Thursday, July 06, 2006

July 1, 2006

Ship's Log
July 1st, 2006
Departure Location: Name Unknown
Departure Time: 8:15 hours
Distance Travelled: 16.52 nautical miles
Arrival Location: Saltsbjoden, Sweden
Arrival Time: 11:00 hours
Weather: Very sunny and almost no wind

Personal Comments:

Today we woke early and began our last day by taking a morning dip off the back of the boat. The water was jarringly cold and provided a fresh start to the day. It was an exceptionally hot morning with no winds, which produced a glassy placid look to the water. As a result we were forced to motor the entire distance back to Saltsbjoden. Our arrival at the dock here marks a full circle to our journey.

It was an exceptional evening tonight. We had the privilege of meeting Felice Vinci, the author of the theory we have been following, his wonderful wife Pina, and the German scholar Karin Wagner. We had a relaxed reception aboard the boat where we enjoyed conversation in which Vinci shared his thoughts on the strongest points of his theory, and before proceeding to dinner on the dock we shared a slideshow of photographs from our trip.

This was the perfect culmination to many months of preparation and three wonderful weeks of exploration and fine sailing. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who have been so supportive and followed our journey. For those of you waiting for the CD-ROM we have already begun work on it and you can expect it in the coming months.

Research Comments:

This voyage has presented many opportunities for us to share Vinci’s theory with those who we have met. It is clear from our experiences that there is a growing interest in furthering this new theory on Indo-European migration. There are also tentative plans for the translation of Vinci’s work into Swedish, Finnish, and Norwegian.

Tonight Vinci encouraged Professor Mullen to use this journey as the starting point for a number of scholarly works on the subject, which he intends to do. These past three weeks have confirmed that there is ample contextual evidence to support Vinci’s theory. In the future we hope to see archaeological excavations of the sites we have visited in order to further confirm or refute the Baltic origins of the Homeric epics.

As a final note to this summers activities July 3rd though the 8th, Felice and Pina Vinci and Professor Mullen will head off to St. Petersburg to meet with representatives of The Hermitage Museum to discuss these new theories on Indo-European migration.

What the future holds beyond this has yet to be determined.

June 30, 2006

Ship's Log
June 30th 2006
Departure Location: Sandhamn, Sweden
Departure Time: 13:15 hours
Distance Travelled: 16.5 nautical miles
Arrival Location: Name Unknown
Arrival Time: 19:00 hours
Weather: Very sunny and very light winds, periods of drifting

Personal Comments:

Today was the last day sailing in open waters and we spent most of it drifting aimlessly. Because there was no need to cover much distance we spent the morning sleeping in and running errands, and left Sandhamn in the early afternoon.

Our expectation was that we would sail for a few hours and get to our destination early enough to cook a big dinner and roam. The wind had other plans for us however. We started the afternoon with light winds and after a few hours ended up with no winds. Sunning ourselves on the back deck we would often look up to find that the boat had started to drift backwards because there was not enough pressure on the rudder to get any control. John even managed to take the dinghy out for a short row since it was clear that we would not be sailing away from him anytime soon.

Sometime around 18:00 hours we decided that we were done waiting for nature to guide us and turned instead to our trusty motor. Within 45 minutes we had arrived at our last port and an hour after that our feast was laid out. To our pleasant surprise a small motor boat, selling fresh baked bread and chocolates, pulled up beside us just as we were finishing dinner, providing a perfect end to a quiet day.

It was by far one of the laziest days that the team has spent since arriving and as you can see below, we did our best to take advantage of it.

Research Comments:

After three weeks of long winded discussions and sailing past hundreds of beautiful islands we have noticed that the one subject that comes up more often than most is the god Apollo and the many facets of the daily life he presides over. Because of this we thought it would be appropriate to pass some of this discussion on to you, our readers. Everything that is discussed below was composed by Professor Mullen, who has created a wonderful amalgam of thoughts about our most consistent literary companion; Apollo:

Earlier we mentioned how sailing past Applö, Vinci’s candidate for an island sacred to the god at which the Greeks might have stopped on their way to Troy (p. 165), made us thinking harder about the nature of this god, the one Greek clearly associated by cult and myth with the far north, the land of the Hyperboreans who live “beyond the north wind”. He is the god of antinomies:
· the sender of plague and the healer of it
· the god of radiance clarity, as in sunlight on promontories seen from afar, and the god who comes down “like night” at the beginning of the Iliad
· the wielder of the bow which sends death and player of the lyre which is the flower of life (and his feastday is at the new moon, when its curve resembles both bow and lyre)
· the god of purification; if, like Orestes, you shed kindred blood, you flee to his sanctuary to be purified.
How might all these attributes fit together in a single concept? And is there anything in our three weeks’ sailing which might help us to intuit that unifying concept? The last two nights we’ve been mesmerized by the appearance of the slim crescent of the new moon as evening comes on—a fit time to try to draw our thoughts together, at the end of our weeks centered around the summer solstice.

One way to approach him is through the role he plays in the Iliad. There he is what scholars have come to call an “adversary god” to the hero, in this case Achilles, whom he resembles (both are young men in perfect shape) and whom he frustrates. In fact Apollo enters the plot at four places to frustrate people and only at the end to bringing about healing. His first frustrating entry is obviously his sending of plague on the Greek army in Book One. At two key scenes where a Greek hero is so brilliant that day on the battlefield that he threatens to take Troy, Diomedes in Book Five and Patroclus in Book Sixteen, Apollo calls out terrifyingly to him Phrazeo kai khazeo!, “Take heed and fall back!” In the case of Patroclus the first to strike him a deathblow is the god Apollo, and only later does the mortal Hector finish him off. And at the beginning of the book in which the climactic killing of Hector by Achilles is destined to occur, Apollo taunts Achilles in six chilling lines (8-13) which Achilles answers in six more lines of almost precisely the same structure and rhythm (15-21). Once Achilles seems to have foreknowledge through his mother’s prophecy that his final death at Troy will come through Apollo’s arrows (21.277-8). Insofar as we identify with the mortal hero Achilles we find Apollo mainly an adversary and a threat.

All this, however, is reversed in the final book. There we see, as Jonathan Shay shows so clearly in Achilles in Vietnam, that Achilles is still traumatized and bestialized by the berserker state triggered at the death of his best friend; even after Patroclus’ elaborate funeral in Book 23 Achilles still is not at peace, tosses and turns at night remembering him, rises before dawn and again and again savagely drags Hector’s body around Patroclus’ tomb (24.3-16). And now it is Apollo who intervenes in the action of the plot and denounces the poem’s hero to the Olympians as a wild lion, not a man (41), one who has not learned, as most mortals do, an “enduring heart” from the Fates, a man who cannot let go of his wild grief. And it is Apollo, we learn no less than three times, who has been instrumental during this whole period in preserving Hector’s body from corruption while Achilles is trying to abuse it (23.188-191, 24. 18-21, 24.757-759). It is Apollo who now stands for human decency, for doing what is fitting and decorous. He reestablishes his presence as that which ennobles and inspires human civilization.

Apollo emerges, at the end of the poem, as the god who protects the fair body of the young warrior even in death. How noble and beautiful a recently dead warrior’s body seemed to Homer’s audiences is shown in the words of Priam (22.71-73). It was seemly and civilized to honor that death by the funeral rites Achilles is so bent on arranging for Patroclus, and Apollo now ensures that the poem will end with the same “decency of fire” for the hero who killed Patroclus before he was killed by the hero of the whole poem.

