The islet of Gavdos (Γαύδος) located opposite Sfakia, Krete, is the southern-most border of Greece and Europe. According to Callimachus, this is the ancient isle of Ogygia where, as Homeros claims in The Odysseia, the nymph Kalypso lived. In fact, if you ask a local to show you the way, local legend will bring you to her cave and an adjoining abode that was alledgedly hers.

In Homeros' Odysseia Kalypso detained Odysseus on Ogygia for seven years and kept him from returning to his home of Ithaca, wanting to marry him. Athena complained about Kalypso's actions to Zeus, who sent the messenger Hermes to Ogygia to order Kalypso to release Odysseus. Hermes is Odysseus' great grandfather on his mother's side, through Autolycos. Kalypso finally, though reluctantly, instructed Odysseus to build a small raft, gave him food and wine, and let him depart the island. The Odysseia 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..."

Beyond mythological glamour, visitors can also see the tombs found in Lavraka Bay, in northwest of Gavdos, which are dated back to the Minoan age, even though edifices of the same period have not been found.

As frequent visitors of this blog are well aware, Baring the Aegis is as much a source of information on modern Hellenism as it is a reference on ancient Hellas. Secondary to those goals, Baring the Aegis is a lovesong to the places that made up ancient Hellas, Gavados included. So when I discovered a new video by Dimitris Koulelis on Vimeo that captures the beauty of Gavdos, I couldn't resist sharing it. It is, perhaps, interesting to note that the Roman empire was active on the island. During that time the flora of the island was overexploited and that started a process of erosion which has continued to this day. As such, in Kalypso's time--were there such a thing--the island would have been as lush as described by Homeros. Enjoy!