Now you are probably wondering why, after an 8-month hiatus, I am back writing about what looks like a dilapidated cave. Well, it turns out that this cave is actually the Classicists dream as it supposedly where Odysseus spent seven whole years of his life following the Trojan War.
Welcome to Calypso’s Cave!
In Greek mythology, Calypso was a nymph who lived on the island of Ogygia where the Greek hero Odysseus found himself washed up following part one of his disastrous return home from the Trojan War. Calypso, upon seeing Odysseus, decided not to help him and send him on his merry way but instead kept him captive in her cave on Ogygia for seven long years. Calypso did have a game plan, she wanted Odysseus to marry her and become her immortal husband so that they could spend literally forever with one another. Odysseus however had other ideas and spent the seven years on Ogygia in turmoil, pining for his wife Penelope.
Eventually Athena, Odysseus’ patron goddess, begged Zeus to allow Odysseus to leave the island and return home to Ithaca. Hermes was then sent to Calypso and Odysseus to relay this information and the will of Zeus, stating that it was not Odysseus’ destiny to remain on Ogygia forever. Following this, Calypso was devastated but had no choice but to help Odysseus return home and provided him with tools with which he could build a raft to leave the island. He eventually finished the raft and leaves Ogygia, leaving Calypso desolate and alone in her cave, pining for Odysseus for years to come.
So, this cave, although it doesn’t look much, was actually the seat of some pretty momentous events in Greek mythology.
But where is it?
Calypso’ Cave is situated on the beautiful island of Gozo, off the coast of Malta and this small island is said by ancient Greek historians (and now local tradition) to be Ogygia. Whether or not Gozo was meant to be Ogygia is of course up for debate and completely unknown however, due to the ancient history and importance of Gozo stretching back to 5000 BC, I wouldn’t underestimate the significance of this small but gorgeous island.
If you are looking to visit for yourself, Calypso’s Cave looks over the beautiful Ramla bay and used to be one of the most popular tourist attractions on the island. Who wouldn’t want to go and see if Odysseus is in town?! However, due to geological issues, namely the cave has become unstable over time, you can only view the entrance of the cave and can no longer step foot inside and retrace the steps of the beautiful nymph. I can recommend the trip however as the views are stunning and the beach is a stones throw away.
When I went Odysseus wasn’t in, but the beer on the beach was cold and the water was warm so it was a win despite the disappointment!