The Ionian Islands are a group of islands in Greece. They are traditionally called the Heptanese, i.e. "the Seven Islands" but the group includes many smaller islands as well as the seven principal ones.
The seven are, from north to south: Kerkyra usually known as Corfu in English and Corfù in Italian Paxi also known as Paxos in English, Lefkada also known as Lefkas in English, Ithaki usually known as Ithaca in English, Kefalonia, Zakynthos sometimes known as Zante in English and Italian Kythira usually known as Cythera in English and sometimes known as Cerigo in English and Italian.
The islands were settled by Greeks at an early date, possibly as early as 1200 BC, and certainly by the 9th century BC. The early Eretrian settlement at Kerkyra was displaced by colonists from Corinth in 734 BC. The islands were mostly a backwater during Ancient Greek times and played little part in Greek politics. The one exception was the conflict between Kerkyra and its mother-City Corinth in 434 BC, which brought intervention from Athens and triggered the Peloponnesian War.
Ithaca was the name of the island home of Odysseus in the epic Ancient Greek poem the Odyssey by Homer. Attempts have been made to identify Ithaki with ancient Ithaca, but the geography of the real island cannot be made to fit Homer's description but archaiological investigations have revealed interesting findings in both Kefalonia and Ithaca.
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