Travels of Odysseus

Travels of Odysseus

Use this geotour to follow Odysseus and his crew as they encounter nymphs and narcotics, cyclopes and sirens.


5 - 12+


English Language Arts, Geography, Human Geography

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Learning materials

The Odyssey is an epic, an adventure story attributed to the Greek poet Homer. Most historians think The Odyssey was composed in the 7th or 8th century B.C.E. The Odyssey tells the adventures of the Greek hero Odysseus, a veteran of the Trojan War. (The Odyssey is a sequel to Homer's other epic, The Iliad, which tells the story of that war.) Cursed by Poseidon, god of the sea, but favored by Athena, goddess of wisdom, Odysseus sails the eastern Mediterranean for 10 years before reaching his home and family on the island of Ithaca. Use this geotour to follow Odysseus and his crew as they encounter nymphs and narcotics, cyclopes and sirens.

Fast Fact

Geography of The OdysseyNo map of The Odyssey is definitive. “You will find the scene of Odysseus’ wanderings when you find the cobbler who sewed up [his] bag of winds.” So wrote the ancient Greek geographer Eratosthenes in the 2nd century BCE. Nevertheless, countless geographers, classicists, historians, and literary critics have speculated on the landmarks of Homer’s epic. Some speculations are more exotic than others—from the Azores to the Amazon, the Caribbean to Great Britain.

Fast Fact

Inspired by The OdysseyThe travels of Odysseus have inspired writers for more than 2,000 years.

Fast Fact

The OdysseyThe travels of Odysseus form just one part of The Odyssey. Another part, called the Telemachy, focuses on Odysseus’ son, Telemachus, who left home in search of his long-lost father. The final section of The Odyssey is called the Nostos (“homecoming” in Greek). The Nostos addresses Odysseus’ adventures once he returns to Ithaca: meeting Telemachus, who was an infant when Odysseus left two decades earlier; slaughtering his wife’s suitors—the men who would take Odysseus’ place as king; and, finally, reuniting with Queen Penelope, who had remained a faithful wife for 20 years.

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National Geographic Society
Tirzah Weiskotten, National Geographic Society
National Geographic Society
Last Updated

October 19, 2023

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