Have you ever wondered where Homer, the blind epic poet of Iliad and Odyssey, was buried? I hadn’t. Honestly, I would have been more interested in knowing where Homer lived or when exactly he lived, or if he was even blind, since everything about the great poet – from his works down to his very existence – is debatable.
According to historical references, it is believed that Homer was buried in Ios, birthplace of his mother Clymene. Thus, the prophecy that had been given to him by the Oracle of Delphi, was fulfilled:
Both fortunate and unfortunate (since he was born for both)
You seek a homeland but there is also your mother’s country which is not your homeland
The isle of Ios is your mother’s country and it shall receive you dead;
but beware of the riddle of the young children.
The prophecy came true down to the last line. Homer happened to visit Ios, where he met some young fishermen who had just returned from the sea and were delousing themselves. When the poet asked them if they had caught anything, the boys replied:
Those we caught we left behind; those we did not catch, we bring.
Assuming they were referring to fish, when the boys were actually talking about the lice they had brought back on their clothes, Homer was unable to solve the riddle. Distraught, he turned to leave but slipped, fell in the mud and died quietly.
The exact location of Homer’s resting place is also a riddle but, for all intends and purposes, we will accept it is on the northernmost side of the island, towards the deserted settlement of Plakotos.
So what if there is no evidence to connect the marble and stone structure to Homer? The views are spectacular; the stone totems stand like faithful gatekeepers between spiritual and physical worlds; and if you stay very still, you may even hear Odysseus whispering his adventures in a steady, deep voice; determined to find his way home – to Ithaca.
Ios, 25-29 June 2015