Perhaps—and this is sheer intuition—the unifying concept behind Apollo is that of the radiance by which we perceive and honor beautiful forms. In landscape these are forms like promontories and headlines seen in clear weather from from off on the sea—what we have been seeing so stunningly day after day in these three weeks of luminous days, either cloudfree or with lustrous separate cumulus clouds massing. In the human realm the paradigmatic form is that of the young man in perfect shape who is ready to test his form by struggle, be it in competitive athletics or on thefield of battle. In the Homeric Hymn to Apollo (which by Vinci’s lights should be part of the same larger epos brought from Baltic to Mediterranean) Apollo is said to rejoice in headlands and promontories. And now at the end of the Iliad he is shown honoring the paradigmatic human form of beauty, the warrior who has pushed his youthful strength to the ultimate test of death.

Another way of putting it is that this god abominates the violation of the body’s boundaries. If it takes the form, as in the case of Orestes, of shedding kindred blood, he is the god to whom one may flee for purification. If it takes the form, as in the case of Achilles, of a traumatized savaging of a dead body, he is the god who intervenes to demand that the gods stop it. And indeed they do: Zeus agrees with his son, and as soon as Achilles learns from his mother that this is Zeus’ will, he yields to that will in two lines of utter simplicity, in which his healing may be said to occur (24.139-140). After that, for the rest of the poem, he is, in his kindness and consolatory wisdom to Priam, the very paragon of human decency again. When they had eaten together, Priam simply admires his beautiful form, “how huge a man he was, and what kind of man—equal to the gods, he seemed”. Achilles has become, in mortal guise, everything Apollo stands for as a god.

June 29, 2006

Ship's Log
June 29th 2006
Departure Location: Lilla Nassa, Sweden
Departure Time: 8:00 hours
Distance Travelled: 11.57 nautical miles
Arrival Location: Sandhamn, Sweden
Arrival Time: 12:15 hours
Weather: Sunny and light winds

Personal Comments:

We began this morning with a pancake breakfast that lacked Mom’s special touch. Having had Jonas cook Swedish pancakes for us we hoped to be able to offer a comparable cultural exchange, but the thick flat pastries we produced were a far cry from the Sunday morning breakfasts that we hoped to recreate. Next time we will learn to track down a recipe, or maybe some Aunt Jemima if we get desperate.

After calm sailing all morning we arrived at Sandhamn in the early afternoon. Sandhamn is a small summer vacation island, which happened to be hosting the Royal Swedish Sailing Society’s Gotland Run (a multi-day regatta). Due to the race the port was teaming with activity. Upon arriving, John was immediately dispatched to retrieve mustard, a condiment that the team has become particularly dependant upon (average mustard consumption has reached one entire bottle per day). We spent the first part of our afternoon fending off other boats, which were being packed in next to us like sardines. In the afternoon we shopped for supplies, explored the town, and had a late afternoon drink in an outside café. At days close we found ourselves over served and under slept.

Research Comments:

This morning’s leisurely sail gave us the perfect opportunity to come together as a group and have a final review of our thoughts regarding the voyage and Vinci’s theory. To open our casual symposium we each went around in turn and named the high points of the trip. Each person had a unique perspective on the experience, but all agreed that the fields of Troy, the beauty of the environment, and the ample opportunities for individual reflection have made this trip truly memorable.

Each person was asked to summarize their understanding of the Iliad’s underlying themes in one sentence. The question proved it’s merit in that it brought to our attention an interesting dichotomy that was consistent with both the Iliad and our own experience of retracing the Achaean voyage to Troy; namely the necessary balance between the action of individuals and the group to which they belong. What we realized in the midst of our discussion about the Iliad’s thematic focus is that Homer’s work explores this exact balance (the group/society vs. the individual).
On the boat we have seen this split play out on a daily basis. Everyday there is a time when each person needs to be alone and act without being confined by the desires of the group. But it is also true that each day brings moments of camaraderie where we are reliant on one another for support, entertainment, and guidance.

That The Iliad can still be so applicable to humanity is what gives it the capacity to endure and makes it worthy of continual study.

June 27, 2006

Ship's Log
June 27th 2006
Departure Location: Eckero, Aland Islands
Departure Time: 8:30 hours
Distance Traveled: 59.59 Nautical Miles
Arrival Location: Arholma, Sweden
Arrival Time: 17:20 hours (lost one hour by crossing back into Sweden)
Weather: Rough seas and rain in the morning. Overcast in the afternoon with winds dropping off throughout the day.

Personal Comments:

Today was the day that John and Dane have spent the last few weeks secretly hoping for. Although most of us are content with the blue skies and calm seas that we have enjoyed throughout the majority of the trip, it has not made for particularly interesting sailing. Thankfully when we awoke this morning the trend had been broken, with high winds and consistent rain waiting for us up on deck. John, Jonas, and Dane spent most of the morning bundled up in sweaters and raincoats, smiles on their faces and water dripping off their noses. Caleb even used the occasion to break out the foul weather gear that his dad equipped him with before departure. He wants to take the opportunity here to pass on a thank-you to Mason and tell him that everything was as helpful as it was meant to be.

At midday we stopped in Marienhamn for supplies before pushing on to Arholma in the afternoon. For the first time we found ourselves docking next to American travellers who were also out sailing the Baltic. They had stopped at many of the same places that we had over the last weeks and it was nice to have a momentary break from the language barrier that faces us everywhere we go.

In all fairness it is worth mentioning here that almost everywhere we have been, whether in Finland or Sweden, we are almost always able to use rudimentary English. The Swedes now learn English throughout all of their required school years and this is reflected in most of the younger people that we converse with. It has been a luxury that we are grateful for. Still, there is much that is missed in conversation when one of the participants is struggling against a language barrier, and it was nice to be able to chat and joke with people who did not have to work to understand us.

The day ended with a walk through the small back roads and communities that occupy most of the island. It was a foggy evening and the walk was made even more beautiful because of it.

Research Comments:

In an earlier blog we raised the question whether Vinci’s hypothesis should be deemed to have a major stumbling block in the fact that Greek epic tradition, which presents an immense body of detailed collective memory—nowhere systematically narrates a migration south from the Baltic to the Mediterranean. Surely this would be as important to them as, say, the Exodus was to the Israelies, and would be enshrined in narrative memory?

The simplest response is to say that a majority of classical historians still consider the evidence to be substantial that a significant proportion of what later became the classical Greek population did in fact migrate there from the north, as part of a much larger set of waves of Indo-European migrations. The problem of the absence of a narrative epos about any of these migrations (something larger than the problematic and fragmentary reference to the so-called Dorian Invasions) is every bit as much a problem for them too, and yet it has not caused them to disavow the evidence of such migrations (as is discussed throughout Vinci’s book).

A quite different approach to the problem can be developed from Vinci’s allusions (pp. 95 and 191) to key passage in Hesiod’s Works and Days which speaks of the different races of men each destroyed by the gods after the previous—the Gold, the Silver, the Bronze (p. 95, “those terrible Bronze Age warriors mentioned by Hesiod”), and “ ‘those who died at Thebes and Troy’ in an intermediate period between the Bronze and the Iron Ages” (p. 191). The myth of four or five ages of men, or of kindred races preceding the present race of men, is world-wide, and can be fruitfully attached to other catastrophic myths about the Deluge, about world conflagration, about combat in the sky affecting the whole earth (as in Zeus and the Olympians’ battles with the Titans and Typhon in Hesiod’s Theogony). Indeed, a famous fragment from the epic cycle shows Zeus altering the seasons at the time of the Trojan War and another shows him deliberately using it to reduce population at a time when it was so great it made the earth groan (as in Genesis and some Mesopotamian myths as well). If these myths are the cultural memory of intense environmental stress, interpreted religiously as due to the will of the gods and sometimes also to the crimes of humans, then it is to them we would have to look for the break between Baltic and Mediterranean homelands Vinci posits.

Finally, it is worth spelling out what is involved in Vinci’s principal argument on this issue, namely, that memory of the earlier pre-Mycenean migration from Baltic to Mediterranean was then lost in the Dark Age which brought the Mycenean kingdoms down. Here too one can simply state the failure to give an adequate epic narrative of what brought about this so-called Dark Age is a problem for all mainstream Greek historians, not just for Vinci. Further investigation into problems of dating this Dark Age (which first was posited out of deference to Egyptian chronology, now questioned) and problems of accounting for what caused it (merely military/systemic societal collapse, or some form of catastrophic environmental stress) may elucidate this problem common to Vinci and the mainstream. A principal collection of essays for starting this kind of investigation is Natural Catastrophes during Bronze Age Civilization (Archaeo Press, Oxford 1998), the highly interdisciplinary proceedings of the conference at Cambridge 1997 devoted to that theme. In particular, Benny Peiser’s long essay amassing literally hundreds of studies from different disciplines, arguing for a global environmental catastrophe c. 2300 BCE, can be fruitfully collocated with Vinci’s reliance on the mainstream climatological concept of the climatic downturn between the 2500 BCE Post Glacial Climatic Optimum and the subsequent events leading finally to the foundation by northern invaders of the Mycenean kingdoms.

June 28, 2006

Ship s Log
June 28th 2006
Departure Location: Arholma, Sweden
Departure Time: 9:00 hours
Distance Traveled: 38.44 Nautical Miles
Arrival Location: Lilla Nassa, Sweden
Arrival Time: 18:00 hours
Weather: Surrounded by storm clouds throughout the afternoon. Intermittent light showers. Moderate to heavy winds from the South/ Southwest

Personal Comments:

This was one of the most exciting sailing days thus far. From the early morning to the end of the day we battled strong headwinds on a consistent beat through narrow passages. Towards midday the wind was so strong that the boat would continually broach (this means that the boat heels over far enough that the rudder actually rises out of the water so it is momentarily impossible to steer and the boat naturally heads up into the wind). For the first time some of our crew showed signs of sea sickness. Thankfully none of it was too serious. A few hours before coming into harbor we reached open sea and added large rolling waves to the already strong winds. At this point we decided to reef the jib (by partially drawing in the sail). The waves not only made it difficult to stay on course, but also threw things all over the cabin. It was an intense few hours but made for some great pictures.

After 6 hours of rough sailing we reached our evening port, which turned out to be nothing more than a small outcropping of rock rising out of the ocean. Bill spent much of the evening sitting on the highest outcropping on the island reading the Iliad. He said that it was one of the most beautiful places that we have seen and we all had to agree.

Research Comments:

Because of the rough weather today there was little time for discussion and even less time for theorizing. More thoughts on Vinci and Homer’s works in general will have to wait until tomorrow.

June 26, 2006

Ship s Log
June 26th 2006
Departure Location: Mattskar, Aland Islands
Departure Time: 10:00 hours
Distance Traveled: unknown
Arrival Location: Eckero, Aland Islands
Arrival Time: 17:00 hours
Weather: Started sunny with accumulating fog throughout the day. Light rain overnight.

Personal Comments:

Last night was one of the most interesting so far. We stayed in a protected cove overnight but could find no place to tie up on shore and were forced to rely on our anchor. To make sure that we wouldn’t find ourselves drifting out to sea in the middle of the night we set a depth alarm on the boat and put ourselves to bed. It will probably not come as a surprise to know that we were roused several times in the middle of the night by the alarm and rushed to check things out. Having an alarm going off every few hours doesn’t make for restful sleeping conditions.

Despite our lack of sleep we managed to keep our spirits up during the day. The sailing was calm and we ended our day at Eckero, the second largest city in the Äländ Islands. There, we found showers, internet, and most importantly laundry. After trying to wash our clothes by hand we have all agreed that it is generally just better to wait until finding a laundromat whenever possible.

What is most amusing about this port is that given its description as the second largest city in the Äländ islands we were looking forward to having a fair amount of places to blow off steam and go shopping. Much to our surprise however what we found was not a small city, or even a large town, but rather a gas station/supermarket, a few coffee shops, and a ferry terminal.

Mostly I mention it just to give some perspective on what it must be like to live in this part of the world. We, being mostly a young crew to begin with, were feeling especially sympathetic toward the teenagers in these tiny villages. What would it be like to be rebellious in places such as these? It boggles the mind.

Research Comments:

Some readers have argued that Vinci’s massive accumulation of homotopes are not credible because he remaps them as a set from the Baltic to the eastern Mediterranean. Our usual experience of homotopes, such as those found in New York state, where we can find a Troy, an Ithaka, a Rome, an Utica, a Carthage etc.—does not include the remapping of them as a set, but only as a random use of individual names here and there.

The experience of navigating tens of thousand of islands and skerries in the Baltic, between Stockholm and Helsinki, has given us a greater appreciation for what might have led the ancient Greek sailors to remap homotopes as a coherent set rather than randomly.

Consider the challenge to these sailors in their earliest centuries of Baltic sailing. Individual sailors likely exchanged information with each other and agreed on names, and sailors within a culture or a language group would continue this process of regularization and consolidation among themselves. This set as a whole would be passed on by various mnemonic devices, including metrical lists and catalogues such as the Catalogue of Ships in Book Two of the Iliad, or the many catalogues whose fragments we see in Hesiod’s works. The place names as a set would in effect constitute one of the most vital treasures of the culture.

When forced by environmental stress and climatic downturn to migrate south, what would be the attitude of the migrants towards these long standing cultural tools of naming islands and sights useful for navigation? It seems unlikely that the subset of travelers who reached the Eastern Mediterranean, to a landscape and seascape far more strikingly similar to their abandoned Baltic homeland than any they had seen previously, would abandon their system of naming. They would have been presented with an interesting set of options. They could adopt the “natives” place names; they could slowly and laboriously generate and consolidate a set of new ones; or they could see how far they could get by remapping their old Baltic names onto their new homeland as an anlogical set.

This last alternative, on consideration, has considerable merits as compared to the first two. The set of names is already deeply engrained in collective cultural memory, and in addition to sentimental value (which is all one imagines the classical and British placenames in New York State provided for their first employers) they would be far easier for all within the culture to agree. Indeed, they would reaffirm the pride this sailing culture must have in this collective creation, which was useful for navigation and celebrated in epic song by generations of bards. It is also true that these names would be mnemonically useful. The more one thinks about this option of remapping as a set, the more attractive it becomes.

The process of transferring old cultural standards and place names is well established in other cultures. One of the well known problems encountered by Indologists is the fact that the RigVeda, a body of oral transmitted texts considerably larger than Homer, have virtually no place names, flora, or fauna to attach them to their current setting in India.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

June 25, 2006

Ship’s Log
June 25, 2006
Departure Location: Lappo, Aland Islands
Departure Time: 9:45 hours
Distance Traveled: 47.69 nautical miles
Arrival Location: Mattskar, Aland Islands
Arrival Time: 18:11 hours
Weather: Threatening skies, but no storms until 2 AM, beautiful sunset

Personal Comments:

The crew woke this morning with Scrabble on the brain. Over the last two days the game has taken its place as a staple activity on board the boat, and has become an intensely competitive endeavour. Recently Caleb has excelled as the most noteworthy player, scoring epic turns that have been known to grace the high 70’s. Having no dictionary on board, we have appointed Bill as the official master of the English language, giving him the power to approve or disapprove a word from play.

Today we made such good time that we reached our night harbor by midday and so decided to press on. Late in the afternoon we made the decision to sail towards a protected cove for the night and drop anchor. Surrounded by gently sloping rocks that extend out under shallow water on three sides, we were unable to secure the boat from shore and were forced to drop anchor in the middle of the cove. As a side note, it is customary in this part of the world to moor at the very edge of the shore with two bow lines attached land and a stern line attached to an anchor or mooring (this configuration can be seen in a picture of the boat that was posted earlier). The dock and piling system is almost unheard of here.

Research Comments:

The seas we have sailed between Applö and Mattskär have further resonances with the Iliad by Vinci’s account (p. 165) than just with Apollo’s cult. Just as central a deity to that poem as Apollo is Achilles’ mother, the sea-nymph Thetis, who lives with many other Nereids, sea-nymphs who are daughters of Nereus, the Old Man of the Sea. She always appears at crucial turns in the plot: Book One (ll. 348ff.), when Achilles goes down to the sea to bewail his humiliation at the hands of Agamemnon; Book Eighteen (ll. 35ff), when his dreadful cry at the death of Patroclus is heard by her and the other Nereids in the offshore depths; Book Twenty-Four (ll. 77ff.), when the Olympians decide to send Iris, the rainbow messenger goddess, down into Thetis’ sea-cave to ask her to tell her son that it is their will that he restore Hector’s body to Priam. In this last passage the narrator is quite explicit about the location of Thetis’ sea-cave: it is “midway between Samos and rocky Imbros.” Samos (specifically “Thracian Samos,” or Samothrace”) is located by Vinci at Ordnallsklint, the mountain from which we, like Poseidon, could see far to the east over many of the islands of the Troad, and today we had the satisfaction of sailing past it and photographing its whole outline from the north. This was after we had crossed from Lappo to the main set of Aland islands by traversing the stretch of relatively open sea called Delet, a name Vinci identifies with Delois (again, it is exactly the same root, ‘-et’ being a standard nominal termination in modern Swedish and ‘-os’ in ancient Greek).

What was perhaps the most thrilling part of our sailing was to think that this whole tract of sea contained, somewhere in its depths between the Troad and Ordnallsklint, the very sea cave where Thetis lived with her nymphs. Nowhere is the tragic music of Homeric verse so pure and moving as when the poet recites the names of the sea-nymphs who are sitting around Thetis at the time she hears the news of Patroclus’ death and immediately join her in lamenting it (18.35-51). Each of their thirty names has something to do with the sea (Robert Fagles’ Iliad beautifully translates the meaning of each name into English), such as Glauke (Sea-Green), Speio (Sea-Cave), Halie (Marine). For fifteen lines the narrative is suspended the pure music of these names. And the Nereids who bore them were all in the depths beneath us as we sailed.

June 24, 2006

Ship’s Log
June 24, 2006
Departure Location: Korpo, Finland
Departure Time: 11:00 hours
Distance Traveled: 32.19 nautical miles
Arrival Location: Lappo, Finland
Arrival Time: 18:00 hours
Weather: Sunny, steady breeze from the south/southwest

Personal Comments:

After a late start the ship battled an upwind course for the first two hours, before the direction changed and the boat was able to maintain a consistent downwind heading roughly 15-20 knots of breeze. We have finally drifted back into the Aland islands and are now out of Finish territory.

Although we were unable to land on the island Vinci identifies as Apollo island (Applö in Swedish) due to shallow water and rocks, we were able to skirt it. This gave us the opportunity to film Bill reading a passage from Book I of the Iliad, which shows how central Apollo is to the plot of the Iliad and how he is worshiped on various sacred islands.

We arrived at Lappo in late afternoon along with many of the same boats that had been in Korpo with us during midsummer celebrations the night before. To add variety to our activities, and take a night off from dishes and cooking, we opted to eat dinner at the one restaurant near the harbor. We also felt it necessary to treat our captain to a nice meal in order to console him after Sweden’s elimination from the World Cup.

Finally in an attempt to cleanse ourselves of our midsummer fun we ended the night with our second sauna of the trip. Being far hotter and smaller than the last this sauna it was more up to Jonas’ standards, and afforded him the opportunity to pass on his sauna knowledge.

Important Sauna Info.
1. To annoy your neighbor blow on their skin. This will cause an intense burning sensation.
2. All real saunas should contain a short bundle of birch branches to be used for cleansing purposes. One may only cleanse themselves with the birch bundle, never their neighbor. Cleansing is accomplished by using the bundle to whip ones back with water.
3. To add a lovely fresh bread scent to your sauna add a splash of beer to the bucket of water used to wet the rocks (watch out Martha here we come).
4. The following rule is top secret and as of yet unwritten so feel privileged in being the first to OFFICIALLY read it. If you put water on the rocks you must remain in the sauna until someone else applies water, OR the heat wave resulting from the water has dissipated. Splashing water on the rocks and then immediately leaving is considered rude and a mark of inexperience.
5. After sufficient sweating one should jump into ice-cold water (preferably outside, but a shower will do) to close the pores and complete the cleansing process.

Having enjoyed the sauna so thoroughly last night Bill has now begun calculating the cost and possibility of building his very own.

More details to follow…

Research Comments:

Today we skirted our way around three quarters of Applö Island, a name whose similarity to “Apollo” Vinci notes on p. 165. The name Applö raised questions regarding the possible range of etymologies for a given place name. Jonas, when asked about the translation of the name Applö, said that it was plausible it could simply mean Apple Island (äpple plus –ö, the word for ‘island’ which is commonly the second half of island placenames in Swedish), and anecdotally added that many Swedes grow apple trees in their gardens. This made us see the utility in creating a taxonomy of the different kinds of names Swedes and Finns give to their places and the multiple translations each name could have. Before assuming an ancient Greek root in place names, as Vinci does in the case of Applö, it is necessary to ask whether the place name consists of a word or words that are intelligible in contemporary language (i.e. Applö as simply Apple Island). If Applö were in fact Apple Island it would raise the question of how many of Vinci’s other proposed homotopes could be explained with more recent etymologies. Such explanations need not totally rule out his conjectures about earlier meanings, since linguists routinely deal with what they call “folk etymologies,” a process by which an earlier root, no longer intelligible, is interpreted in terms of a more recent word to which speakers of the living language can relate.

However, even if more modern interpretations of homotopes do exist, Vinci bases his argument on a larger contextual vision based on highly specific geographical and topographical details to be found in the Homeric description of locations. Therefore, while place names and their etymologies are significant, they are not the hinge point of his theory. Hundreds of homotopes, having plausible Greek etymologies and also having a closer fit to the Homeric text in the Baltic rather than the Mediterranean, constitute strong evidence in support of a Baltic location for the Iliad and Odyssey.

Part of the reason that Apollo is so important in Vinci’s argument is that he is one of the few ancient Greek gods whose cults and myths explicitly reference life in the far north. Apollo is said to live part of every year (the winter months) “beyond the north wind” in a place characterized by constant spring and carefree days full of festivals. Vinci theorizes that Apollo’s home may represent the collective cultural memory of a time when that subset of the Indo-Europeans which he places in the Baltic region may have lived even farther north at the height of the Post Glacial Climatic Optimum (for Vinci’s description see pg. 290). It was only as the climate started to turn that they would have moved south; settling for one phase of several centuries in the Baltic region before a further subset of them migrated south (along the same routes as the Vikings and many others later) and finally established themselves in the Mediterranean.

