We do not assume that there was a “real” journey of Odysseus, or even a historical Odysseus. Localization of the wanderings deserves attention because 1) the Homeric journey surely, at some level, responds to Greek exploration and colonization in the western Mediterranean; 2) ancient Greek and Roman authors localized the journey (with much variance and debate); 3) peoples of ancient Sicily and Italy often accepted localization the journey in their lands, motivated by issues of genealogy and cultural authenticity; 4) the recreation of a preceding journey (cf. Aeneid/Odyssey) is a trope of modern travel writing, of which we are fond. The site focuses on ancient localization of the hero’s journey, yet it also surveys modern books and theories, both amateur and professional, that link Odysseus’ voyage to the real world. Excludes are (extremely) ‘crackpot’ theories involving places outside of the Mediterranean (including Canada’s Bay of Fundy!). One sub-page surveys modern books inspired by other forms ancient travel, fictional and historical (Herodotus, March of the Ten Thousand, Alexander the Great, Argonauts, the Appian Way, etc.).
The front page presents the most prominent and influential ancient localizations of the journey of Odysseus, presented in both diagram and map form. These link to sub-pages about the ancient sources and the locations. (Often different) localization found in modern travel writing is found on a separate sub-page, “Modern Localization”; academic work on the subject is surveyed on the “Bibliography” sub-page. Other sub-pages cover the related topics of the underworld and Ithaca.
Research has been carried out, under the direction of J. S. Burgess, by Hana Carrozza, Maya Chakravorty, Sherwin Chua, Michelle Gabowicz, Sehba Imtiaz, Claudia Ludwig, Laura Mawhinney, Erin McDonald, Michelle Mok, Monali Ray, Chris Thompson-Walsh, Ryan Fontaine, Seth Estrin, Mariapia Pietropaolo, Tim Perry, Vanessa Snyder-Penner, Jennifer Wainberg, and Betel Yibrehu. Thanks are due to Sam Allemang for website design. Support for student research has been provided by the University of Toronto’s Mentorship Program, Research Opportunity Program, and Research Excellence Awards, as well as the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. I am very grateful to all these students and for the funding.