Greek Colonisation is something of misnomer on two counts. First of all is the fact that there was no unified Greek state until the time of Alexander the Great. Instead the territory was fragmented into a number of competing city- states (poleis) that formed shifting alliances to meet the exigencies of the day.
Secondly, the term ‘colonisation’ did not mean the same then as it does today. Individual city states had their own expansion ambitions, which were generally concerned with trade rather than territory. It seems that most of the colonies began as trading posts, known as emporia(a), some developing into towns, others grew into urban centres and even established colonies of their own.
In the first millennium BC, some of the Greek city-states gradually expanded their influence(c) eastward into Asia Minor and the Black Sea and westward along the northern coast of the Mediterranean, eventually founding Massalia (modern Marseilles), which established emporia in eastern Spain.
>Some writers, such as Henriette Mertz, have proposed that the ancient Greeks travelled as far as America and that Homer’s story of Odysseus was a retelling of such a voyage. More recently, Minas Tsikritsis has claimed that the Greeks had contact with North America, at least as far back as 86 AD!(d) Some time later he expanded on the idea in a paper published on the Researchgate website(e). Manolis Koutlis went further in his book, In the Shadow: The Greek Colonies of North America and the Atlantic 1500 BC -1500 AD .
Even more extreme is the odd claim by Lonko Kilapan that ancient Greeks colonists settled in Chile and whose descendants are known now as Mapuche and earlier as Araucans or Araucanians(f) . Michael Issigonis has championed the idea of early Greeks in South America and elsewhere on the Academia.edu website(g)(h).<
The Phoenicians had their own city-states such a Tyre, Sidon and Byblos. They established ‘colonies along north Africa, and Spain. They competed with the Greeks, particularly in the central Mediterranean, where at one point they shared Sicily. Settlers from Tyre founded Carthage, which in turn became more powerful than and independent of its parent city and became more belligerent, eventually engaging in a series of wars with Rome, which it lost.
There is much more relevant information to be found on the excellent Ancient History Encyclopedia website(b) .
Manolis Koutlis is a computer engineer and the author of In the Shadow: The Greek Colonies of North America and the Atlantic 1500 BC -1500 AD, in which he seeks to demonstrate that the Greeks had settlements in North America. Using the classical texts of Plutarch, Homer, Hesiod and Plato as well as the traditions of the Native Americans of the North East, he offers evidence to support his thesis.
The idea of ancient Greeks in Canada has been around for some time with Henriette Mertz in the 1960’s suggesting that Odysseus’ wanderings took place in the Atlantic and that he was the first European to visit America.
Koutlis has concluded that Ogygia was located on St. Paul Island in the Cabot Strait and goes further, locating Atlantis in the Gulf of St. Lawrence northeast of the Canadian province of Prince Edward Island, not far from Quebec’s Magdalen Islands.
A few years earlier, Emilio Spedicato, also proposed that the region around the Mouth of the St. Lawrence River, in Canada, had been visited by ancient Greeks. His comments were addressed to the 2005 Atlantis Conference [629.411]. He did not, however, suggest a Canadian location for Atlantis as he had already claimed Hispaniola as its home.
The first 37 pages of his book can be read online(a) .
Canada was first suggested to have had an ancient connection with the Mediterranean in a lecture(f) to the Albany Institute of Boston in 1893 by Verplanck Colvin (1847-1920), an American lawyer and topographical engineer. He based this idea primarily on his interpretation of Plutarch‘s On the Apparent Face in the Moon’s Face and specifically named the St. Lawrence River as the site of an ancient Greek colony.
Until relatively recently Canada has had little attention from Atlantis seekers. The nearest to such a claim came in 2002, when New Zealander, Ian A. Fox, published his theory that Atlantis had been situated between Greenland and Canada’s Baffin Island.
A few years later, the earliest specific suggestion of a Canadian connection with Atlantis, that I am aware of, came from Samuel Poe in a truly dreadful book, in which he claimed the east coast of Canada and the United States had been Atlantean.
Then, Brian Johnston, a retailer of precious stones, created a website(a) advocating Ontario as the location of Plato’s Atlantis. He offers a stone circle and what may be other megalithic standing stones along with many photos of the same as evidence. This is all held together by a large helping of speculation. Finally, after describing in some detail a site in Ontario’s Northumberland County, he concludes that the location “might not be Atlantis!”
Nevertheless, the idea that the ancient Greeks had an awareness of America has persisted, with some claiming that they had colonies in Canada. Among these are Lucio Russo, Ioannis Liritzis(b) and Minas Tsikritsis(d). Now Manolis Koutlis has gone one further and claims that not only were there Greek colonies in Canada but that Atlantis had been situated in the Gulf of St. Lawrence(c). This raises the question of why or how Atlanteans or Greek colonists in Canada would launch an attack on Athens thousands of miles away. In my opinion, neither identification is credible.
At the 2005 Atlantis Conference, Emilio Spedicato also subscribed to the idea of early Greeks in Canada, specifically in the St. Lawrence Region [629.411]. However, he does not refer to Atlantis in this context as he has already nominated Hispaniola as Plato’s lost island.
>Long after any ancient Greeks came to North America, hard evidence of Pre-Columbian visitors from Europe was confirmed with the discovery in 1978 of an 11th-century Norse settlement at L’anse aux Meadows in Canada. In 2022, the discovery in Newfoundland of a gold Henry VI quarter noble, minted in London between 1422 and 1427 generated some excitement. Unfortunately, coins can remain in circulation for many years, so, without knowing when the coin was lost in Canada, it cannot be claimed with any great certainty that it was misplaced before or after Columbus reached the Americas(h).<
Also See: Henriette Mertz
(f) Atlantis,Vol.23, No.3,May/June, 1970
Costas Socratous is a Cypriot author and no stranger to controversy as some years ago he claimed that Umberto Eco’s celebrated book, The Name of the Rose, had been based on a work of his, O Aforismenos. He lost his legal challenge.
In 2010, when Enrico Mattievich published his Journey to the Mythological Inferno in which he claimed that the ancient Greeks had discovered America, Socratous alleged that he had made the same claim in a 1995 book(a), apparently unaware that Mattievich had originally published his book in Portuguese in 1992 and in 1986 had delivered his preliminary findings in a lecture(b). Apart from which Henriette Mertz had published the same idea in the early 1960s. Oops!
Socratous’ book places Atlantis in the Atlantic with Troy as its capital!
Ilias D. Mariolakos is professor emeritus of Geology and Palaeontology at Athens University. In 2010 he presented a paper(a) to the 12th International Congress of the Geological Society of Greece, in which he concluded that the prehistoric Greeks were quite familiar with the Atlantic and its Gulf Stream. He also identifies Iceland as Ogygia, based on his interpretation of the writings of Plutarch.
>Mariolakos focussed on Plutarch’s comment that “An isle, Ogygia, lies far out at sea, a run of five days off from Britain as you sail westward” and from that he calculated that “Accepting that vessels similar to Argo (the ship of the Argonauts), could develop speeds approximately 4 – 5 miles/hour, then the distance traveled within 5 days must have been in the order of 5 x 24 = 120 hours, 120 x 4 m/h = 480 miles ? 900 km. According to these, and using a simple school atlas, Ogygia should correspond to present-day Iceland.”<
Mariolakos further maintains that the ancient Greeks exploited the Michigan copper mines to supply the needs of their bronze industry. Their expertise was accumulated between the beginning or end of the 3rd millennium BC until shortly after the conclusion of the Trojan War towards the close of the Mycenaean period at the end of the 1st millennium BC. The onset of the ‘Dark Ages’ saw this maritime knowledge ‘forgotten’ until the ensuing Archaic Period when Greek civilisation revived.
Mariolakos bases his conclusions on the works of Homer, Hesiod, Orphic poetry and Plutarch as well as the 20th-century writer Henriette Mertz.
Scylla and Charybdis were a sea monster and a whirlpool in Greek mythology that according to Homer and other writers were located opposite each other across a narrow strait. This led to the idiomatic phrase “between Scylla and Charybdis” similar to our more modern phrase of being “between the devil and the deep blue sea” describing being caught between two opposing forces.
Many, such as Heinrich Schliemann, assume the original to have been located between Sicily and the Italian mainland at the strait of Messina. Arthur R. Weir in a 1959 article(d) refers to ancient documents, which state that Scylla and Charybdis lie between the Pillars of Hercules(c).
A minority have opted for the Scylla being Calpe (The Rock of Gibraltar) and Charybdis being Mt. Abyla across the strait in North Africa or in other words the Pillars of Heracles(a). However, Professor Arysio Santos promoting his Atlantis in Indonesia theory suggested that the ‘original’ Pillars of Heracles were in at Sunda Strait and later brought to ancient Greece where it was included by Homer in his Odysseus as Scylla and Charybdis!(b)
Anatoly Zolotukhin has proposed that Scylla & Charybdis had been situated in the Bosporus near the Pillars of Heracles, while he located Atlantis itself in Crimea near Evpatoria(e).