Professor Dmitri Panchenko, a well-known classicist at Bard’s sister college, Smolny Institute, in St. Petersburg, Russia, was spending this semester as a guest at the Helsinki Collegium and so was able to meet Professor Mullen (with whom in Spring 2005 he had team-taught by videoconference a Bard/Smolny Virtual Campus course on “Cosmology and Ethics in the Axial Age” in Helsinki and discuss Vinci’s theory in relation to his own recent work. The next day he forwarded an article (available online) he recently wrote about the connection of Apollo and the Hyperboreans with his own variant thesis of a Northern origin for Greek civilization. Professor Panchenko’s article, although it takes a different approach than Vinci’s theory, is remarkable: it too posits a nexus between the cults and myths of Apollo, the cults and myths of the Hyperboreans, and theories connecting Greek civilization with a northern origin.

Apollo as the god most central to the plot of the Iliad, has, in these last few days, come together in our travels with Apollo as the god most closely associated in ancient Greek memory with memories of a land in the far north which once had a far milder climate. From Toija = Troy and Tenela = Tenedos to Applö = Apollo and Delet = Delos, principal pieces of Vinci’s puzzle have been assembling themselves before our eyes.

Monday, June 26, 2006

June 23, 2006

Ship’s Log
June 23, 2006
Departure Location: Vänö, Finland
Departure Time: 9:30 hours
Distance Traveled: 39.06 nautical miles
Arrival Location: Korpo, Finland
Arrival Time: 16:00
Weather: Sunny, heavy wind from the south west
Max Speed: 7.8 kts
Average Speed: 6.3 kts

Personal Comments:

Midsummer celebrations in Finland!

This afternoon was one of the best days of sailing we have had on the boat. The high winds had us heeled over enough to put the starboard porthole under water and we reached the highest speed we have managed so far.

As we pulled into port this afternoon we found a harbour filled with boats, each decorated with birch branches in celebration of midsummer. While walking in the afternoon we saw a birch pole being decorated with flowers and birch leaves and later that evening Sophie and Dane saw it erected in the center of town.

On the boat we had our own celebration and Jonas prepared a traditional meal of marinated fish, potatoes, and hardboiled eggs. Although we were all a little nervous as we watched it coming out of the package, we had to admit that it was far more tasty then we expected.

Over dinner on the back of the boat we could see a band playing traditional music and watched people dancing polka and a variety of waltzes.

Overall it was an entertaining end to a very good day.

Research Comments:

Unfortunately because we were having such fun celebrating midsummer, we did not have time for discussion today. However, you can look forward to more extensive writing in the near future.

June 22, 2006

Ship’s Log
June 22, 2006
Departure Location: Hangö, Finland
Departure Time: 13:30 hours
Distance Traveled: Roughly 25 nautical miles
Arrival Location: Vano, Finland
Arrival Time: 18:30
Weather: Foggy till noon, intermittent cold rain, no wind.

Personal Comments:

Today was a day of restocking the boat, and reorienting ourselves for the journey back. Since we have decided not to sail south to Gotland we are now in the midst of planning a new route home.

After being on land for the past three days we were eager to get back on the water regardless of the fact that the weather was some of the worst that we have had so far. Although much of the day was spent motoring through the rain, it did prove to be a good opportunity for Sophie and Caleb to learn more about map reading and navigation.

Another high note is that after so many days on the boat (and far to many Digestive crackers) the team has decided to begin an exercise program for the remainder of the trip. Today was the first day of our new program. Despite the weather our motivation was strong and we all trooped out for push-ups and squats on the dock. Needless to say there were more than a few curious glances in our direction from the locals on this tiny island.

Also noteworthy is that Caleb, while wandering around the island, found his future wedding chapel. Any young ladies reading this who would be open to getting married on a remote Finnish island should contact him immediately.

Research Comments:

Today was primarily a travel day. No major news to report at this time.

June 21, 2006

Ship’s Log
June 21, 2006
Departure Location: Hangö, Finland
Departure Time: On Shore
Distance Traveled. On shore
Arrival Location: Hangö, Finland
Arrival Time: On Shore
Weather: High in the mid 80’s and blue skies.

Personal Comments:

Today was one of our busiest days so far. Because of both time and financial constraints we determined we would only be able to spend one day in Helsinki and were determined to get as much accomplished over the course of the day as possible.

Our first commitment after driving in this morning was lunch with two journalists from the newspaper Iltalehti; a publication widely distributed throughout Finland. One of the most important aspects of our project is bringing attention to Vinci’s theory and opening the field for more public debate. This interview proved to be an excellent opportunity to do just that and Bill talked at length about many of the details of both the theory and our specific interest in it. After the interview we were photographed by a staff photographer and provided the newspaper with some of our own photos to use as they saw fit.

The next stop after our interview was the National Museum in Helsinki. The National Museum is currently home to many of the Bronze Age artefacts found in the burial mounds scattered throughout Finland (such as those we visited outside Toija). Although the Bronze Age items were only given limited room in a larger exhibition, they were very well preserved and will be a good addition to the material that we have available for the creation of our CD-ROM.

After leaving the museum Bill went to meet with a fellow professor, Dimitri Panchenko, who is currently working on a theory regarding the god Apollo.

Research Comments:

Most of today was spent promoting Vinci’s theory rather than studying it. The one exception to this however was the National Museum. There we were able to see first hand, and document extensively, the artifacts found in some of the sites we had visited two days earlier.

What was most interesting about these items is not that they raised new thoughts regarding Vinci’s theory, but rather that they demonstrate the principle of falsification that was discussed in yesterday’s post. These Bronze Age items serve as tangible evidence that Vinci’s theory can be proved through archeological exploration. When an answer will finally be available is unclear, but there are currently teams at work. Vinci maintains he is as eager for the results as any potential critic might be.

June 20, 2006

Ship’s Log
June 20, 2006
Departure Location: Hangö, Finland
Departure Time: On Shore
Distance Traveled. On shore
Arrival Location: Hangö, Finland
Arrival Time: On Shore
Weather: Highs in the 90’s and clear blue skies.

Personal Comments:

Troy Ho!

Our travels started when John and Jonas roused themselves early this morning to pick up a car for the next few days. We headed off around noon to drive back roads and document everything we laid our eyes on. Our first hour in Toija was spent driving around Lake Kirkoharvi which Vinci names as the (now flooded) plain where many of the battles of the Trojan War were fought. After touring the area we went to an open field off of the western shore of the lake to get better perspective on where the battles might have been fought. It was an amazing feeling to be finally on the very fields that represent not only the culmination of Vinci’s theory, but also the culmination of our travels. After months of planning, fundraising, and research we had finally arrived and can happily report that the moment lived up to all of our expectations.

However, our pinnacle afternoon did not stop there. Jana Shelby, our generous local host, once again came through for us and arranged to have canoes waiting at the bottom of the fields when we arrived. It was a wonderful way to get perspective on the area as a whole and also gave John an opportunity to enjoy a mid-afternoon swim.

Research Comments:
As a trained scientist, Vinci knows that the crucial requisite for a scientific hypothesis is that it be falsifiable, and indeed he references this term in the penultimate page of “Omero nel Baltico” in its 1994 Italian edition. Accordingly, he singles out for each of the two Homeric epics a primary site at which archaeological investigation could dramatically confirm or refute him: for the Iliad, the hills around Kisko in the area of Toija = Troy, and for the Odyssey, the island of Lyo = Ithaka. In the 2006 English translation he adds, at the end of this paragraph about primary candidate sites for archaeological testing of his hypothesis, that both are close to sites where actual Bronze Age structures exist.

