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In Homer's Odyssey, having left Ogygia, Odysseus is wrecked by a mighty storm sent by Poseidon, but is washed up on the island of Scherie, where he meets the beautiful Nausicaa, princess of the Phaeacians, and her parents Alcinous and Arete. Their island is located ‘far from men that live by toil’ and has a walled city, temples, and ploughlands. As Nausicaa puts it:

We are about to enter the city, around which runs a lofty wall,—a fair harbour lies on either side of the city and the entrance is narrow, and curved ships are drawn up along the road, for they all have stations for their ships, each man one for himself. There, too, is their place of assembly about the fair temple of Poseidon, fitted with huge stones set deep in the earth.[1]

Odysseus is impressed by all of this, but he is utterly staggered when he arrives at Nausicaa’s parents’ palace. There they live in luxurious paradise conditions, perpetually supplied with abundant fruit, vines and vegetables by a miraculous garden. This could well be one of the models that Plato uses for his description of Atlantis, and the link takes you to a translation of the relevant passage from Homer's Odyssey Book 7.82 ff.

[1] Homer, Odyssey 6.262 ff.

Date created: 
Monday, February 27, 2017
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