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Ogygia (Greek: Ωγυγίη or Ωγυγία), is a phantom island mentioned in Homer's Odyssey book 5 as the home of the nymph Calypso, the daughter of the Titan Atlas. Ogygia may be associated with the Ogygian deluge or with the mythological figure Ogyges. On Ogygia, Calypso detained Odysseus for seven years, keeping him from returning to his home of Ithaca. Athena complained to Zeus, who sent the messenger Hermes to Ogygia to order Calypso to release Odysseus. Calypso then allowed Odysseus to build a small raft and leave.

Historical accounts

Polybius proposed that Schería and Ogygia were located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. His writtings did not survive, however his theory survived through Strabo's account.

For Homer says also: "Now after the ship had left the river-stream of Oceanus"; and "In the island of Ogygia, where is the navel of the sea," going on to say that the daughter of Atlas lives there; and again, regarding the Phaeacians, "Far apart we live in the wash of the waves, the farthermost of men, and no other mortals are conversant with us." Now all these incidents are clearly indicated as being placed in fancy in the Atlantic Ocean. (Strabo, Geography 1.2.18)

The Odyssey describes Ogygia as follows:

and he (Hermes) found her within. A great fire was burning in the hearth, and from afar over the isle there was a fragrance of cleft cedar and juniper as they burned. But she within was singing with a sweet voice as she went to and fro before the loom, weaving with a golden shuttle. Round about the cave grew a luxuriant wood, alder and poplar and sweet-smelling cypress, wherein birds long of wing were wont to nest, owls and falcons and sea-crows with chattering tongues, who ply their business on the sea. And right there about the hollow cave ran trailing a garden vine, in pride of its prime, richly laden with clusters. And fountains four in a row were flowing with bright water hard by one another, turned one this way, one that. And round about soft meadows of violets and parsley were blooming... (Odyssey 5.58-74)

Plutarch also gives an account on the location of Ogygia, in his work Concerning the Face Which Appears in the Orb of the Moon, chap. 26.

First I will tell you the author of the piece, if there is no objection, who begins after Homer’s fashion with, an isle Ogygian lies far out at sea, distant five days’ sail from Britain, going westwards, and three others equally distant from it, and from each other, are more opposite to the summer visits of the sun; in one of which the barbarians fable that Cronus is imprisoned by Zeus, whilst his son lies by his side, as though keeping guard over those islands and the sea, which they call ‘the Sea of Cronus. The great continent by which the great sea is surrounded on all sides, they say, lies less distant from the others, but about five thousand stadia from Ogygia, for one sailing in a rowing-galley; for the sea is difficult of passage and muddy through the great number of currents, and these currents issue out of the great land, and shoals are formed by them, and the sea becomes clogged and full of earth, by which it has the appearance of being solid.

The "great number of currents" can also be identified as the Gulf Stream currents. The description of the "great continent surrounded by sea" could possibly refer to America, which accordingly should be approximately 5.000 stadia or 900 kilometers from Ogygia.

Later interpretations sometimes identify Ogygia and Phaeacia with sunken Atlantis. Roderic O'Flaherty used the name as a synonym for Ireland in the title of his 1685 Irish history. Some Maltese patriots, seeking to present the Maltese archipelago as the residue of Atlantis, identify Ogygia with the island of Gozo, the second largest island in the archipelago.

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