Writers who have located the wanderings of Ulysses in the North Atlantic have gone further afield in their search for Scylla and Charybdis with suggestions such as the west coast of Scotland (Pillot and Nyland), the Orkneys (Sora) southwest Cornwall (Janssen)(f) and near the Scilly Isles (Wilkens).
>More recently, Andres Pääbo wrote that ” many of the details in Odysseus’ (or Ulysses’) travels can be easily associated with locations along the Norwegian coast and islands north of the British Isles. The starkest northern location found in the Odyssey is the large whirlpool called Charybdis, identifiable with the famous Maelstrom off the Lofoten Islands (g)“<
Perhaps the most distant Atlantic location was proposed by Henriette Mertz in The Wine Dark Sea  to have been in Canada’s Bay of Fundy, reputed to experience the world’s greatest tidal range averaging 52 feet.
>In January 2022, Kalju Pattustaja published a paper(h) in which he placed Scylla off the Kola Peninsula in northwest Russia. Coincidentally, Russia claims to have ancient pyramids on the Kola Peninsula(i).<
(d) Atlantis – A New Theory, Science Fantasy #35, June 1959 pp 89-96
Homer (c. 8th cent. BC) is generally accepted as the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, regarded as the two greatest epic poems of ancient Greece. A recent study of the Greek used by Homer has enabled scientists from the University of Reading to confirm that the language used is compatible with that used in the 8th century BC, in fact dating it to around 762 BC(i).
Nevertheless, there are questions raised regarding the authorship of the ‘Homeric’ epics. For example, Andreas Pääbo is certain that the Odyssey and the Iliad came from two different authors(ar).
Even more extreme was the opinion of the ancient geographer, Eratosthenes who was a persistent critic of Homer, whom he considered to be a fantasist. Strabo reported what the geographer said in the late 3rd century BC: “You will find the scene of Odysseus’ wanderings when you find the cobbler who sewed up the bag of winds”(av).
Manolis Manoledakis, a professor of Classical Archaeology, in a paper(as) on the Academia website “examines an aspect of the broader issue of the geography of the Odyssey, the primary stimulus being the references of the poem to places that could be associated with the Black Sea, namely the Aeaea and the entrance to the Underworld. As we shall see, while these particular places are indeed relevant to the Black Sea region, they do not belong to the context of a specific journey with specific halts in a specific geographical sequence. The Odyssey is a synthesis of many different episodes, and there is no point in trying to trace a complete geographical course for Odysseus’ voyage.”
It should also be noted that over 130 quotations from the Illiad and Odyssey have been identified in Plato’s writings(s). George Edwin Howes (1865-1942), an American classicist, produced a dissertation+ on Homeric quotations in Plato and Aristotle.
Almost nothing is known of Homer’s life. He has been variously described as mad, blind and even mythical. Andrew Dalby, the English linguist, has gone so far as to claim that the author of the two famed epics was a woman! While in 1897 Samuel Butler, the novelist, was even more specific when he proposed that Homer was a Sicilian woman(j).
For centuries it was assumed that the content of these Homeric poems was the product of his imagination, just as the historical reality of Homer himself has been questioned. In 1795, F.A. Wolf, a German academic declared that ‘Homer’ was just a collective name applied to various poets whose works were finally combined into their present form in the 6th century BC. Wolf’s ideas sparked furious argument among Greek scholars that still resonates today. Now (2015), historian, Adam Nicholson has claimed that the author ‘Homer’ should not be thought of as a person but instead as a ‘culture’(o).
In a 2021 review of Victor Davis Hanson’s Who Killed Homer? , Adam Kirsch outlines how “Milman Perry proved that the Iliad and the Odyssey were not written by a lone genius(ah). They were originally not written at all, but through fieldwork in Yugoslavia, Perry (1902-1935) demonstrated how the Homeric epics were the result of traditional bardic storytelling. Wikipedia describes Perry as “an American Classicist whose theories on the origin of Homer’s works have revolutionized Homeric studies to such a fundamental degree that he has been described as the ‘Darwin of Homeric studies’.”
Ed Whelan, an Irish classical scholar, published a brief paper in 2021 that endorsed the Homeric ‘multiple authors’ theory(ap).
An anonymous author offered “Although there has been a great deal of controversy about the question of whether Homer alone wrote the two famous poems, much of the evidence points towards Homer being the author due to the consistent style of writing. Also, some analysts argue that Homer may have written one of the poems but not the other since both differ greatly in style. In contrast, the reason other analysts state for this difference is that Iliad was written in his youth while Odyssey was created during Homer’s years of age.” (aq).
The identification of the site at Hissarlik in modern Turkey as Troy by Heinrich Schliemann led to a complete re-appraisal of Homer’s work and, of course, further controversy. Homer’s Iliad is the story of the Trojan War and it has been suggested that in fact, he had compressed three or more Trojan wars into one narrative. What is not generally known is that there are also ancient non-Homeric accounts of the Trojan War(q).
Kenneth Wood and his wife Florence have built on the research of his mother-in-law, the late Edna Leigh, and produced Homer’s Secret Iliad, a book that attempts to prove that the Iliad was written as an aide-memoire for a wide range of astronomical data.
Allied to, but not directly comparable with, is the astronomical information identified in the Bible by the likes of E. W. Maunder (1851-1928).
Guy Gervis has adopted some of their work and, in a lengthy article, specifies a date of around 2300 BC for the events described in the Iliad and Odyssey, based on an analysis of this astronomical data(n). Harald A.T. Reiche held similar views which followed some of the ideas expressed in Hamlet’s Mill by Santillana & Dechend who were colleagues of Reiche at M.I.T. They also claimed that “myths were vehicles for memorising and transmitting certain kinds of astronomical and cosmological information.”
Much has been written about the historicity of Homer’s epic accounts, including a good overview on Wikipedia(ab). Many have concluded that Homer did use real events, even if they were frequently dressed in mythological clothing compatible with the literary conventions of his day. I consider Plato to have treated the story of Atlantis similarly.
A recent study of solar eclipses recorded in Odyssey using data from NASA has confirmed that Odysseus returned to Ithaca on the 25th of October 1207 BC(r).
Scholars have generally supported the idea that Homer’s works have a Mediterranean backdrop with regular attempts to reconcile his geography with modern locations, such as the claim in 2005 by Robert Brittlestone, a British investigator to have located the site of Ithaca, the homeland of Odysseus, on the Greek island of Cephalonia. This popular idea should be put alongside the views of Zlatko Mandzuka who maintains that all the locations mentioned in the Odyssey can be identified in the Adriatic.
>Kazmer Ujvarosy of San Francisco State University, has noted that there are 22 different places currently on offer as the location of Ithaca(ax).<
Nevertheless, there has been a growing body of opinion that insists that this Mediterranean identification is impossible. A range of alternative regions has been proposed(f) as the setting for the epics, which extend from Portugal as far northward as the Baltic.
In his Odyssey (VII: 80), Homer wrote about the island of Scheria in the western sea. His description of the island has been compared with Plato’s description of Atlantis and has led to the theory that they refer to the same place. There is little doubt that both the detailed geography and climatic descriptions that are provided by Homer cannot be easily reconciled with that of the Mediterranean. Consequently, the Odyssey has had many interpretations, ranging from Tim Severin’s conclusion that it refers entirely to the Eastern Mediterranean to Iman Wilkens’ book, Where Troy Once Stood, which has the voyage include the west coast of Africa, then across to the West Indies and following the Gulf Stream returns to Troy which he locates in Britain.
Location is not a problem exclusive to the writings of Plato. Wilkins’s claims are a reflection of similar ideas expressed by Théophile Cailleux in the 19th century. Gilbert Pillot has also argued for voyages of Ulysses having taken him into the North Atlantic . A Spanish review of Pillot’s book is available(ag). In 1973, Ernst Gideon (? – 1975) wrote in a similar vein in Homerus Zanger der Kelten, reprinted later as Troje Lag in Engelan.
It is worth noting that Bernard Jones in The Discovery of Troy has recently moved Troy to Britain, probably in the vicinity of Cambridge, a location also preferred by Wilkens! Like many others, he argues that Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey were not set in the Mediterranean as so many of the details that he provides are incompatible with the characteristics of that sea. However, Jones has gone further and claimed that there are details in Virgil’s Aeneid, which are equally inconsistent with the Mediterranean [p.6-10], requiring a new location! Jones’ book has been reviewed on the Hall of Maat website(at) as well as by Jason Colavito(au).
An interesting overview of the various attempts to transfer the Odyssey from the Mediterranean to Northern Europe is available(w). Damien Mackey has also endorsed the idea of a Northern European backdrop to Homer’s Odyssey(aa).
Another researcher who places most of Odysseus’ travels in the eastern Atlantic is Gerard. W.J. Janssen of Leiden University on the academia.edu website(v). In a series of six papers(ai-an), he systematically reviews Homer’s geography, identifying locations referred to by him with places in the Atlantic. He compares his identifications with other commentators including Iman Wilkens and Théophile Cailleux. His website, with an English translation, offers additional information, including the suggestion(ao) that Homer’s Laestrygonians were to be found in Cuba, an interpretation also offered by Cailleux and Wilkens. They also claim that Odysseus’ Caribbean trip included a visit to Saba, a Dutch possession, which is identified as the Aeolian Isle!
The idea of an Atlantic backdrop to the Homeric epics will not go away. The Dutch researcher, N.R. De Graaf(ae). continues to write extensively on his Homeros Explorations website(ad)(x) regarding many of the specifics in Homer’s accounts. He has proposed Lanzarote in the Canaries as the location of Scheria, which concurs with the views of Wilkens and Janssen. Other specifics are that Ithaca was near Cadiz and that Sparta was Cordoba, while the ancient city of Carmona on the plains of Andalucia are, for De Graaf, Mycenae!(af)
E.J. de Meester also argued(ac) for the British Isles as the location of many of Homer’s references. It struck me as quite remarkable that the level of debate regarding the date, source and geographical details of Homer’s works is rather similar to the controversy surrounding Plato’s Atlantis in Timaeus and Critias. The late Edo Nyland was another researcher who had also opted for a Scottish backdrop to the Odyssey and had recently published his views.
Felice Vinci also supports a Northern European background to the Iliad and Odyssey. However, in Vinci’s case, Scandinavia, and in particular the Baltic Sea, is identified as the location for the adventures in Homer’s classic. An English language synopsis of his book is available on the Internet. The persuasiveness of Vinci’s argument has recently renewed interest in the idea of a Baltic Atlantis. The assumption is that if Troy could be located in the Baltic, so might Atlantis. Vinci’s views are comparable with those of J. Rendel Harris expressed in a lecture delivered in 1924(p) in which he claims that “we are entitled to take Homer and his Odysseus out of the Mediterranean or the Black Sea, and to allow them excursions into Northern latitudes.”
However, a scathing review of Vinci’s book can be found on the Internet(d) and in issue 216 (2006) of Fortean Times written by Marinus Anthony van der Sluijs.
Further support for a Northern European Troy has come from the historian Edward Furlong, a former naval navigation officer, who has advocated for over twenty years that the journey of Odysseus went as far north as Norway. His particular views are outlined on the Internet(c).
Other writers, such as the late Henrietta Mertz [0396/7], have suggested that Homer’s epic refers to a trip to North America. Professor Enrico Mattievich Kucich of Lima University is also certain that the ancient Greeks discovered America America. However revolutionary this idea may seem it shows how this particular subject is growing and would probably justify a reference book of its own.
The idea of an Atlantic backdrop to the Homeric epics will not go away. The Dutch researcher, N.R. De Graaf continues to write extensively on his Homeros Explorations website(x) regarding many of the specifics in Homer’s accounts.
In 1973, James Bailey also proposed in his well-received The God-Kings and the Titans that the Odyssey recorded a trans-Atlantic trip. Evidence exists for large-scale mining in the Americas as early as the 5th millennium BC. Bailey maintained that the Europeans imported enormous quantities of copper and tin from Central and South America to feed the demands of the Old World Bronze Age, an idea that was later heavily promoted by Frank Joseph and in great, if overly speculative, detail by Reinoud de Jong(y).
Finally, the Atlantis connection with this entry is that if, as now appears to be at least a possibility, Homer’s Odyssey was about a journey to the North Sea then the possibility of the North Sea setting for the Atlantis story is somewhat reinforced.
A recent book by Steven Sora has developed the Atlantic notion further with the suggestion that not only was Troy located outside the Strait of Gibraltar but that both Homer’s Trojan War and Plato’s Atlantean war are two versions of the same war with the understandable distortions and embellishments that can occur with a narrative, probably involving some degree of oral transmission and then written down hundreds of years after the events concerned.
Ukraine is soon to be added to the growing list of alternative locations for the setting of Homer’s epics with the publication of Homer, The Immanent Biography, a book by A.I. Zolotukhin(g). He claims that Homer was born in Alibant (Mykolayiv, Ukraine) on September 14, 657 BC(t). He follows the views of Karl Ernst von Baer (1792-1876) who believed that most of Odysseus’s travels took place in the Black Sea rather than the Mediterranean. Additionally, he locates Atlantis in the western Crimean area of Evpatoria(l). His 60-page book is available on his website(m).
An interesting paper(e) by the German historian, Armin Wolf, relates how his research over 40 years unearthed 80 theories on the geography of the Odyssey, of which around 30 were accompanied by maps. One of the earliest maps of the travels of Odysseus was produced by Abraham Ortelius in 1597(u), in which the adventures of Odysseus all take place within the Central and Eastern Mediterranean, arguably reflecting the maritime limits of Greek experience at the time of Homer or his sources! Another website(z) by Jonathan S. Burgess, Professor of Classics at the University of Toronto offers further information on this, including some informative bibliographical material.
In 2009, Wolf published, Homers Reise: Auf den Spuren des Odysseus a German-language book that expands on the subject, also locating all the travels of Odysseus within the Central and Eastern Mediterranean.
Wolf’s ideas were enthusiastically adopted by Wolfgang Geisthövel in Homer’s Mediterranean, who also concurs with the opinion of J.V. Luce , who proposed that Homer was “describing fictional events against authentic backgrounds.” This would be comparable to a James Bond movie, which has an invented storyline set in actual exotic locations around the world.
Perhaps the most radical suggestion has come from the Italian writer, Michele Manher, who has proposed(h) that Homer’s Iliad originated in India where elements of it can be identified in the Mahabharata!
In August 2015, a fifteen-hour reading of the Iliad was performed in London.
(ag) Perijóresis: Odisea (perijoresis.blogspot.com) (Spanish)
(av) Strabo 1.2.15
Scheria is the name of a Phaeacian island mentioned by Homer in his Odyssey and identified by some, including Ignatius Donnelly, as Atlantis. Scheria has been noted as only second to Atlantis for the array of locations ascribed to it. For example, Heinrich Schliemann, as well as many ancient and modern commentators, considered Scheria to have been Corfu. K. T. Frost in the early part of the 20th century associated Atlantis with Homer’s Scheria and both with the Minoan Empire, an idea also supported by Walter Leaf(l).
A recent paper by Gerard Janssen, of Leiden University, also places Scheria in the Canaries, specifically on Lanzarote(f). This is one of an extensive series of papers by Janssen, which links Homer’s geography with locations in the Atlantic(g). An introductory paper(h) might be the best place to start.
An Atlantic location for Homer’s epic poems is advocated by N.R. De Graaf, the Dutch author of the Homeros Explorations website(i). Specifically, he also concluded that Scheria can be identified with Lanzarote in the Canaries concurring with Wilkens and Janssen.
According to Pierluigi Montalbano, his native Sardinia was the Homeric land of the Phaeacians(j). Massimo Pittau offered the same conclusion “However the fact is that the Odyssey- as we have seen before – never mentions Sardinia. How, therefore, can this great and singular historical-documentary inconsistency be overcome? It can be overcome by assuming and saying that the poet of the Odyssey actually mentions Sardinia, but not calling it with his name, which will later become traditional and definitive, but with some other name relating to one of its regions or its population. And this is precisely my point of view, the one I am about to indicate and demonstrate: the poet of the Odyssey mentions Sardinia and its Nuragic civilization when he speaks of the «Scherìa or island of the Phaeacians».”(k)
Armin Wolf (1935- ), the German historian, suggests(b) that Calabria in Southern Italy was Scheria and even more controversially that the Phaeacians were in fact Phoenicians!
Wolf also claims[669.326] that although the country of the Phaeacians is in some translations called an island, the original Greek text never calls it ‘island’ just Scheria, which, Wolf informs us, etymologically means ‘continent’ – perfectly fitting Calabria. Even today, when people from Sicily go to Calabria they say they are going to the ‘continente’. Wolf puts Scheria in the vicinity of Catanzaro, the capital of Calabria. It has been suggested to me in private correspondence(d) that the etymology of Catanzaro is strongly indicative of a Phoenician influence! Catanzaro is also known as ‘the city of the two seas’, having the Tyrrhenian Sea to the west and the Ionian Sea to the east. It is Wolf’s contention that it was across this isthmus that Odysseus travelled[p.327].
A further mystery is that, according to Dr Ernst Assmann quoted by Edwin Bjorkman, “both the vessel of Odysseus, as pictured in Greek art, and the term applied to it, are of Phoenician origin.”
Daniel Fleck(a) lists ten similarities between Scheria and Atlantis. Jürgen Spanuth quoted and added to an even more extensive list of comparisons between the two compiled by R. Hennig. Rainer W. Kühne has also written a paper(c) on the similarities. Walter Leaf perceived a connection between the two and wrote accordingly. Edwin Björkman went further and wrote a book that linked Tartessos, Scheria and Atlantis. More recently, Roger Coghill stressed the similarity of Homer’s Scheria to Plato’s Atlantis in The Message of Atlantis . Ernle Bradford notes that the name Scheria itself is thought by some to be derived from the Phoenician word ‘schera’, which means marketplace, which is not incompatible with Plato’s description of Atlantis as a hive of commercial activity. [1011.204]
Michael MacRae in his Sun Boat: The Odyssey Deciphered also thinks that Scheria could be identified with Atlantis and as such was probably situated at the western end of the Gulf of Cadiz near Portugal’s Cape Vincent. A number of 20th-century researchers such as Sykes and Mertz have placed the travels of Odysseus in the Atlantic. More recently, Gerard Janssen has followed this school of thought and as part of his theories identifies Scheria as the island of Lanzarote in the Canaries (e).
