7.- THE ISLAND AEAEA OF CIRCE AND THE MIDNIGHT SUN
At the return of Troy, Odysseus went by the country of the Cicones, for the region of the Lotophagi, for the island of the Cyclopes, for the island of the god Aeolus (Aiolos) and the country of the Lestrygones before reaching the island Aeaea (Aiaie), of flat configuration and very woody, where the goddess Circe (Kírkê) lived, Odyssey X, 135. Odysseus and his partners after eating a big deer and lot of wine, they observed that the sun was high and motionless, so that they could not determine where it has risen or where the sunset was. Now, we know that may have happened the day when the Sun begin to shine permanently over the Arctic Circle during the period named “Midnight Sun”, what it evidences that they were in the arctic regions.
It confirms this appreciation the news transmitted by Strabo, I, 1, 7 that according to the philosopher Crates in one of the regions visited by Odysseus, “there is a kind of estuary or gulf that views from the winter tropic towards the South Pole”.
As Homer did not mentioned clearly this estuary, we must suppose that so exact information should have been known through Pytheas, so we now know that it corresponds exactly to the current Western Fjord (“Vestern Fjorden”) of Norway, from where we would have to conclude that the hydrological phenomenon that Pytheas called “marine lung” faithfully corresponds to the whirl of Maelstrom. Fig.1, taken from “Atlas Mundial Encarta 1993-1996”, Microsoft Corporation.
See photography in the home page of this Internet website, taken from “Enciclopedia El Mar” (“Encyclopaedy The Sea”).
1.- Map of the Western Fjord of Norway.
Another reference to the Midnight Sun, can be found in the Song X, 82-86 that it refers to the possibility that the shepherds won double wage because the days were endless. It also makes us to think that all this happened in the arctic countries, the supposed confinement of the winds in a wineskin by the god Aeolus, because, today, we know that in the arctic regions unpredictable changes of the orientation of the stormy winds take place, even arriving to sudden deaf calms of brief length. The same thing we can say of the very reiterated cited by the goddess Aurora because, undoubtly, the northern auroras constitute the most grandiose view that takes place in our globe. The northern auroras can not be seen in the Mediterranean.
Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights
Goddess Aurora's Fingers
8.- THE MAELSTRÖM WOULD BE THE OCEAN OR WHIRL LOCATED BETWEEN THE WANDERING ROCKS AND CLOSE TO SCYLLA AND CHARYBDIS
Circe ordered Odysseus at Hades to consult Tiresias (Teiresias), after having gone by the Ocean, contiguous to its island Aeaea, Od., X, 508.
After Odysseus had visited the Hades he returned to the island of Circe who recommended him to take cautions when coming closer to some islands where mysterious Sirens (seirênes) were listened that we suppose it would be howling of the violent winds that reign in the polar regions. Circe also warned Odysseus that next he would have to choose between very dangerous two dangerous paths .
Aerial Photographic of the Maelström
The first one framed supposedly among promontories supposed as “Wandering”, Od., c. XII, v. 61, because in the reality it is the whirlwind or whirl, at the moment called Maelström, the one that advances slowly as it lowers the height of the tide. Those promontories correspond to the current Lofotodden Cape and to the Vaeroy island that close the Western Fjord of Norway. See fig. 2, taken from “The Nautical Almanac”.
2.- Lofotodden Cape and Vaeroy
Homer used in Od., XIIth Song, v. 68, the Greek word ,, “Thyellai”, to refer to this whirlwind or whirl, although in the c. V, v. 174, he used it as synonym the Greek expression , “Laitma Thalásses”, to mention to the depths of the sea for where it supposed that the waters fell into the center of the Earth so later to appear in the form of springs or sources of the rivers.
He also represented the danger of this whirl when telling in the C. XII, v.69 that previously only the ship Argos of Jason had survived of falling in it because the goddess Hera that loved him, induced him to tack it back, (pareplo), taking him away from its murderous suction.
The word “laitma” has also been translated in opportunities for “abyss”, from the Greek “abyssos” (“bottomless”), expresion that was not used by Homer. As Hesiod was not able to understand the reach of the homeric expression because in Greece nobody knew the above-mentioned sea phenomenon, he ended up calling it “Chaos” (, “Kháos”) in his work “Theogony” (vv. 116, 123, 632, 700, 740 and 814).
It would be easy to identify this whirlpool with the Tartarus of the ancient nordic legends and twice quoted by Homer in the Iliad. Zeus threatened to the gods who would like to side with the Trojans or with the Greeks, to throw them “to the gloomy Tartarus at the bottom of the barathrum which is deepest underground, where the iron gates and the bronze threshold, as far under the Hades as the sky is above the ground”, C. VIII, vv. 13-16.
Further on, Homer too mentioned the Tartarus in the confines of the Earth, C. VIII, vv. 478-481. It is possible that, in the subsequent centuries, the word “Tartarus” had given rise to the name “Tartessos”, applied to sumerged ruins located at Cádiz, Spain.
As for the second path suggested by Circe, it would be among the current Rost island and the islet located at 900 meters to the SO. from it. In the first one the monster Scylla inhabited, v. 84 that with its six heads caught its preys. In the neighboring islet, the monster Charybdis, v 104, was on, that three times a day absorbed vomited the waters. A similar phenomenon will have been able to observe the modern tourists in diverse costs of the world, because the pockets of air caught in the hollows of the rocks is pressed by the waters when the tides go up so that this water it is forced to be slip violently through small cracks formed among the same rocks. In the Chilean coast, in the port of Lebu, “la Piedra del Toro” (“The Stone of the Bull”) throws water in the same way and in the Gulf of Chiloé, estuary of Reloncaví, three tides also take place a day in point denominated Ralun.
Estuary of Reloncaví
9.- THRINACIA, THE ISLAND OF THE COWS OF THE SUN, CORRESPONDS TO THE CURRENT LANDEGODE ISLAND
After having gone Odysseus by the three dangers indicated by Circe, he had
to navigate straight to the east until finding in the continental coast the
Thrinacia island (XI, 227) with its “three caps” due to their
triangular form. It was a low and very grassy island on which numerous flocks
of cows and sheep inhabited . These characteristics correspond exactly to
the current island of Landegode whose original name, “Landit Goda”,
means in old Norwegian “Good Land”. See the Web page http://home.enter.vg/landegode/facts.htm
In spite of the prohibition by Odysseus, his partners killed many of the cows so appreciated by the god Hyperion (XII, 359) that enjoyed when seeing them vigorous every time after the six months of darkness.
We estimate that these heads would belong to the species of the aurochs (Bos Taurus Primigenius), very well acclimatized in this area and distinguishable to have a wide forehead, two big horns, big hooves and very thick skin that allowed them to advance without being swamped along the humid soils that were formed when the winter snow was gone by taking advantage of the most tender and nutritious grasses. Because of their very thick, skin they could defend themselves from the immense quantity of mosquitoes that swarmed around trying to suck their blood. Perhaps when breeding in very closed consanguinity, anomalies were appearing in their reproductive that ended up to kill them. Homer, from there, mentioned about their difficult reproduction, Odyssey, XII, 130.
The fertility of this island coincided with the concept of “fertile continent”, , (“eribólakos epeiroio”), mentioned by Homer in the XIII song, 235, when Odysseus asked to a young shepherd, disguise of Athena, if that earth was a simple island or a cape of a fertile continent. That fertility surprised Homer because in other regions they would have been simple taigas or tundras at the same height.