Felice Vinci's theory

Felice Vinci, an Italian engineer, has presented an interesting theory about the location of Homer’s epics Iliad and Odyssey based on the accounts of the geography described in Homer’s epics and the reality of the Greek Mediterranean.

The discrepancy of Homer’s epics with the Mediterranean geography has disturbed people since ancient times. In De facie quae in orbe Lunae apparet Plutarch wrote that the island of Ogygia where Odysseus was kept prisoner by Calypso was at a five days sailing distance from Britain.

With this clue as a starting point, Felice Vinci took the map in one hand and Homer’s epics Iliad and Odyssey in the other and started tracing the route of Odysseus’s adventures. He concluded that Ogygia could be one of the Faroe islands, and since Odysseus started eastward from the island so does Vinci who step by step discovers a startling match between Homer’s description of the distances and topography of the places Odysseus visits and the reality of northern Atlantic and the Baltic Sea.

On the Norwegian coast Vinci found the island of Scheria, land of the Phaecians, where his adventures lead him. It is his last stop before turning to his own island Ithaca. In this northern milieu Ithaca is probably the island of Lyø whose topography and description fit remarkably well that of the island in Homer’s epic.

On the journey between Ogygia (Faroe islands) and Scheria Odysseus encounters a strange phenomenon which Homer calls an Ocean River, which must have been the Gulf Stream running along the Norwegian coast.

East of Lyø is the Homeric Peloponnese, where king Nestor reigned. Vinci’s theory proposes that this is an island now called Sjælland where the Danish capital Copenhagen is located. Homer’s account of Peloponnese describes an island, which is a plane, void of mountains. The Greek Peloponnese is mountainous, therefore not a flat land, furthermore it is not an island, but connected to the mainland.

Homer’s Ithaca is near a group of three islands: Same, Zacynthus and Dulichium, which means ‘the Long’, an island that has not been found in the Mediterranean. Dulichium can be identified with Langeland whose name refers to ‘long’ in Danish.

The list of similar findings on which Vinci bases his theory is astounding, and they include the city of Troy in a small village named Toija in southwestern Finland. Troy was the legendary city where prince Paris took Helen, wife of king Menelaus, after having abducted her. The war that ensued was fought over a period of ten years and was finally concluded when the allied forces of Menelaus gained victory through Odysseus’s cunning plot to use a wooden horse in which warriors were hidden.

But even if one accepts that Odysseus could have been sailing the Baltic Sea, how is it that the Greek corner of the Mediterranean today has many places that actually have the names Homers records in his epics?

According to Vinci, and as other scholars have already earlier proposed, there was a notable cooling of the climate. This cooling caused a migration from the Baltic Sea south to the Mediterranean. According to Vinci the people who thus migrated brought with them the names of their homeland. In the new area they gave these names to their surroundings much like people have been doing for centuries.

Felice Vinci has written two books presenting the theory. Out of these two, the latter titled Omero nel Baltico has been translated into Russian and English and in Italy it is on its third edition. An abstract of the book in English is available at: