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the high seas

Map shows where Homer’s Odyssey really took place

The action described in the ancient epic poem spans the breadth of the Mediterranean Sea.

“SING TO ME of the man, Muse, the man of twists and turns

driven time and again off course, once he had plundered

the hallowed heights of Troy.

Many cities of men he saw and learned their minds,

many pains he suffered, heartsick on the open sea,

fighting to save his life and bring his comrades home.”

The Odyssey, Book 1, Lines 1-6



“The Odyssey,” written by the poet Homer around 800 B.C.E., is one of the greatest human works of all time.

It’s also a dense read, which is why we highly recommend that you listen to it (as was originally intended).

But listening to the entire epic takes a long time as well. That’s why this interactive map by Gisèle Mounzer of esri is a great summary of the most epic homecoming journey ever told.

The cool thing about it is that it tracks Odysseus’ mythical journey around the Mediterranean on a modern-day map.

Here are some passages where the words are brought to life by the map.

“Odysseus fought in the Trojan War for 10 years. After the fall of Troy, he left for his home in Ithaca, a journey which should have taken only a few weeks. It was to take ten years.”



After Odysseus and his men depart from Troy, they are greeted by friendly and calm waters. The crew made for Ismaros in the land of the Cicones. Odysseus and his men looted the city and robbed it of all its goods. Odysseus wisely told his men to board the ships quickly but they refused and fell asleep on the beach.

The next morning, the Cicones returned with their fierce kinsmen from the mountains. Odysseus and his men fled to the ships as fast as they could but they lost many men still. On leaving Ismaros, Odysseus and his twelve ships were driven off course by fierce storms.



When Odysseus and his men landed on the island of the Lotus-Eaters, Odysseus sent out a scouting party who ate lotus fruit with the natives. This caused them to fall sleep and stop caring about ever going home. Odysseus went after the scouting party and dragged them back against their will to the ship and set sail.


Check out the full map>

- Michael Kelley

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