I love this piece — a detailed analysis, backstory, and new map of Odysseus’s supposed voyages around the Mediterranean:
In 1597 the cartographer Abraham Ortelius became the first person to draw a map of Odysseus’ travels. Like many Homeric geographers, Ortelius identifies Scheria, home of the Phaeacians, with Corcyra (now known as Corfu) because of a passage from Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War claiming the Phaeacians were the previous inhabitants of that island. While widely accepted, this identification of Scheria with Corcyra creates a problem. Homer clearly places Calypso’s island west of Scheria, but there is no island in the Ionian Sea west of Corcyra. Ortelius, following in the footsteps of Pliny, mapped a nonexistent island off southern Italy and called it the home of Calypso. The imaginary island appeared on maps through the mid-nineteenth century, and individuals continued to search for it into the twentieth. (Perhaps it had sunk into the sea?)
Geographers for thousands of years have been attempting to reconstruct the trail.