10.-THE HADES WOULD CORRESPOND TO THE “MIST FJORD”
To facilitate the reader the modern geographical correlation with that told by Homer, it becomes lightly unavoidable to transfer the strict sequence of the journeys of Odysseus. We see in the Song XI that after reaching the limit of the Ocean, the ship of Odysseus arrived in the country of the men Cimmerians, “always wrapped in clouds and in fog; they are men to whom the glittering rays of the Sun never dazzle in the life, not even when ascending to the populated skies of stars neither when descending off the skies looking for the earth: over those anxious ones, a night of death looms”, verses 14-19. Homer used the words (“nephéle”) and (, “aéri”) for referring respectively to “clouds” and “fog”.
In a modern map we can see that to the northeast of Landegode Island is the “Mist Fjord”, one of whose arms extend in North-south direction between closed cliffs, 67°22’ N. lat. and 14°50’ E. long. See fig. 3.
3.-Map of the Mist Fjord.
Because its waters have been cooled by the Stream Gulf, little by little they lose their heat to the contact with a much colder air for that permanently dense fogs arise over the fjord. It is possible that the high mountains that close the fjord on the south side prevent that the almost horizontal rays of the Sun can light the area next to its slope so it makes it a somber place.
See the Web page http://www.seapaddler.co.uk/newpage137.htm.
It could be assumed that the country of the Cimmerians could correspond to a settlement of the primitive Lapland ethnia, of low height, protuberant cheekbones and slant eyes, whose rooms could resemble the igloos of the Eskimos. If this is certain, Odysseus and his partners could have thought that they were souls that arose out of the earth.
Finished the visit to the Hades the ship of Odysseus left “the stream of the river Ocean”, (“potamoio rhóon Okeanoio”), Song XII, v. 1. This sentence complicated the interpreters of Homer vastly and, especially, to Strabo, I, 1, 7, since they could not know that the Ocean mentioned by Homer was the group of currents that penetrate in the great Western Fjord of Norway and they form the Maelström and the Saltstraumen. Possibly, a countercurrent occurs, of type “mascaret” or “macareo” that raises with extreme violence some rivers and fjords when the high tide is increased by effect of the syzygies and the push of stormy western winds.
It is possible that the old Greeks used the word “potamos” as a synonym of waters currents or in movement. The Greek word “Rhoon”, current, it could be a pleonasm to reinforce the concept “potamos” and in this way to give importance to a phenomenon that was not seen in any other sea. Homer never tried to mention the existence of a river called Ocean, as Herodotus of Halicarnassus supposed, Bk II, 23, but, at the most, to the marine currents that surround all the continents.
11.- OGYGIA, THE OCEANIC ISLAND OF CALYPSO
As a punishment for the slaughter of the cows of the god Hyperion, Zeus threw a ray that destroyed the ship, only surviving Odysseus sat down on the floating remains of the keel or (“trópis”) and of the mast, Song XII, v. 421 and 424 and Song V, v. 130, arriving this way and after ten days at the Ogygia island. The direct mention that Homer made of the keel refutes unanswerably to those whom suppose that the Phoenicians did not know it and for that they could not have used the sail appropriately.
The island of Ogygia was described by Homer like an island of two riversides, (“amphyryte”), wooded (“dendréessa”), next to the “Navel of the Sea”, (“omphalós thalásses”; C. I, 50-51) and also distant, (“teloth´”; c. V, v 55). This description coincides entirely with the island of Moskenes, the most southern of the group Lofoten, whose costs extend almost for 50 km. long and they begin immediately to the north of the Maelström, the “navel of the sea”. See the Web page http://www.lofoten-info.no/KART.HTM
Map of the islands Flakstadoy and Moskenes
Homer insisted much in that Calypso lived in an enormous cave, (“méga spéos”; Song V, v. 57), what it is not strange because in those regions it was the best protection against the winter colds. Also, on the Moskenes islands deep caves are plentiful in both riversides, inhabited from immemorial times for native people that makes us think of the distant Ethiopians that live divided among those that look to the east and those that look to the west, C.I, v. 23-25.
These were the last of the men, that is to say those that lived more toward the decline of the old one “oikoumene.” Their skin burned by the winds and the reflection of the snow should have given origin to the epithet of “burnt faces” or “Ethiopians.” See the interesting information that Internet provides on the Web page http://www.lofoten-info.no/boattur.htm
Calypso was daughter of Atlas who watched over “the long pilars, sustenance of the sky”, Song I, v. 52-54. Well then, in the current port of Hamaroy, located to the east of Moskenes, there are some high rocks in the form of Pilars that could give origin to the poetic expression and that of the torture of Tantalus (fig. 4).
