Odysseus mosaic at the Bardo Museum in Tunis, Tunisia. (2nd century AD) (Public Domain)

Homer in the Baltic: Odysseus a Fair-Haired Dane?

Described by Homer and Pindar as ‘fair haired’, one can ask the perturbing question: Was Odysseus a Dane originating from the Baltic Sea and is Troy located on the Gulf of Finland?  Since ancient times, Homeric geography has raised doubts and perplexities. One should only think of the absurd position of Ithaca, or the Peloponnese which is always described as a plain.

Plutarch at Delphi  (Odysses / CC BY-SA 4.0)

Plutarch at Delphi  (Odysses / CC BY-SA 4.0)

Plutarch Provides a Clue

The key for penetrating this world is provided by the Greek writer Plutarch (circa AD 46 – 120), who states that Ogygia, the island of the goddess Calypso who held Odysseus prisoner for seven years, lies in the North Atlantic: “five days’ from Britain, towards the sunset”. Ogygia can be identified as one of the Faroe Islands, Nólsoy, where, according to the Odyssey, there are caves, meadows, large colonies of seabirds, small watercourses, low beaches that allow an easy landing (it is the lowest island of the Faroes, which are generally very steep) and even a mountain called Høgoyggj, whose name is very similar to that of Ogygia in Greek (Ogygiē).


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Ancient Origins Quotations