Archaeological excavations indicate that the island was inhabited as far back as the Neolithic period. In the Graeco-Roman era Gavdos, then known as Clauda, belonged to the city of Gortyna. There was a Roman settlement in the island's northwestern corner. Under the Byzantines, Gavdos was the seat of a bishopric, but when the Arabs conquered Crete in the 9th century the island became a pirates’ nest. It is thought to be the island home of the legendary Calypso of Homer’s Odyssey, where the nymph held Odysseus captive for many years.