The “Odyssey” exhibition was initiated by the Directorate-General for Translation (DGT) of the European Commission in 2014. In order to mark the Greek Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the DGT Field Office in Paris in collaboration with Field Offices across Europe, put together a travelling exhibition of the “Odyssey” in the EU official languages. The “Odyssey” books were collected in all 24 EU languages and some other languages as a testimony to the timelessness and ubiquity of this ancient epos in European culture, as well as to the linguistic diversity of Europe.

The exhibition aims to encourage debates on European identity, the current situation in the Euro-Mediterranean region, as well as our common European heritage and its impact on national cultures. Moreover, visitors are invited to reflect on the contribution of authors and translators who relayed the poetic wealth of the epos to medieval Europe, the European Renaissance and the modern world.

The exhibition travelled to France (Paris, Besancon, Lyon and Marseille), Croatia (Zagreb), Italy (Rome, Venice), Romania (Bucharest), Bulgaria (Sofia), Slovenia (Ljubljana), Austria (Vienna), Hungary (Budapest), Estonia (Tallinn) and Greece (Athens, Thessaloniki). Dedicated events include readings of short passages from the “Odyssey” in various languages, round table debates, lectures, live concerts and theatrical performances (http://odiseja.eu/).

Before coming to Cyprus, the “Odyssey” was on display at the University of Venice. The University of Cyprus will host the books from 1 until 15 March 2016. The exhibition’s installation was created pro bono by rising Cypriot visual artist Ioannis Lazarou. The inauguration ceremony on 1 March features a multilingual “Odyssey” reading by Heads of Diplomatic Missions of EU Member States in Cyprus.

After Cyprus, the “Odyssey” will once again set sail for homeland Greece and specifically the island of Crete, which will most likely be the exhibition’s final destination.