However, Ernle Bradford, who retraced the voyage of Odysseus, voiced his view that Corfu was the land of the Phaeacians and noted that “the voice of antiquity is almost as unanimous about Scheria being Corfu as it is about the Messina Strait being the home of Scylla and Charybdis.”
A paper by John Black concluded with the following paragraph that fairly sums up what we actually know about the Phaeacians. “Who were the Phaeacians and where was their place of abode? No definite answers and no clues have been found but yet their extraordinary seafaring abilities and the intriguing description by Homer make them appear to be either a fascinating advanced civilization of the past yet to be discovered, or a fiction of the imagination for the sake of a good story. It is worth mentioning that Homer’s description of Troy was also once considered to be a work of fiction. However, the city of Troy has now been discovered, turning myth into reality.” (m)
(a) See: Archive 2087
(d) Private correspondence Jan. 2016
(l) Miscellanea Homerica, VI, The Classical Journal, Vol. 23, No. 8 (May, 1928), pp. 615-617 (3 pages) *
Enrico Clemente Mattievich Kucich is of Italian descent and lectures at Lima University, in Peru. Professor Kucich follows the work of Henriette Mertz and is convinced that the ancient Greeks discovered America and that a local Peruvian language, Chuetsua, is based on classical Greek. In his book, Journey to the Mythological Inferno he locates Troy in America and then equates Atlantis with Troy. In 1986 he wrote a paper(a) that focused on orichalcum, which he claimed were mined in the Atlas Mountain that was located in the Peruvian Andes. In 2015, two further articles were published on the Epoch Times website(b)(c) that related to other aspects of Mattievich’s theories.
While Mattievich identifies the entrance to Hades of Greek mythology as El Pongo de Manseriche in the Amazon Basin(d), Christine Pellech locates it much further north where the Ottawa and St. Lawrence Rivers join in Ontario, Canada.(e)
Originally published in Portuguese his book has been translated into Greek as well as English(f).
Ogygia is the home of Calypso, referred to by Homer in Book V of his Odyssey. It is accepted by some as an island in the Mediterranean that was destroyed by an earthquake before the Bronze Age. The Greek writers Euhemerus in the 4th century BC and Callimachus who flourished in the 3rd century BC, identified the Maltese archipelago as Ogygia. Others have more specifically named the Maltese island of Gozo as Ogygia. Anton Mifsud has pointed out that Herodotus, Hesiod and Diodorus Siculus have all identified the Maltese Islands with Ogygia.
John Vella has added his support to the idea of a Maltese Ogygia in a paper published in the Athens Journal of History (Vol.3 Issue 1) in which he noted that “The conclusions that have emerged from this study are that Homer’s Ogygia is not an imaginary but a reference to and a record of ancient Gozo-Malta.”
Adding to the confusion, Aeschylus, the tragedian (523-456 BC) calls the Nile, Ogygian, and Eustathius, a Byzantine grammarian (1115-1195), claimed that Ogygia was the earliest name for Egypt(j).
Isaac Newton wrote a number of important works including The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms Amended , in which he discussed a range of mythological links to Atlantis, including a possible connection with Homer’s Ogygia. There is now evidence that he concurred(c) with the idea of a Maltese Ogygia in The Original of Monarchies(d).
Strabo referred to “Eleusis and Athens on the Triton River [in Boiotia]. These cities, it is said, were founded by Kekrops (Cecrops), when he ruled over Boiotia (Boeotia), then called Ogygia, but were later wiped out by inundations.”(i) However, Strabo also declared that Ogygia was to be found in the ‘World Ocean’ or Atlantic (j). To say the least, these two conflicting statements require explanation.
Richard Hennig opted for Madeira following the opinion of von Humboldt. Spanuth argued strongly against either Madeira or the Canaries[0017.149] and gave his support to the Azores as the most likely location of Calypso’s Island.. Not unexpectedly the Azores, in the mid-Atlantic, have also been nominated as Ogygia by other 20th century researchers such as Sykes(e) and Mertz. In a 2019 paper(f), Gerard Janssen also placed Ogygia in the Azores, specifically naming the island of Saõ Miguel, which both Iman Wilkens [610.239] and Spanuth [015.226] also claimed. Spanuth added that until the 18th-century Saõ Miguel was known as umbilicus maris, which is equivalent to the Greek term, omphalos thallasses, used by Homer to describe Ogygia in chapter eight of the Odyssey!
