feature Homer in her sequel’s title. I’m delighted to introduce you to the blog post here:
An Odyssey in Homer’s stomping ground . . .
THERE was a reason I put Homer into the title of my latest Greek travel memoir,Homer’s Where The Heart Is. And it has nothing to do with Homer and Marge Simpson, let’s clear that up right away, much as I love their goofball antics and Marge’s towering blue hairdo.
Homer, the slightly more venerable, and ancient Greek poet of the Iliad and the Odyssey(who lived in the 8th century BC), had a significant influence on the north Mani region of the southern Peloponnese, where we spent three years from 2010.
I’m not sure that Homer physically spent any time in the Mani – the middle peninsula of the southern Peloponnese. There’s no evidence of that, or Homer Simpson for that matter, despite the fact that the third episode of the first TV series in 1990 was calledHomer’s Odyssey, when he became a citizens’ safety crusader. But as far as I know he hasn’t trudged the sylvan hills of the Mani.
As for Homer the venerable Greek, he named the area around the present day village of Paleohora, Iri (Ιρή), which is situated on the coastal strip just south of Kalamata and it is mentioned in the Iliad as one of the seven cities (including Kardamili further south) that Agamemnon offered to the angry Achilles to appease him. In its time, Iri had serious historic cachet.
Paleohora is certainly historic, settled from the Mycenean age, and in the Homeric years it had the important temple dedicated to Asclepios (the ancient god of healing) built on the high clifftop overlooking the gulf. Ancient relics have been found from this time and it was said that people came from all over southern Greece to be healed at this temple.
On the escarpment over a small pebbled cove is what was known as the Portella, a natural opening in the rock, where the sick could be lowered down to the sea below for treatment, and which later in the 17th and 18th centuries became an escape hatch for those fleeing from Turkish interlopers.
To read more of this post, and explore Marjory McGinn’s blog, you can click here.