Dear members of this forum,
I found your discoveries and discussions inspiring and hope to give a contribution by asking your attention for the cartographic representations of the islands of Zakynthos, Kefalonia and Lefkada in the Ionian Sea at URL http://art.thewalters.org/viewchild.asp ... ldid=79744
The origin of these maps is dated late 11th century AD with updates being made in the 16th century. The origin of these charts is Egyptian, which makes that the sources are much older than you may expect from European chart makers as Joseph Roux.
The maps show a lot of interesting details:
• A small river at the location where the author suggests the South entrance to Strabo’s channel.
• Anchorages on each side of the envisaged Strabo’s channel.
• Deep and shallow harbours and anchorages in Argostoli Bay.
• Early topography of cape Argostoli's coastline itself.
• An unidentified island between the classic Ithaca and Kefalonia.
• Just a narrow strip of land connecting mainland Kefalonia and nesos Paliki on one chart.
• A well pronounced presence of both Isla Guardiana and Dascalion.
• Small inhabited islets off the promontory of Argostoli.
• No indication of harbours or anchorages on the modern Ithaca’s west coast.
• An island in the middle of a flooded Acarnania.
• Stilt houses in the Ambracian Gulf, representing a floating island?
• In general much more land seems submerged then nowadays.
Clearly a lot "no longer remains such as the poet described it". Poseidon rocked and rolled the whole area.
The early sea charts are not "unreliable", but they should be looked at through the eyes of the composers. These were seamen that circumnavigated the islands with a great knowledge of what endangered them and of what could offer them safe refuge. However, the knowledge of projections and scale was not there. When they sailed around an island they described the coast line accurately and when they arrived at the same point again... they knotted the two ends of the coastline together... Who wants to say that the famous painting of Vincent van Gogh is an unreliable presentation of a sunflower? Instead the painting learns you to look at a sunflower with different eyes and more meaning.
Further research could be the translation of some of the Arabic words and texts on the maps into English. Also I would eat my hat if after spending a week in the maps department of the library of Alexandria I would not have a map of Schizocephalonia.
I look forward to your comments