Open Educational Resources


Homer’s Odyssey takes us through the fabulous world of Odysseus’ travels, and the first time we encounter him at first hand he is on Calypso’s island of Ogygia. She is a daughter of the Titan Atlas, and she has already kept Odysseus with her for seven years. It is an exquisite place:

Round about the cave grew a luxuriant wood, alder and poplar and sweet-smelling cypress, wherein birds long of wing were wont to nest, owls and falcons and sea-crows with chattering tongues, who ply their business on the sea. And right there about the hollow cave ran trailing a garden vine, in pride of its prime, richly laden with clusters. And fountains four in a row were flowing with bright water hard by one another, turned one this way, one that. And round about soft meadows of violets and parsley were blooming. There even an immortal, who chanced to come, might gaze and marvel, and delight his soul.[1]

Features of Ogygia recur in Plato's description of Atlantis (he would certainly have been familiar with Homer's work, which could well have influenced him). Ogygia is sometimes associated with Atlantis in a more literal way, and although trying to find the whereabouts of many of the places mentioned in Homer is fraught with difficulty, that has not prevented many from trying to find it. This link takes you to a selection of ancient sources and different theories.

[1] Homer, Odyssey 5.64 ff.

Date created: 
Monday, February 27, 2017
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