Inspired by the epic hero Odysseus, Bettany Hughes embarks on her own personal odyssey through the Greek islands, setting off from the site of the Trojan War and sailing south to a graveyard of ancient shipwrecks near Fourni. From there, she visits Chios, the birthplace of Homer, Lesbos, home of the ancient Greek theatre of Mytilene, and finally to the boat-building capital of Samos. With each visit, Bettany experiences the same hero’s welcome afforded to Trojan warriors, full of exquisite meals, laughter, song, and dance.
Bettany Hughes continues to follow Odysseus’s winding trail home to Ithaca, beginning with a predawn trip to Delos, an island so sacred in ancient times that no one was allowed to live or die there. Then she sets sail to Ikaria, famed for its residents’ remarkably long lifespans, where she samples the island’s famous local honey and jumps feet first—literally—into ancient winemaking. A shock storm en route to Mykonos produces 20-foot-waves (and many cases of seasickness), mirroring the raging weather often depicted in Homer’s Odyssey.
Bettany Hughes continues her personal odyssey, beginning in Santorini, one of the most popular destinations in Greece and home to the most cataclysmic volcanic eruption in history. She’ll walk across the still-active volcano and visit the remains of an ancient town the violent eruption preserved 3,500 years ago. Next she’ll visit Naxos just in time for the island’s annual celebration of Dionysus, the god of wine and excess. Finally, Bettany will dock at Siphnos, one of the wealthiest Greek islands and a onetime hub for marauding pirates.
Bettany Hughes’ personal odyssey through the Greek islands takes her to Crete, home of legendary heroes and villains, powerful ancient civilizations, and macabre history. Follow her to Chania, Knossos, and Eleutherna, where she explores a replica boat built from the age of Odysseus and recounts the stories of the Minotaur and Achilles. Then discover a more recent, dramatic chapter in Crete's history as we investigate Germany’s occupation of the island in World War II and meet a 95-year-old who narrowly escaped a Nazi firing squad as a teenager.
Bettany Hughes is nearing the end of her personal odyssey from the battlegrounds of ancient Troy to Odysseus’s home in Ithaca. This leg of the voyage finds her in the Peloponnese, home to one of the greatest Bronze Age civilizations—the Mycenaeans—as well as the mythic heroes Helen of Troy, Agamemnon, and Odysseus himself. Bettany’s explores this peninsula’s prosperous and violent past and discovers, through its human remains and golden treasures, just how much the ancient Greeks' legendary tales are rooted in fact.
Historian Bettany Hughes is on the final leg of her Odyssey-inspired voyage and heading to the beautiful western islands that will lead her to Ithaca. Follow her from the Peloponnesian city of Corinth, once a recruiting ground for Greek soldiers to fight in the Trojan War, then to Corfu, the “paradise on Earth” where Odysseus found salvation and a way to get back home. Finally, witness the last stop of the journey, Ithaca, where, like the Homeric hero she’s been tracing, she encounters unsettling events that are, quite literally, earth-shaking.
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