4.-“The long pilars, sustenance of the sky”, in the port of Hamaroy.
The Greeks that only knew the Mediterranean, applied that expression to the heights of the current Rock of Gibraltar and Ceuta, with that which the toponyme Pilars of Heracles was applied outside of place and accepted universally because the error of its application was never demonstrated. See the interesting Web page of Internet http://www.hamaroyhotel.no/english/Photos/hamhot023.jpg
12.- ILION AND TROY IN THE ISLANDS FLAKSTADOY AND MOSKENES
In the island Flakstadoy, separated from Moskenes for a narrow strait, there are places important very similar to the Homeric description of Ilion for what they should not have been noticed. Their better known geographical characteristic would be the existence of a long plain located between the beaches of the sea and the neighboring mounts that, in modern terms it could be described as consolidated dune. The sands of the beaches of Flakstadoy are white as the chalk like it can be appreciated in the pictures inserted on the Internet page www.Ramberg.htm
A second geographical characteristic of Ilion constitutes its inseparable reference to the Mount Ida, of abundant springs and thick forests. It is not strange that both conditions appear inseparably united because Norway is located in one of the rainiest regions in the planet and because the warm Current of the Gulf of Mexico contributes very much to reduce the typical cold of the arctic areas and with it favors the development of big forests.
Ramberg Beach in Moskenes
Island, crowned as
one of the most spectacular in the world
Myrland in the northern extreme
the Moskenes Island. Fantastic scenery and chalk-white beaches
In Moskenes, is the contiguous island, many big caves of the prehistoric time that make us think of the Homeric Troy and that well the could be the silver mines, “argyrou genethlê” or “places where the silver is generated”, mentioned by Homer in the Iliad, C. II, v.364 (= v. 857). It is possible that the old residents have extracted of them big quantities of silver as well as there are in other regions of Scandinavia, among them the well-known mine of existent native silver in Kongsberg. Maybe this silver abundance, call “argyros” in Greek, it induced to the Hellenic ones to denominate “Argus” to this region like synonym of “brilliant.”
Due to the difficulties of hunting in woody areas, it is possible that the native towns have used the silver to make the tip of their arrows and also to manufacture light arches and of little size, what would produce an excellent tension. If to this the shot speed is added gotten by the experienced hunters , it is explained how they could make prey on wild animals habituated to move quickly in the thickness before the smallest noise.
Satelite image where the Island of Moskenes is located
I link the habit of hunting with arrows in woody areas to the fact that Homer has begun the Iliad telling how Apollo with his poisoned arrows decimated the Achaean camp at request of a priest whose daughter had been kidnapped. In the Song VIII, v. 261-334, Homer highlighted to the warrior Teucer Telamonius (in Greek “Teukros Telamonios”), brother of Ajax, to be the most skilled Achaean archer and in the Song IV, v.164-165, it put of relevance that Agamemnon advanced the future fall of Ilion because king Priamus' army used heavy ash-tree lances.
We see in this an indirect reference to the biggest offensive efficiency in the poisoned arrows shot at long distance.
The reference to that the arrows arrived vibrating shows the great appreciation in that they were had, Iliad, C. XVI, v. 361. The maximum praise with which Homer highlighted the importance of the arrows it was expressed in the episode in that Odysseus conquered his wife's pretenders thanks to his sublime archer ability.
However, Homer forgot his previous appreciation to diminishing it for the sake of remembering the old habit that the personal value of the heroes was only demonstrated in combat body to body.
For that , he told that it would have been Zeus who impeded that the darter Apollo continued defending Hector who, according to his consulted scale, he should die with his throat crossed by the lance of Achilles, Iliad, C. XXII, 208-213.
It would not be illicit to suggest how different it could have been the future of the West if the Greek strategists have ambushed in the Thermopylae to the Xerxes’ army launching to them arrows on fire greased with a mixture of pine resin and sulfur. The ray of Zeus of this could be this same fire mixture, called later “Greek fire.”
ilustration of greek fire
Similar tactics could have been used successfully against the Mongolian attacks to disperse their quick chivalry because all animal escapes panicky when being threatened by the fire. Something of this can it would seem to have been used by the Chinese who toward 1232 A.D., they rejected a Mongolian attack in Kai Fung Fu Battle, shooting arrows set on fire.