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K. Kris Hirst

Old Smyrna and Homer

By June 8, 2012

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According to an ancient Greek epigram, the famous poet Homer, author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, was born in one of seven different cities. No, one is not named Springfield.

Ruins of Old Smyrna
Volcanic rock used as building material at Old Smyrna. Photo © Kayt Armstrong, used with permission.

But one strong possibility is that of Old Smyrna, a site located in the modern town of Izmir on the Gulf of Smyrna in what is today Turkey and occupied more or less continuously from ca 1,000 BC through ca 330 BC, when it was moved across the bay. Parked beneath a now-extinct volcano, the port city's residents had access to luxury goods from throughout the Aegean, exposure to both natural hot springs and earthquakes, and a source for beautiful building material, exemplified by these lovely blocks in the photo above.


June 12, 2012 at 12:36 am
(1) Charis says:

its people like you and your “humor” that make europeans and especially Hellenes feel your envy..Sorry that you cannot belong to this nation. You dont have to feel so nasty

June 12, 2012 at 8:47 pm
(2) Kris Hirst says:

Sorry you felt I was nasty–it wasn’t intended, I assure you. I just learned in fact that the only bit of intended humor in my blog, that referring to American cartoon character Homer Simpson (a resident of Springfield), was based in reality. According to the latest Smithsonian (which includes an interview with the Simpson’s creator Matt Groening), Homer Simpson was in fact named after Groening’s father, who was in turn named after the famous ancient Greek poet, whether he was born in Ionia or someplace else.


Some sense of humor I’ve got!

June 13, 2012 at 4:19 am
(3) Paul in South Africa says:

Charis needs to wear underpants which is not so tight. The Homer joke is funny.

June 19, 2012 at 3:25 am
(4) great post to read says:

It’s an remarkable post for all the web users; they will obtain benefit from it I am sure.

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