Since our sailing began at the Greek point of departure for Troy, Nortttalje = Aulis, it was appropriate that we began our “Troy day” from the Greek point of view, at Aijala = Aigialos, Vinci’s candidate for the beach at which the Greeks landed (p. 110-112). Jana Shelby had brilliantly arranged for us to have canoes driven to us in mid-afternoon so that we could get shots of the hills on the east of lake Kirrkoharvi, the site for the citadel of Troy, and also of the plain to the west of the lake, the main battlefield between Greeks and Trojans, from a vantage on the lake itself, hence from a distance sufficient for the large topographical features to be photographed in a way that photography up close does not permit. We therefore set out in early afternoon to drive counterclockwise around the lake, starting at Aijala at its southwest end and moving slowly up to the opposite northeast end, the mile or so of ridge stretching north from the town of Kisko where Vinci suggests the citadel must have been located.

We took several photographs along this mile, at points at which we could see through the woods to the lake itself, hence experience the kind of view down onto the plain the Trojans in their citadel would have had.

In order to properly understand Vinci’s claim that this site for the citadel satisfies all the topographical descriptions of it in the Iliad (by stark contrast to Hisarlik in Turkey, pp. 104-7) it is crucial to grasp that Lake Kirrkoharvi is the result of periodic freshwater flooding from the two rivers which converge into it, Kurkelanjoki = Scamander/Xanthos from the northeast, Mammalanjoki = Simois from the northwest. Unlike many of the plains we photographed in the last few days (which would have still been inlets in the Baltic proper 4000 years, and therefore saltwater) this plain is sufficiently high to have been part of the landmass back then. It would then, as is now, have been susceptible to flooding, something Vinci points out could have formed the natural basis for the climactic scene in Iliad 21, in which Achilles provokes the wrath of the river Skamander itself by choking it with the bodies of Trojans he slays on his berserker rampage, and Skamander first berates him verbally and then actual floods the plain. We made a point of reading this entire passage out loud in Fitzgerald’s translation (pp. 494ff, 21.205-271 = 239-319 in Fitzgerald’s line numbers)

Also central to Vinci’s alignment of topographical details in the text of the Iliad with visible features near Toija is his proposal of sites for the two hills Homer mentions on the plains west of Troy, Batieia (“Thorn” or “Bramble” Hill) and Kallikolone (“Fine” or “Beautiful” Hill). The former was clearly visible to us at the north end of the lake, sticking out into it just east of where Kurkelanjoki = Skamander enters it (p. 113 and 121); Vinci himself got excellent aerial photographs of it which can be seen in the 1994 Italian edition, and we got a number too from the vantage point of the lake. We also stopped at one of a couple of islets in the northern part of the lake, and Vinci proposes that one of them might have in fact risen from the plain back then as Kallikolone (p. 121).

As moving a moment as any was our first arrival along a small dirt road at the great field west of the lake. Before following this road all the way to the lake, we took a side turn and drove up to the top of another “beautiful hill” dominating the great field from its northern end. We were able to look down on the western portion of that great field, whose eastern portion would have continued up to the Kisko ridge back then and is under the lake now. It was indeed a field level and vast enough, stretching several kilometers to the south, for us to imagine the Greeks and Trojans in huge numbers fighting on it.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

June 19, 2006

Ship’s Log
June 19, 2006
Departure Location: Hangö, Finland
Departure Time: On Shore
Distance Traveled. On shore
Arrival Location: Hangö, Finland
Arrival Time: On Shore
Weather: Highs in the 90s and clear blue skies.

Personal Comments:

Today we began our exploration of the area surrounding Troy (Toija in Finnish) with a gracious guide, Jana Shelby. She is involved with many of the community efforts to publicize and promote the Trojan background. Jana has been in contact with Vinci and his work since the early 90s and is organizing a major festival for the summer of 2007 whose central theme will celebrate the connection between Finland and Homer’s Epics.

After guiding us around many relevant sights Jana invited us back to her home where she served us traditional Finnish sausage and introduced us to her five wonderful children and her welcoming Texan husband, Stephen. Over dinner we got to hear a first hand account from Stephen regarding the transition to a northern environment and the cumulative effect of living with so little daylight during much of the year.

Research Comments:

Most of the day was devoted to visiting sites surrounding Troy. We made our first stop at Tenela, which is where Vinci believes Tenedos was once located. Tenedos is one of the three sites where Apollo was worshipped in the initial passages of the Iliad. It is also mentioned twice in book one, specifically on lines 38 and 452. Other references can be found in book eleven on line 625, and in book thirteen on line 33.

Perniö was our next stop and the focus of our expedition. While there we were able to explore and document a series of burial mounds that sat atop a low wooded ridgeline. Although these tumuli now overlook farmlands, when the water was higher they sat just above the shoreline where they could be viewed by all those passing in ships. Burial mounds such as these have been used for many generations and for a variety of purposes. In the Iliad (Book 24 lines 80-84) the burial mound for Achilles is described in order to illustrate his greatness among the many warriors. However, in Book 7 of the Iliad (lines 85 to 90) Hector uses the tumuli to boast about how the burial mounds of the Acheans will serve to show all passing ships his greatness in having defeated such powerful warriors.

The use of these tumuli to mark the burial place of a great warrior is not a new phenomenon. Even though the Iliad is one of the oldest works to reference their use, there have been many other references since then. For example, lines 2803 -2808 in the classic epic Beowulf contains a description that is strikingly similar to that spoken by Hector in the Iliad.

The tumuli are also important because many of the Bronze Age swords and spearpoints that have been found in the area have come from these tumuli. There is currently a collection of these artefacts in the National Museum in Helsinki and we hope to photograph many of them while we are there on Wednesday.

For a general description of the importance of these tumuli see pages 119 to 120 in Vinci’s text.

Jonas in front of a rock tumuli in the town of Pernio, Finland.

June 18, 2006

Ships Log
June 18, 2006
Departure Location: Utö, Finland
Departure Time: 7:15 hours
Distance Traveled. 62.82 Nautical Miles
Arrival Location: Hangö, Finland
Arrival Time: 21:30 hours
Weather: Sunny, SE wind – moderate in the morning becoming brisk in the afternoon

Personal Comments
Happy birthday Caleb! To punctuate this momentous occasion Cap’n Jonas was relieved from his on deck duties and reassigned to the galley. Several rounds of Swedish pancakes were prepared, topped with jam\fruit\honey, and served right out of the pan.

For all you folks at home with metric measuring cups, the recipe is as follows:
5 decilitres flour
4 eggs
1 litre milk
Mix ingredients together. Lightly grease pan to prevent sticking. Spoon enough batter into frying pan to thinly coat. Cook on medium heat until edges start to curl upwards and batter has stopped moving on the surface. Flip and brown on other side for roughly 30 seconds. When finished, pancake should be similar to a crepe. Spread with topping of choice and then roll. Enjoy.

Today we sailed for fourteen hours. This feat alone sounds daunting, but it is further complicated by the fact that most of our day was spent sailing into the wind. Because of this, our average speed hovered around four knots and made on-deck conditions cold and windy. A certain edginess could be felt among the crew due to the confined space and long, cold, and monotonous conditions. Our efforts were not in vain, as we have now reached the Finnish mainland and will set off for Troy tomorrow via land.

Dinner was served upon arrival and several rounds of champagne were toasted to celebrate Caleb’s birthday and an epic day of sailing.

Research Comments:

Today there was much discussion among the group about what it must have been like to sail these distances in uncertain conditions and in much less able boats. Although Stockholm has been experiencing record highs since our arrival (often upwards of 90 degrees Fahrenheit), being on the water has made our experience a much colder one. Because of the wind and temperature we typically wear sweaters and jackets while on deck and long sleeves down below. In the time of the Homeric epics, the weather would have been slightly warmer, but the discrepancy in temperature would have been similar, and the distances and mental fatigue associated with long days of sailing would have added to their discomfort. Achaean square sailed ships would not have been able to sail as close to the wind as our modern vessel, meaning that the Achaeans would have been unable to cover the distances we have, given these same wind conditions. Many times our travels take us through islands and straights that make it necessary to draw in the sails and switch to motor power. Unlike today’s modern travellers, the Achaen sailors would not have been fortunate enough to have this luxury and would have relied on rowing or been forced to wait for the appropriate winds to carry them through these channels. Many of Vinci’s arguments for the way that weather might have affected the travels of the Achaens can be found on pages 185 to 190 in a section entitled “Evidence of Climatic Decline.” This includes the difficulty (mentioned in earlier posts) that the Acheans encountered when gathered at Aulis, requiring the sacrifice of Agamemnon‘s daughter. Also mentioned is the difficulty that they encountered on their return from Troy due to storm winds.

