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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr


Indiana Jones: Journey to the Underworld Indiana Jones
Journey to the Underworld
Written by Megan Stine and H. William Stine
Cover art by Peter Peebles

Indy's in Greece and finds himself reliving the Greek legend of Orpheus and his trip to the underworld.


Read the "January 1914" entry of the It’s Not the Years, It’s the Mileage Indiana Jones chronology for a summary of this book


Notes from the Indiana Jones chronology


This book takes place in January 1914.


Didja Know?


The Young Indiana Jones original novels (not to be confused with the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles novelizations) are a series of juvenile novels written from 1990-1995. Though numbered 1-15, they do not take place in chronological order and cover the years 1912-1914. Young Indiana Jones and the Journey to the Underworld is book #12 in the series.


In this book, Indy's father is back in the habit of constantly referring to his son as Junior, even though he'd made some progress in calling him "Indiana" in a couple of the French novels that are said to take place prior to this.


Notes from The Lost Journal of Indiana Jones


The Lost Journal of Indiana Jones is a 2008 publication that purports to be Indy's journal as seen throughout The Young Indiana Chronicles and the big screen Indiana Jones movies. The publication is also annotated with notes from a functionary of the Federal Security Service (FSB) of the Russian Federation, the successor agency of the Soviet Union's KGB. The FSB relieved Indy of his journal in 1957 during the events of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The notations imply the journal was released to other governments by the FSB in the early 21st Century. However, some bookend segments of The Young Indiana Chronicles depict Old Indy still in possession of the journal in 1992. The discrepancy has never been resolved. 


The journal as published skips over this time in Indy's life. In fact, it goes from August 5, 1912 to March 9, 1916...a period of about 3.5 years! Are we to believe that Indy made no journal entries that entire time? Perhaps the entries were excised by the Russians for some reason when it was in their possession?


Characters appearing or mentioned in this story



Indiana Jones

Eric Scythe

Henry Jones, Sr.

Reggie's nanny


Petrov (mentioned only)

Markos Kourou

Professor Nigel Wolcott

Ari Naxakis

Elyse Naxakis

Kalitsa Tstouris

Kalitsa's cat



fruit cart owner

Miss Seymour (mentioned only)

old fortune teller woman


Kourou's dog

old woman




Didja Notice?


Professor Jones' old college friend, Eric Scythe, is a curator at the British Museum in London. The British Museum was established in 1753 and is one of the most prestigious museums in the world. 


As stated in the Historical Note at the end of the book, the Pietroasa Bowl that is stolen from the British Museum in this book was a real world artifact that had a replica made of it by the British Museum in 1867. The real bowl was not stolen from its home in Rumania in 1914, but it was sent to Russia for protection from the German forces during WWI but was melted down for the gold by the Russian communists in 1917!

The bowl's figures tells the story of the Greek myth of Orpheus, which is much as Professor Jones relates it in Chapter 2. Indy metaphorically relives Orpheus' journey to the underworld in the course of this novel.


Professor Jones tells Indy that his friend Nigel Wolcott, now living in Athens, was one of his lecturers at Oxford University. Indy's family previously visited Athens in "Travels With Father".


The Greek policeman Ari Naxakis is said to live at Leanidu 73 in Athens. This appears to be a fictitious address in that city.


It is noted in the book that Indy speaks Ancient Greek but not modern Greek, making it difficult for him to communicate with the residents of Athens. This was first noted of both Indy and his father in "Travels With Father".


Elyse becomes frightened when a raven lands on Indy's shoulder, saying that it is considered an omen of death in Greece. The raven is associated with death or bad omens in the mythology of many cultures, largely due to its black coloring.


On page 38, Indy and Elyse enter the Plaka. The Plaka is an historical neighborhood of Athens built along the slopes of the Acropolis and many other archeological sites.


On page 41, Indy recognizes Pagliacci by Leoncavallo playing on a gramophone at an Athens shop because his father likes it. Pagliacci is an 1892 opera, a tragedy about a comedy troop of clowns.


Fleeing their pursuers, Indy and Elyse run up the slope of the Acropolis and to the Parthenon. Indy previously visited these sites in "Travels With Father". On page 56, Indy reflects from the top of the Acropolis that he suddenly understood for the first time what it would have been like to live here when the city was first built in ancient times. But, as stated above, he'd been there before when he 9 years old.


The history of the Acropolis given in Chapter 6 is essentially accurate.


On page 58, an old woman greets Indy and Elyse with "Kaliméra." This is Greek for "Good afternoon," as Indy has figured out.


On page 59, the old woman calls Indy a "little loukániko." Loukániko is Greek for "sausage", just as Elyse translates.


The old Greek woman has two different colored eyes, one brown and one green. She tells Indy she can see the past with her left eye and the future with her right. I am not aware of a particular real world myth of that description.


The old woman's cane is similar to the cane used by Markos Kourou except it has a gold Perseus on the top instead of Medusa. Perseus is the Greek mythological hero who is said to have slain Medusa.


The old woman tells Indy and Elyse that the cane maker, Charon, lives at Akti Kountourioti in Piraeus. "Akti Kountourioti" translates to Kountourioti Coast. Piraeus is a port city near Athens, but the only Akti Kountourioti in Greece is in Chania on the Greek island of Crete.


On page 65, Elyse tells Indy she'll make her father some fasolada. Fasolada is Mediterranean bean soup.


On page 71, Nigel Wolcott is said to be wearing an Edwardian dinner jacket. Edwardian fashion is that said to have been designed from around 1900 to the beginning of WWI. It is named for King Edward VII of the United Kingdom.


As stated by Professor Jones on page 79, Charon was the mythological ferryman who took people across the river Styx to the underworld.


On page 80, Indy sarcastically tells Nigel and his father he's going to find Eurydice, actually meaning Elyse. Eurydice was the wife of Orpheus, for whom Orpheus journeyed to the underworld to bring her back to the land of the living.


On page 81, Indy sees the Aegean Sea beyond the port of Piraeus. This is the sea that runs along the eastern coastline of Greece.


On pages 81 and 98, Indy asks different people, "Omilití Angliká?" This is Greek for "English speaker?"


The cane maker Charon takes Indy to the Greek island of Aegina in his boat. Ayia Marina is one of the port towns of the island, as stated by Charon.


On page 90, Indy encounters a large dog guarding one of the houses on Aegina that may be Kourou's house. Indy thinks of the dog as Cerberus, guarding the gates of the underworld. Cerberus is the three-headed dog of Greek mythology said to guard the gates of the underworld and is part of the Orpheus myth.


    In Chapter 14, Indy faces a giant octopus about 8 feet long in the sea. Although giant octopi do exist, there are no known species of such in the Mediterranean.

    In several later adventures, Indy will face giant octopi and krakens, legendary creatures similar to octopi or squids but of enormous proportions, in The Shrine of the Sea Devil, The Emperor's Tomb, and The Sargasso Pirates.


On page 139, holding the recovered Pietroasa Bowl, Indy reflects on Orpheus and the other mythological figures etched into the relic. These are all actual figures from Greek mythology.


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