The Adriatic and Ionian has formed a crossroads of civilisations since antiquity, in which a diverse network of trade and communication was established, leading from east to west and vice versa. Along with goods, stories, ideas and values were also circulated and exchanged, as recorded in Greek mythology.
In the Odyssey and its sequel Telegonia, the final epic of the Trojan cycle, Odysseus, after his return to Ithaca and the killing of the suitors of his wife, Penelope, is confronted by their relatives seeking revenge. The judge appointed in the dispute is the king of Epirus, Neoptolemus, who orders Odysseus to leave Ithaca again for ten years. The hero leaves his island and wanders on foot in Thesprotia holding a paddle. His wanderings will end once he meets someone who does not recognise the use of the object, considering it to be an agricultural rather than naval tool. At this point Odysseus will offer a sacrifice to the god of the sea, Poseidon, to appease him from his wrath and allow him to return to his homeland.
According to another version of the legend, while wandering in Epirus, Odysseus marries the queen of Thesprotia, Kallidiki, with whom he has a son, Polypoitis. After nine years Polypoitis will become king of Thesprotia and Odysseus will finally return to Ithaca.
The reverse direction from east to west is followed by Aeneas, also known from the Homeric epics and the Aeneid of Virgil, who after the fall of Troy takes the road into exile. The hero wanders through almost all of Greece, from Macedonia and Crete to Zakynthos and Lefkada, sailing along the coast of Thesprotia and reaching Vouthroto, before finally crossing the Italian Peninsula to become the ancestor of the Romans.
The mythical wanderings of Odysseus and Aeneas in the Ionian and Adriatic highlights the importance of the region on the sea route between east and west. The shores of Thesprotia, from the area of Parga and Margariti to the bay of Igoumenitsa and Sagiada a little further north, offered safe moorings for ships from antiquity to the Middle Ages, but also today, allowing visitors of the area to travel through time and myths.