Ithaca, also written as Ithaka, is a name for one of the Greek islands that belonged to the Ionian Sea. Ithaca Island is the second smallest island after Paxi. The island forms part of the separate regional units among the Greek Ionian Islands as part of the Ionian Islands region and the region’s only municipality. The location of the island is to the northeast part of the Kefalonia coast and western part of the mainland Greece.
The capital of Ithaca is Vathy with the island’s main land mass being approximately 96 KM Sq. The island’s population as at 2011 was estimated at 3,231 people. The modern Ithaca is famous generally because it has been closely associated with the Greek tale of Odyssey. According to the Greek mythology, Odysseus was the son of Laertes and among the most famous rulers during the Trojan War and the hero in Homer’s Odyssey. This is because it has been largely associated with Homer’s Ithaca, which is the home of Odysseus in the Greek classical story ‘the Odyssey.’
History shows that the name ‘Ithaca’ has remained unchanged for many centuries when referring to the Ionian Islands. Historians have also discovered that names such as Val di Compare, Ithaki nisos, Thiaki, Fiaki, and Teaki have all been used in Greek mythology to refer to Ithaca Island. Historians who have researched on the Island have also discovered that the Island had human presence from around the 2nd millennium BC and think that the Island might have been the capital city of the Cephalonia kingdom that existed during the Mycenaean period. The Cephalonia kingdom was a small kingdom that was ruled by Odysseus.
During the Hellenistic period, the Ionian Islands suffered attacks from the Macedonians although by the year 431 BC, the Romans succeeded in taking control of the Ionian Islands. After the Roman Empire was subdivided by Emperor Constantine, the Ithaca Island, as part of the Ionian Islands, became part of the Byzantine Empire until it was later occupied by the Normans and the Angevins during the 13th century. During the Medieval period, Ithaca became part of the Tocchi family, a move that saw it achieve great developments. During this period, the Island was able to develop into an independent state with a powerful military that comprised of naval fleet. The Venetians who lived in the Ithaca Island continued their dominance in the Ionian Islands with advancement in trade activities and even led to splendid constructions. If you visit the Ithaca islands today, you will still see a majority of the ruins of the constructions that took place during the medieval period.
Based on different accounts of the Greek mythology, one cannot ignore the significance of the Ithaca Island. This is because it is known as the legendary home of the main hero in Greek mythology, Odysseus. According to the myth, Odysseus lived in the city of Ithaca and was considered the rightful ruler of the Island.
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