One of the arguments that Vinci makes regarding the sailing conditions described in both the Iliad and the Odyssey is that they correspond better with a northern climate than with the conditions found in the Mediterranean. Passages containing sleet and snow are not uncommon, as well as descriptions of fog and the “wine dark sea” (Book 7, line 88) which better reflect the Baltic than the Mediterranean. Pages 184 to 191 in Vinci’s text contain many of the references to weather conditions in the Iliad and Odyssey. These conditions would have been worsening during the period of the climatic downturn, and would have increased the need for resources leading to greater warring over resources that were previously undisputed (pg 190-191).

In talking with long time residents in our various ports of call we have learned that the weather here can change quickly and dramatically. Some have said that it is not uncommon to have snow in early June, and Jonas has routinely commented on how rare it is to have a trip this time of year with so little fog and rain. Although these comments are all anecdotal, they are in line with Vinci’s arguments and are worth keeping in mind over the duration of our travels.

The Island of Uto

June 17, 2006

Ship’s Log
June 17, 2006
Departure Location: Granskor, Sweden
Departure Time: 7:20 hours
Distance Traveled. 46.61 Nautical Miles
Arrival Location: Utö, Finland
Arrival Time: 18:15 hours
Weather: Clear blue skies, cool weather

Personal Comments
We arrived tonight on Utö, which translates to “out island” in English. The island is Finland’s farthest south-western outpost before the Äland Islands, which are disputed between Finland and Sweden.

We were scheduled to stop in Kökar, which is rumoured to be the most beautiful island in the Äland Islands, but made a calculated decision around mid-day to push on and gain as much ground towards the mainland of Finland as possible. At first sight, Utö appeared to be nothing more than radar towers, coast guard boats, and military barracks. Before dinner we spent an hour exploring the island and John almost stumbled into an active military bunker. The island had no visible property delineations and reminded us of an early 1900s mid-west settlement. There seemed to be less than fifty households, but the island seemed alive with couples swimming, families taking evening walks, and children crowded around the one shop\cafe\ice cream parlor.

Research Comments:
In pushing on past Kökar, we are within two days of Troy.

June 16, 2006

Ship’s Log
June 16, 2006
Departure Location: Kastelholms Slott, Äland Islands
Departure Time: 14:00 hours
Distance Traveled.18.54
Arrival Location: Granskor, Äland Islands
Arrival Time: 17:30 hours
Weather: Wind out of the south, sunny and brisk

Personal Comments
We spent the morning walking up Orrdalsklint. Agreat view from the peak gave us a good perspective of the hundreds of small islands we have been sailing through these past few days. Also we found a small cabin dating back to WWII originally used as an observation post and now as a place for people to stay overnight when camping. We also got to blow up the dinghy tonight and spent some time rowing around the local coves. We caught yet another beautiful sunset lasting late into the night and good dinner of chili to hold us against the increasingly cold winds.

Research Comments:
Orrdalsklint, the site that Vinci proposes for Samothrace in the Baltic region is 423 feet high, one of the tallest points in the Äland islands. In the Iliad (1), Samothrace is the mountain from which Poseidon looks down on the battle between the Trojans and the Achaeans and realizes that the Achaeans are about to be beaten back to their ships. Upon making this realization he dons his armour and prepares to rally the Achaeans back into battle . Based on the topography of the islands and the evidence found in the Iliad, Vinci suggests that a shrine to Poseidon may have once stood atop this peak during the Early Bronze Age.

To further support his theory Vinci argues that the Baltic location of Samothrace is surrounded by islands containing references to the metal working culture (or Kabiric traditions) for which the area was supposedly famous. Lumparland, for instance, is cognate with English ‘lump’ and refers to masses of coal for heating a smith’s furnace, while the English ‘hammer’ is present in Hammerland and Hammarudda as well as in Hammerby just north of Täby, his candidate for Boeotian Thebes. Both islands are close to Lemland, Vinci’s candidate for Lemnos, island of both the lame archer hero Philoctetes and the lame smith god Hephaistos, who in Iliad 1.590-594 describes how he was lamed on the day Zeus grabbed him by the foot and tossed him out of Olympus, and how he fell all day until he landed on Lemnos. Vinci cites these lines as possibly a mythic account of the meteoritic origin of iron (p.160). There is evidence that the ancients lamed young boys to make them grow up with strong upper bodies and work as smiths, and it may well be that our words ‘lame’ and ‘limp’ are cognate with the ‘lem-‘ in both Lemland and Lemnos.

Like Freemasons, the Kabeiroi, members of the Kabiric metalworking cult, were guardians of mysteries they passed on only to initiates into their guild. Samothrace and Thebes, where their shrine the Kabirion was located, were two of their principal cult sites. In Mediterranean Greece this island of Samothrace is close to Troy but quite remote from Thebes in Boeotia, whereas the Täby near Stockholm, which Vinci identifies with Thebes, is not far at all from the Ordallsklint or Samothrace in Åland for which he argues (pp. 161-162). Yet again an anomaly in the current paradigm is resolved by his new hypothesis.

Iliad, 293-294, lines 1-43 in Fitzgerald’s translation.

June 15, 2006

Ship’s Log
June 15, 2006
Departure Location: Rödhamn, Äland Islands
Departure Time: 10:00 hours
Distance Travelled: Rödhamn to Mariehamn (Mothers Haven) 11.49 Nautical Miles, Mariehamn to Kastelholms Slott 14.96 Nautical Miles
Arrival Location: Kastelholms Slott (Castle Island)
Arrival Time: 18:30 hours
Weather: Clear, cold, winds from the north

Personal Comments
Stopped at Mariehamn for supplies. As we approached Kastelholms Slott white swans began to appear on the bay. This was a fine portent for our upcoming exploration because the white swan was Apollo’s sacred bird and we were approaching the sea of Apollo. On our itinerary the sea of Apollo corresponds with Delet, which, in Vinci’s theory, is the same word as Delos, meaning bright or radiant, and is the Bright Island in the poem “The Sailing of the Homer” (found on the website). Upon arrival we explored the port and found an old-fashioned farmstead being restored to its original condition. Everything from the windmills to the central castle was being redone and the effect was beautiful. We took many wonderful pictures.

Research Comments:
Some scholars have posited that the Trojan War only took one year. Today we discussed what some of the motivations for war could have been if this theory were indeed true. In the Homeric text the Trojan war is described as lasting ten years, but many scholars believe that this time range is more a convention of storytelling than a reflection of the actual passage of time (to read Vinci’s thoughts on the length of the war see pg. 146 and 147 in his text).. In the Homeric texts Helen of Troy is given as the central reason for going to war, but we discussed other possible motivations that could have existed for a conflict of this size. It seems unlikely that Helen served as enough of a catalyst for such an extensive war, and also strange that she would be named as the only reason for the war.

Three of the major alternative ideas that were discussed were a) the Achaeans wanting to expand their empire, b) the need, rather than the desire, for acquiring resources due to a climatic downturn, or c) that Troy represented a gateway to the east which needed to be breached in order to access all of the things that were available in, or beyond, Priam’s lands. It is also true that while any of these explanations may individually have been causes for the war, it is also possible that it may have been one or more of these reasons simultaneously.