Homer in his Odyssey identifies Ogygia as the home of Calypso. The Roman poet Catullus writing in the 1st century BC linked Ogygia with Calypso in Malta(g). However, Gozo’s claim is challenged by those supporting Gavdos in Crete(k). This opinion has been expounded more fully by Katerina Kopaka in a paper published in the journal Cretica Chronica(l), where her starting point is the claim that Gavdos had been previously known as Gozo! Another Greek claimant is Lipsi(o) in the Dodecanese. We must also add Mljet in Croatia to the list of contenders claiming(p) to have been the home of Calypso. Mljet is also competing with Malta as the place where St. Paul was shipwrecked!
>Further south is the beautiful Greek island of Othoni near Corfu where local tradition claims an association with Calypso. An article on the Greek Reporter website(r) suggests that “Evidence confirming this legend appears in the writings of Homer, who described a strong scent of cypress on Ogygia. Many cypress trees are grown on Othonoi.
Shortly after departing the island on a raft, Odysseus is shipwrecked on Scheria, which we know of today as Corfu. This implies that the two islands Homer described were relatively close. Likewise, the islands of Othonoi and Corfu are separated by a relatively short distance. Due to this mythological connection, during the 16th century, many naval maps described Othonoi as ‘Calypso island.‘”<
Mifsud quotes another Roman of the same period, Albius Tibullus, who also identified Atlantis with Calypso. Other Maltese writers have seen all this as strong evidence for the existence of Atlantis in their region. Delisle de Sales considered Ogygia to be between Italy and Carthage, but opted for Sardinia as the remains of Calypso’s island.
Other researchers such as Geoffrey Ashe and Andrew Collins have opted for the Caribbean as the home of Ogygia. Another site supports Mesoamerica as the location of Ogygia, which the author believes can be equated with Atlantis(h). An even more extreme suggestion by Ed Ziomek places Ogygia in the Pacific(b)!
In the Calabria region of southern Italy lies Capo Collone (Cape of Columns). 18th century maps(m) show two or more islands off the cape with one named Ogygia offering echoes of Homer’s tale. Respected atlases as late as 1860 continued to show a non-existent island there. It seems that these were added originally by Ortelius, inspired by Pseudo-Skylax and Pliny(n) . Additionally, there is a temple to Hera Lacinia at Capo Colonne, which is reputed to have been founded by Hercules!
By way of complete contrast, both Felice Vinci and John Esse Larsen have proposed that the Faeroe Islands included Ogygia. In the same region, Iceland was nominated by Gilbert Pillot as the location of Ogygia and Calypso’s home. Ilias D. Mariolakos, a Greek professor of Geology also makes a strong case(a) for identifying Iceland with Ogygia based primarily on the writings of Plutarch. He also supports the idea of Minoans in North America.
A more recent suggestion has come from Manolis Koutlis , who, after a forensic examination of various versions of Plutarch’s work, in both Latin and Greek, also placed Ogygia in North America, specifically on what is now the tiny island of St. Paul at the entrance to the Gulf of St. Lawrence in Canada, a gulf that has also been proposed as the location of Atlantis.
Jean-Silvain Bailly also used the writings of Plutarch to sustain his theory of Ogygia, which he equated with Atlantis having an Arctic location[0926.2.299], specifically identifying Iceland as Ogygia/Atlantis with the islands of Greenland, Nova Zembla and Spitzbergen (Svalbard) as the three islands equally distant from it and each other.
The novelist Samuel Butler (1835-1902) identified Pantelleria as Calypso’s Island, but the idea received little support(q).
However, Ireland has been linked with Ogygia by mainly Irish writers. In the 17th century historian, Roderick O’Flaherty(1629-1718), wrote a history of Ireland entitled Ogygia, while in the 19th century, Margaret Anne Cusack (1832-1899) also wrote a history in which she claimed a more explicit connection. This was followed in 1911 by a book by Marion McMurrough Mulhall in which she also quotes Plutarch to support the linking of Ireland and Ogygia. More recently, in The Origin of Culture Thomas Dietrich promotes the same view, but offers little hard evidence to support it.
>In 2023, an article on the Greek Reporter website renewed speculation regarding the possible identification of Ireland with Ogygia(s).<
This matter would appear to be far from a resolution.
(c) See: Archive 3439
(e) ‘Where Calypso may have Lived’ (Atlantis, 5, 1953, pp 136-137)
(g) Lib. iv, Eleg. 1
(i) Strabo, Geography 9. 2. 18
(n) See: Note 5 in Armin Wolf’s Wayback Machine (archive.org)