Whether or not any of these theories are true, they are interesting to consider and change the way that the Homeric texts can be read as a historical document.

John Hambley and Bill Mullen Reading

Friday, June 16, 2006

June 14, 2006

Ship’s Log
June 14th 2006
Departure Location: Norrtälje, Sweden
Departure Time: 7:58 hours
Distance Traveled. 47.5 Nautical Miles
Arrival Location: Rödhamn, Äland Islands
Arrival Time: 15:30 hours
Weather: Strong Winds from the South. Cold front moved through late in the afternoon bringing intermittent rain and winds. Moderate to rough waters.

Personal Comments
Today was the first day of heavy seas and full wind as we crossed out of Sweden on our way to Finland. It was the first real test for how we would fair under rough conditions and although there were a few shaky moments, we all seemed to manage well overall. At the end of the day we came to port on Rödhamn (the so-called “red island”), which is one of the Äland Islands. Along the way we crossed another time zone.

The island is both small and austere, which gives it a simple beauty. There are rock patterns and formations all over the island from visiting tourists and fisherman. A young female artist currently lives alone on the island with her two-year-old daughter and although her husband travels back and forth from the local islands, much of her time is spent alone during the quiet months of winter. However, at the beginning of the summer the tourism picks up and there can be up to 70 boats a night in the harbour. One of the greatest pleasures of the island is the authentic wood burning sauna which we enjoyed last night. Jonas, our captain, led the charge down to the icy water every few minutes. As we headed back to the boat at 11:30 the sun was just setting and we got our first view of the full moon.

Research Comments:

Today, while leaving Norrtälje we passed through what Vinci refers to as the bay of Alje, which was where the Acheans gathered their ships before setting sail to Troy. The bay is roughly seven nautical miles long and in passing through it we officially began our voyage to Troy.

During our sail out of Norrtälje we read through the catalogue of ships and calculated how many ships each of the twenty-nine cities listed in the Iliad contributed. In total we counted 1,186 ships. Sailing through the narrow passage we imagined what it must have been like for all of these ships to be harboured up and down the bay and speculated about the weather conditions that they would have experienced (since it would have been eight degrees warmer overall). We also wondered how they would have foraged for food over such a small area of land. It is no surprise that after trying to feed this many people (some of the ships could hold up to one hundred and fifty people) they would have been desperate for wind and would have been eager for Agammemnon to sacrifice his daughter as the prophets recommended.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

June 13, 2006

Ships Log
June 13th 2006
Departure Location: Stora Jolpan, Sweden
Departure Time: 8:10 hours
Distance Traveled.34.30 Nautical Miles
Arrival Location: Norrtälje, Sweden
Arrival Time: unknown
Weather:warm, strong winds from the south

Personal Comments

Today we are sailing into Norrtälje, which Vinci proposes as the Baltic location of Aulis, the Greek rallying point before sailing to Troy. As we are still under way, further details on this location and its significance will have to wait until our next post.

Please enjoy a few snapshots of a trip so far, while we wait for developments:

June 12, 2006

Ships Log

June 12th 2006
Departure Location: Inlet of Napoleonviken off the island of Ango, Sweden
Departure Time: 14:10 hours
Distance Traveled.34.30 Nautical Miles
Arrival Location: Stora Jolpan, Sweden
Arrival Time: 21:34 hours
Weather: light wind, hot

Personal Comments

After waking early for departure we discovered we had become victims of an unusually low lunar tide and were forced to wait until afternoon for the waters to rise enough for us to set sail. Ironically this delay is reminiscent of the delay that Agamemnon and his men experienced when they could not leave their first point of departure due to a lack of wind. In the Iliad, Agamemnon was forced to sacrifice his daughter to appease the gods so they would provide winds for their journey. Fortunately it was not necessary to sacrifice Sophie, the only woman on the boat, to get out of this particular predicament.

While we were stuck we made the best of our time by doing laundry and exploring the island. A mid afternoon dip in the frigid water confirmed that despite the hot weather (Stockholm experienced a high of 32 degrees Celsius, the hottest since 1973) we are still most definitely in the Baltic. It was freezing.

Despite our unexpected delay we still made good time during the day and reached our destination with time to pick up a delicacy of smoked fish that had been caught earlier in the morning.

Research Comments:

Today was a travel day and although there was general discussion, about our goals and our course, there were no specific details relating to Vinci’s theory.


June 11th, 2006

Ships Log
June 11th 2006
Departure Location: Saltsjöbaden, Sweden
Departure Time: 19:00 hours
Distance Traveled.7.29 Nautical Miles
Arrival Location: Inlet of Napoleonviken off the island of Ango
Arrival Time: 22:00 hours
Weather: Calm, clear, and sunny

Personal Comments

Today was a day of preparation for our departure. We packed, e-mailed, and made sure that all was in order before we left port. The biggest challenge was shopping in the Swedish supermarket where we had a little difficulty with translation, but seem to have gotten all that we will need for the next few days. Rölf Classon, a kind acquaintance we met in Stockholm was incredibly helpful in not only translating at the supermarket but also in providing transportation for all of our baggage. He was also mentioned in previous posts as the man responsible for ferrying us to the local carvings that exist an hour outside of Stockholm. His help has been wonderful.

Our first night was spent packing the boat (which has been named Trinity), and sailing the short distance to our first anchorage. It was all in all a beautiful first day of sailing, which allowed us time to find our way around the boat.

Research Comments

While planning our route for the next three weeks and looking over the map we were led to think more about Vinci’s argument for the catalogue of ships, one of the most convincing parts of his thesis. There is no visible organization of the twenty-nine cities named in the catalogue of ships when examined in a Mediterranean geography. However, when Vinci places each of the cities in a Baltic context they are organized in a counter clockwise arrangement. This counterclockwise organization runs in accordance with the Greek method of enumerating items in a set. Vinci points out on page 209 that both The Odyssey and Iliad contain passages that illustrate this form of organization.

“The suitors sitting in Ulysses’ hall stand up in turn in counter clockwise order to take part in the archery competition” (to see text from Odyssey see: 21.141-42)

“Hephaestus pours wine to the other gods in Olympus in the same counter clockwise direction” (to see text in the Iliad see: 1.597)

To see a map of this counterclockwise organization of the twenty-nine cities from the catalogue of ships in their Baltic location refer to Vinci pg.210


Sunday, June 11, 2006

June 11th, 2006

14:10 (Stockholm)
Stockholm, Sweden


Today we heard back from the yacht brokerage and found out there was a miscommunication about our vessel. Although we are still receiving an upgrade, it turns out that it will not be as significant as we had originally thought. The boat we will be sailing on is not the Bavaria 47, but a brand new Bavaria 37, which has more beam and below deck space than our previous boat. Despite being a setback from yesterday’s news, the upgrade comes as an exciting development.

After much deliberation, we have composed an extensive list of provisions and will head out to the grocery store soon. A supporter of Vinci's work and a friend of the team has volunteered to drive us to both a discount grocer and the port, which is 20 minutes NE of Stockholm. He also rented a van yesterday to ferry us to an archeological site an hour outside of Stockholm. At the site we saw over 400 rock carvings depicting images that date back to 1000 AD and bear striking resemblances to Greek carvings and art. More will be written on this in future blog entries.

Yesterday morning we also met the captain for the first time and were happily surprised by his easygoing nature and excitement about our work.

In two and one half hours we will cast off and dance over easy swells. We look forward to sending news of our voyage.

Upwards and Onwards,

the V-TEAM